by baldilocks

Around the time of 9/11, during one of my many sojourns into higher education, I was in a CAD program–which I regret not finishing. One of the required courses was Algebra and I did well, out of 100 achieving a 96 average — math being one of my favorite subjects.  And, most heartening, in an admittedly chauvinistic way, the only other person who did better than I did in the subject was also a black woman. (We were the only women there of any coating.)

By no means were the men in that class either stupid or ungifted. However, they were uniformly very young—at least they seemed so to my then forty-year-old self.  One of the things that they marveled at about me was that I could do simple arithmetic in my head.  When one of them asked me how this came to be, I explained that I was born well before the advent of the calculator and was taught at home to memorize multiplication tables.  Another of the young men made some joke about my age and a slide rule and, though I laughed, I realized how archaic that device had become. Following on the realization that I hadn’t seen one since the early 1980s, I was impressed that the guy even knew of the tool.

Being around so many innately very intelligent young people who had been—as far as I could see then—short-changed by the very same type of technology that they were learning to manipulate to make a living, made me a little sad. However, now I know that those men—and that young lady who kicked my behind in Algebra–are the blessed ones. They had the desire to know — something that is all too rare.

I still plan to return for my B.S. in mathematics.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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A busy day for DaTechGuy today

In a few minutes I leave to go to the studios of WLMW 90.7 FM to join old friend John Weston on The Right Group from 4-6 PM

We’ll be talking my coverage of events on the Boston Common, my new Radio show Your Prayer Intentions saturdays at noon on WQPH 89.3 , My Book Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (And Catholic) Prayer and the Stacy McCain event coming to Leominster Ma Sept 9th (get your tickets here).

From there we head straight to Worcester where I will speak at tonight’s Worcester tea Party about the same events at Eller’s restaurant.

Hope you can join us either in person or on the radio today.

If you’re looking for people to blame for the events in Charlottesville, you can add liberals to the list, particularly those in the ACLU and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ability to march in Charlottesville comes directly as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1977, with the ACLU arguing for neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, where many Holocaust survivors lived.

In the case, National Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie, 432 U.S. 43 (1977), the ACLU got the liberal bloc of the court to determine that the use of the swastika was a symbolic form of free speech entitled to First Amendment protection. The court also ruled that the neo-Nazis, under the right of assembly in the First Amendment, could march through the predominantly Jewish city near Chicago.

As a reporter for Newsweek, I covered the Skokie story and found myself puzzled about the events back then. Today, as I teach media law, I still am rather puzzled why the neo-Nazis in Chicago and Charlottesville were allowed to protest. Here is some background on those events: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-neo-nazi-skokie-march-flashback-perspec-0312-20170310-story.html

On its website, the ACLU lauds its stance as “taking a stand for free speech.” Moreover, the organization notes: “The notoriety of the case caused some ACLU members to resign, but to many others, the case has come to represent the ACLU’s unwavering commitment to principle. In fact, many of the laws the ACLU cited to defend the group’s right to free speech and assembly were the same laws it had invoked during the Civil Rights era when Southern cities tried to shut down civil rights marches with similar claims about the violence and disruption the protests would cause.”

The ACLU says now that it will not defend people’s freedom of speech and right to assemble if they carry guns. I guess the Second Amendment doesn’t count anymore.

Nevertheless, here’s some of what is protected under the First Amendment:

–People can burn a flag.
–Burn a cross.
–Say “f***” in public but not on the radio.
–Curse a police officer.
–Use hate speech.
–Show sexual intercourse on HBO and the Internet but not on ABC.
–Call Marines homosexuals during a funeral as long as you are on a public sidewalk.

Many members of the liberal bloc on the U.S. Supreme Court supported these protections, while some, if not all, of the conservative bloc did not.

The argument usually follows the notion of the marketplace of ideas—a theory put forward by John Stuart Mills that all ideas should be allowed to be expressed because only those with the most validity will triumph. Furthermore, an arbiter of what constitutes improper speech might exclude disagreeable opinions.

Somehow, I think the founders may have had other ideas about what should constitute freedom of speech and right to “peaceably” assemble. The founders generally agreed that freedom of religion was the most important characteristic of the First Amendment, but there was a split when it came to other parts.

As the Heritage Foundation notes in its extensive background on the U.S. Constitution:

[John] Marshall and other Federalists argued that the freedom of the press must necessarily be limited, because “government cannot be…secured, if by falsehood and malicious slander, it is to be deprived of the confidence and affection of the people.” Not so, reasoned [James] Madison and other Republicans: even speech that creates “a contempt, a disrepute, or hatred [of the government] among the people” should be tolerated because the only way of determining whether such contempt is justified is “by a free examination [of the government’s actions], and a free communication among the people thereon.” It was as if half the country read the constitutional guarantee one way, and the other half, the other way.

The founding generation undoubtedly believed deeply in the freedom of speech and of the press, but then, as now, these general terms were understood quite differently by different people. Many people did not think about their precise meanings until a concrete controversy arose; and when a controversy did arise, the analysis was often influenced by people’s political interests as much as by their honest constitutional understanding.

When people argue that President Trump should be blamed for the actions of neo-Nazis, just tell them to read about Skokie and thank the liberals for providing the ability for wingnuts to speak and to assemble.

I spoke to young author Christoper Sparks about his book, How Can You Still be Catholic

You can buy his book here

The Rest of my Catholic Marketing Network posts are here.

Saruman:  Victory at Helm’s deep does not belong to you, Théoden Horse Master, you are a lesser son of greater sires.

The Lord of the Rings:  Return of the King (extended version) 2003

Christie:  What’s the quietest Island in the area
Virgil:  I’d say Kemo
Gruber: Yep Kimo, Quiet like a library.
Christie: Well When we land on that quiet little Island what do you think happens?
Ensign Parker: I dunno?
Christie: Binghamtom run smack into a Japanese Scout, he engages him in combat. He saves our whole crew and we send him back to the Officers club a hero!

McHale’s Navy, The Captain’s Mission 1963

I’ve been thinking about what what the results of events this weekend on the Boston Common will be.  There will be significant consequences politically both locally and nationally (although not in the way some might think) But there is one perspective that I want to address because it is independent of the various political agendas out there.

As I mentioned in my post Sunday.  Saturday’s events drew a large amount people who while non-activists have spent their lifetime in the media/academic bubble of liberalism.  I suspect for such people, attending this event was something of critical importance to their self image.

For their entire lives they have heard the stories of those who had come before them.  Their grandfathers and great grandfathers who had fought in World War two,  risking their lives to check the advance of a murderous fascism on the world.  They saw their stories lionized in history and media for (oddly enough the story of those same folks stopping the advance of murderous Communism in Korea thus securing the ability of South Koreans to live modern lives didn’t make the lionization cut). Their parents or grandparents lived in the civil rights era where people actually risked life and limb to secure basic civil rights for those oppressed by Jim Crow also celebrated in media and academia.

Furthermore in that same media bubble they have been told for over a decade that the Gay Marriage debate is not a matter of debate (at least not since Obama’s 2012 election year epiphany) and the Transgender debates that followed were yet another chapter in the civil rights.

They have been assured of all of these things, and have looked at their comfortable lives with the latest phones, and gadgets, entertainment streamed to their homes on demand, attending universities where the going rate for their education is larger than the per capital income of most of the countries of the world an what they spend on cable and Starbucks annually alone is more that the per capita income in different 30 countries.

Yet what had they done or sacrificed or risked to get these things?  What had they done to be worthy of those who came before them?

For such people the events on the Boston Common were a godsend.

For the cost of a train ticket, parking and making a sign they could be seen and counted as standing up to one of the great historical evils at risk to themselves.  Instead of fighting computer generated Nazis online, you would be putting yourself out there for the cause of right and justice and be celebrated for it by the media, by your fellows, and online for doing so.

Yeah I know things weren’t as iffy as they might have been led to believe

Sure the mayor of Boston made sure the police would be there in force keeping deadly weapons out of people’s hands and mitigating the actual risk to nearly zero

Sure the number of people who in the crowd on your side outnumbered those you were counter protesting by a factor of anywhere from 100-1000.

Sure despite the assurances of the media and activists that you were opposing Nazi and the Klan the presence of Nazis and Klansman on the Boston common was more theoretical that actual

Sure the nasty looking guys in black wearing mask were on your side and only a danger to Police or people who dared walk though the Boston Common wearing Trump banners or Israeli Flags.

and I’m sure some who were there seeing facts (which they in fairness had no control over anyway) beyond their bubble world and laugh at their worries.  But a lot of others will go home,  post selfies on instagram and point out the news coverage to family talking about being there in Boston confronting the Nazis.

And in the weeks and months to come in that bubble world they inhabit they’ll, around a beer on the college common, or at their local Starbucks or over a glass of wine at a party or cookout talk about that fateful day on the common to their fellow bubble dwellers sounding something like this:

Captain Binghamton: Oh I tell you it was rough gentlemen rough I don’t care what actions you’ve seen unless you were at Kimo.

To them it will be simple truth because no matter what actually happened on the common that day, they had gone to Boston to prove they they were just as willing to put themselves on the line as those people who came before them and the feeling they made a difference was real and authentic.

That was the emotional victory they had fought for and those who share and depend on that bubble world will celebrate that victory with them for as long as they can keep that bubble intact.



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