Since nearly all of my family hails from Wyoming, I’m proud to claim cowboy blood.

My grandfather herded cattle along the Chisholm Trail. He later served as the sheriff in Rawlins, Wyoming.

I even herded cattle in Torrington, Wyoming, just after a graduated from high school.

At Newsweek, I was a junior member of the cowboys—those known for covering wars.

The University of Wyoming recently announced a new slogan to attract students: The world needs more cowboys. That seems right on target to me.

But the social justice warriors have latched onto another ridiculous cause.

“I am not the only person for whom the word ‘cowboy’ invokes a white, macho, male, able-bodied, heterosexual, U.S.-born person,” said associate professor Christine Porter. She added that the slogan is “unacceptable” because the word “boy” excludes anyone who identifies as a woman.

Seriously?

Somehow it doesn’t surprise me that Porter got her degree from Cornell University, a bastion of leftist claptrap in New York.

Author C. J. Box, a Wyoming native and mystery writer, does some wonderful takedowns of the elites, like Porter, who occasionally frequent his home state—the hedge fund bigwigs who buy ranches so they can parade around in jeans, boots, and cowboy hats for a few weeks a year; the Easterners who frequent dude ranches; the jet set who make Jackson Hole their retreat; and the animal rights activists who care more about elk and antelope than human beings.

Joe Pickett, a University of Wyoming graduate and the main character who solves more murders than Jessica Fletcher did in Cabot Cove, Maine, may have to turn his attention to the know-nothings at his alma mater.

Fortunately, Wyoming residents have turned up the heat on the university’s faculty after the complaints about the new campaign. To the lifers, being called cowboys fits just fine.

But, as Willie Nelson put it:

Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold
They’d rather give you a song then diamonds or gold
Lonestar belt buckles and old faded Levis and each night begins a new day
If you don’t understand him and he don’t die young
He’ll probably just ride away

Mamas’ don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys
Don’t let ’em pick guitars or drive them old trucks
Let ’em be doctors and lawyers and such

Sing it, Willie!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_wmASF3jYA

The embattled reporter at The New York Times who had an intimate relationship with a top Senate staffer was one of my students.

After a quick rise through the ranks of journalism, Ali Watkins was demoted last week for having the affair.

I didn’t know her well, but she struck me as energetic and intelligent, with perhaps a bit too much snarkiness. She appeared to be a reporter with a promising career ahead of her.

What she did was wrong. You don’t have sex with a potential source. Ever. [Note: She denies that the Senate staffer was a source.]

But hypocrisy oozed from the coverage of the affair, particularly when you take a look at other prominent journalists who may have slept their way to the top.

Judith Miller, a prominent member of DaTimes until she got fired for making stuff up, often quoted her live-in lover, the late Les Aspin, who served as Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense. Miller’s affaris were so widely known that one colleague referred to her bedsheets as her notebook.

But there’s a lot more.

Matt Cooper, who worked in high-level positions at several news organizations, married Mandy Grunwald, a longtime media adviser to the Clintons.

Christiane Amanpour, CNN’s chief international reporter, began dating James Rubin, assistant secretary of state for public affairs, in 1997. They got married the next year.

Andrea Mitchell, NBC News’ foreign affairs reporter, dated Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan for 12 years before they got married.

Here in Philadelphia, news anchor Renee Chenault is married to Chaka Fattah, a longtime congressman who was convicted of corruption in 2016.

Each reporter should have been at least reprimanded or perhaps faced more serious consequences for these relationships. Also, the audience should have been told repeatedly about these conflicts of interest. Neither happened.

I doubt that any of these people have a note in their personnel files about these inappropriate relationships.

What’s also disturbing about the Watkins’ case is that several employers knew about her ethical breech, but no one told her to stop it.

That doesn’t in any way mitigate what she did. In my view, she should have been fired long before she got to DaTimes.

Nevertheless, after numerous problems from Brian Williams to Rolling Stone, this recent ethical breech underlines how morally challenged journalism is.

Sow the wind …

by baldilocks

#MeToo

What is the relationship between complete disarmament of the entire American populace, open borders, and opposition to the so-call Muslim ban?

Mexico is a nightmare of a nation-state, totally controlled by the demonic drug and human-trafficking cartels. The operational activities of these cartels rivals those of ISIS. Mexico’s murder rate is number two in the world. And 99% of all Mexican crimes go unadjudicated and uninvestigated. Our sieve-like southern border has allowed all of this to spill into this country, but there is still some control.

As I’ve point out before, the cartels are probably salivating at the “business” opportunities which a disarmed America would offer.

Open borders plus disarmed America equals the end of a free America and sets the stage for a true strongman who promise to protect the remnant of a terrified populace ravaged by savage murders, rapes, robberies, etc. Gangs of these animals roaming the countryside, armed to the teeth and scoffing at the enforcers who would presume to disarm them.

As my friend, Dave Perkins, points out, “The pattern is historical.”

Then there is the violence and harassment against Republican and conservative officials, including:

  • Attempted murder of several Republican congressmen, including the critically-injured Rep. Steven Scalise.
  • Senator Rand Paul severely injured by his neighbor.
  • DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen run out of a DC restaurant.
  • Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General, run out of Tampa movie theater.
  • White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders and family asked to leave a Virginia restaurant, and, after the family choose another restaurant, the management follows them to that place to harass them further.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) openly exhorts others to harass Trump cabinet members with implications of violence.

“You think we’re rallying now? You ain’t seen nothing yet,” Waters vowed at a Los Angeles rally on Saturday. “If you see anybody from that cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd, and you push back on them, and you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.”

Apparently, some were listening to Rep. Waters. Just today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, were harassed by a mob in front of their home.

Waters set the stage for harassment and violence not only against Trump administration cabinet members and staff, but also against the normal, every-day citizen whose attitude might need adjustment. The mob will always expand its choice of targets.

Even Nancy Pelosi realizes this and told Waters to STFU. Good luck with that, Madame Minority Leader.

Then, there is also the fact that, today, the Supreme Court upheld the so-called Muslim ban list– actually a list of countries who have no process of identifying its citizens. Most of the countries with majority Muslim populations are not on the banned list and two of the countries on the list – Venezuela and North Korea – are not majority Muslim. But those who remain outraged by the ban don’t care about this because holding onto the lie and repeating the lie that the ban discriminates against Muslims is a necessity.

“A necessity for what,” I hear you ask. And here comes the answer to the first question.

All of these Democrat, leftist (BIRM) advocacies are intended to wear out the American public with chaos. Leftists want us to be overrun by criminals and terrorists and to have no defense against them. They want chaos and what produces chaos better than violence, death and fear of death? Sure, they pretend that it’s heartless to keep out citizens of failed states like Mexico or Somalia, but, in reality, they want America to become the failed state.

But their daddy issues will remain.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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Almost everyone loves a good crime story or murder mystery, and the Chinese are no exception.

Zhou Haohui, a 41-year-old school teacher, has written a series of potboilers called “Death Notice.” In fact, American readers can get a taste of the books when Doubleday publishes the first of three of the novels later this year.

Set in Chengdu, which is known as the home of the Chinese pandas, “Death Notice” follows Capt. Pei Tao as he and other detectives attempt to track down a shadowy vigilante who sends letters, or death notices, to people he believes have gotten away with crimes.

One of those is a wealthy woman who ran over a roadside vendor with her BMW, killing him. But she escapes punishment because of her husband’s political connections.

The vigilante sends her a death notice and kills her.
The novel has some Chinese twists. For example, Pei seems to be a lone wolf in the early chapters of the book but falls into line when his maverick behavior is criticized by his commanding officer. Also, the investigative task force lives together in the same dormitory, a common practice for Chinese police on an important case.

But there are some real-life crime mysteries that have confounded police in China.

In 1995, a 19-year-old chemistry major at one of China’s top universities in Beijing was poisoned, leaving her blind and mentally impaired. Investigators determined that he was poisoned with thallium, a heavy metal used in Chinese rat poison. A culprit was never charged, although the chief suspect was her roommate, a student from a well-connected family. A few years later, Chinese suspected the roommate had secretly moved to the United States. An online petition demanded that President Obama have her arrested and sent back to China to face prosecution.

www.supchina.com, a favorite website among China watchers, have pieced together some of the most famous cases.

Among the most notorious was The Black Dahlia of Nanjing, a former capital of China.

Nanjing University student Diao Aiqing, 19, was cut up into more than 2,000 pieces, which were deposited in plastic bags around the campus. Diao had been just three months into her freshman year at the Adult Education College of Nanjing University when she’d gone missing.

As supchina put it: “Police were at a loss about what had happened after Diao had angrily left her dorm, saying she was going for a walk. She’d argued with her roommates over a petty infraction that university administrators had chosen to collectively punish the dorm for, but Diao’s fellow students had no serious motive nor explanation for how or why she would meet such a gruesome demise. And the remains, such were their piecemeal state, offered few clues.”

If you’re looking for some summer reading, see more at https://supchina.com/2018/05/30/china-unsolved-the-black-dahlia-of-nanjing/
https://supchina.com/2018/05/30/china-unsolved-the-black-dahlia-of-nanjing/

Your attention span after smoking the Social Media pipe.

by baldilocks

From our beloved Mr. Reynolds:

I think a lot about whether social media are good or bad for society. I’ve written about how they make it easier for people to form mobs, facilitate the weaponization of emotion, and allow bad ideas to spread like disease through early civilizations.

But I also have to wonder: Are social media bad for our brains? (…)

Of course, this isn’t the first time that technology has changed people’s mental processes. Preliterate people had a lot less access to knowledge than people who can read — but preliterate people tended to have amazing memories by today’s standards. (…)

Now, of course, actual bound books are fading, and people read much more on screens. As a result they tend to multitask — read something for a bit, check email, go to see whether you’ve gotten any “likes” on Facebook, go back to reading for a bit, check Twitter. And social media tend to make that worse by subjecting users to a vast stream of bite-size it. (…)

Deep thinking is becoming less common, and worse, this seems to be particularly true among the academic/political/intellectual class that’s most on Twitter.

Glenn says he doesn’t have a solution to this. I do, but it takes personal will.

I, too, found that too much Social Media was harmful to my concentration process. It was taking me much longer to finish reading books than it used to; sometimes I wouldn’t finish them at all since I frequently use e-books and audio-books downloaded from the LA Public Library. Another symptom is pervasive: many open browser tabs. And this is the worst: the degeneration of my ability to concentrate enough on an idea in order to write about it sensibly and to connect one idea with another. (Thank God that I wrote my novel before Social Media’s ascent!)

The solution is very simple: disconnect for a set and regularly scheduled time segment.

Sometimes, I devote the segment to audio-book “reading” coupled with apartment cleaning; other times to something outside of myself.

I do this about twice a week and I can see the change. Additional benefit: the times when the scatter-brained, emotional poo-flinging hits the brim — even when it’s from those with whom I usually agree – and makes me want to shut it down. Call it a sign of detox.

Of course, I’m paranoid enough to believe that the mass splintering of our collective attention spans is intentional.

It doesn’t have to stay that way, though. But recognizing the problem is the first step.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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by baldilocks

A Feces List, if you will.

While the FBI and the various tentacles of the Intelligence Community fall under hard scrutiny for their actions during the 2016 presidential election, another security agency reaches out to get a piece of that sweet Big Brother action. Again.

Pay attention to the reminder of how the Terror Watch List works.

The Department of Homeland Security intends to list and track hundreds of thousands of news outlets, journalists, bloggers, and “influencers” in traditional and new media alike. Its plan is to analyze targets’ “sentiment,” monitor “any and all” coverage of select news stories, and possibly share data with “federal, state, local, tribal, and private partners.” (…)

DHS is surely aware media services are available, which raises the question of why it did not elect to use one. If the aim here, as Houlton claims, is “nothing more than the standard practice of monitoring” the news, why not use the standard programs to do it?

The distinction seems to be twofold. First, the DHS database is noticeably personal. It is not content with assessing the general mood on a given news story, or even the editorial stance of an entire outlet. No, the database will list individuals — “journalists, editors, correspondents, social media influencers, bloggers etc.” — including not only their contact information, employment, and beat, but “any other information that could be relevant.” Any other information. Is it so surprising this plan is anxiety-provoking for those of us who could conceivably be listed?

The second distinction is this is a government list — DHS evidently wants a proprietary database, not the rent-a-list services it could obtain more quickly and cheaply — and government lists do not have a stellar reputation. The terrorist watchlist is exemplary on this point, and reviewing its record of abuse and incompetence takes us nowhere tinfoil territory.

Officially known as the Terrorist Screening Database, the watchlist includes the no-fly list and 10 other lists and screening programs in the Departments of Justice, Defense, Treasury, and Homeland Security. It is a sprawling data monster best known for its failures, and it has exploded from fewer than 50,000 entries at the close of the Bush administration to more than 1.8 million people today. Almost 40 percent of those listed have no demonstrable ties to terrorism, and 99 percent of the names suggested for the list are accepted. Evidence as flimsy as a suspicious social media post is enough for inclusion. The removal process is slow, confusing, and secretive.

The writer of this piece reminds us that the Terrorist Watchlist has been used as a means of gun control.

They never stop trying.

President Trump’s words of contempt for the mainstream media are well documented, as the writer points out, but he/she doesn’t mention that former President Obama did more than talk critically of the press; he actually authorized DOJ surveillance of Fox News reporter James Rosen and 20 Associated Press reporters.

Watching as all our federal intelligence, security, and investigative agencies show us who they really are, it’s tempting to shut down all digital communications and go hermit. I, however, think that this would be an admission of defeat; one which would embolden them. And they’re bold enough already, are they not?

Let them listen, read, make their lists, and check them twice. I’m a retired GI; they already know who I am, and I spent eight years being a little afraid of critiquing President Obama because of my ties to him. I’m done with that.

And, while President Obama is “gone,” those who would surveil innocent Americans for exercising freedom of the press long preceded him and will keep trying to get in our business for whatever reason and no matter who is president. Each of us “influencers” has to decide whether we are up for potential of personal invasion — or worse.

Because lists like this always have an unspoken purpose.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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The adage goes that you don’t want to see sausage or laws being made.

The same can be said about reading or watching news. If you know something about a subject, you likely will be dismayed by the news.

For me, that is the case when it comes to U.S. coverage of China.

For the past three years, I have studied the language, history, economics, and politics of China. I’ve traveled throughout the country, spending months in four separate trips.

Now I have to endure sophomoric accounts about China.

Axios.com, a prominent website for Washingtonians, has been shouting from the rooftops for the past week.

Here is an excerpt: “Trump showed you can turn China into a villain on trade. But a smart politician could turn China into a unifying villain on virtually every topic — a reason to move fast and together on infrastructure, immigration, regulations, space, robotics, 5G, and next-gen education.”

Turning China into a unifying villain? That sounds like something straight out of Ronald Reagan’s playbook–not the left–when dealing with the former Soviet Union. More important, China’s politicians are a lot smarter than the Kremlin geriatric ward of the 1970s and 1980s.

Axios and other media outlets often miss the point.

What China has most of all is patience.

For example, the country has committed itself to a massive public transportation system. In a recent visit to Luoyang, a “small” city of two million people, I saw the project of building four subway lines at a cost of billions of dollars. The roads of the city have come to a virtual standstill during rush hours because every major road is a building site. The project began in 2016 and won’t be finished for another year at the earliest. In the past decade, China has built nearly 2,000 miles of subway lines–more than the systems in the United States and Great Britain combined.

Drivers may honk their horns in occasional frustration, but nearly everyone I talked to understands that the public transportation system will cut traffic and lure many tourists to this attractive town, which boasts a number of top-flight locales, such as the Longmen Grottoes and the Shaolin Temple. Simply put, the locals are proud! Here is some background information about the city’s building plans: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-09/19/c_136621169.htm

Remember the massive infrastructure program President Trump touted during the campaign? It remains mired in Congress because the Democrats apparently don’t want to give Trump a win before the midterm elections.

Moreover, just imagine what would happen in a major U.S. city if there was a plan to build a massive transit system. Protesters would claim the digging was creating a major environmental hazard or desecrating some forgotten trove of bones. Road rage would soar. Cost overruns and corruption would be rampant.

One of the major differences between the populations of the United States and China is patience. At the end of a major endeavor, most Chinese realize that something better will happen.

That’s one of the major weapons China has over the United States—one that most journalists don’t understand.

by baldilocks

I’m old enough to remember when I was called delusional by an alleged conservative for pointing this out. That happened in 2008.

But I’m certain that Don Surber was pointing it out back then also. Here he is in a well-earned I-told-you-so:

Barack Obama is a communist. Mild compared to Castro or Mao, but nevertheless a believer in state control of everything.

Electing a communist president was easy, although it took more than seven decades. While the steps were many — Stalin’s Soviet Union collapsed before achieving his goal — the major ones are obvious in hindsight.

The quest began after Stalin stole America’s nuclear bomb secrets. Roy Cohn prosecuted Stalin’s spies. We hanged them.

Stalin got revenge. He placed a big fat target on Cohn, who went to Washington to help Senator Joseph McCarthy ferret communists out of the Army and State Department.

Many people confuse this with the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, which examined communism in Hollywood. Much ridiculed in the press (even conservatives mocked HUAC) look at Hollywood today and try to deny that communism lives on in America’s entertainment industry.

The elitists ripped McCarthy, called his quest for the truth a witch hunt, and made his name synonymous with the type of investigative fishing expedition Bobby Mueller has engaged in.

The net result was you no longer could call anyone a communist in America. Not even an actual communist. We call them liberal, progressive, socialist, and even Marxist, but never in polite society may we call them communists.

The downfall of McCarthy protected the communists in our federal government. We put one — John Brennan — as head of our CIA.

Indeed we did. I and many of my oldest and closest friends are also old enough to remember when open allegiance to communism was a huge disqualifier for any intelligence service position, much less DCI.

Don features Leftism’s takeover of most American churches and begins with my “favorite” trap: the (Lyndon Baines)

“Yeah, churches, Ah fooled yew, too!”

Johnson Amendment of 1950 – the political and, more importantly, the spiritual lure used to silence churches, at least the ones prone to engaging in wrong-think aka the undiluted Word of God.

What gets me sometimes is the failure of smart, capable and trained people to see the century-long pattern of infiltration, culminating with the election of hardcore Leftist Barack H. Obama. His rise was the result of the Organized Left’s patient effort to turn this country into the crown jewel of communist achievement. The Great Battle Won. But the Organized Left began the celebration too soon and got cocky. And now we are seeing the after-action reports that they couldn’t keep hidden. But they never did try to hide. Not really.

Many of us never did want to see. Still don’t.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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In a rather neck-snapping series of pronouncements, Marxism has moved to center stage in China.

On the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx, Chinese President Xi Jinping has launched a high-profile campaign lauding the importance of the German philosopher.

Communist Party newspapers hailed Das Kapital, Marx’s critique of capitalism, as “holy scripture.” State television aired a prime-time documentary and a talk show to celebrate the “greatest thinker of modern times.”

DaTech3.jpgIn a country that has used capitalism in theory to create an economic juggernaut, China was thought in recent years to have become socialist in name only, with little thought given to Marx.

The Wall Street Journal argued that the pro-Marx campaign may be an attempt “to persuade Chinese to keep faith with a Communist government that he [President Xi] says has employed Marx’s ideas to make China prosperous and powerful.”

Marx “lived honestly and simply, and valued affection and comradeship,” Xi said recently in a speech at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People. He ordered party members to master Marxist theory as a “way of life” and “spiritual pursuit.”

“The posthumous cult of Marx these days serves to legitimize the present leadership and whatever it claims Marxism to be,” Daniel Leese, a China historian at Germany’s University of Freiburg, told The Journal. “And only Xi Jinping is said to be capable of synthesizing classical doctrine with present realities.”

At the party congress in October Xi declared a “new era” in Chinese socialism, a move seen as his bid to reshape the development model laid down 40 years ago by reformist leader Deng Xiaoping.

Chinese officials have long grappled with the contradictions of their state capitalism and professed Marxism. In the early 1990s, party officials and academics debated alternative political models and contemplated renaming the Communist Party to better reflect its tilt toward state-led capitalism.

The party didn’t change its name but has welcomed capitalists to join its ranks, experimented with political reforms to professionalize the civil service and allowed an expansion of civil society.

But President Xi seems determined to bring the party and the country back to its Communist roots. The campaign started in late April when Xi led his party’s governing Politburo in a study session focused on The Communist Manifesto, the 1848 political pamphlet written by Marx and his collaborator Friedrich Engels.

A propaganda blitz ensued. State media played up Marx’s purported contributions to China’s present-day prosperity. While the West descended into “a new era of uncertainty and instability,” China’s experience “eloquently proved that Marxism…has opened a pathway to the truth,” the party’s flagship newspaper, People’s Daily, said in a front-page commentary.

Peking University hosted a “World Congress on Marxism,” gathering more than 120 scholars from some 30 countries to discuss “Marxism and the Human Community of Shared Destiny”—a reference to Xi’s signature diplomatic slogan.

To reach younger Chinese, propaganda officials produced videos and comics that focused on Marx’s personality and appearance.

The party’s flagship theoretical journal, Seeking Truth, produced a short video titled “10 Little-Known Facts About Marx.” The video highlighted Marx’s Jewish background and his zodiac sign, Taurus, and explained that his iconic beard was fashionable for his time.

It’s unclear whether this fascination will have a lasting impact on China, but President Xi’s interest in reviving Marx seems more than a passing fancy.

by baldilocks

Or her.

Some entertainment to look forward to; and when I say entertainment, I mean war.

The White House anticipates a Democratic House will vote to impeach President Trump – but that his opponents won’t be able to muster the 67 Senate votes needed to throw him out of office.

Trump advisors in and outside the White House have begun speculating about scenarios months before voters even go to the polls for November elections that will be critical to what comes next for the Trump presidency.

If Democrats do take control of the chamber – which would fit traditional off-year patterns even as their edge in generic polls has narrowed in recent weeks – a far greater level of oversight and scrutiny is a certainty.

Impeachment also could follow, even as House leaders urge caution in speaking about it.

‘If we lose the House, it’s a given that they’ll try to get a vote to impeach,’ an outside Trump advisor told the Washington Examiner.

White House advisors expect impeachment to prevail in the House, according to the report.

Although a Democratic House could use its majority to vote to impeach Trump, essentially charging him with a high crime or misdemeanor, his fate would be determined by the Senate, where essentially a trial would occur.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi warned fellow lawmakers against their push for impeachment now, saying it could hurt the party’s chances of taking over.

I don’t think we should be talking about impeachment. I’ve been very clear right from the start,’ Pelosi told reporters last month.

Ms. Pelosi demonstrates a dim vestige of cunning, but we call all figure out what will happen if the Democrats regain the House, the Senate or both.

I thought about asking the rhetorical question: which high crime and/or misdemeanor? But then I remembered what Donald Trump’s true crime is in the eyes of the Organized Left: keeping Hillary R. Clinton from becoming President of the United States.

Certain quarters will never forgive DJT for that and that alone. They will continue to look for reasons — reasonable or not — to make him pay. Sad.

And dangerous.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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