by baldilocks

I agree with this wholeheartedly.

When Former President Obama was still Senator Obama, I talked to a lot of black people who knew next to nothing about him but still planned to vote for him because they wanted to “see one of us” become president. One of my friends—a black man, fellow former USAF linguist and a conservative—even said that he wanted his two sons to be able to look at the president who look like them and, thereby, believe that they might become president also, one day. (I retorted that Barack Obama’s persona, politics, policies and actions, conversely, might have made it that much more difficult for another American of black African descent to become POTUS. My friend didn’t listen.)

I understood the mindset more when the origin was a person who had personally experienced the Segregated South and the Black Coded North and West. But for those my age (55) and younger it seemed more akin to a type of indoctrinated mindset. Black Americans have become so use to celebrating the “First Black This” and the “First Black That” that it’s almost as reflexive as breathing.

It also seems like a form of narcissism; a way which points to self and boosts one’s own pride–which is why I find it so troubling. Feeding pride is always a mistake and I can’t say that black people are the only group to engage in it. But, the key to breaking a mindset is to point to it and to be always wary of it.

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 on February 2017! 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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Now that I have school-aged children, I spend more time every time we move analyzing school districts.  A friend of mine that lives where we are moving to next sends both their kids to Catholic elementary school, to the tune of about 9,000 dollars.  Although I choked when I heard the cost, it didn’t surprise me too much.  In Georgia, we ended up sending our oldest kid to kindergarten at the local Baptist school, which cost 150/month, instead of the Catholic school, which would have cost 650/month.

Hate to say it, but the Baptists got it right.

Catholic schools are too expensive for most people in a one-earner family.  So we face the choice of either having both parents work, living paycheck to paycheck, or sending our kids to public school.  Public schools don’t have the best track record of being friendly to Catholics, which means the parent staying at home has to spend a considerable amount of time educating the kids in the faith.

From PewResearchCenter.org

Given that too many parents don’t have a good understanding of the faith as it is, we’ve just setup a system that allows our kids to be plucked away from the Church.

I think we’re missing the mark on Catholic education.  If we want a future generation, we should be educating our young parents in the faith.  Poor understanding of the faith creates kids with a weak understanding of what they believe in, which sets them up to be lead astray in high school and college.

School choice is going to help as well.  I think a large part of the negative reaction to Betsy DeVos is because she threatens to break the stranglehold of public elementary and middle schools, a stranglehold that has been contributing to an increasingly non-religious world.

Our future generation is caught in an education setup that is pushing them to leave the church. We would be wise to recognize that.

The smartest man in America is not white, and, predictably, not a leftist.

by baldilocks

From the University of Washington at Tacoma Writing Center:

STATEMENT ON ANTIRACIST AND SOCIAL JUSTICE WORK IN THE WRITING CENTER

The writing center works from several important beliefs that are crucial to helping writers write and succeed in a racist society. The racist conditions of our society are not simply a matter of bias or prejudice that some people hold. In fact, most racism, for instance, is not accomplished through intent. Racism is the normal condition of things. Racism is pervasive. It is in the systems, structures, rules, languages, expectations, and guidelines that make up our classes, school, and society. For example, linguistic and writing research has shown clearly for many decades that there is no inherent “standard” of English. Language is constantly changing. These two facts make it very difficult to justify placing people in hierarchies or restricting opportunities and privileges because of the way people communicate in particular versions of English.

There’s more, but that’s the gist.

We non-whites are too genetically disadvantaged to toe the same standard offered to whites, you see. Our defects are hard-wired.

This is a declaration of war.

And who is their enemy? The non-white students who buy into this declaration of their allegedly innate inferiority are their enemies. This is an intentional effort to hobble any consumers of this garbage–for life if possible.

Hardcore white supremacists are more honest and less dangerous than these academics. At least the worshiper of white carcasses will tell you up front that he hates your black carcass and wants nothing to do with you. These credentialitarians are far worse. They insert their true opinions about the inferiority of non-whites into the guise of combatting racism. It’s a Trojan Horse.

“You darkies don’t have the capacity to learn proper English, so we won’t make you do it and we’ll give you a degree anyway.” That would be a more honest statement.

Leftists…

(Thanks to David Thompson and Ed Driscoll)

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 on February 2017! 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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by baldilocks

Was Bush right? It depends, of course, on what the topic is.

Zero Hedge points to Statista and YouGov polls containing the following information:

Americans have consistently identified ISIS as the biggest threat to their nation across multiple polls. Traditional foes, such as the countries making up George W. Bush’s infamous “Axis Of Evil”, have been pushed into the background by the rise of non-state actors like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. In recent years however, Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that the threat presented by some of America’s traditional enemies has started to manifest itself once again. Russia’s annexation of Crimea came as a reality check to the Obama administration while as recently as last Saturday, North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test.

YouGov conducted a poll to find out which countries Americans perceive as their nation’s biggest enemies. North Korea has continued to make headlines even after that missile launch with news emerging earlier this week that Kim-Jong-un’s half brother was allegedly poisoned in an airport in Malaysia. Both incidents have illustrated the unpredictability of the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang and it comes as little surprise that 57 percent of Americans consider North Korea their enemy.

Recall that George W. Bush named Iraq, North Korea and Iran as the Axis of Evil. In spite of the big headlines that feature Russia as the biggest Bad Guy, the Russians come in sixth on chart–which, of course, does not mean that they aren’t a bigger threat than is perceived by the polled. (Aside: while reading all the reportage about Russia today, I briefly felt 25 years-old again, but my hair color is telling a different story.)

Iran came in second. Syria and Iraq came in third and fourth, respectively–ISIS; and Afghanistan is fifth.

Does the American public have a better handle on who America’s enemies are than their leaders do, both of the recent past and the present? Time will tell. But I think that these polls may show one thing: that Mainstream Media propaganda isn’t as effective as it may seem to those of us who lament its existence. That’s cause for hope.

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 on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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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This week the press freaked out about a Russian spy ship off the eastern coast.  It even managed to roll up my way, obviously hoping to capture information about submarine operations near Groton.


The Viktor Leonov, from shipspotting.com

The truth is, this is normal.  The Viktor Leonov didn’t violate any rules.  It didn’t cross into territorial waters.  It didn’t get in the middle of a live naval exercise.  It operated in international waters according to the rules.  Before we jump all over Russia, realize that the United States puts warships in their backyard and conducts military exercises near their borders on a regular basis.  Allowing this vessel to operate where it did is part of being a responsible member of the established world order, an order that has given prosperity to all nations around the world.

What we should be afraid of is attempts to dismantle this order, which is exactly what China is attempting to do with a revision to its maritime law:

The draft revisions stipulate that authorities will be able to designate specific areas and temporarily bar foreign ships from passing through those areas according to their own assessment of maritime traffic safety….”As a sovereign State and the biggest coastal State in, for example, the South China Sea, China is entitled to adjust its maritime laws as needed, which will also promote peace and stable development in the waters,” Wang said.

This should frighten people.  China already considers the entire South China Sea to be its territorial waters.  They’ve gone so far as to plant Chinese flags on the sea floor.  The certainly don’t respect property rights in the area either, as demonstrated by the illegal seizure of a US unmanned drone.

And in case it still doesn’t scare you:

“China’s waters are open to foreign ships as long as they do not damage the waters’ safety, order, or China’s sovereignty,” Yang said

China’s sovereignty.  Which begs the question, what is China?

What is China? From Wikipedia.

That definition seems to keep expanding.  As the above graphic shows, what is China has morphed over the years.  Now it includes Taiwan, Tibet and Xinjiang, and apparently the South China Sea, and even perhaps Hawaii.

That should scare us.  The bear, while a problem, is deviating from the rule book.  The dragon is throwing out the book entirely.


This post represents the views of the author and not the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.  The featured image is from politicalforum.com.

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by baldilocks

Just got through with Part One of Future Learn’s Holocaust course. I’ve read a lot of books on the topic; speak German; was stationed in Old West Berlin for four years, and this course is more like a refresher course than a true study—at least the first part is. We’ll see about the second part.

Reviewing what happened during the rise of the Third Reich has always been essential, but this is especially so right now. We have opponents of President Trump comparing him to Hitler while, with no sense of irony, rioting, destroying property and assaulting his supporters. Would any of them be inclined to “review” this history? Doubtful.

But more reasonable sorts—both proponents and opponents of the Trump Administration—should take the time to do this. Oh, not because anything like the Third Reich is possible yet in the USA, but because such a thing should be recognized from a long way off. And you can’t prepare for something you don’t recognize…or something that you misremember.

Example: my cousin is warier of Donald Trump than I am and asserted that Americans are “just as capable of voting in a Hitler as the Germans were.” Americans are certainly capable of making mistakes in picking who sits in the Oval Office, but the problem with the analogy is this: the German people did not vote Hitler in as Chancellor. His party didn’t even win a majority of votes. It received a plurality; the German President Paul von Hindenburg “decided” to choose Hitler as chancellor and thus began the descent into Hell. That’s the short version.

My cousin is very intelligent and very knowledgeable about this period of European history, but he forgot this essential thing about parliamentary elections and about that one in particular.

It takes just a little bit of effort to make sure one’s metaphors are correct so that one is not crying wolf on the day when a real wolf comes knocking on the door.

For a better essay about the absurdity of calling any American president Hitler, go here.

Thanks to Michael Tyson, Major, USAF (ret.)

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 on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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by baldilocks

Originally posted November 23, 2009. Edited.

There use to be a mosque near my home, but the adherents have since move their digs to Crenshaw Boulevard.

The congregants were all black, but I’m not sure if they were Black Muslims (Explanation: back in the day, the distinction “Black Muslim” indicated that the persons under discussion belonged to the Nation of Islam and therefore subscribed to the ideology set forth by Elijah Muhammad—an ideology considered an anathema to other Muslims.  These days, the term merely means a Muslim who is black, that is, they may be NOI adherents or they may not be. I make the distinction to indicate that I did not see anything other than black people coming and going from that mosque, but that’s not a surprising thing in South Central Los Angeles and, therefore, no indication of whether the mosque belonged to NOI or not.)

A several years ago, something occurred that I’ve thought about every now and then, especially after reading about terror attacks.  At midday, I was in the back of the house in my office—blogging, of course.  At some point, a noise entered my consciousness.  It was a voice, a tinned one and, as I listened I became aware of three things: that the voice was male, that it was coming out of a bullhorn and that it was repeating the same phrase over and over again.  However, I could not make out the words at first.

As the volume decreased, I originally thought that the origin of the voice had moved on.  But it had only gone around the block a few times.  Finally, the origin of the voice came back around on my street and, apparently, the driver decided to park for a few minutes almost directly in front of my house. The unintelligible phrase was being repeated once more.  And once again.

Finally I got up from in front of my computer, went to the front of the house, peered through the blinds of the large picture window in the living room and…froze.

The voice was coming from speakers attached to the type of truck that is sometimes used by ice cream vendors. The truck was spotlessly clean and gleaming white except for the design on the side: the huge blood-red star-and-crescent symbol of Islam.

The occupant had been exhorting the residents of this neighborhood using a two-sentence phrase, most of which I have blocked out of my memory.  But I do remember one part and, really, it’s the only relevant part.  The occupant was advising us to…

“Embrace Islam.”

By the time I gained the presence of mind to grab a camera, the gleaming white truck had moved on.  I haven’t seen it since.

From the time that it came to light the Major Nidal Malik Hasan basically warned the FBI and the Army of what he was–if not of what he was about to do [at Fort Hood in 2009]—I’ve been thinking of that “ice cream” truck and what that particular vendor was selling.  Aren’t jihadis required to warn their infidel foes and invite them to convert before any attack?

“Embrace Islam,” he said.  Left unspoken was the alternative.

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 on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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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baldilocks

 

All was well the day of my daughter’s surgery.  Despite waiting an additional two hours because of a higher priority case, the surgeon came out around 4 pm to tell me everything was finished and looked great.  He said someone would arrive in about 15 minutes to take me to my daughter’s recovery room.

Unfortunately, that person never came.  I sat in Yale’s Pediatric Surgery waiting room for another hour, and when the lights went dark, I realized I had been forgotten.  An hour after that, after speaking with various Yale officials and frantically scouring the hospital, I finally found my daughter on the 7th floor in recovery.  Right about that time, I received a Yale text message asking me for my opinion of today’s service.

After dashing off my response, I figured that was it.  Yale is a massive hospital, just the sort of place where little people like myself get ignored.  To my surprise, two days later a young man called me and wanted details.  We spent almost an hour going over what was great and finding where the breakdowns were.  By the time we were done, he told me the two very specifics things that Yale would work on to make sure that breakdown never happened again.  A few months later, when my daughter returned for surgery, I observed first-hand a smoother post-surgery process.

Thinking about it as I’m typing still makes me smile.  Yale took my feedback and acted on it, making their process better.  They took a negative interaction and ultimately made it a positive.  They didn’t pay me compensation, apologize profusely, or give me candy to make the problem go away.  Instead, they acted on the problem, solved it, and continued to provide great medical care.

I’m also part of the military’s medical system, and the difference is stark.  When a doctor at Eisenhower Army Medical Center messed up my wife’s surgery, instead of working to fix the problem, he told her to essentially shut up.  I was at work and got a sobbing phone call, which I acted on.  Our command’s medical team met her at the hospital to address the issue.  She filed an ICE complaint, and our patient advocate met with the hospital to try and resolve the issue.

And in the end, none of it mattered.  The doctor was never disciplined.  The hospital never corrected anything, nor allowed her to go out in town to see a civilian doctor.  Despite all the documentation, nothing was ever done.

This isn’t a one-off.  I’ve had movers break and steal items.  I’ve had an investigator negligently list false information on my security background check.  I’ve had big issues with the Navy’s handling of special needs children.  I’ve discovered yeomen throwing away submitted awards for my Sailors (if you ever wondered how a Medal of Honor could get “lost,” now you know).  And in almost all cases, despite filing complaints, documenting the issues and saving emails, nothing happens.  Nobody gets fired.  Nobody gets disciplined, especially DoD civilians.  I’ve had some great advocates get me compensation in some cases, but the process rarely gets fixed, meaning the Sailors after me probably got screwed too.  Worse, I’m often told that my claims are baseless and I should watch what I say.

Too many people think the military is some sort of wonderful organization that can get stuff done.  Maybe that’s why people are calling (foolishly) for a military coup.  News flash: there is a lot of inefficiency that you don’t see and don’t want.  All too often, uncaring people are allowed to make life miserable for the young men and women in uniform, with no repercussion.

Plenty of people freaked out when Congress approved rules that could zero-out a civil servants pay.  Are you surprised though?  There is plenty of frustration when organizations like the VA still aren’t cleaned up.  And I have to give Congress credit, because when nobody would fix a situation where almost 200 Air Medals for my Sailors “disappeared” (thrown in the trash), a letter to my Congresswoman actually got results.

For those of us who have been constantly screwed by the system, we’re a lot more hopeful that this might bring about real change.  Maybe as we’re improving the military we can truly make our bureaucracy great again.


This post does not represent the views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other federal agency.  It only represents the views of the author.  But that should have been obvious from the start. 

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by baldilocks

It’s not a conspiracy theory if it’s true.

Contrary to assertions by useful idiots like Robert Reich that the Berkeley riots were the work of paramilitary right-wingers, it has become increasingly evident that black-clad Antifa anarchists  coordinated with Bay Area community activists and UC Berkeley student groups to orchestrate the violent protests against Milo Yiannopolous.  The Antifa rioters are the same mask-wearing, black-outfitted, Molotov cocktail-throwing, fire-burning, stick-carrying pugilist punks featured in The Occupation Manifesto and The Occupation Devolution videos chronicling Occupy Oakland in 2011.

Antifa is short for “anti-fascist” and is pronounced an-TEE-fah.  According to left-leaning tech magazine Wired, they are “militant anti-fascist[s]” and “anarchists prone to property destruction and online abuse. [T]hey double down on political polarization, driving the national narrative even further from center.

Antifa is believed to have been born in 1970s Germany — a far left, communist, anti-fascist reaction to far right, neo-Nazi fascist groups ascendant at the time.  It spread throughout Europe and found its way to the US where it seems to have first appeared at the WTO riots in Seattle.  Like a bad rash, they keep popping up, having been actively engaged in the Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and anti-Trump movements.  Like ISIS, independent “cells” exist all over the world.

They are incredibly well-networked, trained in effective paramilitary tactics, and have a nuanced and sophisticated understanding, use and manipulation of the internet — especially trolling, DDoS attacks, and their Bash the Fash and Meme Wars with the fascist alt-right.

They are known for employing “Black Bloc” tactics at protests to achieve their ends — forming a monolithic bloc by dressing in black and wearing black balaclavas or bandanas so as not to be identified by facial recognition software or cameras.  According to the Washington Post, the hordes move in unison as one large, black-clad unidentifiable mass to “achieve both violent and nonviolent ends.”

(…)

Robert Reich was halfway correct — they are paramilitary — but they are not conservative right-wingers.  They are Reich’s fellow travelers on the communist magical mystery tour.

Read the whole thing. (Excerpt edited for a misspelling.)

Jonah Goldberg was right, no pun intended.

Mob violence is always a tool of terror and of terrorists; it is rarely spontaneous. The ideology being promoted is secondary—if it matters at all. But it’s “interesting” to note that the Far Left has never been shy about using the methods of the jihad.

Cite. Mao and Stalin win the jack boot jackpot. Hitler comes in third, of course. And I was only mildly surprised to see King Leopold II of Belgium in fourth place.

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 on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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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baldilocks

Dignity: priceless.

by baldilocks

Black History Month

At Instapundit, Ed Driscoll points to a link illustrating the grandeur of flying as a passenger on the late Pan-Am Airlines and a commenter mentions the former grandeur of train travel.

That got me to thinking about those who provided much of that grandeur: the Pullman Porters. As a young man, one of my grandfathers worked as a Porter.

George Pullman, an industrialist who pioneered the world’s first popular sleeper trains, was obsessed with bringing luxury and convenience to the growing railroad industry after the Civil War. He did so by building “palace cars” complete with chandeliers, comfortable beds, air conditioning, and gourmet meals served by former slaves turned porters.

Slaves had already done the hard work of building many of the United States’ railroad lines. Pullman, who was as shrewd a businessman as he was a showman, felt that servant-like attendants would give riders an even keener sense of comfort and self-indulgence. So he hired former slaves—known to be cheap workers—to staff his palace cars. As historian Larry Tye writes, the saying went, “Abe Lincoln freed the slaves and George Pullman hired ’em.”

They were forced to answer to the name “George” 

Just because slavery had ended, that didn’t mean that the job of a Pullman porter was dignified. Pullman porters were often addressed by the name “George”—a name that was based in the social standards of slavery itself. As Lawrence Tye writes for the Alicia Patterson Foundation, at some point porters began to be addressed by their employer’s first name, just as a slave would be addressed by his master’s name before emancipation.

This humiliation was heightened by the seemingly endless job description porters were expected to fulfill. As the Museum of the American Railroad notes, Pullman porters were “essentially at the beck and call of first-class passengers” but expected to be “otherwise invisible.” They did everything from shining shoes to carrying baggage to making beds. In some cases, they were even forced to sing and dance by condescending customers.

Pullman porters occupied a special place within the African-American community

Despite routine discrimination, a job at Pullman had real benefits. Pullman porters were well-traveled and rubbed shoulders with America’s elites. They were what Crew calls “a conduit into what the larger society might be thinking and doing.

“Train travel was a primary mode of transportation in this country up until the 1950s,” says Crew. In a time when many black men lacked mobility and steady work, Pullman porters were vital sources of community information.

“Pullman porters would bring African-American newspapers like the Chicago Defender or Pittsburgh Courier back to their communities,” Crew tells Smithsonian.com. Those newspapers, he said, gave Southerners information on how and where they could escape the segregation and violence they experienced at home.

Read the whole thing.

Pullman Porter Museum

By the way, guess what killed Pan-Am.

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 on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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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