Winter is pounding the USA, it’s Summer in South America, and the currencies favor the dollar, so the WaPo says “Now is when you should take that trip to Argentina“.

The WaPo article features a chart comparing the decline of the currencies of seven emerging-market countries in the period from May 2013 to January 2014.

The currencies shown in the chart above from The Economist all have their own problems, but Argentina is a special case. The Argentine peso has declined in value steadily since May, and at an accelerating rate during the winter months. Following last week’s sell-off, the government of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took some extraordinary steps to protect the value of the currency, which has held steady for several days now. The government persuaded major manufacturers in several sectors to agree not to raise prices. At the same time, in an acknowledgment of the seriousness of the problem, authorities made it somewhat easier to trade pesos for dollars through official channels, rather than on the black market. Economists are doubtful that these measures will have any lasting effect, however, they don’t address the causes of the inflation. These include the Kirchner government’s policies of largesse and the country’s need for foreign currency to spend on imported energy.

Chile’s currency, also listed in the chart, is down 15%; Brazil’s down 17%. Additionally, the Colombian peso is at its lowest level since 2007.

So is now the time to travel to Argentina, Brazil, Chile or Colombia?

Yes, it is, with two provisos: 1. Don’t get in debt, and 2. Do heed those State Department travel warnings.

I touched on the State Department travel advice on Colombia in a prior post. The information on Brazil, Chile and Argentina is also very clear, and the countries welcome millions of tourists every year.

When I was in Argentina, I was with a group who included where at least one person who was fluent in Spanish (or Portuguese, if in Brazil), we called ahead for taxis before heading out – particularly at night (so you can get there and back safely), and always asked at our hotel before heading out to a “non-touristy” place. Don’t expect the locals to be fluent in English,

Make sure to stay way from trouble spots and demonstrations.

If you’ll be traveling later this year, avoid Brazil during the World Cup, unless you are a rabid soccer fan and willing to pay premium prices for every thing.

The currency exchange rates are favorable, the weather’s warm, and the food’s good. Bon voyage!

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on Latin America and American politics at Fausta’s Blog. She won’t be traveling just now since she doesn’t want to get into debt to pay for the trip.

**********************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Wednesday and DaTipJar is mired at $32 of our $345 goal less than 10%

Like a political campaign this site needs true believers to keep things going. The question becomes do we have 13 True Believers who can kick in $25 today to get us to a full paycheck to pay the mortgage and full coffers to cover our Magnificent Seven.

That’s up to you, and I ask you to be one of them by hitting DaTipJar below

Only 55 3/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month are necessary to secure the cost of DaMagnificent Seven & my monthly mortgage on a permanent basis. If you think blogs like this willing to highlight the double standard of the Democrats & media online & on radio are worth it, please consider subscribing and suggesting a friend do so as well.



by baldilocks

Here we are again in February–Black History Month, or whatever the more politically-correct designation is currently. I am of two minds on the observance of it.

But, first, it is necessary to point to the history of Black History Month and to its creator, Carter G. Woodson:

Carter G. Woodson was born in 1875 in New Canton, Virginia. One of the first African Americans [sic] to receive a doctorate from Harvard, Woodson dedicated his career to the field of African-American history and lobbied extensively to establish Black History Month as a nationwide institution. He also wrote many historical works, including the 1933 book The Mis-Education of the Negro. He died in Washington, D.C., in 1950.

(…)

After attending Berea College in Kentucky, Woodson worked for the U.S. government as an education superintendent in the Philippines and undertook more travels before returning to the U.S. Woodson then earned his bachelor’s and master’s from the University of Chicago and went on to receive a doctorate from Harvard University in 1912—becoming the second African American to earn a Ph.D. from the prestigious institution, after W.E.B. Du Bois. After finishing his education, Woodson dedicated himself to the field of African-American history, working to make sure that the subject was taught in schools and studied by scholars. For his efforts, Woodson is often called the “Father of Black History.”

(…)

Woodson lobbied schools and organizations to participate in a special program to encourage the study of African-American history, which began in February 1926 with Negro History Week. The program was later expanded and renamed Black History Month. (Woodson had chosen February for the initial week-long celebration to honor the birth months of abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln.)

(Some misspellings are corrected and a link to Dr. Woodson’s most well-known work is added. About the emphasized sentence: occasionally, some grievance monger will betray an ironic ignorance of  history by attributing to racism the fact that Black History Month occurs in the shortest month of the year.)

One of the most well-known quotes from Mis-Education applies to everyone, but it has special significance for black Americans.

When you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his ‘proper place’ and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

(Other fascinating Woodson quotes are found here. Had Dr. Woodson been born a century later, his Tweeted quotes would no doubt be received quite unceremoniously by the black leftist Twitter mob.)

This quote is relevant to black persons now more so than in 1933, the year in which Mis-Education was published. Woodson’s thesis was that contemporaneous black Americans were being culturally indoctrinated rather than educated. Was he correct? Yes, and an example of that indoctrination’s aftermath is in order.

One can look to 1933 and note that, at state and local levels, a certain political party advocated and supported legal oppression of black Americans.  In 2014, however, most black Americans are members of that same party. But has that party’s strategy changed? No; only its tactics have been changed.  Earlier tactics were designed to control the physical, economic and political mobility of black Americans; but present-day tactics  (language alert) and shorter-term strategies are designed to control our thinking.

Dr. Woodson posited that teaching Black History to black American students would make them equal to other Americans in their own minds—where it counts—and, thereby, make them better citizens.

It was a great and worthy cause, but like many other, great and worth causes, it has become warped and misshapen.

The First Mind

I used to have a ton of “black books”—fiction, history, philosophy, etc. At some point, however, I sold or gave most away because I needed more room on my bookshelves and, to be honest, the topic became boring–more “rah-rah Team Black!!,” rather than who, what, where, how or why.  Navel-gazing is one of my favorite hobbies, but, at some point, one needs to take the eye off of self.  (When my American dad asked me why I had gotten rid of most of the books, I replied: “I know how to be ‘black,’ Dad; it’s time to read about other things.”)

(I still occasionally read black history items; online, for the most part. One site, Neglected Voices, is a fascinating list of speeches from the first black members of the US Congress, all elected in the aftermath of the Civil War and all Republican. I actually learned quite a few things at that site–always a plus.)

Notice that I didn’t throw the books away. There are many Americans of all persuasions who need wider perspectives in the area of this country’s history, of which black history is an integral part. The problem I have, however, with the over-focus on that history is that it skews individual perspective, feeding pride, victimization and anger. The priming of those three emotions softens the ground for thought control.

In next week’s column, I’ll lay out the details of my second mind.

To be Continued…

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in early 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

 

What do Presidents John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton all have in common?

No, this is not a trick question.

One might say that these three former Presidents all possessed great “charisma.” Charisma means different things to different people. Some define this quality as an intangible ability to attract, draw, and bring people into one’s sphere of influence.

Still others such as the leadership guru John Maxwell espouse the view that a person with charisma displays a unique combination of empathy with great listening skills. In this sense, all three of these men were great listeners who displayed the ability to make their guests feel special and important.

Political Historians might argue that these three Presidents were great orators who used their profound communication skills to move America in ways that made their Presidencies “transformational” in nature.

President Kennedy called the philosophy of his administration “The New Frontier.” President Kennedy argued that the US lagged behind the Soviet Union in both Space innovation and missile deployment. Mr. Kennedy launched forth the vision that by the year of 1970 the United States should successfully send a man to the Moon and bring him safely back to earth (Kennedy’s vision became reality in 1969).

President Kennedy was a free market exponent; he argued that the nation’s Marginal Tax Rate of 90 percent stifled risk taking, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Kennedy thought that if tax loop holes were eliminated and tax rates were reduced then two things would happen: (1.) Robust economic growth would occur and (2.) Government revenues would expand. History shows that Kennedy was correct in both of his assumptions.

President Ronald Reagan arrived in Washington in 1981 when the United States was mired in a great recession and economic stagnation. The newly installed President called for a period of “Economic Renewal.” Mr. Reagan emanated an unbridled optimism in America’s ability to remake herself and to leave the political malaise of the Carter years and return to her storied greatness.

Mr. Reagan used his great communication skills to convince Congress to cut taxes, scale back regulation, and rebuild our nation’s defenses. The length of President Reagan’s accomplishments is breathtaking. When he left office inflation had been tamed – lowered from 13.3 percent to 4 percent. And unemployment fell from a high of 9.9 percent in 1982 to the lowest it had been in years (5.5 percent).

President Bill Clinton arrived in Washington D.C. when our nation was mired in a minor recession. (The term “minor recession” depends on whose point of view you are discussing…) President Clinton – with the help of the Republican controlled congress during the last six years of his tenure worked together to reform welfare, cut the capital gains tax rate, and balance the budget for the first time since 1969.

Some political observers would say that we should celebrate the differences in these three men as well as discuss their similarities.

That point is well taken.

However, one similarity of these three men becomes apparent upon closer inspection and that is that these three men understood the concept of “economic incentives.”

Too often Presidents descend upon Washington D.C. with a litany of policies that they wish to pursue. They attempt to remake the country according to their philosophical or ideological worldview.
However, Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton placed economic growth and innovation ahead of political policies. These three Presidents studied Economics in great detail before running for elective office.
Mr. Reagan majored in both Economics and Sociology at Eureka College; at Eureka, Ronald Reagan studied classical economics.

Both Kennedy and Clinton studied for two years each at the prestigious London School of Economics.
The records of these three Presidents clearly show that the country experience rapid creation of capital and lower unemployment during their tenure in office – great economic expansion then at any other time in recent memory.

Perhaps if more of our aspirants for higher office would spend more time studying and understanding basic economic concepts then just perhaps our nation might be able to retire a 17 Trillion Dollar deficit, balance our budgets, reduce unemployment (especially in our depressed cities like Detroit, MI) and witness an economic expansion that would once again place the United States in the forefront of technology development, educational attainment and business innovation.

by baldilocks

Over at Ace of Spades HQ, my friend Monty expounds on a concept which I coined a number of years ago at my old blog and mentioned in an earlier Da Tech Guy post: The Coconut Treatment.

There is a price to be paid for divorcing actions and concepts from the words that describe them. Government, and the law that undergirds it, is made up of words. Devalue the words, strip them of meaning, and you do the same thing to the concepts those words describe. Action follows Thought, and for Thought to exist there must be the Word.

The sundering of meaning from the words to which they are assigned is merely a foundation for the hollowing out of the Old Order of things great and small. It is a demonic seed which mirrors the mustard seed concept of the Kingdom of Heaven as illustrated by Jesus the Christ.

Where God is the author of Order, he who wishes to be His counterpart sows the Tree of Chaos. Meet the New Boss.

tree

Seeds require nourishment in order to flourish. And just as the seed of Faith will flourish with the items recommended—prayer, reading God’s Word, fasting, giving, and obedience to God—so it is with the seed of Lies.

In his short, excellent post, Monty references Orwell’s Newspeak coinage, but the concept is much older

than 1984it’s one which started very simply in the Garden when the Enemy planted doubt about the truth of God’s Word. Since then, the war has been ongoing and the enemy has always been able to find foot-soldiers–individuals, groups and nations—who will water his tree of Lies.

That tree has a fancy and useful name now—postmodernism–but it is merely the tool used to deceive mankind and, ultimately, to separate as many of us as possible from our Creator.

Primary Example: Love

God defines three types of love–agape, phileo and eros—and these definitions have a special order in that the third is meaningless without the first two.

The new Love has a two-pronged definition: 1) giving a person whatever he/she wants, and 2) approving anything another wants to do. Its basis leads back to the disobedience in the Garden.

And from the seed planted by the new definition of love we get the conceptual fruit: new definitions for rights, racism, oppression…the list is endless.

The fruit and the branches are manifold. From the new “love” seed we get conceptual trees such as communism/progressivism/Marxism/socialism, “settled” science, and the Common Core(d) method of education—concepts with evil foundations and self-contradictory foundations or those in which foundations are unnecessary.

What to do? I’ve mentioned the solution in almost every one of my posts here at Da Tech Guy blog. But the first thing to do is recognize the faulty seeds which have been planted in oneself and to root them out.  The usual evil seed which needs weeding is that same one which got the Enemy thrown out of Heaven: pride.

According to God, pride is always a sin. This includes pride of race, pride of ethnicity, pride of gender, pride of accomplishment, pride of relation, pride of nationality (yes)—many types of pride which we erroneously view as harmless or even good. That view is a seed for the larger tree: the “bad” types of pride; they all supersede the hand of the Dispenser of all good things. (To turn another concept on its head, you didn’t build that. God did.)

So, I suggest that we each start with letting God remove the weeds from our individual souls—rebuilding the foundation of Truth in our individual thinking. In turn follows the larger removal of weeds from our families, and, after that, from our nation.

The weeding and watering have to start somewhere.

UPDATE: Photo added.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

 

by baldilocks

Most people are familiar with King Solomon’s observation that it is

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

–Proverbs 25:24 (KJV)

Well, my personal observation is the flip side of that coin: it’s better for a woman to live alone that to live with a man who is indifferent to her feelings. And the two–love and respect–feed from each other; the same is true for contentiousness (anger) and indifference.

And both truths point to God’s recommendation that a husband should love his wife and that a wife should respect her husband.

Last week, it was report in the National Enquirer that the Obama marriage is deeply on the rocks.  The usual issues are reported to be factors—and I’m not saying that they aren’t—but exploring those things isn’t my purpose.

I’ve always had a certain amount of empathy for Michelle Obama. The similarities in age and background are part of it. Many of my decisions have been radically different from hers, however, and there are several she made which I wish I had made: finished my formal education, got married early, had children.

But there’s at least one decision I made that gives me peace: many years ago I divorced an uncaring man. Conversely and for many obvious reasons, Mrs. Obama chose to stay with her patently uncaring husband and, since she has been in the national spotlight, she has always behaved like a woman who has an unhappy home life.

MichellObamafrown1

MichellObamafrown4

 MichellObamafrown3

Many people don’t like her and that’s understandable. Unhappy people tend to be unlikable and say obnoxious things.

I’ve talked before about being grateful for the good things in one’s life and, aside from our diverging decisions, that’s where Mrs. Obama and I part company. Being content with decisions made in life—no matter how they turn out–is the key. Ingratitude and resentment nearly jump out of every photo of the woman. And in nearly every photo of her looking at her husband, her anger–hatred?–is etched on her face. (Yes, yes. I’d be mad, too, if I were married to him.)

If it’s true that the marriage has long been in trouble—and I think it is—then Mrs. Obama has to live with her decision to remain married to Barack Obama, make the best of it and count her blessings—and I can think of two of her blessings right off the top of my head.

Money, status, fame, clothing, vacations, high-end personal care—Mrs. Obama has all of those things. But none of them compensate for the absence of love in her home.

And, though it was her own decision to stay, I pity her.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

There is a verse of Scripture in the book of Proverbs that states: “A good man leaves an inheritance to his sons, son; and the wealth of the wicked is stored up for the righteous” Proverbs 13.22. This proverb deals with the concept of legacy and transfer of income and inheritance from one generation to the next.

It is the desire of parents to lay a firm foundation and to transfer their human capital, contacts, knowledge, and wise experiences to their children.

Individuals, nations, organizations, and sports entities all endeavor to project themselves into the future and leave positive legacies to their constituents.

As our nation embarks on celebrating the life and ministry of the late Pastor Martin Luther King, Jr., this provides an opportunity for all Americans to reflect on what Dr. King’s contributions have meant for posterity.

Had he lived until January 15th of this year the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. would have been 85 years old (1929 – 1968).

It is almost inconceivable for us to think of Pastor King as a gray and perhaps balding man in his mid eighties.

Dr. King’s life – along with the lives of President John F. Kennedy and the late Senator Robert Francis Kennedy – was tragically removed from American life during the tumultuous decade of the 1960s.

The images that we have of Pastor King are one of an eternally young minister who was just entering into the prime of his life when he was assassinated at the age of 39.

During his life, Pastor King stirred either positive or violent emotions in people.

There were many people who saw him as a “Christian minister” who sought to fight against the manifold evils of segregation, racism, poverty, and militarism.

Other people saw Dr. King as a rabble-rouser, a womanizer, or quite possibly as a Communist sympathizer who sought to radically transform the American free enterprise system.

It is not the desire of this writer to enter into this ongoing fray, but to rather argue that Pastor King was a Christian of Orthodox beliefs , and a Baptist minister who argued in the “public square” on the basis of Biblically based values.

When the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. penned his classic “Letter From A Birmingham Jail” essay in the spring of 1963, he gave the Christian Church – and the world community – a classic treatise on both the nature and privilege of civil disobedience from a Judeo-Christian perspective.

Pastor King marshaled Old Testament narrative, Greek history, Biblical Scripture, the Patristic Church Fathers and the American literary tradition to show that all positive or manmade law must – to borrow a phrase from both Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas – be rooted in the “transcendent eternal law” (a natural law construct) if it is to be both binding and valid.

Dr. King did not engage in civil disobedience for the sake of causing social disturbance. When he addressed the evils of segregation, racism, poverty, and militarism he did so with the passion of an Old Testament prophet, the heart of a Church pastor and the mind of a brilliant theological scholar.

Our country was transformed from a nation where “institutional racism” was too often the norm to a place where the ideals of Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness have found greater expression.

We all need to be thankful that in the scheme of Providence that men like Pastor Martin Luther King, Jr., President Ronald Regan, and the founder of Prison Fellowship Mr. Charles “Chuck” Colson all utilized their great oratory gifts in a responsible manner.

Finally, Pastor Martin Luther King, Jr. left us with his unshakeable commitment to nonviolent social change. This may be his greatest legacy to us.

Dr. King and his associates took violence off of the table as a means to making reforms within American society; they rejected the evil notion that “the ends justify the means.” To quote Saint Augustine, Pastor King and his friends sought to bring about “The Beloved Community” in American life and in the broader world community.
Dr. King, Happy Birthday!

We are all better off because of your life and the legacy that you bequeathed to us.

Thank you.

Update DTG:  Pastor Kelly note about King’s Orthodox Christianity is one of those inconvenient truths that a lot of people on the left tend to ignore. If he appeared today sprouting that same Orthodox Christianity he would be considered a person spouting “hate speech” by the very people pol that profit off his legacy today.

********************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Friday I’m $153 shy of the weekly goal and there are two days this week to get us there.

6 of you at $25.50 will do it.

If you want to support independent blogging/reporting from the right here is your chance.

Olimometer 2.52

Once we manage that then we’ll worry about catching up on the ground we’re behind.

57 1/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month the bills will be paid every week and the problem will be solved on a more permanent basis. It won’t cover CPAC but it will do all the base bills and that’s what counts

What do you say?




Yes, you’re adventurous, and yes, your bucket list includes driving the PanAmerican Highway, crossing Russia, and checking out the Angel Falls.

But you will do well to read the State Department’s travel alerts and warnings before you go travel abroad. Each country’s warning/alerts pages also link to additional information.

For instance, the Colombia travel warning starts by saying,

Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, including in tourist and business travel destinations such as Bogota and Cartagena, but violence linked to narco-trafficking continues to affect some rural areas and parts of large cities.

Mexico’s travel warning has state-by-state details, and was updated on January 9. While the situation in some states is very dangerous, other areas are relatively safe.

The Venezuela travel warning is way more alarming, for good reason (since the country has the highest per-capita murder rate), and divides Caracas in yellow, orange, and red zones for all U.S. direct-hire personnel and their families assigned to U.S. Embassy in Caracas, who “are required to take an armored vehicle when traveling to/from Maiquetía Airport.” As a tourist (emphasis added),

U.S. citizens should be vigilant of their surroundings at all times and in all locations, especially when entering or exiting their homes, hotels, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces. Whenever possible, U.S. citizens should travel in groups of two or more persons; avoid wearing jewelry and carrying large sums of money or displaying cash, ATM/credit cards, mobile phones, or other valuables; and avoid walking at night in most areas of Venezuela or walking alone on beaches, historic ruins, and trails. Incidents of crime along inter-city roads, including carjacking and kidnapping, are common in Venezuela. Motorists should avoid traveling at night and always drive with their doors locked to deter potential robberies at traffic lights and on congested city streets.

Sadly, Monica Spear and her husband Henry Thomas Berry (who owned an adventure travel business) ignored these warnings.

Heed the warnings. It may save your life.

Fausta writes at Fausta’s blog on Latin America/US politics and culture.

********************************************************

Olimometer 2.52

It’s Wednesday and January 2014 continues to be the worst month the Tip Jar has seen since I started using it toward the mortgage.

Yesterday the combined take from the since January 1st finally passed the goal for a single pay week.

As for this week, we are not even 22% of the way to a full paycheck on a Wednesday. and we are on the pace for our third consecutive shortfall.

Hopefully a late surge will change that, but it can only change with your help because if we fail to meet the weekly goal

Olimometer 2.52

Then the monthly goal and the Mortgage becomes in doubt. (don’t worry Fausta DaMagnificent Seven is always paid first.)

Now if we can get 57 1/4 more subscribers @ at $20 a month the bills the problem will be solved on a more permanent basis.

It won’t cover CPAC but it will do all the base bills and that’s what counts

Can you be one of them?




By baldilocks

Over at American Thinker, Rick Moran comments upon the latest acts of devotion in the bromance between former NBA player/infamous weirdo Dennis Rodman and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. This time, Rodman has enlisted other former NBA players to join him for an All-sort-of-Star game in a place chock full of prison and labor camps; a place where electricity and food are reserved for the nomenklatura, or whatever the Korean-language designation is for the elite of the Hermit Kingdom.

Hall of Fame basketball player Dennis Rodman didn’t much like the questions about his “basketball diplomacy” with North Korea coming from CNN host Chris Cuomo. So the former Detroit Pistons “bad boy” lit up the screen with a screaming tirade directed at Cuomo who only wanted to know if Rodman would bring up the case of American Kenneth Bae held for more than a year by the North Koreans for his missionary work.

From Mediate:

Let us know why this man is being held?’ If you can help them, will you take the opportunity?” Cuomo asked.

“The one thing about politics, Kenneth Bae did one thing. If you understand — if you understand what Kenneth Bae did,” Rodman said with a pause, then added “Do you understand what he did? In this country?”

“What did he do?” Cuomo said. “You tell me.”

“You tell me,” Rodman shouted. “You tell me. Why is he held captive?”

“They haven’t released any charges,” Cuomo said. “They haven’t released any reason.”

“I would love to speak on this,” Rodman said, again waving Smith off.

“Go ahead,” Cuomo urged.

Instead, Rodman went off on Cuomo for the remainder of the interview, screaming at him to recognize the sacrifice being made by his fellow players.

The video is available at both links.

Here’s the thing: why would anyone expect a guy with demonstrable mental issues to care about political prisoners or tyrannies? And like all too many professional athletes–like the other sheep he’s leading–he cares only about being kowtowed to–since retirement, not much of that anymore for any of these guys. Enter the basketball fan, Kim Jong Un.

So now, in Rodman’s warped mind, Kim is his friend and anyone who has angered his friend is an enemy and must be wrong, morality be damned. It’s gangster logic and lunatic reasoning, the two not necessarily being mutually exclusive.

Rick says that Rodman’s mental stability is questionable. No it isn’t. He’s nuts and has been for a long time.

Rodman’s first team was the Detroit Pistons, whose coach, the late Chuck Daly, was a surrogate father to him. Rumor has it that Coach Daly would make sure that his All-Star defense-man took his medication. But after Daly retired and Rodman was traded, the latter seemed to come off the spool and, if the rumors about the medication are true, there remained no one to keep him accountable in that area. In the years following came the tattoos, the piercings, the dyed hair, the off-the-wall behavior…and the wedding dress. (Warning: have eye bleach handy, though he looks strangely…pretty. Strangely, being the operative word.)

So we have a former athlete with a suspected personality disorder leading several other former athletes of equal political ignorance and arrogance to a charity benefit in North Korea–probably the worst country to ever be caught in either accidentally or on purpose. One wonders if these scarily uninformed and uncaring men are being lulled into becoming prisoners themselves. Wouldn’t that be a great propaganda coup for the ever more unhinged Kim Jong Un? Or maybe they are being groomed for something even more sinister…

They are pretty hungry over there.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

GoFundMe: Arlen’s Harem
GoFundMe: The Kenya Project

by Baldilocks

On Christmas Eve, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered a photo of himself, his wife Ann, and their gazillion grandchildren.

In response to the photo, an MSNBC panel, conducted by the infamous Melissa Harris-Perry, proceeded to mock one of the grandchildren, young Kieran Romney, who is adopted and black.

“One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just isn’t the same,” panelist Pia Glenn offered as a caption for the photo, which the Romneys tweeted on Christmas Eve. (Lyrics of the original Sesame Street song are, “One of these things just doesn’t belong.”)

“And that little baby, front and center, would be the one,” Glenn said.

Comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the baby is a token.

“It really sums up the diversity of the Republican party and the RNC, where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”

Of course, these people were excoriated, and why not? Good grief, it’s like reading the banter of elementary school children! And the panelists show themselves to be what they claim to denounce: those who would isolate a child who is externally different from most of his family members–than most of his countrymen.

After taking a well-deserved Internet pummeling, Harris-Perry–who is half white and half black herself–put forth an apology.

Now, she is taking an Internet beating for that, but that’s just gratuitous.

But there’s something even more disturbing than the behavior of Harris-Perry and company. That something is the logic implicit CNN’s Dr. Marc Lamont Hill’s commentary on this incident. From Right Scoop:

Dr. Hill:

Some would say maybe that it’s an exploitative picture that they’re exploiting the kid by hauling out this black person …

Embedded in this seemingly ridiculous notion is a frightening idea: that Kieran Romney’s race was bound to be mocked and that his grandparents, knowing that he is different, set him up for ridicule by publicly acknowledging him as their grandchild.

The notion of “some,” that the Romneys are exploiting the child by including him in a family photo and by sharing it, is merely a foundation–a fabricated pretext to shift the blame from the MSNBC panel to the Romneys for the actions of the former.

The Romneys should have never post the photo; or they should have never included the child in such a photo. But because they did, the Romneys deserved what they got from the MSNBC panel…according to Dr. Hill’s logic.

“You deserve to be assaulted because you tempted us by wearing that short skirt/being out too late at night/leaving your meat uncovered. Wear a burka.”

“You and your grandson deserve what you got. He got mocked because you showed him to us. Don’t try to exploit him again by include him in pictures with your white grandchildren and we won’t be tempted to mock him or you.”

Right?

Right. The buck-passing never stops with these people.

(h/t The Other McCain)

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

GoFundMe: Arlen’s Harem
GoFundMe: The Kenya Project

Over at Twitchy, I did something today which I do regularly about once a month: wade into a comment section of a blog and argue my point. I consider it blogger weight-lifting.

Now, I have occasional been accused of “enjoying being contrary” or “enjoying argument.” As for the latter, I plead guilty and I dispute the notion that ‘argument’ by itself is something bad.  The things which sometimes go along with argument, however–the logical fallacies which many persons use, the imputation of bad faith, etc.–are the problem. But, argument alone–when the arguers exercise personal restraint–is beneficial to the thinking of the participants. We get to see the perspective of others and, through this, get to question our own assumptions. In other words, we are forced to keep from navel-gazing and, if we try to hold to the “rules of engagement”–to keep truth as primary goal–we can be persuaded to a point of view, if the other participant demonstrates that his/her own points are the truth as opposed to our own assertions. And this includes truths we don’t like.

Of course, that method of argument is not used the majority of the time. Often, we are too wrapped up in ourselves: we internalize our opinion as a representation of our very being. And when another challenges that opinion, we feel it as a challenge to our soul–our intellect. It is perceived as an attack and, when this happens, the response is predictable.

I once had a commenter prove me wrong—yeah, it happens :)– and when he did, he taunted me: “See you were wrong? Now don’t you feel embarrassed?”

“No,” I said. “I’m a human being, not God. Human beings are wrong all the time and I am no different. I appreciate the fact that you corrected me.”

Now that is not a response I might have put forth, say, ten years ago. It’s one born of two things: humility, courtesy of Jesus the Christ, and ten years of learning how to argue a point while keep the logical fallacies in mind.

In short, I’ve been learning how to make Truth higher than myself. Trust me; I still have a long way to go.

BTW, humility almost always involves the pain of humiliation. To paraphrase, without pain, there is no gain.

Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the Holiday season.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel,Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in January 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!