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We're a Pathetic, Programmed Lot!

You can’t say, “colored”.  Not that you would, the word has been out of fashion, with one glaring exception, for years.  As a word, it is utterly harmless.  If you described a black person as “colored” in a sentence, there is no valid reason to assume that you would mean any harm.  But the assumption would likely be made.  A comical case in point:  Matt Damon confronting Bernie Mac in Oceans Eleven.

Tribute to Bernie Mac

But when I was little – we’re talking the Johnson Administration here – I learned that the correct, term for a kid of African decent was “colored”.  The formal and respectful term, we were told, when addressing a black adult, was Negro.  The NAACP still carries the “colored” in its title.

Tangentially…

At a time earlier still, I remember playing in my friend’s yard.  I couldn’t have been older than four of five. She would go on and on about “colored people”.  I had no idea who the hell she could be talking about. She would tell scary stories about “the coloreds” and how bad they were. For some reason, I got it in my head that she was talking about people whose skin was all the colors of a pack of fruity Chiclets.  That was the only frame of reference I could come up with. Then one day, we were on her front lawn.  That was already a problem because we were always supposed to stay in the back yard.  Suddenly, she ran behind a bush and told me to “get down!”

I looked around.  “What?”

“Coloreds!”

I froze.  I had butterflies in my stomach and an urge to duck.  I slowly turned in the direction she was pointing.  Across Rundale Avenue, some kids were walking home from school.  I look around urgently, looking for the dangerous people she had told me about.  I saw no one.  Just the older kids.  “Where are they?”

“Right there!”, she hisses.

“Those guys?  They’re not colored.”  Then it dawned on me.  They were darker than us.  It never meant anything to me.  And I didn’t know the significance of her hiding in the bushes.  When I asked my mom about it later, I used the term colored.  She immediately corrected me.

“Negro,” she said firmly.  “Colored isn’t a real word.”  Needless to say, I was a confused little kid.  I would spend my early grade school years saying,”negro” at home and “colored” when I was outside.

This was one of those odd incidents that stay with you.  It all struck me as so silly.  I would later start to grasp some significance as I realized you had to go all the way to Chester Avenue on one side of my town and Bailey road on the other, just to see the home of a what?…Negro family?  Colored family?  Christ!!

In the late sixties, between the dawn of the hippie age and the black exploitation films popular in the seventies, the term Afro-American came into use and gained popularity.  Very quickly, if you didn’t use the term, you were at best, old school and at worst, racist because you were not classifying another human being as they insisted on being classified.  Later, the term “black” was supposed to be the proper term. Truth be told, by that time, my friends and I always used the terms black and white.  It was simple and everybody knew what the hell you were talking about.

Later still, the term African-American came into style. I never liked it because I never liked hyphenated Americans.  I also thought it pretentious.  But, what the hell…  In my writing, if I even think to make a distinction, you’ll see me use black and African-American interchangeably.  I rarely do make such distinctions among people, so you’ll rarely see it.  But why such a fuss when people don’t mean anything when they use whatever term they were once brow-beaten to say, with that term now having fallen out of favor?

Why?  Because we are being programmed.  If you speak in anger, the listener can tell by context or tone that you think ill of them.  When you use street vernacular in addressing someone, they know immediately whether or not it is intended as an insult.  But these terms, steeped in a history of racial friction, have been made earth-shattering issues by those who are good at agitating and enjoy behavioral engineering.  The result is that people are always on social eggshells, worried that they may offend the sensibilities of someone else with a slip of the tongue or a joke they thought harmless.  The actions of people we never met against the victims we never met, are fashionably carried forward to add a sense of drama to the lives of some individuals and the needless the discomfort of the group.

I am still that kid on my friend’s front lawn.  I don’t see the point of any of it.  I never think in terms of race. The only time it comes to mind, regardless of company, is when someone makes an issue of their own or someone else’s race.  Then I just get annoyed, and sometimes empathetically embarrassed for the speaker.

Recently we have been treated to this type of thin-skinned drama in DC surrounding another socially protected group, the Native American.  I am not going to say anything you haven’t read or thought about already.  But I have been wanting to comment on this for a while.

Let me start by saying they didn’t name the team the Washington Pussies for a reason.  When a team is given a name, the intent is to create personae that, it is hoped, will be impressive, even intimidating.  It is also a name that team owners hope the community will rally around.  If the team plays well, even if they only try hard and play consistently, the team becomes a source of pride for fans.  Fans like Harry Reid who up until now watched the Redskins on his laptop while he worked so he wouldn’t miss a game.

In the case of the Redskins, the name has been around for 100 years.  The logo was an American Indian, ready for battle, rallying his friends to the cause with his cry.  It was only in the 80s that a few people figured out they could make a political name for themselves by encouraging individuals from a small tribe to don the mantle of victimhood and accusing an NFL team of racism.  If the point of a team name was to make someone look stupid or for the players to put on uniforms they are ashamed of, these people who are voluntarily showing everyone their bellies in imaginary defeat, would have had a point.  For example: Let’s say Snyder decided he wanted to find a perfect target of shame and embarrassment.  Let’s suppose he wanted to take on an image of that target and also embarrass that target every week on the football field.  It would be so easy, even geographically thematic.  He could change the team colors to a dingey brown and grey, have a slouchy mascot with a petulant whiney schtick and call the team the Harry Reids. It would be the perfect DC team!  Or…his logo could be a chinless, pudgy-cheeked man.  The mascot could go to a microphone before every game and spout a bunch of meaningless inanities and they could call the team the Mitch McConnels.  See?  Now we’re talking insult!

But, so far, on this the third go-round of the phony outrage, Snyder intends to keep the name Redskins. He’d be foolish to do otherwise.  This is a brand a century in the making, named for the first head coach, an American Indian (or Native American, don’t want to get anyone’s nose out of joint).  There are high school teams all over the country that also carry the name, including one in Washington State that is made up of predominantly Native Americans.  They’ve already announced that they are not going to change their name.  Oops…

The bottom line is that it is no one else’s business what you chose to name your business.  If it truly is offensive, it will fail.  People aren’t stupid.  They’re not going to rally around some pathetic name like the Washington Welfare Sponges or the Washington Democrats.  Society will marginalize things that are considered offensive.  We do it all the time.  Nobody will ever be allowed to open a strip joint next to Fawn Lake in Virginia.  Why?  Because it is considered offensive.  It will not be welcome.  Andrew Dice Clay wore out his welcome when all his fans, suffering form the immature urge to shock, got tired of his routine.

In the past year we’ve seen the same types of professional crybabies try to drive a perfectly legitimate restaurant chain out of business.  We’ve seen political activists comb through lists of donors to political causes, a personal right the last time I checked, and vilify the CEO of a successful tech company in the most dishonest and spiteful way to the point where that man lost his job.  Why?  Because he chose to believe in a cause the crybabies didn’t.  HOW DARE HE?  DOESN’T HE REALIZE THAT THE MODERN AMERICAN LIBERAL IS THE MOST PIG-HEADED, CLOSED MINDED, ILLIBERAL POLITICAL CREATURE OF ALL TIME?!  SUCH A LACK OF SENSITIVITY!  DESTROY HIM!!!

Okay, the sarcasm switch is off.  But if you’re still reading, you and I both know that such character assassinations are beneath contempt and should enjoy no respect whatsoever.  None.  In fact they deserve any insult that might be heaped upon the effort.

To that end, I have a suggestion.  Grab some Redskins gear; a towel, a drink cozy,  a hat and wear it or carry it.  No matter who your team is* or what sporting event you may be attending, wear it or carry it.  By all means, wear your home team colors too.  But get the Skins gear out there.  This for two reasons:  First, it is well past time we started to support the rights of free market entities against the disingenuous whiners in society.  Make no mistake, these crybabies need to feel that they are being obeyed.  They truly think that their narrow view of the world is the only view and you to which must conform.  So thumb your nose at them by waving your Redskins towel.  Second, it will be a test to see just how far down into the politically correct shit bucket this society has slid.  Wouldn’t it be interesting if, say, the Pittsburg Pirates organization banned Skins gear.  Could you imagine how toweringly shallow and stupid they would look on the news confiscating some kid’s towel at the gate?  Or telling some season ticket holder to remove his hat because the markings on it don’t fit what the crybabies dictate?  It is not outside the realm of possibilities, but my faith is with the individual team owners and common sense.

But do get your gear.  I am ordering a towel.  And tell your friends to do the same.  We’ll call it a blow against the division of society; us from our friends who don’t agree with us by people who thrive on the division.  Let’s all thicken our skins, no pun intended, and live in a world where what is said and what is clearly intended cannot be perverted by Orwellian piss pots.

And for goodness sake, keep your sense of humor.  We’ll start here:  I am of Irish decent** and retired Navy.  There’s got to be hundreds of jokes surrounding those two things.  I invite everybody to take your best shot.  Don’t pull any punches in the comment section, below.  I want some funny Navy and Irish jokes. Jokes submitted by existing “protected groups” get extra points.  Life should be fun.  What can be more fun than busting each others chops about things over which we have no control?  Well, at least until the first pussy hires a lawyer and calls us all bullies.  Even that’s kind of fun when you think about it.

Note to the victim class:  Call this my contribution to the dialog about race you are always whining for. But know I really don’t give a crap what your race is.  Neither you nor I picked that for anyone or for ourselves. It just is, and what non-mouth-breather gives a real damn.

*My family lives and dies by the performance to the Eagles, Phillies and Flyers.
** As a fifth generation American, I am about as Irish as Alan Dirshowitz.  I just needed a frame of reference to get the ball rolling from here.

Get your gear!
Cheers.

 

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Our Tradition

July 1st

On our lawn in Thornburg, Virginia.

July 4th

Same lawn, same flag pole.
Every year between July 1st and July 4th, Lyn and I (she is still Canadian and loyal subject of the Crown) stand on the lawn in period costume and beat the tar out of each other.  We call it a re-enactment.  Then on July 5th we become allies and trading partners again.  We seal the treaty with rabid monkey sex.  I’m not sure how historically accurate that part is.
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Living on a River

A post moved from my other blog.

I moved this one here because the wusssies that run my other blog felt it was too commercialized for their taste.  Meanwhile they provide all manner of ways to monitize your blog site as it grows.  If I wasn’t so heavily published there, I’d start a new one entirely.  But for this post, I decided to just move it over.

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This will be a shameless plug. It didn’t start out that way. A romantic at heart, I was just inspired to sit down and write. You see, the biggest heron I ever saw just glided down the river at treetop level. This creature looked like a flamingo on steroids, a pterodactyl with feathers. So write I did. I waxed poetic about how this experience reminded me of seeing pelicans for the first time, gliding with the kind of cool only they can display, inches above the swells in the Atlantic, just off the beach in Dam Neck.  But after scribbling for a while I realized that there was an opportunity here.

Some Back Story

Almost 8 years ago, Lyn, aka she-who-must-be-obeyed, and I were evaluating our situation, living in Governor’s Green, Fredericksburg, Virginia. We were empty nesters, living in a large home, which had doubled in value in just 4 years. Real estate junkies that we are – we’d purchased that home on a whim and a 20% up-front discount – and knowing full well that we were at the peak of the market, we decided to cash out and find THE home. The search was on. I had many times looked at the home we occupy now and passed it up without the slightest thought. Lyn however found it on her own search and it had the magic ingredient. Water. True to the definition of her name, Lynette, she always want to live on water. When she pulled up the ad for this house on Realtor.com I was inclined to just say no. But the look in her eye had me saying yes. I bought here for two reasons: To let Lyn have the home she wanted and because there would be room to build a proper wood shop on the property. There were countless properties in this market where I could have built a shop. But they don’t light Lyn’s eyes the way this one did.

This is how the house used to look.  It was just a simple 
river house with four bedrooms, good storage and little else.  
                                                           
To be perfectly honest with you, it wasn’t much to look at when we got here. But it was SMALL. That is what we were looking for. A simple house in Thornburg, Spotsylvania County. After years of big neighborhood houses, creating lawns that people used to take pictures of and ask pointers on; after maintaining spaces for social gatherings and high living, we now had a little split level on the Po River that didn’t NEED anything and made us feel like we were living in the Pocono Mountains every time we came home. Not bad, not bad at all. We have an abundance of wildlife for our three little acres. There are deer, owls, red tail hawks, bald eagles, cardinals, heron, rabbits, groundhogs, foxes and on and on. As it was, we had a perfect little hide-away.

Not So Fast, Lazy Man!

My contentment was not to last. One day I came home and saw Lyn contemplating our west wall. “What are you doing?”, I asked, not really wanting to hear the answer.
“Ya know,” she said, “If we blew out this wall we could put in a big living room and a garage.”
OUCH! But what does a husband say to that. I took the profits from the previous house, minus what I spent building the shop and gave her a huge living room, a two car garage and three decks. I know, you can say it. I’m a sucker. But $100,000 later, we have more than doubled our footprint and beautified our home. My girl was thinking. The extra glass just below the new roofline was Lyn’s idea.  It came to great.

My Man Cave

Before there was a garage with a room-over, I had already added my dream shop. I make furniture as a hobby. I call it a hobby because I never sold very much. With the help of some friends to stand up the walls, I built a wood shop that occupied as much ground as the original house, 24′ x 36′. It stands at the opposite end of the property, near the road, on the crest of the next hill. I was surprised how quickly my tools filled it. But if you spend 25 years collecting shop tools they’ll have a big footprint. And for the first time I was comfortable working in a large shop rather than a garage or basement.
It has a wall-mounted heat pump that could use a shot of refrigerant, but fully charged it will just about chase you out with the heat in the winter and cooling in the summer.
Two cars can fit in the shop with careful maneuvering. By adding another bay door, or two you could easily fit two with rom left for quite a gear head heaven here. And there is a raceway going in as I write this not ten minutes from here. The track will be open to privates cars several times a week.

Work Shop

Or Next Adventure

Lyn and I have come to a new crossroads in our life together. We are planning our retirement. But we don’t want an ordinary retirement. Sadly, we can’t keep our hideaway on the Po River and maintain our present lifestyle. So we must let go.

Our river house is for sale! Shameless plug, I know. It’s my blog. It’s my laptop. I can do what I want.  We are presently interviewing for a new agent.

We will take a bit of a bath on the deal. The market is still flat. So somebody is going to get a free two-car garage with great room above, and a nearly free workshop. Poop! Personal pride notwithstanding, I can live with it. We will be one step closer to our retirement plan.


Main and upper deck and storage shed.

Lower Deck
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Obama's top 50 WHAT?!

The Washington Monthly, in their March/April edition of 2012, published a list of the Jerrett, er uh, excuse me; the Obama Administration’s top 50 Accomplishments.  Needless to say, a blizzard of comments followed.  I was not aware of the article until a friend on Facebook brought it to my attention in order to make the point that we mean haters who hate (read: Conservatives) ought to at least be willing to cheer Obama’s successes while we jeer his failures.  I agreed and asked for an example, saying in all sincerity that if he could point out a legitimate accomplishment, I would happily laud it.  In response another friend, Brenna, sent me the link to the article.  When you read it, from the very first example, you are left blinking in astonishment that ANYONE could construct this list and hope that readers anywhere would actually take seriously what is on the list.  To be certain, only two types of people do; the frustratingly immature who believe it “just because” – They see Obama as cool, so he is right.  He is always right. – and the intentionally credulous.  Harry Reid is their patron saint.  He knows that what he and Obama have done runs the gambit from theater to sedition.  But he continues to blather on, knowing that no one believes he believes any of it himself, but hoping that enough people will pick up on enough talking points to keep the blind stalwarts in the fight.

So I am left with this list of “accomplishment” to address as I said I would.

Number 1 – Obamacare

I can’t believe they actually listed it. Let’s start from now and work our away back to passage of the precursor to socialized medicine.
Just a few days ago, the Supreme Court struck down an item in Obamacare that demanded that all business with over 50 employees pay, through their insurance policy, for contraceptive services (for the purposes of preventing babies – that’s an important distinction)  including abortifacients.  The court held that based on religious beliefs, a closely-held corporation could opt out of participating in medical procedures that offend those beliefs.  In the case of Hobby Lobby and others, the objection was to four items on a list of 17 that they said they could not abide being a part of.
(Full disclosure:  I am an atheist and an activist in the secular community.  I don’t care wit about Hobby Lobby’s religious beliefs and don’t believe churches should have special rights that are different than those of a corporation or a person. That said, the very principles that protect people to run their own lives according to their religious beliefs are in the same first amendment the protects free speech.  If you want to end religious exemptions from law, you must start with the first amendment and go from there.  Whose going to be the first to pick the good religions and the bad ones?  Who is going to the first secular person to quash 250 years of protections for religion and not expect the same thing to be done to us secularists the following week?)
The vitriol that followed the ruling was typical of the history of this whole non-medical care exercise from the beginning.  But having to do with this particular ruling, the left was instructed to scream that “Old White Men” were denying women ACCESS to contraception.
First, the Hobby Lobby objection was to items that were to be used to destroy the “ception” that the acceptable stuff was supposed to run “contra” to.  So the words “to contraception” used here were intentionally misleading.  Secondly,  no one is being denied ACCESS to anything.  It is simply not being FINANCED by others who object to doing so for moral reasons.  But the baseless whining continued.  Hilary Clinton said this was the first time in our history that we treated corporations as if they were people, a lie, until she adds, “when it comes to religion”.  See what she was doing there? She’s hoping most liberal proles don’t know that corporations have all the rights people do.  If you need an explanation, read Smith or Locke.  One among the rights shared by people and corporations is religious liberty.  That stupid concept that Jefferson blathered on about just to make Barry’s life harder.  Both Barry O and Woodrow Wilson have complained about the constitution getting in their way as they try to run the nation.
I only spend this much time here to demonstrate what a rhetorical shipwreck Obamacare has become. There is nothing about it that is or will be successful.  There is almost nothing about it that does anything for the healthcare industry.  It dismantled valuable insurance companies, it will not see 32 million more people insured, it has been run from day one with staggering incompetence, and if you think medical costs have gone up too fast in the past, wait until you get to the other end of this year and into next to assess the damage to the economy and your own wallet.
The fact is that with every step of the nightmare that is the Patient Protection and the Affordable Care Act (PPACA), as with defending the serial criminality of this administration, the tactics have been the same; marginalize the opponents, crate straw man arguments and argue against those instead of arguing the actual point and merits of the case.

This all could have been avoided.

In July of 2012, in a move the New Yorker called a “singular act of courage”,  Chief Justice Roberts decided he wanted to be a co-president for a few hours and missed the opportunity to gut the whole mess when he stepped off the bench, into the well and made the administration’s argument for them.  The question was whether the penalty for not participating in Obamacare was a tax or a fee.  On consecutive days the administration’s lawyers argued that 1) it was absolutely a fee and not a tax 2) it was absolutely a tax and to a fee. The reason is because of the dubiousness of the governments authority to cause people to buy something they don’t need under the penalty of law.  Only in Orwell’s crazy world should this thinking survive.  Roberts would have been correct to laugh the parties right out of the court room.  But he didn’t.  He chose to nail his name into the pages of history and leave us to take this monstrosity apart piece by piece while the misinformation  continues to gush from the White House and a sycophantic press.  With each step, we will have to fight the straw man misdirection and hysterical wailing.

Original Sin

The “Patient Protection” part of PPACA is a laugh riot.  The people most left out there flapping in the breeze, the people least able to absorb the damage inflicted by this 2700 page law and upwards of 30,000 pages of regulations (!!!) are the patients.  The doctors are going to be, and are already, screwed to the floorboards trying to comply with it.
The genesis of all this was even more frustrating for honest people to watch unfold.   In 2010, through lies – this won’t increase budget deficits – to qualify the bill for the what the Senate calls “reconciliation” and outright unethical practices, this monstrosity was presented to BHO for signature.  The question of ethics comes in first, using “reconciliation” to blow open 1/6 of the economy. This is preposterous.  Reconciliation in this context is used to shuffle line items in an overall budget and make small adjustments without having to adjudicate the whole thing over again.  It took Reid and Pelosi to stoop to the levels they did to use this process to magically marry two bills that had not gotten through both houses of the legislature, in some cases skipping steps by “deeming to have voted”, buying votes with HUGE kickbacks and voila, you have the worst law from the worst lawmaking since the nation’s founding.  They really did think they had made the whole thing so complex and confusing and rush-  rush that the public would do shrug and say. ‘Well, okay, if you say so.”  Instead they created the Tea Party.  That movement is the child of Reid and Pelosi more than anyone else.

Conclusion:

Point one of the top 50 accomplishments is a total failure.  Little secret; it may have been intended to fail.  Time will tell.

A Not So Insignificant Aside:

In the piece above, I wrote that we were hearing that women were being denied ACCESS to healthcare because people did not wish to FINANCE their lifestyle choices; specifically not paying for a handful of abortifacients.  I have heard from hysterical women and sunken-chested men several times asking if it was fair that insurance pay for viagra and other treatments of erectile disfunction (ED) and not pay for abortions and abortifacients.  I rarely believe that these complainers don’t see the difference at work here, but I will do the unpopular and point out the weakness of the argument for the truly dense.
ED and related prostate problems, including cancer, are disorders.  It is a doctor’s obligation to treat this as such and do his best to cure or mitigate it.  Pregnancy is not a tumor.  If you are pregnant and the baby is growing nicely, then there is nothing for the doctor to treat.  His primary obligation is to monitor his patient and make sure all remains well.
If the patient decides to terminate the pregnancy, that is an elective procedure.  NO ONE has a moral obligation to finance that procedure.  Mother and child are healthy.  If an insurance company wants to cover that procedure, the pregnant woman is in luck (women in their productive years who don’t want babies ought to check into this when buying medical coverage.  But that is NOT MY CONCERN!)
“But, ah!” comes the occasional retort, “what’s to stop a doctor from citing a bullshit health reason to give a friend viagra just so he can have more sex?”  The answer is nothing.  If a doc wants to compromise his practice and be a total douche bag.  He can do that and probably get away with it.  In much the same way some doctors take into account the “mental anguish” some upper middle class college girl will face by experiencing a perfectly natural biological process.  That’s contrived bullshit too, but it remains one of the prime arguments in favor of a pregnancy being treated like bubonic plague.