Preserving a Right

A request to sign a petition from Brigade + Causes hit my mailbox yesterday that raised my eyebrows. “Sign the petition to #fireColbert” read the subject line. The opening of the petition says: “Stephen Colbert finally took it too far with a disgustingly lewd anti-Trump rant on The Late Show on CBS.”

The author of the petition was sufficiently offended by Colbert’s monologue from last week that the author initiated the movement. In fact, he closed his appeal by saying, “This is certainly within Colbert’s right to free speech, but the networks should strive for a higher level of decency. This isn’t comedy. It’s just disgusting and offensive.” Apparently the FCC was also alarmed at the language used in the monologue.

However, we need to ask ourselves in what way did the Colbert monologue in question substantially differ from the many antics of #45 during his campaign. We also need to recognize that Colbert is in the entertainment business and relies on [Nielsen] ratings in order to keep his show on the air. Similarly, during the campaign, #45 was in several industries (including entertainment) and heavily relies (even now) on outlandish behavior for the sake of garnering ratings and attention. So where’s the difference? We also need to take into consideration that #45 was never called to task for any of his campaign behavior and was never penalized in any way. In fact, he was applauded. It’s difficult to understand why, in a post-Carlin’s “7 dirty words” environment that Colbert (or CBS for that matter) should suffer even a penalty.

Now, to be sure, it’s no secret that Colbert is not a fan of the 45th President. It’s safe to say there’s little evidence that he has ever had favorable feelings about #45.

It says a lot about what still remains of American freedoms that Colbert can express his political opinions during his monologue without being censored or have his way of life threatened. It’s called freedom of speech. True, there were objectionable words used in the body of the monologue but the blue language was bleeped from the speech. Even Colbert’s mouth was blurred when he pronounced certain words so that they could not be discerned and cause offense. Those were the instances when it went into territory not covered by Carlin’s “7 dirty words” but at least the freedom to express those feelings was in place.

Other TV hosts have also lampooned the First Family in this last week. It doesn’t appear any of those hosts are being called to task for doing their jobs while simultaneously pushing their audiences to engage in critical thinking or else express what their audiences fear to say aloud.

Likewise, the petition’s author has the freedom to express his distaste for the language – the language, mind you, not the thoughts and feelings owned by the speaker.

So, rather than endorse a return to Woodrow Wilson standards and suppression of one of our precious foundation rights, free speech, I will not sign that petition. Let us, without resorting to expletives and bullying, discuss and debate the policies of #45 and come up with solutions.

It appears both Colbert and the petition author have come up with a very meaningful topic for discussion as well as some meaningful tangents.

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Initial Talk with Congress

Many are talking about the new President’s address to Congress on February 28. No, it didn’t mark the completion of 100 days. No, it wasn’t a State of the Nation (per se). It was just the newly-elected President talking to Congress.

Perhaps the event was in remembrance of Washington when he went over to Congress to ask his friends about how to do something and they ran him out because, with a great deal of effort and redrafting of the organizing documents, there are three separate and distinct parts of our government. Each acts separately in order to keep checks and balances and so that the government doesn’t become a dictatorship – each part echoing what the other says and sometimes in unison.

Which identity

Which identity

Nevertheless, the President went to Congress to talk with them. It wasn’t in order to get their advice about anything. It was a new, toned down campaign speech that reiterated what’s been said over the last two years. But this speech added a little more to the campaign rhetoric.

Although the tone was drastically different from what we’ve been hearing during the combative and corrosive campaign there was something different. Yes, there was the signature blaming and faulting to indicate and rally more supporters because things are such a mess. But the rambling, train of thought diatribe that is typical of this President wasn’t presented.

Actually, the speech was a bit unsettling. It wasn’t because of the rhetoric. It was because it seemed to be a repeat of another address to Congress from the past. It was as though it was written from a template. The language (except for the blaming) was not the typical content from this President. The tone, ah yes, the tone and the organization (yes, there was organization) of the thoughts and message were a different voice. Someone wrote this speech for the President. That isn’t surprising given the fact that his attention needs to be on many issues and he desperately needs to focus, keenly focus, on the matters of State. So having a speech writer create this message would not be a surprise.

Still, the message followed a distinct pattern. It was as though the template had little boxes that prompted the writer to “insert issue here” and then flow on to flush out some details. Then another box prompted “insert issue here” in a new section.

It was very formulaic, all the way down to pointing out selected examples of day-to-day citizens who were sprinkled into the audience in order to create a positive charisma and build the supporter base. Wasn’t that the tactic Obama used in many (if not all) of his speeches?

On a positive note, the President appears to finally be listening to someone on his staff about the image he’s presenting to the public. He’s getting coaching from someone about staying on point. He’s being urged to use a script more often so that the logic of what he’s saying is more obvious. The meandering trains of thought that go off point just aren’t winning any credibility for him. Unfortunately, he still doesn’t seem to be listening to his advisers too often. He still does things without a script and he’s very fast with that Executive Order ink pen.

The content of the speech is what most are hashing out in these days that followed the template presentation. Many of the matters that are the subject of the Executive Orders were included in the speech. There were (to be expected) claims of vast improvements over the last administration (which buried the country into the worst situation in history, we were told). Government contracts will be closely scrutinized and only approved when the fees are as bare-bone low as things can possibly be cut. (I’m not certain what that means in terms of quality of end product.) Government contracts for defense spending will be increased while government jobs hiring will be frozen. In fact, he seemed to indicate that there are superfluous government jobs and those will be cut. (You know, perhaps that‘s the reason why the Department of Labor Jobs Update alerts (OPA) stopped arriving after January 25.)

Back to the content of the speech and what people are saying about it. Traditional news coverage noted that the President sounded much more “presedential” in this speech. Another media source made mention that he is learning fast [about not rambling].

The staffers were quite pleased with the performance. That’s the other hallmark of this President. Everything seems to be targeted at getting TV ratings and reality show headlines. Although the speech was nearly a 180 change in tone and style, those who have been alienated by the man’s demeanor, attitude, and rantings are not so easily swayed and brought into the fold. Congressional GOP members are still uneasy. DNC members are still unimpressed. And late night talk show comedians are still having a field day. Why not? They’re essentially being spoon fed new nettles and needles every hour of the day. Maybe that’s why Jimmy Kimmel said enough of Donald Trump for tonight and hosted a Trump-free show. To that, I can only say, Amen.

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Questioning the Problem of Gun Violence via Late Night Commentary

Stephen Colbert’s monologue for last night’s The Late Show was a statement about the Orlando mass shooting on June 12, 2016. That was followed (without any break) by an interview of Bill O’Reilly on the subject of mass killings, gun control, and what politicians are saying about the issue.

gunman in search of a target

Young thug with gun isolated on white

As someone from a Facebook conversation yesterday said and as O’Reilly pointed out, what we’re dealing with is a new form of warfare. O’Reilly considers this as a means of legitimizing national gun control laws at the federal level so that states rights does not come into play and so that one law prevails over interpretation of the rule.

Colbert’s monologue was moving. A link to the article about it takes us to the Conan O’Brien monologue that was equally touching.

A few months ago there was a proposal to make it legal for concealed carry in churches. Trump last month, as part of his campaign rhetoric, said teachers should be allowed to carry guns in the classroom. In light of some school officials having been videoed when they have slammed students to the ground, I don’t know that this would be a wise step. And in light of the fact that I know a person who is a teacher who is bi-polar, who refers to their students as savages, and who does things that are dangerous and disrespectful, I have to do the math and realize there are probably many others who have similar sentiments. Those people should not be allowed to even *own* guns, much less carry them.

I agree, the way to solve the problem is to define what the problem is. I agree, this is a travesty and it’s being imposed on us as citizens of a nation that is supposed to be great. I agree, this sickness must stop. What are some first steps toward defining the problem? If it is two-fold, or even multifoliate, what are the issues and how do we prioritize them?

After resolving the identification of the problem(s), what are the solutions.

The Colbert Show monologue and O’Reilly interview are here.

This is a concern. It is troubling that it gets repeated on an increasingly frequent basis but still there is no action to remedy the illness. It’s merely allowed to fester. Perhaps it will result in a national amputation of civility. I hope not. Unfortunately, that appears to be the trend.

Some argue that we need stricter gun control laws. We need to do better background checks. What good are background checks when those who fit the Betty White profile are dismissed as not a threat and don’t need to be investigated? And there’s no record of the fact (fact) that the person uses a BB gun to shoot small animals in their yard.

Reports of violent behavior can result in a person’s becoming unemployable. This is the case in matters of domestic violence. That is why the victim will refrain from filing charges. The abuser is the source of income for the household. Without those purse strings, the entire household will be on the streets in the blink of an eye.

Yet as of this date, a person on the “no fly list” does not prevent that person from being issued a gun license and thereafter being able to purchase guns and weapons. A person on the FBI list of person who should be monitored also has the freedom to become a licensed weapons owner. We need to question the reasonableness of these laws and protocols.

Even though this post was started the day after the Orlando incidents, the issues remain unresolved. Congress, taking a partisan stance to block progress of the other party and thereby prevent that party from receiving credit for being proactive in regard to public safety and welfare, disparaged the Democratic sit-in by calling it grandstanding. Perhaps that attitude is yet another form of grandstanding.

It’s time. It’s time to stop merely shaking our heads as we go numb for a few minutes or days and then pick up our heads and lives and resume Life as usual. It’s time. It’s time to start being about solutions and positive alternatives. It’s time. It’s time to start learning what the issues are. And it’s time to work toward a meeting of the minds in order to resolve this age of strife, unheeded screams for help and attention, and unmet needs of the people. It’s time for this was of humanity to stop.

We don’t need more late night commentaries about gun control. We need daily reasons to live whole and productive, fulfilling and meaningful lives.

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More Than Being the Female Candidate

The District 3 Supervisor debate between Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver just aired on ABC television.

Based on what I heard and understood, this is going to be a close and difficult race. There are very few issues on which the candidates differ. Both come from backgrounds that have built these leaders. Both understand the processes and systems that need to be used, modified, or operated in order to serve the needs and interests of the population.

Both emphasized service to the population.

As I listened to the debate a particular thought struck me that was never an observation before. We have a woman running for a County leadership position. There were no histrionics, no wailing or weeping, no seeking sympathy for whatever feminine shortcoming (or status).

Both candidates were in a flatfooted race. Both were surefooted. They were well researched on their subject areas. It was obvious that when issues arise that are outside of their platform, they will have the vision to adequately address those concerns or be aware of the tools that can be used to address them.

Each knows how to talk with people in order to reach consensus and solutions. Each knows how to carefully listen to what’s being said. This was an extremely civil debate. There were occasional barbs and citing of questionable interpretations that occurred in the past. But there were not aggressive attacks. There were no efforts at character assassination.

Both cited the portions of their career histories that provided them with their strengths that make them qualified to receive the constituents’ votes. They respected the time limits and judiciously used their time allocations.

There was a comment in closing statements that asserted that Kuehl is from Sacramento. In other words, she is not closely affiliated with Los Angeles County (local) issues but is instead more attuned to the broad state government perspective. Both candidates live in the same city, Santa Monica. Kuehl countered the “not local” comment by asserting for the fourth or fifth time that both of them are from Santa Monica. She also pointed out her close affiliation with Los Angeles County throughout her work in film, law, law school professor, and local city college instructor. In other words (and within 15 seconds) she put herself back on a par with being closely attuned to local issues and concerns. As I said, there were no attacks.

Most significantly, it was a woman going toe to toe with a man. And it wasn’t a question of whether a woman is the better candidate. It was a question, pure and simple, of who is the better candidate.

Yes, this will be a very close race. It is not about whether we put a woman on the Board of Supervisors instead of a man. It’s about which candidate can serve well.

The midterm election is on Tuesday, November 4, and also encompasses election of a new Sheriff, as well as other officials and measures.

These candidates also had a radio debate on KCRW on October 15 that can be found on the station’s website.

Signs of Time to Leave the Party

In the past month or more, I’ve been plagued by vandalism of blogs and their content and harassment from the back office of community sites, and harassment from some LinkedIn members who appear to object to my work. In the case of LinkedIn, it appears they are being used in a cat’s paw scenario and they fail to take cognizance of the malfeasance.

Most recently, I discovered solid evidence of vandalism from, of all places where I thought there was integrity, Toolbox for HR.

In July, I updated my profile to include some certifications and accomplishments. I also updated my projects to show I was working on writing a book. Maybe it’s good that I did not include the fact that I’m working on a seminar. On September 13, I finally wrote a journal entry for my profile on Toolbox. It read:

I Wonder What Happened

Yvonne LaRose 3 days ago | Comments (0)

 In trying to set up some systems to monitor reception of my content, I just discovered my bio and work history that were created for this site are gone.

I have to wonder how long ago those deletions occurred and why. I realize the site has been undergoing a lot of reform. They never sent a notice that there was going to be destruction of content.

It was then that I realized some of the interferences and accidents with my work are not necessarily concerted via a group of people. Instead, they’re part of being involved with the wrong people and the wrong places. Like Alice in Wonderland, the journey through fantastic situations seems to be infinitely raveling into the horizon. But like Alice, there is an end to the bizarre; it doesn’t have to be infinite. That change in direction comes from being focused on the principle goal – reach the intended destination – and get out of the absurd.

In anger, I published a statement on my profile intended to redirect anyone who found the empty bio and work history. Realizing the full impact of the chicanery would only reach a very small number and that whoever is involved in performing these acts will continue with impunity, I turned the statement into a blog post on September 15.

It was interesting to track the visitors to my blog and see where visitors were going. What was even more interesting was the information collected about two days after that blog post went live. Take note:

Time of Visit   Sep 15 2012 1:46:38 pm

Last Page View   Sep 15 2012 1:46:38 pm

Visit Length   0 seconds

Page Views   1 Referring URL unknown

Visit Entry Page   http://rebelmouse.com/

Visit Exit Page   http://rebelmouse.com/

Somehow, someone associated with the site managed to redirect the visit to a different site (that requires registration and log in) called “Rebel Mouse.” It appears that’s how that individual sees me. Maybe that’s how those associated with the back end management see me. That’s fine. The message definitely registered for me. It said (by inference) I’m extremely small and meaningless. It said I’m a nuisance. It said a rebel mouse is not very effective. Hah! I remember the movie, Ben.

It could be that whoever is responsible for these changes is one of my recruiting industry detractors who is doing contract work. I don’t have the time nor the energy to devote to that investigation. Alice did not stop to try to figure out the ailings of Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum. She did not try to correct the madness of the tea party – nor any of the other situations and personalities she encountered. She simply found a way to ease herself out of the scene and continue on her meaningful journey.

Toolbox for HR’s Mission Statement is in direct contradiction to the activities that have occurred. The site was taken over by ZDNet in January of this year, 2012. Apparently these events represent how ZDNet intends to treat their adopted child. But these events also show what happens when workers with sophomoric mentalities, make that childish mentalities, are involved with product integrity.

There’s no longer a contact person who can clear up these situations nor bring things back into control. Attempts to contact someone regarding other similar site difficulties resulted in no response. So while this writing is not a professional manner of dealing with the situation, it is a stab at acknowledging to the public that some behaviors simply are not to be tolerated.

The tamperings create a blemish on the quality of the site and therefore mar the brand and goodwill of ZDNet as the parent company. Values such as ethical behavior and reliability are called into question. The vandalism acts to deter those who are serious about growing their careers. They will not be viewed as being part of any type of meaningful professionalism nor quality work.

I’ll flesh out that blog post with some discussion about professionalism and brand. Maybe I’ll finish up the four or five posts that still reside there in draft form. However, it may be much more prudent to simply transfer those drafts to one of my own blogs and publish the completed content there. After all, why waste good effort on pitching into a black hole?

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Never Stopped to Think About It That Way

It was December 12, 2001 when Shaun Michael Jex wrote an insightful piece that related to the sacrifices that foreign correspondents and journalists make to deliver their message. Shaun’s column was Literary Theory Explorations and the installment was titled “By Any Means Necessary.” It was a challenging read; it was a very good read. Shaun’s writings were not simple and superficial. They dug deep into the subject matter and challenged the reader to consider the subject from many aspects. It was a read that compelled some comment and mine was among four that were published.

Thanks for your words, Shaun. Your tribute is (by the examples you give) to news journalists. There are many types of journalists and we all go into the trenches in order to get the real, true story from ground zero. Our desire is to know the inner workings of the whatever and then tell it to others so that they may have some appreciation of the perspectives powering and driving the events. We put ourselves outside of the events. We are but onlookers empathizing and understanding and then sharing that understanding.

One of the highest tenets of being a journalist is telling the accurate story. Another of the highest tenets is that you see each person in their own esteem and look down on nor up to anyone. They are all equal. Therein lie some of the secrets of reporting the events – by getting the right information and reporting it accurately.

The free press and freedom of speech are very precious commodities that are in real jeopardy these days. Too many times meaningful information that can empower or exalt understanding is suppressed while the journalist is beaten to the back of the crowd or else their words suppressed and altered in order to make them more palatable and attractive, more appealing to the masses and flatter them into ignorance. Too often the true and accurate words are erased into oblivion because they offended those who did not want to know and desired to continue in the old, uninformed ways.

Our Muses command us to write. Therefore, we do not shrink away and never tell the story again. We re-emerge another day, sometimes in another place, because for us the story must be told.

Thank you for your tribute to the news journalists. Thank you for speaking.

We need to hold the banner high for good reporting standards and excellent journalism. It’s up to the journalists to tell the story with truth and accuracy (to the extent possible). Slanted reporting, suggestions about the meaning of words, excessive emphasis on certain points, commentary inserted into reporting instead of saved for the reporter’s opinion column are not part of fair reporting and fair comment. It’s difficult to understand the good reporting that’s supposed to be delivered when all that can be found are talking heads behind a desk who are trading jokes and gossip. It’s more as though we’ve come to having 24-hour reality shows instead of good news reportage.

The reading public needs information to independently form their own ideas about a subject. There is little room in a free society for yellow journalism, and biased, non-factual writing that attempts to pass itself off as hard news. There needs to be fact checking and proofreading that goes into delivering the story and a reporter who has an appreciation of the subject or knows how to gain the information in order to provide an informative piece.

The sacrifices of our journalists are important. They should be applauded for doing their jobs.

Unions and the First Amendment

We recently had a ruling come down from the Supreme Court in the case of Knox v. SEIU. The issues were analyzed in a YouTube video “The First Amendment and Knox v. SEIU (Trevor Burrus)” by a CATO specialist, Trevor Burrus. The case involves matters related to the First Amendment and free speech. Secondarily, it relates to how money deducted from a person’s union dues can be used with regard to political activities. And thirdly, it relates to the rights of nonunion members in regard to the fact that they have expressly opted out of being in the union and paying dues yet funds are being taken from their salaries for use in union political activities.

First of all, what is the First Amendment. It’s the section of the Bill of Rights that guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of religion.

The language of the First Amendment reads:

CONGRESS SHALL MAKE NO LAW RESPECTING AN ESTABLISHMENT OF RELIGION, OR PROHIBITING THE FREE EXERCISE THEREOF; OR ABRIDGING THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH, OR OF THE PRESS; OR THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, AND TO PETITION THE GOVERNMENT FOR A REDRESS OF GRIEVANCES.

American Library Association

What we find as we follow the CATO/Burrus analysis of this ruling is that nonunion members were being charged a fee for expressions that did not match their desires as well as represented funds they had expressly said they did not want to pay. In essence, they were not only paying for something they did not want, they were also paying to defeat their own interests.

For further information about the implications of rights under the First Amendment and freedom of expression, comments on the philosophical theories of freedom of expression can be found in Notes and analytic expressions on FindLaw.