College basketball games

Trump praises 'stop-and-frisk' police tactic

After tossing Betty Shelby under the bus, and presumably gaining some love amongst the black vote ... Trump stuck his foot in his mouth again:

"I would do stop-and-frisk. I think you have to," Trump said, according to excerpts of a Fox News "town hall" in Cleveland, after a listener asked what he would do to reduce crime in predominantly black communities across the nation.

"I see what's going on here, I see what's going on in Chicago, I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City it was so incredible, the way it worked," he added.

another excerpt:

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, in remarks at an African-American church on Wednesday, praised "stop-and-frisk" policing methods that have aroused protests and successful legal challenges, for singling out minorities.

"Stop and frisk" - or more correctly, "stop and maybe frisk" - is a staple tactic for law enforcement. The practice is solidly rooted in case law, the landmark US Supreme Court case being 392 U.S. 1 Terry v. Ohio.

The court's opinion legitimized a tactic that cops had been using for decades without significant challenge. The opinion also sharply defined and limited the process. The decision is the foundation for a number of other court cases, in the circuits as well as the US and several state courts.

It defines the 'investigative stop.'

Here's the thing in a nutshell. A Cleveland detective was out on a foot beat he had been patrolling for many years. He observed a person engaged in behavior that in the detective's experience was typical of a thug casing a joint for a robbery. The detective then noticed an accomplice, and then another. So he approached them to determine what they were up to. They were less than cooperative, and the detective 'spun' of them around and patted down his overcoat, discovering a revolver. Though cops had been doing this sort of thing for a long time, this is the first time it was challenged significantly, all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The court's opinion, from the link above, covers this in greater detail.

Such a stop constitutes a seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. Such a 'frisk' constitutes a search, within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. There are people, including some cops, who will tell you that this is not so, but it is so, and it is clearly so stated in the court's majority opinion.

One of the main objections to this type of police activity centers on a reading of the Fourth Amendment that 'probable cause' is required for all searches and seizures. Actually, probable cause is required for the issuance of a warrant; probable cause is also required for arrest, and for most other seizures and searches. But not all. The 'investigative detention,' also known as a 'Terry stop,' is the main exception.

Terry v. Ohio hinges not on probable cause and warrants, but on the 'unreasonable search' clause. Any search or seizure must be 'reasonable.' NYPD's policy on executing 'stop and frisk' (or 'Terry stops') clearly was discriminatory, based on race and ethnicity, and therefore, unreasonable.

A sidebar:

“Under the NYPD’s policy, targeting the ‘right people’ means stopping people in part because of their race. Together with Commissioner Kelly’s statement that the NYPD focuses stop and frisks on young blacks and Hispanics in order to instill in them a fear of being stopped, and other explicit references to race . . . there is a sufficient basis for inferring discriminatory intent.”

The 'investigative stop' requires only 'reasonable suspicion', which is a much lower level of fact pattern or proof that some sort of skulduggery is afoot.

So a police officer, based on reasonable suspicion, an articulable fact pattern, not something he or she pulls out of his/her bunghole ... may make a brief stop, and under some circumstances, conduct a very limited search. The keys here are 'articulable fact pattern,' 'brief,' and 'limited.'

From that detention, an officer may develop probable cause to arrest. Or maybe not.

Now here is why the term 'stop and frisk' is misleading.

The frisk, that limited search, is not a given. In order to conduct a frisk, a police officer must be able to articulate not only the fact pattern that led him/her to make the stop in the first place, but also why he/she believed that the detainee a) had a weapon and b) posed a threat. Such a search is limited to outer clothing, and is conducted only to find any weapons that may be used against an officer or someone else. It is not a license to conduct a full-blown search of a person. If probable cause arises during the stop to justify an arrest, then that full-blown search can take place.

Absent that, there is no legal basis for a frisk, much less an extensive search. It doesn't take much; only 'reasonable suspicion,' but that fact pattern must exist; it must be reasonable, meaning that a judge and/or a jury, if it gets that far, will buy it.

I doubt that Trump understands any of that.

In fact, I suspect that Trump thinks Terry v. Ohio is a college basketball game.

So ... are minority communities justified in being Outraged!™ over 'stop and frisk?' It all depends on whether or not the cops were unreasonably targeting by race, and whether or not they could actually articulate a credible fact pattern to justify each stop. In the case of NYPD, it was Commissioner Kelly himself who pounded the nails into the coffin. From some of the accounts from elseplace that I have examined, I suspect there is at least some justification for the Outrage!™

Take a look at Colorado's world-famous Whitfield v. Board of County Commissioners of Eagle County No. 90-C-1541

You have to wonder where those cops got their basic cop training. If they were ever taught anything about search and seizure, clearly, it didn't take.

We also find a really good explanation of the 'investigative detention' in a Colorado case, Stone v. People 485 P.2d 495 (1971). This is the basis for the so-called 'Stone stop', which is basically the same thing as the 'Terry stop.'


Here's a good article on why New York's application of 'stop and frisk' was iffy at best, and downright illegal at worst:

It looks like Rudy Giuliani convinced Donald Trump that stop-and-frisk actually works

In order to legitimately make a 'Terry stop,' an officer must have 'reasonable suspicion,' and he/she must be able to articulate that. Absent that, and given overwhelming evidence that the process was selectively applied based on race and ethnicity ... Trump is once again as full of crap as a Christmas turkey. As is 'Rude Rudy'.

All these yay-hoos have done is make the job all the more difficult for cops out there doing the job in honest fashion.

True colors

A week or so ago, FOP, the Fraternal Order of Police, endorsed Donald Trump. FOP claims that Trump “understands and supports our priorities, and our members believe he will make America safe again.”

Yesterday, we saw precisely how Trump 'understands and supports' law enforcement priorities.

At least twice, he threw Betty Shelby, the Tulsa officer involved in the Crutcher shooting under the bus.

"Now did she get scared? Was she choking? What happened? But maybe people like that, people that choke, people that do that, maybe they can’t be doing what they’re doing."

Innuendo again. Suggestion. No facts. No clue. But he pandered very nicely to the black vote. He suggests that Shelby was so frightened that she couldn't function properly, and thus shot Crutcher. No facts; no clue. But he sure had his mouth a-flappin' in front of the black voters.

Trump also said that he is "a tremendous believer in the police," making sure to note that police "are great people." But he also recognized that even among great people, "you always have problems."

Betty Shelby is 'a problem.' Trump says so. He has no idea what happened; few if any do at this point. Maybe Shelby did screw the pooch. But no one knows yet. Certainly not "Heel Spurs" Trump.

But we have a presidential candidate standing in front of a black crowd, pretty much nailing Betty Shelby to a cross.

But he is a 'tremendous believer in the police.'


Can anyone tell me what is the difference between hanging this cop out to dry, simply as a matter of political expedience, simply to pander for some votes ...

... and Benghazi?

If "Heel Spurs" is elected president - commander-in-chief of the armed forces - God help the troops who find themselves in harm's way and need some executive-level backup. The first consideration will be how the situation could be turned to "Heel Spurs" Trump's advantage. If that leaves the Snuffies twisting in the wind ... well ... too bad. It's all for the greater good, don't you see.


Smile Hi Alley Cleanup

The City of La Junta will begin the alley clean-up project on October 17, 2016. City crews will pickup items put in the alley or at the regular trash collection point. Below is a checklist to use to assist the Crews in doing a thorough and complete cleaning of the alley.

1. Please limit the items for pick up to a total of one dump truck load per property—this includes tree branches.

2. The City WILL NOT pick up the follow items: tires, any electronic waste including TVs, computers, microwaves, etc., nor any appliance with refrigerant.

3. The City WILL NOT enter private property to collect refuse.

4. The trucks will pass through the alleys only once. Items may be placed out for pick up the weekend just prior to your scheduled week. Please do not put any items out after that Sunday as they will not be picked up.

5. Please separate metal items from other trash items. There will be two separate trucks to pick up the items. The Otero County Landfill Regulations state that the metal must be separated, therefore the City must pick them up separately. (Note to FB 'warriors': It isn't a conspiracy by the trash crews to make things difficult; blame the county commissioners, or better yet, OCLI Inc)

The alleys in the following areas will be covered during the 2016 alley clean up:
Week of October 17—October 21

From 1st to 10th Streets: Pikeview Avenue—Colorado Avenue
Week of October 24—October 28

From 1st to 10th Streets: Colorado Avenue—Lacey Avenue
Week of October 31—November 4

From 10th to 22nd Streets: Meadows Trailer Park—Colorado Avenue
Week of November 7—November 10

From 10th to 22nd Streets: Colorado Avenue—Best Avenue
Week of November 14—November 18

All Streets South of 22nd Street to include Prairieview Heights

Vicious gossip

Well ... it seems the vicious gossip monster paints with a broad brush these days.

After the problem with utilities billing over in The Smile Hi, it seems that at least one or more 'insiders' took it upon themselves to feed the gossip mill.

The resulting FB frenzy had the ladies in The Smile Hi utilities office painted as 'idiots.'

We have even seen allegations and insinuations of 'imbelsement' of funds, though it is not clear if this is 'the idiot' ladies in the utilities office or the thieving water crews (for those not capable of subtlety of thought, that's sarcasm, there) or possibly a conspiracy between them.

We must not give the meter readers a bye on all this; the FB utilities experts have them sitting in the truck just randomly filling in numbers rather than getting up off their asses and reading the meters and getting 'real' numbers.

I guess the info The Smile Hi administration put out about the new Smart Meters was too hard to read. Too many Big Werds, perhaps.

Here's the scoop on Smart Meters:

Automatic Meter Reading

Now ... for those who are or have been involved in the FB frenzy ... here is some stuff just for you:

Aluminum Foil Deflection Beanie

I'd suggest you all go with the higher end copper foil model, with a ground strap. And for the Western traditionalists, there is the Wes McKinley model. It comes in the shape of  a finely crafted Stetson 1000x Diamante.

Seriously ... you guys really need to go with the AFDB's, because ...

Microwaves, Smart Meters and the use of electronics for mind control

The Smile Hi utes office is out to get you ...

"The Klan is awake ..."

You can sleep tonight knowing the Klan is awake.’ Fliers like these are showing up on lawns across the U.S.

Funny stuff?

Police response has generally been muted. Aside from keeping an eye on local KKK activities, police departments tend not to conduct deep investigations because the fliers are protected by the First Amendment.

Yep. They are.

But the rest of us also have those First Amendment rights, and we don't have to suffer the Klan in silence.

The First Amendment is a double-edged sword.

We have a duty as Americans to speak out against the Klan, wherever they rear their ugly hoods and their mindless hatred.

Unless, of course, one thinks the Klan is, like, you know ... cool ... or funny ... or correct.

Then you can exercise your First Amendment rights in their favor.

Is this a great country, or what.

The GOP Pity Party

Jennifer Rubin is a conservative blogger who writes for WaPo, among others. Her latest post:

Indeed it has. More so ... it has become a modern 'Know Nothing' party.

Don't remember the 'Know Nothings' from your high school US History class? Here's a brief refresher:

The movement arose in response to an influx of migrants and promised to "purify" American politics by limiting or ending the influence of Irish Catholics and other immigrants, thus reflecting nativist and anti-Catholic sentiment. It was empowered by popular fears that the country was being overwhelmed by German and Irish Catholic immigrants, whom they saw as hostile to republican values and as being controlled by the Pope. Mainly active from 1854 to 1856, the movement strove to curb immigration and naturalization but met with little success. Membership was limited to Protestant men. There were few prominent leaders, and the largely middle-class membership was divided over the issue of slavery.

Sound familiar? It should. Change the targets a bit and you have the modern-day Republican Party in general, and the Trumpkins in particular.

Rubin writes:

... the ills about which Trump and his apologists complain have little to do with the plight of many of their supporters (whose average salary is $72,000, much higher than that of the average Sanders or Hillary Clinton supporter). The things Trump demonizes — free trade and immigration — did not cause the decline of low-skilled manufacturing (automation did that); they have, however, contributed to the resurgence of high-skill manufacturing in the United States to such an extent that we have record numbers of unfilled manufacturing jobs. If Trump were railing about the lack of job training programs, that would be one thing, but he is not, of course. Constructive measures that do not involve attacks on others are of no concern to him. He’s simply casting about for targets for white, lower-class rage.

See that hotlink to the article about unfilled high-skill manufacturing jobs? Trump would better serve his constituency by coming up with a jobs-training plan to fill those jobs, rather than feeding the Trumpkin Sturmabteilung's unreasoned and unreasoning anger. He can't get the votes by appealing intellectually; he has to resort to feeding hate and discontent, by generating racist hatred, by pushing the buttons of 'blue collar' America. We can see that blue collar hate and discontent all over Facebook. There is no reason at all to it. It feeds on mindless Internet memes, few if any of which are rooted in any kind of fact. Trump revels in it, like a swine rolling in a feces-filled wallow.

But it gets even better. Rubin goes on:

Trump’s defenders seem to demand that we treat member of his base delicately for fear of ruffling their feathers and damaging their self-esteem. When you play the “Hollywood makes fun of us” card, you get perilously close to political correctness and emotional feebleness, not things Trump and his ilk are supposed to promote. Even worse, complaining that other people don’t wish them “Merry Christmas” — and then transforming that into a war against Christianity — is victimology rarely seen outside the “safe spaces” on college campuses.

There it is. Trump feeds the pity party. The very people who rant and rave about 'political correctness' are among the worst of the self-pitying whiners.

Where are the all-American values in that?

Deuteronomy 10:18

When America was more welcoming to refugees

Never let a good bible verse get in the way of red-blooded all-American patriotic values ... apparently, in the minds of the God-fearing 'Christian' Right/evangelicals/bible-thumping Trumpkins, God only meant that to apply when there was no risk, no difficulty, no inconvenience, and no cost.


The Birther aborts ...

Ol' Foot in Mouth admits that Obama was born in the USA.

How's that sitting with the Trumpian Sturmabteilung who drank the Kool-Aid?

Well ... they can always keep on with the "Obama is a Muslim" line.

14 of Trump's birther claims, most of which are a variation of his 'many people are saying ...' or 'a lot of people ...'

Wells Fargo Fiasco

In Wells Fargo Scandal, the Buck Stopped Well Short

Anyone who has any kind of account with Wells Fargo - checking, credit card, retirement funds - should be following this story.

Wells Fargo has reportedly fired over 5,300 employees who were involved in the scandal. Yet the head cheese of the division where all this occurred, is skating off to retirement.

Instead of bearing any responsibility for this scandal, Carrie Tolstedt, the divisional senior vice president for community banking who supervised the 6,000 retail branches where the wrongdoing took place, is retiring, taking with her millions in stock and options.


Despite knowing about the widespread misconduct on her watch, Wells Fargo gave Ms. Tolstedt a glowing farewell. John Stumpf, the chief executive, called her a “role model for responsible leadership” and “a standard-bearer of our culture.” Her compensation — more than $27 million over the last three years — has never been dinged as a result of these problems.

A 'role model for responsible leadership?'  They paid her more than $27 million to oversee this fiasco, and she gets to retire completely intact, whilst the minor minions are hung out to dry?

Well, they should be.

But so should she. What about that buck-stopping?

From another article:

"I didn't sign up for any bloody checking account," Kennedy, who is 57 years old, told CNNMoney. "They lost me as a banking customer and I have warned family and friends."


Meanwhile ... Congress is getting into the act:

Wells Fargo drumbeat grows louder. House launches investigation

The videos accompanying the story are pretty good, too.

The emails

Colin Powell's emails, hacked by the minions of Ol' Foot in Mouth's bestest friend in the world, Bad Vlad, are a down home hoot:

Powell emails were leaked on a site linked to the Russian government

Some of the more colorful excerpts:

On the head of the Clinton Crime Syndicate:

“I would rather not have to vote for her, although she is a friend I respect. A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still d-----g bimbos at home (according to the NYP).”

On Ol' Foot in Mouth:

“Yup, the whole birther movement was racist,” Powell wrote to journalist and former aide Emily Miller on Aug. 21. “That’s what the 99% believe. When Trump couldn’t keep that up he said he also wanted to see if the certificate noted that he was a Muslim.”


“He is at 1% black voters and will drop. He takes us for idiots,” Powell wrote. “He can never overcome what he tried to do to Obama with his search for the birth certificate hoping to force Obama out of the presidency.”

It's a pretty good article, well worth a read.

I wish he had run for president. But he's too smart for that; why take all the crap that gets dished out.


More Swinkian 'blue collar' thinking

So ... still examining Wendy Lucero's premise that Scott Amrhrein represents Swink's 'blue collar' demographic ...

We get considerable insight into how Lucero and Amrhein see the Swinkian 'blue collar' view, through Amrhein's exercise of his First Amendment rights:

Hmmmm ...

So just what is meant by 'blue collar?'

blue-col·lar  adjective North American of or relating to manual work or workers, particularly in industry."their speech and attitudes mark them as blue-collar guys;"

synonyms: manual, wage, industrial, factory; informal lunchpail
"blue-collar work"

Speech and attitudes.

"Suck my motherfucking dick ..."

That explains the attitudes of this school board when it comes to responding to the concerns of the community.

I'd like to thank Ms. Lucero for clarifying all this for the community.

"Blue collar" representation

The recent article in the local fishwrapper has Swink's Wendy Lucero going on about how school board member Scott Amrhein represents the 'blue collar' people of the community.

Others go on about how Amrhein is just expressing his First Amendment rights.

We are in agreeance in that Amrhein is 'just expressing his First Amendment rights.'

I'm not so sure he is representing the 'blue collar' people of the community.

'Blue collar' humor?

I guess I'm missing the 'blue collar' humor.

I guess I'm still missing the 'blue collar' humor

Still not getting it. Perhaps a Swinkian 'blue collar' person can point out the funny part for me?

When it comes to terrorists, this is how I see 'blue collar' America. I like to think this is all of America. I guess I'm wrong. Perhaps I should dress up like an ISIS executioner as a demonstration of Swinkian 'blue collar' humor? Anyone want to volunteer to play the roles of the beheadees?

Let's look at those First Amendment rights Amrhein is expressing. He's an American citizen. He has those rights. He can express them. So does this guy:

How well is that working for 'blue collar' Swink?

Why is Amrhein's expression of his First Amendment rights ok with 'blue collar' Swink ... but Kaepernick's are not.

Is Amrhein's thinking, as we perceive through his expression of his First Amendment rights, a demonstration of the thought processes we want guiding our kids' and grandkids' educations?

Hillary Clinton expresses her First Amendment rights every time she opens her mouth, demonstrating her thought processes. 

How well does that sit with 'blue collar' Swink, in determining her fitness to sit as the President of these United States?

Lucero's statement doesn't say much for the intelligence and thinking ability of 'blue collar' America, much less 'blue collar' Swink. How does that sit with 'blue collar' Swink?



It's an interesting thing, how rumors and gossip ebb and flow through a community.

Some time back - a few years ago - it became apparent that we had somehow shit in the Swinkian Wheaties ... 'we' being Leece and me. We chalked it up to the usual small-town/church gossip. In small towns, they are often one and the same.

We were - and are - an unusual couple. One of those May-December things, and of course, we did not go through a 'proper' waiting period, either.

Gossip in The Smile Hi is nothing new. I remember back in 1979, having this conversation with Joe Clay down at the Pizza Hut, then a favorite watering hole for the cops and reserve cops.

"It's a small town, kind of isolated," Joe said, speaking then of La Junta, but there isn't much difference. "You shouldn't be surprised when people resent inter-racial couples." Inter-racial couples were still very unusual back then. Not so much now, but back then, very much so.

I am accustomed to being half of an 'unusual couple.'

I wasn't surprised in the least by Joe's revelation.

At that time, my first wife, Sue, and I had been bag-dragging around the world and the country for 8 years or so. We had met up in Nakhon Phanom, on the Thai-Laotian border, and a year or so later had gotten married in Bangkok.

We had discovered this fact of American rural life in Kansas, in Oklahoma, in Louisiana, in Texas - though surprisingly Texas was not so bad as the Bible Belt; that was the worst. We chalked that up to Sue being Theravada Buddhist ... though what the hey, at least she wasn't Catholic. Evangelical bible-thumpers can usually handle Buddhists; it's the Catholics, Jews, and Mormons they can't stand.

But like I was saying, the gossip is nothing new. It had quieted down considerably after we started keeping much more to ourselves, but it's still out there, and this dustup over the school board has brought it right up to the top again. It's a form of that 'backlash' Adam Jones was talking about.

Recently, I heard a new one. Sue was, apparently, a 'mail-order bride.'

Let's get this straight for the gossip record ... Sue considered herself to be a 'war bride.' That is much different from being a 'mail order bride.'

A 'mail order bride' is usually brokered sight unseen. You know, like rich hotel magnates latching on to Eastern European babes.

A 'war bride,' on the other hand, is well-known to her GI husband, since the GI husband is stationed in the war bride's homeland, during a war (hence the term 'war bride'), and there certainly was a war going on at the time. We were immersed in it; but that's all another story, and quite an exciting one, too. The courtship process evolves in much the same manner as it does here in the states, though colored somewhat by different customs and cultural twists, and the Siamese are an ancient culture with lots of different customs and cultural twists. I wouldn't expect anyone who hasn't been exposed to much in the world to understand that, but there it is.

So Sue was a 'war bride,' and we bag-dragged around Southeast Asia and this country and Europe over a span of 34 years.

And then, as Forrest Gump says, "She had got the cancer and she died on a Tuesday."

If you haven't been through that, well ... you can't possibly understand it. And if you had been through it,  you certainly wouldn't be so crude and low-rent as to be spreading gossip about it.

But let's keep the record straight. Sue was not a 'mail order bride,' she was a 'war bride,' if that isn't too difficult a concept for some of our friends and neighbors to grasp.

Leece's husband, Gordon, was a much-loved pastor. Leece was a pastor's wife. They had a good life together. They had three boys, and they had been doing a fine job of raising them.

And then the cancer got Gordon.

If you haven't been through that, well ... you can't possibly understand it. And if you had been through it, you certainly wouldn't be so crude and low-rent as to be spreading gossip about it.

So the second bit of gossip here, that Leece and I were having an affair while our respective spouses were dying of cancer, is particularly low rent, even for ignorant hicks who can't be expected to know much about manners and decency. I mean, c'mon ... the timeline doesn't even fit. How about making the gossip at least fit some of the fact pattern. No ... wait ... it's gossip. It doesn't have to fit a fact pattern.

The third bit of gossip, that Leece 'made' the church buy her the house in Swink and remodel it, obviously comes out of that church. Given that the Swinkians who attend that church are fairly limited in number, it isn't all that hard to figure the likely source. But here's the deal ... we just paid off the mortgage on that house. If the church 'gave' her that house ... why was there a mortgage? There's that pesky fact pattern thing again ...

Not to worry ... I'm sure the gossips in that church will pee their pants in their haste to fill in the juicy details of it all.

You guys have missed a fourth one, though, and a pretty good one if I do say so myself.

The boys all collected Social Security survivor's benefits. I'm surprised you haven't figured that out. If you had, you could have been accusing Leece and me of siphoning all that money off for our own benefit, leaving the lads destitute, forced to labor as slaves, doing horrible things like ... their own laundry, and making their own beds, and cutting the grass, and doing household chores.

Wait ... that slave thing is one of the rumors ... that the boys were forced to labor in slave-like manner while Leece did nothing to save them from Me, the mean old step-dad. Yeah, you had that one ... you just missed the Social Security bennies. Don't you feel really stupid over that, especially since I had to point it out to you?

How about coming up with some better stuff to spread around. Try to come up with some arguments and points relative to the school board dustup. This gossip? This is just ... smallville venom, and it's ancient history. Please try to be more imaginative in the future. Play on that 'unusual couple' thing, with a more modern twist. Start spreading it around that we're both trans-gender or something, and we used the boys' Social Security bennies to pay for the secret operations.  I mean, like ... Jeeezus. Get some imagination.

Backlash? True dat ...

Speaking out has a price.

Adam Jones observed that fact, in his comments about how MLB is a 'white man's sport,' which is why he will not sit out the national anthem - though he agrees with Kaepernick's position.

"There's going to be backlash, of course there is," Jones added. "Because people don't like the truth."

We looked at that in our post, '... cessation of thinking ...', which is based on Alexis de Tocquville's concept of 'tyranny of the majority.' Or if not the majority, then a 'tyranny of the masses.'

We have seen that in the backlash over the recall petition and the lack of action by the Swink school board.

Apparently, unless one's great-great-granddaddy handed out free watermelons with George Swink, one needs to keep one's mouth shut. One has no right to speak up. Or, one can speak up, as long as it meets the approval of the Great, the Near-great, or the Merely Self-important of Swinkian society.

Much has also been said about how the school board member who is the focus of all the attention has the First Amendment right to post whatever he wants on his personal FaceBook page.

That's right. He does. No one has ever disputed that.

However ... the insight those postings provide is what has led to the recall petition.

One may have the right to post whatever one wants, but one shouldn't whine about the reaction when other people question how those postings relate to one's mindset and outlook relative to the public position one holds.

We tell the kids to be very careful about what they post on FaceBook. We tell them not to post anything that brings discredit or dishonor to themselves, or the school, or the community.

Why does that not apply to school board members. If we expect a certain amount of self-discipline, of dignity and decorum, from out kids ... why not the members of the school board?

One can post whatever one wants ... yep, that First Amendment thing works really well, doesn't it.

Ask Colin Kaepernick about that.

You don't get to pick and choose who gets to exercise those rights, or in what manner.

Salida Fiber Festival

Here's a short post on the Pizer,  on our recent trip to the Salida Fiber Festival.

The 5th Annual Salida Fiber Festival



Clinton was right: Trump HAS lifted up the deplorable

This essay is right on the money.

An excerpt:

It is deplorable to undermine the credibility of a federal judge based on his Mexican heritage.

It is deplorable to demean a Gold Star family and propose to ban all Muslims from entering the United States.

It is deplorable for a candidate for president of a major party to kick off his campaign by labeling most Mexicans as rapists and murderers.

It is deplorable when the Justice Department feels it has to sue you a second time for racial discrimination because you didn't get the hint the first time.

It is deplorable to play footsie with David Duke, to repeatedly retweet white nationalists and false stats about black men and crime, to praise the enthusiasm of supporters who beat a homeless Hispanic man in Boston and punch a black man at rally, to say black people have a lazy trait and have them ushered off the casino floor when you show up.

It is deplorable to rise to national political prominence on the bigotry that is "birtherism," even more deplorable to have neither the character nor the courage either publicly to renounce or repeat that assertion while touting your supposed toughness as a primary reason to vote for you.

It is deplorable that the list of deplorable things done and said by the Republican nominee for president is so long it's hard and exhausting to try to remember them all.


But what's most deplorable is the knee-jerk pushback against anyone who dares point out this reality, as though exposing the deplorable is worse than the deplorable things themselves. Maybe the best way to avoid being labeled deplorable is to stop doing and saying and standing for deplorable things?

The public has struggled as it has grappled with Donald Trump's new brand of bigotry, the promotion of a kind of hate that until now had existed at the far margins of politics and was censured by all decent people when it crept into the public discourse.

It was a stupid thing for the head of the Clinton Crime Syndicate to say ... for in elections, 'truth is no defense.'

But that does not negate the truth of it.

"Oh, I say! Nice shot!"

Sniper takes out ISIS executioner from a mile away

The British Special Air Service marksman turned one of the most hated terrorists in Syria into a fireball by using a Barett .50-caliber rifle to strike a fuel tank affixed to the jihadi’s back, the UK’s Daily Star reported Sunday.

From the Daily Star:

SAS hero takes out ISIS fighters from 1km away

The Jerry Springer Show

The 'discussion' over the school board dustup looks like a re-run from the Jerry Springer show - at least, that which we see on Facebook.

There is little 'reasoned discourse' going on, at least, not on social media.

It really looks like a Jerry Springer show.

If you don't know what I mean by the Jerry Springer show, here it is. It really kicks in at 2:20, if you can watch it that long:

Not much difference in mindset there. None, in fact.

That's too bad.

The school board is quite important. We have seen over the last several years how a school district can deteriorate, when left in the charge of board that is incapable of making reasoned decisions, or keeping a lid on 'personnel matters,' or keeping up with what is required of a school district in the 21st century.

How many teachers has Swink lost?

The teacher exit has been going on for quite some time. When Carol Lockhart jumped ship, we wondered what was going on. When several others followed, we wondered what was going on.

Things continued on ... until ... for whatever reason, Jody Ryberg Sniff decided to pull the plug.

Then we saw the 'torchlight mob' organized by Judy Ryberg Reyher (anyone see the connection there?) which marched on the board meeting and splattered poop everywhere.

It's amazing how that happened. The people who made up the 'torchlight mob' sat idle while all those teachers left, yet followed like the children of Hamlin when Reyher took it a bit personally.

Where was all the Outrage!™ before?

Well ... actually, I can't blame anyone for not leaping into the fray. We've all seen what kind of a reaction you get when you dare to challenge the existing regime. And in any case, when all you have is three minutes, and the board is going to do nothing but sit there in a glassy-eyed state, thank you for your input, and then ignore it ... what's the point?

Sniff is a highly respected guidance counselor. She has earned that respect. The students have relied upon her for sound advice, as have their parents.

So the board reacted to all that rising Outrage!™... and canned the superintendent.

If the superintendent ... the 'former' superintendent ... was the cause for all the angst within the school district staff, why did it take the 'torchlight mob' to bring about a change?

Why did the board sit there and do nothing, as all those teachers - many of whom are also highly respected - pulled up stakes and went elseplace?

The board calls the shots in the district. You can blame the former superintendent all you want, but the bottom line is this:

The school board is responsible ... and the school board did nothing, until faced with a figurative lynching.

Then, we got some insight into the mental workings of at least one board member, and things started falling into place.

We need adults, capable of thinking and reasoning like adults, to oversee the education of our kids and grandkids.

Yet now that the board has been challenged, what we are seeing is like watching a re-run of a bad Jerry Springer episode. If you were on the outside, looking at this, perhaps considering re-locating to Swink, for whatever reason ... and saw this nonsense going on in the district where your kids would go to school ... what would be your reaction? What impression does this give, of Swink?

All the supporters of Scott Amrhein are doing is showing their asses, and demonstrating why the board has been so ineffective, and why a recall is so necessary.

I am sure there are some reasonably well-educated parents, in the thirty-somethings and forty-somethings, who have enough life experience, smarts, and critical thinking skills to take over this school board and run things in a manner that will make sure our kids and grandkids have good teachers and good programs, in a stable environment.

Otherwise, it will not be long before we start seeing the decline manifested in falling test scores and other performance measurements.

Meanwhile, here is a useful tidbit:

Understanding Colorado School Finance and Categorical Program Funding


Another good one from Fr. Rohr

Humility and Honesty

An excerpt:

Similarly, meaning is not created; it is discovered. There is nothing new under the sun in terms of the soul. Our universe is an enchanted one. The twentieth century added nothing to the wisdom of the soul. It was all there already. It is still all there. You’re not going to be appreciably better than your grandma (or some pre-modern ancestor), even with all your education; in fact, I hope you’re as free as she was when you die. I hope you can say “I love you” as she did when you die. The great patterns are always the same: either fear or love, illusion or love. Healthy religion is always about love. All we can do is get out of the way.

"... a cessation of thinking ..."

The majority’s moral power makes individuals internally ashamed to contradict it, which in effect silences them, and this silencing culminates in a cessation of thinking.

                                                           - Alexis de Tocqueville, "Democracy in America"

"Democracy in America" is one of the four great documents that every American should study, as a minimum, in order to grasp what we as a nation and a people are all about.

There is the Constitution, of course, which includes that afterthought, the Bill of Rights, and the rest of the amendments.

There is the Declaration of Independence.

There is The Federalist Papers (all in one tome, now, so we can use the singular).

And there is Democracy in America.

There are many others, of course, that help educate us as to who and why we are, but I believe these are the four essentials.

Tocqueville had great hopes for America. We can see that in his writing. But several things concerned him deeply; among the most significant of these was what we call 'the tyranny of the majority' or 'the tyranny of the masses.'

Here is an excellent essay examining de Tocqueville's views on this:

Alexis de Tocqueville Predicted the Tyranny of the Majority in Our Modern World

Here is an excerpt:

Despite his hopes for America, Tocqueville thought grave obstacles would diminish our freedom—though he didn’t think them insurmountable.

Most alarming to him was the power of the majority, which he thought would distort every sphere of human life.

Despots of the past tyrannized through blood and iron. But the new breed of democratic despotism “does not proceed in this way; it leaves the body and goes straight for the soul.”

That is, the majority reaches into citizens’ minds and hearts. It breaks citizens’ will to resist, to question its authority, and to think for themselves. The majority’s moral power makes individuals internally ashamed to contradict it, which in effect silences them, and this silencing culminates in a cessation of thinking. We see this happen almost daily: to stand against the majority is to ruin yourself.

The mindlessness of the mob becomes that which drives our society.

Our most recent example is the Kaepernick Kaper. The man simply exercised one of our most basic, God-given rights - the right of free expression, the right to protest, the right to stand (or sit, or kneel) and say, "This isn't right!"

And the mob entered upon a feeding frenzy. All those flag-waving, super-patriot, TrueAmericans™ went completely nuts. By God, they were going to teach him all about what America really is if they had to beat him senseless, burn all his jerseys, and ... what? Drag him through the streets and hang him from a bridge?

You think that's overstated? Take another look at the rhetoric.

There is no thinking there; there is no 'Americanism'; there is no understanding, not one whit, of Constitutional values; there is nothing but the mindless mob.

We see that when adherents to a particular religious belief - the JW's, for example - refuse to recite that mindless bit of doggerel, that pointless loyalty oath, the Pledge of Allegiance.

When have Americans been required to recite a loyalty oath? Not even Joe McCarthy managed that one, though he certainly tried, with his vicious witch hunts during the Red Scare days.

Yet flag-waving, super-patriot, TrueAmericans™ went around beating up JW's.

The majority is not always right. We have seen that time and time again.

And even if they are right, the minority has that God-given right to protest, that God-given right to free expression, that God-given right to dissent, even in ways that do not meet the approval of the majority.

What's the point of free speech if you must have the approval of the majority before you can speak?

Do you really think our national cemeteries are filled with people who died so that the mob could rule? So that Americans could be gagged by the majority? So that self-appointed flag-waving, super-patriot, TrueAmericans™ could decide who had the right to speak, and in what manner?

Do you really?

If you do, then you are a perfect example of that 'cessation of thinking' de Tocqueville describes.