“Reclaiming my time” is a phrase commonly heard in the House of Representatives to get the floor back when another member is speaking. Maxine Waters made it famous when she cut off Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchen as he tried to bullshit his way through testimony before her committee until the allocated time for questioning ran out. He was wasting her valuable time and she wasn’t having it. Getting away from politics, maybe reclaiming our time is an effective way to improve our lives? Not allowing the precious gift of time to be wasted by people and things of little or no value.
Social media is a huge time waster. While it arguably connects people in many ways. The entire time spent on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc., replaces in-person interaction with real people. As an aspiring writer trying to market a book to literary agents, I’m required to “build a platform,” measured in Twitter and Instagram followers and Facebook friends. While I need to put in work on social media, I don’t owe it my life. I’ve found more productive things to do than see what’s trending.
Get some exercise. As someone who has pounded his feet flat over a lifetime of playing basketball. I can attest that there’s some kind of exercise everyone can do that will improve your health and is a far more valuable use of time than posting selfies.
Turn off the damn TV! I’m getting better at this. An avowed political junkie. When news breaks I might watch different takes on the same event on multiple consecutive shows. I’m still hooked on Rachel Maddow although I’ll walk away from a guest host in a minute while she’s taking some of her well-earned vacation days. I generally prefer to read my news anyway. It tends to be more factually oriented and logically presented although exceptions abound.
Speaking of reading, I have rediscovered a lost love. In grade school, I almost burned down the house by falling asleep with a lamp under the covers. Reading past my bedtime. If I once loved reading enough to risk my life. It’s certainly worth spending time doing now. Reclaiming my time.
Reclaiming your time is the end result of examining your priorities and making a change. Whether it be your career, relationships, or how you spend your free time. I challenge everyone to recognize those ways you waste your time and reclaim it. Substituting what you were doing with something better.
That Ben Carson is smart is one of those things that must be true. He graduated from Yale University and the University of Michigan Med School. He’s written several books. He literally did brain surgery, he was the first to perform multiple types of surgeries including certain surgeries on a fetus inside the womb and successfully separating twins conjoined at the head. The man’s a genius, the real kind not the stable one.
It hurts me to see him portrayed as stupid just because of a few, okay lots of bad decisions and how bad he looks every time he testifies before Congress. Let’s make one thing clear, Ignorance is not Stupidity! One can not know a damn thing about a subject. Like Carson knows nothing about housing, and still be a really smart guy. Ben Carson is a really smart guy!
So what he’s the Housing Secretary and doesn’t know what REO (Real Estate Owned) properties are. I know but that’s only because I was once a Realtor and dealt with them every day. Ben is an administrator and can’t be expected to know every little thing about housing, even if it represents a huge percentage of what his department is responsible for. Every buyer I worked with knew what REO’s are as they made up a huge part of the market. Every real estate investor in America knows, many small children are aware of REO’s. I suspect everyone in the entire Housing Department is aware of the term. They’ve got him covered.
Ben Carson makes occasional mistakes, we all do. He’s an important busy man and doesn’t have time to keep up with everything he’s responsible for. If he gets a few details wrong from time to time, those aren’t really lies, just misremembrances. When in high school, he says he turned down a scholarship from West Point (which doesn’t offer scholarships). He says he sheltered some white kids during a Detroit race riot though nobody remembers him doing that. Carson says his SAT scores precipitated a Detroit Free Press article that can’t be found, “Carson Gets Highest SAT Scores in Twenty Years” of any student in Detroit public schools. Carson’s scores placed him in the 90th percentile. In Minneapolis, I placed in the 95th percentile and was third in my Sunday School class.
Earlier this week, Carson testified before Congress that he “had no plans to alter” an Obama-era rule protecting LBGTQ people in Federally funded shelters. The next day, his department published proposed rule changes gutting the existing provisions. Rep. Jennifer Wexton, called for his resignation saying the following, “He either lied to Congress or has no idea what policies his agency is pursuing. Either way, it’s unacceptable.” Being a liar doesn’t mean you’re stupid, just dishonest.
That whole situation with the dining room table was blown way out of proportion and could have happened to anyone. What had happened was… his wife was the one who actually spent $31,000 on a dining room set. Maybe it was questionable the way threw her under the bus when deflecting blame but that’s a character flaw and has nothing to do with I.Q.
There are some that say Ben Carson was way over his head when he campaigned for President and again as the head of the Housing Department. His campaign spent over $58 million with almost all going to political consultants and fundraising. Almost none went towards advertising, everybody around him was getting paid though. When he was first named as a possible political appointee. One of his friends said, “The last thing he would want to do was take a position that could cripple the presidency.” There were concerns when he was named the Housing Secretary that his inexperience would be a liability. Inexperience is not stupidity.
In an attempt to find congruency between his brain surgery background and his faux pas as Trump Cabinet member. Some have gone as far as to suggest Carson has some type of autism. He’s an idiot savant when it comes to medicine but helpless in other areas of his life. I reject that notion, Ben Carson is one of the smartest men that ever lived, he must be, isn’t he?
Let me say it was never my intention to babysit four of my grandchildren at once. First, my son texted on Wednesday requesting I babysit his two girls (7 & 6) on Friday night. I texted back, “Sure,” making that a done deal. Later that evening, my youngest daughter (who lives on the opposite end of town) asked if I could see about her six-year-old daughter on Saturday from about 9 -3. The three cousins love each other and it seemed the practical thing was to bring the six-year-old with me when I went to sit at my son’s home. Friday afternoon, my daughter called to ask if I would also keep her one-year-old daughter. I confess to a long pause before replying, “the more the merrier right?”
Without further ado, these are some of the things that got said:
“Don’t pick up the baby!”
“Take that out of your mouth!”
“Don’t give her that!”
“Do you know the meaning of tattle-tale?”
“No hiding upstairs.”
“Put the baby down!”
“If anybody else tattles, you’re all going to take a nap!”
“Don’t spin the baby around!”
“Stop standing on the chair!”
“Would your mother let you do that?”
“How did you break it?”
“Because I’m the adult!”
“No, you can’t go home.”
“Put the baby down.”
“Nobody likes a tattle-tale!”
“What were you thinking?”
“Call me again, but not for a few weeks!”
Special guest comment from the kid’s grandmother. “He’s watching them all at once? Oh my!”
This question has become a standard one asked of nominees to the Supreme Court and Federal Judgeships to assure onlookers that if confirmed, the Judge/Justice will be fair to members without regard to race. The standard answer used to be, “Of course, it’s a landmark decision declaring segregation was Unconstitutional.” Now, the answer has become something like, “It would be inappropriate for me to comment on a matter which might come before the Court. That’s the kind of answer Wendy Vitter gave today during her confirmation hearing. She needn’t have worried about anything she said. Senate Republicans confirmed her anyway. She’s also given speeches saying abortion causes cancer and Planned Parenthood kills 150,000 women a year so there’s that.
A cynic might suggest that reply is a wink and a nod to those who support segregation and would like to see it return even faster than it already is. I suspect that no one will ever give the correct answer. That while Brown V. Board could not help but declare segregation Unconstitutional, the decision which called for its decision to be implemented, “With all deliberate speed,” made the decision not a landmark one but one of the weakest of all-time, in some cases almost useless.
On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court made equal opportunity in education the law of the land. But it was a law without teeth or a timeframe. The immediate impact after the cheering subsided was almost nothing. Most schools, particularly in the South, continued to be segregated. Receiving resources separately but decidedly not equally for decades while nothing happened. Ultimately, the Federal Government had to step in and issue desegregation orders to force school districts to comply. These were typically dropped over time if districts agreed to Consent Decrees and monitoring until they demonstrated compliance. In Tuscon, AZ a desegregation case was filed in 1974. Twenty years after Brown v. Board. In 1976 the Federal Government intervened but it wasn’t until 2013 that a Consent Decree was reached to provide equality for African American and Native American students. As you might imagine, the Trump Administration cut staffing for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department and is looking to see how many of the 170 Consent Decrees that remained when they took control could be eliminated.
We also see the huge push for public funding of Charter Schools let by an Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos who came from the private school industry. Schools, in general, are creeping back to segregation levels not seen since shortly after Brown v. Board was announced. You could make the case that Brown v. Board was not only not correctly decided, but doomed to failure due to the lack of will and funding pushing compliance and the lack of penalty for refusing.
When the case went to the Supreme Court, Thurgood Marshall argued that “school segregation was a violation of individual rights under the 14th Amendment.” He added, “the only justification for continuing to have separate schools was to keep people who were slaves as near that stage as possible.”
Chief Justice Earl Warren, delivered the unanimous ruling: “We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” He talked a good game, but the words “with all deliberate speed” made them near meaningless.
It’s almost certain at the next confirmation hearing for a Federal Judge or Supreme Court Justice. Someone will pose the question about whether Brown v. Board was decided correctly. It’s a virtual certainty, no one will have the guts to reply, “Hell no,” and go on to explain how the Court undercut what should have been a game-changer. It was still a landmark ruling, one that clearly spoke that Justice is something we talk about and not something we do!
Posse Comitatus comes up in the news from time to time. It’s the Federal Act signed by President Rutherford B. Hayes in 1878 that limits the ability of the Federal Government to use Federal military power to enforce domestic laws. With a few exceptions, the military can’t use its power to enforce state and local law.
The Trump administration is frustrated by its inability to use the military to enforce parts of its immigration policy. In fact, almost every President since Hayes has felt constrained in some manner by Posse Comitatus and many have gone to great lengths to get around it. One might reasonably ask, why was there a need for such an act in the first place? The answer is that it was Part 2 of the deal Republicans and Democrats made to settle the highly contested Presidential election of 1876. Democrat Samuel Tilden of New York beat Rutherford B. Hayes in the Popular Vote and was leading in the Electoral College 184–165 with 20 contested Electoral votes uncounted. Republican Hayes would have had to have been awarded all twenty votes to eke out a one-point victory to win the Presidency.
The next part of the story requires you to set aside any current perceptions you may hold about the Republican and Democrat Parties. The Republicans very basis for existence was related to the elimination of slavery, can be credited for much of what happened to free the slaves and offer various protections ensuring slaves had a chance to adjust and in some cases thrive. There was no 40 acres and a mule but there were Federal Troops left in the South to protect the slaves from retaliation and ensure their civil rights. The freedmen began to vote and gained representation in elected offices with over 1,500 black men elected to office during Reconstruction (1863–1877). Florida had the most overall black elected officials, Mississipi was the only state to elect blacks to their State Senate.
Prior to the Civil War, Democrats had a northern and southern faction, divided over slavery. Northern Democrats thought the issue of the expansion of slavery into western states should be decided by each state. Southern Democrats felt the more the merrier, slavery uber alles. Although Democrats had won all but two Presidential elections between 1828 and 1856, their lack of cohesion allowed Republican Abraham Lincoln to win the 1860 Election. After the war, Democrats solidified their hold on the South, opposing civil and voting rights for African Americans.
When the Democrat Tilden apparently won the Presidential Election, it seemed had they would survive any challenge yet in the Compromise of 1877, they agreed to let the Republican Hayes be declared the victor. Tilden won the popular vote and likely the Electoral College. What could compel the Democrats to agree to let Hayes become President, given that Republicans also had firm control over Congress? Democrats would have absolutely no power in that scenario, what would be worth that trade? They got their greatest wish, The Compromise of 1877 called for Hayes to become President, and the removal of Federal Troops from the South and effectively ending Reconstruction. Posse Comitatus, signed into law in 1878, ensured Federal Troops would never return.
Democrats and Republicans sold out black people for their own needs. Democrats wanted the troops out and immediately ushered in Jim Crow and overt white supremacy. Democrats wanted the troops out and to fully reassert their control over the South which would last until the 1960s when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Voting Rights Act. “Dixiecrats” continued their flight to the Republican Party which gladly accepted them. Johnson opined Democrats would “lose the South for a generation.” He wildly underestimated the situation. Republicans pointed to use of Federal troops to end the Great Railroad Strike of 1877 as a reason to support the measure other than knowingly turning their backs on the black people their party once formed to protect. The Party of Lincoln had pushed aside their ideal to win a Presidency. President Hayes had been a staunch abolitionist that had defended refugee slaves in court. He also turned his back when the South returned to as close to slavery as it could. It was part of the deal.
Posse Comitatus has been updated a couple of times over the years. In 1956, it was Amended to include the Air Force. Was it a coincidence this happened just after the Supreme Court called for the forced integration of schools in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954? In 1915 when the Coast Guard was formed, it was specifically excluded from Posse Comitatus as was the National Guard previously. It was the Oklahoma National Guard that bombed and strafed black citizens of the Greenwood section of Tulsa in 1921 in the area known as “Black Wall Street.”
Note: I first became aware of Posse Comitatus after viewing an episode of “West Wing” involving the assassination of a terrorist that was also a diplomat. The show accurately named the act and when it was passed, making no mention of its origins. Its origin never comes up whenever it comes up on the news. It should.
The NRA got a piece of this action too! All of them joined forces in California to repeal a law permitting the open carry of loaded firearms. The reason that Ronald Reagan was able to pass bipartisan legislation while Governor of California in 1967 was one of the most unifying concerns of white America. The fear of black men with guns.
It started in Oakland when the Black Panther Party started engaging in what would come to be called, “Copwatching.” Armed Panther members, exercising their legal right to openly carry firearms, began observing the police while they carried out their duties, documenting misconduct and police brutality. One might reasonably ask, “Was there any evidence Oakland police was engaging in any activity worthy of being documented?” There are widely varying versions as to who was doing what during those years. What is not in dispute is that armed Black Panthers routinely followed patrol cars with both loaded weapons and the statute book governing police conduct. Passage of, The Mulford Act, did little to deescalate problems as after it became law, there were multiple shootouts between Oakland Police and Black Panther members leading to deaths on both sides. Each side claimed having been ambushed by the other.
The Mulford Act was authored by Don Mulford (R) from Oakland and cosponsored by Democrats John Knox from Richmond, Walter Karabian from Monterrey Park, Alan Sieroty from Los Angeles, and Republican William Ketchum from Bakersfield. It passed the Democrat-controlled Assembly and the split State Senate. During debate of the Bill, armed Black Panthers legally protested at the Capitol, perhaps guaranteeing the law’s passage. Reagan signed the bill saying, he saw “no reason why on the street today a citizen should be carrying loaded weapons” and that guns were a “ridiculous way to solve problems that have to be solved among people of good will.” Later he said, “the Mulford Act would work no hardship on the honest citizen.” Can you imagine any Republican saying that today? Among the law’s provisions was that an officer could make an arrest without a warrant if they had good reason to believe the person carrying the gun was violating the statute. In actual use, not only Black Panthers but black people carrying guns were targeted and the law was used in a highly selective manner to target blacks and minorities. This is the same city during the same time period where the Hell’s Angels were taking root and establishing a national presence.
By the 1980s when there was no black menace threatening them, Reagan, the NRA, and the Republican Party all switched their stance on gun control. They all became 2nd Amendment hard-liners, desiring for armed citizens to be a line of defense against a tyrannical government. Today armed militias have the full support of the NRA, many politicians, and Fox News. No need to wonder if they’d feel the same if those militias were black? We’ve already seen what happens then.
Greek playwright Aristophanes wrote the play Lysistrata, first performed in the year 411 BC. A comic account of Greek women forcing men to end the Peloponnesian War between Greek states by denying sex to men across the land until they did so. The women accurately pointed out that they too are affected by the war, sacrificing husbands and sons to the conflict between people who seemingly had a lot in common and little reason to fight. 2,430 years later, Lysistrata is trending on Twitter. A suggested strategy to keep men from exerting control over women’s bodies. Most recently highlighted by a Georgia law making abortion illegal after 6-weeks, often before a woman knows she’s pregnant.
The current spotlight on Lysistrata, suggests women engage in a #SexStrike to force men to comply with the demand that men stop using women’s bodies as a means to accomplish a political end. Spike Lee suggested something similar in his 2015 film “Chi-Raq” where women were encouraged to withhold sex to stop the violence in Chicago.
The response on Twitter is illuminating, not always in ways originally intended. Many women support the cause including prominent activist and actress Alyssa Milano.
“Our reproductive rights are being erased. Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on.”
Another woman sympathized with the cause but suggested another path.
“ Rape has nothing to do with sex — it’s about hatred and power, the same causes of women being stripped of their rights. A #SexStrike won’t bring back our rights — voting, supporting women candidates, running for office, and fighting like hell will.”
Imani Gandi, a legal analyst for Rewire News wrote:
“Alyssa Milano is back being ridiculous again I see. What is a sex strike going to do besides reinforce patriarchal notions that women have sex only to please men? Lysistrata is not an effective organizing tool. Instead, fuck whomever and support abortion funds. #SexStrike”
What the women in the Lysistrata were able to accomplish was 100% buy-in. That could be accomplished in a fictional play, but not in real world 2019. The play included a chorus of old women who took out the chorus of old men that wanted the war to continue. In modern times, old men hold all the strings of power; the media, the courts, Congress, State Legislatures, and the Presidency. They have created a chorus of their own, media sources that tell them they’re right to control women and their bodies because they don’t deserve to make choices for themselves.
Twitter had supportive males:
“I’m all for this #SexStrike that’s being called for as women fight to prevent men from controlling their bodies, but most of these controlling, ignorant, old men are already likely on their own unintended “sex strike” How about ONLY Women make laws controlling women’s bodies?”
“I fully support the fight for women to have autonomy over their own bodies — including the #SexStrike. (Though I also suspect that those men hateful enough to legislatively subjugate women — aren’t having much sex to begin with, nor do they yield to consent).”
“The problem with the #SexStrike is that the old conservative racist white men who are more concerned with building walls and controlling women’s bodies are likely only getting it at brothels, Florida massage parlors, and when they pay porn stars six figures.”
But then there were the others:
“Literally, Christians have been saying to stop having sex outside of marriage if you don’t want a baby. The response from liberals? “Yeah? We’ll show you! We’re going to stop having sex w/ you!” Our response: that’s all we’ve been asking you to do.”
“It appears liberal women are going on a #SexStrike… Yeah, we good.”
“I’m sorry but I’m not sure how consequential women who don’t shave their underarms and wear vaginas on their head participating in a #SexStrike will be. Not sure these types of women are in any type of particular demand.”
An organized #SexStrike is mainly providing an opportunity to reinforce already existing ideas on every side of the spectrum and without significant participation has little chance to have a significant impact. I submit that in order to work, a group effort won’t work it has to be one-on-one.
Not getting laid by someone you never stood a chance to have sex with will have little to no impact. If the person you actually are sleeping with cuts you off, that’s another matter. If the wives, significant others, and even hook-ups with the men who see no wrong in using their power to control women’s bodies, minds, and actions. These men have always been dependent on an enabling society (men and women). Backed by political parties, television pundits, and organized religion, men of power have been free to exercise it over women without penalty. Their stances even allow them to win elections. What if those same stances meant they lost elections, standing, and sex-life?
In the year 411 BC, men walking around with unattended erections soon ended the war. In real life 2019, a general #SexStrike may have little effect. But a highly localized #SexStrike just might. One man at a time.