The Problem with Kaepernick

Well, there’s two problems actually. In the first place, he’s rude, obnoxious, arrogant and stupid. In the second place, he’s totally misguided. Let me explain.

First, the rudeness.  This has nothing to do with his right to self-expression, or freedom of speech, or anything like that.  It has to do with civilized behavior.  Here’s an example.

Since so many of my good friends are Jewish, I’ve often been invited to their coming of age ceremonies, weddings, funerals and so on.  Similarly with Catholic friends.  Now, I don’t have a religious bone in my body, but many people whom I love and respect do, so out of my respect for them I do two things:  (1) I gratefully accept their invitations to attend such events, and (2) I do not make ostentatious displays of disapproval when I am in attendance.  Both actions are manifestations of the deep respect I have for them.  I respect their beliefs, and I respect their feelings, so I keep my opinions to myself at such times.  My feelings are irrelevant to the purpose at hand.  It is their ceremony, not mine,  and I feel honored to be there.

Although one might argue that I have some sort of “right” to speak my mind on such occasions, I think we can all agree that it would be unconscionably rude to do so.  After all, if I wish to have my opinions known, I can certainly choose to do so at a time and place that will not offend others.  And having a “right” to do something doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

Another case in point:  the Pledge of Allegiance.  Now, I don’t believe in the existence of “gods” and will not be forced, coerced, cajoled or intimidated into saying that I do.  So when it comes to the words “…under God…” I simply remain silent for 1 second.  I could, of course, make farting noises under my arm, or flap my arms like a chicken, or turn my back on the flag for 1 second, or do any number of other rude things to indicate my disagreement with the majority.  

I do none of those things, however.  To do so would be offensive and rude, and I try to walk through life being neither of those.  If I really feel the need to notify others of my opinion, there are many different places and times for me to do that.  As in the case of religious ceremonies, it would be very, very wrong of me to hijack someone else’s deeply personal ritual of respect for my own purposes, especially when there are so many alternatives.

The singing of the National Anthem is a time-honored tradition, one in which all attendees stop what they are doing to stand silently and recognize the tremendous sacrifices our forefathers made for the freedoms we enjoy today.  It is a solemn moment when we can pause in our daily lives and remember how we came to be here, the tremendous price that’s been paid and those who paid it.  Colin Kaepernick has shown utter disrespect for them by grandstanding like this.

And that is why Colin Kaepernick’s “taking a knee” offends me.  He and others purport to be using “their platform and status” (see this article) to call attention to their beliefs.  As the analogies I provided above show, this is an offensive hijacking of someone else’s platform.  Kaepernick and other so-called “celebrities” have ample opportunity to express their beliefs elsewhere, opportunities that are routinely denied to ordinary non-athletic non-celebrity fact-based logic-toting old fogeys like me.  [I promise, however, that I will not instigate a riot or looting spree to protest this inequity.   And you’re welcome!]

This is a fundamental issue of disrespect — a total lack of understanding of, and respect for, what the flag represents.   It insults the thousands upon thousands of brave men and women who gave the last full measure of devotion to the nation for which it stands.

IT’S NOT HIS PLATFORM, DAMNITALL!  HE’S DOING A JOB, HE’S ON THE CLOCK, HE IS WORKING FOR MONEY AND HIS EMPLOYER HAS EVERY RIGHT TO FIRE HIS ASS FOR SUCH BEHAVIOR!

I don’t care WHY he was doing this.  It just doesn’t matter.  For all I care, he could have been protesting a belief in god or the lack of a good 5 cent cigar, and on both counts I would agree with his thinking.  But although I would agree with him on both counts, I would still condemn him for being such a complete ass for going about it the way he did.  He is effectively thumbing his nose at the patriots who died for his right to do so.  And then he and the other liberal apologists get their wussified knickers in a twist because people are offended.  Well, DUH!

Colin Kaepernick has a right to try such stunts.  And fortunately, the team for which he works has the right to fire his ugly ass for such behavior.  And I’m glad they did.  Unfortunately, many teams apparently allow such behavior, so I’ve decided I won’t watch football at all.  Why should I give my attention to rude behavior?  They can all go pound sand.

And now on to the second problem with Kaepernick: he’s misguided.  Few people know the exact reason he started this.   If you actually know the reason, please state it out loud before continuing.  For the record, here’s a link where he explains himself).  And here’s a link to the video itself.  And finally, here’s a link to his last words, indicating malicious intent towards the officers.  Please, don’t even consider responding to this if you cannot honestly say you’ve watched these videos and read the accompanying text.  

Now after reading those articles and watching the video, I have little sympathy for the victim.  Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.  Watch the videos carefully, read the analyses before you make up your mind.

For Kaepernick to pick this, of all incidents, to protest just seems kind of silly.  He never thought to protest the killings of brave police officers in the line of duty who were ambushed by drug dealers or gang members, or to protest the dozens of senseless black-on-black murders that have rocked the city of Chicago every single weekend for decades, or the child pornography industry, or Nike sneakers being made by slave labor in China.  He never thought to protest the hundreds of thousands of babies cast into medical waste disposal bins in abortion mills.  He never thought to condemn the outright slavery that still exists in some Muslim countries.  It never occurred to him to protest so many other worthy causes.  Why?  Because none of them would have supplied the political cachet that Mario Woods provided.

No, no, no, no no — after failing to become famous by dint of effort and athletic talent, he decided to make a name for himself as a champion of rights by defending a known felon, a gang-banging, knife-toting, drugged-up felon who had already stabbed one man, resisted every non-lethal response and was threatening the life of responding police officers.  [“A blood toxicology exam found that at the time of his death, Woods had methamphetamine, marijuana, cough medicine, antidepressants, caffeine and nicotine in his system.” see this link.] 

Nice work, Mr. Kaepernick.  Real nice.  And for that, you insult the countless thousands of brave Americans and patriots who gave their lives to ensure the very freedom of speech you abuse with such callous disregard for their sacrifice.  As my dear old Great Grandma Armstrong used to say, “Beautiful.  Just fuckin’ beautiful.”

The Shameful Deceit of Heather Cox Richardson

Discussion and debate over COVID-19 policy is a healthy thing – it enables us to get our heads wrapped around the issues. But whether you support or attack getting the country back to work, you should do so honestly, using facts, logic and reason, and refraining from deliberate attempts to deceive.  This is something Heather Cox Richardson – a frequent critic of, well, damn near everything – is unable to do.

Continue reading “The Shameful Deceit of Heather Cox Richardson”

Gaslighting? Really?

A couple of very dear friends posted this article on Facebook recently. At first glance, it seemed like a well-written essay. A bit wordy here and there, somewhat redundant in other places. Not world-class, but certainly literate. The author has a good command of the language, and he writes with engaging passion and enthusiasm. I found myself for a moment getting caught up in it and thinking to myself “Yeah…, yeah!”

Continue reading “Gaslighting? Really?”

The Trojan Horse

Or, Why Joe Biden Scares Me

I had a dream last night. No, not the kind of Martin Luther King dream that is uplifting in its embrace of equality of opportunity and the recognition of the worth of the individual based on his own merits. I had the kind of dream that leaves you in a cold sweat in the middle of the night.

It involved Joe Biden’s pick for VP should he get the nomination, which seems almost certain at this point. There’s been lots of speculation, but only a few have imagined the nightmare scenario that played out in my mind.

Suppose — just suppose — that Sleepy Joe’s handlers (puppet-masters?) decide to make Elizabeth Warren his running mate? Wow — that would certainly capture a certain demographic that would even vote for El Chapo if he identified as a woman. And all sorts of liberals would go ga-ga over his brave choice of a woman while commending him for not going full-idiot and choosing Bernie.

Or, God forbid, they might go old school and take Hillary Clinton out of mothballs, update her pantsuit with a matching N95 mask and prop her up beside ol’ Joe. Lots of people would go for that over a wasted but virtue-signaling write-in vote for a spoiler like Bernie.

But that’s not the horrible part of the dream. The horrible nightmare oh-my-god-I-can’t-stand-this part is the motivation behind it. They want Joe Biden to be president, because they know he’s a doddering, senile fool. The man can’t even read a teleprompter or see where the camera is. He drools when he talks. He can’t construct two decent sentences in a row. He gropes women, and likes to have kids feel the hair on his legs. He hardly knows what year this is.  He can’t speak coherently, even when he’s lying.

And the best part — for the Democrats, that is — is that with him in the White House, there are two possible paths to take:

Option 1: Biden does what he’s told, and his handlers work him like a Jeff Dunham puppet; this will work until there is a public outcry, even for Democrats, to do something about his lack of a mind, in which case they go to …

Option 2: They create an ‘astroturf’ movement to remove him on medical grounds, pretending all the while that it’s a Republican effort. But they’re actually OK with it, because guess who gets to be President then?

That’s right. Think about it, folks. Now you understand why I chose the title.

Hyping Hysteria for Fun and Profit

This news headline sparked my interest.  It reads “New York coronavirus deaths on the rise again after temporarily staying flat, Cuomo says.”

Now, I accept on face value that Cuomo said that.  What I don’t accept is the truth of it.  One data point is not a trend, so it’s absolutely and unequivocally unjustified to say that ‘deaths are on the rise again’.  I repeat, this is absolutely and unequivocally unjustified.  The future may validate the claim, or it may falsify it.  We don’t know yet, and it’s irresponsible to pretend we do.

Here are the facts.

On day N, deaths were 594, on day N+1 deaths were 599, and on day N+2, deaths were 731.

I get that the number today (N+2, April 7, 2020) is higher.  OK.  What annoys me is that Cuomo, and those who follow his words like the Gospel, can look at a few raw numbers and make pronouncements about trends.

This is a discrete function, folks.  The only way we can make reasonable judgments about it is by looking at long term trends, not by looking at individual numbers under a microscope.

For example, suppose that the number of people in New York City who died of rabies each year for the past 10 years was 1.   One person per year, steady as a rock.

Then one year, 2 people die of rabies in the same  year.  Does that mean that the rate of deaths from rabies in NYC has doubled?  Holy cow — call out the National Guard!  Call the President.  Drop to your knees and pray!

Now technically, in some sense, the ‘rate’ has doubled, but only if we understand and accept that the ‘rate’ we are talking about is an inference from discrete and incomplete data.  It is subject to statistical fluctuations and most of all to interpretation.

Suppose that we later discover that both of those two deaths occurred in the same week?  And in the same town?  And in the same house?

Ah, the picture becomes clearer now, as we discover that an elderly couple had a cat, and the cat died of rabies.  They didn’t know about the rabies, so they carried it out to the backyard, kissed it goodbye and buried it.

My point is not that this is the same as the death rate in NYC.  Just that it pays to consider everything we might want to know about numbers before accepting the hype behind them.  And we might want to consider that statistical fluctuations that can lead the unwary into panic.

Remember — the news media has a vested interest in scaring you, because you want to know more about it.  That means more viewers, which means more ad revenue, which means more news, which means more hype, which means …. well, you get the picture.