Book Of Questions | You are given the power to kill people...

You are given the power to kill people simply by thinking of their deaths and twice repeating the word “good-bye.” People would die a natural death and no one would suspect you. Are there any situations in which you would use this power?
— Book of Questions, Gregory Stock

Probably, but everyone I know personally is safe.

At least for the time being.

Book Of Questions | Which sex do you think has it easier...

Which sex do you think has it easier in our culture? Have you ever wished you were of the opposite sex?
— Book of Questions, Gregory Stock

The times they are achangin'.

Here comes a big generalization since American society is hardly consistent or homogeneous but we are less patriarchal than at any time in western civilization's recorded history. Women are entrepreneurs, CEOs, scientists, politicians, techies, creatives, warriors, mothers, partners, and wives.

Yes the times are achangin'.


  • Men still outnumber women in power roles.
  • The wage gap is embarrassing.
  • Some men -- mostly old white men -- still try somewhat successfully to exercise control over women's bodies and reproductive rights.
  • Women are far more likely to be victims of sexual harassment or attack in the workforce and on our college campuses.
  • Single parent homes are more likely to be run by a woman.
  • And don't even get me started on what it must be like to be a woman in some other cultures.

It's easier to be a man. And I've never wanted to trade places.

On Ben Carson, Muslim ShariaLaw and Christian Biblical Law

I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation.
— Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson (9/20/15)

I get it. He's worried that a Muslim would place their religious beliefs and loyalties above the US Constitution. That's the same reason I worry about having a Christian in charge of this nation. Later, when asked to clarify, Dr. Carson said that he guessed it would be okay as long as the Muslim candidate renounced Sharia law. I had thought Carson was stupid, but he's on to something. It would be okay as long as the Christian renounced Biblical law.

Please please please intelligent moderate and conservative Republicans: Start throwing your voices, support, and money behind your other candidates who are less about hate, ego, and pandering to extremists and more about rational political debate and philosophy. I may not agree with your politics, but if your more rational candidates don't get more support soon, they are not going to be able to continue their campaigns and you're going to have a Bozo (or Bozette) representing you in the next election. That's a danger we just can't risk.

Take my symbol. Please. I don't need it.

I get it. 

Most of you who now feel threatened or offended by the controversy surrounding the display of the Confederate flag are not proponents of slavery. You're proud of your heritage and you feel like the U.S. and the rest of the world are progressing past your beliefs. The things you hold dear are being left behind. You want to defend your symbol.

You're wrong.  

If you are proud of your freedom, you should be proud of my freedom. If you rejoice in your rights, you should rejoice in the rights of gay Americans which were recently affirmed by the Supreme Court.  If you ever feel like your liberties are being threatened, you should shout from the highest rooftops in protest when the liberties of ANY Americans are threatened. If you want society to respect your traditions and values, you should be aware and sensitive to how those traditions and values affected (and continue to affect) others.

I don't advocate outlawing any symbol but the only symbols that should be on government lands or buildings are unifying, national (or state-level) symbols. Honestly, even though I was thrilled by the step forward in marriage equality, I was uncomfortable by the White House and SF City Hall being lit in Rainbow Pride colors, but I can live with it being a one time celebratory event. I can't and won't condone someone's religious or divisive symbols on permanent display on government buildings. 

I have as much claim to the Confederate battle flag (the Stars and Bars) as anyone. I was born in and spent my childhood in Texas. My family, on both sides, are from Texas going back at least 4 generations and prior to that, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee are my ancestral homes. If you trace my roots back far enough, you'll see the names of my forebears on the roles of proud Confederate Army units from the Civil War. We weren't big plantation owners; not moneyed landed gentry; there's no Tara in my inheritance. We were regular, small farmers and tradesmen. Did any of my ancestors own slaves? I don't really know. Given the economic evidence, it's doubtful.

I don't need a symbol to be proud of where I'm from. You shouldn't either. And insisting on exercising your freedoms even knowing what evil and pain it represents for many is just down-right mean. Just because you have a freedom doesn't mean it is right (or wise) to exercise it.

Ignorance causes Bigotry

I've never, ever, heard my parents utter a bigoted word. Growing up in our conservative, evangelical household, other people were referred to with God's love. With my grandparents, the prejudice was ingrained, but not outwardly hateful. I remember my grandfather, a poor sharecropper his whole life, sitting there in the 1970s describing a man who would come by to do odd jobs and peddle goods in East Texas: He's a negro BUT really a good boy and hard worker. It was only as an adult I realized the bigotry of such a statement, but it was totally natural to my grandfather. To him, the good qualities of this man were unexpected because he was black. This shows ignorance (or lack of experience) from my grandfather, but not hate.

40+ years later, this type of bigotry still permeates our society. We don't know each other. So unless you are lying about why you want a Confederate flag, give it up. Show some compassion and display instead a symbol of freedom for all. May I suggest the American flag?


Why Oklahoma Lawmakers Want to Ban AP US History -- NYMag

This is just downright scary.

Representative Dan Fisher, who introduced the bill, lamented during Monday's hearing that the new AP U.S. History framework emphasizes "what is bad about America" and doesn't teach "American exceptionalism." 

I'm proud of my country and believe we've done more good than harm over our short history, but that doesn't mean we're always above reproach. It certainly doesn't mean we can't have our kids casting a critical eye on our past, not to mention present and future.

Krieger complained that the [AP] framework portrays the Founding Fathers as "bigots" and suggests that Manifest Destiny was "built on a belief in white racial superiority and a sense of American cultural superiority," rather than "the belief that America had a mission to spread democracy and new technology across the continent," as he put it.

Nope, Mr. Kreiger, the AP framework is closer to being right.

Let's allow our kids to learn from the past (even the bad stuff) so they don't repeat our mistakes.

Why do these targets still exist if we know where they are?

A few days ago, Egypt launched air strikes against ISIS targets in Libya, striking weapons caches and training camps. The strikes were in retaliation for the execution style murders of Egyptian Coptic Christians.

A few weeks ago, in revenge for the murder of a Jordanian pilot, Jordan conducted an air campaign against "ISIS's weapon depots, training centres, warehouses and military barracks."

The United States has been conducting an air campaign against ISIS since last Fall.

Why are there any worthwhile ISIS targets left?

I think it's time ISIS ceased to exist as a viable military force. Yes, I know defeating them and retaking the ground they have conquered will take more, preferably International, military and diplomatic efforts. We will ultimately need to deal with the situation that encouraged dangerous religious fanaticism to grow. BUT, there is no reason we can't wipe their traditional military capability off the map.

NYPD Officers Turn Their Backs On Bill De Blasio; Police Unions Say Mayor Has 'Blood' On His Hands

I don't know how widespread the opinion among New York police officers, but saying that Mayor De Blasio has blood on his hands for the tragic murder of two NYPD officers is neither helpful to anyone, nor correct.

It's certain that any time any group is under pressure, they tend to "circle the wagons" and lash out. The NYPD is mourning and also offended by Mayor De Blasio's previous statements of lukewarm support and his plans to increase training for the NYPD in wake of the death of Eric Garner.

What's wrong with more training? I don't how anyone can objectively and rationally watch the videotaped take down of Eric Garner and his accidental death due to the choke hold applied by a police officer AND NOT believe that the situation could have been handled better. More patience and wisdom -- such as might come from better training -- would probably mean that Eric Garner would be alive and in police custody today with neither the suspect nor law enforcement suffering injury.

Support for the brave men and women in law enforcement does not mean blindly unquestioning their policies, techniques, and training level. Better policing IS safer policing.

It’s unfortunate that in a time of great tragedy, some would resort to irresponsible, overheated rhetoric that angers and divides people. Mayor de Blasio understands this is the time when we must come together to support the families and friends of those brave officers New York City lost tonight — and the entire NYPD community.
— NY Mayor De Blasio's office

The Nation's hearts go out to the families of the fallen officers and the entire NYPD who feel like they are under attack but inflammatory rhetoric and blind, misplaced, unquestioning support have no place in the discussion whether you are supporting the police or minorities.