Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Sexual Revolution vs The Visual Revolution

Two distinct stories are making the viral Internet rounds this week. And they couldn't be more alike, or more different.

One is the video of a transgender girl (born male) opening up a box of hormones her mother bought for her. After years of therapy, a psychiatrist has prescribed the estrogen, and with tears in her eyes, the young teen was overcome with gratitude to finally get her wish.

The video has gone viral, with help from celebrities like George Takei.

How touching it is.
And it is. It's hard not to feel the emotion and gratitude of the video. Yeah for transgender! Yeah for the new sexual evolution!

And then there is this other story...

"Psychologist Blinds Woman With Drain Cleaner - Because She Wanted to be Blind!"

Jewel Shuping has dreamed of being blind since she was three or four years old. She would walk the halls at night with her eyes closed. By the time she was six, she was comfortable "being blind."

She has always believed that she was meant to be blind. She should have been born blind. It was her greatest desire to be blind.

She saw a therapist for years for Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), a condition in which able-bodied people believe they are "meant" to be disabled. Her desire to be blind was so strong that in 2006 she decided to blind herself - by having a sympathetic psychologist pour DRANO into her eyes.

Most people feel what Shuping did was crazy. How could she mutilate herself like that? How could a therapist actually think this was the right thing to do?

But it begs the question- why is it okay for transgender persons like Caitlin Jenner to permanently alter their bodies? (And even herald them as heroes!) But Shuping is considered crazy? Isn't sexual reassignment surgery just as damaging and permanent as pouring Drano in your eyes?

Why is one okay and the other not?

Is it because one is about sexual desires? Why is sex okay? The thing that must be fought for?

Where is the line between "she should get what she wants" and "she's crazy?"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Carly Nails it on Religion and the Presidency

What I like about the late night talk shows is that the hosts ask the leading question, and let the guest give their answer. Unlike daytime shows or news that ask a biased leading question, and then try to trip up the guest as they answer. Sad when it's the entertainment shows that actually allow the audience to hear what the guest has to say. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Going Team Fiorina

It's still early to really, 100%, completely go all-in with a candidate. After all, there is still way too much time left for skeletons and dark marks to appear. Unless, of course, you are Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and you are your own skeleton.
But as much as you can get behind a candidate this early on, I've decided I'm Team Fiorina.
I like Carly Fiorina's stance on abortion. I feel it's level, fair, and moral.

She's strong on education, and practices what she preaches. She has a master's degree. "You know one of the things this president loves to do is to distract us so I think he is trying to distract us from the fact that we have too many failing high schools in this country by offering community college for free. If we want to educate our children let us make sure that every parent has a choice and a chance to educate their children so that they can fulfill their potential." (Source: Forbes Magazine on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Mar 24, 2015)

Religious liberty is one of the most important topics on my list in this election cycle. Again, I think Fiorina has one of the most level, honest, and balanced answers to the gay marriage questions.

And personally, this interview on CBS This Morning sums up everything I feel about biased media questions and reporting. She completely nails exactly how I feel about voting and women. (And I can't stand Rush Limbaugh!)

So put me down in the Carly Fiorina column. I'm sold!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why I Care Less and Less About Trump

I'm starting to care less and less about Donald Trump running for president. Why? Precedent.
It's taken me a while to remember who his predecessors are, but thankfully, he does have them.

Donald Trump isn't the first three ring circus candidate we've seen ride a very early wave. And all of them have crash and burned before things got real.

Take Rudy Giuliani for instance. Seven years since he ran for president it's hard to remember he was ever a contender. He was fun, he was exciting, and he was an "alternative" candidate to the usual suits, not unlike Trump. But after the fun of the shock and awe wore off, people remembered what they really want in a leader, and it isn't tantalizing soundbites.

Remember in 2011 when Rick Perry was so far ahead of Mitt Romney that no one thought Romney had a prayer?

And then there is the distant memory of Ross Perot. Good old Ross Perot with his pie charts. I was still in high school back then, and a die hard Republican. After watching Perot on TV with his charts and diagrams, I couldn't wait to turn 18 just to vote for him. (Alas, I turned 18 in January, and missed my chance to vote for him by just 2 months.) I interned on Capitol Hill (as a high school intern- really, it's a thing) that year. The congressman I worked for was firmly in the Perot camp. After all, his district had some of the strongest Perot turn out. I can still remember Perot personally calling the congressman one day, and somehow I answered the phone. I put Ross Perot on hold and sprinted down the hall to grab the congressman who was on his way to a meeting. It was the only time I've ever seen him look the tiniest bit frazzled or excited as he sprinted his way back to answer that call.

Anyway, you recall how Perot ended, right? In a Clinton presidency. Perot pulled just enough of the GOP base away (18%), that Clinton beat Bush the First. (Of course, "Read my lips, no new taxes," didn't help Bush much either.)

But more importantly, Perot ended as a third party so-called Reformer candidate. Perot and Trump have a lot in common- both are wealthy businessman, and both like to speak in plain, blunt terms, and don't worry about political correctness. My biggest fear is Trump will follow Perot's footsteps, and cause more harm than good to his party in the long run.

But maybe Trump will stay true to the Republican party? Maybe he he won't. Only time will tell. But precedent tells us he probably won't stand the test of time. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Polls (Why You Shouldn't Believe Most of What You Read)

Tonight I was stupid enough to answer the landline for an unknown number. It was a political pollster call. They said it would only take 2-3 minutes so I said I'd answer their questions.
That was the first lie they told me. (The call lasted nearly 30 minutes. I nearly hung up halfway through.)
They didn't identify who they were calling on behalf of. If they did, they said it so fast I didn't hear it. It was a loud, noisy call, the kind where you hold the phone 6 inches away from your ear so it doesn't get blasted.
The first few questions were generic- name, income, zip code, party affiliation, who did you vote for last time. They asked a few predictable questions like "If the national campaign came down to Jeb Bush v Hillary Clinton who would you vote for?"
But then they asked what month I was born in. And tada, my birth month would be answering questions just about Hillary. And this is where things got weird. And by weird, I mean so completely, inappropriately biased, that I had to decline answering a few. All of the questions were about Hillary and the email server. "The right-wing media has disseminated false information claiming there has been criminal activity. Hillary has done everything she can to be open and forthcoming about her emails, and has done nothing criminal. Does this make you 1. More Likely to Vote Hillary, 2. Somewhat Likely to Vote Hillary, 3. Somewhat Unlikely to Vote Hillary, or 4. Not at All Likely to Vote Hillary?" Uh, wait. I disagree with the statement altogether. I don't believe the right-wing media has disseminated false information, or that Hillary has been forthcoming with her emails. I can't answer that question!
There was never a question about "Do you believe anything Hillary says?"
There were similar questions about "The Republicans have painted Hillary as untrustworthy. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for a Republican?"
Uh, again, I don't agree with the statement, so I can't continue!
By the end of the phone call I realized yet again, how little you can trust a poll. I keep seeing something on Facebook about how Ben Carson beat Trump in a poll. But the truth is, he beat him by less than a tenth of point, in a poll of just 405 registered GOP Iowa caucus voters. So really, they tied, once you consider the margin of error. And Carson isn't even remotely close to Trump in any of the other polls out there.
In other words, Carson isn't really a threat to Trump. Not that I don't wish he was. I'd love to see anyone give Trump a run for his money. I'm not a big fan.
But I digress.
The point here is that you really shouldn't believe most polls. Sometime next week there will be very favorable poll results announced for Hillary. But only because the poll was so slanted in her favor, that they can't help but spin the results their way.

Let's Connect!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Polygamists Use Gay Marriage as a Defense or Right

The infamous polygamist Kody Brown family of the TV show “Sister Wives” has done what conservatives (particularly Mormons) have feared would happen ever since the gay marriage debate began to take hold. They used the same-sex marriage rulings to argue the legality of polygamy.  
The Browns have used this argument before in lower courts with some success. That includes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the court upheld the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, and Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that brought same-sex marriage to Utah. Turley also cites a Supreme Court case that decriminalized all gay sex as sodomy, Lawrence V. Texas.
In short, the Browns’ lawyer is arguing for the decriminalization or rejection of morality legislation. For the same reasons homosexuality was considered immoral and illegal, polygamy has as well. Now that the gay marriage contingent has convinced the world that this was an archaic belief, the polygamists want to make the same argument. If the argument on behalf of gay marriage is that any two people who want to be married should be allowed to do so, why can't polygamists legally marry? Polygamists don't marry one wife to another. They marry the woman to the man. It's still just a marriage of one woman to one man, but the man happens to also be married to another woman. If all parties are clear on the facts, using the gay marriage defense, why shouldn't it be legal? 
"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Turley wrote in his answer to Utah's appeal.
When U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups overturned Utah's ban on polygamy in December 2013, same-sex marriage wasn't mentioned in the ruling. The Browns want the want the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Waddoups' ruling. The state has argued that polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children and that the Browns have not suffered from the law, because they haven't been prosecuted. (They were just threatened with lawsuits and run out of the state.)
It's an interesting legal argument. Why shouldn't polygamy be legalized? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Roanoke Strong Unfolds on Social Media

Photo shared by Daryl Watkins from Creative Dog Media via the City of Roanoke Facebook page. I believe it was created to be shared, and therefore hope Mr. Watkins is okay with me sharing his beautiful image here without his explicit permission. Thank you Mr. Watkins. 

I live in Roanoke, Virginia, the town where the terrible on-air murder of two news reporters happened yesterday. Needless to say, our town is still reeling from the shock of what happened.
Not too surprisingly, in wake of the shooting, the national conversation has turned to gun control. (It's not yet a conversation in this town, and I don't expect it will be for a while.) I've explained my unusual background with firearms before, so I won't do it again today.
This story has hit not just "close to home" for me, but has hit my community, my town, and my world. I work in social media. This is my realm. And now someone has committed an atrocity in both my virtual and physical worlds. Of course I have a few things to say about it!
I can't think of any other instance where someone so flagrantly and blatantly flaunted their crime-in-progress online. I've heard of criminals stupid enough to share their spoils online, never have I heard of a crime-in-progress unfolding online.
The entire premise and concept scares me.
It scares me that someone was so desperate for attention and "glory" (after all, criminals of this nature often have a self-righteous belief that they are doing something good) that they would broadcast their crimes live.
Since the horrific Aurora movie theater shootings, there have been at least two more that I can think of without looking it up. I can't even wrap my head around how many school shootings there have been since Columbine. If there is one thing we have learned from these types of atrocities, it is that they will be copied.
And it all begs the question - will this spurn a new trend in online crime-in-progress streaming?
I pray that it will not. But I think we all know deep down inside, that it is inevitable.
Will it lead to social networks creating filters that search for such activity? (For instance, right now Facebook filters your posts for certain key words like wedding, marriage, birthday, baby, birth, born, etc., and makes sure those posts get seen by more people, using the assumption that people want to know when you get married or have a baby.) Will social networks be forced to start filtering for criminal activity?
I hate the concept, but just 30 hours after the shootings yesterday, I can foresee the need to prevent attention/glory seekers from taking advantage of social media for criminal intent.
(For the record, when I say I hate the concept, I mean I hate that there is going to be a need for it. Also, I hate that it will lead to some controversy about free speech and the First Amendment. I hate any time the First Amendment must be debated in the context of public safety. I love the First Amendment. Hate that it can be abused to hurt others.)
In my version of a perfect world, there wouldn't be crime (obviously). But in my more realistic perfect world (where crime is inevitable because no two people will ever think the same), we would be a better self-policing society. If there is one good thing that came out of yesterday, it is that as the shooter's activities were revealed online, his networks (I won't call them friends) didn't retweet or share his activities. They reported him. They told Twitter and Facebook what he was doing, and got him shut down. This is self-policing at its finest.
But it didn't work perfectly. Because before Twitter and Facebook figured it out and removed the offensive content, there were people out there who did copy and download the images and video. Because, like I said, no two people think alike.
I will let the rest of the world debate gun control and the right to bear arms. But for now, I'm going to focus on what I know best - social media - and work to make the world a better place there.

Let's Connect!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trump v. Sanders

As of 12 noon, on the newest "Black Monday, on Twitter, regarding the market crash today only two presidential contenders had weighed in - Trump and Sanders. And their responses to the crash couldn't be further apart.

Note the difference in the number of retweets and favorites as well. Granted, Trump has 3.85M followers, and Sanders only has half a million. But their online popularity speaks volumes about their real potential as well.
Still, it's interesting to see that in just 160 characters Trump managed to make the market crash about him, while Bernie Sanders solidified his socialist stylings.

Let's Connect!