Teaching teens to be “safe” in school?

Bullets or condoms- both will stop a babyConsider these facts:

In 2015, a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years, for a birth rate of 22.3 per 1,000 women in this age group…

Still, the U.S. teen pregnancy rate is substantially higher than in other western industrialized nations, and racial/ethnic and geographic disparities in teen birth rates persist…

Teen pregnancy and childbearing bring substantial social and economic costs through immediate and long-term impacts on teen parents and their children.

  • In 2010, teen pregnancy and childbirth accounted for at least $9.4 billion in costs to U.S. taxpayers for increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenue because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers.
  • Pregnancy and birth are significant contributors to high school dropout rates among girls. Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school.
  • The children of teenage mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement and to drop out of high school, have more health problems, be incarcerated at some time during adolescence, give birth as a teenager, and face unemployment as a young adult.

These effects continue for the teen mother and her child even after adjusting for those factors that increased the teenager’s risk for pregnancy, such as growing up in poverty, having parents with low levels of education, growing up in a single-parent family, and having poor performance in school.

Source: About Teen Pregnancy | Teen Pregnancy | Reproductive Health | CDC

Teen males don’t get pregnant. So we don’t teach them contraception in school.

But- all kids can get shot, because we have insane gun laws in this country.

School shootings remain extremely rare, representing a tiny fraction of the gun violence epidemic that, on average, leaves a child bleeding or dead every hour in the United States. While few of those incidents happen on campuses, the ones that do have spread fear across the country, changing the culture of education and how kids grow up….

In total, The Post found an average of 10 school shootings per year since Columbine, with a low of five in 2002 and a high of 15 in 2014. Less than three months into 2018, there have been 11 shootings, already making this year among the worst on record.

At least 130 kids, educators, staff and family members have been killed in assaults during school hours, and another 254 have been injured. But the analysis went much deeper than that, exploring the types of attacks, the impact on minority students, the role of armed resource officers, the weapons used and where they were obtained, and the characteristics of shooters.

Source: How many children are affected by school gun violence in America? – Washington Post

130 kids die from school shootings, we invest millions to “train” law enforcement and kids on what to do when confronted with an extremely rare event- yet, birth control, where teen aged boys aren’t shooting blanks- and having real implications to society- we stand by and do nothing.

Like the training in Northmont this week:

Northmont City Schools students will participate in a full-scale safety drill that will include officers shooting blank rounds.

The event will be conducted at the middle school Wednesday and will Include multiple safety agencies and health departments.

The schools and the city of Clayton Public Safety Department will partner with emergency response teams from Englewood, Union, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and Premier Health to conduct the drill.

New Ohio requirements mean schools must conduct a full-scale exercise every three years in every building, according to Jenny Wood, information officer for Northmont City Schools.

The middle school will be the first in the district to conduct the drill, which will focus on staff and student training. There will be several emergency vehicles at the school to support the event.

Students will be on a two hour delay Wednesday. The school day will start at 9:45 a.m., and the drill will last the duration of the day. The students will be given detailed information at the start of the school day and will remain under Northmont staff supervision throughout the experience, according to a release.

Students and staff will participate in various activities. Basic first aid, provided by Premier Health medical specialists, will be taught to students during the drill.

Law enforcement officers in attendance will shoot off blank rounds so students can hear the sound of gunfire. The blank rounds will help give avenues for the students to discuss their experience of the drill with staff and faw enforcement.

“Northmont is very sensitive to the fact we are trying to provide important and mandated safety training while balancing the needs of our staff and students with these experiences,” said Leslie Hobbs, student services director.

Students and staff will discuss what happened in small group discussions at the end of the drill. Counselors and school resource officers will be there to answer questions from students and staff.

Source: Northmont Schools to hold shooter exercise – Dayton Daily News

But have a kid ask about birth control, or an abortion, and nothing.

Sorry folks, look at the numbers. 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years in a year! And that’s not counting girls younger than 15. I was laughed at in college when I talked about a 22 year old grandmother in my neighborhood. It was true.

Yet less than 400 kids have been shot (shot, not just died) in the 9 years since Columbine.

I call this misplaced priorities. What do you call it?

 

 

Dangerous dilettantes

“I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.”

Those words, published anonymously by the New York Times, may be the most dangerous words written in the history of our nation.

While so many had their panties in a twist about a Nike ad using former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, which read “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” could very well have been the impetus for the “like-minded colleagues” to come forward.

Colin Kaepernick Nike ad, sacrificeVery few people put the two events together. But we all should have.

When one enlists in the United States Military, as I did long ago, you raise your right hand and swear an oath:

I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.” (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).

Those words are commonly referred to by basic training instructors, boot camp DI’s and the like as signing a check to the US Government payable with your life. It’s serious.

And here we have the problem the “like-minded colleagues” (LMC) face, they have apparently decided that the president, is a domestic enemy and it is their role to support and defend the constitution over obeying the orders of the President of the United States.

And for that, we should be thankful, except by doing it anonymously, they are not stepping up and signing that check. What they are doing is called treason, and the President is right to be incensed.

One of the ways we test a theory to see if it applies is to use Occam’s razor to present two scenarios and test for the simplest answer: If the same LMC had tried to insert themselves into President Obama’s presidency as he tried to unwind the financial meltdown by anonymously announcing their intervention there would have been screams of racism, of subverting the democratic process. I’m not saying people didn’t interject themselves into his presidency- the bankers got exactly the bail-out they wanted, and the public got the bill, but, it was all done in relatively plain sight, and of course, Obama had won not just the electoral college vote but the popular vote- and let’s not forget that he isn’t bat shit crazy.

On the other hand, we have people burning Nikes, and screaming about how Kaepernick hadn’t sacrificed anything really, in comparison to, well, you name it. First of all, those words were not Kaepernicks, they came out of the braintrust at Wieden + Kennedy of Portland Oregon. No, they are not a political thinktank, they are an ad agency. Nike’s ad agency, and they are insanely great at what they do. They are also one of the largest independent shops left in the industry (independent as in not owned by some huge conglomerate of ad agencies- not as in politics). This campaign was well thought out, measured and did exactly what it was supposed to do- generate free promotion, move Nike to the forefront of the consumers mind and boost sales- which it did and will win huge awards for.

Kaepernick is just the model. But a model with a brain, a voice and who is lucky enough to have a corporation ready to back him up. Because, just like in politics these days, the size of your soapbox is directly correlated by the size of your bank account (or your “supporters” bank account).

As I’ve said before, we have the best politicians money can buy. Still.

And that’s part of the problem with President Trump, he’s defied all odds, and continues to befuddle the betting money. All the “Never Trump” Republicans fear that his supporters which ruled over so many of their districts, will not tolerate disobedience to the new emperor, even though they are well aware that he has no clothes and is bat shit crazy. Not in that they truly believe that his policies will solve all America’s problems, but that he’s caused confusion as to who their true allegiance needs to be sworn to- the president and his “deplorable followers” or the money that has kept them in power for so long.

Elections are no longer as predictable as the gerrymandered maps used to guarantee. Some crazy ass socialists have already won over incumbents who used to be safe and solid establishment folks. We can’t love all of Trump- because some of his character faults are reprehensible even to us (take your pick from philandering, to Russian interference, to the good Nazi’s of Charllotesville).

And now, we have this gift- there is a resistance, an underground secret society, working to protect America from the dilettante dictator in the making. If I manage to squeak by in my election, and the Special Prosecutor finally does make his case for removal from office for Trumps defecation over the rules of decency that used to be in place for our political system, as flawed as it has become, to work, we can say “I was part of the resistance” – I now have “plausible deniability:”

Although plausible deniability has existed throughout history, that name for it was coined by the CIA in the early 1960s to describe the withholding of information from senior officials in order to protect them from repercussions in the event that illegal or unpopular activities by the CIA became public knowledge.

Source: Plausible deniability – Wikipedia

And that’s what Kaepernick doesn’t have. He has actually taken a stand by taking a knee in front of “God and Country” to protest what he sees as injustice. Of misappropriation of power, of the protection of those in blue who have lost their perspective on what “to serve and protect” means. Of the discount of human lives, especially of black ones, who seem to have a separate standard applied to their loss of life without judge or jury- just an executioner.

Just this week, a white female police officer in Dallas entered an apartment and shot a black man and wasn’t immediately arrested and charged with manslaughter. Yes, we have a problem. Kaepernick has clearly stated over and over why he kneels. Many choose to ignore it. And of course ignorance is bliss.

Ignorance is the enemy of democracy and trust is the bedrock. We may claim to be a secular country, but on our money, the currency of our political system, it’s there for all to see “In God We Trust” as if the power of the greenback really isn’t what props the whole thing up. In the end, it’s trust.

Those LMCs have a problem. They have broken our trust. If they are indeed senior officials, they have not done what the constitution requires which is to sign your name to your claim. They have cowardly tried to have their cake and eat it too. They have not sacrificed everything. They have endangered the very bedrock of our democracy, by thumbing their nose at the rules and saying “trust us” without question. That is unacceptable.

While the New York Times was right to publish the essay, they created a political football.

Our legislators swore an oath of office after all, and Kaepernick just played football.

We can’t afford a fumble on this one. To the LMC- sign your names or resign. To the rest in Congress, you’re in the game, it’s time to demand a President who plays by the rules again.

Trust is what makes civilization and democracy possible, and it can’t be bought and sold, it must be earned. And yes, there is a price that comes with it. Some are willing to pay the ultimate price and some, just want to pay lip service. Now is the time to separate the true patriots. My bet is still on Kap.

 

 

 

Justice Sotomayor, meet our Sheriff, Phil “The Torturer” Plummer

Title slide for Torture in Montgomery County Jail videoOn Feb 2, 2017 I released video from the Montgomery County Jail on Youtube. It showed the barbaric point-blank pepper spraying of the restrained inmate, Charles Alexander Wade. After they pepper sprayed him, they left him, tied down- without treating his burning eyes, for hours. Think about that. Torture, pure and simple.

The way I spliced together the series of camera angles, sound and told the story of this incident garnered 31K views.

I also supplied all the individual camera footage- and the handycam footage got 34K views. Every local news org EXCEPT Cox- used my footage in their coverage- which was watermarked. Cox waited several days until they could get the same footage raw- and never credited me for breaking the story.

In the meantime- exploitative online sites like “Now This” recut my footage and got over a million views in less than 24 hours. Current stats 1.8M views, 1.2K comments, 6.2K shares.

This morning two things happened. I read this:

Another problem with this execution is Tennessee’s new protocol for lethal injection. The first drug administered in an execution is supposed to put the inmate to sleep so he can’t feel the effects of the other two drugs: the one that causes paralysis and the one that stops the heart. But midazolam, the sedative in Tennessee’s execution cocktail, doesn’t always render complete unconsciousness. It’s possible for the inmate to feel the effects of the next two drugs, and what he feels is akin to being suffocated and burned alive at the same time.

The United States Supreme Court had declined to delay the execution, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor strongly dissented: “In refusing to grant Irick a stay, the court today turns a blind eye to a proven likelihood that the state of Tennessee is on the verge of inflicting several minutes of torturous pain on an inmate in its custody,” Justice Sotomayor wrote. “If the law permits this execution to go forward in spite of the horrific final minutes that Irick may well experience, then we have stopped being a civilized nation and accepted barbarism.”

Source: Opinion | America Has Stopped Being a Civilized Nation – The New York Times

And Youtube- a year and a half later- put an adult content sticker on one of the intake footage clips.

“Hi ElectEsrati,

As you may know, our Community Guidelines describe which content we allow – and don’t allow – on YouTube. Your video Cruel and Unusual Punishment in Montgomery County Jail – Supplemental Raw Footage was flagged to us for review. Upon review, we’ve determined that it may not be suitable for all viewers and it has been placed behind an age restriction.

Video content restrictions

If a video contains violent or graphic content that appears to be posted in a shocking, sensational, or disrespectful manner, it’s less likely to be allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow content that’s intended to incite violence or encourage dangerous activities. We review content on a case by case basis and will only make limited exceptions for appropriate educational, documentary, artistic, and scientific contexts, where the purpose of posting is clear.

In light of this, we ask that uploaders post as much information as possible in the title and description of their video to help us and viewers understand the primary purpose of the video. Please note, even with this additional context, it’s still not acceptable to post violent or gory content that’s primarily intended to be shocking, sensational”

If you ask me- we stopped being a civilized nation a long time ago, when we declared a war on poor people and started locking them up at record speed. How we treat people in the Montgomery County Jail- with over $10M and counting in settlements should have Sotomayor pissed off, and a hell of a lot of other people- but, so far, all we have is one video- with an age restriction.

And, Phil “the Torturer” Plummer is running for State Representative… go figure.

Make Orwell Fiction Again T-shirts

Make Orwell Fiction Again T-ShirtI saw this on a cheap looking hat on Facebook.
I liked it so much- I said “I think I want a T-shirt” – and the shirts that were out there were also fugly.
So- here is the David Esrati designed “Make Orwell Fiction Again” T-shirt in black, with Cheeto Orange ink-

printed on my favorite t-shirt, the Gildan 64000 softstyle in men’s and women’s styles and sizes – for sale. The moment I hit 50 sold, we’ll print. So order yours here today:
https://thenextwaveprinting.com/product/make-orwell-fiction-again-t-shirt/

Shirts are $10 in normal sizes, and $14 in the big ones.
Shipping is $5 for the first shirt- and add $2.50 for each additional up to 6- where shipping is free!

Thank you for your support.

Update: A few people don’t seem to get the shirt. This surprised me. First- the country was bamboozled with the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again”- which has turned this country into a farce of what it was meant to be.

George Orwell wrote two books I read while in high school; “Animal Farm” and “Nineteen Eighty-Four”. The first, published in 1945 was a jab at the evolution of communism in Russia from Marxist ideals to something more resembling an oligarchy. Orwell turns it into a fairy tale where the animals take over the farm, slaying the evil human overlords to make a socialist society. Over time, the pigs (not a very well veiled allegory) put themselves in charge and start emulating humans. The famous line- “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others” comes into play in the story. Of course- it’s fiction- but based on facts.

When we have 1% of the population controlling so much of the wealth and capital- Orwell’s fiction has become reality.

In “Nineteen Eighty Four” published in 1949, just before his death, Orwell predicted that by 1984 we’d be engaged in perpetual war, have omnipresent government surveillance and the government would be actively involved in public manipulation. The leader, “Big Brother” may be real or may not be- but thrives on a cult of personality.

When it came out- it was a warning, and while frightening and depressing, when I read it, a mere 6 or 7 years before it was supposed to happen, it was still dystopian fiction.

Now, with the release of Edward Snowden’s documentation of perpetual surveillance on American’s without warrants, a never ending war in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Trump routinely calling the fourth estate fake news, it has become a sad reality.

That the religious right overlooks “Big Brother Trump’s” marital mishaps, his misogyny, the stream of lies, and attacks on the press is a reason to wish that “Make Orwell Fiction Again” is even more of a battle cry than the simple attack of “Impeach Trump.”

If you really want to Make America Great Again- which was always questionable in its validity- with our history of racism, slavery, internment of our citizens and even medical experiments without consent, you should want to “Make Orwell Fiction Again” and begin to move this country back from a place where children are separated from their families, where getting cancer is a surefire route to bankruptcy and graduating college means a lifetime of debt.

Order a shirt. Wear the change you want to see in our country proudly.

If MLK was an activist today

50 years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot. It wasn’t with an AR-15, but, it was a gun, protected by the 2nd Amendment.

My father told me he used to have lunch with King while they were both students at Boston University, on Thursdays. They’d argue. Dad was Malcom, Martin was Martin. They disagreed in the methods of effective change.

Being an activist then was hard, getting the word out required a lot more leg work, coordination, organization. There was no twitter, no Facebook, no meetups, no YouTube, no gofundme.

When King died, there wasn’t much of an estate, he’d even donated the money from his Nobel Peace Prize to the cause.

The following is fiction. What if MLK was magically 39 today, and still fighting the same battles, or slightly different ones. But, hadn’t won the Nobel, or gained a following. The scene is at the King household in Atlanta. Gathered around the table are his wife Coretta, Ralph, Jesse, Hosea, Joseph and Fred. They’re discussing their next move.

Coretta: Here’s some chicken from Popeye’s, fellas, dig in. Sorry, it’s the best we could do- money’s a bit tight right now.

MLK: It’s OK honey, the cause is more important than having a big fat bank account.

Coretta: I don’t know Martin, I’m looking at Brother Creflo, across town and he’s rollin in the dollars. You ought to spend more time in your church than out in the streets.

Fred: You know, that time you spent down in jail in Birmingham, maybe we should have setup a gofundme and taken that money and bought us a few new video cameras and a Sling- so we could broadcast live at every event.

Jesse: Video is so important these days. It’s not just the broadcast, but, if your channel has over 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours, you can monetize it on Youtube.

Coretta: He doesn’t even have 1000 followers on Twitter, it’s hard cutting through all that mess. Maybe you ought to antagonize the president and get him to tweet about you.

Hosea: I wouldn’t want to be associated with that fool. Porn stars, bankruptcies, walls, that revolving door on his office, how the hell did that fool get elected president. And why can’t we get our last president to come out and march with us?

Jesse: You know no one likes to march. It’s easier to hit the like button, or sign an online petition. Someone has to get shot these days to get people out in the streets- like those kids in Florida. Martyrs are in, marchers are out.

Fred: Maybe we should go back to just preaching, and politicking from the pulpit. The IRS is so overwhelmed with all those tax cuts they are never going to come after us for the Johnson Amendment- hell, they almost cut it out of the tax code last December.

Joseph: I keep looking at TD Jakes and think, dang, that guy could pay his people to march. We’re doing it all wrong.

Fred: Yep, aligning with the democrats and being their lapdogs, delivering black voters to the polls, why are we still doing that anyway? Lincoln was a Republican and he freed us. What has the democratic party done for us lately?

Coretta: Not a thing brother Fred, not a thing.

Jesse: I asked for their support when I tried to run for office. I didn’t get any help.

Coretta: Preach! You know there’s money to be made out there. You know how it works, the golden rule, he who has the gold, makes the rules. You brothers best get busy bringing in the Franklins.

Hosea: You know all those big time preachers have a book. Maybe we ought to write one together?

MLK: I wrote 5 already, had to self-publish. Amazon made money, I’ve got diddly. Money ain’t flowing in publishing these days. It’s almost as bad as the newspaper business, but not quite.

Fred: I’m telling you, we need to start our own TV channel. Those cameras would come in handy. Look, someone has to tell our story to the masses.

Joseph: I don’t think people really care that much. Half the countries got their noses buried in their phone all the time, half the countries high on medical mary jane, and their all watching Netflix or Hulu.

Fred: See, video is the key. I keep telling you.

Coretta: who gave you guys the torch anyway? Why should anyone listen to any of you. What makes you special? Nobody elected you to “lead the movement.” When am I going to be able to buy a G-Wagon like Mrs. Dollar? I wish you’d focus on your parish instead of on all this protestin and stuff. Ain’t no money in that.

MLK: If we can get a universal basic income everything changes. Then everyone can afford to put a little extra on the collection plate on Sundays honey. I’m telling you, for an old white Jewish dude, that Sanders guy was my choice for just that reason. Plus, with our four kids- college would be paid for. Instead we got this whack job.

Hosea: How many times we going to talk about the same thing? Ain’t going to change nothing. 50 years ago, it was the Klan killing brothers, now it’s overzealous cops. Maybe we should have listened to Malcom X instead of this peaceful route. We can go buy AR-15’s too. They aren’t that expensive.

Joseph: (laughing) Y’all now if we start showing up with AR-15’s in the street, they’ll start banning them in two seconds flat.

Coretta: Now you guys are just plum crazy. Stop all this nonsense about guns, protests and what you’re going to change. Nothing changes without the almighty dollar and between all six of you, you don’t have enough to buy this here chicken. Whoever heard of a political activist in the 1%. You hear about “activist investors” all the time. Now get outta my kitchen, so I can clean up. Martin, you best be hitting the streets tomorrow to find a real job that puts money in the bank account. Cell phone bill is due on Friday and we don’t have the money to pay it.

~fini

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told to either just leave town, or leave the politics alone. That making money matters more than following your principles. Monday, I lost a long time client over my politics. My friend Shepard Fairey wrote me about the post “Good post! A clear conscience is not possible with a purely capitalist mindset. The market creates as many problems as it solves. I’m very glad that you wrestle with that like I do.-S”

Yesterday I landed a new client that will bill considerably more.

And today, I found out that I’m the lead quote for the discussion of the media on the “Make me smart” podcast from American Public Media with Molly Wood and Kai Ryssdal; 56: “The best cure for hatred and ignorance”

Sometimes it’s just dumb luck who becomes the leader who is remembered in the history books. And sometimes, it only happened because they were too stupid to join the herd.

If there is one good reason to change the 2nd amendment, it happened 50 years ago today.

I can’t imagine what MLK might have achieved had he just lived to see 50, or what he’d say today about the shooting of Stephon Clark or John Crawford.

Stepping up for your principles has a cost. MLK paid the ultimate one for all of us.