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Sugar Walls

The first subjects to come to mind for my blog post were the new executive orders signed by President Trump. The border wall and the immigration ban. Walls. Like delicate sugar plums fairies racing about, my thoughts debating each whimsical flapping wing. Each tiny fairy has thick encased by sugar- coated wings. My mind cannot stop replaying these orders and provocative changes. Walls. Have these orders provoked you in some way? How can I get my mind off all of this? What other walls can I think about? Walls made of sugar? What is a wall related subject or maybe involves some sort of possible ban? Sex.

I remember reading not that long ago about a proposal to force actors to wear condoms during the filming of pornography. Dozens of actors and actresses showed up to protest the proposal. Their argument was that it would in some way destroy the porn industry. Imagine, the vocal uproar against the usage of condoms? “Do not protect our walls”!( In unison, on colorful sharpie laden poster board protest) Are you for making sure working actors/ actresses have the proper medical documentation and go through strenuous testing for diseases? What are your thoughts? It seems dissonantly similar to our current presidential orders and series of events.

I know you are wondering how could one even compare the two subjects? Remember, that I am trying to distract myself. While  also trying to come up with a unique, yet intriguing blog topic, I thought about how all proposals start with a bit of taboo. Then the opposition begins. Are you for it? Are against it with great conviction? What about the voiceless porn stars? The ones who did not show up to the government hearing on this proposal ? The ones who do not care about the business becoming lucrative? The ones who have already sacrificed their health? Possible there could have been a law put in place to protect them. Who speaks for the ones that sit in silence at home, thinking about their health. The ones who could not get off from work to come protest the proposal or support it? Are the current voluntary regulations enough to protect the industry workers? If your for- profit pornography partner is your spouse, do you think you should be required to wear a condom? So many questions arise. The pornography industry is against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation whom lead in this effort. Which side would you have leaned towards? The proposal was voted against and will be reconsidered later this year. For now, my sugar wall fairies are silently erect and infuriated. Dancing about. We are all passionate and will stand up to a fight that we feel is worth fighting for. Sugar plum fairies, their sugar walls, and all.  -L.White

 

If there was any doubt what four years of Trump as President would be like all we need to do is look to his Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s press conference to speak on the non-issue of President Trump’s inauguration and it should be very clear.  What should have been straightforward and honest was instead an unnecessary false account of an easily check able event.  During the conference Spicer gave false information on the attendance numbers for the inauguration and what is most concerning is that this information can be checked so easily.  What is also concerning is that this seems like such an unnecessary thing to falsify.  The fact is, it really doesn’t matter how many people were in attendance, but what we can see from this is that public perception is very important to this administration.  From this press conference it seems that we can expect continued misinformation designed to portray the Trump presidency as being stronger and more popular then what it really is.

While this tactic may not be totally uncommon, it should be a concern for us all that it is so common with this new administration.  Trump has made an art of creating his own narrative to further his agenda through his campaign and it looks like we can expect him to continue that through his presidency.  I think to some extent we all expect our government and leaders to put their spin on the information that they are giving us or even holding some information from us but for public information we should be able to expect honest reporting.  The inauguration details given by Spicer on the attendance numbers were immediately challenged by the media and on social media.  There were pictures from past inaugurations and public transportation numbers that disproved the Trump administration narrative.  This open willingness to present false information to the American public should raise alarms with everyone despite your stance on Trump’s politics.  I’m not arguing any of Trump’s political stances and am in no way supporting or challenging any of his policies but it should be apparent that this administration is openly willing to deceive.

The other big issue with this situation is what is being lied about and why.  In reality the attendance of the presidential inauguration is not a big deal.  The attendance will not dictate policy and it will not impact the welfare of our lives.  Presenting these numbers falsely only benefits the Trump administration.  From his campaign, his TV shows and now his presidency, it is obvious that Trump is driven by his image.  He consistently speaks to how great he is and argues anything to the contrary.  Given what we know about him and the actions of his administration in this single press conference it is clear that they are extremely concerned with the public’s perception of their popularity and they are willing to lie to control their image.  What’s even more troubling here is that this seems to be obvious yet we are turning a blind eye.  Trump is currently giving a masterclass on self-marketing and using his business experience to drive his agenda.  He offers no apologies and very much seems to be excelling with an “any publicity is good publicity” strategy.  Trump and his team strike first with their facts and figures and are able to control the message early on.  After the fact, they may make an adjustment or alter the message but at that point they have already given the message that they wanted to give and spread their narrative.  Once again, Trump’s political views are not my focus here but his willingness to misinform the public for the sake of his image is.  Trump’s administration is willing to exaggerate and give false information for the sake of nothing more than to make people think he is more popular than he is.

The press conference for Trump’s inauguration should if nothing else be an example of what we can expect from this administration for the next four years.  Given their focus on perception I believe that we all need to stay aware of that and be mindful of the messages that are being sent.  Whether or not you agree with his politics, we should all expect honesty from our leaders.

Donald Trump is the new president of the United States and his first couple of weeks of office is turning into a disaster. On January 20, 2017 Trump was let into office and 10 days later he banned seven countries of different immigrants. He is saying that he is doing this to protect our borders and national security. When he was running for president, national security and strengthening America’s borders was one of his pillars he ran on. Now he is not allowing immigrants from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Syria from entering the United States. If individuals from one of these seven countries that President Trump banned are caught traveling in the United States, they will risk being deported. According to an article from CNN (2017), titled “How the Trump administration chose the 7 countries in the immigration executive order,” President Donald Trump was attempting to properly screen immigrants from the previously mentioned countries, before they travel to the United States. Also, the executive order that President Trump issued banned both green card holders and citizens from traveling to the United States. In President Obama’s executive order he a had similar ban but he did not restrict green card holders. This is hurting the United States relations with the Muslim community with in those seven countries, and that is something that United States do not need to protect its national security. Trump hasn’t even been in office for a month and he is already starting to make outrageous and selfish decision. There are US citizens that have family members from those seven countries who are trying to travel back to United States but are not able to because of President Trump’s executive order. The fact that Donald Trump doesn’t even realize how he is only thinking for one, that’s himself. Donald Trump I would say is arrogant and thinks he knows everything but is actually hurting his own citizens. Leaving people in another country for ninety days is certainly not safe, especially if Trump plans to ban those countries from entering the United States. Anything could possibly happen to our US citizens and he is not doing anything to make sure they are safe. The bad part about this is that our people voted for Trump to become president and now they are protesting in angry mobs. Within President Trump’s term that he is planning to serve for four years, the citizens of the United States will learn from a great lesson. Donald Trump is not only affecting our citizens but he is also affecting our government. This executive order that President Trump has created is putting our troops in much greater danger, because it will cause confusion across the country. Troops could be attacked and killed by village members of other countries if the message is not clearly understood. Donald Trump is certainly making the Democrats mad with his choices but he is also putting his own group, the Republicans into awkward positions. His actions are starting to lead to him losing a relationship with both political groups, revealing that there was not much thought putting into Trumps decision. Now there are dozens of senators who are complaining that, the executive order is not going to be good for our country. Congress is saying that the White House should’ve informed them before letting things take place. The lack of communication and thought process is put President Trump into a bind. His actions are showing how he can be arrogant and excluded different branches from knowing his plans before giving them out. This is not a healthy government that we are allowing Trump to form. He is only pushing us years back with the countries that we already have relationship with. Gaining a relationship with these countries was tough and if the order goes through completely, us being able to help the seven countries will end. There has to be a stop to President Trump’s executive order to make sure our country doesn’t create bad image to other countries. Trump is going to be the reason a war starts and possible could be in our US soil. As a US citizen, we the people have to make a stand and let our voices be heard!

http://www.usnews.com/news/politics/articles/2017-01-30/donald-trumps-executive-order-roils-congress

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/29/politics/how-the-trump-administration-chose-the-7-countries/

Has “Black Lives Matter” become a hate group?

In today’s political climate, many of us have grown accustomed to taking everything offensively.  This has become all too apparent when looking at the protests that have been taking place over the United States.  Let’s discuss one such group, Black Lives Matter.  First of all, do they matter?  Absolutely!  Secondly does the organization have the right to protest?  Yes, the First Amendment guarantees that right.  That is not the issue.  What is there purpose?  According to their site: “#BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society”.  Their movement is to combat racism and a system they feel is “rigged” against them.  In this post, I intend to prove that they have simply become another hate group.

In order to ascertain whether or not a group is considered in the category of “hate”, we must first discuss the definition of hate speech or hate crimes.  They are not the same thing, but sometimes they occur together.  Hate speech is considered any speech discriminates against one’s race, religion, or creed.  These are not the only examples however.  Any time you make a derogatory remark about someone’s skin color, or use stereotypes as a basis to dislike a group of people, you have participated in a form of hate speech.  I submit the following videos as evidence of such abuse:  BLM Seattle: “We Need To Start Killing People” – “The White House Must Die” , BLM activist advocates white genocide at Harvard,“White privilege!” #BLM blocks old man from using sidewalk.

* Disclaimer – I do not support any commentary or titles to these videos.  I am simply providing the footage that proves some of this movement is indeed racist toward white people.  There are many more instances of this happening, however I feel this gets my point across.

Any time that you assume that a certain race has a set of privileges you don’t have, you are participating in a stereotype.  This is because an assumption was made solely on my skin color.  Furthermore, you have emotionally devalued that person.  Some will simply think that no matter what happens, they are worthless because of racial stereotypes.  This concept works both ways.  Another problem that occurs is the fact that some end up resenting me based on melanin content, or the lack thereof.

In my opinion, when you harm others economically to prove a point (e.g. roadblocks), you are participating in a form of hate speech.  The reason for this summation is that you are wanting others to share your racial values forcefully.  I would also argue that this is also assuming that those on the other side do not care about the movement.  It does not make sense to your movement to force anyone to listen to you.  Blocking traffic is not the answer!  This may seem like a good idea, however standing in front of large machines covered in metal is a poor choice (Please excuse the title of the video).  This isn’t the only problem that occurs though.  Another problem that occurs is the fact that everyone on the freeway are late for work, losing income, or not meeting other daily obligations that force them to travel.  This forces people to not support your movement.  In fact, it usually causes people to work against it.  Since it hurts people unintentionally, I consider it to fall within the realm of hateful.

No to address the organization itself.  Is everyone involved in this movement racist?  Definitely not!  Are there a lot of vocal people who are racist within this movement?  I wholeheartedly believe it.  Does the organization hold merit in terms of police brutality?  Yes, it does.  Does it have the right to harm others emotionally, physically, or economically?  No, that’s where I draw the line.  I believe that using our governments system of petitioning combined with those who truly are bettering racial relations should be at the forefront of the movement.

I could go on all day about racism and reverse racism.  However, I want to spend this moment to petition my fellow man and woman.  I challenge each of you to stop with the “white privilege” this and the “black thug” that stereotypes.  We should treat others as we want to be treated.  We should always help each other overcome problems like these.  Some will not change with the times, but that is the case with any population.  I understand that this will not be a problem solved over night, however I believe it will provide a better future for our children.  I believe morality over melanin should prevail.

Tim Holt

I remember a few years ago when Grammy winning artist Toni Braxton shocked the world when she told everyone that her youngest child had been diagnosed with autism, and all of the scary feels a parent gets when they realize their child doesn’t seem like themselves. But what was even more shocking was that Toni Braxton hasn’t been the first, only, and last parent or celebrity parent bringing forth awareness on bringing up children with special needs. But what I certainly continue to take with me from all of the awareness they try to spread is the importance of early diagnosis, and having a tremendous support system to help these children develop and grow in everyday society. But what happens when you’re not a celebrity and you don’t have the luxury of the best that money can buy, what resources the everyday parent has when it comes to receiving the support that they need for their children who may suffer from anxiety, ptsd, or have a special need (s) just to name a few.

Since the early 2000’s the state of Tennessee has made sure that our public schools were able to provide this support in the form of Social Emotional Learning also referred to as SEL. SEL services are traditionally provided by School Counselors, Social Workers, and School Psychologist. Well the first question one may ask is what Social Emotional Learning is and how effective are the practices that help support those who need it. SEL is a universal approach for all students. The goal of SEL is to address the social and emotional needs of all students to ensure their success in school and in life.

Developing SEL skills improves student capacity to engage in academic learning and prepares them to meet college and career readiness standards. In order to meet rigorous standards, students need to be able to regulate their emotions when they become frustrated, collaborate with their peers, communicate their ideas, and take the perspective of others (Yoder, 2013) (TN Department of Education). And just recently those support systems and services are at risk of being taken away. Back in December 2016 Tennessee legislation Introduced TN SB0004 bill which prohibits the state board of education from adopting standards or competencies for social and emotional learning; prohibits the department of education from providing instruction or competencies in social and emotional learning to fulfill the requirements for character education (“TN SB0004 | 2017-2018 | 110th General Assembly”). Senators wrote legislation so that the Tennessee Department of Education would be: prohibited from adopting standards and competencies of Social and Emotional Learning Prohibited from providing instruction toward Social and Emotional Learning (“TCA » TCA Opposes SB0004”). And as a person who’s worked closely in education for over ten years, a parent, and a United States Service member this is something I cannot stand for or support.

I know the initial response most people may have is if I don’t have children why should I care? And my response because some day you might, or a close family member or friend may have a child going through something and they may not have the resources to get the support that they need and these programs allow all children to get exactly that. Personal Story – I have a sister in law whose a Middle school Principal at one of the most lowest socioeconomic schools in her district and when we discussed it she was in complete despair because 80% of her student body utilizes these services just to be able to get through the week and it’s helping them progress in the classroom and within the daily relationships they have with people regardless of what they may have been through, and there is something to be said when a principal makes sure they budget to make sure they have more than enough support for all of her students from all walks of life.

So many people fuss and fight about everything wrong with the public school education system, but I find it funny that when they’re actually trying to do something right that affects all children in a positive light, to many people turn a blind eye until they’re directly impacted and then it’s too late. I want to urge everyone to write their local senate and let them know the importance of having programs that support all students with SEL, so those students and children receive the Social and Emotional Learning support they need in order to be successful in school, helping to make sure these resources aren’t just for celebrities and the wealthy but all of our children.

Works Cited

“TCA » TCA Opposes SB0004.” TCA, http://www.tncounselors.org/blog/2017/01/05/tca-opposes-sb0004/.

TN Department of Education. “Incorporating Social and Personal Competencies Into Classroom Instruction and Educator Effectiveness.” State of Tennessee, July 2015, http://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/education/attachments/safe_sch_se_toolkit.pdf. Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

“TN SB0004 | 2017-2018 | 110th General Assembly.” LegiScan, legiscan.com/TN/bill/SB0004/2017.

Policed Parenthood

The election of a new president has seemingly helped to usher in a very challenging era here in America, one that will be lived through under direction of an agenda that appears desperately concentrated on restoring control of every facet of life back into the hands of the people who govern us. Everything from education to healthcare is set to undergo massive changes, and this has middle and lower class Americans somewhat nervous, largely because they have no reassurance that President Trump and his Cabinet’s policies will not dig them back into the social and economic turbulence that predated President Obama’s two terms in Washington. Perhaps the biggest concern for citizens is what Trump has planned for healthcare. Here, specifically, the nation’s government finds itself at a crossroads, and as mentioned before, the Trump agenda is already doctoring away on what it feels is a failed attempt to accommodate the needs of the American people.

However, Trump is undoubtedly working backwards, if what he considers himself doing to Planned Parenthood is supposed to be a step up from Obamacare. In fact, what he is doing is limiting women and children from receiving some of the most imperative healthcare services out there. Policed Parenthood is what I would call this, because doing away with some of the most invaluable parts of a program necessary to pregnant or non-pregnant women essentially means that our active government believes that its own decrees usurp the consent of those who have the potential to be mothers, no matter the damage or danger the child could present to her. Needless to say, I understand the pro-life/pro-abortion argument that surrounds Planned Parenthood; I myself, do not believe in abortion, but I also believe that the choice to not have the child, for whatever reason the mother deems necessary, should suffice for the men and women in our government. Frankly, the idea that a child conceived by rape, incest, or any other unfavorable circumstance is more important than the woman forced to bear the child is ludicrous.

What is ironic is that for all the attention that the pro-life argument brings to Planned Parenthood, the services regarding that particular facet are not the only ones that will be severed away with the removal of the program. Several others will hit the chopping block alongside it, including cancer screenings, STD testing and treatment, and prenatal care. As important as these things are, to have them suddenly stripped away will definitely mean consequences for the men and women who will have to go elsewhere for the care they need. What this says to me is that Planned Parenthood in its entirety is a deeper problem for Conservatives than pro-life proponents would admit. There is an economic leverage tied into the ease of access to the services that have been blacklisted. They could make more money if paid for separately of Planned Parenthood, and because they are typically more expensive, this means millions for healthcare providers who traditionally already overcharge middle and lower class families.

The question I would ask amidst all of this is “Why?”. In his haste to make America great again, Donald Trump is deliberately making it worse by complicating the process by which “his” people access the means to live long and healthy lives. And I know there are those out there who will say, “Well those people just need to worker harder to get the money to pay for what they need,” or “They can find other alternatives,” but those same individuals need ask themselves if they really believe that the large majority of Americans who access Planned Parenthood services would rather not have the money to meet their own needs, as opposed to relying on the government to help them be able to attain them. Contrary to popular Conservative belief, many who receive breaks like those given by Planned Parenthood work very hard to support sizeable families, and just cannot find the money to do so. Further than this though, the biggest fear that I have in regards to the risks to Planned Parenthood is, where is the alternative? Because if there is not one, which there hardly ever is, then our government has shown its hand in regards to its priorities pertaining to healthcare: it is not the people who matter, it is policies and premiums.

I remember a few years ago when Grammy winning artist Toni Braxton shocked the world when she told everyone that her youngest child had been diagnosed with autism, and all of the scary feels a parent gets when they realize their child doesn’t seem like themselves. But what was even more shocking was that Toni Braxton hasn’t been the first, only, and last parent or celebrity parent bringing forth awareness on bringing up children with special needs. But what I certainly continue to take with me from all of the awareness they try to spread is the importance of early diagnosis, and having a tremendous support system to help these children develop and grow in everyday society. But what happens when you’re not a celebrity and you don’t have the luxury of the best that money can buy, what resources the everyday parent has when it comes to receiving the support that they need for their children who may suffer from anxiety, ptsd, or have a special need (s) just to name a few?

Since the early 2000’s the state of Tennessee has made sure that our public schools were able to provide this support in the form of Social Emotional Learning also referred to as SEL.  SEL services these services are traditionally provided by School Counselors, Social Workers, and School Psychologist. Well the first question one may ask is what Social Emotional Learning is and how effective are the practices that help support those who need it. SEL is a universal approach for all students. The goal of SEL is to address the social and emotional needs of all students to ensure their success in school and in life.

Developing SEL skills improves student capacity to engage in academic learning and prepares them to meet college and career readiness standards. In order to meet rigorous standards, students need to be able to regulate their emotions when they become frustrated, collaborate with their peers, communicate their ideas, and take the perspective of others (Yoder, 2013) (TN Department of Education). And just recently those support systems and services are at risk of being taken away. Back in December 2016 Tennessee legislation Introduced TN SB0004 bill which prohibits the state board of education from adopting standards or competencies for social and emotional learning; prohibits the department of education from providing instruction or competencies in social and emotional learning to fulfill the requirements for character education (“TN SB0004 | 2017-2018 | 110th General Assembly”). Senators wrote legislation so that the Tennessee Department of Education would be: prohibited from adopting standards and competencies of Social and Emotional Learning Prohibited from providing instruction toward Social and Emotional Learning (“TCA » TCA Opposes SB0004”). And as a person who’s worked closely in education for over ten years, a parent, and a United States Service member this is something I cannot stand for or support.

I know the initial response most people may have is if I don’t have children why should I care? And my response because some day you might, or a close family member or friend may have a child going through something and they may not have the resources to get the support that they need and these programs allow all children to get exactly that. Personal Story – I have a sister in law whose a Middle school Principal at one of the most lowest socioeconomic schools in her district and when we discussed it she was in complete despair because 80% of her student body utilizes these services just to be able to get through the week and it’s helping them progress in the classroom and within the daily relationships they have with people regardless of what they may have been through, and there is something to be said when a principal makes sure they budget to make sure they have more than enough support for all of her students from all walks of life.

So many people fuss and fight about everything wrong with the public school education system, but I find it funny that when they’re actually trying to do something right that affects all children in a positive light, to many people turn a blind eye until they’re directly impacted and then it’s too late. I want to urge everyone to write their local senate and let them know the importance of having programs that support all students with SEL, so those students and children receive the Social and Emotional Learning support they need in order to be successful in school, helping to make sure these resources aren’t just for celebrities and the wealthy but all of our children.

Works Cited

“TCA » TCA Opposes SB0004.” TCA, http://www.tncounselors.org/blog/2017/01/05/tca-opposes-sb0004/.

TN Department of Education. “Incorporating Social and Personal Competencies Into Classroom Instruction and Educator Effectiveness.” State of Tennessee, July 2015, http://www.tn.gov/assets/entities/education/attachments/safe_sch_se_toolkit.pdf. Accessed 30 Jan. 2017.

“TN SB0004 | 2017-2018 | 110th General Assembly.” LegiScan, legiscan.com/TN/bill/SB0004/2017.