Best of Facebook

Numbers Don’t Lie. Or, Do They?
April 30, 2015

Let's say Bob got 100 correct answers on an exam. Sounds like a great score, right? Wrong. Bob scored 100 out of a possible 350. He got 29% correct, which is an E. Huh. What does that have to do with anything, you ask? I'll tell you. Raw data, like Bob's score of 100, rarely tell us anything at all. 

Apply that same thinking to the list of numbers in the picture to the left. The unspoken message is that the police have had to kill more white people, than black people, so what's the problem?  

The problem is this:

According to this reference from the US Census Bureau, African Americans are only about 13% of the population, but 21% of the people known to be killed in incidents with police. Blacks are the only population segment with a percentage of police killings that is disproportionately high. Hispanics make up about 18% of the population, with 12% killed by police. Asians, 5.3% of our population have about 4.8% of police killings. Whites, who make up a whopping 78% of the population, experience only 37% of police deaths, and are the only group with a disproportionately low number.  

Now, those are numbers that tell us something.  It should also tell us something that in almost 30% of these incidents, race was not even reported.  Weird, right?

Read this carefully. Am I suggesting that all police incidents resulting in the death of an African American are unwarranted murder? No. Am I suggesting all cops are racist? NO. No, no, no. I am saying that I don't understand why these things happen to more black people than anyone else. I am saying I don't understand why an unarmed person cannot be adequately restrained by several police officers in a manner that does not kill him. I am saying that I don't understand why running from the police, wearing saggy pants, or even robbing a store are crimes that carry a death sentence WITHOUT A TRIAL for a disproportionate number of black people.  

I am saying I don't understand why it is so difficult for us white people to admit there is a problem.


Happy New Year
December 31, 2014

On this, the eve of the year 2015, I could post some of the deeply spiritual and philosophical thoughts rattling around in my head. Instead, I just have a few questions:

1.  Where is my hover car?  I feel very certain, based on my extensive movie-watching experience, that I am supposed to be able to fly to work. (I better not get any comments about my broom!  Not even one!)

2.  We are 15 years into the new millennium. Why can't I vote for my public servants online, from the comfort of my own home?  In my pajamas?  Seriously. Every single other thing I do, and every detail about me is presumably secure on the internet, including the yearly rape and molestation also known as income tax filing.  It makes no sense. Think of the cost savings!  Not to mention the permanent solution to hanging chads! (Sorry, "hanging chads" still sounds very dirty to me.)

3.  Speaking of elections, what is the deal with the Electoral College?  Come on, it's not as if the unwashed, ignorant masses are still traveling across the American wilderness by oxen to cast their votes.  Do we still need the will of the people to be interpreted by some yahoo wearing a big hat and donkey/elephant flair?  One person, one vote. (Online.)

4.  Why does it take still 3-5 business days to "clear" a bank card refund?  A purchase is deducted before I can even get the card back into my wallet, but a credit or a deposit takes days?  It's imaginary currency for crying out loud. Long gone are the days when "money" has to be physically delivered from point A to point B. It's dumb. Just dumb. Give. Me. My. Money. Now. Dammit.

I have a lot more of these burning questions in my brain, but I will stop for now. You'reelcome.

Happy New Year!

About Ferguson
November 27, 2014

I admit I'm a little obsessed with the tragedy in Ferguson.  Probably because this piece of my heart is about to go crashing into young adulthood.  I look at his handsome face and see my baby boy.  The world looks at him as just a black kid.  Pretty soon all it's going to see is a big black man.  God help him if he still wants to wear a hoodie.  No doubt he's going to do something stupid, or dangerous if I let him out of my sight--it seems like these days it comes with the territory of learning to be a man. Will he have to die for it because he looks like a stereotype that scares people?  I never thought about that, not once, while raising my all-white kids.

I don't know whether Michael Brown was murdered or if officer Wilson was justified in using deadly force.  Frankly, neither do any of you.  We were not there.  We were not present for the grand jury proceedings.  And I'll say something else shocking--I wonder if it matters anymore.  It does not matter which side of this thing "wins."  We have all lost.  Again.  A  young man is dead.  A family is grieving.  Another man has to live with himself for killing a kid.    A community is at war and our system remains BROKEN because we have a disenfranchised people in our nation who can not trust the system that still subjects them  to unequal treatment.

What we end up with is a bunch of people who just want to win an argument.  We've got the rioters on one hand who seem much less interested in justice than in revenge.  On the other hand we have the white conservatives who seem determined to deny there is really a problem.  And always we have the social media terrorists inflaming things as much as possible by subjecting their "friends" to posts they would probably never have the guts to say out loud.

It hurts my heart to see the things some of my friends are posting.  I say this with as much kindness as I can.  People who I know to be kind, caring, and NOT bigoted are sharing things that make them seem so racist.  We have the freedom in the US to say what we want.  I'm just very concerned some of you are projecting an image you may not have intended to people who are hurting.  Maybe it's time for all of us to stop worrying about who's right and just figure out what we need to do to heal the hurt.

Critical Thinking vs Social Media
November 25, 2014

Rant alert. OK, mini rant because I'm tired this week.  Still, I'm sure there is something in what I'm about to say to offend everyone equally:  
I like this article. A lot.

Did Ferguson Change The Way You Use Social Media? Here's Why It Should Have

I have a few random thoughts in no particular order:

1).  Social unrest is not a new problem, nor is it unique to the US.  Read a history book.
2).  Item number one does not make it all scare the hell out of me any less, as a mother and stepmom of a kids who have brown skin.
3). Black lives matter.
4). So does the safety of people who walk into danger when the rest of us are running away.
5).  In my opinion, media rarely gives us the whole, correct, unbiased facts we need to make a decision about, well, anything. That's why we have processes like the justice system.
6). People who can not admit that blacks are subjected to racism, unequal treatment by the system, and are more endangered than whites have their heads up their own butts.
7).  People who insist that everything they don't like or agree with is because of racism do too.
8). If you don't like the process, change it. Be a police officer. Or a judge. Or a prosecuting attorney. Or a business owner. Or hold public office.  Be an advocate. Or a tutor. Or a philanthropist. Don't tell me you can't because (fill in the blank). If you have your health and your sanity, anyone,  ANYONE can expect a little more from themselves. Anyone can strive to grow and learn and achieve. You just might have to get off Facebook to do it.


Image Consultant

August 1, 2014

Rant alert:  
If you look like a stripper in all of your Facebook pictures and 99% of your friends look like strippers in their FB posts (unless you are, in fact, strippers); AND...
99% of your FB pictures show you holding some form of alcohol, or worse; AND...
You type MOST OF YOUR POSTS LIKE THIS; you didn't realize there, they're, and their are actually three different words; and you have no clue what a semicolon is or how to use it...

It might be time to rethink your image. That is, unless you want to be perceived as a stupid, alcoholic stripper.   Just a suggestion from a pudgy, sober smarty-pants.


Losing Daddy
December 18, 2013

I'm a daddy's girl, no question. Daddy was my first hero; I was his little Lovey. He spoiled me rotten, and I admit it-- I was a BRAT. I'd have to think pretty hard to remember an occasion when the word, “no” came out of his mouth. I just adored him, and he has always, always been there when I needed him. Broken car, or house needed fixing, he was there. A husband came and went, still he was there. Money troubles, there he was.
He's the hardest working person I've ever known. Dad had to quit school and start working at about thirteen years old. Sixty years later, he has never stopped. I got my curiosity and thirst for learning from him. One of my fondest memories is of him reading encyclopedias for fun. Who does that? I learned from him that with some determination you can do just about anything if you just take some time to figure out how. I think I even inherited my spaciness from Dad. We all used to laugh at how he'd be so lost in thought he would drive past our own house. It's not so funny now that I do the same thing! 
As a little girl, I knew he was perfect. As I grew up and realized that even he had his faults, he was still a hero in my eyes. Of course, we all realize that our parents will grow old and dependent, eventually leaving us entirely. So I've watched Mom and Dad age through the years, yet somehow never really expected anything to change.
Change came sometime last spring, I guess. When I'd talk to Mom, she'd mention that Dad was acting kind of weird. Well, nothing really new there; Mom has thought Dad is weird for decades!  Of course, the feeling was mutual. It's the universal male-female struggle. When I visited the following August, I admit Dad did seem to be a little more forgetful, repeating himself a little, but, pretty much same old Dad. Nothing to get worked up about, I thought.
As the leaves started to fall, Mom's calls started sounding a little more worried. She was afraid to let him drive around. Then she told me one evening that he'd just come down to put the coffee on. He'd been awake all day and evening, but somehow thought it was morning. He was not to be convinced of anything different. Okay, maybe it's time to be a bit worried. The Pharmacist in my brain started advising Mom on things like getting him in to see the doctor.
Thanksgiving week, Mom and Dad came to visit, which is actually pretty rare. It practically takes a stick of dynamite to get my dad to travel. I was so glad to have them over, and I was excited to show off all my house renovations that Dad hasn't seen. And then I started noticing. The same question, three times. The paper in his pocket to write things down, so he won't forget. The flashlight he takes to bed for when he wakes up and doesn't know where he is. The microwave he just couldn't wrap his mind around. It turns out, dementia runs in his family.
The Pharmacist started making plans. Mom's going to need a support group; we'd better get a DPOA squared away. I wonder if there's a PACE program in Cheboygan County? The Pharmacist was actually handling it pretty well. Then, as I was explaining to a friend about the special Christmas gift I am making for Dad while he still remembers enough to enjoy it, the Little Girl realized that she's losing Daddy. Sometime soon, Dad isn't going to remember singing “You are my sunshine” to me. He's not going to remember my first solo or how proud he was when I became a “doctor.”  He'll forget that moment when I gave him his first grandchild and the one when I surprised him with the English springer spaniel puppy he'd been wanting for years. He won't remember that he is my hero. He won't remember me.
I've had losses and faced deaths, and I've watched loved ones lose their parents. I thought I understood grief. I was wrong. Nothing prepares you for losing Daddy.


Political Commentary

November 7, 2012

Rant alert!  Keep right on scrolling if you can’t handle it…

Silly me, I really thought that if I could just keep my twitchy fingers off the keyboard until the election was over, I would be okay. However, too many of the posts I have been reading today are extremely disappointing to me.  Some of you out there are just KILLING ME!  Maybe I’m crazy, but I think it‘s a good thing, a NORMAL thing to have friends of many backgrounds, faiths, ethnicity, lifestyles.  In order to accomplish that, it is necessary to be RESPECTFUL of other people and their viewpoints.  Is it really so impossible to be true to your own beliefs yet be kind to others who are different?

I find it stunning and ludicrous that those of you who are the loudest and most obnoxious about expressing your opinions are also the most indignant at the noisy expression of opposing views.  Give me a break!  If you’re gonna dish it out, be ready to eat some.  Pretty sure I learned that in about KINDERGARTEN!

Well, after all these weeks of listening to the ravings of my Facebook friends, here’s mine—

1.  To those of you carrying on as if one person is going to forever make or break life in these United States:  that thinking defies any kind of logic.  I strongly suggest that you run, don’t walk, to the nearest high school and repeat your government course.  Then make a stop at the religious institution of your choice and spend some time thinking about who’s really in control of this world.  If you think it is a politician, you have bigger problems than you may even realize.

2.  To those of you who are looking at one person to fix your life, your finances, your job opportunities, your equal treatment, or your health:  The president is not your Daddy!  It is YOUR JOB to fix those things, to “be the change you want to see in the world”, as one wise man put it.  

3.  To those of you who are objectifying President Obama as the source of al ill and evil:  How about taking some responsibility?  We have a bad economy, abortion, inequality, racism, debt and everything else we don’t like about America because WE CREATED IT and we continue to tolerate it!  Maybe if we would all stop thinking it’s someone else’s job to take care of us and fix our lives (see point #2) we wouldn’t be in this fix!!!

4. To those of you are convinced that everyone who voted for Mr. Romney is a bigot or a racist:  maybe, just maybe, you have it backwards. Maybe I’m naive, but I always thought that the determination to see (or imagine) the worst in everyone who isn’t exactly like you was the very definition of bigotry.  Not just once, but TWICE, the people of the United States of America—the Black, White, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist PEOPLE of America—have elected a president who happens to be Black.  Isn’t it time to quit punishing and mistrusting each other?

I know I should wrap this up by apologizing if I have offended anyone…but that would be less than honest, I guess.  I don’t make these points merely to offend, but if I did step on some toes, I can’t truthfully say I’m sorry to have done so.  Those of you who are truly my friends will forgive me my rant.  Those of you who aren’t …well, hopefully you’ll at least put a little thought into the words you post on Facebook, and consider their power to hurt or heal this rift that seems to widening.