Guilt By Association

Here we go. Susan Frise has stepped up to the plate and provided a wonderful example.

Nicole keeps associating me with Sheriff Pate (collusion, don’t you know) in spite of the fact that I have never met him nor have I spoken with him, solely because his mother-in-law and I are Facebook friends.

Because of that, whatever I do, he’s responsible for and whatever he does, I am responsible for.

Well, what about Susan Frise?

Susan is not a casual drive-by reader of Nicole’s pages. She’s on there a good bit. She’s on there enough that I wrote a whole piece about her awhile back.

I would suggest you go read it.

Susan Frise is racist to her bone. She’s neo-Nazi racist. So the remark she made above, about me and the article Nicole just posted on her blog, is not surprising.

And Nicole doesn’t care.

It’s fine.

 

Vet What You Read

Nicole wants everyone to read this.

Here’s the link.

I almost hesitate to do that because the more traffic the article gets, the more likely HuffPo is to think it’s bona fide, and I hate that.

However, in the interest of fairness. . .

The summary is basically that the author is claiming that CPS and family courts tend to give custody of children to the parent that is less capable and withhold custody from the parent that is more capable.

She’s not talking about CPS taking children from a couple who are together. She is talking about couples who are split.

Her reasoning is that CPS knows that the supposed unfit parent won’t bother to fight for the kid, and the fit parent will, and that will generate revenue for the state in court costs and stuff.

In the article, the author give no sources for any of her claims. She cites one book, which I frankly didn’t bother to look up, and in a minute you’ll see why.

There you have the TL;DR version, even shorter than the so-called short version. I’d hate to see the long one.

So who wrote this screed and how did it end up on Huffington Post?

This is the disclaimer that appeared beside the article.  This is not the main part of Huffington Post. It’s the “Contributor platform.”

This is also the main reason why, even though HuffPo is liberal, and even though I often agree with their political view, I consider them a dubious source.  I always look up an author who writes anything there.  I never just accept it.  And most of the time, if HuffPo is reporting it, there are better reports available from more reputable sources.

HuffPo is not the World Net Daily or Breitbart.com of the left, but frankly, it’s not any better than Fox.  Read at your own risk. More about that later.

So who is Patricia Mitchell, the author?

Here’s her bio from HuffPo.

I immediately saw red flags.  Here they are, starting with the opening sentence. The grammar is atrocious.  Just bad.  Capitalization all skewed, punctuation horrible, you name it.  It’s bad.

She starts by telling us how accomplished she is, how totally gorgeous she is, and how fabulously educated she is, a regular Miss High Society.  Well, except for those pesky English courses, in spite of her claim that she minored in English and is a college graduate. I strongly doubt both those claims unless

She’s a “professional photographer,” which qualifies her for nothing except taking pictures (if it’s even true).

And toward the bottom, we see that she is a “child advocate.”  She has not a single credential that would qualify her for that title (if it’s even a thing).

So, I went to Google and looked for her.

Dear FSM, I found her.

This appears to be her original blog.

She obviously found that whole blogging thing hard, as she only produced about five articles in about two years, mostly about her.

The lead article, just so we all know it, is about her, of course.

I will let you guess.  Take all the time you need.

This is her second attempt at a web presence.

While breathtakingly ugly, she seems to have tried a little harder.

But on both sites, she puts her own story front and center.

Have you guessed yet?

Here’s the summary.

She had a brief fling with a guy. They split up. She had a baby, a little girl.  She went home to family. Her entire family is mean and  all of them connived against her. Family stole her stuff. Mother attacked her with a poker. Dad hit her or something. Sister works for CPS.  Family connived to steal her kid and give the kid to the father who lived in a school bus with no electricity or plumbing. In other words, he nauglered it.

CPS decided that he was a better option as parent than she was, which is saying something.

She fought back.  She lost.  Parental rights terminated.

Oh, and she’d like to raise one million dollars (please donate) so she can fight against evil CPS.

She used about five million words to say that. Read it if you want. The grammar and spelling are just as bad as the bio was.

This is the reason that it’s a very good idea to vet stories coming out of Huffington Post.

Here’s a handy little graphic.  People on the right appear to disagree with this assessment, but I think it’s pretty spot on.  I found several things interesting when I first saw it.

First, it confirms my instincts about Addicting Info, which I never read anymore at all. It made me question HuffPo more than I ever had before. In addition, I added some reading of The Hill, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist to my reading diet even though they skew to the right.

But mainly, I try to stay within the gray circle in the middle.

 

 

 

 

Don’t Bother Reading

The economy is to blame.  She links to an article that proves it. Right?

So they began to “make changes.”

By “make changes,” she means that they went out and signed a rent-to-own contract on some shit land, and camped on it.  They’ve been basically camping there ever since, beginning with a shed, losing that shed because they couldn’t pay for it, throwing together the Shitstead, which led directly to the kids being taken and their story going national, and then another shed which they managed to tear up to the point that it needed to be redone in the space of two years and getting another one.

Those are the “changes.”

Joe still sits on his ass and does nothing.  They’ve made zero improvements to that property and instead have dumped human shit on it and been cited by the health department for doing so. They still don’t do anything to educate those kids. And Nicole blew through every employer around and finally went out on her own (with a little help from a very dubious source online).  She remains their sole source of income (unless Joe is doing something we don’t know about to supplement it).

What hasn’t changed is her obsession with social media and insistence on staying online for many hours daily.

I have no idea where these folks would be now if it hadn’t been for the big GoFundMe, but I guess we’ll see, since there doesn’t appear to be any repeat of that in their future.

But what’s important to me here is the article that she linked to.

She didn’t read it.

Nobody read it.

You know how I know that?

That’s what you get when you click on the link.

It’s a four-year-old article, and all you can read are the opening two sentences, which are talking about the crash of 2008.  Nicole says that the economy “isn’t much better now” but actually it is markedly better. That doesn’t mean it’s perfect, by any means. But it’s certainly better.

The only way, though, we could know what the article actually says is to be  a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.

I’m not.

I bet nobody who has seen that post is, and that includes Nicole.

Nicole didn’t read it. She just liked the headline.

Nicole is not unusual. There are lots of people who do what she did, and it’s horrid.  It’s lazy.  It’s intellectually dishonest.  It means that she isn’t interested in learning anything.  She’s just looking for headlines that seem to validate the opinions she already has.

For actual facts, look here.  While it is true that economic reports are generally (always?) politically motivated at their core, and whoever is in power at the time says it’s all great and whoever isn’t says it’s all shitty, there really isn’t any way to compare the situation economically right now, even with that baboon in the White House, with the meltdown of 2008.

Yes, lots of folks are still struggling.  But when you have one adult who sits on his ass doing nothing, and you insist on adding several more babies to the equation even though you can’t afford to house the ones you already have, well, it’s really disingenuous to blame the economy.

 

Disclaimer

Nicole shared a photo of one of the youngest children after a haircut.

I think Nicole is beyond foolish for spreading photos of her children around like she does but she pays no attention to what I think, so it’s irrelevant.

But one of the Facebook pages shared the photo as well, along with commentary about how the child looks.

That Facebook page has nothing to do with me.

I didn’t do it. I don’t agree with it.  Beyond the fact that I would never share a photo of a child like that, especially if I were the child’s mother, there is nothing wrong with the photo. The kid looks just fine.  He’s cute. The haircut is cute.

I am, of course, getting blamed for it, because that is what always happens. “The blog” is vile because some idiot, absolute idiot, shared that photo on Facebook.

That Facebook page has nothing to do with me.

 

Assumption

We’ve all seen the images by now.  Everyone knows who these folks are.

But several days ago, when this story first broke the news, I didn’t see those images.  I saw bits and pieces of headlines, with no images.

I was busy. I just sort of glanced at them.  It was about a day before I actually read an article about it.

What I gleaned from those bits and pieces of headlines was this:

First, the moron in the White House hadn’t bothered to call the surviving family members of the soldiers who died in the incident in Niger.

Second, he was being criticized for not having done so and responded with his usual Twitter-tantrum about how no other presidents ever called anyone either (which of course, as everything he tweets, is not true).

Third, he then finally called one of the family members and insulted them.

Fourth, the conversation was overheard and a congresswoman, whose name I did not recognize, repeated part of it to the media.

Fifth, the president then called the congresswoman a liar.

And that is all I knew for a fact.

Seriously.

All I knew that I had confirmed.

I didn’t know which soldier’s family he had called. I didn’t know the soldier’s name.  I didn’t recognize the congresswoman’s name at all. And I had not seen the images.

But there is something else that I suspected without any kind of confirmation.  I just knew.  I didn’t have to look.  I didn’t have to read it.  I just knew.

I knew that the soldier and the widow and probably the congresswoman were not white.  Not white.  I didn’t know if they were Hispanic, or black, or whatever, but I knew they weren’t white.

This has been followed, of course, by Trump sending one of his flunkies out to clean up his mess.  It’s what he always does, and this time he chose John Kelly for the job.

I know why he did.  Kelly is a sympathetic character. He’s lost a son to war.  He is a former general.  What he says carries weight as a result.

 

John Kelly had the bully pulpit and could have smoothed this ridiculous gaffe over.  He could have stopped it all cold.

He chose instead to sacrifice his own personal integrity to defend an ego-maniac.

It’s a very sad thing to see.  But it’s not the saddest thing.

By the time I saw Kelly’s lying tirade about the whole thing, I had seen photos of Rep. Frederica Wilson.  I knew that she’s a black woman.  I had assumed she was and my assumption was correct.

But had I not seen them, I would have known my assumption was correct.  Kelly’s tone and words confirmed it.

From where I’m sitting, that fact—the fact that I knew just by the behavior and demeanor and tone of the messages sent out by Trump and Kelly that the victims in this story are all minorities—is the saddest part of it all.

The video below is well worth watching.

Here’s a link in case the video gets wonky.

Lucky

My initial reaction to reading this was “Good golly, is it possible to mangle the English language any more than that?” and “Would somebody please give Joe some tutoring in the use of prepositional phrases?”

My second reaction was “Well, there’s another threat of bodily harm.”  So I’m putting it here because that’s what it is.  A threat to hurt me, physically hurt me.  Joe wants to hurt me physically because I said mean things on the internet.   I’m sure I called him a “pussy” and a “coward” and therefore he is going to kill me.  That’s what deadly force means.

But then I caught the whole “their (sic) fucking lucky” stuff.

And yes, I am fucking lucky.

Out of all the times and places where I could have been born, I was born in the United States in the twentieth century and I was born white (white privilege is morally wrong but it is real).  I was born to parents who had flaws, for sure, but who believed strongly in providing me with a decent home, good nutrition, medical care when necessary and a good education.

I had to pay for my college education myself, but at no point in my early years did I ever once consider not going.  It was unthinkable.  That would have been like thinking that I might not brush my teeth, or that I might rob a bank.

I am lucky because I managed to ditch Boyfriend A and Boyfriend B, be ditched by Boyfriend C, and then hit the jackpot in the marriage lottery.

I am lucky because Dave and I both have enjoyed good health all our lives thus far. Even if we developed some dire problem now, we’ve spent decades as healthy adults.

I am lucky because my husband has a super-strong work ethic, and was reared by a mother who countenanced no nonsense when it came to pulling your own weight.

I am lucky because we have spent 46 (soon to be 47) years as a partnership of equals, one where my desires and goals and dreams have carried just as much weight as his do.

I am lucky because even though we were only able to produce one child, he was a genius.

I am lucky because even though our one child has died, he was our best friend. He loved us enough to want to spend time with us, and he knew that he was loved in return.

I am lucky because Nathan chose his friends well and they have been beyond good to us in the wake of his death.

I am lucky because Dave and I were able to both retire at a young age, and we face our sunset years with a reasonable level of financial security, thanks in part to the US government (Social Security) and the US economy (our own investments).

I am lucky because due to that early retirement, we have been able to travel a lot, not only all over North America, but also to many foreign countries.

I am lucky because even though I was immersed in a lunatic religion as a youngster, I was able to escape.  Not many people are able to do that. Most remain imprisoned for life.

I am lucky because Dave joined me in the escape from religion.  Many people who leave are faced with the loss of their most precious relationships as a result.

I am lucky because when I come up with hair-brained schemes (“let’s move to Alaska” or “let’s buy a small farm with a milk cow” or “let’s go on four cruises back-to-back”), Dave will join in enthusiastically unless I’ve gone completely off the rails (“let’s go to Atlanta and demonstrate and get put in jail” – I didn’t do that one).  And when he has his own plans (“let’s get a new tractor” or “let’s buy a Freightliner to pull our RV”), I’ve embraced those as well.

I am lucky because both Dave and I were encouraged all our lives to do new things, to cut new paths, to gain knowledge and put it to use, and we did just that.

I am lucky because we get to serve the finest cow in North America.

Some of this luck was of our own creation. But a whole lot of it, probably the majority, came about because we were incredibly fortunate and were simply born to the right people at the right place at the right time.

Yes, I am lucky. So are you.  What is sad is to be born with such fabulous advantages and throw them all away because you refuse to work, refuse to learn, refuse to listen to anyone else, and refuse to progress even slightly, and instead spend your entire precious life looking around for somebody to blame for all your own failings.

Not long after Nathan died, Dave and I went to Washington, DC to a convention of atheists. We, again, were incredibly lucky, because four men were in attendance during that week and they would never get the opportunity to engage personally together again.  Called the “Four Horsemen,” they were Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens.

I am lucky because one night there was a cocktail party which included just a few people and Dave and I were in that bunch, which means that we got to meet those four men and have a bit of a conversation with them.

That’s me with Daniel Dennett, who is a very nice guy as well as a very smart one.

Imagine, if you will, the four people on earth who you admire the most, or maybe the four rock bands you adore, or your most loved ball team, and imagine that you get to go meet them personally.  That’s what this was like for me.

I am lucky because during that convention, Richard Dawkins read a much-loved quote from one of his books. I have a copy of the book, and have worn out the page where that quote appears.  The passage gave me comfort in those awful months right after we lost Nate. When Dawkins got up and began to read, I had to put on my sunglasses so people wouldn’t see me crying.

The quote is on the side bar of this blog, but here it is again, because it’s about being lucky.

We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?

Richard Dawkins, from Unweaving the Rainbow

Blue Dogs and Slobs

I got up this morning and was absolutely bowled over.  I was greeted by a message from somebody alerting me to this.

Karen wants to talk about my uncle, my father’s only sibling.

I didn’t even know about all this.  It’s interesting, though.

Here’s my uncle’s obituary.

And here’s an article about the controversy she’s talking about.

Finally, here’s another article a year later.

I have been to the Sailfish Club exactly four times, if I am remembering correctly.  I even asked Dave what he remembers about going there to be sure I’m counting correctly.  My family did not have a membership, so to go there and eat, I had to go as the guest of a member.

It’s an experience.  When I was in nursing school, three of my school buddies went to Florida with me on spring break and we stayed at my dad’s place. During that visit, we all went to the Sailfish Club for dinner.  I remember that there were no prices of anything in the menu and that the wash basin in the bathroom was a huge shell. There was a live band and dancing.

Yes, it’s posh as hell.

This is me and my dad having a go at the dance floor. It’s not at the Sailfish Club, but rather at the Pinehurst Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina.  That was about 1983 or so.

I tried to find the photo and can’t, so I’ll let you imagine instead. See the steps there?  That’s the Sailfish Club.  When my father died, the entire family went to the Club for dinner after the funeral and then we had a family photo made on those steps.

But Karen is bringing all this up to stab at me about race.

Here’s the deal.  My father and my uncle were both Democrats.  Today, they would be called “blue dog” Democrats.  I never remember my father being particularly political, but my uncle was, and I know some of my aunt’s extended family was politically active, as in elected or appointed to fairly high positions in state government.

I have no idea about my uncle’s views on race, but I can tell you about my father’s.

He was racist to the core.

He was a child of his time and place.  He grew up in the racist old South, he was white, and my grandfather had established a relatively successful real estate and insurance business which ultimately employed and supported all three families (my grandparents, my dad, and my uncle).

If you were to go back in a time machine and visit my dad’s world, his world as an adult, my world as a small child, you’d see that the overwhelming majority of the white people around you were also “blue dog” Democrats and racist.  It was a fact of life.

I suspect that if you’d sat my father down during your visit and had a conversation with him about race, he would have been perplexed.  He really wouldn’t have understood his own racism.

When I was 13 years old (1962), my parents were divorced in large part due to my mother finding Jesus, and we moved without my dad to Greenville, South Carolina, where my mother plopped me into Bob Jones Academy, against my will.  It was also racist there, right to the core.

Two years later, I got the boot from the Academy, and ended up at Wade Hampton High School (the local public school in the same area) and guess what?  It was racist too, every bit as racist as Bob Jones ever was.

In 1970, I married a Greenville native, and he came from a family that was racist to the core.  He graduated from an area high school in 1959  and had several classmates whose fathers had been members of the Ku Klux Klan, complete with the white robes and dunce cap. They were proud of it.

I’m not sure what point Karen is trying to make here, except that she thinks that if she can point to one of my relatives, she can tar me with the same brush, the notion being that somehow if I grew up around racists, I am therefore racist too.

Well, there’s another person who grew up in a particular environment until she was about 13 years old, the same age I was when we left West Palm Beach.  Her name is now Cathy Harris.

This is a letter from the McIntire folks to Cleo complaining because they were having trouble getting insurance on the farm due to the fact that Cleo was a slob.  You remember that Cleo had sold the farm to McIntire with a lifetime annuity attached to the deal, so McIntire was responsible for the insurance.

But Cleo was such a slovenly housekeeper that the insurance company didn’t want to insure the place.

I read this and it reminded me of something.

This is a portion of an email that Richard Harris sent to Cathy in 2006, when she was begging him to let her move back in.  He refused her request.  The whole letter is here, and Cathy has repeatedly acknowledged that it’s real.

So what?  What does this mean?

Does this mean that because Cleo was a slob, Cathy learned slobbery from her and is also a slob?

Remember, Cathy may not have been related to Cleo, but she lived in her house under her care through all those young formative years.

Should we point to the obvious inept housekeeping of Cleo Smith and say, “See? Cathy got it from Cleo. She was taught to be that way.”  Is that fair or even reasonable?

What about Karen herself?  Her brother is (or at least was) the principal of Bob Jones Academy.  Does that make Karen automatically a BoJo?

Both Cathy and Karen went to Bob Jones University by choice.  Bob Jones University has a history of racism that rivals anything my uncle or father could ever have been guilty of.

Does that mean Cathy and Karen are racists?

 

Special DNA

Oh, how neat.  Nicole is interested in our thoughts about this.

She’s interested in our thoughts about the irrational belief that your DNA is special. . .

The irrational belief that you have special DNA, that your DNA is more valuable than other peoples’ DNA, and that your DNA means that your offspring are smarter, cuter, better, more valuable, amazing, intelligent, happy, well-rounded, kind, and of course the world needs many, many copies of your DNA because of its superior value.

That irrational belief.

These are just two examples. Every time Joe gets on camera or on a podcast, he blathers on about this, about how superior and fabulous his children are.

. . .my children. . . they don’t suffer from a lot of those things that other people suffer from with anxiety and depression and things. . .

. . . children are amazing. Uh, they’re very well-spoken, very well-mannered, very intelligent, they’re articulate, they couldn’t say enough words to describe how awesome we are. . .

See what I mean?  People just run out of words when they have to describe the marvelous DNA that Joe and Nicole Naugler have given to their kids.

This is my favorite, though.

 

That is how I would describe our bull calves. This is how we talk about them.  Seriously.  We talk about livestock like this.  We breed and raise registered Jersey cattle. Livestock.

We look them over, those guys above, and we say, “I like the looks of that guy on the far right.  He’s got lots of lean muscle and he’s extremely energetic and active. He’s developing nicely.”

When we have Frances bred, we choose a sire carefully. They look something like this. We make a choice based on how well we think his DNA will match up with Frances’ DNA.

This is the guy chosen as the sire of the Naugler livestock.

And that is actually a good photo of him, mostly because he’s much younger there and a good many pounds lighter.

woodstove

Isn’t he just so impressive?

The dam and the sire.  There they are.

Amazing, aren’t they?

We need more of their DNA floating about, don’t we? I say, breed ’em.  Lots of them.

Oh wait. They already did. Here’s the whole herd.