Things Kids Are Doing and Saying Because of...Trump

It's beginning.

I come from the view that everything Trump said during his campaign was a "dog whistle" to supporters to come out of the woodwork and declare their bits of white supremacy and separatism.  

His racist and the support from white supremacist groups are documented and were just non-negotiable for me because it's just a stance that not only he, but ordinary people will feel comfortable in going to antagonize certain groups of people just because of their perceived identities. 

I've been followed conversations on my online community of choice (an NBA team's message board) to get some kind of pulse on feelings of the election.  It's not a representative sample by any means, but I feel like since I "know" the posters in some manner I can learn a lot more.  For the most part, it's not like the snarky world of Facebook, Reddit, or newspaper commenting --- there's a lot more chance for civility and thus, depth in any given discussion.

There were a bunch of these reasonable discussants discussing how "racism had nothing to do with the outcome of the election."

What one (respected) poster actually said was this:  

This election had a race based component, but that isn't what flipped it. As I have been saying, what flipped this election was a number of democratic strongholds that strongly went for Obama (meaning they aren't racist) switching to go for Trump. It was largely economic based.

Instead of having a discussion about the real why's and policy directions, we have this constant discussion about racism that had virtually nothing to do with the outcome of the election.
The guy didn't vote for Trump (Johnson) and is very sharp when discussing trade and economics.

However, I was still a bit unnerved by the last sentence because I don't think it's accurate at all.

I understand that quite a few Democratic Trump voters went to Trump based on what they thought he could do for the economy (or maybe because of the prospect of locking a person whom they were made to believe belonged in prison;  re:  Hilary for prison), but he'd made a lot of noise in his media coverage about banning Muslims, calling Mexican rapists, building walls to keep out said rapists.

For a lot of people like me, that noise was as I said, 'non-negotiable', but I guess for some people the vitriol towards Muslims and Mexicans was something they could tolerate compromise on, as long as it meant a different economic prosperity and/or an "end to corruption."

And now for some instant reaction, we go to America's classrooms. 

1.  Today, my wife told me about how one of her co-worker's sons, a third grader, a 9-year old Mexican-American kid, received a letter from a friend.  The friend, saddened, wrote, "I'm sorry you have to go back to Mexico."  The son was freaked out, and his mother had to reassure him that he belonged here.

2.  Middle-schoolers in Michigan chanting "build the wall."

3)  Shitload of shit:  Trump! being written on a prayer room door, Graffiti reading Whites Only, Car being stolen from a Muslim student, graffiti written that neither black lives nor black votes matter, Nazi graffiti found in the city of brotherly love, a black doll being hung, a man yanking off a hijab, deportation letters being passed out at a school

Another Election, Another Edition of Who The F Are These Other People Not Named Trump, Clinton, Johnson, Stein, Barakaaaa....

I do not advocate ignorance at all, but my real-time social environment keeps me away from researching more thoroughly. 

The social environment consisting of local television, radio, social media (Facebook, Twitter), billboards, chain-link fences, residential lawns, etc. 

There isn't much in my current day job that actually forces me to look at politics, local or national, so it isn't a focus at this point.  I'd been unconsciously even blocking the information that did come my way about local propositions and candidates.

As of now, about 8AM, election morning 2016, a day off for me, I have just finished researching candidates and propositions.  It was a 4-hour long process, extending from yesterday as I sifted through the 200+ pages elaborating on the various ballot measures.  And by 'sifted', I mean I skipped to the "Quick Reference Guide Sections", read pros vs. cons, and looked at who was supporting what.

Of course, the research yesterday was not about Trump vs. Clinton or Clinton vs. Trump (that I decided long ago), I am talking about the local stuff that does immediately impact me.

The guide-book mailed to me was fairly comprehensive with propositions;  I used the internet to cross-reference a few things, but overall, I think I was able to get a fair reading for who what to vote for/against.

However the guide-book does not give you information on your local district representatives, such as your Congressional representative, your State Senator, your member of State Assembly, and of course your Nonpartisan Offices.

For local representatives, were all on our own, and that's when I relied on the internet:  an exercise in cross referencing Ballotpedia, KPCC's interviews of judges, LA Times endorsements, metnews. 

KPCC's interviews give some insight into personality;  though brief, they gave me a sense of whom I could relate to.  I particularly caught on to Kim L. Nguyen's story, though her opponent, David A. Berger seems alright too. 

LA Times endorsements I imagine carry a lot of weight for voters, especially in low-information battles.  However, the reasoning on a few of their endorsements wasn't satisfying.  Why?  They do not supply much if any supporting evidence of the strength of their choices or even the weaknesses of their opponents.

Especially when it comes to the choice between Berger vs. Nguyen.

Nguyen received a "Well Qualified" rating from the LA Superior Court whereas her opponent received a "Not Qualified."

The LA Times immediately disqualified this rating when it came to this race because...he can express his opinions?

Here's what they wrote
As a deputy district attorney, and as a candidate for Los Angeles city attorney, Berger was never shy about expressing his opinion, including about his rivals.

He has a long and successful record as a prosecutor, and his free expression of opinion in that capacity do not make him less fit to serve impartially as a judge.

Deputy Attorney General Kim L. Nguyen is keenly intelligent and capable and would also make a good judge, but could benefit from another few years of experience before taking the bench.


They don't elaborate on his "long and successful record", they don't tell us why the ratings by the County Bar don't matter in this case, or why Nguyen needs "another few years of experience before taking the bench."

My cynical reading is that whoever wrote it just likes him better because he's older and deserves it, though the LA County Bar thought otherwise, for some mysterious reason.

Second example of less-than-satisfying reasoning, for Office 11, they wrote this about their endorsement of Steven Schreiner:

Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta brings a combative style that may serve her as a prosecutor but would not translate well to the bench. Deputy District Attorney Paul Kim may someday make a good judge.

Of the four candidates, Steven Schreiner — also a deputy district attorney — has the most experience. He also is the one with the calm demeanor that a judge must have, and that is somewhat ironic, given that the knock on him when he ran two years ago was that he supposedly lost his temper when making his argument to a jury that couldn’t reach a verdict. Given his record in his many other trials, it seems more likely that he didn’t lose his temper at all, but was just going for effect. It wasn’t a great tactic, but it was a departure for a candidate who would likely make a model judge.

They endorse someone based on his temperament against someone with a "combative style", but they then note that he's supposedly lost his temper.  They like him usually, but man can he melt down?  It's befuddling.

They don't really put any substantiating evidence for anything:  why he would be a 'model judge', what his 'record' is in his many other trials, why his opponent's combative style would make her suck.    

Another election, another cram session.  I just wonder if there's ever going to be a time in future elections when we'll have as much information about these local candidates as we do these national ones.

Stores I Can Only Find in "Certain" Areas of Town (Special Santa Barbara Edition)


I have been working in the Santa Barbara for a few weeks now.



On the night that I was (superstititiously) following the Cubs (in my car in the motel parking lot using Facetime with the wife who showed me our TV screen after deciding that watching the TV in the hotel room was bad luck after turning on the TV to see Aroldis Chapman give up the 2-run home run to Rajai Davis to make it 6-6)  welcome their first World Series victory, the first thing I did was converse with my motel neighbors who had seen and possibly heard me react to every little event.



Turns out that they were from LA too, the San Fernando Valley specifically.  They too were here for work.  They do/did floors.  They’d been in Santa Barbara for months, commuting home to LA every Friday.



After trading talks about me being Filipino, them being Mexican, being married to a Mexican, me being born in Chicago, one of them actually living in Chicago, me living in Compton, them living in San Fernando, they asked me about where they could find a few stores.



Like a…



Home Depot.



Lowe’s.



Food4Less.



99 Cents Store?



My work area having been more towards Goleta, I wasn’t sure where I could direct them (though on reflection there is an Orchard Supply Store on the Fairview exit in Goleta).  Stores that I also gravitate towards and have lived on.



Not being able to find these stores within Santa Barbara didn’t surprise me at all.  I joked that they would have to drive all the way to Oxnard to find those stores.  We all had this somewhat implicit awareness of class and race associations with various brands.



They had searched for these stores, turns out that there was a Home Depot on Calle Real, though about 6 miles South from the Motel we were staying at, around Exit 101 on the 101 Freeway.



Even Autozone is coded as something associated with being Brown and working class.  I don’t find them in Beverly Hills, but I sure as hell find them in Compton.



I needed coolant/antifreeze for my car whose engine thermometer was scarily reaching an unsafe level while I slowed to 40 on the freeway.  I don’t know a ton about cars, but I know that I just wanted the Autozone brand because it had been the only coolant that I used.



I asked the local Santa Barbaran whom I was training, just where I could find an Autozone.  He is a recent college grad who looks and talks like any other white guy, but apparently has some kind of Hispanic in him.  

He knew of an O'Reilly's (which I know is around in Compton), but for Autozone, I searched the phone and found something in Santa Barbara.  

He asked what area.  

I showed him my phone.

He said, "is that downtown?"

I said I don't know.

He took a closer look.  He said, "Oh yeahhh..."  He knew what part of town it was.

I took a closer look.  It said, "East Side."  

Guess I'd located the part of town to get the good stuff cheap. 

Apparently Drunken Man Walks to My Front Door at Night...in Compton...

...wife and kid in the living room, which is just behind the entrance of the house...
...gate left open...
...knocking...

We live in a time where on any given newscast, we are inundated with news items that double as cautionary tales.  News of random robberies, assaults...it's a scary, negative world, and it seems so random.  Basically, if you watch the local news, you'll be inclined to never, ever trust anyone.

On top of that, my neighborhood has a history, one that from any Google search of my street, would deem it a mostly BAD history.  Without giving away too much detail, there is actually a Hispanic gang named after my street.

But I don't know what it is about me. 

Maybe Catholic guilt.  Maybe Anthropologist, 'let's-see-where-this-goes' mentality.

I crack open the door, but not our steel screen door so that there remains a barrier between me and this unknown individual.  I can kind of see him, but he can't see me.  He's shortish, mid-50s black man.

I ask him what's going on.

He says that he used to live in the very house that I live in today.  Says his name is 'Bobby.' He says that the neighbors know him. 

I think to myself, "well how come they don't help him out?"

He says that he was just in the neighborhood and got into some kind of fight.

He tells me that I have to help him.

There's a desperation in his voice that I would avoid on Metro trains.  But him being here, in my house, on my family's property, means that I can't just ignore him.

He asks if I could drive him to his place in South Los Angeles.

By this point, I'm blown away.  I'm glad he doesn't solicit money.  I don't really want to turn him away, but I still don't know who the fuck he is or what he's doing here.  However, if all he wants is a ride, I instantly get an idea.

"Hey man, what if I call you an Uber?"

The idea is my way of helping with something without spending money or necessarily directly dealing with him.

He keeps going on about how he just wants to go to his home in South LA and how he is known in this neighborhood. 

He never really answers the question, but tacitly he seems to approve as I explain that it's like a Taxi.  I pull up my phone and order it up from my app.  I order it, but I also want to warn the Uber driver by calling her; the driver never picks up the phone.  11 Minutes.

I tell him it is ordered, and that they're coming in 10 minutes. 

I take a closer look and see that he's bleeding just above the mouth.  I just try to continue conversation about what the neighborhood was like, trying in earnest to verify his claim to the neighborhood. 

He said that he grew up in my house during the 1980s.  He said it was where he grew up.  Kept saying that he knew people around, but conveniently were nowhere to be found on this chance school night.

When I see the Uber is getting close, I finally open the screen door so I could go outside and meet the man.

I tell him that the Uber is there, and he's still talking about going to South LA.  He's talking the whole time.

A middle-agish "alternative" looking white lady in a black sedan pulls up in front of my neighbor's house, and I spot her.  She has another passenger seated in the front seat, also another woman.

I immediately claim responsibility and say I ordered the Uber and ask if its OK.

She nods, and says, "It's fine."

Bobby hops into the backseat and I thank her with the profusion of a million suns.

But now, I just hope I don't see a local news story about an Uber driver something something by her passenger...

A Few Wednesdays Later

A white station wagon is parked right in front of my drive way where I normally would park after a day of work.

It is about 2 in the afternoon. 

I usually get that parking space, and it is sometimes a big deal when someone takes it.

Today, it is taken.

By Bobby.

He is talking to a neighbor that I don't talk to and greets me as soon as he sees me.

Says that he was here to repay me for calling that Uber.

He gives me $20, and says that we should barbecue some time.


Dodgers Radio Team on AM 710 Is Kinda Biased

...and that would be expected.  Heck, maybe it's what the station managers told them to do to keep their main listeners listening and interested.

But, from my perspective, it is cringe-worthy listening to their in-game commentary while rooting for the other team.

Yes, I am a Cubs fan, and have been since Triple Play 2000 for the Playstation (1) and a pixelized Sammy Sosa was featured on the CD cover.  Though I will admit that I've only dropped in and out of following them depending on their fortunes --- this year I am glad I get to tune out of UCLA football, phew less sports to follow.
 
I had only listened to these Dodgers announcers once, on Tuesday, for Game 3 and I already decided then that I was done with them unless the Cubs were winning thoroughly.

The only reason I bothered listening is because I was on the way home from work, captive to the radio, and the Cubs were already up 8-2, or so last I'd checked on my The only reason I bothered listening is because I was on the way home from work, captive to the radio, and the Cubs were already up 8-2 last I'd checked about 5 minutes before I got to the car.

My Evidence

When I tuned in yesterday at the top of the 9th inning, they spent a Cubs at-bat talking about how some Cleveland Indians' player had a wedding registry.  I'd already figured them as homers and were bellyaching so bad, so it was kinda satisfying to hear them blabbering on about something else.

But what annoyed me was this.

They use A LOT of hopeful, suggestive intimation towards Dodgers good fortunes, whether it's suggesting how the Dodgers could do this, or the Cubs (or the team the Dodgers are facing) could fuck it up.

For example, when I was listening to the game on Tuesday, which the Dodgers won 6-0 with Rich Hill's pitching beating out Jake Arrieta's.  The Dodgers were able to get lots of people on base.  Throughout the commentary they kept mentioning how Arrieta and the Catcher Miguel Montero were not good at preventing runners from stealing bases.  They then juxtaposed that talk with describing how fast the Dodgers runners were. 

What made it annoying was not that they mentioned this at all, but that they flooded their commentary spelling this out, almost acting as a primers for Dodgers' coaching strategy.  It was like they were egging on, rather than just remarking on it.   

Another example, Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman was pitching yesterday.  The Cubs were already up by 6 runs.  The Dodgers were able to put some runners on base. One of them kept mentioning that he had not thrown a ball over 99...meaning...obviously...COMEBACK!  He did let us know that a pitch had reached 100, but he glossed over that.  They just kept talking about how a closer could come in rusty or how perhaps the Dodgers could tire him out for Game 6 by upping his pitch count.

Anyhoo, full disclosure obligatory mention of Billy the GOAT.  I still remember 2003, and genuinely feel sorry for Steve Bartman. 

A Vanishing America

Great photo set of LA from the 1950s from LAist.

http://laist.com/2016/09/01/amateur_photographer_charles_w_cush.php#photo-25

Marked for future reference.

However, just one word set off a ripple of alarms, cowbells, and racing firetruck engines...in my head. 

"vanishing"

She used it in this sentence, "The Chicago Business took 14,500 images between 1938 and 1969, capturing a vanishing America.  [emphasis mine]

I don't know if that was intentional and/or added by an editor, but I instantly get a sense of someone who is in love with an idyllic image of 1950s America, back when America Was Already Sooo Great, if you catch my drift.

No Wonder There's the Idea that Public Radio is Just For White People...

I've been in Bakersfield for work the past few weeks.


A whole lot of driving.

A whole lot of radio.


The radio stations once you make your way down the Grapevine are the following:  people questioning evolution, Christian rock, Christian country, mariachi, banda, banda, mariachi, morally-questionable but annoyingly earwormy "hip-hop", and country...


It took me a while to find 89.1 --- it wasn't until my last trip in the late/early hours of a weekday morning when the familiar Morning Edition voices assured me that there was SOMETHING here in the San Joaquin Valley.

I kept it there...

 9AM.

Classical.

 12 PM.

Classical.

 2 PM

Classical.

It seemed like the only genre that the programmers knew.  Made me wonder, was it just cheaper to acquire the rights to play all this classical?  Do they think that's the only way to enhance the mind?  What the fuck.

THAT, was public radio for the San Joaquin Valley, at least on a weekday.  Valley Public Radio.

The content reminded me of what I thought Public Television once was.  Inaccessible, high and mighty, and not really part of my world.  Meaning, white people.

Thinking about the content of the public radio in the San Joaquin, and its listeners is quite the juxtaposition to seeing the young kids of color blasting the catchy earwormy "hip-hop."

I know in LA, you can find even more young kids blasting the catchy earwormy "hip-hop" and could find a contrast, but it seems that KPCC, if someone does not know and listens long enough for any stretch of time, will eventually come across a topic that they're interested in:  where they're discussing abortion, schools, bike lanes, gun control, Donald Trump, or hell, even a comics convention.  Something for everyone, very much unlike Valley Public Radio.