Charlotte Observer Admits Charlotte’s Bathroom Provision Was Never Needed


Facts matter.

It’s always highly amusing when the sanctimonious editorial troupe over at the Charlotte Observer slip up and admit the truth about an issue they’ve been demagoguing for months and months. It happened again Wednesday night regarding the HB2 issue.

The state’s HB2 bill is about more than just bathroom access, of course, but bathroom access for “transgender persons” was at the top of the agenda for the activist left for years here in Charlotte prior to the city’s eventual passage of an NDO that included language effectively allowing transgender individuals to use whatever bathroom they wanted to. It also allowed men who did NOT identify as such access to women’s bathrooms, showers, fitting rooms, etc.

Gather ’round the campfire, y’all. Because I’ve got a story to tell ya.

When the City Council first took up this issue in 2015, the Democrat majority couldn’t agree on the particulars – in particular as it related to bathroom access – and the issue was shelved.

Fast forward a few months later to a new mayor (Jennifer Roberts) and a couple of new (Democrat, natch) council members, and in February of 2016, they passed the NDO with the all-important “must-have” bathroom provision. This in spite of the fact that the primary objection to the ordinance from citizens was including that provision. This in spite of the fact that the Governor himself (a former mayor of Charlotte) and a number of state legislators – some in leadership positions – practically begged them to keep the bathroom provision out of the ordinance. Leave it out, they said in so many words, and we won’t take action in response.

The Charlotte City Council did it anyway. And they deliberately made it effective the first week in April, which was 3 weeks before a the state legislature would meet for its next regular session. They knew that the only way the state legislature could stop the bill from going into effect was to call an “expensive” special March session, and the city council knew the media would kick up a fuss if they did. And that’s exactly what happened. The result was HB2.

During all this, the Charlotte Observer – along with their sister paper the Raleigh News and Observer as well as broadcast news outlet WRAL – led the way in pushing for the Charlotte ordinance to pass and relentlessly slammed the state legislature for responding with HB2. They mocked opponents’ legitimate concerns about what opening up women’s restrooms and fitting rooms to men would mean, and in one now-infamous piece, the majority-male editorial team at the CO actually told women and children that it was time to “overcome their discomfort” over male genitalia being in their locker rooms:

The Observer was also a proponent of boycotts and economic sanctions, even though they admitted to being “conflicted” because they knew it would hurt innocent people by way of lost jobs and revenue for the state – not to mention be a blow to NC’s hospitable reputation.

But here’s the kicker: After an endless amount of editorials and opinion pieces disguised as “objective” reporting over a period of several months where women, men, parents, sexual assault victims were portrayed as bigots and homophobes with no legitimate concerns, and after the NBA pulled the All-Star game out of Charlotte, and the NCAA and ACC pulled several championship games out of North Carolina over HB2, the Observer got around to unwittingly admitting Wednesday night that the bathroom provision of Charlotte’s original ordinance was never needed.

Editorial page editor Taylor Batten started out by talking about how the state is now paying the price for the “imaginary threats/ghosts” that supporters of HB2 – including survivors of rape – worried about. Then, he got around to the inadvertent admission:

He finished his piece by complaining about how Gov. McCrory “didn’t have the spine” to oppose state legislators who “wanted a wedge issue” (even though they specifically asked Charlotte to NOT include the bathroom provision to avoid the state having to respond), and then mentioned again how proponents of common sense bathroom laws were making North Carolina suffer for a “manufactured fear of mythical predators.”

Here’s the funny thing. What Batten said about transgenders using bathrooms before HB2 is in line with what I’ve had members of the transgender community tell me privately: That they had had very few issues over the years before any ordinance was passed using the bathroom corresponding with their gender identity and did not like the fact that the activist left were using them and in the process making it harder for them because now everyone would now be aware of it, sparking concern.

In other words, they didn’t need that “special bathroom protection” in the ordinance. It was unnecessary. “We were getting along just fine without it,” some have told me. And so Batten has admitted. So if they were getting along “fine without it” and using the bathroom of their choice before the ordinance was passed then …

There was no need to include bathroom protections in the first place in the ordinance.

There was no need to “legally” open up women’s bathrooms and showers to MEN. No need to make illegal that crucial trigger that causes front desk clerks at the gym to ask questions and immediately alert security if a man walks into a women’s locker room. Under the “new system” Charlotte put in place, a front desk clerk faced legal consequences for questioning males who walked into women’s facilities, so by the time a woman or child had been victimized by a non-transgender male allowed to go in without question it would have been too late. Damage done.

The “imaginary, mythical ghost” was the supposed “need” pushed by Batten and the Charlotte Observer for “bathroom protections” for transgenders in the first place.

Let’s break it down: If there’s no need for the bathroom provision in the ordinance, there’s no need for Charlotte to include it in their final NDO. If it’s not included in the final NDO, then the state legislature leaves them alone. If the state legislature leaves them alone, then there’s no special session, no HB2. If there’s no HB2, then there are no lawsuits, no calls for economic sanctions by the activist left, no loss of revenue, jobs, concerts, events, business expansion, reputation, etc.

Are we clear now just how badly the City of Charlotte under Mayor Jennifer Roberts’ (D) leadership royally f*cked all of this up now, Charlotte Observer? You can let us know right after you dismount from your high horses.

(Contact information for the Charlotte Observer)

RELATED: The Truth About NC’s HB2 (Storified)

Contact info for the NCAA, the ACC, and NC state legislators



If you’re fed up over the demagoguery and nonsense surrounding the opposition to North Carolina’s HB2 “bathroom bill”, make sure your voice is heard.

Wanted to create this list so the information would in one place for anyone interested in contacting officials with the NCAA and ACC over their hypocritical, ridiculous decisions to move championship sports games out of our state over HB2.

I’m also including the contact info for NC state legislators for anyone who wants to let their elected leaders know where they stand. In particular. if you have an NC state Democratic representative/senator who wants to repeal HB2, you should ask them what they would tell women who are concerned about the possibility it may be repealed.

Am also adding to this list contact info for Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill, since they’ve also weighed in with statements indicating opposition to HB2. Coach K himself has been particularly disappointing.

Will throw in contact info for the News Observer, Charlotte Observer, and WRAL as well, since they’ve been huge cheerleaders for the activist left’s calls for economic sanctions.



Phone: 336-854-8787
Fax: 336-854-8797
Twitter: @theACC
Facebook: The ACC



Write: 700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
Phone: 317-917-6222
Fax: 317-917-6888
Twitter: @NCAA
Facebook: The NCAA



Phone: 212-407-8000
Fax: 212-832-3861
Email: Contact Form
Twitter: @NBA
Facebook: The NBA


Duke University

Phone: 919-681-3788
Fax: 919-681-8919
Twitter: @DukeU
Facebook: Duke


UNC Chapel Hill

Phone: 919-962-1365
Fax: 919-962-1647
Twitter: @ChancellorFolt
Facebook: UNC Chapel Hill


North Carolina General Assembly

NC House Representatives: Search for contact info here.

NC Senate Senators: Search for contact info here.


WRAL – NC Capitol

Phone: 919-821-8555
Fax: 919-821-8541
Email: Contact Form
Twitter: @WRAL, @NCCapitol, @Binker
Facebook: WRAL


Charlotte Observer

Phone: 704-358-5000
Twitter: @tbatten1, @theobserver, @PolitifactNC, @will_doran
Facebook: The Charlotte Observer


Raleigh News and Observer

Phone: 919-829-4500, 800-522-4205
Email: Contact Form
Twitter: @newsobserver
Facebook: News and Observer

(This page will be updated as needed.)

Remembering 9-11 victim Peter Edward Mardikian


**Reposting.  God bless, and never forget.  -ST**


Tribute In Light

Tribute In Light – World Trade Center

Longtime readers of this blog will recognize this post, as I have published it here every 9-11 since 2006 in honor of Mr. Mardikian, and all victims of the 9-11 terror attacks, as part of DC Roe’s 9-11 remembrance project. I thought this year about doing another post for another victim, but decided it would be too painful, as the memories of what happened that day are still so fresh and raw for many, myself included. I didn’t know anyone in the WTC towers, the Pentagon, or on any of the planes, but I was in NYC on that day – scheduled to fly back home that evening. I remember just like it was yesterday what I was doing and where I was when I found out what was going on, and the shock and numbness that washed over me as it slowly started to sink in that we were under attack. When my friend S and I checked back into the Times Square hotel we had only checked out of about 2 hours earlier, the first thing we did was turn on the TV to get updates. At that time, news channels were showing unedited coverage, & raw eyewitness footage as all news at that point was “breaking,” so we saw what the rest of America was seeing – like people screaming for help from the top floors of the towers, some of them jumping. Also, like many other Americans, we watched on TV as the towers collapsed. And, again, like the rest of America, she and I couldn’t stop crying at the senseless losses of so many innocent lives, as the victim count piled up from NYC, to the Pentagon, to a field in Shanksville, PA.

It’s still hard to believe even today that something as horrifying as 9-11 happened on our soil. But it did, and we must never, ever forget it. Time passes on and life goes on, but for the victims, their families, and for the future of America, we must always remember – and always remain vigilant against the Islamofascists who would like nothing more than to commit many more 9-11s.

For an extensive archive of TV coverage of 9-11 as it happened, click here.

Here, once again, is Peter Edward Mardikian’s story. Note: Some links may no longer work, but they were valid at the time of the original writing.


(Originally posted 9/10/06 7:55 pm)

Peter Edward MardikianImagine you are 29 years old. You’ve been married for six weeks to your college sweetheart, someone whom friends would later say that you wouldn’t have been “complete” without. You’re beginning to realize your personal and professional dreams. The world looks to be your oyster, and you believe that you and your spouse have the rest of your lives to explore it, all the while enjoying the comfort of knowing that you have not only each other, but the enduring love of family and friends surrounding you.

And then imagine those hopes being snatched away from you in the blink of an eye, without warning, without provocation. Imagine the chilling, horrifying realization that you will never see your spouse again, your family, your friends. That you will be leaving this earth much sooner than you ever thought you would be.

Such was the case for Peter Edward Mardikian, one of 2,996 victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on our nation.

As it was for most of us, September 11, 2001 started off as an average day for Mr. Mardikian. Peter worked for a company called “Imagine Software” in Manhattan. That morning Peter was on business, preparing a software exhibit for a trade show in the World Trade Center at Windows on The World, which was a popular restaurant on the top floor of the North Tower. As you can see from the picture, it had a spectacular view of the city. It was a city Peter Mardikian, who grew up in Princeton, NJ, had dreamed of living and working in. Here is what the morning started out like at Windows on the World:

Windows on the World restaurant“Good morning, Ms. Thompson.”

Doris Eng’s greeting was particularly sunny, like the day, as Liz Thompson arrived for breakfast atop the tallest building in the city, Ms. Thompson remembers thinking. Perhaps Ms. Eng had matched her mood to the glorious weather, the rich blue September sky that filled every window. Or perhaps it was the company.

Familiar faces occupied many of the tables in Wild Blue, the intimate aerie to Windows that Ms. Eng helped manage, according to two people who ate there that morning. As much as any one place, that single room captured the sweep of humanity who worked and played at the trade center.

Ms. Thompson, executive director of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, was eating with Geoffrey Wharton, an executive with Silverstein Properties, which had just leased the towers. At the next table sat Michael Nestor, the deputy inspector general of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and one of his investigators, Richard Tierney.

At a third table were six stockbrokers, several of whom came every Tuesday. Ms. Eng had a treat for one of them, Emeric Harvey. The night before, one of the restaurant’s managers, Jules Roinnel, gave Ms. Eng two impossibly-hard-to-get tickets to “The Producers.” Mr. Roinnel says he asked Ms. Eng to give them to Mr. Harvey.

Sitting by himself at a window table overlooking the Statue of Liberty was a relative newcomer, Neil D. Levin, the executive director of the Port Authority. He had never joined them for breakfast before. But his secretary requested a table days earlier and now he sat waiting for a banker friend, said Mr. Levin’s wife, Christy Ferer.

Every other minute or so, a waiter, Jan Maciejewski, swept through the room, refilling coffee cups and taking orders, Mr. Nestor recalls. Mr. Maciejewski was one of several restaurant workers on the 107th floor. Most of the 72 Windows employees were on the 106th floor, where Risk Waters Group was holding a conference on information technology.

Already 87 people had arrived, including top executives from Merrill Lynch and UBS Warburg, according to the conference sponsors. Many were enjoying coffee and sliced smoked salmon in the restaurant’s ballroom. Some exhibitors were already tending to their booths, set up in the Horizon Suite just across the hallway.

A picture taken that morning showed two exhibitors, Peter Alderman and William Kelly, salesmen for Bloomberg L.P., chatting with a colleague beside a table filled with a multi-screened computer display. Stuart Lee and Garth Feeney, two vice presidents of Data Synapse, ran displays of their company’s software.

Down in the lobby, 107 floors below, an assistant to Mr. Levin waited for his breakfast guest. But when the guest arrived, he and Mr. Levin’s aide luckily boarded the wrong elevator, Ms. Ferer would learn, and so they had to return to the lobby to wait for another one.

Upstairs, Mr. Levin read his newspaper, Mr. Nestor recalled. He and Mr. Tierney were a little curious to see whom Mr. Levin, their boss, was meeting for breakfast. But Mr. Nestor had a meeting downstairs, so they headed for the elevators, stopping at Mr. Levin’s table to say goodbye. Behind them came Ms. Thompson and Mr. Wharton. Mr. Nestor held the elevator, so they hopped in quickly, Ms. Thompson recalled.

Then the doors closed and the last people ever to leave Windows on the World began their descent. It was 8:44 a.m.

At 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 slammed into the North Tower, slicing through floors 94 through 98. Those in the direct path of the Boeing 767 aircraft that had been used as a weapon were likely killed instantly. No one in the floors above floor 91 would survive, because they had no way out, and firefighters could not reach them.

According to Peter Mardikian’s wife Corine, he called her at 9:05 a.m. using a landline phone, one that was miraculously still working, on the 106th floor. Here is her recollection of the conversation:

“He said it was very, very smoky,” Ms. Mardikian said, “and he was worried about his breathing. He was talking about going up to the roof. I think he was trying to shelter me. He said he couldn’t talk longer because there were a lot of people standing in line to use the phone.”

His in-laws quoted him as saying this as well to his wife:

“We think a bomb hit here. I’m having a hard time breathing. I probably won’t make it out of here. I just want you to know I love you.”

Here’s what was happening on the top floors of the North Tower at 9:35 that morning:

So urgent was the need for air that people piled four and five high in window after window, their upper bodies hanging out, 1,300 feet above the ground.

They were in an unforgiving place.

Elsewhere, two men, one of them shirtless, stood on the windowsills, leaning their bodies so far outside that they could peer around a big intervening column and see each other, an analysis of photographs and videos reveals.

On the 103rd floor, a man stared straight out a broken window toward the northwest, bracing himself against a window frame with one hand. He wrapped his other arm around a woman, seemingly to keep her from tumbling to the ground.

Behind the unbroken windows, the desperate had assembled. “About five floors from the top you have about 50 people with their faces pressed against the window trying to breathe,” a police officer in a helicopter reported.

Now it was unmistakable. The office of Cantor Fitzgerald, and just above it, Windows on the World, would become the landmark for this doomed moment. Nearly 900 would die on floors 101 through 107.

In the restaurant, at least 70 people crowded near office windows at the northwest corner of the 106th floor, according to accounts they gave relatives and co-workers. “Everywhere else is smoked out,” Stuart Lee, a Data Synapse vice president, e-mailed his office in Greenwich Village. “Currently an argument going on as whether we should break a window,” Mr. Lee continued a few moments later. “Consensus is no for the time being.”

Soon, though, a dozen people appeared through broken windows along the west face of the restaurant. Mr. Vogt, the general manager of Windows, said he could see them from the ground, silhouetted against the gray smoke that billowed out from his own office and others.

By now, the videotapes show, fires were rampaging through the impact floors, darting across the north face of the tower. Coils of smoke lashed the people braced around the broken windows.

In the northwest conference room on the 104th floor, Andrew Rosenblum and 50 other people temporarily managed to ward off the smoke and heat by plugging vents with jackets. “We smashed the computers into the windows to get some air,” Mr. Rosenblum reported by cellphone to his golf partner, Barry Kornblum.

But there was no hiding.

As people began falling from above the conference room, Mr. Rosenblum broke his preternatural calm, his wife, Jill, recalled. In the midst of speaking to her, he suddenly interjected, without elaboration, “Oh my God.”

Imagine what it would feel like to be Peter Mardikian in that crowd, knowing that each moment may be your last. What would you think? How would you feel? How would you act?

The North Tower collapsed at 10:28 that morning. Collapsing along with it were the lives of everyone in floors 92 and above, including Peter Mardikian.

Destroyed with it were the hopes and dreams of everyone on those floors who were murdered that day in an act of extraordinary cruelty and viciousness perpetrated by Islamofascists in an act of war against America.

Mr. Mardikian’s life was snatched from him in a way that no one should ever have to experience. He will never get to feel sunlight on his face again, nor get a kiss from his wife after he’s come home from a hard day at the office. Any plans they’d made for the future? Gone.

A September 11 Memorial Endowment was established by Ohio State University in 2002 in honor of Peter Mardikian, who was an alumnus – graduating from OSU’s Fisher College of Business in 1995 with a B.A. in marketing and business. It’s also where he met the woman who would be his wife.

The online guestbook for Peter Mardikian has many pages of messages from family, friends, and strangers – their lives all touched by either knowing and loving Peter Mardikian or learning about him after Sept. 11.

At some point in your day, please say a prayer or a kind word for Mr. Mardikian’s family, as well as all other families who lost loved ones that day. They may be gone, but they are most definitely not forgotten.

Thanks to D.C. Roe for coordinating the 9-11 victims tribute. Click here read other tributes to 9-11 victims (some links may no longer work).

Kaepernick Forgot One Thing In His Drive To Become A Black Lives Matter Hero



Much has been written in the aftermath of San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s highly controversial decision to sit during the national anthem prior to the start of all 2016 pre-season games, mostly notably last week’s 49ers game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi’s Stadium. Most commentary has revolved around Kaepernick’s “right” to speak his mind but, with all due respect, the national conversation is missing the point.

The issue isn’t whether or not Kaep has “the right” to state his opinions. Of course he does. If someone from the government tried to shut him up by force, then, yeah, that person would be threatening the quarterback’s 1st Amendment rights. But no one from the government is trying to make him be quiet. What the issue at hand is is whether or not what did – which many view as disrespecting the American flag – was right to do, and if he chose the appropriate vehicle with which to express himself.

Kaep’s protest – over what he sees as widespread injustice against the black community – is being favorably compared to notable sports figures like boxer Muhammad Ali, and Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith, who all engaged in controversial protest practices during their time. But this is 2016, not the 1960s. Back then, the ways to garner national attention were much more limited, so you really had to work hard at standing out. These days you have the Internet, blogs, social media, 24-hour news and sports channels. There are an endless numbers of mediums for you to use in order now to get your point across nationally in ways that build bridges rather than destroying them.

This doesn’t foster constructive dialogue, either:

Kaepernick tried to explain away the “pig socks” on his Instagram account:

If he’s got family and friends who wear the blue uniform to protect and serve, then it was doubly unwise for him to wear those socks. They paint all officers with the same broad brush without distinguishing which ones are the bad ones and which ones are doing their jobs honorably. Lumping in the good officers with abusive ones is extraordinarily dangerous and indirectly inspires cop killers like Micah Johnson to take matters into their own hands. Does Kaep have even the tiniest of clues what he’s doing? It sure doesn’t sound like it.

Look, I’ll be the first to say he shouldn’t be made by his team or anyone else to stand. I also understand you need to make some noise, be unorthodox in order to shake things up sometimes. I just don’t think dissing the American flag and making “cops are pigs” fashion statements are the best ways to go about it. As a former flamethrower who could cut a verbal rug with the best of them, trust me when I say that the old saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar applies here. More people will talk to you, will be willing to consider your viewpoint if you treat them with respect. In this case, Kaepernick disrespected his country with his ill-advised political stunt. Seattle QB Russell Wilson said it best:

First of all, there’s no perfect answer. I understand and respect the cause because there’s so much going on in America right now — so much hurt, so much pain. And ultimately I understand what he’s doing. For me, I love the flag. I love the National Anthem because it’s an emotional time for me because I’m so grateful I get to play on the football field. And every time I get to put my hand on my heart, it’s truly an honor — you know, the military, for me I think about my family members who have served, and friends — I train down in San Diego all the time, so I’m around the Navy and I see those guys around. And all they do for our country and the people in Afghanistan and all these people fighting. 9/11, for example, coming up — that’s going to be our first game and I think about all the pain from that. So that’s why I stand and put my hand on my heart.

Wilson understands that standing and putting your hand on your heart during the national anthem and showing pride in the American flag is not an endorsement of police brutality and injustice but instead honors and thanks those past and present who have made sacrifices – and in far too many cases, the ultimate sacrifice – for the many freedoms we get to enjoy today. Kaepernick’s issue is with the police, not the military, and not America, really. So he should spend more time in his community, in his city, fighting against the problems he sees, and less time starting fires he’s unable to put out.

Oh, and the next time he wants to preach about the merits of freedom from oppression, he might want to avoid wearing Fidel Castro t-shirts. Just sayin’.


Warrior woman

Hi there.

Renewed the ST domain today – for another two years.

Normally I renew for one year each year, but the recent horrific and tragic events that have taken place over the last week drove me to make sure the site was around for a while to come, and that what I had written here since 2003, and what my co-blogger Phineas as well as guest bloggers had written, was preserved.

I may not blog here near like I used to be, but I’m still active – I am still a contributor to IJ and am engaged on social media frequently, especially Twitter.

This will always be my home when I want to let unfiltered commentary fly.

I have been disheartened over the last year or so with the direction of GOP, especially now that Trump is the nominee (don’t get me started), and I am so fed up with the Hannity/Ingraham crowd over their actions that led up to Trump becoming the nominee. I have toyed with the possibility of joining the “unaffiliated” ranks at some point in the near future in protest, but for now, I stay.

Right now more than ever, our country desperately needs firm, strong, capable – mature – leadership and we won’t have that no matter which candidate is elected as President in the fall. Our country has made it through some really rough times, and I pray that we will through the next four years as well. It’s going to be an extraordinarily bumpy ride. Make sure to buckle your seat belts.

Quote of the Day: Gov. Jerry Brown explains rationale for min. wage increase

Picard facepalm


California Governor Jerry Brown (D) made a candid admission yesterday in an effort to justify his signing into law a bill that would raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour:

Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” the governor said. “But morally and socially and politically they make every sense, because it binds the community together and makes sure that parents can take care of their kids in a much more satisfactory way.”

Reason’s Scott Shackford reacts:

The key word is “politically.” Politics don’t hold communities together. But they can keep entrenched interests in power.


You can watch video of Brown’s remarks here, via MRC.

Chris Christie’s No Good, Very Bad, Horrible Week

Chris Christie Donald Trump


When New Jersey Governor Chris Christie attempted to knee-cap Senator Marco Rubio’s campaign at a mid-January New Hampshire presidential debate, it didn’t make much sense.

Christie struggled during his entire presidential campaign to gain traction in a crowded GOP field. But instead of pulling out all the stops against frontrunner Donald Trump that night, Christie instead set his sights on blasting Rubio, who averaged being down against Trump by 15 or so points down the New Hampshire primary homestretch.

With the governor’s “surprise” endorsement of Donald Trump last Friday, the cloudy picture became a little clearer. Christie was helping out a longtime friend officially.

But the aftermath of his enthusiastic proclamation of support for the Trump campaign has been quite brutal and embarrassing for Christie, so much so that his legendary reputation as political rebel may ultimately be downgraded by historians as mirroring a “rebel without a clue.” Here, in no particular order, are five examples.

1. The governor who is often described by political opponents as a bully got dismissed by a bigger one.

Just seconds after Christie threw his hat into the ring for Trump, The Donald dismissed him from the rally like a King would a loyal yet lowly servant:

2. The Christie campaign’s own finance co-chair blistered his endorsement in a statement.

“Chris Christie’s endorsement of Donald Trump is an astonishing display of political opportunism. Donald Trump is unfit to be President. He is a dishonest demagogue who plays to our worst fears. Trump would take America on a dangerous journey. Christie knows all that and indicated as much many times publicly.

The Governor is mistaken if he believes he can now count on my support, and I call on Christie’s donors and supporters to reject the Governor and Donald Trump outright. I believe they will. For some of us, principle and country still matter.” – Meg Whitman

3. As it turns out, Christie himself struggles explaining why he endorsed Trump.

In a Sunday interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, the normally well-prepared Christie was grilled on his then-versus-now statements on Trump – who he feuded with just weeks before his endorsement – and stumbled to explain them away. Worse still was the governor’s response to media inquiries about Trump the following day at a presser on his nomination for the New Jersey Supreme Court. In short: “Permission denied.”

As a result of that awful presser, six New Jersey papers issued a joint editorial calling on Christie to resign. Ouch.

4. The New Hampshire Union Leader revoked their endorsement of Christie.

Watching Christie kiss the Donald’s ring this weekend — and make excuses for the man Christie himself had said was unfit for the presidency — demonstrated how wrong we were. Rather than standing up to the bully, Christie bent his knee. In doing so, he rejected the very principles of his campaign that attracted our support.

5. The media has dutifully reminded America of Christie’s (former) arguments against Donald Trump.

“He has not the first idea of how to run a government, not the first idea,” Christie said of Trump on Feb. 7 in Hampton, New Hampshire, when he urged voters to “get off the Trump train before it’s too late.”

As a candidate, Christie ridiculed the Republican frontrunner for having a “make-believe” campaign that amounted to little more than reality TV and sought to remind voters that they aren’t electing an “entertainer-in-chief.”

Perhaps in sort of a Don Vito Corleone kinda way, Christie – whose political star is fading – expects something in return, like a nomination for Attorney General, should Trump get elected. Or maybe even a veep nod. Or maybe Christie is being blackmailed by Trump, as intriguing footage of him looking around nervously from Trump’s Super Tuesday victory presser implies:

Whatever the case may be, one quote of the governor’s from his Trump stump speech last week inadvertently reveals more about Christie than all the rest:

“Desperate people do desperate things.”

Indeed, governor. Indeed.

The pros and cons of @PurePizzaCLT’s “transgender bathroom” solution

Thumbs up or down?

Thumbs up or down?

My latest at Independent Journal Review is an opinion piece that discusses Pure Pizza, a trendy pizzeria here in Charlotte that has been thrust into the national spotlight after a customer and friend of the owner recently posted a picture of the owner’s unisex bathroom policy on social media, in place for five months or so. The image went viral, news outlets started writing about it, and now people are talking.

I hope you’ll click on the link and read it in full because it provides context and background, but I wanted to expand on it a bit here.

Thumbs Up for:

1) This was a business-level decision, customer-driven. The government didn’t step in and demand the owner, Juli Ghazi, install a unisex restroom. She took it upon herself.

2) It’s not the only restroom. There’s also a women’s restroom. There is a related “thumbs down” on this which I’ll get into later.

3) It was implemented as a good-faith gesture not just to accommodate “transgender” people, but other customers who have conflicts over which restroom to utilize due to the following circumstances – at least one or more with which many of us can identify:

Single Dads with daughters
Single Moms with sons
Parents with disabled children
Adults with aging parents who may be mentally/physically disabled

4) The unisex bathroom in question has stalls with “sturdy doors and locks”, according to the owner. It’s not a urinal.

Thumbs Down for:

1) There is not a mens restroom anymore. Men probably have less issues with having to use a “gender neutral bathroom” but some will have an issue (though they’ll probably keep it to themselves), especially dads with young boys.

2) In response to a Yelp reviewer in early December who complained about the “no men’s restroom” issue, the owner said she was considering making the women’s restroom unisex as well to “avoid confusion.” Not a great idea, IMO. For women, it’s different. It’s their “getaway”, their “safe space” when out on the town, with friends, daughters, etc. I expand on this more at IJ.

In my conversation with the owner on Twitter, she stressed it’s just a consideration at this point and nothing more as the current set up works. Hopefully it will stay that way. My issue isn’t with unisex facilities in and of themselves. It’s when they are the ONLY option.

If the current set-up is working for her and her customers, great. My ideal solutions aren’t always going to mesh 100% with everyone else’s. That’s ok. It’s life. It’s a free country.

This issue has become a hot button issue in Charlotte over the last few years, so much so that our city and county elected leaders – dominated by Democrats – are even divided over how to handle it because as, with everything else under the sun, the people demand government “resolve” the issue and so they claim to be trying. Ms. Ghazi has found one that works for her business right now, and it’s one that is not that far off from what many like me who have concerns would propose and/or be comfortable with (and have suggested in the past) going forward.

And here’s the bonus: The best solution of all, detailed below, would make almost everybody happy. The few who would continue to complain are just people who want to hear themselves talk. Always gonna be people like that.

If the government wants to “help”, here’s what they should do:

1) Don’t mandate unisex facilities. I’m not just talking about bathrooms, but also locker rooms, dressing rooms, etc. Let it be decided by individual owners, and what their customers request of them. The law of supply and demand and all that. If enough people want it, they will build it. And if there is demand and the demand isn’t met, the customers will go elsewhere. Or so it goes. Which brings me to:

2) Create a tax incentive (GASP!) for business owners to install unisex facilities in addition to the traditional male/female facilities they already have. If they have the room to add them, the tax incentive could cover the cost of adding the facility so it’d be a win win. Hello?

3) While we’re at it, create that same tax incentive for business to add changing facilities for babies in MEN’s & unisex restrooms as well. Actor Ashton Kutcher, for all his faults, got this one right.

Ok, I’ve said about all I can say on this – for tonight, anyway! Your thoughts?

PS: I hope to get by Pure Pizza in the next month or so, where the owner has offered me a free pizza and sit-down conversation. Woohoo. The words “free” and “pizza” work so well together. :-) I’ve got my eye on the T-Rex craft pizza

Soledad O’Brien’s laughable gauge for determining the “relevancy” of your opinion

Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O’Brien. Screengrab image via

Courtesy of a retweet yesterday, I came across a column journo/author/business woman Soledad O’Brien praised and shared with her audience on Twitter, one that was written by a Facebook executive by the name of Margaret Gould Stewart. Stewart is the Director of Product Design at Facebook and developed a serious case of the vapors over the audacity of questioners at business conferences to ask successful female public figures who also happen to be moms how they manage to juggle it all. More on that in a minute.

Here’s how it all started:

My response:

We continued on for a few tweets, with me letting her know my opinion on how absurd it was to suggest that female executives/moms being asked about how they manage the heavy responsibilities of motherhood and a career was insulting and diminishing. She countered that she didn’t think I “got the point.” At some point in the conversation, I told her I wasn’t a mother. This was what she said in response:

Y’all, this is codespeak in 2015 for: “You’ve been dismissed, your opinion isn’t worth including in this discussion, now STFU. Buhbye.” When I pointed this out to her, she became defensive and said she wasn’t telling me to shut me up, just that I was uninformed – because I’m not a female executive juggling work and child responsibilities at the same time. Because apparently my life experiences and my opinions formed based on reading, talking to, and listening to women who DO meet all the “right” criteria don’t matter.

Not surprisingly, a lot of followers – mine and hers – had much to say in response. But this was the gist of her “point” about the relevancy of opinions:

Got it? So let’s take this train of thought to the next level. If your opinion on whether or not it’s appropriate to ask a female exec on the work/life balance is “irrelevant” because you’re not a female executive with children, then the following also applies in Ms. O’Brien’s world:

– If you’re not gay, your opinion on gay rights is not relevant.

– If you’re not Latino, your opinion on issues impacting the Latino community are not relevant.

– If you’re not a woman, your opinion on so-called “women’s issues” is not relevant.

– If you’re not a gun owner, your opinion on gun rights is not relevant.

– If you’re not black, your opinion on “Black Lives Matter” and other similar protest movements is not relevant.

– If you’ve never had an abortion, your opinion on “the right to choose” is irrelevant.

– If you’re not in the military, your opinion on military matters is not relevant.

– If you’re not a college student, your opinion on college tuition is not relevant.

I could go on and on, but you get the picture. It would be one thing to say that a female executive/mom’s opinion on this carries more weight because she’s “been there.” That I could understand and mostly agree with. But just shoving an opinion off the boat by saying it’s not relevant at all because someone don’t meet the exact criteria doesn’t exactly foster healthy dialogue, does it? What happened to diversity of thought?

It’s fascinating that in the day and age where so-called “feminists” are encouraging other women to stand up and “make your voices be heard!!!”, that we “need to hear from women from all walks of life!!” that someone as (presumably) progressive and successful over the last few decades like Soledad O’Brien would be so dismissive of the opinions of other women who don’t always agree. I think it’s pretty obvious that if I had agreed with Ms. O’Brien on Ms. Stewart’s pearl-clutching opinion piece, then whether or not I was an executive with kids wouldn’t have even factored into the equation, and she wouldn’t have made it an issue, nor given me the “talk to the hand” treatment.

Some people’s egos are too sensitive and fragile to be able to tolerate vast differences in opinions and passionate disagreement, I guess. Not the first time it’s happened with someone who has previously spoken out about the need for people to raise their voices, and I doubt it will be the last.

Oh, and about that ridiculous opinion piece written by Margaret Gould Stewart? Make sure you read it. It goes beyond the typical feminist hysteria you’re used to hearing about. Once you’re done reading that, check out my response to it – written after my back and forth with Ms. O’Brien.