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.

#NeverForget 9-11: Remembering 9-11, and WTC victim Peter Edward Mardikian


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


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).

Woman convicted of “breast assault” in Hong Kong – supporters respond accordingly

Breast assault

So, this happened…

My latest at IJ Review takes a look at a case in Hong Kong where a young woman was convicted of assault – a “breast assault” – of a police officer, and how her supporters responded:

Sunday’s protests saw a colorful mix of different types of bras being worn or carried by both women and men as gestures of support for Ng:


Ng is currently out on bail pending an appeal. As for officer Ka-po, authorities have yet to release any information on how he’s recovering from his alleged breast bump ‘injury.’

Please make sure to read the rest here, and like, share, and retweet. Thank you. :-)

Planned Parenthood videos provide chance to change minds on abortion


Yes, please.

In my first op/ed piece for IJ Review, I discuss my time as a pro-choice liberal (which I’ve written about some here in the past) and how I eventually had a change of heart and began advocating pro-life policies that protect unborn life instead of destroying it. And how, with the release of the disturbing, gruesome undercover Planned Parenthood videos, we can use the opportunities they present to change hearts and minds. An excerpt:

Ignore the militant activists, and talk to average abortion supporters whose lives – and livelihoods – don’t revolve around abortion. Do one-on-one work with them. Be patient with the ones who seem genuinely interested in having the discussion. Don’t get upset when they ask a question that might seem obvious or annoy you. And don’t get discouraged if it seems like what you’re telling them isn’t getting through. The likelihood of someone telling you they’ve had a change of heart because of what you’ve said to them is slim to none. Your part in it isn’t to try and force someone to believe anything or think a certain way, but to merely plant the seeds in their minds that will make them curious enough they’ll begin to do their own research. And maybe one day your efforts will pay off, like my college acquaintance’s efforts at changing my mind paid off with me.

Now is the time. We can do this!

Please make sure to click, read, share, and retweet! Thank you. :)

Which GOP candidate will benefit most from NC changing its presidential primary date?


In my latest at IJ Review, I discuss how North Carolina gearing up to change its presidential primary from May to March could potentially be good news for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker more so than the rest of the crowded but diverse GOP field:

WI Gov. Scott Walker

Advantage: Walker?

In years past, if you were a Republican seeking the GOP presidential nomination, the state of North Carolina wasn’t too high on your list of states to target. The Tar Heel primary has traditionally been held in May, at which point there already was (usually) a presumptive nominee. And, at least until 2008, the state was regarded as safely red for the general election.

This year, however, the low priority of North Carolina for challengers for the Republican nomination looks to be changing, as state legislators are putting the finishing touches on a plan to push the state’s presidential primary to March 15th:

Read the rest here, and please make sure to like and share on Facebook, and retweet on Twitter. Thank you!

PS: It’s important to note that the change in North Carolina is for the presidential primary only – not for other races.

My latest at IJ Review


Monument vandalized

NC Women of the Confederacy monument in downtown Raleigh. Image via WTVD/ Jim Schumacher

My two most recent posts at IJ Review deal with hot button topics that have captured both statewide and national attention in recent weeks.

One has to do with the emerging issue in the south of Confederate monuments/memorials being vandalized, and North Carolina has become no stranger to the issue. There were two back to back in Charlotte last week, and more have hit the area and across the state this week.

Related to all of this – and in light of the widespread calls by our “thought leaders” to remove all traces of remembrances of the Confederacy from public view after the Confederate battle flag was permanently removed from in front of the SC statehouse earlier this month, the North Carolina House passed a bill yesterday that would make it all but impossible for “objects of remembrance” (like Confederate monuments) in the state to be torn down/moved without the General Assembly passing a law allowing it. The Senate passed the bill back in April. Governor McCrory has not yet declared whether he will sign, veto, or allow it to become law without his signature. The General Assembly has a veto-proof majority.

And speaking of the Governor, in response to the horrific domestic terrorist shooting rampage last Thursday at Chattanooga, TN recruiting centers that left 4 Marines and 1 Naval officer dead, McCrory ordered stepped up security measures at all National Guard facilities across the state. It was not specified as to whether or not that included arming recruiters and other military personnel at these installations.

Thanks for reading! :)

Shutuppery: The true agenda behind feminists & their “rape culture” culture


My thoughts exactly:

Mob ruleI don’t get the chance to blog as much as I used to, but today I felt compelled to write after months of reading feminists launch ridiculous nationwide movements decrying America’s so-called “rape culture”, a culture they – get this – say “promotes” the belief that rape is “acceptable” and should be tolerated. Feminists have even gone so far as to accuse those in favor (gasp!) of due process for college men accused of sexual assaults of being “pro-rape”, while at the same time suggesting that the “default” position for anyone listening to a woman accuse a man of rape is to believe it without question. In other words, guilty until proven innocent. The accuser should be given the benefit of the doubt without hesitation, while the accused should be punished in the court of public opinion before he has a chance to make his case at trial.

Last I checked, this wasn’t how the system was supposed to work.

The latest “rape culture” grenade thrown by feminists is over the HBO hit series Game of Thrones. From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A U.S. senator is among those condemning a rape scene on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

In a comment tweeted Tuesday, Sen. Claire McCaskill described the sexual assault as “gratuitous” and “disgusting.” The Democratic lawmaker from Missouri said she was done with the show.

Others critics included the website The Mary Sue, which offers a feminist view of pop culture. The website posted that it would no longer promote “Game of Thrones” and said that rape is not a device to drive a story.

HBO declined comment Tuesday on the reaction to the episode that debuted last Sunday. An after-hours call to McCaskill’s office seeking further comment was not immediately returned.

The attack involved newly married characters Sansa, played by Sophie Turner, and Ramsay, portrayed by Iwan Rheon. Ramsay’s rape of Sansa was off-camera, suggested in her cries and the distress on a bystander’s face.

Sidenote: Incredibly amusing that the self-important Senator from Missouri couldn’t be bothered to tweet her comments about the “offensive” episode until a full 24 hours or more after the outrage started. Can you say “bandwagon”, anyone? But I digress.

I confess: I don’t watch the show. I don’t have HBO. I’m not sure I’d watch it even if I did. But I find all the pearl-clutching over this episode to be embarrassing for women, as if we’re supposed to be delicate little snowflakes who should be shielded from the realities of… fictional rape. It happens. It’s been used as a “plot device” in books, TV shows, and movies for as long as those mediums have existed and, in the case of GoT, my understanding from fans who are both viewers of the shows and readers of the books, what’s depicted on HBO (which has included incestuous rape and penis-severing) is actually a very sanitized version of what takes place in the books – and that includes the various rapes that have been shown to “shocked” feminist viewers.

My questions to the McCaskills and other feel-good left wing narcissists of the world are these: If you’ve read the books, how can you dare even make such complaints about the show? And if you’ve read the books, why would you watch it if you were worrying about so-called “triggers” that might upset your delicate sensibilities? And even if you haven’t read the books, why would you sit through the series for five seasons silently even though the pilot episode from season one included a rape scene?

None of us have to wait for answers to these questions because it’s hiding in plain sight: Feminists and their ilk have become the modern-day thought police, using a combination of shame tactics, obedient group-think, and mindless mob-rule to shut down dissent. Noah C. Rothman described this in a brilliant piece yesterday at Commentary Magazine:

….The mechanisms through which the vulnerable are shielded from discomforting thought develop over the course of decades. The process often begins imperceptibly, but the trained eye can see it in its nascent stages. It is the application of that perspective that renders Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill’s ostensibly fatuous and self-serving condemnation of Game of Thrones so dangerous.

In service to the new demands associated with a culture of “social justice,” a concept distinct from objective justice, Missouri’s U.S. Senator castigated the HBO drama for daring to depict the unseemly aspects of life; namely, sexual assault. “Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones,” McCaskill wrote on her Twitter account. “[S]tupid. Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.”

This casual admonition would be easily dismissed if running afoul of the ever-evolving concepts of social justice did not have dire career consequences for the accused. Livelihoods have been lost for offending the sensibilities of the left’s culture warriors, even years after the supposed offense has occurred.

And not only have livelihoods been lost by some for daring to be different, for daring to challenge left wing “social justice” narratives, but college life for some young men (falsely*) accused of sexual assault without the benefit of a trial have been one giant experience in humiliation, degradation, and ostracization via wars waged upon them by self-serving left wing “culture warriors” who are really no more than modern day digital/verbal lynch mob types who need no evidence whatsoever before publicly convicting a man based on nothing more than preconceived notions and prejudices. And if you dare see some merit to the arguments of the accused? The mob then becomes relentless.

It’s frightening, really, when you think about it. Our country has “been there” before on this disturbing and dangerous type of mentality, and it’s extremely troubling to see it rear its ugly head again, even if in a much different modern form. Fortunately, it’s the 21st century, and there are various platforms in existence now that help question narratives and facts, and shine sunlight on people, places, things – and accusations – that seem suspect, much to the dismay of self-designated enforcers who have taken it upon themselves to be the arbiters of what we should think, feel, believe, watch, do.

For people calling themselves “progressives”, I find their tactics rather regressive – in many ways, and in effect they’ve become the types of activists which they claim to abhor. Don’t you think?

*For more on questionable rape accusations and outright rape hoaxes, make sure to read Washington Examiner commentator Ashe Schow, and follow her on Twitter.

Were 2 NC churches vandalized over the weekend the work of LGBT activists?


My latest at Independent Journal Review details two recent incidents of church vandalism in Guilford County, North Carolina that saw windows busted out, landscaping being overturned, and walls and parking lots being spray painted with rainbows and messages like “Gay is OK!” and “Straights Approve!”

Law enforcement officials are still investigating. Stay tuned…

NC church vandalism

Image via Fox 8.

Caption This: VP Biden swipes pacifier from Bloomberg’s grandson


First, the story:

It’s like stealing candy from a baby — except it was a pacifier, and the thief was Vice President Biden.

At Michael Bloomberg’s knighthood ceremony at the British embassy in Washington Wednesday, the country’s second highest politician grabbed the former mayor’s baby grandson for some play-time — and proceeded to stick the toddler’s pacifier in his mouth.

The child’s mother, Georgina Bloomberg, captured the odd moment on camera, and posted the funny pic to her Facebook page.

Adorable child. The veep? Well …

VP Biden and baby

VP Biden and baby (image via Facebook)

Captions are welcomed in the comments. ;)

(Hat tip: @TheRickWilson)