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

Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O’Brien. Screengrab image via Newsbusters.org.

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.

#NCSen’s Hagan unknowingly blames Dems – & herself – for “worst state for teachers” report

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC)

Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) faces a tough re-election battle this year.

As we near the final few weeks of one of the most hotly contested Senate races in the US – right here in North Carolina, social media messaging becomes more and more crucial for candidates as they continue their quest to win over undecided/unaffiliated voters in order to cross the finish line first in November. In the case of incumbent Senator Kay Hagan, the vast majority of the time that “messaging” boils down to falsehoods, half-truths, personal attacks on character, and grossly taking her opponent – GOP nominee and NC House Speaker Thom Tillis – grossly out of context.

Today, she managed to combine several of her typical tactics into standard anti-Tillis tweets – except this time she inadvertently slammed … herself and her fellow NC Democrats.

As of this writing, here are the two tweets:

And:

Here’s the “write-up” on her campaign website:

GREENSBORO – Speaker Thom Tillis’ dangerous education agenda slashed $500 million from public education in order to give tax cuts for the wealthy, so it unfortunately comes as no surprise that a new report ranks North Carolina as the worst state for teachers. Those education cuts have put the squeeze on teachers who are dealing with larger class sizes, fewer teaching assistants and outdated supplies that have left them dipping into their own pockets to stock their classrooms.

From the Greensboro News & Record:

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, North Carolina ranks as the worst state for teachers, according to a new ranking by WalletHub.

The personal finance website analyzed data along 18 categories to come to its rankings.

The metrics it looked at included looks at states’ median starting salaries, unemployment rates and teacher job openings, among other factors.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

But what Hagan doesn’t tell you – perhaps intentionally, or perhaps it was out of sheer ignorance (my vote is for the latter) – are these pesky little details, as reported by Charlotte-based news outlet WCNC (bolded emphasis added by me):

The company looked at things like starting salary, per pupil spending and the 10-year change in teacher salaries from 2003-04 to 2013-14.

[…]

“The NC rank was affected mostly by the level of salaries that teachers have in NC and related indicators (starting salary, salaries increase over the last decade etc.),” Raz Daraban, communications manager for WalletHub said via email. “Other factors that had a negative impact were the low annual state and local expenditures for K-12 public schools per student and the best schools ranking.”

The analysis did not take into account the teacher raises that were approved this summer by state lawmakers.

What does all that mean? Well, a number of important things:

1) The ranking was “mostly affected” by salaries and their increase “over the last decade” – which, as NC education guru Terry Stoops notes means SEVEN of the TEN years of the report, the NC state legislature (known here as the General Assembly) was controlled by … Democrats, including then-state Senator Kay Hagan:

The “survey” is a series of rankings developed by Richie Bernardo, who is a financial writer at WalletHub.com and appears to be a nice young man. In fact, one wonders why the reporter did not ask Mr. Bernardo to comment on the ranking. After all, he did ask three liberals – State Superintendent June Atkinson, Progress NC’s Gerrick Brenner, and N.C. Association of Educators president Rodney Ellis – to use the survey as a platform to bash state legislators and Republicans. To respond to their charges, he interviewed one person – Tom Murry, a Republican representative from Wake County. To add insult to injury, the reporter repeatedly misspelled Rep. Murry’s last name.

I will not get into too much detail about the arbitrariness of the methodology or the sources used. (For an excellent overview of both, read this article from the Daily Haymaker.) The survey itself examined changes in per-pupil spending and teacher pay over ten years. Republicans have been in charge of the legislature for four years but most of the data sets used by Mr. [Richie] Bernard[o] lag by at least one year. As a result, it represents three years of legislative control by Republicans and seven years of control by Democrats. Given that fact, an honest liberal would have observed that Republicans and Democrats share the blame in stunting school funding growth.

But honesty, among other virtues, is usually in short supply during election season.

2) As pointed out above in the WCNC piece (and what should have been obvious, considering the years they reviewed), WalletHub’s analysis didn’t include the 7% increase in teacher pay raises that were passed by the GOP-led NC General Assembly over the summer. Keep in mind, too, that some of the statistics for the report were compiled with information provided by the National Education Association – hardly a non-partisan organization. So exactly how much weight should be given to its “findings” in the scheme of things?

FULL WEIGHT, according to the Hagan campaign – and their faithful supporters on social media, who have also been dutifully passing along links to articles about the report and doing just as Hagan did, blame Tillis reflexively rather than carefully read and analyze the articles and report linked. But since we’re supposed to take this report as the “gospel truth according to Kay and Co,”, we’ll run with the stats in it – just for the sake of argument. You know, argue on their terms.

Not surprising that Senator Hagan and her campaign team apparently didn’t read the fine print on what’s been published by mainstream outlets about this report, when you consider that the most disastrous legislation that passed in modern history – Obamacare – wasn’t read in full by most Democrats who voted for it, either.

Including Senator Hagan who, ironically, brags of helping craft the bill that eventually forced nearly 475,000 North Carolinians off of health insurance plans they liked – in spite of Hagan’s some 24 promises to the contrary.

As they say, some things never change …

.@BarackObama’s political philosophy explained in one tweet – by him

King Obama

Image via Salon.com

I think this rather says it all, don’t you?

Emphasis on “will do whatever I can without Congress” – which he does an awful lot these days. Who needs a stinkin’ Congress anyways? 8-|

.@BarackObama Twitter feed celebrates Easter – then himself

If these last two Tweets (as of this writing) from the @BarackObama Twitter feed don’t (unfortunately) sum up the absolute arrogance of our “me first” celebrity President, I don’t know what does:

Thirty minutes later …

Note which one got the most retweets and favorites. Depressing.

Everything has to be about him – the anniversary of the Rosa Parks refusing to give up her seat, the death of Nelson Mandela. He’s even managed to get himself included in the the official White House historical bios of Presidents past! And we won’t even go there on the implicit insinuation the image gives off that he is some type of deity

Really. Not every special event, season, historical anniversary is about him – even though he and his team of image crafters like to try and make it so. I sincerely hope and pray that our next President – whether he (or she) is a Democrat or Republican, return to the days where Presidents didn’t make every single thing all about them … or at least gave off the PRETENSE that they didn’t think it was. Sheesh! o=>

Obama arrogance

The self-centeredness of our ‘fearless leader’ truly knows no bounds.

Caption This: Joe Biden posts selfie pic of himself and President Obama

He posted it to his new Instagram account last night, and of course the White House Twitter feed picked it up:

Now, I know y’all will be able to do wonders with giving this “selfie” the caption it deserves, but remember to keep it clean, please. ;) Twitchy.com has some good ones that were tweeted out last night.

I’m guessing the two weren’t actually riding together in the same car when this photo was taken, as the Secret Service understandably dictates the President and VP can’t travel in the same vehicle for security purposes. But, I can safely assume that this has everything to do with the “guy’s trip” The Hill reported yesterday that President Obama and the Veep went on in an attempt at trying to pivot the national discussion back to the economy:

President Obama and Vice President Biden took what the president dubbed “a guy’s trip” to western Pennsylvania on Wednesday, as the White House looked to refocus attention on the president’s economic agenda.

During a stop at a local community college, Obama announced $600 million in government training initiatives designed to help workers find jobs.

That includes $500 million to help community colleges tailor their curriculums to better fit employers’ needs, and $100 million in grants to fund apprenticeship programs.
“We want a seamless progression from community college programs to industry-recognized credentials and credit towards a college degree,” Obama said.

The president looked to draw a contrast with “some folks” in Washington who have stymied his economic agenda, with his budget proposals and stimulus plans earning little momentum on Capitol Hill. But despite a series of events focusing on his economic messaging, the White House has so far failed to gain traction on his policy proposals.

Obama acknowledged he and Biden “sometimes sound like a broken record” as they discuss their economic proposals.

But, the president argued, it was “more urgent now than ever that we push forward” because of how the job market was changing.

[…]

Before speaking, Obama and Biden met with students at the community college who showed off their work in a “mechatronics” course where they learn how to operate mechanical systems through electronics. Two students showed Obama and Biden a motor control system that simulated a garage door opener.

“We’re lawyers, we barely understand garage door openers,” Obama quipped.

Or, how to fix the economy, for that matter …

VP Biden - SOTU

Photo via Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Was the Pres. Obama/David Ortiz WH Twitter “selfie” a Samsung promo stunt?

David Ortiz and President Obama

Image via @DavidOrtiz’s Twitter page.

Via The Hill:

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz’s selfie with President Obama may have been a promotional stunt as part of the All Star’s recent endorsement deal with cell phone manufacturer Samsung, according to the Boston Globe.

During the championship ceremony Tuesday at the White House, Ortiz presented Obama with a Red Sox jersey and then whipped out his cell phone to take a picture with the president.

“He wants to take a selfie!” Obama said. “It’s the Big Papi selfie.”

The picture was later posted to the slugger’s account, where it had more than 38,000 retweets within 24 hours.

One of those retweets was Samsung’s official account, which also asked Twitter users what kind of camera Ortiz used, highlighting that it was one of the company’s phones.

In a statement, Samsung said that they were “thrilled to see the special, historic moment David Ortiz captured with his Galaxy Note 3 during his White House visit.”

“It was an honor to help him capture such an incredible and genuine moment of joy and excitement. Similar to the selfie Ellen was able to capture during the Oscars, this was an opportunity for David to share the incredible moment with his fans,” the phone manufacturer said.

“When we heard about the visit to the White House, we worked with David and the team on how to share images with fans. We didn’t know if or what he would be able to capture using his Note 3 device.”

The corporate stunt could raise new questions for the White House about the president’s participation in a social media advertising campaign.

While I don’t think the photo being part of a sponsorship deal with Samsung detracts from the “cool factor” of taking a selfie with the President of the United States (no matter who he or she is, ya gotta admit it’s pretty cool to take a self portrait with the POTUS), in my view it does take a bit of the sheen off the “spontaneous” and “pure” aspect of the picture – which some will now speculate was staged rather than a spur of the moment decision.

In any event, I predict the Ortiz selfie with the President is not going to overtake the Ellen’s multi-celeb selfie record from the Academy Awards in terms of the number of retweets.  As of this writing, Ortiz is just short of 40,000 RTs, while Ellen’s stands at over 3,400,000 and counting.  Interestingly enough, there’s also been speculation that her epic selfie pic was also part of a Samsung promotional stunt.

Go figure!

Probably the most frightening tweet you will ever read

From the Hollyweird files of far left conspiracy theorist/actress Roseanne Barr:

My response:

Please, Ms. Barr – keep that sort of thing between you, your doctor, and and your significant other – as any self-respecting woman SHOULD do. Thank you.

Roseanne Barr

Don’t do it. Just. No.

Big government vs private sector explained in two tweets

Twitter

Not everything said on Twitter is meaningless, trivial, and stupid. : )

I think this about sums it up:

Why write a 20 paragraph rant on the subject when just a couple of tweets will do?

Tweet of the Day on Obama/Castro coverage: “This is why the Oxford comma exists”

The disturbingly warm Obama/Raul Castro handshake was not a joke but some humor was to be found in some of the coverage of it:

Heh.

On a more serious note, former George W. Bush official Otto J. Reich writes in National Review Online today about how much damage that handshake can do:

American presidents should avoid shaking the hand of dictators, especially those that have American blood on theirs. One example of many: Raul Castro was Minister of Defense in 1996 when Cuban Air Force MiGs, cold-bloodedly and over international airspace, destroyed two civilian U.S. airplanes with four American rescue workers on board. President Clinton rightly condemned the attack as cowardly, while Raul Castro decorated his pilots for bravery. That incident alone illustrates the difference between the two systems that are embodied in the two leaders. President Obama seems unaware of the importance of his office or of the mantle of honor he wears as the leader of the world’s oldest democracy and the liberator of nations. There is no moral equivalence between the leader of the free world and the leader of a morally bankrupt military dictatorship that holds power only by force.

The Castro brothers have been vying for the world to see a handshake with a U.S. president for over 50 years. (President Clinton did shake hands with Fidel at a U.N. summit in 2000, but there was no photo.) They knew it would represent a form of recognition, something they forfeited by virtue of presiding over a military dictatorship, and their support for violence and anti-American terrorist movements and governments on three continents.

So much for “smart power.” Then again, not exactly a surprise

President Obama and Raul Castro

Pictured: At left, useful idiot. At right, the communist dictator of Cuba Raul Castro.
(Image via Reuters TV)

Related: Via ABC News – President Obama Poses for Selfie [w/ World Leaders] at Nelson Mandela’s Memorial

Tweet of the Day: On Democrat war actions versus Republican war actions

From @divadoll123:

Sounds about right, unfortunately. Any number of Democrat “leaders” fall under this double standard – Pelosi, Kerry, etc.

Anyway, as to the latest developments on the President’s quest to get “Congressional approval” even though he says he doesn’t need it, Fox News reports (via):

President Obama cleared his first hurdle on Wednesday in his push for a military strike in Syria, as a key Senate panel voted to authorize the use of force.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 10-7, with one senator voting present, to approve a military strike in response to a deadly chemical weapons attack last month. The full Senate is expected to vote on the measure next week.

The vote came after Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., raised objections to an earlier draft. The objections forced lawmakers to renegotiate the measure; McCain ultimately won tougher language clarifying that U.S. policy would be aimed at changing the momentum on the ground. He was among the 10 who voted for the final resolution, after getting two amendments added.

“These amendments are vital to ensuring that any U.S. military operations in Syria are part of a broader strategy to change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria,” McCain said in a statement afterward. “That strategy must degrade the military capabilities of the Assad regime while upgrading the military capabilities of moderate Syrian opposition forces. These amendments would put the Congress on the record that this is the policy of the United States, as President Obama has assured me it is.”

The resolution specifically would permit Obama to order a limited military mission against Syria, as long as it doesn’t exceed 90 days and involves no American troops on the ground for combat operations. The Democratic chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Bob Menendez, and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Bob Corker, crafted the resolution.

The vote was nevertheless close. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who voted against the measure, said he remains “unconvinced that the use of force proposed here will work.”

This resolution will likely pass the full (Democrat-controlled) Senate, but as the article notes, there may be trouble with getting it to pass in the House, where there appears to be a deeper divide – one which even crosses party lines a bit – when it comes to possible military action. Stay tuned.

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