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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Read When You Can

Good day, ordinary people!

Not much but rain going on in the Mid-West region of the near South today. I dare not go outside out of fear I might melt.

I am a fan of reading, sponging in that knowledge or mindless information, and escaping into the pages of a good book. I also write articles. You really cannot escape into or from them. Why? Because I beg you to read my fodder for support.

Wherever you are, go read these little ditties on Law Enforcement Today. Hope you find them interesting in the least. If so or if not, feel free to comment online, on Facebook, or on here.

Both are July features:

9 Unconventional Things About Police Leaders You Can't Learn From Books

and one from today:

Meeting Betty White

What do you want to hear about on law enforcement websites? Give me some pointers.

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

TOot TOoT!

It is the second day I have used bar soap to wash my hair. I know. You are squinting at this notion and asking why in the H E double hockey sticks is Fargo using bar soap to wash her hair?

Well, we ran out of shampoo because Bug uses a lot on her mane and I am waiting for her to buy the next round to teach her not to use gallons in one shampoo job. She told me last night she is holding out until I buy the stuff. It's a showdown. Meanwhile, I adjust, adapt, and overcome. I have no shame. I supply a roof and food. Excessive shampoo purchasing was not in the parenting manual.

Meanwhile, I bun. Why? Because no one can see my dull, lifeless hair. I feel really dirty using bar soap on my head. I mean, you use bar soap everywhere else. So, does that mean my bewb sweat and toe jam are on my head now? Haha. Gross. I really use a washcloth, so the soap never touches me. Wait. That's kind not true because I have to use my hands. For the hair thing, I lathered up my hands and scrubbed away. I suppose if I were homeless, it would be a spa treatment. I should just shut up and at least enjoy it is clean.

Changes are coming down the pike. I suppose I should announce them, but I will wait a week.

You need some suspense in your life. Think of it as a faux Perry Mason mystery.

Meanwhile, Bug and I did the school registration thingy today. Successfully, I embarrassed her just by being her mother. Score one for Momsterhood. She is a senior. 😭😭😭My little baby is not a baby any more. This is going to be an emotional year for me. How do you depersonalize your personal life so you don't cry like a baby and have hurt feelers? It was so easy as a cop. I was cynical, jaded, and detached. Those are the good qualities.

Funny enough so, I was just thinking how tightly wound I was as a copper. I mean to tell you that you could physically see a force field. You could physically see the tension and the jaw twitching. The brain still never shuts off. That I cannot cure. But wow. When I see my friends and family and friends and family in law enforcement who just cannot settle down, I feel sorry for them. I'm also irritated. Like dude, take a chill. I sound like a stoner when I say it.

I was like that too (not the stoner part) and I remember being so wound up and regimented. I would be pissy at times or get so irritated at little things people did. I did not people good after work. So I hid. Wow. Gah. Yuck. Actually, the hiding part sounds kind of nice.

This sparked another thought in your brain. Fargo is a mess. Fargo is goes 50 directions. Yes, you can be wound up and still fly by the seat of your pants. Case in point. Oh, and look at Taz. He kept Looney Tunes in disorder for decades. That might be my mission...putting a little DIS in the order.




Monday, July 23, 2018

Look Past Your Perceptions

We all do it. Sometimes we dismiss things when they don't align or let them go if it is done by someone we favor. If it isn't our perspective, we don't like, don't pay attention. or even speak out. All of us do this. It is a natural thing.

Some of what Trump is doing now is the same as other presidents in tactics and planning. He has a harsh delivery. Some of his policies and operative ways are very different. Different usually strikes others as a very bad thing.

He isn't a likable character many say. Therefore, everything he does must be evil. Right? Seriously? We peg someone like that?

I think his delivery and his abrasive wording gets people so mad. He looks at things through an economic lens. He also pushes back to those who doubt him or speak out against him. I don't like how he handles some of that, and certainly I do not like his Tweets.

He isn't promoting racial divide or divide from authority or anti-government sentiments or even encouraging us to disobey the law.

We, as a society, are doing that. Don't give one person that much power over yourself. Mob mentality is a problem. We aren't stopping it. We are not setting good examples. We are driving our own societal decay and personal demise.

What we need to remember is that no one is perfect and all our leaders lead our country with their many faults.

But, with that in mind, why do some leaders get raked over the coals while others do some egregious acts but get noticed for a week and the country moves on?

Why have we gotten so angry and unable to bring peace within?

You will find where a president poops, but will you recognize when they give you a bone?


Let's take a look at some-not all- of the not so good things. There are some good things in here, but they are still views as bad by other people, so I included them.

1. Benghazi and Uranium One did not scathe nor tarnish Hillary Clinton's reputation much nor affect her office. She received only backlash from some Americans and those close to the events. Those are just 2 major issues. Hardly scorned from the world in its entirety, and from very few Americans. Have you really looked into these two major things?

2. Additionally, during the Bill-Hillary Clinton presidency- some wishy-washy financial deals were all willy nilly, Monica Lewinsky scandal, dead people close to their dealings, political smears of their opponents, etc. Punitive welfare reform which claimed to end welfare but drove poverty levels where the gaps were larger between the rich and the poor, largely affecting minorities. Aids and the Culture War- that was horrific. He deregulated Wall Street more than any other president according to the Columbia Journalism Review. He gutted state regulation of banks which led to their mergers. Manufacturing and trade went into the toilet. Trade agreements happened. And what about the Defense of Marriage Act? It defined marriage as heterosexual. He signed it into law. Why wasn't that a burning moment in his presidency?  The scandals and disasters stopped nothing. Yes, Bill had good foreign policy and he was tough on crime. He expanded the death penalty to include more crimes that didn't involve murder. What were they? Espionage, treason, and huge drug trafficking. Seriously. It didn't raise a concern back then or now. Let's talk about The 1994 Crime Bill-3 strikes. But now that is backfiring. It doesn't mean it wasn't good for the times, but people cannot see that part. They only see what developed over a long period of time.  Now we see the crime bill has created backlash and problems of prison overcrowding. Is that the worst thing ever. No. Did it stop drug trafficking? Nope. But it helped at the time of implementation and gave law enforcement teeth. Now is the time to revisit this and progress. It doesn't mean his bill was terrible, but many will lead you to believe that.I don't remember any of this being blown up so big that it completely divided the country.

3. Obama's era had bank mismanagement, stimulus programs, and financial crisis (which people say he inherited from Bush), deeper recession, election meddling, huge cyber breaches, racial divide and plummet of national unity, highest number of people on entitlement benefits including high welfare numbers, national debt soared, weak foreign policy, multiple families living in one household, high unemployment, not very transparent in policy and even antagonistic in some press conferences and speeches. But Obama spoke so well, no one noticed his sharp tongue. The school lunches were so bad and they changed over night. I remember that clearly. Was it the end of the world? Not for people like me. But the poor who used the school system as a nutritious outlet for their children lost a lot of ground. Then you have the deal with Iran. He was so set on getting troops out of the Middle East, that it pushed power back to the terrorists and their networks expanded. You also have the healthcare system which some will applaud and others will boo. You can only blame some of this on Bush.Obama had 8 years to turn things around. Yet, Obama blamed his 8 years of office on Bush as did much of the left. The Congress was run by Republicans and stonewalled any movement. The president and Congress could find no common ground. It was a disaster of communication. Obesity became a growing problem in the 8 years. Yes, despite all this-he is still considered a saint by so many.

4. Let's look at George W. Bush. Education-leave no child behind-not so good. In fact, education really suffered. The Patriot Act. Tough on crime including drugs. But wow-gave the government the golden ticket to abuse of power.  Really low job approval rating which leaves many thinking of George W. as a  very milquetoast leader. He was also handed the first big terrorist attack on the US and that was no treat. He was revered for his war on terror by some and thought of as a war criminal by others. The Iran Contra deal. Not so great now. The deregulations of the financial markets which left Obama with Wall Street collapse and the mortgage crisis. That was a huge housing crisis. Many loans never should have been given. Lots of foreclosures. But he was and is nice. But he wasn't and isn't liked as a former president.

5. What do we say about Bush Sr.? The bad economy, domestic affairs. No new taxes. This led to bigger economic crisis. He ended the Cold War. He had some of the toughest foreign policy which was successful, but now Trump having it is considered taboo. Bush Sr. was the catalyst to defeat Saddam Hussein. The Americans with Disabilities Act.  The Clean Air Act. He was a huge environmentalist. But no one remembers his administration did all that. And also some did not agree with these things.

All these presidents had huge accomplishments, but those are overshadowed by their failings. That's all we see. Now, I left out a ton of things. I cannot possibly include every little thing or every big thing.

So, the real question is: Do we like any president?

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Good morning, America!

I hope you said that title in Robin Williams voice. You know, the one from Good morning, Vietnam. 

Are you over my radio silence or just getting used to the slumber? 😍😎😜

Some huge political happenings going on out there. I'm sure you have kept up with the latest and greatest. BUT...you sure haven't had my spin. My spin matters, right? Right. Well, not really. It is just out there to chew on.

First-Strzok. I did not like him very much. In fact, I thought he revealed himself as an arrogant narcissist who thought he was above the law. I believe people can separate their political bias as cops and get the job done objectively. However, he did not convince me that he did that nor did he convince me that he wasn't up to something nefarious. I just did not believe those explanations, although they were good ones. I think they were taken out of the same playbook as James Comey. Strzok's facial expression and emotional fits in the hearing were things nightmares are made of and frankly, I think he views himself as above the law, although he will convince you he is a saint. 


Additionally, his mother should be ashamed of how he talked to Congress, talked over people, and grandstanded. There is a time to defend your honor and there is a time just to ask and answer. Well, he was a  💩💩💩. That's a triple threat poop if you don't speak emoji. 

Congressmen and women both were out of hand as well. It was a circus. Lots of chaos. For the average bear such as myself, it was highly entertaining, but disturbing at the same time. It was like a train wreck. I could not look away. By some media reports, I wonder if they were watching the same thing I was because their spins were wild representations. Others were factual. LOTS OF OPINION pieces out there. So, there is bias and there are different perspectives. Some times the two blend. 

This leads us to the events of yesterday: Trump and Putin. I really do not know what to make of it other than 2 awkward meetings where I felt Trump looked out of place and had no command presence. Before yesterday was the meeting with Queen Elizabeth. The Queen thing was just comical. 

The meeting with Putin, not so much. Putin looked so fierce I swear I can see the evil in his face. Trump looked uncomfortable and intimidated. Those are just my cop observations. As far as the content: rehearsed and spontaneous. 




One of the most profound things Trump said at Helsinki was, "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace, than risk peace in pursuit of politics.

However, did that get lost with his words of believing Putin over US intelligence. I would never trust Putin as far as I could throw him. Or it didn't get lost, but got twisted into something nefarious. Either way, it is a great historical statement. Credit is given when credit is due.

I do not like some of the things which went down at the summit, but do I think it is the fall of the United States? No. Do I think it is treasonous? Not in my assessment, but I do not count.

Those are really strong words. Here we have countless Americans who do the same including celebrities and they are never called treasonous.

Let's look at the dictionary definition: involving or guilty of the crime of betraying one's country. Dictionaries do not make the statute definition.

Let's look at the legal definition by US Constitution, Article III: "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court," the Constitution says. This requires a high burden of proof. Additionally, the US and Russia must be at war for this to hold true and for the conditions to be met.

Did he betray his country by saying he did not trust our intelligence agencies? That is up to the legal experts. However, he gave more ammunition to the Mueller probe. Can aid and comfort be translated to favorable foreign policy-tit for tat-say Russian election meddling for favorable policies? Well, again that would be a high burden of proof.  Some legal minds say for this summit to be proof of treason or other criminal charges, there must be a level met to satisfy the legal means which includes evidence. Was Trump blackmailed or forced to say that as part of a deal? Did he trade election meddling for foreign favors? Well, that would certainly be grounds for criminal charges and impeachment. You can bet your britches, the Democrats are going to spin it that way. They want him out. They want control of Congress. This is the first time in history, I have witnessed long time politicians melting down. They have thrown fits, blocked appointments on either side, and refused to work together, thus stonewalling the legislature, BUT...I do not remember such a time they have reverted to childhood emotions and so many dirty tricks. 

One thing is for sure, Trump faces extreme scrutiny and backlash and perhaps needs a protocol officer and more oversight. But will he accept it? He is often known for speaking off script. I myself cannot put labels such as traitor and treason on the president's words, but I do not have to like them. I do not have to agree with him nor do I have to search every grain of sand to find a good reason why he acted that way and said those things. Some times, there is just a disparity in how a politician handles things versus what you think should happen. Well, actually, that happens a lot.

I always fall back to my sure safe, General Mattis. I am confident with his leadership in his position and the safety of the United States. 




Tuesday, July 10, 2018

TidBITS

Ronald Reagan said, "When you can't make them see the light, make them feel the heat." I am pretty sure he was speaking of law and policies. Perhaps. It really applies to us poor Heartland people. Apparently, we are getting roasted to death by Mother Nature. Poor me. It suffices to say that 75 is my optimal temperature and the scorching summer is not agreeing with me very well. 

So this means it is a good idea to jump in the lake or stay inside. Pick your poison. 

It might surprise you this is a short post today. More to follow including the latest and greatest in law enforcement news, trends, and politics.

Whichever way the wind blows for you, please enjoy these articles on Law Enforcement Today by moi! 

9 Unconventional Things About Police Leaders You Can't Learn From Books


Line Up You Lionhearted 

Lastly, we shall not forget a courageous and self-less first responder. The Thai children and their coach were all rescued. May Petty Officer Saman Gunan rest in peace. What a hero he is to the world. His sacrifice saved all. Very sad indeed. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Interview with Dr. Travis Smith

Grab a cup of coffee or a cool drink. Sit down for a great interview with author of Superhero Ethics, Dr. Travis Smith. 
Can you give us a brief introduction (perhaps beyond your bio-something we don't know) and a little background of yourself?
I was a math/science kid growing up. I went to college to study chemical engineering originally. After working in environmental consulting for about twelve months, at what I imagined might be the most suitable job for me as an engineer, I gradually came to the realization that it really wasn’t for me. So, I transferred into the lucrative field of political philosophy.
Before I made that switch, though, I had been self-educating in the humanities. When you demonstrate an aptitude for math and science, the system seizes on that brute fact and does everything it can to cultivate those talents. Our society’s morals and economy alike value those skills so much. But something inside me told me that I was missing out on something essential, something I needed to investigate more—on my own if I had to, although a couple of high school teachers encouraged me (thanks, Ms. Forbes and Mr. McKinnell!)—if I were to better appreciate the human condition and live a fuller life. So, I would read a chapter of the Iliad in calculus class after I finished solving my differential equations for the day. I would eventually dig into German philosophy and Russian literature and learn a bit of Latin, too. I really think that the educational system does a disservice to students, and indirectly to society as a whole, when it neglects the humanities—meaning the classics—especially among students whose passions and strengths lie outside the liberal arts.
Wow. That is great! Your teachers sound like fantastic and inspirational people. Such profound things to make an impact on a high school student and so telling of what we should all aspire to. What were some painstaking moments during the evolution of writing Superhero Ethics?
The rewriting! It took me several rounds of rewriting to get the manuscript for Superhero Ethics into publishable shape—mainly because my professional training was in academic writing for a scholarly audience. Learning to write for a more general readership was a process.
Interesting. I never thought of that process. I think you have a nice blend. I can see the academia in the pages, but it also has flare to grab anyone's attention. Did you fall into any writing traps when writing Superhero Ethics?
I can tell you what my main challenges were. As I mentioned above, I had to write for a general audience, not for university faculty and graduate students. And yet, I also wanted to avoid writing in an informal style. Finding the mean between the way I would speak among scholars at an academic conference and the way I would talk over pints at the pub—that was tricky. Finding a way to communicate to readers who are learned in philosophical traditions without depending on quotations and citations from philosophical texts, while also communicating with people who don’t read philosophy either for fun or for pay—that was a challenge, too. Finding a way to communicate with hardcore comic book fans who have read as many superhero stories as I have without being pedantic, while also communicating to people who have never read comic books and may be only casually familiar with some of the summertime blockbusters—that took some figuring out as well. It was important to me not to get lost in the weeds or engage in too much inside baseball.
How do you feel when you finalized the last word? Energized or exhausted or something else?

Anxious. Several people proofread the manuscript before Superhero Ethics went to the printers. Still, I imagined some imperfections would sneak their way in. Luckily, part of the book is an argument against perfectionist tendencies. I will gladly award No-Prizes to people who discover mistakes in the text and then find ways to explain them away.
When you dove into comics when you were in your childhood, what is/are your favorite(s)? Most valuable whether memorable or monetary?
I remember devouring the Claremont/Byrne issues of Uncanny X-Men at my cousin’s house during one visit. (This book is all your fault, Brent!) A friend in elementary school let me borrow his copies of Power Pack. I grabbed new issues of Power Man & Iron Fist from spinner racks and hunted for back issues of the Walt Simonson run on Thor. In the post-Crisis DC Universe, I loved Suicide Squad and Justice League most—especially Green Lantern Guy Gardner.
I have always collected comic books for recreational purposes, not as an investment. So, I don’t have many “monetary memories” (except for the time I found a first appearance of Guy Gardner at a comic convention for 75 cents, back when cons were held in dimly-lit smoky basements). As a fan, though, I treasure the letter that Mike Grell sent me to answer questions I had about Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters in 1987. Just as dear are letters that James Kochalka wrote to my son, who, at the age of five or six, had submitted Johnny Boo fan art to him. (To your readers with young children, I cannot recommend the Johnny Boo series of books strongly enough.) Ryan North—who writes The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, my favorite series from Marvel in recent years—recently retweeted an article I published about superheroes on Entrepreneur.com. That was a big geek-out moment for me.
Very cool! Those are very special moments and memories. What kind of research did you do for this book? I can tell some from the book, but was interested in methods and time frame as well.
I watched and rewatched a lot of superhero movies. I read and reread a lot of comic books. I found articles like “The 100 Superman stories you must read!” online and then tracked down key issues. Also, to make old ideas and arguments seem relevant and familiar to my students, I make a lot of pop culture references during my lectures. I gathered those together and expanded on them, drawing on modern and ancient sources alike. Then I had to find something thematic in each character to base my analyses on. It all took longer than expected.
I cannot imagine the brain work involved with all that. Reading the book, I was fascinated with the analytical components. What was purposely left out or edited out of the book?
My editors reined in the nerdy side of my sense of humor. We didn’t want the book to sound like an episode of The Big Bang Theory. We also cut out references to recent events from the daily news cycle, aware that they would date the book quickly.
Ok. That "nerdy side of my sense of humor" made me laugh out loud. I can relate. The edits on the daily news cycle is an interesting take on it and I agree, it could date it but what was included was timeless comparisons to societal issues. Reading it today, it mimics today. Reading it tomorrow could very well be relate-able even though you don't mention particular events or trends. Was it always these particular 10 superheroes?
My original proposal included dozens of characters worth considering. But a decision was made to focus on characters familiar to the general public rather than obscure characters that only comic book readers know and love. This meant that I did not write a book about my personal favorites. I had to pair characters up, too, pitting them in battles in which each hero was distinctive while each pair shared a commonality. Regrettably, some important characters who warranted greater consideration weren’t given the extensive critical assessment they deserve.
There are places in Superhero Ethics where I suggest that characters who are not allotted feature spots might actually be more praiseworthy than those who are. One friend read the book and remarked, “So, you’re really saying that the Invisible Woman is the best superhero?” Maybe. I mean, in telling the story of the Ring of Gyges, Plato suggests that invisibility represents the ability to do whatever you want, however wrong, and always get away with it. To have someone defined by the power to commit the worst injustices, and yet she only uses that power for good—wow, right? Plus, in the Biblical tradition, invisibility is associated with the mysteriousness, immensity, and ubiquity of divine power. It’s no wonder that Francis Bacon placed so much emphasis on gaining knowledge regarding the invisible winds, and therefore power over them. Come to think of it, weather control is a popular infatuation among supervillains, too.
That is insightful. I never thought of invisibility like that, but what a great comparison. What phrase of the book are you most proud of? Chapter?
Phrase? “Global governance is for supervillains.”
Chapter? I think my examination of Tony Stark hits the mark. Think about how the most troubling scene in Avengers: Infinity War is when Spider-Man “dies.” To me it wasn’t disturbing just because it was heartbreaking to see young Peter Parker fret about his own undeserved demise. It was disturbing because he was practically praying to Tony Stark—the embodiment of the technological mindset and technological might in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—to save him. Peter Parker should not be praying to Tony Stark.
I happen to like your favorite phrase and it echoes problems today. I think that part of your book showed the breakdown in a super power in that their spirit can be crushed to a point of weakness just as if they were ordinarily human. Just my take, anyway. What do you want your readers to gain or take away from reading Superhero Ethics?
Philosophy is not only for snooty elitists. And pop culture shouldn’t be sneered at by those who think they’re too sophisticated for it. In order to make his arguments about the best life and the just society, Plato himself had no compunction about looking at the stories that Homer and the other poets told about heroes and villains. If you enjoy popular culture today and would like to think about it in a more philosophical way, then Superhero Ethics is the sort of book that can help get you started. If you are the kind of person who wonders, “what kind of role models should we give our children?” or “what kind of person should I try to imitate?”—and you’re curious about what responses can be found in popular culture today—then Superhero Ethics offers some suggestions and admonitions.
I like that takeaway. Did you get hijacked by certain characters where you wanted to go further into their complexities but kept it to a certain depth?

I had to hold back on Green Lantern. Until I became partial to Ms. Marvel (now Captain Marvel, coming to movie theaters in 2019) around fifteen years ago, the Green Lantern corner of the DC Universe was my favorite thing in all of comics.
The Green Lantern. It isn't easy being green. Well, that's what Kermit said anyway. I read a lot of the green lantern in the 70s version I never would have guessed that, but now I will have to watch and read differently to grasp that. What chapter did you put your most effort into and why?
My polished draft of chapter four on Captain America and Mister Fantastic was almost twice as long as what was published. We had to pare it back.
Oh geez. Now we are all going to be curious about what we missed. What is next?
I am presently preparing notes for a bonus chapter on Wonder Woman and Black Panther.
Interesting mix. Anything you would like to add you feel is important that I did not ask.
Modern society is designed to reduce our need for heroes and suppress the impulse toward heroism. “Don’t try be a hero” is generally regarded as good advice for everyone to follow nowadays. But the appeal of superhero movies is evidence that we cannot shake our admiration for the heroic. Modern society tells us to focus on our material interests and busy ourselves with satisfying our appetites, but we cannot help being moved by considerations of the noble and the honorable. Superhero Ethics is in part a reflection on tensions like these within our society.
I appreciate this opportunity to talk behind-the-scenes about Superhero Ethics. Thank you, Momma Fargo. I’m glad you enjoyed the book.
Thank you, Dr. Smith! I enjoyed this insight and getting to know more of the backstory!
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You can grab your copy of Superhero Ethics on Amazon! You won't want to miss it!

About the Author:

Travis Smith is the author of Superhero Ethics (Templeton Press). He received his PhD from Harvard University and is associate professor of political science at Concordia University. He has been collecting comic books since he bought Uncanny X-Men #207 with his allowance in 1986. His writing has appeared in the Weekly Standard and Convivium Magazine. For more information, please visit https://www.templetonpress.org/books/superhero-ethics