Thoughts and Prayers – Parkland to Vegas

From Los Vegas to Parkland – so much tragedy.  So much grief; sadness.

I get it.  The images are burned-in painful.  The thought of my kid in that school, of your kid in that school.  At that concert.

I get it.

The horror is almost literally overwhelming.  If I let myself, while lying at bed at night, I can get that feeling in my stomach – like when you dream you are falling?

I get it.

But I ask you, right now, in the comments section, without looking at Google – type the names of 3 of the victims.

Or even just 1.

From either tragedy.

I’m guessing you can’t.  So, if you are protesting, or are mad and posting, or are demanding action be done – why didn’t you do that February 13?

I think your mobilization has more to do with the hollywood marketed outrage and less about how you really feel about people dying by guns.

Put another way, why are you not mourning Larenzo Smith?

Parkland, Florida – Solutions on the Spectrum

The horrors we witnessed in Parkland took place a week ago this afternoon.  For many of us, the tragedy is still fresh and frontal.  For a few, those horrors will never end; that day in mid-February 2018 will define their existence.

I can’t imagine.  And, we’ve seen it before – we’ll see it again.  All of us, myself included, after the kids are in bed, are left with this question:

What do we do?  What CAN we do?

In the coming days I’m gonna explore my thoughts and my feelings.  I’m gonna think about what we can do, what I can do; if anything.

I’ve seen what seems like a never ending barrage of thoughts, and arguments, debate and anger.  Rage.  Despair.

And blame.

Which brings me to my point.  As I, we, explore feelings and define the problems looking for solutions – I want to do so from a position of mutual acknowledgement.  Namely that I love my kids, and yours, in the same manner that love your kids, and mine.


It’s likely, that as intelligent people with different histories and experience, we are going to arrive at separate conclusions after being exposed to the same body of facts.  And that, THAT, has to be okay.  It cannot be that those who shout loudest, most often and without regard to civility are allowed to carry the day.  Neither can we allow the debate to devolve into that place where we question each other’s motives.

This is too important to us.


Wherein Pino Solves Immigration

I have no such hubris, just my humble thoughts.

Borders have meanings.  The United States is wealthy because we embrace freer and more liberal markets than does Mexico or Venezuela or North Korea.  The laws we pass codify that relationship we have with such values.

When you pass the border between the US and Mexico you are protected by those laws we have passed.  In Mexico, literally 5 feet behind you, those protections may or may not exist.

Borders matter.

We are a welfare state.

This is undeniable, and to the point that it is worthy of debate, such debate can be had elsewhere.  For this exercise, this is considered a priori.

The welfare state exits, at least in theory, for the betterment of its citizens.  It is the citizen* that contributes to the system that allows the existence of the social programs that we have in place.  If we have in place an open border state that is also a welfare state, that state cannot sustain itself.

We must be able to control for the reasonable crossing of our borders.

It is my contention that:

  1. The United States is a nation of immigrants.  In fact, I believe that the United States is alone in the world in that anyone under the canopy of heaven can become an American in a way that is unique.  I do not believe that I can move to Russia and become a Russian, to Japan and become Japanese or to Zimbabwe and become Zimbabwean.
  2. We should open our doors wider to the immigrant than other nations do.  We are wealthier.  We are best able to assimilate.  We best embody liberty.
  3. We should be allowed to limit the number of people entering our country.
  4. We ought be allowed to distinguish which qualities we find desirable in the immigrants entering the US.
  5. We ought be allowed to know who those people entering are.
  6. We be allowed to distinguish between the rights of the citizen and the non-citizen.
  7. The sins of the father do not pass to the child – I am pro-dreamer.  This is different than pro-DACA.

I firmly believe that people be as free as possible to come and go to the United States as possible.  Limits surly apply where reasonable expectations of assimilation are no longer sustainable.  Further, I think that all kinds of legal status are valid.  For example:

  1. A Mexican citizen living Mexico, wants to remain living in Mexico,  sending his Mexican children to Mexican schools but who wants to work in the United States.
  2. A Canadian citizen who wants to remain a Canadian citizen but who wants to live in the United States, work and then return when she desires.
  3. A German citizen who wants to live and work in America, having no desire to ever leave America or return to Germany but does not want to become an American citizen.
  4. An Ethiopian citizen who wants to come to America, work and live, while attain her college degree.  At which time she may or may not return to Ethiopia.
  5. A Greek citizen who wants to live and work in America and then become a citizen.

I see no reason why each and any of these conditions would require much more than a simple application taking not much longer than applying for a cell phone contract.  We need only check for a few simple characteristics:

  • Is he a wanted criminal in his home country?
  • Does she have an infectious disease?
  • Is she on the terror watch list?

No?  Come on in and Welcome to America!

Of course we should apply limits to the number of people we allow in a given year.  And yes, we can, and should, be able to limit the number of people we let become citizens.

Now, how do we do this?  We do this by monitoring the border.  And monitoring might look like a bridge in certain cases, a physical wall in others.  Maybe drones here and laser detection there.  Guards here.  Dogs there.  And maybe nothing over there.  It is reasonable that a nation that has borders control those borders and understand who come.  And then who goes.

Finally the Dreamers.  I don’t find a single person I know that doesn’t sympathize with those people who, as children, were brought across the border by their parents and are, for all intents and purposes, are Americans.  It is impossible to not grant them legal status.  Maybe they want to remain in America and never become a citizen. Maybe they dream of going back to their native country.  Or, perhaps they wanna become a citizen.  All good.  Stay for awhile, stay for ever or, or, become one of us.

All good.

But if we’re being honest, we need to be honest.  The moral case for immigration and the Dreamers is fairly straight forward.  But not for a second do I believe democrats are ignorant of the fact that they believe such demographics will provide them a steady stream of voters.  Politics is politics.  And as such, we have to face the fact that this comes with a cost.

We have to stop the Dreamer’s parent from coming illegally in the first place.  The ‘wall’, as described above, needs to be built.


  • Yes.  I am aware that the taxes paid by the non-citizen in the form of payroll, state and federal income tax as well as sales tax represents an amount of  money not zero.This is so not because we want to tax and deny the non-citizen, but because our taxation method makes it so.

Noble Intentions

Health Care
Minimum wage
Affirmative Action
Pay equity

The list goes on.  And on and on.

I don’t doubt the liberla’s intentions – they mean well.  Who doesn’t want medical care for the child, income for the poor, safe haven for the oppressed, equality for the marginalized or parity for all?

The problem isn’t the end, its the means.  It’s always been about the means.

Police Shootings

So, three things have happened:

  1. The calendar flipped to February
  2. A shooting occurred in my little home town involving a cop
  3. The Super Bowl ended

Okay, four things – I am beginning to study and learn R.

I’ve known about the effort at the Washington Post to record all of the police shootings in the US since 2015.  Because the requirements to self report are terrible, the Post relies on local news coverage, eye witness accounts and even social media to obtain the data they keep for each shooting.  This means that often all of those details are not available for days or even weeks.  I’m hoping that with us moving into February, the details surrounding 2017 incidents are complete.

The news out of my little corner of the world in Southwest Minnesota kinda nudged me back to this reality.

Both of these things were timed with the ending of the NFL’s 2017 season which, of course, carried with it the Anthem protests carried out by many NFL players.

As the Minnesota Vikings transformed their year from disastrous to glorious I bought a new vehicle.  This car had the advantage of Bluetooth connectivity which allowed me the luxury of listening to Twin Cities sports talk radio.  Which meant that my normal listening patterns were thrown into chaos.  The winner?  ESPN 1500 talk.  The loser?  1A.

But before 1A gave way to the Vikings I did listen to a number of shows that mentioned the kneeling protests.  From the interviews I listened to I understand the reason the players were kneeling was to protest the treatment of people of color in the United States, specifically treatment at the hands of police.

With the data now in for 2015, 16 and 17, the NFL season concluded and the violent reminder of such encounters, I am going to try and look into the data and see what there is to see.

Tarheel, Roy Moore, Democrats and Hypocrisy

For the record, I do NOT support Roy Moore for elected office, of any kind.  Without the benefit of a trial, I believe the women who are alleging misconduct.  I would have him drop out and be replaced as soon as practical.

In the event he cannot be replaced, I urge Alabama voters to vote for someone not Moore.

This is not to say that I would vote for the democrat.  Likely I would not. And when pressed by people I know why people continue to support Moore, I tell them this, “Because Liberal Democrats and people who vote for them.”

Due process for me – innocence by drowning for you.

As far as hypocrisy and the claims thrown as such by the left onto the right, I’ll take that burden.

No one would ever answer the question,”Which side of the political aisle is the side of family values?” by responding ‘democrats’.  We all know better.

We should be called out when we fail to live up to our moral standards.  And no one should be surprised when the left is unashamed when they don’t.

Forgive Me

You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t approve of your solution to government incompetence is to give more power to the government to wreck my life:

The gunman who slaughtered 26 people at a Texas church was able to buy weapons because the Air Force failed to report his domestic violence conviction to the federal database that is used to conduct background checks on would-be gun purchasers, authorities said Monday.

Federal officials said the Air Force didn’t submit Devin Patrick Kelley’s criminal history even though it was required to do so by Pentagon rules.

Kelley, 26, was found guilty of assault in an Air Force court-martial in 2012 for abusing his wife and her child and was given 12 months’ confinement followed by a bad-conduct discharge in 2014. That same year, authorities said, he bought the first of four weapons.

Under Pentagon rules, information about convictions of military personnel for crimes like assault should be submitted to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Investigation Services Division.

Because you suck at what you do you want me to give you more power to suck at what you do?  I think I’ll pass on enabling your suckiness.


May God comfort the families of those that He called home tonight in New York.

Quick internet search:

Motor vehicle traffic deaths
  • Number of deaths: 33,736
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.6
All firearm deaths
  • Number of deaths: 33,594
  • Deaths per 100,000 population: 10.5

If you want to save lives by banning something, there is more than one solution.

The Point of the Point

As I mentioned in my last post – we still have work to do as a nation with regards to racial relations.  We do.  A even pedestrian awareness bears that out.  Also in my last post, I mentioned:

And, as long as there is work to do, we should do it. And measure it. And always keep the eye on the ball.

And measure it.

As in, keep track of progress, or lack of it, so that one day we’ll know when we ‘have arrived’.  Which is an interesting thought.  What will ‘we have arrived at a post racial world’ look like?  I’m not sure, but I think I have one characteristic.

We will identify our heroes and villains based on qualities not race racial in nature.  We might like a football player because he is a great athlete [are we here already in this case?], or an actor for her skills on stage.  Perhaps a politician for his policies, or a movie character for his -her- ‘coolness’ as portrayed in a movie.

This might look like, for example, a black kid from Nigeria, or say randomville Indiana, might wanna dress as Cinderella.  Or, in a similar manner, a white kid might wanna dress as Moana.

Not because they wanna go as a white girl from Western Europe or because they wanna go as a brown girl from the Pacific Islands.  But because they wanna go as the heroic, or loveable, character they have fallen in love with in the screen or in their book.

And the fact that those characters are white or fall on some spectrum of color is as incidental as the fact that they have shoes, boots, slippers or no footwear.

That seems to me the world we’re striving for.  A world where the color of a person is not important in the calculus to the determination of their worth.

So why this?

At this point, you might be saying something like: “But, I dressed up as Jasmine as a child, and I’m not a racist!”, or, “It’s just a Halloween costume, please chill the f*ck out.” But one of the best things about time is that it moves forward. You should too. You can (and should) strive to be better than you were 10, 20, or 30 years ago. If you missed the mark when you were younger, maybe think about using this Halloween as an opportunity to teach your kids about the importance of cultural sensitivity. If your child’s dream costume feels questionable, don’t just throw up your hands and hand over your credit card. You’re the parent here, and the onus of what your child wears falls on you. If your kid wears a racist costume … you’re kind of wearing it too.

Recognize this: Moana is a really special character to young girls of Polynesian descent who have never seen a Disney Princess who looks like them, just like how Tiana from The Princess and the Frog likely resonated with young Black women who had waited decades to see themselves represented. White girls have plenty of princesses to choose from — there’s Belle, Ariel, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty … you get the idea. If your Caucasian son or daughter doesn’t get to be exactly what they wanted for Halloween, encourage them to take a step back and realize that they’re awash in privileges that the real Moanas and Tianas of the world will likely never see, because the world is full of racist assholes.

It’s views like this that drive me crazy.  Simply crazy.

  1.  We WANT white girls to see brown/black girls as heroes.
  2. We WANT to stop using race as an identifier.
  3. We have GOT to stop mind reading racist in far too many aspects of life – there are enough real life versions.

So, Cosmo, NYPost and Race – chill.  White parents letting their white kids idolize people of color is a meaningful step in the right direction.  Celebrate this development, not bash it.

I. Have. No. Words.

First, I need to say this.

My life is easier than the same life of a man who is black.  Same background, same education, same income, kids, cars, job and all the rest of it.  My life is easier.

Drop me off in any random city/town in the US of A and I’m almost surely going to be alright.

But today is better than yesterday.  And yesterday is WAY better than it was when I was born.


And until my life isn’t easier because I’m not black than it is form my friends who are black, we have work to do.  And, as long as there is work to do, we should do it.  And measure it.  And always keep the eye on the ball.

All that being said, and what was said is much more than just over 100 words typed, I have to say, this is some crazy shit.  Ca-Razy:

A university professor has claimed teaching maths perpetuates “unearned” white privilege.

What?  How..?  Are you kidding me?

She is not:

Titled “Building Support for Scholarly Practices in Mathematics Methods”, Ms Gutierrez argues a focus on Pythagorean theorem and pi feed into the idea that maths was developed by the Greeks and Europeans.

“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White,” she wrote, according to Campus Reform.

Does she know what we call our numeral system?  Does she know who is credited with the discovery of zero?  The development of algebra?  She must – she teaches this.  But how can she ignore those facts?

But now moving forward, history being history, she begins to question math itself:

“Are we really that smart just because we do mathematics?”

She also believes society’s focus on maths as a key skill can perpetuate discrimination against minorities.

“If one is not viewed as mathematical, there will always be a sense of inferiority that can be summoned,” she wrote.

Umm, yes.  We are really THAT smart because we can do math.  And yes, math is a key skill.  Key in getting a job, key in keeping a job.  Key in organizing one’s life.  And living it well.  And increasing the odds that upon death, there will be a legacy to leave behind for the next generations.

As I mentioned, there is work to be done; less than yesterday, but enough labor to go around.  Such labor would be easier to ear without the addition of unrelenting false victimization that we see in these times.