Yes, I know Tom Burtell the Racist

Tom Burtell at a parent Saline School District diversity meeting

So, yesterday morning I was going through my morning routine, having my coffee, eating cereal with the t.v. on in the background when I heard about the Saline School District meeting. Then I heard Tom Burtell’s name. I nearly choked on my cereal. Yes, it was the bigoted, misogynist narcissistic jerk I used to work with when we were Severstal N. A. in Dearborn, Michigan (now AK Steel Dearborn). He was the same then as he portrayed himself now. Tom, and this is not an exaggeration, the most disliked electrician in our group.

To say he is a racist doesn’t even describe enough the hatred he has for anyone who doesn’t fit his idea of what is right. Frequently he would rant about how “the Jews control the world because they have the money”. He spoke of Blacks bringing down property values around his home. Of how “Arabs” in Dearborn were a menace and should be contained. And don’t get him started on “the Japs”.

For a time, before he left our department, situations nearly came to blows.

Tom Burtell is a sick and twisted individual who revels in the attention he got whenever he expounded on his hateful views. But this sickness is only the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in our country. People like Tom do not exist alone. There are more like him out there and we as a nation must rise and say enough is enough.

I’m Back …and I Mean It This Time

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Hello. It’s me again. I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but I believe I am about to remedy that. Things have not been going well for me physically and mentally and I’ve been knocking my head against the walls lately.

I’m burned-out, tired, and emotionally exhausted with what is happening in my job (I had to pause for I almost called it “career” and realized it was actually more like a “job”. There’s a difference). The daily effort of dragging myself out of bed to go to work had become physically and mentally numbing for quite some time. Theirs is no longer the enthusiasm I had for it as when I started ten years ago as to how I feel today. Two factors play into this. First, I’ve never really have done one thing, one job, one task, one, oh whatever, you get it, for more than ten years. Always I get to a point where I get bored and must move on, switch, or start over. The last time I did this was after working 13 years as a quality inspector at the steel foundry I applied for and got training as a journeyman electrician. It was fun. It was intellectually stimulating. It was a career.  But that was under a different company and the one who bought us brings me to the factor involved here. The people I work for are idiots. Well, maybe not total idiots, but money grubbing, abusive, and ignorant to the steelmaking process and the machinery quite the same. I can’t stand working for them and if it weren’t for the healthcare and money, I would have quit a long time ago.

Then there’s the “thing with my arm”. Arthritis and nerve damage are making typing not so much as difficult but annoying. I must stop in the middle of my thought processes to examine the mess I just typed because the left side does not quite move with the flow that it once had. Well, boo-hoo, I say now. There’s “Autocorrect” and “Grammarly” so there aren’t any excuses. I know it’s frustrating but to solve my “career issue” and keep my sanity I just must deal with it. Why not seek medical attention, you ask? I have and all I get is, “you’re getting old”. Bullshit! Time to seek another opinion! Yeah, right, not under my insurance.

So, here I am and it’s time.

Time to get back into practice. Time to get disciplined. Time to get my ideas out and make something out of them. Time for a change.

I know. I’ve made these promises before but now I must do it for my biggest fear now is that it will never happen. I can’t let that be.

A. M. Holmes

From The Hill: “GOP Woman on Kavanaugh Allegations: ‘What boy hasn’t done this in high school?’”

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The title of this article almost made me throw-up. The report was about an interview CNN conducted with five women from Florida about Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh. She says that when they both attended the high school he had pinned her down and “tried to remove her clothes at a high school party in the 1980s and covered her mouth to muffle her screams.” These women defended Judge Kavanaugh because of his impeccable record on the bench and, as one woman put it, “How can we believe the word of a woman of something that happened 36 years ago… There is nobody that has spoken ill will about him.” I just stared at my computer monitor and shook my head. I read the rest, read through the history, the comments from the Democrats and those defending Doctor Ford’s statement and more of what the GOP and these women had to say. It left me deeply disturbed but not totally in disbelief for a good reason.

By now most people following the news knows of the reactions from both political parties and of the President’s comments. On Twitter, one woman commenting on the article said, “Imagine hypothetically if this happened at the school where these women’s had girls attending. What would they tell their daughters? “Boys just do those things.”

My wife, daughter and I don’t have to think hypothetically we know first hand what can happen because it happened in our high school. For reasons that will become apparent to some, or at least its implications, I can not name the school district or the high school where this happened. I can not name the individuals involved nor those who investigated the incident without facing legal retribution. All I can do is relate the basic facts.

5 girls tried to file a complaint against a boy who couldn’t keep his hands to himself. My daughter stepped up to encourage these girls to come forward. What happened next floored us. The girls were interrogated separately by a police officer and school administrator and were repeatedly asked if this was made up. Afterward, the boy was “severely talked to” but no police report was filed, and nothing noted into his school record. We were told “kids will start things and not mean it”, “the boy was just messing around”, and, love this one, “you don’t want to ruin a young man’s reputation just on what a bunch of girls says”. The girls never talked to anyone further about this and my daughter was bullied through social media by the boy and his friends.

My daughter finally had to leave the school district but not before we found out two things. 1. the police officer who took the statements was already criticizing the credibility of the young women BEFORE he talked to them and 2. the boy’s father worked for the school district. I also learned from my oldest two children who had attended this high school, and from others, that it had the reputation of being “The Rape School” of the district.

This is the society we live in and the culture that must change. This is America now where boys will be boys only if you let them.

 

Star Trek Fans -Good News!

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Exciting news! Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) is coming back and so is Sir Patrick Stewart. It was announced by Alex Kurtzman, Executive Producer of Star Trek: Discovery, and Stewart at Star Trek Las Vegas (Capt. Picard in New ‘Star Trek’ Series for CBS All Access). In an article earlier this year, also from Variety, I think, Kurtzman had suggested that an animated Star Trek series was in the works and that it would be a continuation, or reboot involving an alternate timeline TNG. I doubt it will be a live action because either all of the actors have aged too much for the roles (Brent Spiner, for example, can not be the age-less Data) or are involved in other projects (although, with Jonathan Frakes directing on DISCO, he could be available for voice roles). One more thing, animated series have worked really well for the Star War franchise so it’s only logical that Star Trek should do the same. 

-A. M. Holmes

Battles Are Not Won By Skirmishes and Wars Are Not Won Without Wins!

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As President Trump continues to lie, manipulate, and bully his populistic policies his nationalist followers continue to mistaken it for effectiveness and ignore the folly of it. In the meanwhile, our country continues on its chaotic course creating trade wars with stronger economies than our own and alienating allies. To stop Trump the majority that opposes him has to unite under one movement and one party. This could be the Democratic Party. Trump himself today said that if the Democrats wish to determine who becomes Supreme Court Justice they need to win elections.

If that’s the case then let’s do it! Let the “Blue Wave” overwhelm the Republicans in the November Elections! But in order to do that the Democrat Party has to pick their fights skillfully and escape the label of “liberal obstructionist” the Republicans have put on them. They have to embrace those issues the GOP have shown to be least effective and win on issues like immigration; trade; gun control and healthcare.

Let them have their Supreme Court Justice pick, let Trump have Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court Justice. Battles are not won by skirmishes and wars are not won without wins! To win in the 2018 mid-term elections the Democrats must be the Progressive leadership Millennials and Gen-Z are looking for. Only they have the numbers to effectively overwhelm Trump Boomer support.

-A. M. Holmes

 

Racism, a thought.

Although it is widely thought among Americans that racism is a bad thing it seems to be generally tolerated. It’s kind of like a group of the loudest, most obnoxious people you can think of in a crowded room. Some will distance themselves, “If you don’t pay them the attention they’ll quiet down and go away”. Some will pretend they don’t exist, “Nonsense, there’s no one that loud in here and if there were, what of it? EVERYBODY is noisy.” Others will try to rationalize the whole thing, “Maybe they have a reason to be rude?”. None of this really works against racists and their hate so we are often left with only two courses of action. As a majority, we could shout louder and drown them out or, better yet, throw them out of the room altogether.

-A. M. Holmes