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Your First-Grader is Going to Be A High School Drop Out | TIME.com

Your First-Grader is Going to Be A High School Drop Out | TIME.com | Upsetment | Scoop.it
And other startling predictions from the brave new world of academic evaluations
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Parents should read this and think about their young children. Even if the kid is a joy, work on that reading. Make sure (s)he can process words and use them. If your child can't, get remediation. If they still can't, try to find a place where alternative information techniques are available. Don't let your kid become a dropout in third grade.

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The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse and mistakes.

The federal government’s boldest land grab in a generation produced the first border wall — and a trail of abuse and mistakes. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Eminent Domain — Boilerplate for ProPublica custom story projects.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Give me land, lots of land, under starry skies above. DON'T FENCE ME IN! The Department of Homeland Security has actually been building the border wall or fence since 2007. Exactly how well has it been doing that? Well, it turns out that there are lots of incredibly stupid mistakes. Not that this surprises me since it is the government and being managed not locally but back in DC. In the end, we're going to end up not with a good working border but a lot of angry people among the ordinary folks who owned land and some rich folks who will have made out quite well thank you. We'll probably lose thousands of jobs in the small towns along the border. Oh, and drug runners and coyotes will go right on doing their things. 

So, what should we be doing to secure our borders? Here are a few of my ideas: 1) Penalizing businesses that hire undocumented aliens. 2) To the degree we want to secure the actual border use electronic surveillance. 3) Make it less useful to people to sneak across by providing better methods for issuing work permits. 4) Ending the madness of the war on drugs, a failed national policy. 5) Encouraging the success of NAFTA, which means that Mexicans will have less need to come here looking for jobs. (Of course, that may mean we'll have to pay more for farm products that the Mexican stoop laborers have been picking for us.) 

What are your suggestions?


Oh, and one more suggestion on my part, buy my books. The easiest way, visit


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Head of Congressional Ethics Office Sued for Abusing Position, Accused of Assaulting Women

Head of Congressional Ethics Office Sued for Abusing Position, Accused of Assaulting Women | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A key official involved in House investigations faces a federal lawsuit alleging misconduct.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Wow, this is the kind of nasty stuff that Hedda Hopper and Walter Winchell would have loved. We know there was a fight at a bar in Pennsylvania that Valentine's Day in 2015. We know that Omar Ashmawy was one of the participants and that he was treated as the victim, but was he? Had he abused and physically assaulted women and then used his federal office to pervert justice? Were the other men involved just good guys coming to the defense of those women? Or perhaps, they came to the defense of those women and over-reacted making them not quite the good guys. Seems like maybe we'll now find out "the rest of the story". (Yeah, Paul Harvey) 

Ashmawy says, “To the contrary, I was the victim of a wholly unprovoked assault for which those responsible were investigated, arrested and charged. Any allegation to the contrary is unequivocally false.”

As staff director and chief counsel of the Office of Congressional Ethics, Ashmawy has been in the position to judge the behavior of some of our political leaders. Now, we get to see if we had a trustworthy dog or a fox guarding that chicken coop. (I wasn't going with hen house without recognizing the sexism involved, still this is so begging for tongues in cheeks.)

I love stories like this. They remind me of good fiction like you can find in my books. Don't forget to check them out at 
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GRPD chief nauseated by screams of girl cuffed by officers

GRPD chief nauseated by screams of girl cuffed by officers | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Grand Rapids’ police chief is expected to make a statement Tuesday afternoon regarding an investigation into why police handcuffed an 11-year-old girl and held her at gunpoint.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If you still don't get it why Black Lives Matter is a just cause, perhaps you should look at this. Yes, the police had a reason to be there. But they were looking for an white, adult not a Black kid. I'm sure this child's trauma will last her lifetime while the cops involved will be joking about what they did over drinks. See, the minute some cops see skin that isn't white, they go into a different mode. It may make the department chief nauseated, but what will be done about it? I think that everyone of the cops involved should be disciplined. The kid should be given some kind of reparations. And, the entire police department should have a training day devoted to issues of Black awareness and mental health awareness. Then, make sure that those body cameras are on and the videos available for public viewing. 
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American Arms Supplied to ISIS: Wait, is anybody really surprised?

American Arms Supplied to ISIS: Wait, is anybody really surprised? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Conflict Armament Research, a U.K. based weapons tracking group released its report on the arms recovered from ISIS. 
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While ISIS had developed quite a bit of its own weapons manufacturing capability and obtained many weapons made in China and Warsaw-Pact nations, the big surprise was the incredible number of weapons made in the U.S.. Of course, those were shipped by American firms to approved end-users, mostly in Europe. Of course, there were guarantees signed about not selling these weapons to third parties and of course those were bogus. The real goal had been to provide those anti-tank rockets and other guided munitions to friendly forces, perhaps even those fighting ISIS. However, we all know that the arms industry is—like any business—amoral at best. One problem in this country is that we make believe that businesses are honest even as we know how corrupt they are. 

If you want to know more about corruption, you might start by reading Times To Try the Soul of Man. Yeah, it's a novel, but it's based on true events. 

And, if you want to read the CAR report, here's that link:

I should warn you that the report is a lot less fascinating read then Times.
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Africa must look out for about 6,000 IS returnee combatants – A.U. | Africanews

Africa must look out for about 6,000 IS returnee combatants – A.U. | Africanews | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The A.U. security chief's comments comes at a time when the Iraqi government has declared victory over the group having pushed them out of areas they previously held and degraded their military capabi
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As ISIS flees Iraq and Syria, that doesn't mean that all the remaining terrorists are going to disappear. No, they will be searching for new places to wreak havoc. For many that will me back in their home countries in Africa. Of course, some will be heading back to parts of Russia. However, the two places that worry me most are the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. The danger in the former is heightened by Mr. Trump's recent announcement about Jerusalem. If ever there were a red flag waved in front of the mad bulls of Islam, it was that announcement. As for Lebanon, sadly this lovely country is a place of delicate balances and terrorists love to unbalance thinks. 

Speaking of Lebanon, I recently did a wonderful interview about its culture and traditions for Walking On the Weene Side, part of It Matters Radio. While that podcast isn't up yet, not till the show airs Dec 12 at 7 PM ET, you can find all the podcasts and soon that one as well at
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As L.A. burns, Republicans vote for a tax hike on the victims - Actually it is about removing the deduction for catastrophic loss.

As L.A. burns, Republicans vote for a tax hike on the victims - Actually it is about removing the deduction for catastrophic loss. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Award-winning news and culture, features breaking news, in-depth reporting and criticism on politics, business, entertainment and technology.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
One of the real issues about the tax code is the plethora of deductions that have evolved as the government tries to micromanage the economy through incentives, both negative and especially positive. Simplifying is certainly a good idea, one that goes back among others to Bill Bradley, the great basketball player, Princeton alum, and Democratic senator from New Jersey. I, for one, strongly agree that simplification is called for. However, there is also a strong case to be made for some of those deductions. This one, for losses due to catastrophe, is just simply right for reasons of compassion but also because it helps the people in an area that has been hit to bounce back. 

I wonder if the GOP in writing this new tax bill have given any thought to anything at all except their unreasonable belief in the Laffer Curve, which is actually not good economics. 

At any rate, the way these disasters have been hitting the US this past year, I'm going to say we had all better start thinking of in which cave we can take shelter. Not to worry, though, no global climate change as long as we have the strongest military. Right?! Yeah, sure. 
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Nikki Haley Calls U.S. Presence at South Korea Olympics an ‘Open Question’

Nikki Haley Calls U.S. Presence at South Korea Olympics an ‘Open Question’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The American envoy to the United Nations expressed concerns about whether tensions on the Korean Peninsula could pose a threat to athletes.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
LOL and then shock of horror. She actually put the Olympics and Jerusalem into the same sentence as she said the goal was to protect American citizens. Yeah, great way to protect people to heat up world conflict. If there is a troublemaker in the world today, it isn't some terror group in the Middle East or some rogue state like North Korea. Hey, it isn't even Russia for all their aggression in Ukraine. Nope, the big veytik in di tokhes in today's world is Washington, DC. 

Got to love that the Security Council is meeting today to discuss the effects of the US statement on Jerusalem and that today we are flying bombers over that Korean peninsula. Yep, real troublemakers. 

Got helft aundz; es iz a idyot aoyf di fray. 
Fod help us; there's an idiot on the loose. 

Meanwhile, if you at least enjoy the quirkiness of my humor, check out Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. Hey a bunch of drunks isn't that different form Washington. 

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Pentagon Acknowledges 2,000 Troops in Syria

Pentagon Acknowledges 2,000 Troops in Syria | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Officials have no plans to withdraw U.S. forces until ISIS is beaten.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is good too see that the Pentagon is getting more willing to acknowledge the presence of American troops rather than trying to hide the real numbers. On the other hand, am I the only one who feels we have too many soldiers fighting in too many places? Having created this game of whack-a-mole we call the War on Terror we seem determined to waste a lot of energy trying to beat on the heads of people all over the world. Maybe, we should recognize that trying to create and manage an empire produces terrorism and that perhaps in many of those places we should stand down. 

When you're standing down, what better way to spend that leisure time than a fun read or listening to a good story. Here's one just for you to enjoy. The 25th Hour

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The CBO's Analysis of the Long-Term Costs of the Trump Administration's Goals for the Military is now available. The numbers stagger.

The CBO's Analysis of the Long-Term Costs of the Trump Administration's Goals for the Military is now available. The numbers stagger. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Coming soon a 20% increase in military spending. Can America afford it?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has scored the Trump administrations plans for the Pentagon over the next ten years and the report is out. For a country that is already spending way more than any other, the increases seem almost grotesque, approximately 20% increase over the next ten years. 

Of course, there is an increase in military personnel including almost 200,000 new recruits in the Army, 10,000 in the Marines, and 30,000 for the Air Force. The personnel numbers for the navy aren't available, but there would be about 80 more ships so you can guess what that means. 

And this on top of cutting revenues by cutting taxes. 

So how many schools will go unfunded, how many programs for those in need will go ignored or be cut, how much money for the arts will be forgone, how much infrastructure will be allowed to crumble? 

Clearly, the Reconstructionist agenda of a federal government that provides only defense and courts (for non-local matters) is the goal. What will happen to this military-based empire? My guess is that it will find itself in perpetual war until the grandiosity of its believes ends in defeat.

Meanwhile, if you want to read the CBO report, follow the link. 

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/53350-costsofadministrationsgoalsformilitary.pdf
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Grassley: Ending estate tax 'recognizes people that are investing,' not ‘spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies."

Grassley: Ending estate tax 'recognizes people that are investing,' not ‘spending every darn penny they have, whether it’s on booze or women or movies." | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on the record to the Des Moines Register

Kenneth Weene's insight:
OMG, did an American politician just totally diss the hardworking people of America who aren't fortunate enough to be rich? Will the people of Iowa put up with this kind of contempt? Just in case you were wondering if the Republican party is worth the support of the greater number of Americans, this comment should give you quite the answer. I guess the good senator has never tried to get by on a working person's wages. 
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US quits UN global compact on migration

US quits UN global compact on migration | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The United States notified the United Nations that it will no longer take part in the global compact on migration, saying it undermines the nation's sovereignty.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In what is clearly an anti-globalist move, the Trump administration has pulled the US out of a convention that we helped bring into being and further cuts our country off from the world and undermines our rule as global leader. The upside of the Trump administration's positions on immigration has been a decrease in undocumented aliens and asylum seekers. The downside has been a decrease in foreign interest in coming here for tourism, education, and even trade. Remember those sales of corn to Argentina? Gone, now Mexico will be providing lots of food to Latin America, which leaves us getting less of their produce in winter and our farmers in worse shape all year. 

I highly recommend that you open this story and watch the video from CNN. It's a good, balanced job. One fascinating thing on it, the cost of a coyote taking an undocumented person into the US has gone up from $3,000 to $7,000. Something ironic about how that free market has worked. 

So do you believe in more open borders and "globalism" in dealing with problems or a fortress USA keeping those yearning masses and those universal laws out?

Please be civil and respect the right of people to have different opinions on this divisive issue, but I do hope you'll share yours. 
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New York City Has Genetically Distinct ‘Uptown’ and ‘Downtown’ Rats

New York City Has Genetically Distinct ‘Uptown’ and ‘Downtown’ Rats | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A graduate student sequenced rats all over Manhattan, and discovered how the city affects their genetic diversity.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I'm not a big fan of rats, never really enjoyed teaching them to press levers in Skinner Boxes or run mazes. Obviously, I'm even less of a fan of the Rattus rattus that roam our cities. Still, they can be fascinating subjects for study. Having lived in New York City for three years, I can appreciate the work behind this study of their biology and behavior. 

For my part, when I lived in the big apple I was more fascinated by the two-legged rats I found around me. Here's the link to one essay I wrote about those experiences: http://www.kennethweene.com/oy-vey-iz-mir

If you want to read more about my experiences in the New York City night, well you can find a lot of that in my book Times To Try the Soul of Man. Sorry, while the essay is a free read, the book is for sale, 
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Alt-right catches knight fever — but medieval scholars strike back

Alt-right catches knight fever — but medieval scholars strike back | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Award-winning news and culture, features breaking news, in-depth reporting and criticism on politics, business, entertainment and technology.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I don't care how we scratch it, under the surface lies the KKK and the obsession with race and nativism that makes America so potentailly problematic. Who were those medieval knights, the ones that are so celebrated by the unthinking and the lovers of role-playing games? They were mercenaries and thugs, freebooters and thieves. 

And, to the degree that we think of chivalry, let's remember that was about a paternalistic view of women, not about defending their rights to be full adults. 

One more thing worth noting, that ISIS and similar Islamic terrorist groups have a similar obsession with the medieval knights. for every Arthur there was also a Saladin fighting for the purity of Islam. 


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Female congressional hopeful drops out over sex-harassment claims

Female congressional hopeful drops out over sex-harassment claims | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Andrea Ramsey blasted the claim as a bogus tale cooked up by a "vindictive" accuser — but backed out nonetheless.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When the issue of sexual harassment first became the news de jour, people wondered if there would be fallout for politicians. Then would there be fallout for politicians from both sides.Now we have fallout for a Democratic female politician. Yep, the predators are going to become the pray and perhaps that even means an end to bullying. In the other hand, now we have to worry if there are enough decent people left who are capable of being politicians. Wait, do we really believe that there are decent people who want to lead the country? What do you think; do they exist? 
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Black Voters Just Sent a Strong Message to Democrats

Black Voters Just Sent a Strong Message to Democrats | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Princeton University professor examines what the Alabama senate race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones means for America
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Doug Jones's victory in Alabama represents not a great victory for the Democrats or for social justice but rather a moment in an ongoing war between those who want to return America to the greatness of say 1850 and those who see the writing on the demographic wall, the writing that shows ever increasing proportions of people of all colors in the American electorate. While I would strongly suggest that Senator-Elect Jones use the rest of this month to tour every Black hamlet in his state to give thanks—and that he bring with him every other Democrat who cares about the future of his party and of America—in the end that will not be enough unless the Hispanic, Asian, South Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, and African community are not also in the party's sights. Voters of every hue, creed, and ethnicity must be mobilized to stop the march backwards. And, the Democratic Party must recognize that the key issues for mobilizing those groups are democratic elections (open to all voters but also without gerrymandering), race, women's rights (including reproductive rights), quality of universal education, and the roll of the federal government in providing both services and protections to all, a tax system that is fair (not confiscatory but also not allowing the unhealthy concentration of wealth).

Are the Dems up to the task? I fear not. My own view is that we need a new party, one that is based on fairness in America and walking back from the America First view of foreign affairs that has been draining our nation leaving our infrastructure underfunded, our social welfare and education systems in woeful condition, and our munitions makers humming. 

What do you think? Does the Democratic Party have what it takes to move America forward? 
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The White House is preparing for the possibility of North Korea collapsing on its own

The White House is preparing for the possibility of North Korea collapsing on its own | Upsetment | Scoop.it

"If that unleashed some kind of instability, the most important thing for us to do would be securing those nuclear weapons they've already developed and ensuring that they — that nothing falls into the hands of people who we would not want to have it," Tillerson said in a wide-ranging speech at an event hosted by the Atlantic Council.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
One of the two men in the accompanying photograph has at least some sense of the real issues that might face the world if North Korea implodes. The other is only capable of bluster. Meanwhile, the Chinese are also preparing for the disaster, including not only working on plans to secure those weapons but also building refugee camps near the border. Meanwhile, I think that Kim is still hanging in there and expanding his corps of supporters by creating a technological elite that complements his military elite and his weapons production teams. Like a great medieval king, he rules unjustly but with a sense of his own divine rights. 

When I read about this kind of news upsetting news, I want to follow it with something more fun. How about kicking back and ordering your copy of Tales From The Dew Drop Inne? Kind of a Steinbeck meets Damon Runyon read. 
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Thousands of Russian private contractors fighting in Syria

Thousands of Russian private contractors fighting in Syria | Upsetment | Scoop.it
MOSCOW (AP) - Before he was killed by a sniper in Syria at age 23, Ivan Slyshkin wrote a poignant message on social media to his fiancee: "We will see each other soon - and I will hold you as tight as I possibly can."
But Slyshkin's name won't be found among the Russian Defense Ministry's official casualties in the fight against Islamic State extremists.
That's because the young man who left his hometown of Ozyorsk in the Ural mountains was one of thousands of Russians deployed to Syria by a shadowy, private military contractor known as Wagner, which the government doesn't talk about.
Slyshkin's gravestone depicts him holding a machine gun, according to a local news website Znak.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Russia and the United States have used such mercenaries to augment or even disguise their involvement in fighting. I'm sure other countries do as well. Of course, during the Korean Conflict, none of the Chinese fighting there were sent by their government; as I recall they were all volunteers. 

Such "non-troops" not only allow governments to avoid honest reports of their actions and the numbers deployed but also to avoid responsibility for those killed or injured. It also allows the non-troops to engage in tactics and behaviors that would be illegal if used by regular military, for example those "rendition" prisons used by us Americans. 

Were I able, I would hold governments more directly responsible for what such groups do in their clandestine name. We;;, hell, what I'd really want to do is outlaw war and create a global army to fight terrorist groups. Of course, I'm a globalist and I know that lots of my friends find this abhorrent. 

I wonder if anyone who writes literary fiction can be other than a globalist. It is inherent in the genre that we look for what is more nearly universal in humanity. I think that so far I have found much of that universality in my writing, especially in Memoirs From the Asylum, Tales From the Dew Drop Inne, and Broody New Englander. Check them out on my website: 
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BlackLivesMatter Supporters Call Attention to Graphic Video of Arizona Cop Shooting suspect. By the way this suspect was white.

BlackLivesMatter Supporters Call Attention to Graphic Video of Arizona Cop Shooting suspect. By the way this suspect was white. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"Consider that Shaver might well be alive if only the Mesa police department had long ago adopted reforms of the sort that Black Lives Matter suggests."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Watch the video. The cop was acquitted because he saw Shaver's movements as being a threat. I don't know what if anything Philip Brailsford was seeing, but I sure have trouble seeing anyone doing anything threatening except him. IMO, once again, I think we have a cop getting away with murder. Was Shaver high or had he committed a crime, those things I don't know. But he was scared shitless and so was the cop. The big difference was that the cop had a weapon and was quick to threaten with it and to use it. 

Speaking of cop malfeasance, have you read Tales From the Dew Drop Inne? Yeah, there are some great cops, but there are plenty of bad cops to go around.

Here's the link to pick up your print, Kindle, or audio copy of Tales. https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Drop-Inne-Kenneth-Weene-ebook/dp/B0070FZBQQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
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IS AMERICA BECOMING TOO DIVISIVE? In today's news, Poll Shows Trump's Support Dropping Among White Evangelicals

IS AMERICA BECOMING TOO DIVISIVE? In today's news, Poll Shows Trump's Support Dropping Among White Evangelicals | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The president's approval rating continues to fall in his first year in office.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As I read stories like this about Mr. Trump's failing support and the divisiveness that is wreaking America, I wonder how many of us wish that our country would simply fall apart into separate smaller units. Of course, those of us on Social Security and military or other federal pensions would want to keep those benefits, but if that could be provided, would we prefer dissolving this country? Would we want to replace it with totally separate countries or to try for some form of confederation, a weaker alliance to provide mutual defense and the like such as existed between the Revolution and the writing of the Constitution?

If you think America is becoming too divisive to remain united, what or who do you think is the reason and how could it be reversed if we wanted? 

These are the questions that are really bothering me and that's before I even think about the issues of gender, education, and human and property rights that need addressing. 

By the way, if you have some really good ideas about this topic or any other, I'm looking for guests for Walking On The Weene Side. Join me for an interview via Skype and let's have some meaningful conversations. Visit my website, www.kennethweene.com to contact me or the It Matters Radio website, www.itmattersradio.com 
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It's Time to End Mammograms, Some Experts Say

It's Time to End Mammograms, Some Experts Say | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Is it time to ditch the mammogram? A new study finds the screening tool does little to lower breast cancer deaths or pick up advanced cases
Kenneth Weene's insight:
"Breast cancer" is one of the most dreaded diagnoses in the world. Catching cancer early and treating it rapidly was the goal behind the movement to encourage women to have regular mammograms. However, the data coming in recently suggests that there are far too many instances of false diagnoses when mammograms are used and that the incidence of advanced cancer isn't really affected that much. Wow! To have a mammogram or not? That's a heavy question. 

Recently, on It Matters Radio I did an interview with a leading plastic surgeon who specializes in breast reconstruction. He had some interesting stuff to share and you can catch this Walking On the Weene Side interview at 
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Conyers Will Leave Congress in Wake of Harassment Claims

Conyers Will Leave Congress in Wake of Harassment Claims | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Representative John Conyers Jr., who faces allegations that he sexually harassed former employees, announced Tuesday that he will leave Congress immediately, and he endorsed his son, John Conyers III, to replace him.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
First, I'm glad to see him or anybody so lacking in respect for others leave office. However, when I saw that he wants his son to replace him, I realized how sick our society has become. 

To those who oppose the estate tax, who say that what a person has acquired should be theirs alone to dispose of, I would ask is this not equally true for Mr. Conyers, whose great accomplishment in life has been to acquire a sinecure in Michigan's Democratic party? Shouldn't he be able to pass that along to his offspring? I mean seriously, how absolutely distorted has the American dream become. Sure, we don't want to confiscate a person's work at the end of their lives or careers, but we do want to make sure that we don't allow the emergence of a royalty of wealth or office. 

That's why I would oppose the younger Conyers being elected to this office and why I support a reasonable estate tax.


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What is an American Christian - some thoughts on the religious underpinnings of America. 

What is an American Christian - some thoughts on the religious underpinnings of America.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
What is the purpose of salvation and who shall be saved?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
A number of recent events have underscored a divide in America. It is a divide in our understanding of Christianity. 

One the one side is strict Calvinism with its emphasis on predetermination. One aspect of that view is that those who have economic success deserve it for they are the elect of God. Therefore, the worst thing that we as a society can do is interfere with that sacred will by taking away through taxation that which the wealthy have. Clearly, those who have less and are in need have a sin upon their souls and do not deserve a larger portion of the wealth. Along with that inherent view is another that education in the nonsectarian sense is counter to the proper preoccupation with godliness. Since such Calvinist Christianity is patriarchal, women and their right to be protected are secondary to the right of the older male to fulfill his "sacred" duties. To the degree that that duty is procreation and the passing on of God's granted abundance, those who do not conform to traditional gender roles are an apostasy. Another aspect of that same overall view is that the richness of the land is there for those who have the will to exploit it. Finally, there is a belief that a time of judgment is soon upon us, a time in which those who deserve will be given heaven and the rest of humankind will be cast into the pit. 

This American Calvinism is found in both the Millennialist and Reconstructionist communities, but the underlying views also exist in the larger community of those who believe that America is somehow special and a Christian fortress. This fortress mentality encourages the military, cheers for number one, and of course despises globalism. The resulting mix of that Calvinist and nativist strains, something that is also the continuation of the values of the KKK,  have become a dominant drumbeat across the land. 

On the other hand are those who see Christianity as the extension of the golden rule. They see the world not simply in terms of fairness but also acceptance. Those who are not actively doing evil should be happy and secure. Underlying this view is a more spiritual form of Christianity that emphasizes God's love and the abundance of grace. Because that loving God has given us much as individuals, families, communities, and especially as a country, the expectations are that we will use that abundance to make the world better and to care for the world so that happiness and love can abide. 

Spiritual Christianity leads to exactly the opposite views of those held by the stricter Calvinist school. Therein lies that divide of which I spoke. In many places, such as the Senate race in Alabama, the decision about the Bears' Ears and other national monuments in Utah, and of course the tax bill that is making its way through Congress, we see this battle being played out. 

I do not pretend that one political party is purely of one type of Christian and the second of the other. Life is never that simple, but we are living in times that challenge us to think about faith, values, and eschatology. What is the proper goal of government, especially our government? 

I know which side of this divide I stand on. Of course there are grey areas. My globalism doesn't include encouraging everyone who wants to come to this country. My concern for the environment doesn't include doing away with the right of people to live comfortably including say eating meat. I am not suggesting that we should become some new form of saint, some latter day saint. 

No, I am suggesting that we should recognize the divide, clarify what we individually believe, and work towards the world that is consistent with our beliefs. Clearly, we will not all agree; the divide goes deep and is broad. We can, however, make sure that the democratic ideal that the majority should rule and the republican ideal that all views should be given respect and be heard are respected. 

Currently, I perceive a much more coherent and articulated position being staked out by the Calvinists because their view is consistent with the short-term best interest of most of the wealthy. It is time for a similar clarity to come from the other side. 

Meanwhile, all I can personally say is that I hope if there is a God that God will bless and save the United States, because at this point I don't know that we are up to the task.
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So...An AK Isn't For Self Defense, Huh?

So...An AK Isn't For Self Defense, Huh? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An Ohio man proved the gun grabbers lie when they claim that an AK-47 style rifle isn't for self-defense...by defending himself with one.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I wouldn't bother to comment on or share this story if it weren't so close to what happened in South Sudan. If the memoir I co-wrote with my South Sudanese friend Deng Mayik Atem gets published, you will have a better way to put things in perspective. 

The muraleen, Arab marauders from Sudan, had for years raided the tribal communities of South Sudan, which at the time was part of the same country, to steal cattle—and sometimes to take slaves. The Dinka and Nuer would drive them off with spears and old rifles. But, the government in Khartoum armed those marauders with better rifles leading to greater carnage. 

The tribesmen were alienated from the government and became determined to arm themselves against these attacks. Deng, only a boy at the time, was one of those who trekked to Ethiopia and were trained to fight. 

The great goal of those people was to get and AK-47 with which to fight the muraleen. 

The resulting war ended with an independent South Sudan that is now filled with weapons and consequently with horrible civil war and bloodshed. Of course weapons like AK-47s can be used to protect yourself. However their proliferation is not necessarily a good thing for social order. 

If the memoir interests you, you can check out the trailer at 
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Donald Trump Says He 'Had to Fire' Michael Flynn Over Lies

Donald Trump Says He 'Had to Fire' Michael Flynn Over Lies | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Donald Trump says he had to fire Michael Flynn because of his lies to Vice President Mike Pence and the FBI
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Okay, I just don't like headlines and stories like this, more gotcha than substance. I think what this shows definitively is that Mr. Trump is not careful with words and doesn't get proper briefings before opening his mouth. As a result he constantly rearranges ideas and understandings in his own head. Did he know Flynn had lied to the FBI at the time he fired Flynn or only that he had lied to Pence? My guess is we'll never know. However, I don't think this misspeak is worth getting riled over. 

Yeah, I know, I sometimes defend Donald Trump, albeit half-heartedly. That isn't because I want him in the White House but because I want us as a nation (and a world) to think and discuss not go on witch hunts. We Broody New Englanders had enough of witch hunting centuries ago. Although I do know that when I was a kid there was open-season for hunting Democrats all year around in Maine. (joke) 

By the way, have you read Broody New Englander? You really should. It's some darn good writing. Find it at
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Israeli Bedouin policewoman blazing trail, making enemies

Israeli Bedouin policewoman blazing trail, making enemies | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An Israeli Bedouin woman who joined the Israel Police to serve her community has become the target of Arabs who consider her a traitor.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Is it possible for Arabs to be come an integral part of Israeli society? Is it possible for women to take an equal part in Arab society? This young woman has the courage to raise both those questions with an affirmative action and a brave attitude. Meanwhile, without trailblazers like Sabrin Saadi the Bedouin people living in Israel will almost surely continue to lose both their identity and their sense of purpose. 

The world doesn't need any more minority groups descending into the maelstrom of poverty, despair, and violence. Empowering young women like Ms. Saadi is hopefully a step forward for her community. Yes, she can. 
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