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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Speak Freely... But Carry A Big Apology

Mark Halperin has been suspended indefinitely by MSNBC for calling President Obama a "dick" live on air.  The suspension came just hours after Halperin, a top editor for Time and a regular on "Morning Joe," profusely apologized for the remark, which came during Thursday's "Morning Joe" broadcast.  - Huffington Post

Okay, so Halperin was in bad form to be so crass on the air.  I'll even agree with this one. 

Though I do wonder why he was the only one suspended.  Scarborough and co-host Mika Brzezinski assured Halperin that he could speak freely and anticipated a controversial remark. Halperin said: "I thought he was kind of a dick yesterday."  Scarborough was in disbelief over Halperin's comment and quickly directed his attention off-camera, saying, "Delay that. Delay that. What are you doing?"  They asked for it, and they got it.  Halperin should have known better, but he was completely and totally encouraged by the other kids on the playground.  Sucks for him that he's the only one to get the time-out.

Lately, however, there has been an awful lot of statements being made that everyone comes back and 'apologizes' for - losing all their credibility in my book the second they lick the balls of the press in an attempt to sanitize their words.  Why bother to be a blowhard and build up your reputation for controversy if you're just going to turn around with your hands up in the air and a pathetically sorry look on your face? 


Tracy Morgan thinks he's being funny talking about how he'd stab his son if he ever found out he was gay.  Then it's "Oh, hey, I didn't mean to be offensive!"  Then get off the stage, you're bringing down every other comic who works hard at being so. 

In January of 2010, Keith Olbermann described Massachusetts Senator-Elect Scott Brown as "an irresponsible, homophobic, racist, reactionary, ex-nude model, tea-bagging supporter of violence against women and against politicians with whom he disagrees." His apology?  "I may have been over the top recently.  Sorry about that."  He wasn't sorry at all, he got the ratings he wanted.

Glenn Beck is apologizing for something every other day, I don't know how he ever gets anything else done. 

And let's not even get started on Weinergate.  How sad that he had to leave his congressional position because he got caught playing looky-lu with his phone.  If everyone, men and women alike, in this country were fired or forced into resignation for such things, the unemployment numbers would be through the roof.

Funny, the media keeps yammering on about how our upcoming generations are desensitized to things like violence, sex, racism, etc.  Maybe they need to desensitize themselves a bit.  Our country has always been full of colorful language that people use in all forms - we can whitewash it all we want to, make people claim to be sorry about saying such things out loud, but it doesn't change their thoughts.

Frankly, I'd rather hear what they really think.  At least then the cards are on the table and I know who I'm dealing with.  And I can respect their bluntness that much more.  Sure, I may disagree with what's being said, but when they own it, it holds the power they wanted in the first place.  Diluting it makes the entire thing a waste of everyone's time.

(c) Kymberlie Ingalls, June 30th 2011

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Smile, You're On Candid Camera!

NEW YORK -- In May, the Rochester Police Department arrested a woman on a charge of obstructing governmental administration after she videotaped several officers' search of a man's car. The charge is a criminal misdemeanor.

The only problem? Videotaping a police officer in public view is perfectly legal in New York state -- and the woman was in her own front yard. The arrest report of the incident also contains an apparent discrepancy from what is seen in the woman's own video.

May 12th, 2011

I can’t say this enough, people:  Don’t mess with anyone who has the power to toss you in jail unless you’re prepared to go. 

Now, this does not mean stand by silently and allow people with such power to abuse it.  Use your voice,  But… use it loudly, with the strength of your convictions – and be ready for the consequences that will undoubtedly come your way.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease. 

Sometimes that grease comes in the form of handcuffs. 

Emily Good believed she was doing the right thing based on her opinions of racial profiling, but lost that battle with Rochester police officer Mario Masic.

Good was repeatedly told "I don't feel safe with you standing behind me so I'm going to ask you go into your house.”  And with that statement, the officer clearly connected the dots of “Ignore my orders, I will arrest you.”  It’s a tactic that is often abused in a situation where questions are being asked and answers won’t be forthcoming. 

This was the officers’ mistake.
I’ve been in this situation myself, when it was clear to the officers I had no weapons on my person, and was of no threat to them.  What started out as a routine accident fast became a nightmare.  Apparently the CA Department of Motor Vehicles had failed to notify me that my license had been suspended.  Upon deciding that my car was to be impounded, the two officers proceeded to ransack my car without any probable car, including the contents of my purse, all on a public, very busy street in Berkeley.  Approaching them to ask what their reason was for this search, I was handed the same line:  “You are never to approach an officer from behind.  You will stand down until spoken to.” 

Way to make the public feel safe, guys.  It is officers like this, and like Masic, who perpetuate the public fear of “authority.”  When we feel our rights are being violated, and we want to know why – in a rational manner such as I started out with and is clear in Good’s video account when she’s stating what she understands to be her right to stand in her own yard recording a public incident – these officers are put on the spot and immediately become defensive. 

Understandably, a police officer needs to be alert every single second of every shift of every day.  They need to expect the unexpected.  I do not envy their choice of career.  But they are also there to ‘protect and serve.’ This includes answering questions, even uncomfortable questions. 

There can’t even be a shadow of a doubt that Good’s arrest was bogus.  The inconsistency in the report is this:  The police report of the arrest contains another apparent discrepancy from what appears on the video: Masic writes that the traffic stop targeted three individuals who "were all chalkem south gang members.’ "This gang is known for drugs guns and violence," Masic notes, underscoring the danger of the situation. The video, while dark, appears to only show one man led out of the car. Good's public defender says that as far as she has been able to determine, only one man was pulled over.  And the recording clearly shows she was not belligerent, overbearing or in any way threatening the safety of those officers.

We, here in California, know a little something about why police don’t want their mistakes to be monitored in this conspiracy-believing-camera-armed society.  To name just one, the arrest and accidental shooting of Oscar Grant by Officer Johannes Mehserle. 

That’s why it’s imperitive that the “I don’t feel safe” card needs to be used wisely by each and every working police officer.  And when they are clearly being recorded, that’s when they’d better be hoping they know the letter of the law and that it will keep their power trip in check. 

There was a case in March, 2010 of Anthony John Graber in Maryland being pulled over for speeding and showboating on his motorcycle, and he had an obvious helmet cam that was recording an off-duty officer approaching him waving a gun erratically with no visible badge to identify himself.  The subsequent charges didn't come until he posted the video on Youtube ten days later. 

"When the police act as though cameras were the equivalent of guns pointed at them, there is a sense in which they are correct. Cameras have become the most effective weapon that ordinary people have to protect against and to expose police abuse. And the police want it to stop." - Gizmodo.com

We all revel in a moment at some point of weilding some sort of power.  Someday I’ll tell you about my greatest trip – a rush I’ve never again experienced.  The greatest practical joke, ever. 

There are times, however, when that need to cover your ass on the job only ends up being the target painted by your own hand, and those you’re paid to protect now feel the need to be protected… from you.

© Kymberlie Ingalls, June 26, 2011
Sources: KGO-News, San Francisco / The Huffington Post / DemocratAndChronicle.com / Gizmodo.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

When Reality TV ... Actually Is!

Nooooooo!  Say it ain’t so.  Gene and Shannon on the skids?

I don’t often care too much about celebrity unions.  They are made, usually, of the same celluloid reality that invades our lives for a brief time before the credits roll and we chalk them up to Hollywood History.  But, grieve over these breakups I do not, because at the end of the day, I don’t know these people and there is rarely truth to any of what we read or see on tv.

Admittedly, I was on Team Aniston when it came to Brad and Jennifer, because this was a girl I’d grown up with, being a fan from when she was a teenager in crappy movies and television shows.  Long before our beloved Rachel Greene, I was suffering the lame tv version of Ferris Beuller just so I could learn to be as mean yet witty as Jeannie (much better portrayed by Aniston than Grey, in my opinion).

I also empathized with much of Aniston’s demons, and her fairytale wedding coincided with the finding of my own Prince Charming.  So – that one I took a little personal and refuse to watch an Angelina Jolie movie in this lifetime. 

Another of the rare couples that I have found myself invested in is Gene Simmons (of KISS fame) and Shannon Tweed (former Playmate).  Perhaps because, from their onset, they seemed more grounded than the typical tabloid affairs.  I used to watch Shannon on Days Of Our Lives, and grew up with KISS.  I find myself more drawn to couples that shun the limelight than I do those who change partners according to who’s trending on Google at the moment. 

A few years ago, Gene and Shannon invited us into their home by way of a ‘reality’ show on A&E, Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels.  It showed what I’d suspected all along, the ‘normalcy’ of their unmarried union.  Like everyone else, I put little faith in so-called reality television.  Like Gene is really going to be stuck in a desert when his car dies.  Alone.  Without his cell phone.  And yet, there’s a cameraman.  Who wouldn’t have a cell phone?  C’mon.  But it was at least entertaining.  And they didn’t make the show all about creating rumors, or any of that VH-1 type trash (My Fair Brady, anyone?).  It just showed us the dynamics of a family and their family business. 

Also like everyone else, when my husband texted me last week with the headline ‘Gene And Shannon split?’ I answered back with “yeah, right.  Fodder for the show.”

But, maybe not.  This clip certainly indicates otherwise, and as Joy Behar says to Simmons’ admonishments that she set him up to anger Shannon enough to walk off set, she assumed it was a publicity stunt, as is usually the case with ‘reality tv.’ 

It’s appearing that the cracks in the Simmons/Tweed planet are real, and the faultlines are widening every day.  There are no sides to take for me; she signed on for the lifestyle, but now wants to enjoy the fruits of that sacrifice, and wants him to as well.  It’s not a horrendous request.  The question on every viewer’s mind is, will Gene give up his lifestyle to keep Shannon, and go into his golden years without any other woman on his arm but her?  And it's clear that, based on this episode, he's still hiding behind "Gene Simmons, Rock Star."  Here's hoping 'reality' hits him, whether it's shown on camera or not.

If they split, it’s not going to send me tailspinning into a depression.  I don’t know them personally.  But it will be a sad thing to see another long-lasting couple having drifted apart.  Sometimes it takes such things as reminders, when they fill my screen as headlines, to appreciate my own life.  I wonder how I would handle being in the public eye, not just for my triumphs but for the judgment that comes with it.  I take these moments to look at my own marriage and relationships (“Paris and Nicole no longer BFF’s!”) and appreciate them that much more. 

I’m thankful to be grounded in my own reality, and while it hasn’t made me famous yet, if I ever decided to write a country song about it all, I soon would be Famous In A Small Town for sure.

Miranda Lambert - Famous In A Small Town

© Kymberlie Ingalls, June 20, 2011

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Guy Walks On To A Plane...

Deshon Marman was not having a good day.  A rising young college football star, he’d just been present at the funeral of his good friend who’d been shot and killed, and had just watched his friend be laid in the ground, never to run on a football field again.  He’d stood to give eulogy on his friend’s behalf – surely weighing the matters of a very violent world in his mind as he did so. 

Then his day got worse.

Standing in line at San Francisco Int’l Airport, waiting to board his flight on US Airways and return to school in New Mexico, a flight attendant noted that Marman was sporting the fashion of many young men in this country; “saggy pants,” thereby exposing not skin, but the upper part of his boxers.  A call was placed to SFPD that Deshon was “exposing himself.”  Despite that he wasn’t exposing himself at all.  He was asked by the attendant to pull up his pants for the flight, and he refused then as well as after having taken his seat. 

The entire plane was then evacuated.  There have been no reports that Marman was violent, causing a ruckus, or doing anything other than verbally refusing to comply with the request.  But hundreds of people had to be evacuated?  Really?  There was nothing to indicate that he was going to try to take the plane down once it was in the air.  Saggy pants do not qualify as an act of terrorism.

Once the boy would have been seated, nobody was going to see those boxer shorts anyway.  Come on, people, we have to be realistic here. 

The result was that after refusing to exit the plane and being removed with all of the other passengers, Deshon then became belligerent and scuffled with the officers, one of whom twisted their knee, which tacked on an assault-to-a-police-officer charge being slapped on top of the others. 

His mother is right to worry how this incident will affect his scholarship. 

I guarantee that had a woman walked onto that plane in a bikini and wearing a Miss America sash, she would not have been asked to cover up.  Why aren’t girls asked to cover up the unsightly muffin tops hanging uncovered over their pants?  I promise, my cleavage on any given day exposes more skin than Deshon’s saggy-pants-look-at-my-boxers ever did.  How about the girl I stood behind in line last year at the Walmart whose backless, ripped t-shirt showed off her worn, saggy, too-small bra that was held together in the back with dozens of rubber bands?  Where were the fashion police then?!  And don't even get me started with the ten-year old girls prancing around with their thongs peeking out over the top of their butt-cleavage-baring low rise jeans.


Bad clothing choices may offend us, we may look at people on the street and wonder “wtf are they thinking?”  I love Whoopi Goldberg with all my heart, but I often wonder who dresses her before sending her out onstage every morning on The View. 

Mouthing off to police officers is a bad thing.  I don’t care how angry you are, and I have been angry at police officers a time or two, they have the power to mess us up and get away with it, so I highly recommend slapping virtual duct-tape on our mouths at every encounter. 

But the question remains, was the initial call to the police that Deshon was “exposing himself” correct?  US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder said the airline’s dress code forbids “indecent exposure or inappropriate” attire.  There is no doubt that more skin was being shown on that plane than was on Marman’s self.  He wasn’t trying to pull a Weinergate, he was simply exhibiting the fashion of his generation – much as we old folks may not like it.

The irony here is that once upon a time the flight attendants themselves couldn’t bend over without giving the passengers a peek at their goods – Deshon Marman was simply a day late to the fashion show, and now $11,000 dollars short. 

UPDATE:  6/17
Raw video footage as seen on KRON-News, San Francisco.  Frankly, I'm amazed Marman remained as calm as he did.  This undoubtedly shows that he isn't the 'thug' or 'ill-mannered jerk' that I've seen him labeled as all over social media.

Update 6/22
More follow-up here.  If only he'd shed the pants and gone with the boxers, Marman would have been just fine.

Update 6/24 Deshon Marman's mom, Donna Doyle, speaks to the media:

© Kymberlie Ingalls, June 16, 2011


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