Day 2: Off to a great start!

For the first time in my blogging life, I have had two SEPARATE people comment on SEPARATE posts of mine ON THE SAME DAY. Also, according to WordPress, since my three posts yesterday I have had the most traffic any website of mine has ever had, and CrapPile has only existed for almost 24 hours.

I’m spending the day figuring out the ins and outs of WordPress and reading and following other blogs to try to get my name out there, so I don’t know hoe much writing myself I will be doing between now and the time I go help my best friend out with some personal stuff, but we’ll see.

“Blocking” people from social media is unconstitutional–if you’re Donald Trump

I was very disappointed in Judge Naomi Buchwald’s decision regarding President Trump’s personal Twitter account yesterday. Apparently now that he’s President, it is unconstitutional for Trump to block users from his social media accounts. Seven individuals felt so offended by being blocked that they sued him in federal court, and astonishingly won.

By issuing this ruling, the judge has made it clear that Mr. Trump’s 1st Amendment rights are not as important as those who choose to view his Tweets. It also sets a precedent for other politicians across the country who use social media, a practice that is becoming more and more common every day.

I look at it this way. Twitter has millions of users, each creating their own personal account with their own unique usernames and passwords and all abide by the same terms and conditions as everyone else. @realDonaldTrump has been Donald Trump’s personal account since before he got elected in 2016. Since he took office, he has used it essentially the same way he always has, and indeed the same way the vast majority of Twitter users always have—posting brief opinions, images, personal updates, and other very brief postings. Almost every single thing he does as President is a matter of public record, so being blocked from a personal social media site is not depriving the seven plaintiffs of anything. It’s far more likely they sued for wounded pride than for a violation of their Constitutional rights, and had the benefit of a Clinton-era liberal judge backing them up. It sets the stage for a potential Supreme Court decision, with the deck stacked more in the President’s favor.

I think people need to just get over it and move on with their lives. The past several days, worth of Trump Tweets have been anything but exciting, and the few newsworthy items were immediately talked about in articles all across the country. The bones who were blocked are not missing out on anything. They need to let Trump use his Twitter the way he sees fit because its his, not the property of the President of the United States. It belongs to a single man, not the government.

I’m actually more concerned about how it might affect those of us outside of politics. Will this decision eventually spill over into the general public, and will it then be unconstitutional for us to block people? So far there is nothing at all pointing in that direction, but there is always that one person that will try to sue so that his ex-girlfriend will have to unblock him, or something even crazier than that.

I just hope that the people who sued the President for violating their 1st Amendment rights immediately logged onto to their own social media accounts and unblocked anybody they might have cut off over the years. Something tells me I already know the answer…

My Thoughts on the new NFL Kneeling Policy

Yesterday, the NFL announced that it is implementing a new policy that will require players to stand and be respectful during the National Anthem. Players that choose to do so are allowed to remain in the locker room, but those who remain on the field and do not show respect to the flag will be fined.

As a veteran, I could not be more proud of the way the NFL has decided to handle this. I was one of many football fans outraged at the way Goodell and individual owners were handling the kneeling controversy last season. This move actually took me by surprise, because I was honestly expecting the owners to come out with a policy that either encouraged kneeling or one that would protect the kneelers from any kind of League backlash. Instead what happened was a win for America and patriots everywhere, millions and millions of Americans who are sick and tired of seeing everything that this great nation has always stood for shit on and disgraced.

I posted my feelings on Facebook, and as usual the backlash started coming through immediately. I keep getting asked how I, a “former” Marine, could allow suppression of the 1st Amendment and the silencing of free speech and freedom of expression. I was actually really glad those questions came up, and I want to address them here because there are a couple of things critics of the new policy seem to forget that should not be forgotten.

First and foremost, the 1st Amendment is not a free pass to do whatever you want, when you want to do it. Many, many court cases over the years have helped create boundaries and clarify what is and what is not acceptable under free speech. Everyone knows that you can’t shout “FIRE!” in a crowded theater. Spray painting graffiti is vandalism and destruction of property. The vast majority of businesses will deny service to customers who come in not dressed appropriately. It is unacceptable to run up and down a quiet street at night singing through a loud speaker, and being nude in public is an easy way to land someone on a sex offender’s registry. At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, being loud and disrespectful will incur a sharp and swift reprimand from the sentry. These are just a few of countless examples I can give, but it just goes to show that just because a new rule appears to violate the Constitution on the surface, doesn’t mean that it isn’t warranted as it has happened many times before.

Another major factor to remember is that the NFL is a business. The players, coaches, and supporting staff are all employees of that business. Businesses have always had the right to impose regulations and policies for employees in order to protect the integrity and image of the organization. A prime example is the government contractor that employed the woman who flipped off President Trump’s motorcade, and was terminated as a result. While the employee was off-duty during the time of the incident, she was still an employee of an employer with a government contract, and flipping off the Chief Executive is a sure fire way for that company to lose the current and any future contract had it been traced back to the employee. One can’t expect McDonald’s to tolerate an employee wearing a “F*** McDonald’s!” shirt when on company property, or going on social media making fun of and insulting their boss while identifying themselves as employees of such and such employer. All of these things—the obscene gesture, the message on the shirt, and the social media attacks—are protected under normal circumstances by the 1st Amendment, but when it comes to businesses protecting their employees, customers, clients, and products from bad publicity, those rights go out the window.

It is no different with the NFL. Professional football has always been a strong pastime for Americans, with a strong military, police, and veteran fan base. We hold that flag with high honor and the deepest of respect. Naturally, when we started to see entire teams and scores of players kneeling during the National Anthem and refusing to even look at the flag, we were upset. And we expressed our outrage in every way we could. As a result, even if they do not come out and admit it, the NFL was hurt by the backlash. That flag is saluted by every single service member all the time, and it is draped over the caskets of those who have laid down their lives so that this nation could be free. Pro ball is essentially an American sport, and too many of us the anti-American statements by many of the players were not right. The NFL heard our complaints and have acted on it, the way any business would. The bottom line is the players are on company time being paid money most of us will bust our asses off our entire lives and never see unless we won the lottery. If the NFL decided to make it a rule that teams need to stand or not be seen, that’s not an infringement on their rights. They are on the clock, representing not only the NFL and their teams but the entire nation on national TV and radio. They need to show respect.

New blog, new title!

Here I am again, several months since my last post.

Blogging, like the rest of my writing, seems to always be something that I go at with a vengeance for a week or so then I drop off the face of the Earth for months and months without getting any work done. I’ve done that so many times it’s not even funny. I can’t tell you how many different email accounts and WordPress sites I’ve created and deactivated over the past several years. I started in my early 20s and here I am 28 1/2 with very little to show for it as far as writing and blogging goes.

Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I figured now is as good a time as any to hit the ground running and start making my writing dreams come true, so I recovered the log-in information for this blog, came up with a catchy title, and ta da! The first post of CrapPile. I’ll tell you the story of the name in just a second. Unlike most blogs that start out with a certain theme, I decided to borrow off of John Scalzi, a writer and blogger I have a lot of respect for, and just use the blog for whatever I feel like talking about at any given time. I’m sure writing and reviews will be a good portion of the subject matter here, but my life is getting more and more complicated and interesting lately, and there’s no shortage of breaking news stories to pick from. I’ll just have to see what kind of crap I can salvage from the pile…

I know, that was pretty lame. The name CrapPile is actually from a small series of little sci fi stories I’ve been writing about a blogger. I felt the title was pretty cool, and that “The Novice Student of Writing” was something I came up with when I was drunk or something years ago.

So, hello again, blogosphere! Let’s do it right this time.


Another 500 Words Down

I keep making the bad mistake of taking days off my writing, but whenever I get back into it they flow easily. I guess it’s just a hump I have to continue getting over.

The current story is another detective story, which seems to be my beginner’s forte right now. I have no idea when I’m going to be done with it, could be tonight or tomorrow or it could be a few days since I took a mini-vacation from the computer. Either way, I’m itching to get this one finished so I can work on a couple more projects. One is the unfinished SF/mystery I began working on after my first story was written, and the other one is a pure science fiction story inspired by a George R.R. Martin piece I hated the ending of.

Well, back to the computer. It’s nice to know I’m still making slow but steady progress!