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  • Amy Polen
  • December 14, 2017 06:02:55 AM

A Little About Us

Part personal, part political, part observation. I'm not quite a bleeding heart liberal, but I won't hesitate to call people out if deserved.

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Tired. Disappointed. Angry.

Edited on 8/6/2020…. the school district notified parents last night that they have reopened applications for the virtual academy. That’s really the only right way to handle things, after the playing rules changed. I’ve known for a long time that residents are not the primary concern of my state’s government. It’s not as if they’ve … Continue reading Tired. Disappointed....

Edited on 8/6/2020…. the school district notified parents last night that they have reopened applications for the virtual academy. That’s really the only right way to handle things, after the playing rules changed.

I’ve known for a long time that residents are not the primary concern of my state’s government. It’s not as if they’ve tried to hide it. Most of the governor’s statements about South Carolina are framed with the word “business.” Usually followed by some garbage about southern hospitality and how we all take care of one another. Spoiler – we don’t. And that’s become painfully obvious throughout the pandemic.

But I thought, for whatever reason, that schools would be approached with care. As I talked about in my last post, we decided that our daughter will do her senior year of high school virtually. The deadline for applying for the virtual academy in our district was July 28. That date is important.

I had actually thought that going back to school would be the better option, and I strongly encouraged it. Our district released its plans for returning to the classroom, and we were assured that they would only start returning when the virus case numbers consistently dropped. They even pushed back the first day of school until after Labor Day. The district planned to start virtually if there is no drop in case numbers. Coupled with a requirement for masks for all students, staff, and visitors, and the knowledge that they wouldn’t immediately go back to 5 days a week face to face instruction, we were comfortable with it. Our daughter was not, though, so we agreed to the virtual academy.

Friday, July 31, this story came out. SC approves online-only school plans, but in-person classes must start by mid-September.

From the state superintendent, schools that start virtually must bring kids into the classroom at least one day per week for face to face instruction by September 14. ONE WEEK after starting school. Is the virus going to magically disappear in that week? What happened to following the science and data to make decisions to keep our kids and teachers safe? What happened to following the guidance from DHEC on reopening schools? What happened to saying that districts would make their own decisions, based on what’s happening in their area?

What’s even more maddening is that this information came out AFTER the deadline in our district to apply for the virtual academy. So if you were trusting the school board, feeling assured that your kid would be as safe as possible… surprise! There are parents who made the decision to send their kids back to school, based on the district plan. High virus spread = virtual instruction. Medium virus spread = hybrid of 2 days a week at school, 3 days virtual. Low virus spread = face to face instruction 5 days a week. Our entire area is still listed as “high.” Parents made decisions based on that information. Some of them decided against the virtual academy option, based on that information. It’s a total bait and switch. But with lives.

I’m bitterly disappointed and angry with this state, and I’m not even directly affected by this. My daughter made the deadline for the virtual academy. But damn, I’m tired of living in a state that doesn’t care about its residents.

Feel free to share or comment. No need to keep it to yourself.


More Things I’ve Learned

2020, you suck. Oh, wait, that’s a spoiler, lol. Well, I guess it’s not a spoiler when we all know it already. When we first started staying home in March, I didn’t imagine we’d still be staying home in August, and yet, tomorrow is August 1. I’m kind of over learning lessons by this point, … Continue reading More Things...

2020, you suck. Oh, wait, that’s a spoiler, lol. Well, I guess it’s not a spoiler when we all know it already. When we first started staying home in March, I didn’t imagine we’d still be staying home in August, and yet, tomorrow is August 1. I’m kind of over learning lessons by this point, but it looks like that’s really my only option right now. So here are a few.

Black Lives Matter is responsible for every thing bad or criminal that happens in the world. Not MY opinion, but that’s what the comments on almost every new story suggest.

Comments on news stories should never be read. Not in the online version of newspapers and certainly not in social media posts. See the above lesson.

Heat advisories are not uniform. What qualifies for a heat advisory in June in South Carolina does not qualify for a heat advisory in July. Because apparently 108 degrees isn’t as hot in July?

If bakeries are allowed to refuse to serve gays, then businesses don’t have to serve people without masks. Sorry, you don’t have a constitutional right to refuse to wear a mask, and you don’t have a God-given right to go inside Target without a mask.

People will apparently plant random seeds that they receive through the mail, unsolicited. Are they hoping to grow a magic beanstalk? Unfortunately, you can’t use that to escape 2020. BTW, I can barely keep my chosen plants alive. You think I’m going to plant some random seed?

COVID testing is not pleasant. I’ve been dealing with a summer cold. Confirmed by COVID testing. Negative results. As it turns out, 10 seconds is a VERY long time.

The governor of this state… I just can’t. Between his refusal to issue a mask order, his idea that no alcohol being sold after 11 pm will prevent the spread of the virus, and his insistence that kids go back to school 5 days a week for in-person instruction, he’s demonstrated his lack of concern for residents of this state.

On a related note, we’ve decided on virtual instruction for the daughter’s senior year. It’s not the way it should be, but we’ll do it and make it a good year. Senior pictures were last week. Oh, my heart. I know she was 3 years old and trying to climb a tree last week.


Some Peace and Beauty in the Pandemic

I had to get up at 4:15 AM in order to do it without people, but it was worth it.

I had to get up at 4:15 AM in order to do it without people, but it was worth it.


Juneteenth and Other Things I Didn’t Know but Should Have

I realize that having grown up in Kentucky, the education reputation of the state is rather lackluster, but I felt like I received a pretty sound education through my schools. However, as I’ve gotten older, lived in different areas, and expanded my horizons, I’ve realized that there were some very important events left out of … Continue reading Juneteenth and Other Things I Didn’t Know but...

I realize that having grown up in Kentucky, the education reputation of the state is rather lackluster, but I felt like I received a pretty sound education through my schools. However, as I’ve gotten older, lived in different areas, and expanded my horizons, I’ve realized that there were some very important events left out of my history classes.

The Orangeburg Massacre

I learned about this when I moved to South Carolina in 2013. February 8, 1968. Police fired at 200 unarmed student protesters at South Carolina State University. Protests actually began February 5, at a bowling alley that served only white people. The first night, the protest was short. The protests got larger on the following nights, and the governor called in the National Guard. The night of February 8, students started a bonfire at the university, and a police officer was reportedly injured while the fire was being put out. Police said they heard gunshots and opened fire. Three people were killed, 28 were wounded. The governor blamed black power agitators (hmm, sounds familiar, doesn’t it?).

Cleveland Sellers, a South Carolina activist, was charged with rioting at the bowling alley. He was convicted, sentenced to 1 year of hard labor, and released after 7 months. Out of the approximately 70 police present, 9 were charged. None were convicted. In 2003, then-Governor Mark Sanford issued a written apology.

Black Wall Street

In 1921, the Greenwood District of Tulsa, Oklahoma, was one of the most prosperous communities of persons of color in the United States. The Tulsa Tribune reported that a black man attempted to rape a white woman. While the man was in custody, there was a confrontation between groups at the courthouse, which resulted in 10 white people killed and 2 persons of color killed. Mob violence took over, with white people destroying the entire community. Airplanes were reportedly used to fire rifles and drop firebombs. When it was over, 35 blocks had been burned, approximately 300 people were dead, and approximately 800 people were injured. There were 10,000 people left homeless. There were no convictions of people charged in relation to the violence. Decades later, a commission recommended that reparations be paid to those who lost so much, but they have not been paid. The victims were never compensated in any way.

Juneteenth

I learned about Juneteenth last year. Yes, LAST YEAR. I know.

Juneteenth is the holiday that recognizes the day the end of slavery was declared in Galveston, Texas, one of the last places to receive word of the Emancipation Proclamation. And yes, June 19, 1865, was over 3 months after the Civil War ended, and years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth was officially recognized as a state holiday in Texas in 1980. More states and businesses are recognizing it this year as a holiday, and there’s now a push for Congress to make it a federal holiday.

Philadelphia Bombed Its Own Neighborhood in 1985

Yep, they did, on May 13, 1985. I was a kid then, and I didn’t learn about this until a few years ago. Granted, I was 11 when it happened, but I can remember when Reagan was shot, so you’d think if this had made the news, it would at least have been familiar. There was a fringe group, MOVE, that had a contentious history with the city of Philadelphia, including the death of a cop and the city bulldozing their first location in the city. The group had reportedly been collecting weapons and building bunkers in their next house, and police had attempted to evict them. Police were sent to the house with arrest warrants, but got no response. So apparently the solution was to fire 10,000 rounds of ammunition at the house, and then the police commissioner ordered that a bomb be dropped on the house.

Eleven people were killed, including 5 children. The fire spread throughout the neighborhood, and 61 homes were destroyed. A report found that the police were “grossly negligent,” but no charges were filed.

George Stinney

This one horrified me. I had never heard that child’s name until 2014, when his conviction was overturned. In 1944, the 14 year old boy was accused of killing two white girls. After he was arrested, he was not allowed to see his parents, and he was questioned without an attorney. Police said he confessed, but there was no written confession. His trial was short, and he was convicted in 10 minutes by an all-white jury. There is no transcript of the trial. He was not allowed to see his parents until after his trial and conviction, and the court refused to hear an appeal. The boy was tried, convicted, and executed in 83 days in South Carolina. He’s the youngest American to be sentenced to death and executed by the electric chair. Amazingly, it took until 2004 for a re-examination of the case to begin. His conviction was overturned in 2014.

Stonewall Riots

I learned about this around the time that the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, so 2015?

This was a catalyst for the gay rights movement. In June 1969, police raided a gay club in New York City. There’s a lot of backstory, including the mob blackmailing members, but this raid was different in that there was no tip-off, as was customary. The raid sparked a violent protest, in which the protesters mocked and humiliated the police. Not just the bar patrons, but the entire neighborhood participated in 6 days of protests and clashes with police. Barack Obama designated the site as a national monument in 2016.

Those are just a few of the things you’d think would be mentioned in history classes. Obviously, this isn’t a complete list, and it doesn’t even account for the things that I did learn, but were wrong. Christopher Columbus, anyone? But that’s another day.


WTF Is Wrong with You? With Pictures

I’m pretty sure my trip inside a store last week won’t be happening again. Because people. New COVID-19 cases are through the roof. The governor refuses to order people to use masks. He urges people to, saying that we all need to look out for each other. Southern hospitality, and all that. Oh, wait. 90% … Continue reading WTF Is Wrong with You?...

I’m pretty sure my trip inside a store last week won’t be happening again. Because people. New COVID-19 cases are through the roof. The governor refuses to order people to use masks. He urges people to, saying that we all need to look out for each other. Southern hospitality, and all that. Oh, wait. 90% of people here do not wear masks. They don’t practice social distancing. They’re all about all the restaurants being open and want to go right back to the way things were before March. So literally, the same day that he signed a new emergency declaration and told people to take care of each other, the governor lifted restrictions on the number of people allowed in retail stores.

Now, EVERYONE can go into a store. That seems like a great idea, when we’ve just shattered the state record of new daily cases, when the percentage of positive tests is dramatically up, and when our curve looks like this.

Info from the largest hospital in the area, color-coded for easy understanding. Green is good. Yellow is not great. Red is bad.

And it’s not just old people, despite what some would have you think.

The percentage of positive tests is up. Way up. BTW, this state never actually met any of the criteria the guidelines suggested for reopening. In fact, our governor said something to the effect of, “Those are just guidelines, they’re not laws.”

We’ll keep doing what we’re doing. Staying home a lot. Wearing masks. Washing our hands. Using hand sanitizer. Not eating in restaurants. Avoiding groups of people. The people who know us are doing the same. It’s everyone else that is the problem. I’d like to not be one of these.


Why Do I Need Permission to Vote by Absentee Ballot?

So this week, the legislature of South Carolina, in their never-ending quest to take care of state residents, unanimously passed a bill to allow all residents to vote by absentee ballot in the June primaries. Because let’s face it, no one’s in a hurry to have a repeat of Wisconsin, even if the state cares … Continue reading Why Do I Need Permission to Vote by...

So this week, the legislature of South Carolina, in their never-ending quest to take care of state residents, unanimously passed a bill to allow all residents to vote by absentee ballot in the June primaries. Because let’s face it, no one’s in a hurry to have a repeat of Wisconsin, even if the state cares more about business than residents. So no one has to be around other people in order to vote. Great, right? Yes and no. Yes, it solved the issue of people having to be in close proximity to others in order to exercise their right to vote. However, all the legislature really did was add one more “acceptable” reason for voting by absentee ballot.

Because in South Carolina, you have to justify wanting to vote by absentee ballot. Oh sure, there are 18 reasons you can use (usually 17, but state of emergency has been added just this once), but why in the hell do I have to justify voting by absentee ballot? In order to vote by absentee ballot in South Carolina, you have to sign an affidavit that states one of these reasons applies.

Acceptable reasons for absentee ballots

Why? Why can’t I vote by absentee ballot simply because I don’t want to vote in person? Voting is my legal right. Now, I realize that if this state was left to its own devices, persons of color and women probably still wouldn’t be able to vote, but since I can, what’s the legal reason that the state can tell me that I can only use an absentee ballot if they give me permission?

Don’t even get me started on what they term “early voting” here. In person absentee-ballot voting is NOT early voting.


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