Monday, April 27, 2015

I'm sick at heart

The violence in Baltimore is making me sick.  I understand the utter despair and rage of those who are rioting but those acts of destruction only make things worse. Freddie Gray's death was unbelievably horrendous, an immense travesty of justice, a symptom of police brutality and policing getting out of hand.

It shakes my belief that law enforcement officers, police officers are supposed to "Protect and Serve". I am not an African-American but if I was, I'd be scared out of my wits to walk on a sidewalk, drive a car, walk to school, or do anything in public that normal Americans usually do for fear of being shot, bludgeoned, kicked or choked to death by a racist guy who works as a cop to "legally" act on his hatred of "others".

And I do believe that there is much more hatred toward African-Americans, Latinos, LGBTQ and all 'minorities' because Republicans and the Supreme Court have encouraged the legalization of racism through laws, state by state.

I cry because I don't recognize this country.  It has become an unsafe, scary, hate-filled place to live for so many people.  The only light shining on this country is the light of bigotry, misogyny and hate.  The goodness of individuals is overshadowed by the boots of the white and rich coming down on the necks of those who have so little power.  We have lost our democracy and humanity.  I don't think we'll get it back any time soon unless there is a sea-change in attitude toward all of humanity that every single person deserves respect, kindness, a helping hand when necessary and every person is worthy of dignity, consideration and courtesy.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

My "conversation" with Senator John McCain regarding net neutrality

I recently wrote to Senator John McCain regarding net neutrality.  This is his response to me and below that, my reply.  It remains to be seen whether there will be any more communication.

April 10, 2015

Dear Ms. Miller:

     Thank you for contacting me regarding the issue of network neutrality.  I appreciate your taking the time to share your views with me.  I have been closely monitoring developments in the net neutrality debate as they have quickly unfolded in the months since the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down the FCC's 2010 Open Internet Rules in Verizon v. FCC in January 2014.

     As you may know, on February 26, 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to approve a 317-page plan to regulate the Internet by classifying broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act.  The Commission's party-line vote will dramatically increase the government's role over our nation's broadband by treating the Internet as a public utility under federal regulations that were originally created for monopoly-era phone companies.

     Over the last two decades, the Internet has flourished under limited government oversight.  I have long opposed efforts to increase the government's control over our nation's broadband, and believe the FCC's action will undermine the innovation that has allowed the Internet to become what it is today.  Allowing businesses to thrive without burdensome regulations is the best stimulus for our economy.  This is a matter for Congress to carefully consider and correct.

     Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding network neutrality.  Please do not hesitate to do so regarding this or any other matter of concern.


                                        John McCain
                                        United States Senator


April 14, 2015

Senator McCain:

You're very much mistaken if you think I believe your reasoning.  Regulations preventing your big corporate friends from screwing the rest of us is what's needed.  You're just a shill for your very rich friends who want to control every damn facet of our lives.  What you think of as "burdensome regulations" are what's saving the average person from being drowned by rich corporations.  For further proof just look at the Internet overseas where the cost is significantly less and the speed is greater.  Without regulations, carriers here would slow down usage for those who pay less and favor more affluent businesses and individuals.  This would help your campaign contributions but would do little for the middle class and would certainly stifle the poor.

Can you explain what regulations have stifled US carriers' innovation so as to prevent them from coming close to providing services comparable to those in other countries?  The spectre of carriers creating a tiered Internet which would surely place burdens on most Americans but allow the rich unbridled access is most disturbing.  Your propensity (like all your Republican cohorts) for favoring the rich over everyone else is abhorrent and very un-American.

I strongly disagree with you and your position and, like me, we are numerous.  Regulations keep things fair and safe.  If you can’t see that, it’s time to pack it in.

Reisa Miller
___________, AZ
 My email address appeared here.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

News reporting and a conversation with an Arizona Republic columnist

I was a news reporter on the radio many years ago.  I read news stories off the wire but only after I checked and edited them, if necessary, for clarity, accuracy and essential content to keep the meaning clear.  My own news assignments were done the same way: written for clarity, accuracy and essential content.  It's a job I truly loved and wish I had had the opportunity to make it a life-long career.

I read an article in the finance section of the Arizona Republic yesterday and something jumped out at me.  I decided to write to the columnist about it and this is the result.  What do you think about this exchange?  My thoughts about it are at the end of the blog.  

Russ Wiles is an accomplished personal finance writer who is the co-author of two books on mutual funds. He's been with the Arizona Republic since 1991 and covers anything to do with money.

Our email conversation began here..........

Dear Mr. Wiles,

I was interested in reading your Sky Mall article in today's AZ Republic until I got to the paragraph that included the following, "Many of the firm's senior executives and employees are Orthodox Jews, according to the Fast Company article."

Since that kind of information is not germane to the story what possible reason would you have to justify including it other than to play to a negative stereotype?  Would you have written the same sentence had those people been Catholic or any other religion?

I don't think you meant it to be offensive but it was.  If that statement jumped out at me, I'm sure I'm not the only one who took umbrage at it.  I'm probably the only one, though, who has taken the time to write to you about it.             

 Will you please enlighten me as to why you included such an irrelevant statement?  

Thank you for your attention.

His reply:
On Apr 1, 2015, at 12:14 PM, Wiles, Russ <> wrote:

Hi Reisa,
Thanks for the note. I’m sorry you found the reference to Orthodox Jews to be a negative stereotype.
Mr. Pikarski seemed comfortable discussing it, and other press reports about C&A have mentioned it too.
I find it unusual and interesting, at least for a company with an Arizona presence.
Catholic-owned firms aren’t uncommon in Arizona but might be in other parts of the world.
Russ Wiles
Finance and money writer
The Arizona Republic | | 12 News

My reply to the above:

Mr. Wiles:

Mr. Pikarski may have seemed comfortable discussing it but that doesn't mean it needed to be in the article unless he specifically asked you to include it.  It simply was not germane or pertinent. I don't know what someone's religion has to do with the purchase of a company (unless, of course, it plays into "Hobby Lobby" problems later).

It's  a red flag to me and probably others.  I've been a news reporter and I would have specifically asked my interviewee for permission to use that kind of information, although I don't know why it would be included.

It was an interesting article but, in my opinion, the information in question was just not necessary.  I appreciate you getting back to me so quickly.

Reisa Miller
Chandler, AZ

Again, I heard from Russ Wiles:

On Apr 2, 2015, at 8:42 AM, Wiles, Russ <> wrote:

Hi Reisa,

I’ve been thinking about your Catholic comment in more depth and, yes, there are several situations where I can envision citing religion in some cases.
For example, if SkyMall was purchased by a group of Catholic nuns or Syrian Christians fleeing ISIL or Baptists who all attended the same mega-church in Gilbert, then I think we would definitely mention those situations and possibly give them more play than one sentence near the bottom of the article. Granted, it’s a judgment call, and I still don’t think the Orthodox Jew reference was negative. But I also agree that it wasn’t terribly significant, so I did remove it from the online version of the article.
Anyway, thanks for the feedback.
Russ Wiles
And my reply to him:


You have a great sense of humor.  I assume you’re not Jewish and may not be familiar with the subtleties that some words/phrases conjure up when used in certain ways.  But enough on this.  Thank you for removing it from the online version.   It’s removal doesn’t change the point of the article.

Your interest in following up with me is greatly appreciated.  Thank you for doing so.

Best to you…..

Reisa Miller
Chandler, AZ

My thoughts about this exchange:

When I wrote to Mr Wiles, I wasn't sure I'd get a reply.  I believe Mr. Wiles listened to what I had to say and explained how he came to write what he wrote.  The fact that he followed up tells me that he's more than a conscientious reporter.  That he ultimately agreed with me enough to make an adjustment to the online version is secondary to the fact that he took the time to reach out to me.   I deeply respect someone who cares enough to follow up on an email, act on it and not just dismiss a reader's concern.  I know this was a small concern, but he acted on it.  That's impressive .