Company Agrees To Temporarily Halt Some North Dakota Pipeline Work Until Friday — RED POWER MEDIA


Washington, Sept 6 (Reuters) – By Julia Harte A Native American tribal chairman said his people were “disappointed” that a company agreed on Tuesday to temporarily halt construction of an oil pipeline only in some but not all parts of North Dakota where the tribe says it has sacred sites. After violent clashes over the weekend […]

via Company Agrees To Temporarily Halt Some North Dakota Pipeline Work Until Friday — RED POWER MEDIA

A Defining Moment In History


The following post is not me, being all liberal butt-hurt.  Essentially, it comes down to this, and then I am done.  I am sure that a vast majority of my personal Facebook “friends” have already unfollowed me, because my political posts have been at an all-time high, and I even annoy myself most days. But I have to say this, because, I can’t, in good conscience, not say it.

Hillary Clinton is far from perfect. There are a lot of things she has done that can be considered questionable, at best. However, Donald Trump just said today, about an hour ago in my home state of Pennsylvania, for the 2nd or 3rd time in the past few months, that the US should work to be friends with Russia, even though Americans know that Putin was part of the KGB, and that further, Putin loves the idea of communism of the worst kind being the way the world operates.  And I am saying this as someone who is pretty Marxist.

Trump’s exact words were “Wouldn’t it be great if we could be friends with Russia?”

Um, no?  No, I am thinking that is NOT a good idea.

Because this…..


Don’t Say No One Told You


Trump is not a Republican. He is NOT. He is a fascist. Fascism is defined as a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation, and often race, above the individual, and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition. I defy you to show me where Trump is not this.

However, it makes perfect sense that he wants to be friends with Russia, a country who has threatened our national security for 100 years. READ CAREFULLY: No one has wanted to be friends with Russia since 1917 except HITLER AND MUSSOLINI AND TOJO.  I sit here watching this and see people cheer for him and this “Do these people not know what those men did to their own people and to all of Europe and half the Pacific region as we know it?”


And to make it even more insane, Trump also invited Russian hackers to hack our internet system to “get Hillary.” READ- He invited cyber-terrorism into our lives.  He just told Russia it was OK TO SPY ON US.

I am hoping that if you are reading this, you are not cool with spies and traitors.

Beyond the threat he is to international security and foreign policy, there is the domestic terrorism he creates at home.  He incites hatred and fear and along with mocking a variety of individuals, he makes fun of the disabled.  I have a REAL problem with that for not just the obvious reasons, but real, PERSONAL reasons as well.

You know, let me say this….his remarks about women, people of color, John McCain and other vets, different religions, and any other marginalized group?  They absolutely really piss me off, but as a society, we have to deal with that kind of shit every day and some of it comes down to those of us who don’t agree with the ignorance to grow a set and dealing with it and speaking out to effect change by teaching our kids and our friends to be better. But Trump’s mocking those with physical and/or intellectual limitations?  This one is a deal breaker for me.  Once, at the age of 10, I teased a boy on my school bus who had disabilities.  Know what my mom gave to me?  An ass-whoopin’ like that bomb picture up there.  I was raised to know better.   Chances are pretty good you were raised to know better. I draw a serious, unwaivering line at differently-abled people and I draw that same line at mocking veterans.

Before anything, I believe in the First Amendment.  And vets protect that…and more.

I believe in freedom and choice. I believe in your right to say hateful things and I will defend your freedom of speech and freedom of press and freedom to peaceably assemble to the bitter end. It is the FIRST Amendment for a reason. That said, I am a die-hard pro-choicer and staunch advocate for women’s health and reproductive rights. I am a die-hard civil rights advocate. I struggle greatly with war existing, but recognize that it is sometimes a necessary evil. And contrary to what some may think, I am always up for a lively debate and I do not walk away all butt-hurt when I hear the other side…I just debate you back regarding the policy in question, and I debate hard, and I feel my emotions when it comes to an issue about which I am passionate.

Policy is about the path we should take to get from point A to the end goal. That path, for some political parties, may be a 6 lane freeway, and, for others, it might be a dirt road. Neither is necessarily wrong, but the work of policy and cooperation of policy is about what is best for the greater whole (usually). Real politics and policy revolve around intelligent discourse from both sides, who generally agree on the necessity of those final goals, but arguing about the best way for us to all get from this point to that goal and making that policy a plan.

This Trumpian vomit, my friends, is not policy. This isn’t about your 2nd Amendment rights, or how we pay taxes, or building the economy, no matter what you are being told. You might think you are supporting Trump because of your “issue”, but for real…you are also supporting fascism and hatred.  So I don’t care if you are worried about the economy.  Yes,  it is important, but is it so important that you are willing to risk you life or the lives of others?

This is fascism, this is wrong, and this is frightening.

If you support Trump, you are supporting a fascist.
If you support Trump, you are supporting someone who wants a relationship with a dictator, Vladmir Putin.
If you support Trump, you are supporting someone who doesn’t care about anyone or anything except power.
If you are supporting Trump, you are supporting someone who denies science and throws blame on everyone, and never ever claims responsibility for what he puts into this world.
If you are not supporting Hillary because Bernie and/or the DNC, you are, by default, supporting Trump.  As much as I love Bernie and Johnson and Jill Stein, the electoral college, a frigged up system in its own right, is not going to go away by November 8, and it is NOT set up to support the 3rd party candidates with any success. And if you don’t vote for Hillary, flaws, rigged horseshit, and all, you are making it so Trump can win.

I simply don’t get how you can look in the mirror, if you are in any of the above camps, and live with yourself. I don’t. I get all the concerns from my friends who have solid principles and ethics, and I have those same principles. But what a Trump presidency could do to us is enough to scare this pro-choice, radical Marxist feminist into wishing that instead of him, we had another George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Dick Cheney, even John Boehner…and I am not being flippant. (I will take a moment, though, to say that Rick Santorum is just as scary.)

Yes, you want to make an ideological stand, but this is not the mountain upon which you should probably die. For real.

Because if you do, and Trump wins….we all die. I truly believe that.

With all this said, I am making a diligent effort to curb my political posts on social media.  It is hard to do because I am so passionate about this stuff, but I just can’t do this anymore.

This is where I stand.  If you unfollow me or defriend me here or in real life, that is fine. I know where we stand. And if I unfollow or defriend you and it makes you angry, please know the following.  1) I did not come to the decision to eliminate you from my life in all ways lightly.  2) I absolutely mean to send that message and it isn’t because I am “offended” by “Trumpian ideology”, but that I don’t want the kind of person who supports that crap in my life…friend, family, or otherwise.  3) I am aware I am making a choice that hurts you and hurts me and seems to just be about differences of opinion.  But it isn’t about just a plain difference of opinion.  It is 100% because I refuse to associate with fascists, racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes, or religious zealots.

Because when you hang with dogs, you get fleas.


The Gauntlet


It’s been a long and interesting couple of weeks, and I keep hoping for a reprieve. We’ve dealt with my kid’s medical issues, traveled home for Turkey Day to spend precious time with my dying father in law, and then had to somehow get through the heartbreaking death of a close family friend….all while maneuvering 4 major snow storms and my lungs deciding that pneumonia was a good idea. It’s the morning of December 13 and all I want to do is sleep….but stacks of papers and exams await….


I love my job. I have been doing college for almost 23 years, most recently as a faculty member. I love to teach, work with students, and see them develop and come into their own. It is amazing to see who they are when they walk onto campus the first day of freshman year and see who they are when they walk out four or five (or sometimes more) years later. I love to build a dynamic classroom and help my students think outside the box, walking away from the concrete, mundane structure that traditional schooling often instills in them, and instead encourage them to take that risk, reach beyond the bar, and apply what they are learning to real life stuff. I love their wit, their humor, hearing and being amazed at the latest “thing”, and attempting to keep up with all of these things so I don’t prematurely turn into an old lady.

But you know what I don’t like about my job? PAPERWORK.

I know, I know. Every job has paperwork. Doesn’t matter what you do, logs have to be kept and times have to be recorded. Money has to be accounted and everything has to have documentation.

But tumblr_inline_mo6xfkRYgX1qz4rgp

…there is a lot of paperwork when it comes to grading grammar.

Let me explain. You can’t just mark things “right or wrong” when you are trying to help people learn to write. You can’t just give a tiny bit of insight here or there. Things have to be marked and changed and rearranged. Common mistakes, like subject-verb agreement and correct tense, sometimes take over. Commas and apostrophes sprinkle the written landscape, sometimes with no rhyme or reason. It is extremely time consuming and in an effort to help people really learn, there is a necessity to be meticulous and in-depth. It can seriously cross one’s eyes and force 3 more cups of coffee just to plug through.


It can make someone who loves her job, like me, start to think, around 3 am when the coffee is wearing off, “What the hell can I do to make this go faster? Am I doing something wrong here? For the love of Mike, am I really cut out to be a journalism teacher?”

But then, after a two hour nap and a new cup of coffee, it happens. Past all those little mistakes, you start to notice that the content is there. The ideas are taking shape. The stuff you have been saying for weeks has clicked…maybe not with utter perfection, but with writing, does such a thing even exist? The student who used to write like she talked suddenly sounds a bit more polished. The guy who just put information in that news story randomly is starting to build that story and use the structural tools you mentioned midway through the semester. “Your” for “you’re” occurs much less frequently, and they all know that things “need TO BE fixed”…not “needs fixed.” And you sit back, bleary-eyed, and press forward.

Yes, I am cut out to be a journalism teacher. And writing is my passion and I am good at it, and there are a lot of people in my classrooms who are good at it too.

And I go back to grading…because they are the future media specialists, and I don’t want them to write like this.


The Dark and Silent Place


Thursday night was such a big deal when I was a little kid.  I got to stay up late…til 8:30.  I sat on the couch in our living room, and I waited with anticipation as Mork from Ork tuned in on my TV, and was sad, 29 minutes later, when he called Orson, and gave us all a lesson to learn.

As time moved on and I grew from a little 7 year old girl when Mork first appeared on Happy Days, to and 8 year old when Mork had his own show, into becoming a teenager, Robin Williams became a mainstay in my life.   I learned about a lot of adult stuff by watching Moscow on the Hudson. He made me love the idea of being on the radio in Good Morning Vietnam, even though I was in no way, shape, or form, wanting anything to do with war.  He became my Captain in Dead Poets Society, and he made me want to fight a big mean Captain of another sort in Hook.  He showed the depth of pain and human spirit in The Fisher King, and made me consider the afterlife in What Dreams May Come.  Genies really do exist because of his work in Aladdin, and as an adult, I only hoped I would be as cool as Mrs. Doubtfire when I became an old woman.  And his interview with James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio is absolutely my favorite episode of that show…EVER.

I could list his work for the next five paragraphs and tell you how he moved me, but I think you get the picture.

There is no questioning that Robin Williams was a genius.  He was an amazing actor, comedian, humanitarian.  He could be on in a moment and he never failed to surprise us.  I think this is why I am sitting here, a couple of hours after the news of his death, and I am shaken to my core with grief, because he yet again surprised me…and everyone….but I never wanted this kind of surprise.  

I did not know Robin Williams the man, of course…I only knew of Robin Williams, the MAN. But today, August 11, 2014, I think we all got to glimpse at the human being that he really was.  When you took away the humor, the talent, the raw essence that made him larger than life, what he was, in so many ways, was broken.  In the past, he had spoken openly of his battles with drugs, with alcohol, with dealing with life on life’s terms.  This was not a secret, and he held no shame. And most of the time, those things do not come without some kind of mental health issue lurking below the surface…but that wasn’t something he really talked much about.  But surprise! There is was.  Depression.

I have been in that place myself…on more than one occasion. My depression is the clinical kind, the one that gets diagnosed and taken care of with meds and some therapy and some “fakin’ it til you make it.”  I work hard at that part…a lot.  I don’t need to take meds at this point, and I use my therapeutic tools constantly, which is not always an easy thing to do.  But I have been in that place.  I have seen that spot in the human psyche that is dark, it is silent, and it lies as it whispers  “this will make it stop”…when all you want to do is make it stop.  That place is horrific, it is awful, and it is inviting.  It offers you an end to everything, and all you have to do is look around and make the decision if you want to leave or if you want to stay.  

Six hours or so ago, I am fairly certain that Robin Williams was visiting that dark and silent place and he decided to stay.  My heart has broken into a million pieces for Robin Williams because I know, first-hand, what that pain is like.  I know first-hand that when one is faced with that decision, rarely is one thinking of anything except the fact that at least this horrific pain will now be over and done.  I know that most of the time, no one is thinking about the people they will leave or the hole that will exist when they are no longer here to fill it.  When you decide to stay in that dark and silent place, you are opting for the darkness and the silence over the light and the painful screaming that is life….on life’s terms.

I wish Robin had taken a moment as he faced that decision to think about the 43 year-old grown woman who will forever be the chubby, pig-tailed 3rd grader who lived for Thursday nights so she could say “Shaz-bot!” and who begged for rainbow suspenders, even though chubby little girls should not tuck in shirts OR wear suspenders, especially with jogging shorts and tube socks. I wish he had taken that small piece of time to think that he was my Captain, the character that inspires me daily to be that kind of “out of the box” teacher.  Robin, wherever you are, you need to know all of this, and more.  But mostly, you need to know Robin, that I am so so sorry you hurt like that…and I am so so sorry that you opted to stay there.

Thank you for everything, Robin.  In my eyes, it always has been and will, in so many ways, continue to be The World According to Robin.

Nanu nanu.

Moving Sucks


Ya know, sometimes people who literally hate all things winter get brain freeze and forget what snow is really like.   And sometimes people who have a lot of gypsy in their souls forget that you can’t be mobile and hoard so much CRAP.  And most of the time, OCD Type A freaks don’t sleep.

I am currently all three of those things, and then some.

So, if you don’t know….we are moving.  In 9 days, we put all of our stuff into a truck and head the almost 400 miles from our life here in the Philly ‘burbs to Erie, PA.  That’s correct!  The Yevchak/Bowen/Dave clan will be taking up residence in what declared the 2013-14 Snowiest City in America…. on a permanent basis. I accepted a position in the Communications department at Penn State Erie- The Behrend College, and we are going through all the typical emotions a big move like this brings, but we are excited to head to one of our favorite places in the world and to begin the next part of our journey as a family…with our family we already have there.

Leaving this area that has helped shape us into people who are part DelCo, part Chester County, will be very bittersweet. Our Penn State Brandywine family has been exactly that….family.  And saying goodbye to our friends we have made in the past 7 years will be very hard….which is why I refuse to say that this is goodbye.  It’s more like a “see you soon!” with a willingness to travel.  🙂 


This will continue to grow.





Yes, this is how I feel.  And I am not Hugo in this photo…I’m Daffy. 

That said, hey there, Brandywine students! Hope you are all safe and warm.  An update regarding classes:  please make sure you log into ANGEL when you get a chance so that you can see what is required to make up for this crazy situation we have all endured since Monday. A couple quick notes: 1)Comm 260w will not officially meet this morning, but you will have online work assigned. 2) All classes should be up and ready to access no later than noon on Friday and 3) I will be sending emails to each class with more details!

I want to clarify things to hopefully put your mind at ease.  I am aware we are all behind, scrambling, and stressed.  I had to leave the area yesterday and head for my other home (that thankfully I have), so that we could be safe and warm.  I mean, don’t get me wrong…aside from a huge tree falling in my yard (didn’t hit the house!), Wednesday was kinda fun….we roughed it in our dining room and I got to play Laura Ingalls Wilder and cook with our fireplace.  However, I probably was much more like this:

But….all good things must come to an end.  We ran out of firewood yesterday afternoon, our water that we did have set aside for flushing and washing was gone, the snow I brought in to use to flush didn’t melt in my 35 degree house, and PECO essentially said we were up a creek til probably Saturday or Sunday.  I know that some of you are not that fortunate and that many of you are still sitting in the cold, the dark, or you have had to relocate as well.  

All of that out there, please chill out and calm down.  I love that my students care about their grades, about being timely and hitting those deadlines (especially because deadlines are our lifeblood as media people), and that you want to do well and make sure you are going to be ok.  But I just logged in and have been bombarded by messages from students who are freaking out because they couldn’t upload a paper that was due at the height of an ice storm.   I might make you toe a line, but I am not that evil. 🙂

I am not at liberty to speak for your other professors, but I will assure you that I am going to fix all of the class schedules for each class I teach to ensure you still get a quality education and all bases are covered, and at the same time, you aren’t pulling your hair out and overwhelmed with tons of make-up work.  It’s all good.  For right now, might I suggest, like I did on the first day of classes, that you make sure that you do the readings that have been assigned for your classes, mine and others, and I will be in touch soon.

Stay safe and warm and I’ll see all of you Monday!


Will We Ever Get Caught Up?