All blog posts, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted to the Author (that's me) and may not be used without written permission.

Search This Blog

October 28, 2014


Every woman has the right to breastfeed in public. Everyone else has the right not to watch a woman breastfeeding in public. As with every right, yours end where another's begin. So, in a case like this, who is right? Where should the public establishment come down? Where is the compromise between these two sides?

Compromise: (noun) an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.

This controversy has come up on a number of occasions recently, in the US, Canada, and abroad. In some cases, the woman was asked to use a nursing blanket (or anything similar and handy) to cover her breast so others didn't have to watch. In many of the cases, the women were obliging and did so without rancor or issue. In some cases, either at the time of being asked or later, the woman complained to management and made a big deal over it. There have even been lawsuits filed or threatened.

Where does the woman's right to do this very natural act end and the rights of those who may have religious, moral, or ethical issues with this act being performed in public begin?

I do not have children and probably never will. While I understand that breastfeeding is natural, I get a little embarrassed and flustered when a woman's naked breast is out in my field of view. I'm also a man -- we are predominantly visually oriented and seeing a naked breast, even doing such a mundane task, is somewhat stimulating. Which I do not necessarily want to be when, say, out at a public restaurant trying to eat food, enjoy the company I'm with, or otherwise not in that mood. Is the woman's right to breastfeed more important than my right not to see it?

And what about religion? Some religions, like Islam or the Amish, among others, see any amount of nudity in public as blasphemous. If they are at a restaurant and a woman uncovers her breast for all to see, do they not have a legitimate request for the woman to cover her nakedness while they are present? Or does the woman's right to breastfeed trump that, as well?

Right now, the laws in America say that a private company has the right to show bias toward their clients. However, those companies that do may have a harder time drumming up business and/or hiring people to work there. For example, private marriage specialists have the right to refuse service to gay couples, even in states where gay marriage is legal. However, as word gets around, they will lose out on a growth area in marriages and some people may choose not to work for them. I think this is a fair balance; the gay people who wish to get married have that right, those who do not believe in that right have the ability to personally deny their services to something they don't believe in, but they must also take on the negatives that come with that stance -- fewer clients, fewer employees, and possible negative press for their decision.

It's a little known fact that private institutions still have the right to restrict membership, clientele, and service based on race, creed, religion, and even gender. But, again, they run the risk of the negative press, lower profits from having a more "select" clientele or membership list, and having a harder time finding employees who agree with their criteria. As long as the institution does not take a dime of government money, however, they can choose this path. That's how we still have all-women colleges, all-black clubs, religion-specific groups, etc.

So, again, I ask, where does the right of the breastfeeding woman end and my rights begin?

I think, if I was a store owner, I would have a posted breastfeeding policy. To be as inclusive as possible, I think my policy would be stated something like:

"We encourage women to breastfeed their children. However, some individuals may find the act uncomfortable for a variety of reason which may include their religious beliefs. As we want to maintain a comfortable environment for all our patrons, we prefer/request that you use a nursing blanket. Thank you."

In this way you clearly state your wish to be inclusive and service both sides of this contentious issue. You also provide guidance to your employees as to how to handle this situation if it comes up. And, if a breastfeeding woman sues you after the fact, you have a stated, existing policy to help you in your defense.

This seems, to me, like a fair compromise between the two sides. One side can do the act they have every right to, even if it is a little uncomfortable for them. And those who don't wish to see it are shielded from the act, even if they know it is going on and that makes them a little uncomfortable. Both have made a small concession and both get what they want.

October 6, 2014

Mid-Term Elections 2014

The mid-term elections are just a month away. I have a suggestion for every voter, regardless of party affiliation or conservative/liberal leanings: do NOT vote for any incumbents. The incumbents of both parties have proven they cannot do the job for which we hired them, so show your disapproval by voting as many of them out as possible.

Our founding fathers did not think that anyone would want to serve for longer than a term or two, so they didn't put term limits into the Constitution. And, for the first 150 years of our country, the number of people who served more than two terms was very small. However, in the mid-20th century, people started to realize that politics could be a lucrative career. Priorities shifted to spending more money to get in, and stay in, Congress.

Since the 1950s, we see incumbents slowly dominating all of the elections until today we see about 90% incumbent success rate. This has led to cronyism, graft, and the further widening of the political divide until you have the worst Congress in history, one that had the majority party saying they refused to work with the current President and would block anything he or his party put forward. Both sides lie with impunity. They pass laws that make no sense when they do work, like shutting down the government, but allowing themselves to keep getting paid.

So, I say enough. Let's show our displeasure by voting them out. Both sides. My proposal is this: simply look at the length of time a person has been in office. If they have served more than two terms (or this will be their third term), DO NOT VOTE FOR THEM. If you can't find it online, call their office (easily found in a quick websearch or through going to and searching for the person in question).

You may be asking yourself about now, 'Who am I going to vote for then?' Easy: anyone except an incumbent. You can easily find liberal and conservative alternatives in other parties (for example, the Green party leans liberal and the Libertarians lean conservative). Many races have multiple Republicans and Democrats running -- pick one that hasn't been in office before.

Once this is done and we've kicked as many incumbents out of office as possible, we should press our Congressmen to enact a Term Limits law to keep what is currently happening from ever happening again.

It's time for our government to fear its people once more.


Related topics:

A New Appreciation

I think my wife may have opened me up to a new appreciation of music. She was following links in Facebook and it took her here. As you can see, the link provides an example of a very complicated bass line in an otherwise "pop" or even "bubblegum" song. Due to choices made in mixing the song, that bass line gets lost in the background unless you really are listening for it.

Since she played that for me, I am now hearing bass lines in everything I'm listening to. My hearing isn't great (not bad enough to need a hearing aid, yet, but bad enough that music just sort of blends together), but I seem to be keyed on the bass now. I'm listening to the beats and the rhythm of it and hearing how it drives a song or keeps it on track.

I've heard some surprisingly complicated bass lines in some surprising artists, like Alanis Morrisette, the Beatles, and Prince. For the most part, though, it seems like the bass is pretty generic in most songs. Most seem to follow a pretty repetitious sound, often something like, "Thub --- thub-thub --- thub --- thub-thub," or "thub --- thub-thub-thub --- thub --- thub-thub-thub" or similar. Maybe, if the bassist gets really tired, there might be some sort of change-up to the bass line at about the midpoint of the song. But, for the most part, my newfound appreciation of the bass indicates to me that bassists must get really bored while playing for a band.

I do have some music that is of a more jazz-style. In these songs, and in most Police songs, the bass is played by a stand-up bass rather than a guitar bass. In these songs, I naturally seem to hear more variations and interesting movements in the bass line. And, of course, when you watch a jazz player strumming his bass, you usually see a lot more intricate fingerwork and movement of the hands.\

I still can't really hear the difference between two rhythm guitars playing in one song. Most wind instruments blend together into one sound to my ears. But I now have a greater appreciation of the bass player.