Monthly Archives: August 2017

Open season declared on escaped farmed Atlantic salmon

Wildlife officials urge people to go fishing after 4,000 to 5,000 salmon escape into Puget Sound.

The hunt is on for thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon that escaped into Puget Sound last weekend.

The hunt is on for thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon that escaped into Puget Sound. (Photo: Matt Hintsa/flickr)

Need a good excuse to spend the day fishing? The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has you covered.

On Aug. 19, an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 10-pound farmed Atlantic salmon escaped into the waters of Puget Sound after a pen holding some 305,000 of the species suffered a structural failure. In an effort to protect native species, WDFW officials are urging everyone to hit the water and catch as many of the escaped salmon as possible.

“It will be some time before we know how many fish escaped the net pens,” Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s Fish Program, said in a statement. “That’s why we’ve authorized Cooke Aquaculture to fish with beach seine nets and we’re encouraging anglers to go out and harvest these fish.”

Despite Warren’s assurances that the species poses no threat to native fish populations, he doesn’t want to take any chances.

“Catch as many as you want,” he told the Seattle Times. “We don’t want anything competing with our natural populations. We have never seen a successful crossbreeding with Atlantic salmon, but we don’t want to test the theory.”

The WDFW is urging all anglers to hook as many Atlantic salmon as possible. According to the agency, the fish are completely safe to eat. The WDFW is urging all anglers to hook as many Atlantic salmon as possible. According to the agency, the fish are completely safe to eat. (Photo: WDFW)

In a rather bizarre twist, officials from Cooke Aquaculture fish farm where the Atlantic salmon were raised placed the blame for the damaged nets on “exceptionally high tides and currents coinciding with this week’s solar eclipse.” While the alignment of the sun and moon, called a spring tide, does in fact cause high tides, there’s nothing uncommon about them. As some pointed out, the excuse just doesn’t hold water.

“So either Cooke’s placement of blame on eclipse tides indicates a gross failure to plan for a predictable natural event, or it’s a load of BS,” Chase Gunnell of Conservation Northwest, wrote on Facebook. “Those of us who fish in this area know how to read a tide-table in advance, know the winter and spring king tides are far stronger than those experienced this weekend, eclipse or no, and know that strong currents are the norm in this marine area.”

“This was operator error, and the operator needs to be held accountable, especially as they have proposed to expand these Atlantic salmon net pens around our region,” he added.

While there is no size or catch limit on Atlantic salmon, you will need a current fishing license. Oddly, anglers will not have to report Atlantic salmon on their catch record cards, making it unclear how exactly the WDFW plans to track the removal effort.

More information on additional regulations concerning the open season on farmed Atlantic salmon can be found here.


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Nikon’s new D850 has 45.7 megapixels and enough features to tempt Canon shooters

Jack of all trades, master of some

Nikon has a new full-frame DSLR: the D850. Announced today, the D850 is a monster of a camera in terms of specs, and it’s one that will cost accordingly — the retail price is $3,299 for just the body when it goes on sale in September. The pro-level D5 may still be the king of Nikon’s current DSLR offerings, but at first glance it’s the D850 that will likely be the Nikon full-frame camera that gets the most use by pros, semi-pros, and amateurs with deep pockets. For all intents and purposes, this is Nikon’s flagship camera going forward.

So what does a 2017 flagship camera look like in Nikon’s eyes? Well, this camera has just about everything you could want from a full-frame DSLR these days. It’s built around a hefty 45.7-megapixel CMOS sensor that’s back-side illuminated — a first for any of Nikon’s full-frame cameras. That should make the D850 handle low light situations pretty well despite the high megapixel count, which usually limits low light quality. And to wrangle those mega files, Nikon’s included its top-line Expeed 5 image processor.

Nikon’s also following a major trend in digital cameras by not including a low pass filter on the D850, which — combined with the high megapixel count — means the camera should be able to capture incredible detail.

And yet, Nikon’s not positioning the D850 as simply a great tool for stills and studio photographers. In fact, there’s a pretty good case to be made for the D850 in almost any shooting scenario judging from its specs. More bluntly: it doesn’t carry as many of the tradeoffs for that resolution that high-resolution DSLRs like Canon’s two-year-old 50-megapixel 5DS line asks of its users. It also outclasses (on paper, at least) Canon’s own “jack of all trades” full-frame camera, the year-old 5D Mark IV.

That all starts with the D850’s video capabilities — it shoots 4K UHD footage at 30 or 24 frames per second, and 1080p video at up to 120 fps. It can record uncompressed 4:2:2 8-bit 4K UHD footage to an external recorder over the HDMI port while recording locally to a card at the same time. There’s an 8K time-lapse video mode, too, which is double the resolution that’s typically found on DSLRs these days.

But the camera is also relatively fast on the stills side when you consider the size of the files it’s dealing with. It has the same robust 153-point (99 cross type) autofocus system used in the D5, and can shoot 7 frames per second at full, 45.7-megapixel resolution. (If you buy the $399 battery grip, that max speed bumps up to 9 fps.) That’s with a 51-image buffer for 14-bit lossless RAW files, or 170 images shooting at 12-bit.

There’s also a “silent shooting” option — something more commonly seen on mirrorless cameras, not DSLRs — that lets users shoot up to 6 fps at full resolution (or up to 30 fps at 8.6-megapixels). This is done through the camera’s Live View mode, where the mirror stays up out of the way, and so the limitation here is that the camera’s exposure and focus will be locked from the first frame forward. But in the right setting this could be a big help, and it helps (slightly) make up for one of the biggest current shortcomings of DSLRs when compared to mirrorless cameras.

The D850 has two memory card slots — one XQD and one SD — to help capture all that data, and the battery will last for about 1,800 shots (or 70 minutes of video). On the back is a fairly standard 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen, which is surrounded by those illuminated buttons that leaked a few weeks ago. It has a big viewfinder with 0.75x magnification, the highest ever in a Nikon DSLR, according to the company. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Snapbridge (the company’s solution for maintaining a constant connection to your smartphone) are all included as well.

I spent mere minutes with the D850, so I can’t speak to its performance in any meaningful way. But the viewfinder is immersive, the grip on the front is deeper than ever, and the body is sturdy even if it’s not very svelte. As for how it handles the outdoors, the D850 is basically the most weatherproof Nikon camera with the exception of the D5, which is in a league of its own, I was told.

The D850 looks like a mashup of the best things that Nikon is doing at both extremes of its DSLR lineup. It’s got most of the brains and brawn of pro-only cameras like the D5, but with much of the approachability and versatility you typically have to look for in the company’s entry-level and prosumer DSLRs. That “best of all worlds” approach obviously won’t come cheap, but don’t expect that to slow the D850 down. Barring unforeseen issues, this will be the camera that Nikon users will spend the next few years saving to buy, and the one that might cause Canon (or maybe even Sony) shooters to defect.


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School violence is not declining… so are you being lied too?

All indications are that school violence is down and everything is all hunky dory, not to mention that mass shootings are declining! Usually this is considered good news but it is not because you are being lied to by school administrators and those at the district level.

Being lied too? Why and for what reason? That is very simple to answer. As simple as why the government and pharmaceutical companies don’t release any disease cures that work elsewhere in the world that utilize natural remedies.


If schools state that they have more violent incidents and that bullying and drug use is rising precipitously among its students then what happens? The school comes under scrutiny and is examined in-depth by…everyone. From the school district to the community at large. The main question asked? Why is this school so bad and why are the others so much better?

The end result being is that their budget gets cut for physical activity, arts, other items and

The administration gets fired and someone new comes in. The new person told in secrecy; conform to what we (the district) want and you’ll keep the job. That secret you ask? Under report the violent incidents…fist fights and drug use are not reasons for suspensions or expulsions. And if a firearm is reported but nothing found…don’t officially report it. Think I’m lying and being a conspiracist? It is happening all over the country.

Usually it comes from the worst schools in the country, Baltimore, New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Should I really even have to mention that these are some of the cities with the highest violent crime rates in the country and gang related activities?

Check out google for the reports of school violence and some of the news reports I get on a daily basis. If you are truly concerned about our kids, you will see the trends that I have seen for the past decade or so. The news media, both local and national, won’t report on these things either. They get a few seconds of mention on a newscast and that’s it…if at all.

So who is to blame for the under reporting of incidents in our schools? It should be obvious to anyone. Who keeps the records and turns them into the state or to the media for review? The administration and district. Arizona passed a law last year requiring standardized reporting procedures for all schools which is a step in the right direction.

Many schools and districts can usually make their own determination of what is and isn’t a violent incident or a case of verbal assault. That definitely skews the numbers towards favorable ones for the school and district. Is a fist fight a violent incident? To some schools no it isn’t.

Are verbal threats and assaults against students and teachers an actual assault? Most schools don’t consider this as such. But in normal workplace violence scenarios and security professionals it is. We have security officers in most schools anymore but they aren’t allowed to do their jobs properly.

Why? Because little Timmy or Joanie’s mom will get upset and sue the school for being overly harsh to her lil angel. It gets worse with the proliferation of phones and cameras allowed on campuses as well. Because generally, only part of the incident is filmed…not what precipitated it. That is a problem when only part of the story is told. An example?

While this didn’t occur in a school it illustrates the point clearly: A 22-year-old man was caught for jay-walking in Mesa, aZ. in the early part of July 2017. A passerby started filming the incident. All it showed was 2 cops beating the hell out of the poor black kid.

The truth? This sweet innocent black kid had a tap sheet filled with assault, drug offenses, and assaulting police officers. As he ran away he dumped a bag with a few ounces of pot in it. What happened? After a protest by an Al Sharpton protégé fizzled…nothing further was heard about the brutality of the police and the poor lil angel pleaded guilty.

If you pay attention to what the news says and doesn’t say about school violence, then you will begin to get a clearer picture of what is actually happening. If your kids come home and tell you something happened at school and it doesn’t make the news are you going to dismiss it as exaggeration by your child?

If you do those things you are perfectly accepting the lies being told to you by the schools and districts. In that case you can’t blame anyone except yourself and the schools if a drastic violent incident pops up at your child’s school and someone develops mental trauma or worse fatally injured.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page,, or twitter@robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear


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School Violence Prevention – Training-Part 5


                We’ve explored several aspects of school violence prevention in the last several posts. Now for the last part of the series, which would potentially be the biggest prevention method you can utilize. Training. Along with the recognition of the warning signs attitudes and physical security, training may be the most important part of preventing violence in our schools. And trust me it’s not as easy as you may think to do this.

                Parents & administrators are readily willing to learn about active shootings and the idea of blaming others for the problem. But when it comes to blaming themselves, well … it’s not that easy to convince them about their need to train. So… a brief synopsis of what needs to be trained on, who needs to be trained in it, and how you need to train them is listed here;


What needs to be taught:

  1. Warning signs – and this means not to allow them to poo-poo the idea of what the warning signs mean, the idiotic phrase “Not my lil angel”, and how to approach them.
  2. . The attitudes that can cause disenfranchisement, within the school from parents and administrators– part 2 of this series
  3. . Communication between teachers, administration, parents, & students. This is one area that absolutely has to be done. Communication is an absolute must for everyone concerned. From teachers, administrators, parents, & the children themselves (age appropriate of course).
  4. . Understand that there is no such thing as plausible deniability. Everyone needs to understand this and use #3. And going along with this is stop blaming everyone else for what your kids do. You’re the parent. Of course there is plenty of blame to go around but stop blaming others until it can be seen objectively.
  5. . Zero tolerance doesn’t work. Zero tolerance policies are a simple way to avoid responsibility and not think about the potential incident. A way to dispense with the problem that may not be clear and concise. I don’t like excuses and that includes “It gives us time to think and evaluate”. What about the old days when you had to think on your feet?

In Arizona a recent report surveyed that minority children were more easily suspended or expelled for minor offenses than whites or Asians. Most of those suspensions and expulsions were based on zero tolerance policies. Wanna keep using it?

  1. . Security measures that isn’t secret. Do they need to know everything? No, but they need to be assured that the school is safe… without being lied to or misled.
  2. . Disaster/active shooter plan outlines – the same goes here as for #6. Just run over it quickly for parents. For school staff obviously it needs to be in depth.


Who needs to be trained & How?

  1. EVERYONE needs to be trained. From students (kindergarten to seniors, up to and including college seniors), parents, teachers, support staff, & administration, keeping it age appropriate. The importance of the training absolutely must be understood and not dismissed as not vital or unimportant.
  2. . Classroom style in a comfortable way. Serve coffee or water. Don’t let it be a sales bitch session atmosphere
  3. . If questions aren’t forthcoming, then use the Socratic Method, ask them questions and make them think about it. Make them train themselves.
  4. . Utilize the KISS Method as well. It’s not politically correct to say but Keep It Simple Stupid.
  5. . Use handouts as reference materials so they can retain what you talked about. Again though, ensure that only the material they should have gets handed out.
  6. Use disaster & active shooter drills within the school but do so sparingly. Once a year is good enough. Table top exercises should also be employed for staff, at least every other year.
  7. . Ensure that a full evaluation of your drills, training, & all other reference materials is documented, analyzed, researched, & acted on. It does no good to have a plan if it never gets updated. Remember the cliché’ by Mike Tyson “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”

So, how do we protect our kids while they’re at school? Keep in mind that no matter what we do, a child can always be killed at school due to another student. Even turning our schools into armed camps wouldn’t stop it all. Even pencils, staplers, and  other such common materials can be used as deadly weapons.

Being realistic, the only thing we can do to prevent our kids from being assaulted or killed at school is know the warning signs, attitudes, physical security, & training. Above that it is nearly impossible to protect them at every single moment of the day without keeping them at home and wrapping them in bubble wrap. Although I do know that I want to protect my kids even now, and they’re in their 20s & 30s. It never stops.

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page,, or twitter@robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear


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Daily Caller, Fox News Delete Video Celebrating “Liberal Protesters” Getting “Pushed Out of the Way by Cars”

A controversial January article from Daily Caller, which was picked up by Fox News, has been quietly scrubbed from both outlets’ websites.

DD Images /

On 27 January 2017, the Daily Caller’s then-video editor Matt Raust penned a short piece (“Here’s A Reel Of Cars Plowing Through Protesters Trying To Block The Road”) that featured a compilation video of cars that, as the headline promised, were shown pushing their way through crowds of protesters. On 29 January 2017, Fox News ran the same story, which stated in its entirety:

Here’s a compilation of liberal protesters getting pushed out of the way by cars and trucks. Study the technique; it may prove useful in the next four years.

The posts, which had already been shared widely when it was first published, resurfaced after the death of Heather Heyer — who was killed while protesting a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on 12 August 2017, when a white nationalist reportedly intentionally rammed his car into a large group of counterprotesters. As a result, these article generated widespread anger online before they were deleted without any notice or explanation by 16 August 2017.

In a statement to CNN Money, Noah Kotch, the editor-in-chief of Fox News Digital, said:

The item was inappropriate and we’ve taken it down. We regret posting it in January.

The Daily Caller’s editor-in-chief declined to comment to CNN. We reached out to multiple people at the Daily Caller for an explanation on the video’s removal, but received no reply.

On 14 August 2017, we reported that Daily Caller had, similarly, scrubbed any evidence of the fact that Jason Kessler, one of the organizers of the “Unite the Right” white nationalist protest, ever wrote articles for them. In fact, he used Daily Caller to promote the event without disclosing he was one of the organizers.

This is, as well, not the first time that Daily Caller or their editorial staff have joked about running protesters over with cars. In a now deleted 10 March 2017 tweet, Daily Caller editor Kate Frates mused:

I wonder how many #NativeNationsRise #NoDAPL protesters I could run over before I got arrested #getouttamyway

She was referring to a First Nations protest over the Dakota Access Pipeline that impeded her commute to the office that day.


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Baseball Needs to Do More About Sexual Violence


Jeurys Familia is one of four players suspended under the new domestic violence policy. (via Arturo Pardavila III)

Recently, Pablo Sandoval was designated by the Boston Red Sox for assignment, only to return to his first team, the San Francisco Giants, on a minor league deal. For some Giants fans, myself included, the homecoming was not particularly welcome, and it wasn’t just because of his rapidly eroding skill set.In 2012, it became public that Sandoval had been accused of committing sexual assault. Though the sheriff of Santa Cruz (Calif.) County determined that Sandoval “did not sexually assault” the accuser, and no charges were filed, the incident left a bad taste in the mouths of several fans, some of whom are sexual assault survivors.

When Sandoval re-signed with the Giants, the story again made its rounds on social media, and it became increasingly evident that the incident was far more significant than it originally seemed. For many, this was the first time hearing about the accusations. But for those who knew his history — and more specifically baseball’s history — his continued presence in baseball comes as no surprise, his name joining a long list of other such players. This shock and resignation, though,  point to mechanisms in baseball that allow its players to commit violent crimes against women without facing many repercussions.

Sandoval’s sexual assault allegation is not the only one in recent baseball history. Pitcher Josh Lueke was arrested on rape charges when he was a Texas Rangers minor leaguer in Bakersfield, Calif. Lueke would go on to plead no contest to a lesser charge: false imprisonment with violence.

In 2013, two minor leaguers in the Rockies organization were charged with sexual assault. Pitchers Michael Mason and Jesse Meaux were then placed on the restricted list following the charges, but the charges were dropped in 2015. They have not pitched professionally since the arrest.

In 1992, Dwight GoodenDaryl Boston and Vince Coleman of the New York Mets had allegations of sexual assault brought against them, but a Florida state prosecutor dismissed the case “because the case lacks corroborating evidence and comes down ‘to the word of a victim against that of three individuals’” — the three Mets players.

Mel Hall, who played major league baseball from 1981 to 1996, is currently serving 45 years in a Texas prison for sexually assaulting minorsA longform piece by SB Nationdetailed the allegations that Hall preyed upon female minors during his career.

Chad Curtis, who played in the majors from 1992-2001, is currently serving seven to 15 years in Michigan on counts of sexual misconduct.

Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett was charged with false imprisonment, fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, and fifth-degree assault in 2002. He was found not guilty on all charges. After the acquittal, Minnesota Public Radio reported that “the Twins issued a statement after the verdict saying they were glad the matter was closed.”

In 2016, Jung Ho Kang of the Pittsburgh Pirates was investigated for sexual assault. In September of 2016, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the investigation was still ongoing, though police were unable to contact the accuser. As of publication, Kang is on the restricted list while serving a suspended sentence in South Korea for his third DUI. He is seeking visa help from the MLB Players Association to return to the Pirates. The Post-Gazettealso reported that the sexual assault investigation has not been closed.

More recently, multiple Texas Rangers minor leaguers were charged with sexually assaulting a teammate as part of hazing. There has been no update on this case since it was reported that those charged could not leave the Dominican Republic.

In amateur baseball, prior to the College World Series and June 2017 MLB Amateur Draft, Oregon State University’s Luke Heimlich’s status as a registered sex offender was reported by The Oregonian. As a result, Heimlich went undrafted, but he is not precluded from signing with a team at a later date.

These are but a sampling of the cases we know about publicly, and keep in mind that many more have gone and will go unreported, as is the case outside baseball and/or sports. These players are not aberrations, nor are they a few rotten eggs. It’s easy and tempting to dismiss them as such, but doing so dismisses the problem of toxic masculinity in baseball.

Though the specific details of each of the above cases are different, they all feature the same pattern, from the accusations themselves to the responses to both the accused and victim. In these cases, much of the focus from stories in the media and people surrounding them rests on the accused and paints them as victims who have had their lives ruined by these allegations.

Asheville defense attorney Steve Lindsay, who represented former Rockies minor leaguer Mason, was quoted saying the following after the charges were dropped: “This is a guy whose dream was to play professional baseball, and he has probably lost his baseball career forever.”

Lueke called his conviction of false imprisonment with violence “a freak accident kind of thing.” The article headline also says that Lueke was “moving forward,” as though being convicted of a violent crime was something to power through.

And yet, in each instance, there was no mention of how the survivor’s life could’ve been, and most likely was, ruined, thus leading to the allegations. Telling the story only through the eyes of the famous person is an unproductive and unhealthy pattern.

This tendency to side with the aggressors is, viewing it from the other end, a tendency to blame the victims. Specifically, when the defendant is rich or poised to become a celebrity, as is often the case with professional or college athletes, people accuse the victims of making up allegations for the money. But this is extremely rare. In fact, women who accuse men of domestic violence or sexual assault often face harsh consequences in their personal and professional lives. A study by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center says the following:

A review of research finds that the prevalence of false reporting is between 2 percent and 10 percent. The following studies support these findings:

  • A multi-site study of eight U.S. communities including 2,059 cases of sexual assault found a 7.1 percent rate of false reports (Lonsway, Archambault, & Lisak, 2009).
  • A study of 136 sexual assault cases in Boston from 1998-2007 found a 5.9 percent rate of false reports (Lisak et al., 2010).
  • Using qualitative and quantitative analysis, researchers studied 812 reports of sexual assault from 2000-2003 and found a 2.1 percent rate of false reports (Heenan & Murray 2006).

The study also details how the definitions for false allegations are often inconsistent, and things like delayed reporting or vagueness in details can lead to a report being labeled as false, suggesting that the true number of false reports may be even lower.

Either way, this study (along with the studies it aggregates to show its findings) shows that cases of accusers creating false allegations just for fame, victimhood, money, etc., are very, very slim.

Yet victim-blaming persists in sports, stemming from fans to media members to the athletes themselves. The book Masculinities in Contemporary American Culture: An Intersectional Approach to the Complexities and Challenges of Male Identity reminds of an infamous victim-blaming moment, when Stephen A. Smith warned women not to “provoke wrong action” in the wake of the TMZ release of the notorious Ray Rice video.

Sentiments regarding rape culture have changed very little in the last 20 years, as the 1994 book Sex, Violence, and Power in Sports: Rethinking Masculinity demonstrates. In the introduction to its second part, entitled “Sexuality and Power,” authors Michael A. Messner and Donald F. Sabo speak to the phenomenon of violence against women in sports. They wrote:

Until fairly recently, rapes by athletes were treated as deviant acts by a few sick individuals. But news reporters and the public are now beginning to ask if incidents like [Mike] Tyson’s rape or the Spur Posse’s competitive promiscuity are not isolated at all, but rather manifestations of a larger pattern of sexual abuse of women by male athletes. Though no definitive national study has yet been conducted, a growing body of evidence strongly suggests that, at least among college students, male athletes are more likely than male nonathletes to rape acquaintances and to take part in gang rapes. Consider the following:

  • Athletes participated in approximately one-third of 862 sexual assaults on United States campuses according to a 1988-1991 survey by the National Institute of Mental Health (Melnick, 1992).
  • Of twenty-six gang rapes alleged to have occurred from 1980 to 1990, most involved fraternity brothers and varsity athletes, Chris O’Sullivan, a Bucknell University psychologist discovered (Guernsey, 1993).
  • Among 530 college students, including 140 varsity athletes, the athletes had higher levels of sexual aggression toward women than the nonathletes, Mary Koss and John Gaines (1993) found. Koss and Gaines concluded that campus rape-prevention programs should especially target athletic teams.

Compelling as this evidence is, we want to emphasize two points. First, nothing inherent in men leads them to rape women. […] Second, nothing inherent in sports makes athletes especially likely to rape women. Rather, it is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape.

The final sentence of that passage, saying that “it is the way sports are organized to influence developing masculine identities and male peer groups that leads many male athletes to rape,” implies that the structure of sports itself leads to the influence of young boys. Because children are impressionable, the sports they are signed up for as children creates an influence in their attitudes in life. A competitive nature begins and, while healthy competitiveness is good, competitions in other facets of life begin.

As Sabo writes in Sex, violence & power in sports: rethinking masculinity:

Organized sports provide a social setting in which gender (i.e., masculinity and femininity) learning melds sexual learning. Our sense of “femaleness” or “maleness” influences the way we see ourselves as sexual beings. Indeed, as we develop, sexual identity emerges as an extension of an already formed gender identity, and sexual behavior tends to conform to cultural norms. To be manly in sports, traditionally, means to be competitive, successful, dominating, aggressive, stoical, goal-directed, and physically strong. Many athletes accept this definition of masculinity and apply it in their relationships with women. Dating becomes a sport in itself, and “scoring,” or having sex with little or no emotional involvement, is a mark of masculine achievement. Sexual relationships are games in which women are seen as opponents, and his scoring means her defeat. Too often, women are pawns in men’s quests for status within the male pecking order. For many of us jocks, sexual relationships are about man as a hunter and women as prey.

In other words, a woman’s emotional and physical well-being is no longer considered at this point, and this type of dehumanizing behavior can empower male athletes to perpetuate a cycle of dehumanizing women. This behavior is not an inherent part of human nature, but rather a learned characteristic because of toxic masculinity disguised as team camaraderie.

The idea of dehumanizing women is not just limited to a male athlete considering women as his prey, but should also include fans of the sport—often whom have concerns about the sport they love.

A friend of mine, Christine Hopkins, who is a writer from Des Moines and a Giants fan, says she didn’t know about Sandoval’s sexual assault allegations until he signed the minor league deal with San Francisco last month. However, upon learning this fact, Hopkins had many thoughts about it.

“It immediately deeply troubles me to learn that because I’m a Giants fan,” Hopkins says in an email. “And not in an ‘ugh, my team’s gonna face the wrath of the horrible feminists’ or whatever trash people say when it comes to speaking up about allegations like this, but that it happened while he was a member of the team (or came out then? either way) and I didn’t hear about it, whether it was widely reported [by the media] and I just missed it, or whether it wasn’t widely reported and should have been.”

Hopkins says she has no problem abandoning fandom for a player, a team, coaching staff, front office, so forth when allegations such as sexual assault aren’t dealt with properly.

“While that might seem like an extreme reaction to some, I think it’s more extreme to purposely ignore it (because you love the team), or worse, acknowledge it and dismiss it at the same time,” Hopkins continues. “Because that speaks to a much larger problem that goes beyond sports, that people who report DV/sexual assault aren’t taken seriously. But at the same time it’s also a very sports-centered issue, because athletes who commit these offenses are very much able to get away with it, at the very least in the eyes of their fans.”

Women have been excluded from baseball, and many other sports, since the beginning, thus causing a greater rift in power structures between men and women. In addition, a woman’s concerns regarding baseball are often cast aside because it is not taken seriously. At BP Wrigleyville, Mary Craig writes, “For much of its early history, baseball was viewed as a sport belonging to the hard-nosed working class, a sport wholly unfit for women.” Albert Spalding, wrote the following in America’s National Game back in 1911:

Neither our wives, our sisters, our daughters nor our sweethearts, may play Base Ball on the field. […] Base Ball is too strenuous for womankind, except as she may take part in grandstand, with applause for the brilliant play, with waving kerchief to the hero of the three-bagger.”

The idea of gender roles and a women’s place heavily dictated how a woman should be a spectator for baseball, and for over a century there has been very little wiggle room in women’s exclusion. As a result, the power dynamic for men and baseball grew extreme, manifesting the idea of maleness and toughness. This also includes having the power to fly under the radar when accusations come out, just as Sandoval did.

Sweeping the problem under the rug only leads to more violent crimes happening, because it becomes accepted within the culture and the norm of baseball. Complacency leads to continued behavior in this instance. The fact that allegations have been coming for years means that it’s not a problem that has been eradicated.

To their credit, in August 2015, Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association agreed on the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy. The policy has led to stricter suspensions, especially in instances of domestic violence. Four players have been suspended for domestic violence incidents — Aroldis ChapmanJose ReyesJeurys Familia and Hector Olivera, who received the longest suspension, 82 games. But this agreement leaves much to be desired. Players caught using performance-enhancing drugs still face much longer suspensions, from 80 games to full seasons. And there are still other players, like Kang, who slip through the cracks, going unpunished. The fact that a positive PED test gets one suspended longer on average than breaking the Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy shows that while MLB has made progress, there is still room to better align their priorities.

Character concerns for off-field incidents end up being viewed as less consequential in comparison to things that impact on-field performance, that athletes try to “move on” from the alleged incident. This line of thinking can lead many to argue that violence against women should be left to the courts, ignoring the impact it has on its fans. As a fan and a survivor of sexual assault, I feel as though the biggest concern teams have regarding players is their ability to play baseball. I can only speak for myself, but I was maddened to know that a team, especially one I spent many years rooting for, could easily dismiss allegations as they did when the allegations about Sandoval first surfaced. It doesn’t seem fair to many people that they get a redemption narrative while victims and survivors have to live with the consequences of their bravery for speaking out (i.e., being branded as the person to blame for the allegations). This line of thinking also harkens back to Spalding’s message about a woman’s place in baseball — that they aren’t important, while also telling young, impressionable male fans that domestic violence is okay.

By ignoring a woman’s concerns—or anyone’s concerns, really—regarding a ballplayer whose past contains sexual assault allegations, the power that men have to dictate what is important becomes extreme.

To be clear, I am not advocating a zero tolerance policy, because that is psychologically and sociologically not the best answer to violence against women, as referenced in a USA Todayarticle regarding Reyes and domestic violence. The full quote reads:

Counter-intuitively, we don’t want sports leagues to have a zero tolerance policy. And the reason for that is if we would say that the first time your partner calls 911 your career is over, her risk of homicide shoots through the roof. Because he has nothing to lose and everything to lose at the same time. We’ve actually been advising the sports league to take a very swift, very robust approach but not to say that first-time and you’re out of it, your career is over because the pressure then on the victim not to call for help is massive. And we want them to be able to call 911. We need them to reach out for help.”

Thus, banning those who commit violent acts toward women and children isn’t the answer for MLB.

However, more certainly can be done. It cannot be left unsaid, nor should MLB just wait for players to reach out. The Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Child Abuse Policy states, “All players will be provided education about domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse in both English and Spanish at regular intervals.” This is a good step, but by the time players have reached the majors, habits have been formed, norms have been established. We need to start younger. It is not about teaching women (and transgender/gender nonconforming folks) how to resist. We need to teach young boys at a young age not to commit violent acts and why it’s wrong.

The are many avenues where Major League Baseball can step in and offer more education. Perhaps in at the  Little League, Pony League and Babe Ruth League levels, MLB could sponsor education about unhealthy competition and how to treat people with respect, along with teaching how unhealthy competition and lack of respect for people could lead to committing violent acts. Or  ballplayers could be required to complete instruction regarding violence against women and be warned every time someone is heard perpetuating the notion that violence against women is okay.

Growing tools for such an education are also important. To that end, I have created a database to track reported domestic incidents among professional and college ballplayers, one that I hope to fill in over time. It is a crowdsourced database, so feel free to add to it. Having this database will provide a helpful reminder that these incidents do not happen in a vacuum, and that they are not isolated.

Education is but one tool. Another, more powerful tool, is branding. MLB and other pro sports leagues are adept at building awareness for causes they trumpet, be it about cancer, military appreciation, or youth participation in sports. MLB has a Community websitededicated to the causes it supports. It would be fantastic if MLB could organize a campaign to talk about domestic violence, one involving players, and encourage teams to give a portion of their gate receipts on a specific day or days of the season to women’s shelters. Talking about domestic violence, bringing it more into the light, will help people better understand the sort of trauma victims go through, not just in the immediate aftermath of domestic violence, but for their entire lives.

No matter the solution, it is important to teach male athletes that women are human beings, worthy of the same respect and possessing the same rights as them. They must learn that women exist in their own right and are entitled to the same areas of society as men. Violence against women (and non-binary individuals) occurs largely due to a manufactured, perpetuated power dynamic, and so promoting equality is essential to reducing the culture of violence present in—and constructed by—society.

This is not about asking for a safe space. This is about reducing the number of potential traumatic events that can ruin a survivor’s life. This is about boys and men being better. Because they can be better if they try.

As a fellow writer once said about Lueke, “Apologies to those for whom these Josh Lueke tweets interfere with their enjoyment of a game, but the threat of sexual assault interferes with how a vast majority of women enjoy life.”

References & Resources


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School Violence Prevention – Physical Security-Part 4

This is an extremely difficult subject to try and cover in just a few hundred words. There are literally, thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of books, not to mention articles & white papers, on securing an educational institution. And all of them have their good and bad points. Some are out dated and won’t work today, even for someone who likes old school ideas better. Others are a little further out in the cosmos than my thinking.

However, I’m going to attempt to boil it down into these few words with the most practical, effective, & efficient (both financially and time wise) for you. Most school districts aren’t flush with money, which was promised by lottery sales but then… But these won’t cost that many financial resources to put together.


  • The first point I want to make is that parents need to be involved with security for the school. They don’t need to know everything of course, but if they are a concerned parent then let them ask the necessary questions. As with all good security, you don’t need to disclose everything.

Should you be concerned with the questions about your security plans and other security related items? Of course, but if they are a concerned parent or happen to be a security professional, then you can ask for and get their input from a differing point of view. Even if the district has a security manager, what would it hurt to get a different perspective of the security plans?


  • Don’t lie to the parents or the press.

In the Phoenix area, I approached a district several years ago. I was told, extremely succinctly, that they had “absolutely no security issues or students who would do something like that”. The next week a 14-year-old was arrested for filling a backpack with weapons to solve a problem.


  • All doors should be locked at all times that school is in session.

With the allowance that ‘crash bars’ on the doors for emergency exit. AND NEVER allow them to be propped open by anyone for any reason. There are innumerable kinds of alarms and locking mechanisms for classroom doors that are inexpensive to install and use.


  • Ensure that the windows in the doors aren’t wide enough for a hand to reach in and unlock the door.

These sidelights are standard installation in nearly all new construction to make them friendly and inviting. The only failure in security at the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in 2012 was exactly this.


  • Access control.

Everyone who enters the school needs to be required to get a visitors pass. Ideally, the entrance to the school can be redesigned so that everyone has to go through the main office. This procedure would even include delivery people for the kitchen, visitors, other deliveries, salesmen, and etc.

Another aspect of this is to attempt to funnel all the kids through one door when school is ready to start. This may not be very feasible with many older buildings. In that instance a teacher needs to be present at every entry point before being locked.


  • CCTV systems.

Never go for a cheap system that is available at discount retailers. They are efficient; however they are also not effective in identifying intruders after hours. A high quality system is a must. And the extra cost may help to catch a hooligan or spot an

Active shooter before anyone gets hurt.

Necessarily your CCVS system needs to be monitored and recorded 24/7/365. A monitor over the receptionist desk or something similar may be acceptable in certain circumstances.


  • Lock up all hazardous materials.

This may sound elementary, but you may be surprised at the explosive proof cabinets that are left unlocked, open, & with unsecured deadly chemicals


  • Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP).

This is an absolute must, and not just for a potential active shooter situation. You must also include if you want the kids to run, hide, fight or evacuate the building. The key with a DRP is that everyone in charge, from teachers, janitors, & everyone who works inside, to know the plan so they can be effective if something would happen.


  • Get rid of those ridiculous zero tolerance policies.

They are a simple excuse for people not to do their jobs when the issue crops up. Too many times a kid bites his pop tart into a firearm and plays cops & robbers or army. Then they get expelled and ruin their academic career with a black mark that was stupid and foolish for administration to enforce.


Are these all the measures you can take? Not by a long shot, but it’s a start. We can always install 10 foot brick walls with concertina wire, guard towers, double vehicle and pedestrian gates. Hand wand and pat down everyone entering the campus and install GPS in every students backpack or arm.

Will that make them safer from a murderer? Yes, as long as the murderer comes in from outside, but what of the butter knife in the cafeteria or the hammer in shop class? And do we want our children trying to learn in an armed camp? Probably not. So what’s the solution? Training, training, training. Training for everyone from resource officers to teachers to parents to the cafeteria. Good physical security measures that are not too intrusive and most importantly knowing our kids.

(Note: this is the 4th of 5 posts on school violence prevention. The last post will focus on training)

Robert D. Sollars assists businesses and their employees to lessen their risk of WPV as well as other security/customer service related issues. You can follow him on his Facebook page,, or twitter@robertsollars2.

I May be Blind but my Vision is Crystal Clear



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Kyra Sedgwick on being husband Kevin Bacon’s distant cousin: ‘Most white people are related’

Kyra Sedgwick and husband Kevin Bacon have been married for nearly 30 years, but they’re also distant cousins.

The two actors tied the knot in 1988 and share two adult children together.

“I figured I was going to be related to Kevin Bacon — I mean, most white people are related, ultimately,” said the 51-year-old at a panel during the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour Sunday, as reported by

The New York Daily News reported in 2012 that both Sedgwick and Bacon participated in the PBS show “Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr.” The couple then learned they were distantly related.

“I wasn’t surprised, honestly,” she added. “Frankly, I figured that was part of the reason that they wanted to do both of us. I had to act surprised.”

The series traces the genealogy of notable celebrities and public figures through DNA.

“I want… Americans (to) realize how united we are as people… There’s so much animosity… and one of the things that I want the series to do is to show that, deep down, we are all Americans,” Gates said at the time. “We’ve been sleeping together from the very beginning of the country.”


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What’s the best way to store these 5 common household items?

Coffee beans spilling out of a glass jar

You wouldn’t want to ruin the taste of your coffee by keeping it out in the open air, would you? (Photo: tka4ko/Shutterstock)

We’ve been on a road trip visiting family the last month, and it’s always interesting for me to see how people store the same items in different ways. Take coffee, for instance. At one house, it was on the counter. One family kept theirs in the freezer, and yet another family stored their coffee in the refrigerator. So who had it right?

1. Coffee. Some people insist that coffee stays freshest in the freezer, but experts say the best place is at room temperature in an airtight container away from light in your pantry. That’s because light and moisture can compromise taste. Storing it in the freezer can be OK if you buy in bulk and want to keep it fresh, but it’s better to package it in smaller portions and only defrost what you’re ready to use.

A close-up of batteries on their sideBatteries are happiest if they stay in their packaging. (Photo: mariva2017/Shutterstock)

2. Batteries. Again, contrary to popular belief, the best way to store batteries is not in the freezer. Extreme temperatures can harm battery performance, especially if the cold temperatures cause condensation to occur around the battery, making components rust and corrode. According to Duracell, it’s better to store batteries at room temperature, preferably in their original packaging. And keep like charges away from each other, lest they start conducting electricity, which could lead to a fire.

Glass jar of flour with a wooden spoonTo keep flour fresh, a glass container with a good seal is the way to go. (Photo: threerocksimages/Shutterstock)

3. Flour. Some people bring their flour home from the store in the paper bag, take out what they need for the recipe, and leave the bag half open in their pantry. It’s a big no-no according to many experts. “The best way to store flour is ideally in glass containers that have a rubber suction attached to the lid,” explains Sam Adler, pastry chef and food blogger at Frosting and Fettuccine. “It keeps the product fresh the longest by keeping air and bugs out.”

What about putting it in a plastic container? “Generally plastic or cardboard is not a good idea, especially with flour, because bugs like weevils (grain-loving bugs) can and will get through it,” Adler elaborates. “If someone really prefers plastic, I like the OXO Pop containers. They have a push top with a suction lid which makes it easy to open and close and they come in a bunch of sizes. I store my sugar, flour and coffee in glass containers in my pantry, and salt in a small marble container on the counter next to my oven for easy access when cooking.”

Bottles of water with blue capsBottles of water like a well-controlled environment. (Photo: ericlefrancais/Shutterstock)

4. Bottled water. A lot of people store their extra bottled water in the garage, but this may not be the best idea. Even though bottled water is closed and sealed, the International Bottled Water Association says plastic water bottles are slightly permeable and can take on the odor of things nearby, such as paints, chemicals and solvents. Additionally, extreme heat can lead to mold and algae growth, and can cause the plastic to leach more chemicals into the water. Best to store it in your house where the temperature is climate controlled.

Bread spilling out of a bread boxUnless you’re going to eat it immediately, that bread is best placed in the freezer. (Photo: Jfanchin/Shutterstock)

5. Bread. A lot of people buy fresh bread at the supermarket and store it on the counter, in a basket or in a bread bin. However, if you’re not going to use it in a couple days, it’s a good idea to store your bread sealed in the freezer. Then, when you need a piece or two, pop it out, stick it in the toaster oven and it’ll taste fresh. I use this trick when making my kids’ lunches. I take out two slices of frozen bread in the morning, slather on some cream cheese (which is easier to spread on frozen than thawed bread) and it defrosts in time for lunch.

Have any other storage tips for common household items? Are things different in your neck of the woods?


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Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report


WASHINGTON — The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.

The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.

“Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,” a draft of the report states. A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.

The authors note that thousands of studies, conducted by tens of thousands of scientists, have documented climate changes on land and in the air. “Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change,” they wrote.

The report was completed this year and is a special science section of the National Climate Assessment, which is congressionally mandated every four years. The National Academy of Sciences has signed off on the draft report, and the authors are awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.

One government scientist who worked on the report, Katharine Hayhoe, a professor of political science at Texas Tech University, called the conclusions among “the most comprehensive climate science reports” to be published. Another scientist involved in the process, who spoke to The New York Times on the condition of anonymity, said he and others were concerned that it would be suppressed.

Document | Read the Draft of the Climate Change Report A draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public but was obtained by The New York Times, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now.

The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency did not immediately return calls or respond to emails requesting comment on Monday night.

The report concludes that even if humans immediately stopped emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the world would still feel at least an additional 0.50 degrees Fahrenheit (0.30 degrees Celsius) of warming over this century compared with today. The projected actual rise, scientists say, will be as much as 2 degrees Celsius.

A small difference in global temperatures can make a big difference in the climate: The difference between a rise in global temperatures of 1.5 degrees Celsius and one of 2 degrees Celsius, for example, could mean longer heat waves, more intense rainstorms and the faster disintegration of coral reefs.

Among the more significant of the study’s findings is that it is possible to attribute some extreme weather to climate change. The field known as “attribution science” has advanced rapidly in response to increasing risks from climate change.

The E.P.A. is one of 13 agencies that must approve the report by Aug. 18. The agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming.

“It’s a fraught situation,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geoscience and international affairs at Princeton University who was not involved in the study. “This is the first case in which an analysis of climate change of this scope has come up in the Trump administration, and scientists will be watching very carefully to see how they handle it.”

Scientists say they fear that the Trump administration could change or suppress the report. But those who challenge scientific data on human-caused climate change say they are equally worried that the draft report, as well as the larger National Climate Assessment, will be publicly released.

The National Climate Assessment “seems to be on autopilot” because of a lack of political direction, said Myron Ebell, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The report says significant advances have been made linking human influence to individual extreme weather events since the last National Climate Assessment was produced in 2014. Still, it notes, crucial uncertainties remain.

It cites the European heat wave of 2003 and the record heat in Australia in 2013 as specific episodes where “relatively strong evidence” showed that a man-made factor contributed to the extreme weather.

In the United States, the authors write, the heat wave that broiled Texas in 2011 was more complicated. That year was Texas’ driest on record, and one study cited in the report said local weather variability and La Niña were the primary causes, with a “relatively small” warming contribution. Another study had concluded that climate change made extreme events 20 times more likely in Texas.

Based on those and other conflicting studies, the federal draft concludes that there was a medium likelihood that climate change played a role in the Texas heat wave. But it avoids assessing other individual weather events for their link to climate change. Generally, the report described linking recent major droughts in the United States to human activity as “complicated,” saying that while many droughts have been long and severe, they have not been unprecedented in the earth’s hydrologic natural variation.

Worldwide, the draft report finds it “extremely likely” that more than half of the global mean temperature increase since 1951 can be linked to human influence.

In the United States, the report concludes with “very high” confidence that the number and severity of cool nights have decreased since the 1960s, while the frequency and severity of warm days have increased. Extreme cold waves, it says, are less common since the 1980s, while extreme heat waves are more common.

Graphic | How Americans Think About Climate Change, in Six Maps Americans overwhelmingly believe that global warming is happening, and that carbon emissions should be scaled back. But fewer are sure that it will harm them personally.

The study examines every corner of the United States and finds that all of it was touched by climate change. The average annual temperature in the United States will continue to rise, the authors write, making recent record-setting years “relatively common” in the near future. It projects increases of 5.0 to 7.5 degrees Fahrenheit (2.8 to 4.8 degrees Celsius) by the late century, depending on the level of future emissions.

It says the average annual rainfall across the country has increased by about 4 percent since the beginning of the 20th century. Parts of the West, Southwest and Southeast are drying up, while the Southern Plains and the Midwest are getting wetter.

With a medium degree of confidence, the authors linked the contribution of human-caused warming to rising temperatures over the Western and Northern United States. It found no direct link in the Southeast.

Additionally, the government scientists wrote that surface, air and ground temperatures in Alaska and the Arctic are rising at a frighteningly fast rate — twice as fast as the global average.

“It is very likely that the accelerated rate of Arctic warming will have a significant consequence for the United States due to accelerating land and sea ice melting that is driving changes in the ocean including sea level rise threatening our coastal communities,” the report says.

Human activity, the report goes on to say, is a primary culprit.

The study does not make policy recommendations, but it notes that stabilizing the global mean temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius — what scientists have referred to as the guardrail beyond which changes become catastrophic — will require significant reductions in global levels of carbon dioxide.

Nearly 200 nations agreed as part of the Paris accords to limit or cut fossil fuel emissions. If countries make good on those promises, the federal report says, that will be a key step toward keeping global warming at manageable levels.

Mr. Trump announced this year that the United States would withdraw from the Paris agreement, saying the deal was bad for America.


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