About the Author
Howdy Folks, I'm a disabled individual suffering from Chronic Pancreatitis. My friend Robert kindly has lent me this space to share my views, ideas, and beliefs about our day and society in general. I'm a Thomas Jefferson kind of liberty lover and often find myself on the other side of insanity. When I'm not into opinion writing and politics I'm knee deep in Geekdom; particularly, at least for now, Doctor Who. I hope that I can open your minds to alternative ideas, and instill in your hearts a love of liberty. You can check me out on my facebook page: or where I stream:

Siouxland Women’s U.S. House GOP Nominee Forum

Siouxland Women’s U.S. House GOP Nominee Forum

Hello Readers,

If you want to skim this article then here are the two big points to take away.

1. Neil Tapio and Shantel Krebs are incredibly similar in policy and agree on almost everything policy-wise that was asked this evening. Some crucial differences on the War on Terror and how a Congressperson can bring about change. But that is it.

2. Tapio is a very lovely man and an entirely legitimate candidate. He is so very much more reasonable, and main-stream in his politics than the peoples of the internet have labeled him. You don’t have to agree with him, but he isn’t a monster.

Here are the candidate responses to questions asked as I wrote them in my notes:

Introduce yourself:

Krebs: Turned the paperwork mess she inherited four years ago, and now it “runs at the speed of business” (I am aware how cheesy that sounds. It was repeated several times tonight)

Pro-President Trump, 4rth generation farm girl. Owned at least two businesses in Sioux Falls.

Wants to reform and make D.C. run things like a business

De-regulation in general. Wants to work on the Agriculture Committee in the House of Representatives.

South Dakota Values! Get Government out of the way of the people.


Tapio: Small business owner and an entrepreneur. Considers himself entirely politically incorrect.

$700 Billion deficit with a 21 trillion dollar debt. Congress out of control spending.

Wants to end the War on Terror (this is probably the most significant difference between the two)

He was the Trump South Dakota state director early on in the presidential campaign.

Not your typical politician and dramatically desires entitlement reform for things like social security spending for example.

Question: What to do with the overspending by Congress

Tapio: We have runaway spending on Social Programs.

The War on Terror is super expensive and is impossible to solve without addressing the Islamic terrorist problem behind it.

A significant problem with these social programs is that they do nothing to solve the breakdown of the family unit.

” We need to fight for Faith, Family, Freedom, and Free Enterprise.”


Krebs: She agrees with Tapio on much of what he just said, especially on the issue of government reform

As S.D. secretary of state, she uses 0 based budgeting, which is what all businesses have to use.

“Wipe the Budget clean every year.”

She wanted further reductions on the S.D. appropriations budget, and the S.D. legislature wouldn’t give it to her.(actually impressive)

She wants to support President Trump in Congress.

We need to de-regulate for farms and businesses, especially for starting small ones.

The story about how the businesses and farms she talks to can’t get lines of credit due to a bad law like Frank-Dodd.

Congress needs to have oversight over any proposed regulations from the executive bureaucracy.

Question: What about the Omnibus bill recently passed and the funding for Planned Parenthood

Krebs: The Omnibus bill is always the wrong approach

Our National Congress needs to reflect better S.D. state Congress which goes through legislation line by line.

Pay raise for the military in the omnibus bill was very good and well needed. But this is the wrong way to go about getting it.

We must ultimately Defund Planned Parenthood.


Tapio: What can we possibly accomplish going the Krebs way: line upon line

This position is only 1 out of 134 people. Therefore it is impossible to bring about real change following the system.

Commended Trump for his fighting and recognition of Islamic Terrorism.

We have to do the big things right. What are we still doing there? (in the middle east and Syria)

20 years later and we are still fighting in places like Iraq?

There is no bigger supporter of President Trump than Tapio.

The political system as is is incapable of solving these problems (omnibus, the war on terror, etc.)

To bring about real change we need people of courage to take this on.

Question: Support the wall or not? If so, how do we fund it?

Tapio: In favor of wall and Mexico should pay for it.

Send Mexico the bill for all the money we spend on its citizens (social programs, money sent out of the nation, etc.)

Wants to be a member of the Freedom Caucus


Krebs: In favor of the wall, secure borders, extreme vetting, and ending chain migration.

Cap government spending including capping the money spent by government agencies

She disagrees with Tapio on the 1 of 134 comments.

Question: What about the recent school shooting in Parkland Florida? What do you propose to keep schools safe?

Krebs: Lifetime Member of the NRA, story about shooting a rattlesnake four times with a shotgun (overkill, but still a funny story)

A strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, In favor of the school sentinel programs.
Wants to make such programs an option to school-boards if they wish to pursue it.

Having an armed police officer at each school is a good idea (included with the Sentinel comments btw)

Increase education for Mental Health Awareness,

The conversation in Congress for trying out Gun Control must stop:

Tapio: For the Parkland Shooting Evil Idiot (my term for him, won’t aggrandize him by using his real name) there were at least 40 run-ins with law enforcement before the shooting.

30 days prior he said on his Facebook page that he wanted to be a school shooter.

This isn’t a 2nd Amendment problem, but instead a failure by Law Enforcement.

President Obama pushed policy to reduce the number of minorities going to jail irrespective of actual criminal activity.

That policy creates more problems, Basically said you would have shootings with such a plan.

There used to be a STAR academy for people needing help.

Told story about church family friend who had a meth problem as a teenager. In short after begging Law enforcement to do something over and over again, eventually, they consented to take the kid and to get him some rehab and other help.

Fast Forward 6 months later, and the kid was put precisely into that same high school and environment that the kid used to live when he was doing drugs. Thus kids in that situation, of course, are more likely to return to bad behavior.

He wants to fight the Obama system.

Question: What do you think of the Trump Tariffs and the trade war (my term) with China.

Krebbs: I appreciate what President Trump is trying to do.

Trump is trying to deal with China and open new markets.

China continually steals our intellectual properties and provides no recourse to fix it.

The story about seeing a truck with a fake version of the Triple M logo, instead says triple N.

She is the only one with an agricultural background and has spent time in China opening up markets for South Dakota agricultural products.


Tapio: $300 billion trade deficit in the United States. A $500 billion dollar trade imbalance.

Agrees that China steals our I.P.s

China is a currency manipulator plus we have with them a great product to product imbalance.

Trump is treating this issue correctly but taking it head-on.

It’s a terrible situation right now economically, but it has to be done.

Trump is doing Bi-lateral negotiation. And that is also partly why he is pushing renegotiation NAFTA and China.

Question: Agriculture and the Farm Bill.

Tapio: He has lots of family in Agriculture, and continuously works with people in agriculture.

So he has a “strong pulse on the Agriculture Community.”

The commodity to dollar ratio is hurting businesses and agriculture.

He remembers when his businesses were hurt by as much as 65% due to this problem.

Dollar policy directly affects agriculture prices.

And there will always be a continual market for protein.


Krebs: 80% of the Farm Bill is Welfare Assistance, with only 20% addressing agriculture

Reform the Farm Bill

Require work requirements for SNAP and other welfare assistance

Food Security is Bio Security. So we need to have food security.

We need a farm safety net program in case of things like Hale or Drought.

It is impossible for beginning farmers to get loans.

We need a Foot and Mouth vaccination Program, (I”m assuming Cattle)

Question: Why are you running for Congress?

Krebs: Feels like the Federal Government is changing and she wants to be a part of that.

Yes, it is possible to change the federal government.

We need to run government like a business and “run government at the speed of business.”

Tapio: Krebs has done very well as our S.D. Secretary of State

To be a good leader and make the change you need to be able to face the heat

Need to be able to face the issue of Islamist Extremism, which is a civilization level issue.

He is not an Establishment candidate

Question Was attacking Syria a good idea? When and how do you know it is time to engage with military force?

Tapio: The nation-states in the Middle East aren’t naturally created states. They tend to be governed by a Shia.

Why should we help the Syrian rebels whose membership mostly came from terrorist organizations such as ISIS?

Once Bashar is gone who gets to replace him, and will they be any better?

He used to believe that nations and people naturally yearn for Democracy and Freedom.

There are some 1.2 billion Muslims, the issue of Syria should be solved by the Muslim nations.


Krebbs: President Trump used Swift action, and he kept his word regarding a Red Line in Syria.

She supports the Presidents effort in Syria and supports and trusts his choices on this.

Question from the crowd: Welfare Reform?

Krebbs: Welfare should include drug testing and work requirements.

There is a big recidivism issue at the heart of Welfare.

Past Administrations put in an incentive for welfare recipients to later return to welfare after they had gotten off it.

The goal should be to get people into jobs. Plus WorkForce Development

Social Security is a train wreck and needs some changes.

Allow states to manage block programs and encourage them to tie work requirements, etc.


Tapio: Social Security has been abused

Started at about 15 workers to 1 S.S recipient, now we are at less than 3 to 1.

Tells older folks that promises made should be promises kept.

He agrees on Welfare reform. Workforce requirements and encouraging people to work.

Crowd Question: What about ObamaCare?

Tapio: Good Health Care and Alternative ideas are impossible to get through the government.

Take that money and put it in the hands of the people.


Krebbs: Repeal and Replace ObamaCare

Health Care is a huge problem.

When talking to business owners in Sioux Falls, she found that very many of them don’t have health insurance for themselves because of the incredibly expensive cost to do so.

We should let the Free Market work instead of the Government is in charge of it.

We also need to incentivize Health Savings Accounts.

Last Thing you want to tell us?

Krebbs: Story about growing up and being taught to work hard and pray often.

Too few people in Congress have any idea or experience running a business or paying payroll.

In the end, she is what her parents made her: A Mom and Pop businesswoman and a Farm Girl


Tapio: Being a Representative is an overwhelming job. It requires someone to stand and fight.

He will be the same person now as he will be when he comes back to be re-elected.



I waited patiently and tried to get a better answer on the Trump Tariff issue; I just asked what she thought about tariffs in general?

Krebs gave me a real quick sound bite answer about supporting President Trump in his efforts, an obvious repeat talking point.

She came off to me from this sounding over-produced, and a tad slimy. Not willing to engage or answer questions with any honest thought. I know she isn’t trying to sound dishonest, just trying to keep to the safe script. So I recommend taking this how you may.

I should also point out that her speaking and presentation during the forum was excellent.

Tapio was completely different. He talked my ear off for 10 minutes about how what I call protectionist is good for the country, and he calls it supporting Americans. We need to solve this bad consumer trade economy where we are only the consumers and not producers.

He wanted to then talk about Islamic Extremism and Terrorism, asked even asked me about my thoughts on the issue. Though we disagree on several things, he was polite and gave me a great conversation. Best one I had that night.

Also, though Tapio is always depicted screaming, he is a very soft-spoken man. There were Mic problems making sure he could be heard well enough by the audience.

He came off to me less prepared, or at least less ready with the talking point answers.

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A Letter from Peter Vaughn Pischke

Hello, again Sioux Falls,

I appreciate the support that many citizens, students, families, and even school district staff have put to my candidacy.

I’m honored to be able to speak with you and discuss your concerns regarding the Sioux Falls School District.

I really want to serve our students, staff, and families by sitting on the School Board. I want to help students struggling with mental health problems to receive the care they need. I want our school board meetings to have more public input and town hall meetings where concerns and questions of families and staff can be heard.

I want our schools to be full of positive and fantastic learning experiences because of the hard work of fantastic teachers!

If you are tired of the school district not listening to the public or spending money without your permission then I’m the guy for you.

Please vote Pischke for Sioux Falls School Board!

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Boe Forum On Public Affairs: Condoleezza Rice

Each year the Center for Western Studies brings in an amazing and nationally prominent figure to discuss the issues of the day to Augusta Universtiy.  This year we sent Peter Pischke to take some notes and get some reaction to the event.  This years speaker was former United States Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

Peter Vaughn Pischke

Peter Vaughn Pischke (Photo Provided)

Hello Audience,

This is a summary (what was to be quick)a write-up of the Condoleezza Rice speech at the Boe forum over at Augustana University on 3/20/2018.
I’m not going to pretend to be unbiased when it comes to the incredible legend that is Dr. Condoleezza Rice.

I’m a big fan, and this bio will tell you why.

A Quick Bio

She is a superstar in the worlds of policy, politics, history, and academia in general. Few in the western world know more about the middle east and Russia. She in person talked to Vladimir Putin and Mikhail Gorbachev (another BOE forum speaker).

Both Presidents Bush came to her for advice and guidance on policies across the board, both foreign and domestic. During the whole of the George W. Bush administration she was there to lean on, first as the National Security Adviser 2001-2005 (first woman to do so). Then she served as the 66th Secretary of State 2005-2009, the first African-American woman to occupy that position and the 2nd woman to hold it as well.

Since then, she has written definitive books and guides that still are used by members of academia, and is currently a rock-star professor over at Stanford Graduate School of Business. And to my eyes, she always looks like she is in her 30s, which is pretty good for a young 63 years of age.

So when my friend Robert said he needed to offload some tickets to hear her speak: it felt like I was getting to meet some iconic rock group like the Beetles or the Police.

I mean getting to hear the lady who was an essential guiding hand to our foreign policy following 9/11 is a can’t miss opportunity.

Why all the pain these days, some historical background info

If you want to know what American Conservatism is, you need only listen to this speech from Rice.

Rice started by telling that the reason for the tension and chaos that we are feeling in the United States and across the globe is because worldwide, nations are abandoning the systems put in after World War 2.

After World War 2, an open and free economic system was put together in the U.S. and the rest of the western world. This system was to be non-interventionist and to stay away from protectionism because it was these systems created and elongated the Great Depression. And to help growing nations with developing economies the World Bank and International Monetary Fund so that all countries had a chance to build economically.

These systems worked “remarkably well” and “lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty.”

We, the United States led the allied powers after WW2 into supporting free and independent democratic nations in Germany and later Japan.

“Free Peoples and Free Markets” With the protection of the “American Military power as the Halo on top of this head.”

The Modern Era for China and Russia

“Everyday after September 11th felt like September 12th.  Now we face danger from ungoverned nations. There are new threats like cyber warfare, and Russia and China. (which) are two great powers misbehaving.”

Rice notes accurately how China is angrily expanding at an enormous in the South China Sea. However, China will still have to hold back because they are too integrated and dependent on the United States economy.

Russia is a different case. While China is a rising nation, in her opinion Russia is a declining power.

This next part reminds me of how awesome Rice is:

” I’ve met and talked with Vladimir Putin,” said Rice. Putin believes himself to be a great Russian leader like Peter the Great. I know because he told me “Rice you know us. You know Russia succeeds when a strong leader is in control”. In his eyes “he is turning back the humiliation of Russia.”

That is why he is willing to take Ukrainian land and push jet patrols over the coast of Sweden.

The 4 Horseman

Condoleezza then labeled the evil ideologies that are in opposition to Free Peoples and Free Markets.

Populism, Nativism, Isolationism, and Protectionism

Said Rice “for some globalization didn’t turn out well.”

Rice warned about the rise of these new so-called right-wing parties in Europe that are starting to take control of some governments.

Everyone these days decides to “play the blame game… for the left, it is big banks.”

So how do we begin to protect the liberal order?

Rice referred to when two people who speak a foreign language try to get each other to understand what they’re saying. How that people tend to “speak a bit louder, so they will understand” what they’re saying.

That is what it is like today communicating with people on the other side of politics from you.

To Rice the solution to save the liberal order is dire and straightforward: The United States must lead, or there is no chance for free nations and free markets to prosper.

Technology and Energy

Rice lives and works in Silicon Valley where the tech companies feel that they have the solution for everything. To Condoleezza, she believes that technology is neutral with the potential to be both for good and evil.

Her example is the splitting of the atom, which brought nuclear energy, medical scanning, and useful isotopes. But it also brought the horror of the atomic bomb.

In particular, the power of Online Learning is capable of transforming lives of children who live in poverty. Technology allows a kid from any walk of life the opportunity to gain an education.

Rice said with wisdom “Technology can be the answer to: Do you hear me now?”

She was working at the White House when the price for of a barrel of oil went to almost $145 in 2008. Russia decided to use this opportunity to wreak havoc and invade the Crimea and move forward other intense interests.

Russia didn’t use its energy resource and power for the global good. But we the people do.

“The United States can be the most stable energy platform in human history.”

So just imagine what good it could do?

The Millennial Generation

Condoleezza Rice is a professor and works with millennial students all the time.

“This is the most public-minded generation ever!”

She says a lot of her students then expect their first job too meaningfully. Don’t make this mistake.

“Your first job will not be meaningful; it’s your first job. Just do it and get it over.”

Education problems

“We the People is never an exclusive policy.”

America is an inspiration. It doesn’t matter where you come from. Even if you were born in Russia, and immigrated to the US like the co-founder of Google.

“Sergei Brin, the co-founder of Google, would never have been able to create Google in Russia.”

But Rice is scared for the fate of many young Americans where this founding principle may become untrue.

“The Crisis in K-12 education may be the biggest National Crisis today!”

“8-year-olds that can’t read now will never be able to read.” She also added that only 30% of the military could pass the written basic training test.

Rice stated her worries that people would remain ignorant and thus scared and angry at each other due to a lack of proper education.

“Education is the armor against prejudice.”

With probably the best line of tonight, Rice said: “My Grandfather is a Presbyterian minister and college educated because of it. He knew it would transform generations of Rices.”

Education can provide “limitless horizons.”

Rice fears that the United States may soon exist as if we were like two countries, one that is educated and one that can’t read.


Rice still feels that America can thrive and that “There has to be a way out.”

Americans have the most ingenuity, innovation, and compassion than anyone else.

Solving today’s problems are hard “but no harder than our origins.”

Rice said our founding is profound considering the impossible trials before them. Washington defeating the most powerful nation on earth at that time, the end of slavery via the defeat of the Confederacy in the civil war, and the migration of so many over mountain passes to settle in the beautiful west.

The U.S.A to Rice has come far: “I took the oath of office for Secretary of State under a document that treats a black person as 3/5 of a man.”

Condoleezza Rice ended her speech by praising our great country.

We are the “most compassionate and freest country in the world.”

Boe Forum on Public Affairs Dr. Condoleezza Rice

Boe Forum on Public Affairs Dr. Condoleezza Rice (Photo Provided)

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Join Peter V Pischke in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Please bring yourself and your family to the St. Patty’s Day parade this Saturday!
Join me in the Parade for FREE! I’ll pay for the pins, and come help support my campaign for Sioux Falls School Board.🇺🇲
IT will be loads of fun and a great memory for the kids.👨👩👧👦
I look forward to meeting you!🤗
{Meet us downtown Sioux Falls, right behind Sushi Masa between 1 and 1:30}

{ And wear some Green, bring some St. Patty’s day stuff with you if you have it.}

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The Last Jedi : A Review

I know it is a month too late, but here is my official review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

You should know that I love Star Wars. I love Star Wars the same way that car people love cars, or sports fans love watching sports. Star Wars to me was this grand epic Science Fiction Fantasy where the philosophies of good versus evil were debated in these fantastic battles featuring fantastic characters. Star Wars almost always delivered nuanced fun stories that would swallow my imagination and still leave me wanting more.

To be honest Disney’s time as master of the Star Wars franchise has been to me a very mixed bag with bad moments and good ones too.

While I found Force Awakens to be a boring and lazy repeat of Star Wars: The Last Hope, I found great enjoyment watching Rogue One. That movie introduced great new characters, solid stories, and introspection about the nature of sacrifice, and fit perfectly into the canon.

So what do I think of the newest Star Wars adventure?

Fun to watch, but not great overall. And the worst the Star Wars product Disney has put out so far.

The biggest problems with the movie can be divided into two categories: movie filler and character mismanagement.

The first major problems with the Last Jedi are pretty much universally agreed upon, and there are few defenders.Trying to sit and watch this film makes the problem very clear. Seriously, there is at least 1 hour of useless plodding that contributes almost nothing to the movie.There is a good movie somewhere in all this footage. However, you will have to sit 2 and 1/2 hours to see it.

And if you think that is bad you should see how it treats the original trilogy characters. The sin of legacy character mismanagement and just poor character writing is much more bothersome to me and other longtime fans.

Luke, Leia, and even Chewbacca are poorly written and untrue to their portrayals in the original trilogy of Star Wars movies. This not only hurts the interest of fans in this movie but how people will now look at the Star Wars franchise as a whole. And Despite what the Holly-Wood writers say, the character portrayals aren’t just fan complaints that need to be blown off. I imagine the long-term financial prospects of The Last Jedi are hurt by this corporate decision making.

Luke is a weakly sarcastic humdrum Ebeneezer type character that is almost 180 degrees of difference in philosophy and morality. His backstory plot and his decision making for most of the film is very un-Luke Skywalker like. Yes, there is a cool moment at the end of the film, but even here The Last Jedi disappoints. The one time that we get to see Luke get off his couch take a shower, and help turns out to be a nothing but a mirage.

Spoilers, he turns out to be a mirage.

There are powerful moments for Mark Hamill to strut his acting ability, and there this film doesn’t disappoint.Hamill has for decades proven himself one of the most capable actors in venues like dubbing animation, and audio plays. It is nice to see he gets a chance to shine.

However, we don’t get the same opportunity to watch the usually funny and powerful late actress Carrie Fisher. Here Leia is indecisive, quiet and plays little into the decision making of the resistance when she does manage to speak. It is obvious that the footage they did get of the late, awesome actress was much less than the PR Disney wanted us to believe. And this movie is all the poorer for it.

To make up for this, a new actress is cast to play the lines Fisher couldn’t and it doesn’t help much. The Purple Haired general is probably the most forgettable character for the amount of screen time given in this movie. A weak subplot involving her and the character Poe is not only boring but nonsensical and riddled with plot holes. Even the great sacrifice this character makes is hard to watch and does little to redeem her.

Despite all these problems, I still recommend you watch this film. The Jedi parts with Luke, Rey, and Kylo Ren are fascinating and bespeak of a much better movie. If this relationship had been used as the sole focus of the movie instead of adding so much filler I’d be happy to give this movie at least a seven even if Skywalker is now a curmudgeonly grouch who likes to murder children in their sleep.

I hope dear reader you noticed that I haven’t yet nodded to the extremely strange and disbelief killing parts of this movie. In particular, the scene where we get to see Leia use the force turns out to be this weirdly whimsical resurrection in the style of Marry Poppins. Plus the time Luke milks an alien walrus, or Yoda helps Luke in a book burning. The last of which bothers me more than probably anything else.

No way in Ewok hell would Yoda ever try to destroy the legacy of the Jedi nor authorize book burning of any kind. But this is exactly the thematic message that Star Wars know wants us to understand.

To quote Kylo Ren: “Let the past die. Kill it if you have to”. Isn’t that the same message that fascistic nations and dictators want their citizens to believe. If Hitler was in the theater, I could imagine him giving a thumbs up.

I doubt I’ll be able to sit-down and happily watch this film again in the same way I do for all of the other films. This movie has damaged my love for the Star Wars franchise. The prequels which I overall enjoyed and often made fun of; never spat upon the legacy and beloved characters of the original trilogy. Jar Jar never took away from the dynamic story and character that is Luke Skywalker. This movie does and does it with pride.

I still recommend most people to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It is a visually stunning film, and the Rey/Kylo Ren storyline is entertaining and thought-provoking; even if it concludes with the wrong sentiment. Just be prepared to wait 2 1/2 hours to see it, and know coming in that you will hate what they do to the old Star Wars crew.

If you can stomach all that the let the Force be with you. (as if I could have ended with anything else ;0)

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Doctor Whom? Why Not a Male Doctor Who? Or: That’s the Problem with Regeneration.

I’m an idiot for wanting to write this. I know that what I’m about to do is an impossible thankless task. I well know that having anything other than childlike wonder and glee about a woman being the Doctor makes any alternative opinion moot and disclaimer pointless, but I’m still going to try to tell you why this isn’t a perfect idea.

Disclaimer: Jodie Whittaker is a wonderfully talented actress and should be a veritable icon of great British acting. She is amazing, talented, attractive (am I allowed to the point that out), smart, witty, and a bunch of other good stuff.

I may very well be the biggest DW fan in the state of South Dakota; I can give you the name of every actor to ever have played the doctor (in correct order), and tell you about each of their companions. I’ve watched all of the NuWho, most of OldWho, listened to every single Big Finish Who release (can’t get enough of them), read a fair share of Who novels, and I’ve even dabbled in Who comics. When my brother got married back in 2015, I coped with the fact my younger sibling was getting married before me, by listening to copious amounts of Doctor Who.

I’m currently going 10, followed closely by 8, and 6. Good ole 6, played by the incredibly talented Colin Baker, never gets the recognition he deserves. Primarily because he played the character officially for a such a short time, and also because of that dreadful outfit of his.

As I said, I love Who.

And I have to be honest here and let you know that a clear and important aspect of my love of the Doctor is that he embodies everything that is great about manhood and masculinity.

Shocking I know! I thought I would just tell you I felt cool with the idea as long as the writing was good and hope that’d be enough.

True, if the show is good, the writing fantastic, and the Who legacy well-upheld I’ll probably grow into it and be happy. But the longer I keep pondering the issue and rolling it over in my mind the more it bothers me.

When I think about the kind of man I want to be, I think of the Doctor: A man that is a smart intellectual, the kind of man who uses his reason and wits to handle a tough situation. A man that knows his limits, and the limits of common decency. And probably most of all, the Doctor is kind, generous; laughing with friends and crying with enemies. His flavor changes some with each changing face, but these basic tenants of the character have always held true. The Doctor is the kind of man I want to be.

Is that fantastic example of manhood so easily replaced? The Doctor is role-model to boys and men across the world (though especially in Britain). Is replacing a positive, male media icon who solves problems with non-violence with a woman the right message to send? I thought this was the kind of man we all want our sons to become.

I’m not alone in my worries for the Doctor and his television series. Peter Davison who played Doctor 5 (and is 10’s father-in-law) probably has said it best so far. After praising Whittaker as an actress, he had the audacity to share some politically-incorrect opinion:

“If I feel any doubts, it’s the loss of a role model for boys, who I
think Doctor Who is vitally important for. So I feel a bit sad about
that, but I understand the argument that you need to open it up.
As a viewer, I kind of like the idea of the Doctor as a boy but then
maybe I’m an old fashioned dinosaur – who knows?”

And let’s not kid ourselves and believe that virtue signaling is enough to turn around a show’s troubles. As we all know, the grass isn’t truly greener on the other side. Making your main character a lady, even as impressive as Whittaker, doesn’t mean people will keep tuning in to watch. I imagine that the opening episode and the finale will get excellent ratings, but what about all those in between.

Finally, I would like to point out that changing a male established character and just switching the gender isn’t genuinely feminist or progressive at all. Of all the many many articles I researched for this post, this particular op-ed had the most insightful point of all:

“As for that group of people celebrating a female Doctor Who as a
symbol of increasing gender equality – they are lacking in
imagination. Casting women in traditionally male roles – in roles
written for men – is not real progress. It is jamming women into a
male mold so that we can continue to tell old stories with old
tropes while celebrating how modern and progressive we are.
While old stories are great, perhaps we should feed the appetite
for more women in active or heroic roles by actually writing
some new ones. “

I can personally promise you that in just a few short years, despite whatever ratings NuWho Whitaker may have earned; negative or positive, this will be the narrative. That Doctor Who didn’t go far enough. That Doctor Who isn’t progressive enough. Because you can never do enough to please the charnel house that is the popular opinion of the media. (Please read the bottom two links for proof of this view fulminating already)

Besides which, if you are watching Doctor Who for genitalia this is the wrong show for you. That’s what Torchwood is for

So if the media isn’t going to be happy, and the fans aren’t  happy, and the BBC isn’t satisfied with the ratings, we could very well be looking at the third version of Doctor Who: No Who.

And that would make me the most unhappy of all.


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Why Charlie Gard Matters: Today’s Case K

It is a miracle that the sad case of Charlie Gard continues to gather so much attention from media outlets and people around the world. The lessons that we can learn and should learn from these injustices against the Gard family are important and prophetic. Unfortunately, too many of us are turning this into a partisan political issue and closing our minds off from what this story means for us and our future here in the United States.

Until two weeks ago, only those who regularly read British news or right-wing blogs knew anything at all about Charlie. And it would have continued that way until a particular President decided to dedicate his 3 AM bathroom tweet to Charlie. This tweet, while being useful in gathering attention also turned the account of the Gards into a partisan issue.

The quick of it goes like this: A sick baby is born to UK parents. This baby has a rare disease that will likely kill him soon; however, there is an experimental treatment in the U.S. which may provide a cure. The parents raise plenty more than the necessary funds for the treatment and request “permission” from the UK hospital to take to the US. The hospital says no, the parents then go through the UK courts system which also says no. Finally, the case makes it to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which once again denies the parent

It is then ordered that the medical machinery keeping the kid alive are to turn off. And to put salt in the wound, the parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, are not only stripped of their right to seek treatment for their only son; but are not even allowed to take the child to their home so he can at least die surrounded by his loved ones.

And this is where the case would have stayed if Pope Francis and President Trump hadn’t started putting the pressure down. Now Hospitals and doctors throughout the US and the Vatican are fighting for the chance to give free treatment and care for the child. And all that combined global pressure is making the UK courts just now starting to reconsider the case. Just this week, one US neurologist was “allowed” to visit Charlie. We can only pray that reason and sanity rule the day.

Here in the United States, the idea that anyone would get in the way of parents obtaining alternative medical treatment for their child is barbarism and rightly found insane. But in the UK and many other nations with government run “single payer” healthcare systems, this is a daily sad occurrence. According to the Great Ormand Street Hospital, UK courts, and the ECHR the parents right to seek alternative treatment, and even Charlie’s own right to life are superseded by his right to “die with dignity.”

While these ideas seem relatively new to us in the States (it isn’t) this concept of dying with dignity, euthanizing the sick, and the devaluation of human life isn’t new to Europe. Sickeningly, this case bears a sinister resemblance to a case our grandfathers witnessed just before World War 2. A case that, if they had paid careful attention to, potentially could have stopped the deaths of millions.

The year was 1939, and the nation was Germany. Just as now, there was a mortally sick child whose case made international news. Case K, as the German Doctors called him, suffered from blindness, physical deformation, and mental handicap. These parents, unlike the Gards, desired the exact opposite.

This poster (from around 1938) reads: "60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People's community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too. Read'[A] New People', the monthly magazine of the Bureau for Race Politics of the NSDAP."

This poster (from around 1938) reads: “60,000 Reichsmark is what this person suffering from a hereditary defect costs the People’s community during his lifetime. Fellow citizen, that is your money too. Read ‘[A] New People’, the monthly magazine of the Bureau for Race Politics of the NSDAP.”

Instead, they wanted the right to euthanize him so he could die with dignity and without suffering. Hitler took full advantage of this news frenzy of a story and pushed all the right media buttons. He paraded this issue and made a public spectacle of it. The Furor actively encouraged the death of the child, and so some doctors were “persuaded” to kill the child. Case K died after being given a pill of luminal in 3 or 5 days.

It’s imperative that you must also remember that this story was popular in the US too. This is the tail-end of the 1930s, back when Hitler was still cool, and Eugenics the red hot progressive way of the future. Leaders in industry, arts, and government were eagerly hoping for this exact outcome for Case K and others like him. Names like Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Kennedy, Roosevelt, Wells, Shaw, Clark, and even Churchill favored such kinds of actions.

And what fools they were. In less than a month after the killing of Child K, 275,000 children across the Rhineland were forcibly taken and euthanized the same way K was. If your child were considered “unworthy of living’ due to physical, or mental handicap, he or she would be forcibly taken from you and put to death.

Hitler’s positive media story would turn into the opening salvo of the infamous Holocaust where millions would be assassinated because their life was considered less valuable than your typical German. If only our ancestors realized what this story meant for their future; if only they understood that once one live’s value can be measured, then all human life is only worth a small finite amount.


While we can blame Hitler, Eugenics, Progressivism, and the Nazis for the atrocities of the Holocaust; the unjust control over Charlie lies squarely with the National Health Service. This system, like many across the world, of rationed health care combined with a devaluating doctrine of life where everyone has the right to “die with dignity” is a powder keg waiting to explode.

Already if you attend a UK hospital your chance of surviving a visit is 45% less likely than if you went to a US hospital. 1,000 patients expire each month in UK hospitals due to dehydration and lack of attention from nurses and other medical staff. Back in 2013, Professor Patrick Pullicino revealed that according to him the NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year after being put on a “care pathway.” These deaths don’t even include all those poor people who never live long enough to receive care or get to visit the necessary specialist.

This is why the story of Charlie Gard is so important to all of the western world, and not just those in the UK. Because as the old saying goes: those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Life, especially human life, is so incredibly precious. But in a health care system where limited resources must be rationed, there inevitably comes a time where the healthy and strong are put before the sick, old, and feeble. There is only so much medicine, so much money, and so many beds that can be filled. If you have to choose who lives and who dies; whom do you prioritize. The state gets to choose who lives and who dies.

This is why it is so important that we learn from the Charlie Gard story. The US is now deciding what kind of healthcare system we want. You are being told the positive benefits of “single payer” and other government based health care systems. Let this be a warning to you.

If the US chooses to follow the UK and implement anything like the National Health Service, stories like Charlie Gard will be a daily occurrence. Your rights as a parent will be diminished, and the ability to receive care for your sicker than an average child will be at least equally reduced. And also please remember, that the US is where the Gards are fleeing to for advanced medical help. Once we choose to take this path, there are no more alternatives.


List of sources:


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Selling our digital souls for Pottage…errr Pizza

It may be droll of me to assume, but most of you readers are familiar with the classic old Testament story of Jacob, Esau, and the mess of potage. This well-known Bible story is one of those lessons about patience, forbearance, controlling one’s lusts, and the cunning of a wise mother. But did you think that it would have anything to do with your digital life?

If you aren’t familiar, please allow me to refresh your brain. This story in Genesis is about how Esau decides in a fit of hunger to sell his birthright to the holy priesthood down to his younger twin brother Jacob. Esau made this brilliant decision when was having an attack of the munchies and the bowl of lentil pottage that Jacob had just looked so good. Then when their Dad, the Prophet Issac, is about to kick the bucket; Jacob is the one to receive the priesthood right (which only one son may receive) instead of the actual heir Esau.

Though this story is probably one of those least likely to be made into an animated film, I find that in my adulthood I tend to find more and more wisdom in it. The idea of selling yourself short just to sublimate a base passion is an important lesson for anyone these days. Indeed a wise lesson to be learned, especially when it comes to you and your buddies digital privacy.

Well, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, most of us would sell our friends and our digital souls for nothing more than getting a hot slice of pizza. This original study found that when incentivized with the offering of a free pizza, 98% of the participating students would give away their friends’ emails. The study contained 3,108 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) students who are not only a large sample size for a study but also a sample of individuals who you think would be more aware of protecting their digital privacy than just about anyone else.

Most of you will read this study and instantly recognize the accurate statement of our society’s value for respecting privacy. How many of us say we know that digital security is important yet are willing to re-use the same the password or decide to share IRL info on social media. We are all aware we need to behave better online, we’re just too busy or lazy to do anything about it. And hey, if someone is offering me some free food for the low, low, cost of my buddy’s email well, it’s not as if that information is all that valuable. Right?

But our willingness to give something up in the future for something now isn’t a new concept. Nor is the fact that many of us are willing to give our neighbor a hard time behind their back if it benefits us anything new. That’s why we have the story of poor Esau in the first place. No, the new horrible truth is that many of us will sell ourselves for nothing at all. And as horrible as bland pottage is, flavorless oatmeal essentially; “nothing” is a whole lot worse.

The study decided to try the email trade again but this time without giving an incentive. Luckily for humanity, things improved. This time only 94% of MIT students gave away the emails.

So what should we learn from this study? Perhaps it is the fact that most of us in the first world are too willing to sacrifice the good for the quick. Perhaps we should be much wiser and much savvier with our digital security. Perhaps the kids at MIT aren’t any more intelligent than you or me. And perhaps there really is something worse than selling your soul. That is, giving it away for free.


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Opioid Epidemic: A Flawed Narrative

There are few things our political tribes in Washington can ever agree. It seems that everything from dog picture twitter accounts to Netflix programming is political these days. In fact, one of the few things our corrupt politicians from both sides of the aisle will agree on is that drugs are bad, and prescription pain relievers are worse.

While the reasons for the plague of addiction occurring are blamed on something different, both sides are pushing the same issue. In what seems an impossible amalgamation I find that both National Review and Democracy Now! both agree that our nation has a severe opioid problem. When is the time these two digital camps agreed on anything?

And as much as I enjoy in partaking of my favorite conservative argument making website, I feel that National Review has missed a very obvious fact that everyone without severe Chronic Pain wants to ignore.

If you get rid of opioids, there will be nothing else left for pain relief. Opioids are currently the only pain relief options out there, Period!

I know, that can’t possibly be, right? Narcotics and opioids are old-timey inventions that have gotten way past their due. Besides, everyone on TV is saying we’ve got a real crisis on our hands.

Well let us break down a few of the arguments:

1. Opioids are Old Timey stuff:

What year did oxycodone, the medication I use for emergencies and immediate analgesic care come about in the U.S. The answer is 1996 (technically it was invented in 1939, but didn’t come to real use until 96)? Tramadol which is a medicine I take regularly didn’t come to mass market til 1977. Buprenorphine which is the primary pharmaceutical in a pain patch I wear didn’t exist before 1981.

Opioid medications are still being invented and being brought to market now. Vivitrol which is a current popular one came out five years ago. Not only are new drugs being developed now but also new ways to deliver them more safely and conveniently.

2. All opioids are obviously strong narcotics like Morphine and heroin!

What I think is probably the biggest reason the current media arguments are making such a dent. People hear opioid narcotic and think 1980s anti-drug cartoon. Yeah, it’s just like on that show House where the good doctor who takes some pills and hallucinates. Apparently, people are trying to get on these drugs for feels and the buzz.

Well, like almost all chemicals and drug compounds; the term opioids only refers to family and classification of drugs. This category does indeed hold the granddaddy of them all: Morphine, but it also contains tens of thousands of others. Tramadol which gives me 0 buzzes and 0 reductions in my ability to perform, drive, speak, and think is an opioid too. While Fentanyl (more on that later) is an opioid, so too is Buprenorphine which again doesn’t give off happy feelings other than pain relief.

3. Addicts are addicted because they either don’t have a problem or they’re using them for pleasure. This pairs well with the Myth: Doctors are easy to fool, and only give this medication to get patients out of their hair:

I used to believe both of these myths before I got Chronic Pancreatitis. The old adage is that there are all of these doctors just prescribing high-end narcotics to patients without much fuss. They, give em out like candied mints. And that if they don’t give them out, the patients are just going to find some other doctor who will.

I almost wish it was true.

The reality is that opioids are not easily given these days; a side effect of all the anti-opioid reporting I’m sure. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to fellow CP sufferers who relate to me this story:

“I went to the ER because I was having an intense Chronic Pancreatitis pain attack. I told the doctor this several times as did my significant other. The doctor said my “levels” weren’t elevated enough so I must not be telling the truth. They softly accuse me of drug seeking behavior, and I’m discharged still hurting and overwhelmed.”

Doctors are just as aware of this issue of the opioid epidemic as you and me. They are hesitant to ever prescribe something to someone that might even give an inkling of a chance to cause them legal troubles. Let alone the fact, that most of them got into medicine to help people. While some doctors break this standard, particularly if you are getting some surgery, generally they don’t just hand them out.

This means that when someone like me needs medical care requiring pain medication, which unless the Doctor knows me already, there is little chance of me receiving the medical care I desperately need.

Which brings me back to my original point: there are no alternatives for pain relief. Yes, new drugs are being researched all the time, and medical devices that require no medication to treat pain are in the works. But they aren’t available for mass market use now nor are they going to be for at least another decade.

This means that when we demonize opioids and opioid users, we are saying: I don’t care that your life is a wreck because you are in such constant agony. These medications may be able to provide relief, some balance, and function into your life. But we just can’t take the risk that you might be an addict. Sorry, contact me again when you need another medical treatment demonized.

Opioids aren’t perfect, and many of them have strong side-effects. But no medicine is without side-effects. And being addicted to a medication doesn’t mean that you stop needing it to reduce pain. People like me always have to watch their dosages and make sure it doesn’t get out of hand. Pain management is a full-time gig.

And perhaps there is some argument about the overuse of end of life care pain treatments like Fetaynal. But again that medicine is for hospice care or in other words: this is the medicine we give to dying people, so they don’t scream in agony. That medication was never intended for those staying in the land of the living.

And let’s be frank: the only real reason we know people in Washington agree to do anything is that it benefits them first. Individuals who need these medications don’t have the strength or energy to speak up against it. We are too busy trying to hold our lives together to resemble something you consider normalcy. This makes chronic pain sufferers an easy target to blame so as to keep the negative attention off of themselves.

So the next time your favorite political website or writer tells you how terrible the opioid epidemic is, please do something for us. Tell them to shut their trap, and listen to what the people who are having to take these medications daily think of opioids. To most of us, opioids are truly miraculous life savers.

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