The Dilution of Mediation

Mediation is becoming diluted as a form of alternative dispute resolution. Despite being touted as the be-all, end-all of resolving conflicts, an ugly truth has emerged. You don’t need qualifications, training, or expertise to be a “mediator.” You just have to call yourself one.

This would be absurd in any other profession where dispute resolution was key. Yet in mediation, the sole requirement for you to “mediate” a case is to call yourself a mediator and run with it. You need no training in persuasion, balancing power, or helping parties find alternative outcomes. When the bodies that govern the training and expertise of mediators don’t even bother to police themselves, the term means nothing.

Consider the Volunteer State. There is a specific rule that governs the conduct of mediators. It’s Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31. If you are to become a “Rule 31 listed” mediator you have to pay out thousands of dollars in training fees to get “certified.” Then you submit an application and take continuing mediation education (CME) classes to keep your Rule 31 status.

The dirty secret of a “Rule 31” listing is that it only puts you on a list for judges who need a mediator at a moment’s notice when parties can’t agree on a neutral. It also grants you qualified judicial immunity when performing a Rule 31 mediation. That’s it. You’re arguably better off marketing yourself as a dispute resolution professional than spending time attending the CMEs that tell you to advise litigants to pack a lunch and bring a book because they’ll be in session all day.

This means anyone can hold themselves out as a “mediator.” If you want your local pastor to “mediate” your divorce, they’re more than capable of doing it. Someone without a grasp of the law, persuasion, ability to “expand the pie” beyond nominal dispute resolution boundaries can “mediate” a case. When that person does so, their case is more than likely headed to trial.

In the legal profession, this would be untenable. Lawyers have to get a JD, pass the bar to show they’re minimally competent when practicing the law, and continually update themselves when it comes to their chosen profession. No one in their right mind would go to a criminal defense attorney and ask them to handle a bankruptcy case. The criminal defense attorney would be either desperate for money or foolish if they took said case, and an ethics complaint would most likely be in order if the crim law attorney held himself or herself out as a bankruptcy attorney.

Yet in mediation, anything goes. The party who wants to use Jim Bob from Farmer’s Insurance as the neutral of their choosing gets to do so as long as the other side agrees. Never mind Jim Bob has no training in mediation, doesn’t understand the process, or even has a solid grasp on the law that governs the case in dispute. As long as Jim Bob from Farmer’s calls himself a “mediator” he can mediate the case as he pleases, and to the parties’ detriment.

One way to fix this problem would be for mediation groups like the Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission to self-police, ensuring those who held themselves out as “mediators” actually had the minimal training and competency to fulfill a neutral’s role. This has worked wonders for the practice of Collaborative Law. If you bill yourself as a Collaborative practitioner, someone’s going to eventually ask you where you trained, who trained you, and what practice group you associate with. Insufficient answers will find you pressured to removing the “collaborative” word from your business cards.

If we set standards for training, expertise, and qualifications and enforced them for mediators as stringently as we do for doctors or lawyers then mediation standards would increase. Client satisfaction with the process would go through the roof, because the layperson would have to put in effort to see the process work. Fewer cases would go to trial, because the experienced professionals worthy of the label “mediator” would actually be able to use it.

Unfortunately, because we love to keep the playing field open, and want to see anyone become a “mediator,’ we will dilute the meaning of a very precise term in dispute resolution. And when words have no meaning in an alternative dispute resolution process, as they often do in real life, it’s easy to see why Mediation is Dead.

Saying You’re “Neutral” Doesn’t Make You A Mediator

Neutrality is the cornerstone of mediation. A mediator is to remain “neutral” to all parties during the dispute resolution process. This is to give the illusion that all sides are heard and respected as the parties work to a solution.

Saying you’re neutral and actually being a neutral are two different animals. It’s easy to utter the word as a magic cure all whenever your impartiality is questioned. Actually being neutral requires you to take both parties as equals and listen to them without bias or prejudice.

Consider the following scenario and see if you think the mediator in this scenario is a “neutral.”

An attorney and client are involved in a fee dispute. The mediator, prior to the attorney’s arrival, has a copy of the Rules of Professional Responsibility dealing with fee disputes printed out and placed in front of both parties, with what the mediator deems relevant sections to the dispute highlighted.

During the mediation, the neutral continually utters her neutrality while giving the majority of eye contact to the client, rather than listen to both sides equally. The mediator encourages the attorney to lowball an offer to settle the dispute. When the client disagrees with the amount and actually requests the attorney be paid higher, the mediator says “sometimes attorneys do discounted work for their friends and family.”

On examination of the work performed, the mediator makes comments to the attorney about his lack of knowledge on the relevant areas of the law, going so far as to call him “ignorant.” This mediator tells the attorney his conduct is illegal and unethical if he proceeds in a certain fashion, because that’s “the law.” Moreover, the alleged “neutral” even questions the value the attorney’s services added during certain months!

This isn’t neutrality. It’s the farthest thing from it. It’s not just evaluative case analysis, it’s not even arbitration, it’s outright advocacy for one party masked as a form of mediation. That a party can simply smile and say “Remember, I’m the neutral in all this” is a slap in the face to alternative dispute resolution.

Real neutrality takes hard work. Maintaining a semblance of impartiality is crucial to the process, and yet it takes one mediator like that described above to cost everyone their trust in alternative dispute resolution. If I had been part of such a scenario, I would have exited the bargaining table double quick, asked for a different mediator, or gone to a judge and asked for an Order of Reference if the other party could not agree to a different mediator.

Adding to the problem with the above hypothetical is the “mediator” commenting on the law, and one party’s alleged grasp or lack of expertise in that field. That violates neutrality rules, denigrates the legal profession, and contributes nothing to the public’s trust in the process. Several states, including my own, would call that sanctionable conduct for mediators.

Make sure your mediator is one who works to listen to both sides, even the one you don’t like. Otherwise, you run the risk of finding yourself subject to the bias and prejudices of a mediator who will pressure you in an unfair fashion to settle a case that will lead to buyer’s remorse on signing the deal.

And to my fellow practitioners of Alternative Dispute Resolution: repeating the words “I’m a neutral” or “I’m neutral” are hack, played out, and carry as much meaning these days as “I was in fear for my life” when a cop shoots a person dead in the street. It’s eventually going to a judge, and that judge is going to determine the mantra of “I’m neutral” carries as much weight.

A lack of neutrality, and outright advocacy, is one more reason why Mediation is Dead.

Getting Better Sleep

Sleep is absolutely crucial to the body. If you don’t get enough of it, your body and mind won’t function properly.  However, there’s a difference between getting “enough” sleep and “quality” sleep.

The aim is for “quality” sleep. How you get there is your own journey. I’ve worked hard at this issue, as I’ve been a chronic snorer for most of my life. Snoring stops you from reaching that quality level of sleep the body needs to rejuvenate itself.

It also stops Mrs. S, one of the lightest sleepers in the world, from quality sleep. When she’s continually tired because of my snoring, something must be done.

The first step was a device called the “snore stopper.” Originally meant as a gag gift for Christmas, the damned thing was essentially a shock collar strapped to your wrist at night. When the device registered sound, it would send a “gentle electric pulse” to nerves in your wrist that prompted you to switch positions.

Two issues prevented the snore stopper from working well. The first was a sound machine present in our room at the time I first started using it. This meant I was getting shocked all night long, snoring or otherwise. The second issue was tolerance.

Apparently a person can get used to being continually shocked overnight to the point where they will become non-responsive to the device’s “gentle electric pulse.” That plus the device’s continued need for batteries and replacement “conduction pads” (gel strips allowing for a greater shock) meant the snore stopper stopped being effective pretty damned quickly.

Currently I’m getting the best sleep I’ve had in ages due to a suggestion from a store clerk at Walgreens. Mrs. S. begged I get some Breathe Right nasal strips one evening just to see if they would work. Someone who worked at the store pointed me in the direction of “Air” snore sleep inserts. They are silicone bands you place in your nostrils before retiring for the evening with a lavender coating.

The idea is to open your nasal passages so anything restricting your airflow is minimized. Plus there’s a sort of lavender coating on the band, so you’re smelling lavender as you fall asleep. Apparently lavender is a scent designed to promote relaxation and sleep. I’m not one to care much for the homeopathic bullshit that gets tossed around, but it’s a nice smell.

I’ve used the inserts for about two weeks now and the difference in the quality of my sleep is dramatic. For the first few days I woke up foggy, but not brain dead coffee zombie mode. Today I woke up at four thirty in the morning, wide awake, and without a stitch of coffee in me. I was ready to kill the day before my son woke. I got both kids breakfast, ready, and off to school in record time without waking Mrs. S. once.

If you’re a snorer, give these a try. It may help you reach your optimal self.

POSTSCRIPT: There are some of you reading this that see anything about “snoring,” freak out, and immediately insist the person who snores schedule a sleep study and fitting for a CPAP machine. Sleep apnea is a terrible condition, and I lost an uncle to it. Not every person who snores suffers from sleep apnea, though, and automatically getting a CPAP machine when something simple will suffice.

Presidential Dual Reality

The President met with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities yesterday. It should have been a powerful meeting, and I understand the HBCU heads had various items and an agenda for the President to consider. None of this got attention. What set the Internet abuzz was a photo of the President, with the HBCU leadership, in the Oval Office. This photo had Kellyanne Conway sitting on  her knees on a couch in the Oval Office, looking at her phone.

The photo was not well received. Leftists scorned Ms. Conway for not “respecting” the Oval Office. Women called into local talk radio denouncing Ms. Conway’s posture as “unladylike.” Later reports would surface that was a photo of Ms. Conway looking at photos on a cell phone after getting into position on the couch so she could get the best angle possible for the photo.

None of this mattered. People came unhinged at the “lack of respect” for the Oval Office and demanded she resign immediately. All over a photo of her taking photos on a couch.

Last night the President of the United States gave his first speech to a joint session of Congress and the Supreme Court. I wasn’t planning on watching it. Tuesday nights are usually consumed with gaming and trash television (Hearthstone and The Bachelor, not that it matters). Today I wake to find two viewpoints on the President’s first speech to the rest of our nation’s government:

  1. Last night Donald Trump became “President.”
  2. Donald Trump blasted minorities, religious groups, and did nasty things but people are giving him a pass because he sounded “Presidential.”

These are two different realities. One person sees an effect, another sees the same thing, and both come to the same conclusion. There’s a theory behind this in magic called the “Dual Reality” principle, and something tells the deceptive in me Dual Reality is in play at this moment.

Logic and rational thought dictates that whether you cared for the man or not, Donald J. Trump became President on Inauguration Day. Yes, he’s said and done a lot of things since taking the oath of office that weren’t what many would consider “Presidential.” When the American public elected one of the least qualified individuals to the nation’s highest office, someone who has little to no understanding of the law, I gather most of those people understood what they were getting.

That it took a speech before a joint session of Congress to get even those on board the Trump Train to view him as “President” suggests dual reality is at work. Those who were on the fence with Trump’s actions but were committed to his camp now see him as President. The speech gave the effect that despite the “CEO” approach The Donald’s been taking to his new job, he can be Presidential when needed. That’s effect one.

The secondary effect is those who don’t like Donald Trump saw him look Presidential. These are the same people who scream #NotMyPresident, holler about his lack of qualifications, and plot disruptions and protests at every move. Regardless of how they felt about the man last night many who called themselves his opposition reached a point where they were forced to admit this racist, sexist, misogynistic, transohomophobic President Pussygrabber could actually look like the leader of the free world when necessary.

Dual Reality is a powerful principle in life. Some people experience it every day. The fact that we’re seeing it play out in government is astounding. It speaks to the way we perceive our lives, the reactions of those around us, and how we react accordingly.

Did you see Dual Reality at work last night? 

We Sincerely Regret Our Error

Regret. Apologies. Both are a bitch.

Last night PriceWaterhouse Cooper “sincerely regretted” mistakenly handing Warren Beatty the envelope for the Best Picture Oscar. This led to what us pro wrestling fans call a “Dusty Finish”* moment where the cast of “La La Land” stopped their acceptance speech and hand the award to the cast of “Moonlight.”

PriceWaterhouse Cooper is the accounting firm for the Oscars. They tally all the ballots and then issue the envelopes that contain the award winner names. Their official apology is a classic story of how to fuck up an “I’m Sorry” moment.

“We sincerely apologize to ‘Moonlight,’ ‘La La Land,’ Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, and Oscar viewers for the error that was made during the award announcement for best picture. The presenters had mistakenly been given the wrong category envelope and when discovered, was immediately corrected. We are currently investigating how this could have happened, and deeply regret that this occurred.

“We appreciate the grace with which the nominees, the Academy, ABC, and Jimmy Kimmel handled the situation.”

Conflict resolution occasionally requires an apology from a party. There’s three steps to a good apology. Let’s examine each, and the moments where PWC botched them.

1. I’m Sorry

This is the classic start to the apology. You say you’re sorry for what happened. It’s the basic step towards making amends for the issue central to the conflict in question.

PWC doesn’t directly admit guilt or sorrow over the incident that led to the Oscars gaffe. Their sincere regret doesn’t even mention the firm. Deep regret doesn’t cut it when you can’t even be bothered to directly admit you fucked up.

2. It was my fault.

Simply saying “I’m Sorry” in some form doesn’t cut the mustard for someone you wronged. If the situation was one you caused, the best thing to do is admit you fucked up. An admission of fault when making an apology makes you look honest and sincere to the person or parties you wronged. Owning your mistakes is crucial to an effective apology.

Here PWC didn’t even bother to admit fault. They said the presenters were given the wrong envelope, when the mistake was discovered it was immediately corrected, and that an investigation was being launched into how this occurred. Why bother even attempting an apology at this point? PWC’s essentially saying they had nothing to do with the gaffe.

3. What can I do to make this right?

This is the crucial third step to making an apology, and one that must be handled with care. You have to see if the other party is willing to let you fix the situation, and best practices are to ask the other party what steps you can take to remedy the issue.

Asking works best because it gives the other party a chance at directing a proper “fix” to the situation. Sometimes that may not work. Sometimes you may have to take a proactive step and reach out with a potential remedy. In those cases, you deal with the situation as you must and see what happens.

PWC got this issue “sort of” right.  They announced an “investigation” into what caused the gaffe. Whether that investigation will actually occur is anyone’s guess. If you think this might become a scenario where results of that investigation are announced and people actually see a resolution, you’re delusional.

PriceWaterhouse Cooper is an accounting firm that handles Hollywood’s greatest awards. They may have motivations to “sincerely regret” their fuckup instead of owning an apology and doing so properly. I have no doubt after last night PR professionals were busy sweating over every word of the “official statement” so as to not draw any ire from Hollywood’s top stars and executives.

That careful wording doesn’t make the apology any better. It just makes the entire thing as scripted as an episode of Monday Night Raw.  It also makes the entire “statement” sound disingenuous. A more heartfelt expression of regret would have resonated with the public, the Academy, and all those with time invested in the show. Now PWC must deal with the backlash.

Apologies are important when they are merited. I had to apologize for an issue I created recently, and I took the steps outlined here as best I could. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t the party who fucked up, I contributed to the fuckup. That’s a situation meriting an apology, and I did what I had to do to make sure the parties I wronged knew I not only sincerely regretted my contribution to the fuckup, I would take active steps to see the issue made right.

Who in your life that you’ve wronged deserves an apology, and what active steps will you take to make amends today?

*A good definition of the “Dusty Finish” can be found here.

Do We Miss Richard Simmons?

I met Richard Simmons once in my life. He was traveling through the McGhee-Tyson airport in Three Stooges pajamas. I stopped and said hello, and he insisted we take a picture together.

The creator of “Deal a Meal,” “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” and other wildly iconic fitness gimmicks was a fixture in media for some time. Then in 2014, he disappeared. Simmons didn’t return phone calls from friends. He stopped talking to people that visited his Hollywood Hills mansion.  Something was wrong.

Was Richard Simmons missing? Did someone kill him? Was he being held hostage by his housekeeper? Apparently speculation ran so rampant Simmons did an interview on the Today Show last year to let people know the rumors of his demise, capture, or otherwise were completely unfounded.

That’s not good enough an explanation for Dan Taberski, one of Simmons’ friends, a Daily Show producer, and former regular at the “Slimmons” exercise classes Richard taught up until his “ghosting” from public life. In an effort to get some closure or answers regarding the fitness celebrity’s disappearance, Taberski launched a weekly podcast in the vein of NPR’s “Serial” called “Missing Richard Simmons.”

When I first read “Missing Richard Simmons” was “like “Serial,” but better,” I had to give it a shot. The first two episodes have been interesting, and I’ll continue to give it a shot into the third episode. It’s full of stories about Richard Simmons and his interactions with the public. It also raises a very troubling question: Does Simmons owe the public an answer as to why he’s peaced out of public life?

Taberski seems to intimate the answer is “yes” through the two episodes he’s cranked out so far. His rationale is that with the amount of people Richard Simmons helped lose weight over the years, simply refusing to speak to anyone isn’t good enough. There are some, possibly Taberski, to whom Simmons owes at least a courtesy call or text saying “I’m taking a break.”

This view smacks of entitlement, foolishness, and a complete disregard for Richard Simmons as a human being. The sad thing is Taberski manages to acknowledge without saying in two episodes exactly why Simmons is entitled to remain “missing,” and either doesn’t understand or is cleverly keeping the audience listening to find out.

Two episodes in we learn Richard Simmons is a very emotional caring person who can be described as a giver of the highest sort. He saw a calling in helping people who didn’t look like gym rats get fit and stay fit, so he actively pursued that calling. It made him millions, but the money wasn’t as important as the lives he touched. That would explain why up till his sudden disappearance, Simmons still taught exercises classes for twelve bucks a head.

Eventually, the giving wore out.  There’s only so much a person can give of their time, money, and energy before there’s nothing left to give. If one follows this basic axiom and applies it to what we know about Richard Simmons, his obsession was giving people the gift of health and making sure they stayed healthy. Simmons gave and gave until there was nothing left in his tank. As a result, he decided to go into isolation until he could recharge his batteries.

Taberski, the Slimmons regulars, and those whose lives were bettered by Richard Simmons are right to care. It’s as if a close friend kept a great, positive relationship with you for an extended period of time and then stopped talking without any explanation. If they want to hear from Simmons again, the best thing all parties could do is take one simple principle to heart.

You are entitled to nothing. The world owes you nothing. 

This is true in relationships, business, hell all of life. You are owed nothing, even if it’s an explanation why one of your business associates decided to stab you in the back. No one “deserves” an explanation from another human why they decided to hit “unfriend” on Facebook. Yet we feel we are deserving of such issues, and that only speaks to the hedonism and narcissism of our modern society.

If Richard Simmons wants to stay missing, he can stay missing. He’s earned his money. He’s made his relationships. Like any adult, he’s free to do with them as he pleases.

Until the next episode catches my attention, I won’t be missing Richard Simmons, and honestly you shouldn’t either.

The Work Never Stops

Last night I had a conversation with a friend, colleague, and mentor about the amount of work I cranked out last week.

“The other guys, they’re wondering how you do it. It’s almost like you’re a monster.”

Monster, beast, whatever you want to call it, the remark stunned me. I’ve heard it before, but I don’t really understand why working hard and being productive is a bad thing. If you really enjoy what you’re doing then the “work” isn’t something that’s really seen as work. Moving forward with goals to accomplish what you want in life isn’t something that should be seen as “work.”

In the last week, I’ve launched a 501(c)(3) with an immense amount of detailed paperwork. I’ve cranked out YouTube and podcast content. I’ve written for Fault Lines. I settled a case in mediation with a contingency that will take care of a good portion of my bills. I did all this work and managed to still spend time with my family, cook dinner on most nights, and get in quality time with those I love most.

I even “worked” two days with a sick kid. That’s a feat when you practice law or do any form of business. I’m lucky to be able to work from home most days, so it wasn’t too terrible of an issue, but it did crack down on the amount of work I was able to produce. My various forms of work usually require peak focus, so having to divide my attention between cranking out a brief and doling out the next portion of crackers demanded by a two year old can hamper the work that gets finished on a certain day.

But still I work. I do more in a given day than the average Joe ever will, because I have to keep moving. I have to continually move towards my goal of providing for my family in ways I have yet to achieve.

When I don’t work, I experience a certain feeling of dread or anxiety. I’m comfortable with relaxing, mind you. It’s something that has to happen so the body experiences balance. If there’s tasks that need completion, and my mind actively knows it, then I have to work. There’s no time for playing a round of “Gunman Taco Truck” on the iPhone if even something as simple as dirty dishes are in need of cleaning.

Everything during my day is usually planned out the night before. This is a habit I’ve developed since starting the Best Self notebook mentioned in a previous post. It doesn’t always happen, but the Best Self format encourages you to block out your work in 30 minute slots. Sometimes my work takes more than thirty minutes for a task.

When you block out your work and plan your day, you find you get more accomplished. You move closer towards your goals. You get insane amounts of productivity because your body and mind are actively training to work more than ever before. You keep moving forward.

Even when I’m not working, I’m usually thinking about the next move or the next line of work to pursue. This is a habit from my law school days, when one of the Trial Advocacy professors told me in an inebriated rant “While you sleep, other people are figuring out ways to make your money.” I took from that a notion of never stop thinking about the next way to pursue what you want, especially if it’s a business endeavor that will lead to your success.

Have I reached a plateau of success yet? Not in the traditional sense that most people would think. I’m no millionaire, I don’t drive a Maserati, and I don’t dine at Ruth’s Chris on a regular basis. But I do have a good job, I have friends and family I can count on when needed, and I put food on the table. I have a roof over my head.

I set out to reach goals daily. I work daily to reach those goals. More often than not I manage to hit most of them, but that’s because I plan the work, I execute the work, and then when I don’t accomplish a task on a given day I try to figure out where things went wrong and learn from the missteps.

People don’t want to work in America. This is a fact few are willing to mention. They want to collect a paycheck, sure, but they don’t want to find a meaningful way to fulfill their lives. Some are so desperate they go on the dole, sure, but by and large we are a hedonistic, wage slave society.

Most people would rather count on the security of a paycheck, slaving at something they really hate doing, because they at least know the money is coming somewhere. In the meantime they go to the nine to five, converse with co-workers they hate, put up with the boss telling them to come in on Saturday, and count on those two days at the “week end” when they can put their feet up and binge watch Netflix.

This sort of work produces nothing of value to the person or society. It brings you money, sure, but work that brings you money and fulfills you is far more satisfying. It makes you a success when you can get up each day, do that which you love, and get paid to do it. Most people will never reach this level of work, because catching up on the latest episodes of “Black Mirror” or “Game of Thrones” is more important than creating work that will lead to a successful life.

One of the goals I set for today was to sit down and write 1,000 words about something. I had no idea it would eventually be about work, and the process or views I see as my work.  Yet here I am, at almost eight in the morning, and I’ve already reached a goal.

What will you start doing today to actively work?

Banning Milo, Finale?

When Milo Yiannopolous appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher and called President Trump “not really a Republican like most people think” I knew he would raise some hackles. Once word broke that MILO would speak at CPAC, a conference full of conservative speakers, something told me a hit job was about to go down.

I didn’t think it would happen as fast as it did. Almost overnight a group called the “Reagan Battalion,” a Twitter feed claiming to be a blog for conservative news and thought, released a two minute, highly edited video of MILO claiming to endorse sex with boys. The Regan Battalion’s clip, taken at face value, practically made MILO the keynote speaker for NAMBLA, not CPAC.

Once people noticed the clip contained mashed up footage from the Rubin Report and the Joe Rogan Experience, plus a clip from another source, the Regan Battalion got called out on their shit really quickly. The response was to release the “unedited” clip from another source, a YouTube show called the “Drunken Peasants,” where MILO goes to great length discussing in his typical shock and awe fashion aspects of gay culture that could be seen, in a certain light, as condoning sexual relationships between men and underage boys.

He does advocate for precision in language during that video, though, and makes it very clear that he is not advocating pedophilia, nor does he think sexual relations between grown men and young boys are okay at all. Still, the shock and gallows humor the “Dangerous Faggot” brings to the table every time he makes an appearance was a touch too far this time.

CPAC promptly disinvited MILO from their speaker list. Simon and Schuster dropped publication of “Dangerous” after weeks of standing by Yiannopolous and calls for boycotts of the imprint. Numerous thinkpieces quickly sprang to judgment over how the party of family values had been taken in by an impish, click bait driven troll.  After all, if you can trust any political affiliation to police themselves, it’s conservatives, and one thing they don’t like en masse are kid touchers.

I wasn’t ready to rush to judgment when all this started coming out, because it smelled like a hit job. One of my acquaintances remarked “A casual stroll will suffice.” When I finally did take a few minutes to watch the video, I didn’t see a thing that advocated pedophilia and remarked to my acquaintance MILO actually seemed to discuss certain aspects of gay culture I didn’t understand, so I couldn’t rush to judgment on whether it advocated for criminal activity or not.

The world found where MILO stood at three PM yesterday. He did everything one would expect a person in his position to do. There was an explanation of his position on the videos. He discussed his experiences as a victim of child abuse, and how it affected his life. He expressed great regret for his imprecision in language, and acknowledged that his word choice could be construed to at least “condone” child abuse, which he deeply regretted.

Then came time for public atonement. He stepped down from Breitbart, stating he didn’t want any spectacle around him to detract from the great work they were doing. “Dangerous” would still see publication this year, and ten percent of all book royalties would go to child abuse charities. And MILO would now focus his efforts on a new media company, speaking tour, and “education and entertainment” as a performer.

At the conclusion of his remarks, MILO pointed the attention at the people and motivation behind what was going on with this latest ginned up outrage.

But let’s be clear what is happening here. This is a cynical media witch hunt from people who don’t care about children. They care about destroying me and my career, and by extension my allies. They know that although I made some outrageous statements, I’ve never actually done anything wrong. These videos have been out there for more than a year. The media held this story back because they don’t care about victims, they only care about bringing me down. They will fail.

And he’s right, in a lot of respects. Once the conservative press heard him call the President “not a real Republican” it was time for MILO’s downfall. Something had to be done to stop him, and if it meant faking allegations of endorsing pedophilia then so be it. The “provocateur” had to go, because the party of “family values” couldn’t take a gay Jewish Brit with a fondness for black dudes getting more attention than their chosen figureheads.

Will this be the end of MILO? Some of my friends and acquaintances think he won’t bounce back from this debacle. I think he’s got a bit more left in him than most people think, and that his fanbase will rally behind him stronger than ever before now that he’s “come out” as a child abuse victim.  It will take time, and it will certainly cost a lot of money and energy on his end, but Milo Yiannopolous will come back.

And the “establishment Republicans” who felt it necessary to throw Milo under the bus need to take a long, hard look in the mirror and figure out why this character assassination attempt was necessary. Yes, he’s a self promoting ass, but he managed to hand you more of the LGBTQ vote than many others had. His college talks brought the millennial vote out in droves for your party, because Milo told them “If you want to piss people off, if you want to be cool…you have to be conservative.”

The Left is the party that got really good at throwing people under the bus, and they specialize in hit jobs like this. Don’t go to the Left’s playbook when you’re considering ways to get someone you don’t like out of an influence sphere.

When Good Guests Strike

We had guests at the Compound this weekend. A family of four. This meant eight people in a household normally designed for four. You can imagine the productivity in the house went absolutely to shit.

The guests were perfect, surprisingly. One is a badass who works with the State Department and has probably toppled three governments and assassinated a few dictators, if not drug lords. He’s currently studying Spanish for his next job in a country where we’re not building a wall and making said country pay for it. As you can imagine, he’s a completely nice, wonderful guy who has nothing but love in his heart.

His wife is the perfect person for his next assignment. A Spanish teacher, she’s taught everywhere from Africa to Australia as her husband travels. Their two kids are the epitome of everything you’d want in kids: bright, looking into science and engineering, athletic, and inquisitive. She speaks Spanish to her kids just as much as English, and the kids responded in return.

I expected the two days to be a shitshow. No sleep, complaining kids, no help whatsoever. Again, there was a surprise. They did the dishes. They helped with the kids. We took everyone to the zoo yesterday and they graciously paid for all the people needing tickets. They were gracious when we made them dinner.

Today they leave, and life returns to normal. I’ll actually miss the lot of them. It was a nice visit, and one that forced me to relax a bit. Yesterday I got the first chance to really “play” and relax. The four guests were completely wonderful, and the time flew by to the point I didn’t even realize what hour it was and when the kids needed to be in bed.

The weekend was a nice reminder that not all house guests are like viruses. You can have a select few that are good and will give you a good time when they come by. A select few might even make your life easier when they show up. It just depends on the person or people who show for a few days.

Still, horrendous curmudgeon that I am, I waited to figure out when they would leave, what time, so I could put on my nice happy smiley face, wish them a good day, and then get back to my normal business of being an utter bastard. That’s what my people do. We act like we’re the nicest on earth and preach civility until someone acts a fool or tries to be a dick, then the lawyer kicks in and we respond accordingly.

Our short time with the guests was a nice reminder that it’s okay to let our guard down occasionally around those we can trust. The trick, unfortunately, is figuring out who you can let your guard down when they’re near so the wrong person doesn’t get the chance to stab you in the back.

Sometimes you can actually have fun when people come to visit. It’s a nice reminder that there are good folks out there, especially for those people like me in a profession where you see the worst in everyone. Unfortunately, these moments come few and far between.

I’ll actually look forward to these guests coming back. They did all the dishes.

WOZO and the Streisand Effect

Yesterday was a fun exercise in watching the Streisand Effect work its magic. By day’s end more eyes were on my little radio show than ever before, and the lunacy at WOZO’s DJ “team” was exposed for the lying nutjobs they are.

Fault Lines Managing Editor Scott Greenfield contacted me Thursday about The Sit Down’s ban from WOZO. He wrote a post about it at Simple Justice on Friday. That post gave the tiny “People’s Radio” show a lot more attention than it’s seen in recent months. The fact the attention was negative, calling their cowardice for what it was, didn’t help much.

So the station launched its “conflict response team” into action. This “response team’s” acts usually involved posting negative comments to my YouTube channel, trolling producer Aaron Campbell’s Facebook page for “That Midday Show,” and blowing my Twitter feed up with repeated at mentions over how I was a “nobody,” a “toxic person,” and an “amateur.”

If that’s the case, why did WOZO’s DJs take so much time and energy to attempt to shout me down?

Let’s look at what happened.

1. WOZO’s DJ “team” objected to the content of the Sit Down and acted accordingly.

From the beginning, it was clear the leftist DJ staff at WOZO wanted The Sit Down gone. They attempted a number of tactics in an attempt to get rid of the news hour broadcast. The first was attempting a straight ban because my broadcasts contained “racist, sexist, transohomophobic, bigoted, ableist, or other “ist” content. Unfortunately, no such content existed, and the one thing the DJ team could find objectionable was the disclaimer broadcast twice during the show, which one DJ found “offensive.”

The second tactic was to frame the narrative of the ban as me wanting “special treatment” from the community radio station. They couldn’t bear the truth shining on their intellectual dishonesty, that they simply didn’t agree with what I had to say, so they came up with a convoluted story about how I was the only show “host” who wasn’t a DJ, hadn’t gone through the steps of becoming a DJ, and wanted to subvert the station’s “rules,” which seemed to apply differently with every DJ at WOZO.

2. WOZO’s DJ “team” launched an all out attack on me and my producers through social media. 

I am told I was “owned” on Facebook. I have no knowledge of this, as I have no access to any social media showing me how I was “owned.” I also have enough adult sense to understand the Internet isn’t real life, and mean hurty words on a digital screen aren’t enough to hurt me or mine.

I am told there’s plenty of “sick burns” of me on WOZO’s twitter account. I have no knowledge of this, because the official WOZO twitter account blocked me.

My producer has no knowledge of this either, as WOZO’s DJ “team” banned him from their listserv, blocked him from their DJ only Facebook group, and blocked him outright from their personal forums for communication. If I or my producer were getting “owned,” it’s WOZO’s DJ team acting out the film “Mean Girls” in real life.

What I do know is during the day random Twitter accounts associated with WOZO came to attack me. DJs at the station left comments on my YouTube videos about how I would find another platform for my “Breitbart trollathon bullshit.”

I screwed with these people as I chose, because I’m a Southerner who enjoys a good fight, even if it’s an online one. However, at the end of the day, the digital conflict amounted to one final result for WOZO.

WOZO now has negative publicity internationally because of their interactions with me. 

One of my Twitter followers, @MachMinotaur, summed the issue perfectly.

This nothingburger would’ve never been a story were it not for two-bit tyrants…at a local radio.

That radio station will still not matter to people not in that area, but now it’s known for its poor behavior. Win?

People as far as Germany came to ask the Twitter eggs that are allegedly WOZO DJs if the continued replays of butthurt feelz were really worth it. The response was a continued double down on stupid, rather than engage in an honest discussion about what really happened. Now instead of being known for honesty, a commitment to free speech, and inclusivity of all ideas, WOZO is seen as a two-bit station with a “team” of teacup pirates behaving poorly when confronted with speech they don’t like.

Here is the truth of the WOZO “ban.”

Aaron Campbell was a dues paying DJ at WOZO who went through their arbitrary process to become a DJ. He came from commercial radio and several of the DJs at the station hated him for it.

He launched a four hour show on Tuesdays called “That Midday Show” which quickly became one of the most successful and listened to shows on the station. In fact, he pulled off a live broadcast at Scruffy City Hall during the Scruffy City Comedy Festival featuring several of the festival’s headliners.

I was a part of that broadcast, as I was a part of many. One of the first people to pitch an idea to Aaron for that Midday Show, I ran the “news desk” and developed the “Headlines” and “Final Thought” segments. During “Headlines” we would riff off stories that I’d find during the week that were funny or unusual. The “Final Thought” was pulled straight from the Jerry Springer show, and we made great fun of it by playing the Jerry Springer music at the end of the segments.

Early January, Aaron came to me to see about rebranding the fourth hour of That Midday Show with a new name, and have me as the “host.” I was never a DJ, and never had any intentions of paying the station’s “dues.” The name change was well within his rights, and as a DJ he had every right to kick me off the air whenever he chose. If he felt like a line was crossed, all he had to do was cut my mic and excuse me from his home studio.

We started the Sit Down. Our listens doubled within two episodes. By Episode three people were objecting to content they’d never heard. Eventually, the station’s DJs concocted a narrative that I was disrespectful to their DJ staff and the station, that I wasn’t a DJ that had ever contributed a single bit of time, money, or energy to their station, and that I was asking for special treatment on their platform.

Yes. I was disrespectful to the people who allowed a DJ to assault my producer, then banned him for being assaulted for the end of calendar year 2016. The way I see it, they deserved what they got. I never had any intention of paying DJ fees. I actually encouraged my producer to split from the station after the assault and subsequent suspension, but he decided to play nice with WOZO and kept broadcasting once the “conflict response team” lifted his suspension on That Midday Show.

Taking “The Sit Down” and repackaging it as deeply conservative was a move on my part to stick it to the people who wronged a friend. That the content struck a nerve with the “progressive” leftists at WOZO meant we were doing something right. They called for Aaron to censor or force me to tone down my social media posts. He refused to do so, being a sensible adult, and pointed out that if I were to tone down my attacks at WOZO for stifling free speech, then WOZO’s DJ “team” should extend the courtesy of not attacking me.

Three episodes later the station now has negative international attention, lost their biggest show, and gifted That Midday Show and The Sit Down the ability to run ads, make money from the broadcasts, and do whatever we want. We are now uncensored, no holds barred, 100% politically incorrect if we so choose.

Every attack WOZO’s DJs take to “own” me simply gives me more attention. Attempting to “blacklist” me from performing “comedy” is ridiculous move as I don’t even do standup or perform at comedy shows. What it does do is expose the Tolerance Police for what they are: cowards who can’t stand ideas with which they disagree.

And I’ve got more eyes on me than ever before. Suck it, haters.