A Sundry Assortment of CAPS LOCK ON!

Game on. Rage on. CAPS LOCK ON.

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Fire in reflection.

Bravery in the Face of Indifference

Before I get to raging, I would offer a CAPS LOCK ON, BIG BOLD THANK YOU to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. The perfunctory nod to a full vetting of a Supreme Court Justice nominee yesterday by the GOP-chaired Judiciary Committee was a sideshow shamshow spamshow. And yet she persisted. Silence would have been easier. Never say a word and she could watch her teenage attacker take a rightful hard-earned SCOTUS seat of white male privilege he assumes.

In the recount of her assault thirty-plus years on, the hurdles she had to leap to be seated in her seat of testimony, the emotions she still lives with, Dr. Blasey Ford is the face of civic bravery.

#IBELIEVEHER

#IBELIEVEDRFORD

Kavanaugh Circus Shamshow Spamshow

Yesterday women listened to Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee of the assault she experienced as a teen at a party with SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Women across the country listened. And wept. Vivid memories were recounted for the circus shamshow spamshow the GOP reluctantly hosted to demonstrate THEIR COMPLETE LACK OF RESPECT FOR WOMEN, CONSTITUENTS OR OTHERWISE.

Dr. Blasey Ford has been haunted 34 years by the sound of the laughter of her attackers as they walked down the stairs, back to the party. Laughter while she made a hasty exit. In the echo chamber of the internet void yesterday, the webs and live broadcasts filled with different stories, other lyrics sung to the same tune. Abuse, attacks, violence lived through and past and what they can’t forget. What sticks. What haunts.

The pain of the laughter of their attackers in retreat.

Laugh it off.

It.

Objects are ‘it’.

WOMEN ARE NOT ‘IT’.

Hacking Anonymity

The New York Times recently ran an article about Defcon 2018, hackers and anonymity. The tech world has been dissed in the last few years for being too insular, too exclusive. It has been difficult for women to gain a foothold in STEM technologies. Intelligence is not enough.

Concurrent with hackers losing anonymity, the formerly anonymous Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, isn’t. She had to rally her troops, tough it out, move, hire security. She requested the FBI investigate and corroborate her assault. Maybe a chance that she could remain anonymous, but no.

And so it seems fitting that the first portrait featured in the NYTimes article is Nico Sell, a WOMAN.

And I’m conflicted. I celebrate Ms. Sell’s achievements and recognition for dark web expertise.

I tend toward disgust that I think the NYTimes is pandering to the current women’s movement.

The Fall of Wisconsin, by Dan Kaufman

I read a review of the recently published The Fall of Wisconsin by Dan Kaufman.

Once we were a progressive state. I guess now we’re a regressive state. Roads here are the 2nd worst in the country to which I say, what else needs to be wrecked to take 1st place? It can’t be much more less. The Safe Transportation Over Politics (STOP) has renamed potholes “Scott Holes” in honor of current Governor Scott Walker, the self-serving political opportunist who grasps for the national brass ring, Koch money, FauxCons.

And it is Fall in Wisconsin! The leaves turn, the acorns fall, the squirrels chunk up, the sun barrels toward the solstice and rises later, sets sooner. The air is crisp. Cold enough for the furnace to occasionally kick in.

And so, as the winter solstice approaches with the speed of the earth around the sun, I hope November 6th brings with it a metaphorical political solstice. We have wintered through the Walker.

VOTE!

Calendars

I watched the Senate Judiciary hearing yesterday. Some thoughts and prayers:

  • Brett Kavanaugh is an angry man. Fuming, spitting angry with a disproportionate response for one who claims innocence. Definitely unbefitting, undesirable, unacceptable behavior for a Supreme Court Justice.
  • If he is seated, my prayers are with Justices Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor. If I were in their robes, I would choke the living spam out of him just on principle. And that is why I expect more of Supreme Court Justices. They are better persons than me.
  • Brett Kavanaugh has calendars. Calendars from HIGH SCHOOL! What the spam!? That was a Mitt Romney and ‘binders full of women’ moment.
  • Elaborating on small details from high school and then college, I could only think ‘guilty, guilty, guilty’ and if not guilty of the charge, guilty of something. He is definitely not SCOTUS material. Not temperament or character.
  • Under cross-examination, an exacting intellect, a kind personality, an individual intent on maintaining the independence and reputation of the judicial branch would not default to aggressive and defensive language. And Brett Kavanaugh was aggressive. When he was yelling — privileged, immune, elite, unaccountable – it was a short leap to imagine him as Dr. Blasey Ford described. I cry for her all over again.
  • Someone should check on Ashley Kavanaugh. Judge Kavanaugh’s comportment and delivery of his opening statements seemed to be those of an abuser. Intimidation, outrage, denial, shifting of blame. His were the opening statements of an innocent man? Nope. Not buying it.

Based on his opening statements and comportment throughout the hearing:

  • BRETT KAVANAUGH DOES NOT BELONG ON THE SUPREME COURT.
  • BRETT KAVANAUGH SHOULD BE REMOVED FROM HIS CURRENT POSITION AS A FEDERAL JUDGE.
  • BRETT KAVANAUGH IS NOT A SAFE PERSON.

STILETTOS!

I end with this observation.

Women are taking big steps, huge strides forward to claim, inhabit, and create space for safety, sanctuary, equality.

#METOO will be self-hobbled by fashion if Net-a-Porter is any harbinger of trends, and it is. I flip through its pages looking for a sign that it’s okay to wear mom jeans again, and it is, but I digress.

The latest issue features the article Stepping Back Into Stilettos by Gianvito Rossi. Well isn’t that wonderful? What’s next? Corsets? Foot-binding?

WE WILL INTENTIONALLY HOBBLE OURSELVES FOR FASHION.

HOW ABOUT, LET’S NOT?

PSA: Wisconsin — Power to the Polls!

A Viva Public Service Announcement:

Power to the Polls is coming to Milwaukee, WI on July 28!

When:

Saturday, July 28,  2018

12:00 PM – 5:00 PM CDT

Where:

Bradley Tech High School

700 S 4th Street

Milwaukee, WI 53204

This is an opportunity to encourage others to participate and represent in our democracy. If you’re in the Milwaukee metro area and available, please:

  1. Register for this event.
  2. Mark your calendar.
  3. Show up.
  4. Actively participate with others in grassroots political engagement, and please …
  5. Be heard by being seen and have fun!

From the Power To The Polls website:

“The day will include speakers, performances, canvassing, phone and text banking, postcard writing, food trucks, fellowship and more. Additional details will be posted to the Facebook event.

“Wisconsin’s marginalized and progressive communities have been attacked by voter suppression efforts which also impacted the 2016 election results. There’s too much at stake in this election to sit on the sidelines. We have a real chance to turn things around and build a progressive majority. This year, we won special elections in Wisconsin Senate Districts 1 and 10, and we elected Rebecca Dalletto the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Voters are saying to the racist, sexist, xenophobic, ableist, and transphobic policies of the Trump administration and majority in Congress.

We can win by working to amplify the women’s narrative in the electoral space, support local grassroots leaders and elect more women and people of color to public office. The P2P tour is only going to 10 priority states and Wisconsin is one of them, be a part of the movement for victory by registering today!”


Full disclosure: I will be out-of-town during this event but I will be looking for future similar events and will post them here.

A sundry assortment of musings.

Today I will try my best to not pontificate with my bullhorn on my orange crate in my little corner of the internet as I’m wont to do.

Here we go anyway:

Fearless Girl & Time

And not tick-tock time! On December 1, 2017, I identified women who have joined the company of ‘Fearless Girl’ and Time Magazine’s annual Person of the Year 2017 is The Silence Breakers — more company for what ‘Fearless Girl’ represents. The Time stories are painful — “if you do [speak out], your complaint becomes your identity“¹ — but this is literally facing down a figuratively charging bull.

An avalanche started.

GOP Tax reform.

No taxation with representation! And that would be representation in the form of dollars — Kochs, Mercers, Adelsons, et al.

Representation of voters?

Eh, not so much. In word only. Overall,  suppression is going well. Just show up as an adult, present, able and accounted for and it will not be enough.

We require ID.

Eh?

Hard to obtain an ID?

Well, no worries. Our national experiment in a pluralist democracy may be over soon.

And we’ll return to historically scheduled ‘taxation without representation’ programming shortly.

Trump & GOP Tax reform.

He benefits. But his estate benefits bigglier when he is dead.²

Polling all millenials …

Well this is good news! From The Independent, “a majority of young people in America want a third party involved in US politics.”³ And so do I and I feel young again!

I hope Millenials can organize, identify leadership, establish a party platform and a snappy name. Bring it.

I’m here for you kids.

Project Runway Season 16: A new development. Cliff hangers.

In the run up to the finale, Project Runway featured episodes that ended in cliff hangers and we had to tune in next week to see the runway results.

I don’t know whose idea this was, but stop it. Stop it future seasons of Project Runway.

There is too much drama going on in the regular news cycle and it is hard to keep up.  We do not need more drama in our reality TV show competitions.  We need less.


¹ Zacharek, Stephanie; Dockterman, Elianan; Edwards, Haley Sweetland. “The Silence Breakers.” Time Magazine, Person of the Year 2017. December 2017. Web. 08 December 2017.

² And so do the rest of us. Harwell, Drew and O’Connell, Jonathan. “The many ways President Trump would benefit from the GOP’s tax plan.” The Washington Post. 10 November 2017. Web. 08 December 2017.

³ Sampathkumar, Mythili. “Majority of millenials want a third party in US politics, new poll says.” The Independent. 29 November 2017 19:45 GMT. Web. 08 December 2017 11:40 AM CST.

Aside: In a different political environment, I would also include bullhorn screams at Democrats. After all, we should all be better in our struggle for a more perfect union.  As such, due to the current GOP majority rule, I hold my rage at the Dems back.

Fearless Girl has company.

Yass!¹ So earlier this year I celebrated with great lament the future of ‘Fearless Girl’ installed opposite ‘Charging Bull’ on Wall Street. She’s small, she’s tiny, she needs help! And lo and behold, help showed up and here are my nods to a few of the women in the army² standing with and behind her:

  • Serena Williams

I’ll start here with Ms. Williams because even though this is a Gatorade commercial, it is sweet. As a strong, smart, athletic mother, Serena encourages her baby daughter to “please keep playing no matter what.” As should we all Serena. Message delivered. Message received.

PhD in anthropology, expert on authoritarian regimes, speaks Uzbek. It’s a long list. Sarah Kendzior is a boss. If ‘Fearless Girl’ came to life, she would be Sarah Kendzior.  You can follow Dr. Kendzior on Twitter (which provides links to many of her articles) or de Correspondent.

  • Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California)

Don’t waste Rep. Waters’ time. And a thread of truth to power.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-California)

Calls out white lies and the lyin’ white liars who tell them.

  • Rep. Karen Bass (D-California)

Well, this is a trend. Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat calls out our little white lyin’ Attorney General on upholding systemic racism studies and statements.

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)

She persisted. And Sen. Warren continues to persist.

Embedded with white supremacists and neo-Nazis to report on the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. I look forward following her career. And I hope she doesn’t get too tired before she gets old.

After years of silence, the thunder of truth to power.

  • I close the list for today with Uma Thurman, a wrecking ball who is angry balling balls to the wall for balls.³

Yass! ‘Fearless Girl’ has company!

And truth to power, it is a growing army of support.


¹ IRL: In Real Life;  Yass: according to the Urban Dictionary a Scottish way of saying ‘Yes’ in celebration. Also, Viva waves her arms and jumps up and down just saying ‘Yass’!

² And to be clear, I am referring to the non-military definition of army: “a large number of people or things, typically formed or organized for a particular purpose.”

³ Oh so many references to balls! I’ll unpack.

Wrecking ball: A heavy metal ball swung from a crane into a building to demolish it.

Balling – Urban Dictionary: used to describe an individual, situation, or object with well-rounded competence, force of personality, significant affluence, and physical prowess. And Uma Thurman is all that.

Balls to the wall. An engineering term. A picture or in this case a video is worth a thousand words and toward the end of this article is Jay Leno with a physical demonstration of equipment going ‘balls to the wall’.

Balls.  Again with the Urban Dictionary but nuance matters.  I’m looking at balls as “the centre of a man’s life,” (definition #1 provided by DamianRules123, May 23, 2007).

I do believe Ms. Thurman is big, big, bigly, like so big coming for Harvey Weinstein or HollyWood. Balling balls to the wall for balls.

 

The misogyny of women.

misogyny (noun): dislike of, contempt for, or ingrained prejudice against women.
She felt she was struggling against thinly disguised misogyny.”

source: Dictionary.com

Women broke a glass-ceiling of sorts because as it turned out misogyny trumped a long list of horribles to overcome in the 2016 election of Donald Trump to office of President of the United States. Thinly disguised? No full force, thick with contempt , women showed up to vote for a slob born to money with a taste for money and no taste, a sexist, racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, et cetera-phobia, these characteristics in full display slid right off the Teflon Cheeto.¹

If exit polls are to be believed, 53% of the misogynist vote was supplied by … wait for it …

Women. And not just any women. White women. My demographic.

And so I wonder was this vote specific to Hillary? Was this vote in protest of the Clinton political machine? Would the same distaste for a female president have been generated by Elizabeth Warren? Or can this vote be generalized to any woman no matter her experience in politics?

I would like to believe that the vote was specific to Hillary. An old GOP-er businessman told me back in the day that Bill Clinton would win over George H.W. Bush because women vote for the man they’d sleep with. And Bill was way more charismatic than George. But maybe in 2016, the vote that turned out for Bill back in 1992 decided it’s time to punish Bill the serial cheater we slept with all those years ago. 2017: the year to punish Bill. For Hillary. A vote for Trump was a proxy vote against Bill. We support Hillary. Just not for President.

And Hillary had e-mails.
And Benghazi.
And eye-rolling at Senators.
And a basket of deplorables.
And a lackluster campaign .
And a electoral orienteering map that did not include swing states and woo for the deplorables.
Did I mention Bill? This is also a long list.

Hillary Clinton had all that baggage, but I’m still going to go with the other explanation. This vote, the 53% — and let’s face it, a small percent of the 53% are lifelong registered GOP-ers that will run out and vote for any name identified as an (R), we’ll give that league of troubled women voters a pass for now, they are doing what they’ve always done — but the remainder couldn’t stand to vote for the experienced Democrat who happened to be a woman with steamer trunks full of who-knows-what baggage in tow. They couldn’t stand to just stay home and sit this one out.

And now they claim ‘I can’t be bothered with the latest tweet, the latest horror. I’m not political.’

Then why, why pray tell, did you vote?

And I return to bedtime and sleep.

That majority of the 53% were able to work past issues of sexual assault and harassment, multiple marriages, multiple bankruptcies, mocking disabled reporters, encouraging violence against dissenters — ugh, behaviors unbecoming a leader let alone the POTUS — to cast a vote against … themselves. They went to the polls with the certainty that they would sleep better with a sentient Cheeto² and his twitchy Twitter fingers³ governing than to trust someone who might look a little bit too much like them. Someone who in her steamer trunks full of baggage has a mirror that reflects their problems, their insecurities, their lack of charisma and charm right back at them. Hillary looked tired, haggard and when we look in the mirror, so do we. We want her to hang up her pantsuits because so do we. We couldn’t tolerate a woman at the top when we’ve been beaten down for so long. So the message was sent and delivered. Not yet, Hillary. Not yet.

Misogyny. We are woman. We hate ourselves. We are strong misunderstood, misrepresented, and underrepresented. We are afraid. Until we learn to embrace our otherness, misogyny rules the day and it may be a while, but I hope we wake up from this nightmare.

We just might find out we’re capable, creative, honest, fair, humane.

It’s a long list.


¹ Teflon Cheeto.  I don’t recall seeing Prescedense Trump referred to as the Teflon Cheeto before. If I’m the first, I sincerely wish I weren’t.

² Sentient Cheeto.  I have seen Prescedense described this way on multiple sites. I do not know who to credit and I do not want to take credit. So there.

³ Twitchy Twitter fingers — see footnote number 2.  Also, is any publicity good publicity for Cheetos? Asking for Frito-Lay.

A sundry assortment of whoa woe!

This last week the sundry assortment has been full of news that gives me pause to wonder in whoa. And woe in wonder. Shaking my head.

The very same day I was preparing to make the case that Senator Al Franken would make a great choice for President in 2020, Leeann Tweeden reported behavior on his part that is unbecoming a Senator, a President, any grown man.  And since it’s been quite a week, I’ll start my sundry assortment of whoa woe there.

Woe. Senator Al Franken

On vacation this summer I read Al Franken, Giant of the Senate and I was struck that he is a decent man who takes his work as a US Senator very seriously. I like Al Franken.  I was ready for him to run in 2020 because he’d be President af AF. O-kay-ay. That was immature. My bad.

But I was just about to make a case for Senator Franken for POTUS — he’s from the center of the country and not the coasts, populist, great education, entertainment industry experience, hard worker, blah, blah, blah — when, while drinking a fancy mocha latte chatting with my neighbors, Leeann Tweeden came forward with her account of his creepiness on a 2006 USO tour and my little balloon deflated like it had seen a giant dick in the sky a Navy training maneuver.

What to make of this? Saturday, November 18, 2017, Saturday Night Live: Weekend Update with Colin Jost and Michael Che, the same bold show that features Kate McKinnon giving Cicely Strong’s right breast a little squeeze during abduction sketches and has featured all manner of outrageous behaviors  including Al Franken as Stuart Smalley over the last 40+ years, noted that “it [the photo of Franken] looks bad” because it “is bad.” Al Franken was 55. Yes, it looks staged, but one of the participants was sleeping and had given zero (0) consent.  Really Al? Really?

I believe Ms. Tweeden. I believe her account. Mr. Franken forcibly kissed and groped her and he didn’t realize he crossed lines.

And I believe him too. What!?

I believe Mr. Franken because Navy pilots flying planes worth millions on technical maneuvers, use their technical skills to draw a giant sky penis. A naughty prank. And Naughty Al the headlining comedian on a 2006 USO tour was caught misbehaving badly. The culture needs to change. His is a perfect example of incidents that do not seem so bad when you are the perp but are indelible for the target, the victim, the innocent tired woman sleeping …

But women have had enough. Or is it time to change that statement to read: ‘women we have had enough’? The incident was 11 years ago and in the interim, Senator Franken appears to be an ally of women. His written apology to Ms. Tweeden seems genuinely contrite.

And we need individual male commitment to change. Does Senator Franken need to resign as punishment for crimes and misdemeanors committed when a comedian? Where do we allow for change? When do we forgive mistakes? Does an MO that includes serial sexual harassment and assault trump one reported incident? Do we hang Al high because we need to start somewhere and with him, we can?

I watch this with hope however misplaced that his career survives, sadness and woe.

Woe. Museum of the Bible

Woe. The half-billion dollar, that’s ~$500Million USD, Museum of the Bible opened up in Washington, D.C. this last week and I threw up in my mouth a little. There are many brands and flavors of Christianity and this one, this building sports the Hobby Lobby version.

And I’m horrified that there are Christians who do not think separation of church and state is important, who think that the state and their religion should be one and the same all the rest of us Christian Muslims Hindus Buddhists atheists everyone not us sinners be damned.

But then as a fan of Gutenberg and the small press, who reads anymore really?

And it might interest you to know that the grand opening gala for The Museum of the Bible was held at the Trump Hotel in Washington, D.C. No surprise here. It is 1.2 miles from the Trump Hotel — an 8-minute drive by car, or an approximately 24-minute walk.

‘Surrounded by Bibles, Mahon said “I just hope this place can stay open.’ “¹

I just hope this democracy does too.

Whoa! Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) & Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D- NY)

And woe unto Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III sitting in a hot seat.

First up, and addressing the current state of the union, Karen Bass questioned Jefferson B.S, III, the Attorney General of the United States (AGOTUS) on a recent FBI report on black activists promoting or using violence against police officers.  Read about it and watch it here, (The Root), read the full FBI report here (HuffPost).  (Full disclosure: I watched the questioning. I skimmed the FBI report.)

TL; DR? TL;DW? The report referenced black identity extremist groups that are now defunct; incidents against police cited – while making national news headlines — were carried out by individuals who were not members of a black identity extremist group; and most telling, there is no similar report ordered or existing for white identity extremist groups and this is where Karen Bass’ questioning reminding Sessions of the existence of the alt-right and Klu Klux Klan as active white identity extremist groups was so telling.  You could see it right on the tip of Sessions’ tongue. Really. It was like watching a frog realize the water in the pan is boiling …

Second, and addressing past testimony the AGOTUS gave when he was a Senator pushing for the impeachment of Bill Clinton, was Representative Hakeem Jefferies, 8th congressional district of New York. Rep. Jefferies circled Jefferson B.S., III like a python, questioning Jeff B.S. with statements he made while prosecuting a case of a police officer who used “didn’t recall” and how that righteousness justified the prosecution of President Clinton. And then the python started squeezing. Jefferies brought up Jeff BS, III’s own use of the words “don’t recall” 36X at his confirmation hearing, 20X during the current questioning, and “don’t recall” as potentially perjurious. Watch here.

TL;DW? “The attorney general of the United States of America should not be held to a different standard than the young police officer whose life you ruined by prosecuting him for perjury,” Jeffries concluded as his time expired.  (That whole sentence is a link to a ThinkProgress article. IMO, worth the read.)

And why is Sessions still AGOTUS a-perjurin’ and a-sittin’ in the hot seat? Oh. Right. White Lies, I and White Lies, II.

Woe. Whoa! Trump and the GOP Elephants

When I heard that Trump was lifting the ban on importing elephant parts as trophies from hunting abroad, I thought might be a signal to the GOP that game on! We can import better elephant parts than you. And woe.

But then whoa! There was much outrage on both sides of the political isle, it is reported that Precedense Trump isn’t a fan of big-game hunting, and well this was a spot of good news, yes?

Or no.

As always, it’s complicated.

Whoa! Obamacare enrollment ahead of last year.

Whoa! In spite of the reduction in funding for advertising the ACA Open Enrollment period going on RIGHT NOW, sign up here if you need to …

Enrollment is up 45% from last year.  Whoa!

Whoa! 400 sign an open letter on the GOP tax plan.

400 wealthy citizens signed an open letter to the GOP saying ‘you don’t need to cut our taxes.’

Whoa! So many questions, so many comments, so many thoughts.

Does trickle-down economics not work?

Is it possible for the 400 wealthy to trickle down on their own? Do they not trickle because they don’t know how? don’t know where? Do we need taxes to force them to trickle down? Do they lack imagination when it comes to spending for the social good?

And “trickle on down George Soros!” sounds like a game show.

There is so much to unpack here. Macro economics of taxes meets the “micro”-economics of wealthy households meets the “macro”-economics of some of those wealthy households can’t make a macro move without moving markets. Billionaires need to be careful.

And philanthropy. Where does that fit? Philanthropy is good but does not always benefit the “common good.”

Hmmm, economics. It’s complicated. More. Later.


¹Ortiz, Erik. “Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., opens with celebration amid cynicism”. NBC News. 18 November 2017 7:00 AM. Web. 19 November 2017.

A poetry moment: The Grand Ol’ Party.

Coincident with the announcement that Barnum & Bailey were shuttering their circus, the results of the 2016 Presidential Election and in response to the writing prompt “a social situation where the participants are all animals,” I wrote a series of poems that captured my mood in January 2017. Based on poetic evidence after the jump, the mood was dark, dark, dark.

Poetry isn’t for everyone. Furthermore, I warrant that this poetry comes with no quality control, editorial assurance, or even artistry.

If poetry is not your read, move along and let us not speak of it again. Continue reading