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

Brad Pitt: 2; Colin Kaepernick: Many

This post is not about the flag.

This post is not about the anthem which is unsingable by amateurs and professionals with limited vocal range. Also, how can this be our national anthem when it contains obscure racist references in the higher numbered verses? I digress. This post is not about the objectionable words in the anthem either.

This post is about the mechanics of fixing systemic woes.  Today I’m looking at sexism and racism.

First up sexual harassment, sexism, systemic misogyny.

We submit as our first piece of evidence, Brad Pitt.

Brad Pitt, the actor, can save the world from zombies, Nazis, and fly fish on a river like a boss. Based on cinematic evidence, he can take direction.

Brad Pitt, the man with relationships with two women — Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie — confronted Harvey Weinstein and told him to back off on his womenz or whatever.

Brad Pitt, his person, him personally, he was not victim to Harvey Weinstein’s behavior. Brad Pitt did not extend his considerable voice, talent, power or risk his livelihood to act beyond the little sphere that influenced … wait for it …

Him. Just him.¹

Brad Pitt did not extrapolate that Harvey Weinstein’s behavior — sexual harassment, assault, abuse — extended to the larger body politic of women. That it extended to all of Hollywood — producers and beyond.¹

Next up, racism.

We submit as our second piece of evidence, Colin Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick, the NFL quarterback for the San Francisco 49-er’s did what Brad Pitt couldn’t or wouldn’t or just plain old didn’t bother to do.

Colin Kaepernick extrapolated that a system broken for Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, and the list goes on, included him and he protested.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

Colin took a seat. A team mate requested that he’d rather Colin took a knee.

So Colin took a knee.

And as a result of consistently protesting systemic racism at the start of a football game, a game, Colin Kaepernick, the very good NFL QB, is currently unemployed. His is a serious protest.  He put his livelihood on the line. We could not ignore him, we could not choose to not pay attention.

This changes us all.  The conversation is opened. And we are uneasy. Some are angry that he choose to take a knee during the National Anthem. Some are angry that he is disrespecting the flag. The red, white and blue.

And I would guess that some are angry they didn’t think to do it sooner. It is an effective protest extending beyond Colin himself, a single lone individual. His protest extends to the 13.3% of Americans that are African Americans and reaches beyond his sphere of influence to all of us.

Maybe the 50.8% of Americans that are women can find a Colin Kaepernick kind of champion? Wonder Woman? Ryan Gosling? We have enough crickets.

We know it isn’t POTUS Trump.¹ He has a place setting at the Harvey Weinstein table. With Bill Cosby. Bill Clinton. That is also a long list.

It’s a very large table.


¹Inglorious Basterds

  • Quentin Tarantino:actor, director.

Since I first started this post, Quentin Tarantino has also stepped forward as knowing of Harvey Weinstein’s sexual proclivities years ago. And with this knowledge, he … wait for it … did nothing.

  • Matt Damon
  • George Clooney

These two knew HW was abusive. Given their name recognition, talents, money, white maleness, they acted. And did … nothing.

Baby bump stocks.

The game show Wheel of Fortune features the category ‘Before & After.’

I’ll play. Baby bump stocks.

Baby bump is the swell of a woman’s abdomen during pregnancy.

In an effort to quash any demon spawn evidence of carnival carnal knowledge or resulting offspring requiring 18+ years of housing, food, clothing, healthcare, education, love, hugs, parenting, Representative Tim Murphy, a strident anti-abortion advocate, encouraged his extramarital squeeze to terminate her pregnancy.  Evidently Rep. Murphy is unaware battle plans are great until the first encounter with the enemy. I hate that “enemy” is an unwanted pregnancy, but there you have it.

Bump stocks. In my news feed, I read “Bump stocks are selling briskly” and my first thoughts were “am I am invested in any bump stocks? what is a bump stock? is this an accessory to bit coin?”

Then I read the entire headline.

“Bump stocks are selling briskly since attack.” The day after a gun souped up to be a weapon of mass destruction rained down terror on high from the Mandalay Bay casino into the crowd of concert goers in Las Vegas, I learned bump stocks are a gun part and not a classification of stock traded on Wall Street.

So here we are at the end of the week. In concert with the NRA the GOP has determined that bump stocks are “out” and baby bumps older than 20 weeks will also be “out” as in, “in” all the way to pregnancy end.


After the murder of Dr. George Tiller in 2009, Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish ran a thread on late term abortions called “It’s So Personal.”

I recommend reading the entire thread. It exposes the anguish and heartache of couples and individuals faced with a late-term pregnancy gone awry. Quoting the first reader: “It’s easy to take sides on abortion in the abstract because we only think of healthy babies.”