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.

Shameless Hawking.

Okay. Shameless is not a relative of Stephen and this is something I didn’t think I’d do this soon ever.

I opened the Viva Escritora Boutique Vending store on Zazzle with a collection of products sporting my Morse Code design of Black Lives Matter. (You can view products on Viva here or go directly to Zazzle here.)

And before I wrote an explainer and backgrounder on the why, the what, of the design, I thought I should test drive of a Viva sweatshirt or coffee mug myself.¹ So I visited Zazzle today and they are currently running a promotion of 30% off clothing if you use the PROMO CODE:

CLOTHINGSALE

And 15% off non-clothing items!  Not too shabby. I don’t know how long they’re running this promo. And if you don’t like the Viva Boutique wares, Zazzle features a whole lot of other designs by others on many different products² and I guess Christmas is coming so there’s that.

Shameless hawking over.


¹ Ann test drove the prototype and told me to get the Zazzle Viva E. Boutique up and running. So I did.

² I can’t vouch for the quality of all Zazzle products, but I have been very satisfied the t-shirts I purchased over 6 years ago.  Many washes, many wears and someone remarked on the Roswell reference on the front of Mr. Viva’s t-shirt last week. So there’s that.

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.

A sundry assortment of cloudy mournings: RIP GOP

In looking into the continuing miasma of malaise filled with complete disillusionment that the GOP party has a patriotic bone left somewhere, anywhere, I’m diving in. Yes, that last sentence is a piece of work, but we’re in mourning for the dad gone all opioid addict punch drunk on money and power in our two-party system struggle towards a more perfect union.


How exciting that low friends in high places have been charged with high crimes! Money laundering, conspiracy against the United States. I’m talking Paul Manafort, Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos here.

Manafort was not so much of a surprise. And I did not know much about Gates or Papadopoulos until today when it was reported that Papa D rolled three weeks ago. Whoa! I can feel the intrigue and suspense building already.

I have a hard time keeping all the players, timelines, and plot points straight so I cross my fingers that John Grisham, Scott Turow, or Lisa Scottoline write a novel(s) that makes all these connections clear to me.  (Note to novelists: Throw in some Russian mob, some religious fanatics and white supremacists for entertainment on the side and I’ll curl up with that page turner and hot tea on a rainy day. Yes, I am shamelessly pandering for a political thriller. Even Cliff Notes on this whole shit storm would be appreciated.)

But first, back to mourning.

The reaction of Precsedense aka POTUS Trump to the news that people he barely knew were indicted in the Mueller investigation was to Tweet: ‘But why aren’t Crooked Hillary & the Dems the focus??’

Well, I’ll take a crack at an answer. Because Crooked Hillary isn’t POTUS. Because Crooked Hillary and the Dems are not in the majority across three branches of government. And well, because there is some evidence that a foreign government messed with the election which gave you Prescedense, you continue conducting your business as if you were not head of state, and you have not released your income taxes.

Releasing your income taxes even to a select committee would go a long way toward reassuring those of us who didn’t vote for you regarding Russian interference in the election, influence in the White House.

Or impeachment.

I mourn that when I type Prescedense, dense really stands out today.


I mourn that the GOP, the party that is concerned with voter fraud is not outraged at the very real, substantive possibility that a foreign country interfered in the 2016 election.¹

As I get older, forgetfulness waxes. Remind me where I voted. Remind me who I voted for. It seems I pose a bigger threat to the GOP than meddlesome dictators abroad.


In continuing this theme of wallowing in a political morass of sadness,² I mourn that the person sitting President of the US has no self-constraint, that in his attention deficient disordered addle he dumps a can of gas, tweets to light a fire and thinks we can’t see what he’s doing.

We’re getting better at managing all the distractions and we see what you did there. We can see your lips moving, we can see the string on the dummy.

I mourn that I am in full agreement with Rex Tillerson.³


I mourn that the official portrait of the Prescedense could be used for the definition of ‘drama queen’ in the dictionary and I would not be outraged or surprised.


I mourn the cognitive disconnect of a Prescedense who can slash the advertising budget for health care insurance while offering advertising as an appropriate solution to the opioid epidemic. While this may be the sincerest form of flattery for Nancy “just say no” Reagan by ripping a page from her playbook, this problem needs a bigger stick.

And here I am again agreeing with the Tillerson moron observation.³ Egad.


I mourn that the GOP promotes life starting at conception but withholds support throughout life until death at which point they pick up again by lowering estate taxes.

And I smile that I worked the two certainties — death and taxes — into a last mournful sentence.

RIP GOP.


I stop now.

Send Kleenex.


¹ Russia. All the way up to Vlad. Vladimir Putin maybe. Prescedense has as much as admitted a bromance with the man. And his horse.

² Overwrought sentence. Oh for crying out loud. Which I guess we are. So there’s that.

³ ICYMI, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called Trump a moron.

Unintended consequences.

While waiting for an oil change for my car today, I was browsing through products on the Houzz app. Due to the ‘view in my room‘ option, I was able to electronically redecorate the waiting area. I placed new seating, a new rug. It would still probably pick up a little whiff of oil but I could see that it would be so much more comfortable.

And home now, I can visualize a pink or a maize tea kettle feature on the front lawn in the manner of a Claes Oldenburg sculpture. Or maybe it should be a large red mixer.

I should probably alert the neighbors.

And I’m pretty sure providing waiting room entertainment and whimsical lawn art considerations is not the use for ‘view in my room‘ the good folks at Houzz intended.

Oh well. Carry on.