Hold On

Hollywood, CA – Nov. 10, 2018:

Yes, the Malibu fires ARE that bad.  Put it this way, I live in the hills of Hollywood – way, way, waaaay on the other side of town from the beach – and I can smell the smoke INSIDE my house.

Boo hoo, hoo, says our Electoral College POTUS.

This is me restrained… VERY restrained #srsly #heistheWORST

That threat came hours after the fire became unsustainable, destroying at last count 70,000 acres of land and 67,000 structures as it killed 11 people (note: now 25) not lucky enough to be among the 250,000 evacuated from their homes.

Oh, and as of this writing, that fire is still only 20% contained.

California beach community Congressman Ted Lieu quickly responded to the person we Californians now at best refer to as the vile sociopath.

You know.. just the basics about the government YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF

Okay, fine, perhaps the vile sociopath phrase is mine.  But at the moment it’s safe to say I speak for the majority of the state.  And then some.

Sensing he was in the crosshairs as he jetted to Paris, where he decided to skip the ceremony he came for that honored military sacrifices in WWI, the VS (Note: Or  someone) tweeted this 15 hours later:

Of course, that’s how it goes with VSes (Note:  All right, my phrase, but feel free to appropriate).  The only thing greater than the lie is the non-apology fix soon afterwards when they fear they’ve been caught showing their true selves.

Yet I, for one, am hopeful.  There are almost three dozen new women coming to our rescue on Capitol Hill by way of the 2019 Congress, the overwhelming number of whom are Democrats fed up with the VS’s insults and illogic.  It should be noted that’s A LOT more than the mere 24 who came to town in 1992, which was dubbed The Year of the Woman.

Having been raised essentially by strong women this remains unsurprising to me.  The gals/ladies/females/smarter sex are used to cleaning up the messes that we boys make and they do it quite effectively.

Here she comes #WATCHOUTBOYS

I was going to write they occasionally even do it dancing backwards in heels in reference to the old Ginger Rogers-Fred Astaire trope, but even in jest that felt pejorative.  Especially since among these women are a CIA agent, a nuclear engineer and a nurse.  Not that they don’t dance or wear high heels, but still…

Of course, my favorite is Kansas’s Sharice Davids, a Native American lesbian who is also a mixed martial arts champ.  She’s someone who can literally kick some ass, and hopefully she’ll do it in heels.

BADASS

Meanwhile, it is also worth noting that at last count a whopping 58% of the candidates Barack Obama endorsed WON on Election Day vs. 28% of the ones our VS-in-chief spoke up for.  And that is before the two recounts in Florida for senator AND governor, as well as the potential runoff for the governorship in Georgia.

While we’re noting, let’s also remind ourselves that the Democratic challenger for governor in Florida, Andrew Gillum, is Black, as is Georgia’s potential governor, Stacey Abrams.  Let’s also be aware that both state’s elections have been rife with accusations of voter suppression, voter roll purging and just failure to count all of the ballots in heavily Democratic and/or Black neighborhoods.

Here’s a photo of a box of provisional ballots left in the closet of an elementary school in Florida’s heavily Democratic Broward County.  It was found there by an elementary school teacher two days after Election Day.  And yes, the teacher was female.

Oh hello there. #isthisreallife #TVepisodeplot

You might remember Broward County as the scene of many election debacles in decades past #BushVGore.  MSNBC’s Joy Reid, a former 14 year Florida resident, says one reason is that Broward is heavily Dem, and in a fairly Republican state like Florida it gets the dregs of voting attention by the electoral powers-that-be.

On the other hand, people do make mistakes.

The 2016 election was one of those.   And then some.

Melissa Etheridge – “Hold On, I’m Coming”

 

 

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I’m With Her (Duh)

screen-shot-2016-11-06-at-4-05-55-pm

I’m The Chair and I approve this message.

Let’s get this out of the way first.

1. There is NO LACK OF ENTHUSIASM for the election of Hillary Clinton to be the 45th president of the U.S.

I don’t know everything but I do know bullshit. I know it EXTREMELY well as a trained journalist who segued into entertainment public relations and then became a screenwriter and college professor. Every job I’ve ever HAD has required me to professionally expose or shovel bullshit. Mountains of it. And I’m here to tell you, tens of millions of people are dying for, praying for, jonesing for Hillary to be back in the White House in January.

... and this time in a better office #niceview

… and this time in a better office #niceview

We live in a world of manufactured memes propagated on social media. When I was young the term was propaganda. When my parents were young they called it gossip. Refer to it how you will but don’t swallow it.

The no one really likes Hillary line of attack is just that – a line. It’s an easy way to categorize a worker bee pol who was been around for four decades doing grunt work – sometimes successfully, other times controversially, and most times with an extreme intellect and take no prisoners or many prisoners style, depending on your choice of metaphors.

The LINE is an easy way for competing media and political outlets to categorize her, drum up clicks and controversy and, thus, create viewers and readers, which in turn morphs into manufactured news, which then presumably morphs into ratings and sales. I mean, you have to poll and report on SOMETHING the public can easily UNDERSTAND these days, right? What’s more understandable than – NO ONE IS REALLY EXCITED ABOUT YOU because, let’s face it, NO ONE REALLY LIKES YOU?? Uh…HER! 

Know it when you see it

Know it when you see it

It’s lazy thinking, lazy reporting and even lazy meme-ing. (Note: And so 1972 high school). Though lazy is not necessarily bad if it works. But in this case, it won’t. Which brings us to –

2. We HAVE TO STOP a racist, fascistic, sexual predator, know-nothing, non-studying, mentally ill misogynist, loose cannon, like Donald Trump from bringing down civilization.

This is neither gossip, meme, nor bullshit. Take the next hour and consider #KremlinDon with the key to the nuclear codes and the might of the entire American military at his tweety bird-like fingertips. No, not a minute, not five minutes – a FULL HOUR. (Note: We’ll wait).…. Okay, well many tens of millions have ALREADY thought long and hard about this for more than the full 60 Minutes (Note: Oh, if only Mike, and not Chris Wallace were still alive to do THAT interview) and have done the work for you. Hence the massive nervous breakdowns many of your friends and neighbors have been having for the last several weeks and why they all and more WILL be turning out in droves on Election Day.

Watchin' the polls like Tippi (credit to brilliant former student Chris Ryan for this gem)

Watchin’ the polls like Tippi (credit to brilliant former student Chris Ryan for this gem)

Indeed, the no one likes you meme can cut both ways and, in this case, will in turn translate into: everyone is terrified of you because you’re nuts so we have to stop YOUR election. And thus we WILL vote for Hillary. Happily. Enthusiastically. And Massively. Even if it has to be HYSTERICALLY.

I'm GIDDY for Hill

I’m GIDDY for Hill  #butchaareBlanche

To put it another way, I come from a betting family and am willing to lay all kinds of odds right now that there are more American voters fearful of a world drenched in orange rage that there are those repelled at the thought of four years of jewel toned power pants suits. Not that there’s anything wrong with the latter. Which moves us finally to

3. HILLARY IS THE BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB AND WILL MAKE A DAMNED GOOD PRESIDENT.

HILL YES

HILL YES

For God (or whatever you believe Him or Her to be) sakes – what the hell does this woman have to do to prove herself? Crusading lawyer for children’s rights and civil rights in the sixties; First Lady of Arkansas in the seventies; Mom in the eighties; First Lady of the U.S. in the nineties; Senator from N.Y in the early aughts.; Secretary of State in the late aughts: Best-selling author in the 2010s. Or how about early fighter for single payer health care? Early fighter for women’s rights in… China of all places? Not to mention, wife of a serial philanderer who has somehow managed to keep her marriage together for more than 40 years?!! (Note: Okay, for me the latter doesn’t really carry much weight but why not throw it in in hopes of getting at least a few more votes from the precious “white suburban women” they keep drumming into our heads about).

The emails? Really? No, no — REALLY? When Russia, Wiki Leaks and others have pretty much hacked into and cyber-stolen data from this many American political groups, corporations and yes, even government agencies all over the world? As we have done to them and pretty much everyone else? Do you think much of ANYTHING is secure? And really, wouldn’t you have had your own private server 10 years or so ago if you could have managed it, instead of two, three or four cell phones and/or Blackberrys? (Note: This was before the IPhone 6, 7, 8 OR 9).

The meme that I would be OK with never seeing again #GROAN

The meme that I would be OK with never seeing again #GROAN

There is no lifelong politician or non-politician with whom you will agree with on everything. Not Bernie Sanders. Not Gary Johnson. Not Jill Stein. In fact, there is no person in your life you will concur with on every question in the world. But that is reality. That is what makes the world, and life, interesting. And challenging. It’s not always about who would be the most fun to have over for dinner, or even a beer (Note: Though I just bet Hils would be quite entertaining with just one, or maybe even two glasses of wine. But I digress…)

Dreaming is good but this is a sad, dirty election in the here and now of 2016. Only one of two people will be president – Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. And it is closer than any of us imagined. I believe Hillary Clinton is the most qualified and WILL WIN despite the kitchen sink mentality of a significant group of Americans, many of who have legitimate gripes with their current reality. But it’s closer than it should be – scary close because even relatively close is scary when our other choice is not only generally uniformed but specifically mentally ill.   (Note: That’s not hyperbole. He’s a textbook sociopath).

The New Yorker nails it again #nevertrump #never #ever #ever

The New Yorker nails it again #nevertrump #never #ever #ever

Hillary is brilliant and knows where the bodies are buried. She’s proactive, nothing stops her. And she’s more liberal than Dems and liberals think, and more reasonable than conservatives FEAR and/or are saying. I am HONORED to vote for Hillary. It’s not a compromise for me or millions of others. In any year. But especially this one — when she is running against an unbalanced racist –a person who knows NOTHING about laws and government and the principals of freedom of speech and due process. Would you want a brain surgeon opening your head if you had a tumor or someone who plays one on TV and has NEVER even watched an operation, has NO SCHOOLING with a scalpel and no interest in learning? In fact, little interest in anything that in some way doesn’t have to do with his own id?

This is why #ImWithHer. If not for myself, then for every millennial I’ve ever taught and every woman I’ve ever met. Make that every American I’ve ever met.

Black, White and Mute

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 12.38.42 PM

I wrote the following paragraph back in August – a few days after teenager Michael Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson on an otherwise ordinary summer day.

As a white person you shake your head at the television screen when you watch the police in Ferguson, MO tear gas mostly black protestors who are on the street because an 18 year old African American male with his arms raised in the air was shot six times and killed by a white patrolman who seems to have been allowed to vanish into thin air.

We have since learned and experienced quite a bit. Among them is the officer’s name, location and story of what happened – which directly contradicts that of several eyewitnesses, one of whom law enforcement officials did not bother to interview until many days later.

... what Amy said

… what Amy said

We have also gotten to know Mr. Brown’s family through numerous television interviews and statements (well, as much as you can) and have seen their pain publicly projected across the world courtesy of our uber-advanced, ever-evolving global communications systems.

We have done even more.

We have observed as numerous political figures from white and black communities have demanded that once and for all we attempt to address why it is so many young black men seem to be getting shot these days by white male authority figures while we have noticed almost simultaneously the white male authority figures in Missouri, led by Ferguson’s district attorney and the state’s governor, digging in their heels and indignantly railing against the protestors who dare to question and cross the line in frustration as their anger explodes through the streets.

Asking the right questions

Asking the right questions

We have also participated, virtually and otherwise, as this anger spreads to most major cities across the country where other indignant authority figures are no doubt lying in wait trying to control events from their offices and court houses so as to avoid the inevitable next racial and very public catastrophe.

As if the latter is even possible – especially with that strategy.

So what is next and advisable? On the former point, probably a lot of chatter and attempts at some legislative adjustments until the next shooting happens. What is advisable? Well, shutting up and listening without speaking would be a start. This is not cynicism but merely fact based on recent history. And it’s mostly directed to the white people reading this.

The New Yorker nails it with their recent cover

The New Yorker nails it with their recent cover

As a very white person I’m angry and, quite frankly, don’t even know what to think or do about any of this. After all, Ferguson, MO, like Sanford, FL, the city where another black male teenager, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was murdered last year by a neighborhood watchman, is not Alabama or Mississippi – the historical epicenters for the gunning down of unarmed young black men in the U.S.   Heck, neither one of them are even in the Deep South.

I don’t know what you do or think about all of this if you’re black – especially a young black male. Though I would imagine back in August that at the very least I’d have been on the streets and would probably have stayed there past midnight. (Note: Even before I first became a teenager at the tail end of the turbulent 1960s, curfews were never my strong point). After the exoneration of the man who shot Trayvon Martin, followed by exoneration of Officer Wilson from any wrongdoing in the shooting of Michael Brown, which, only several days later, was followed by the shooting of a 12 year old black boy in Ohio by a police officer because the guy thought the toy gun the kid was pointing was real – well, at the very least I’d now not only take to the streets but would try to destroy something, or even someone. Though in my case, it would probably be through nasty, sarcastic, cutting words. This is understandable because those are the weapons I grew up around and have been trained with. Had I had another kind of life, well… who can say?

A different version of "bad breath"

A different version of “bad breath”

What I did do in desperation was email a former student and friend/writer colleague of mine – who happens to be tall, African American, male and in his mid-twenties – and pled with him in a caring yet somewhat humorous way to “please, please, please be careful.” I did this because I felt as if I had to attempt something concrete other than to rant and rave. Besides, I know that sarcastic, cutting words are, to a large extent, also his weapons of choice. And he brandishes these weapons quite well, almost as well as I do. My fear is that as a journalist covering those events, or as a twenty-something guy in the Midwest buying a smoke or even a soda at his local convenience store, he’d launch his ammunition in exactly the wrong direction. I couldn’t let that happen. In my mind, this was perhaps one small thing I could prevent. Though in retrospect my gesture feels awkward and ill-advised. Still, it’s not the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Or will do in the future.

gBx185u

To those who want to categorize my musings as pseudo liberal crap or white guilt (or both) let me brutally honest. I respect both the law and law enforcement and imagine that being a beat cop in any city in the US is a scary proposition these days. And let’s be even more blunt, it’s probably more than a little bit scary for white guys who patrol black neighborhoods given how these white guys are perceived and dressed. And given reality. But what also seems a given, more than a given, is that if you are a trained policeman there is no reason in the world to shoot an unarmed 18 year old 6-10 times (the latter being the number of bullet shells found in the area) in order to prevent him from…well, doing anything. I would think three or four plugs from a decent officer would do it and even if he weren’t a very good shot. Wouldn’t you?

That being said – here’s the truth. I’m sickened and embarrassed for my pigmentation. Seriously. As a gay, Jewish, somewhat short guy (Note: That’s triple minority status), I have tried through the years to reason with fellow whites on the privilege of being in the majority and the marginalization of “the other.” I particularly did this with my parents’ friends when I was younger and as you can see – well, a lot of good that did. I have even continued to do so through the years though nowhere near as vehemently. Then again, you find that as time goes on you don’t have the energy to do everything – or really, anything – quite as vehemently.

... and social media only makes it worse

… and social media only makes it worse

That being the case let’s try a new tactic. And that would be to spread the word for white people – and particularly our political leaders in Missouri, Florida and Ohio (the latter being the location of the most recent shooting of that pesky 12 year old) – to NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD. Rather, hand over the stage to the protestors – preferably the non-white kind, and HEAR what is being said. Do not simply listen, but HEAR. And then, HEAR some more. Continue on and then… ZIP IT. Zip it GOOD. Because now you need the time to THINK AND REFLECT. Make that a long time.

I have no idea what to tell the black community to do at this point. Which should be a welcome relief to them – especially coming from a white guy.