Dinner With New Friends

I was convinced by my husband to get off my keister on a weeknight, and in defense of my husband that task alone must feel like attempting to get a Republican health care bill passed by Congress! It’s never anything personal towards whoever we are supposed to meet on a weeknight, but as I often remind my husband – we’re old gays now. We have wine at home and what if I miss Rachel Maddow?

I know, I know I need to work on that. So, off to dinner, I went.

The evening was going swimmingly. Pleasantries were exchanged. I laughed at the jokes and banter of the other couple, and there was also wine – things were going well.

There was a discussion about The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and Madonna. Reality TV and conversation about Madonna at the same dinner, I was in heaven. The Madonna chat was so specific, there was a back and forth about whether Confessions on a Dancefloor or American Life was the better 2000 era album. American Life lost because of the rap Madonna performs in the title song. You didn’t know Madonna

You didn’t know Madonna rapped? Think something along the lines of, “yoga and pilates and the room being full of hotties.” I expressed my love for that album and that song but somehow lost that debate (can you believe that?!). To my friends Ashley and Andrea who had to suffer through my singing of that song during college, I apologize.

I expressed my love for that album and that song but somehow lost that debate (can you believe that?!). To my friends Ashley and Andrea who had to suffer through my singing of that song during college, I apologize.

But the night was going well, and then something happened. Somehow we all jumped in our magic invisible cars while sitting at the table and willing set forth down the road to hell and never looked back.

We broke a rule and began to talk about politics. It was all sort of confusing because I got the sense we all shared similar politics. But Guest B, that’s what we will call him, wasn’t having any of that.

Guest B had just moved to America a few years ago and inevitably discussion lead to how he enjoyed our country. His response, “your country sucks.”

Oh, ok.

He continued, “your country is a piece of shit.”

Oh, oh dear. Danger, danger. Pull back! Turn around! We hadn’t had that much wine had we? What’s happening? If this had been a Real Housewives of New York – Gay Guy Edition episode, this would have been the point when a glass was thrown across the table or the table was cleared in one swoop with an angry arm.

God bless my husband because he was either eating the best orange chicken he had ever had in his life, or he was looking for Gold or a lost child in his Chinese food. Once we went down this road I don’t think I heard from him the rest of the night. He’s clearly the smart one.

Guest B’s boyfriend tried to reel his partner in, but to no avail. There were at least three more “piece of shit country” bombs dropped during the course of the dinner. He discussed our meddling in his country’s politics, our homeless population problem (despite being the wealthiest nation on Earth), our treatment of minorities, and, of course, our most recent election which proved in his eyes that America was full of racist backward bigots. As someone who would consider himself somewhat articulate, I was caught slack-jawed without much to say.

My husband and this guy’s boyfriend stayed quiet, as I think there wisely knew there was nothing they were going to say to change his mind. I think they also realized he liked throwing the bombs under the guise of “telling it like it was” and to see how far he could push.

I will admit, on several occasions, I had the urge to say if you don’t like it here go back to your country. Ugh, GROAN. I always hate that argument as it feels so juvenile. It’s a favorite line conservatives like to use against more liberal and progressive minded people in my opinion. If you dissect the statement you’re basically saying – oh there are problems you think our country should fix? No, we’re not going to do that, shut up about it, and leave. So, I try not to go there.

So despite his bombastic nature, I refrained from saying that. I also had to admit many of his policy issues I agreed with – maybe just not the methods of the messenger. Despite all those points, I took umbrage with calling America shitty. I just, despite everything, fundamentally don’t believe this country is shitty.

I was challenged to name three good things about this country by Guest B. Being put on the spot, I mentioned our capitalist system and that I believed overall and historically has done more good than bad for the middle class (look I am a Republican!). Two, I mentioned that our country does have a diverse population, more than most countries. Third, yes I did this, I informed Guest B that America saved the world from fascism during the World War II.  Hey, I was put on the spot, but that’s what I came up with and he was quiet momentarily.

Continuing on my surge of opinion, I expressed that our country is constantly changing and evolving and that there is progress – even if some try to stop it. He countered that none of that mattered that our country would always be “shit” since it was founded on slavery. Boy, he loved that word shit. I argued that as a black man, I could not accept this idea that the country could never get past that, as the opportunities and life I had in comparison to my Grandparents clearly was proof of positive change and policy. He wasn’t having any of it.

I argued that as a black man, I could not accept the idea that the country could never get past that, as the opportunities and life I had in comparison to my Grandparents clearly was proof of positive change and policy. I also mentioned that I didn’t think it was by accident that out of all the Western democracies, it was America that elected a Barack Hussein Obama and not say France or Germany. He wasn’t having any of it.

There was some railing against Trump, all the familiar tropes that I wholeheartedly agreed with it. I push backed against the notion that everyone who voted for him was inherently racist. I noted that some of the counties Trump carried, Obama carried in 2008 and 2012. I think I received an eyeroll on those points. I was shocked I was defending Trumpsters! Guest B was not having any of it.

My husband continued to live in his plate. I finally stopped arguing.

I walked away feeling that whatever America’s problems are, they can be fixed by people and policy. I truly believe that. If America were a person, I probably would be shaking her every single day and shouting get your stuff together, but I cannot relegate my country to a pile of crap or give up on it. As I reminded Guest B multiple times, show me a country without problems. He reminded me, however, your country is the one that is always talking about “American Exceptionalism.” Guest B had me there – checkmate.

One thing I learned from Guest B, even if he wouldn’t admit it, is that the world does look towards America for leadership, a vision. The world watches and listens to what we say and do. When we fall short and, yes, that happens more than I’d like to see – it is noticed. And even if Guest B would not admit it, he was clearly watching and expecting more out of America too.

I also learned I  will go back to sitting on the couch on weeknights. That dinner was exhausting!




Sean Spicer Has a Tantrum

Aww, poor baby. Does little Seanie need a binky? Is he teething? Did he not have his afternoon nap before coming out to face the music? Is he hungry? Does he have a shitty bum? It would appear that being the White House Press Secretary, especially in this administration, is hard and Seanie doesn’t seem to like it.

Testy, testy, testy Sean!

“The facts are what they are!” Ok, Sean. PUHLEEZE!  We don’t have all the facts, but what we do know does not look so swell, which is why the FBI is investigating these fools! Silly rabbit, tricks are for kids! We know better!

I have said this before, but I almost feel sorry for the man. He has to have the hardest job in Washington right now, which is to publicly come out on television everyday and defend the defenseless, peddling sprinkle covered poo balls on waffle cones and hoping that no one notices the difference from chocolate ice cream.

Unfortunately for Mr. Spicer, while there is clearly a segment of the public that will believe anything that comes out of this White House, the vast majority of the public has a more discerning palate  – and the majority of the American press corps would fall into that camp. No one likes the taste of shit.

April Ryan did not ask any hard questions yesterday. She asked inconvenient questions and, to be sure, this Russia story is most inconvenient but he should be used to this by now. If the sun rises, he should be prepared to answer questions about Russia.

Did he really try and deflect by saying Russian salad dressing? Is he Carol Burnett now? He’s supposed to be funny?

Again, I almost feel sorry for him. At the end of his day, does he sit in his sofa with a beer and cheesecake to eat his feelings? No, he probably needs something stiffer than beer – maybe whiskey. The man mus take a swig of something to come to work everyday and to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic with a smile on his face, although he could work on the smiling part.

It is debatable as to whether or not there is fire with this Russia story, but by God there is a bunch of smoke. The smoke is billowing through all corridors of the White House and out the roof. Most reasonable people would anticipate finding a fire eventually and the press knows this.

Seanie is going to have to get used to April Ryan, and others, asking him the inconvenient questions.

He can huff and puff and pout and belittle reporters, but reasonable people know better. Fortunately for the White House, and unfortunately for him, Republicans have no appetite to truly investigate this matter – yet. They are stalling and keeping independent investigations from occurring. So that buys the White House some time, but that also means poor Seanie is going to have to keep coming out to face another day of pesky reporting and questioning.

Seanie could quit after all and Trump could resign, but that would be too easy.

As my not so politically interested husband said this morning, “cant these people just go away already?”

It is a lovely sentiment, but unfortunately it’s not going to go down like that. Where is the soap opera in that? Where is the history to be made without a fight?

And, Mr. Spicer – if I could make a suggestion. Get some sleep, grab a V8, and get some thicker skin dude, because you’re going to need it working in this White House.

Lastly, and this is most important, stop giving Melissa McCarthy material! You know we’re going to see this skit on Saturday Night Live in the near future.

Let’s Talk About God

Yes, you read that title correctly, I am going to talk about God in the Christian sense. I have been writing this blog for almost three months, and it has given me the opportunity to do two things I love – writing and discussing my viewpoints on politics. The writing aspect has remained enjoyable, but the highlighting of the latest Trump action that degrades our democracy is not always so enjoyable.

When I decided to start the blog, I wanted it to be entertaining while discussing a subject matter that always revs up my personal engines and I feel is important.

I am beginning to struggle with the Trump and the entertaining part of my mission.  I sincerely believe that Trump is trashing our democracy. He is turning our system of government into something I don’t recognize. Too many of the American people and our elected officials are allowing it to happen. I don’t even give two shits at the moment about party affiliation. As an AMERICAN, I am horrified and I feel like everyone should be mortified as well.

The FBI is investigating members of the Trump campaign and maybe the President, although we can’t know for sure, to what would amount to treason. Collusion with a foreign power against our election and democracy, a historic adversary at that, would be treason. For those who think that is hyperbole, take some time to look up the definition of treason as defined by our Constitution and additional laws passed by our Congress and tell me that this is not what this potentially, and appears, to be. See, that’s not so entertaining when you put it like that.

Eh, treason smeason – what’s the big deal about that? Let’s all keep calm and carry on and remain in our partisan tents.

But for now, you know what, I am going to carry on. I have to believe that the truth will come out and the American people if thumped on the head long enough will see the truth. THIS IS NOT ABOUT HILLARY CLINTON. SCREW HILLARY CLINTON. For those who know me personally, you know I must be serious as I have tons of affinity for Mrs. Clinton. THIS IS NO LONGER ABOUT POLITICAL PARTY!

Oy vey!

So I am going to carry on and drink red wine and write. I don’t drink and drive, but I do drink and blog and so today we are going to talk about anything other than Trump – so why not God.

I guess let me just say, I have an estranged relationship with the concept of God – at best. I have to call it a concept because as Whitney Houston told Diane Sawyer, “I wanna see the receipts.” Show me the receipts!  I’ve seen no receipts, no empirical evidence of the existence of God. I have, however, seen evidence of the Congressional Budget Office report about the numbers of people who would be thrown off their health care plans if this horrendous plan circulating through Congress were to pass. I have seen those receipts. I kind of just happen to be a facts sorts of guy. I sometimes wish Americans would get more upset, be more passionate about the things that are happening right in front of them, here on Earth.

Now let me get my disclaimer out of the way right at this moment. It is not my intention to offend anyone with this post. Several of my favorite people on this planet would proudly proclaim their faith in God and how he, she, or it – has helped them get through major trials and tribulations in their lives. They are thoughtful people, intelligent people who I admire and respect.

This is not a knock on anyone who is a person of faith. I am just expressing that this has not been my experience. By the way, if there is a God, I hope it’s a woman and that she’s fabulous and fashionable and calls people out for their crap at the end of days. I hope she is sarcastic and bitchy and says things like, “Gurl, you know good and well you can’t get into heaven after sleeping with that woman’s husband!” Yeah, I hope she says things like that.

Women rock and are strong and stylish and are able to wear thigh high boots and so often have to clean up all the crap men screw up. And just because I feel like God should most definitely be a woman, with my luck that would mean God probably isn’t. Oh well.

There have been moments in my life when I have wondered about a higher being, or the “universe” speaking to me like the time I was playing Neil Diamond at work on the one year anniversary of a co-workers Grandmother passing. Don’t judge me for listening to Neil Diamond by the way! Actually, if I put on my playlist for the public there might be lots of judgment to go around.

It was exactly one year from the day she passed, and I learned that her Grandmother, who she was extremely close with, loved Neil Diamond. The moment seemed to bring her such peace and made her so happy on a day that I am sure was not pleasant for her. My playing music in my office was not unusual, but my listening to Neil Diamond certainly was not my norm.

I am not a huge Neil Diamond fan and, you know, we’re talking about a black gay man (me) and a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx here folks. Neil Diamond probably wasn’t the target audience – the entire thing was a little odd. I don’t know, I have my moments. But, that day always stuck with me, and it was one of those things that I just never felt like a report or science would be able to explain. It just felt larger than me so, anyway, I have my moments where I go…hmm…maybe there could be something to all this, but not usually.

Now let me merge God with my favorite topic…politics…and America.

First, let me say, I personally just believe there is too much suffering in the world for there to be a God, or he or she is really passive, which would then seem to me that exact opposite of what a God would do. And, if God were a woman, we know she would be doing something – women are always doing. So, again, I guess I have my evidence that God must be a man. GROAN.

But, all jokes aside, there is too much suffering on this planet for me to fully be comfortable with the concept of God and if he, she, or it exists – the fact that he, she, or it would allow so much suffering to take place would not endear me to this God.

Second, there does not seem to be any rhyme or reason to good people who suffer or bad people who suffer, or punishment for heinous actions, etc. It’s all so random which, again, for me defeats the entire purpose of the belief in a God.

I have always felt that God must be in over is head or has a really bad secretary or assistant who has not kept him or her abreast of the most important issues that need attention. I know lots of people are calling out for help, are the phones being answered in the God office?  Doesn’t seem like it. Does he only respond to e-mails? What’s the address?

It’s like God is a government employee and the paperwork on Syria, slavery, the Holocaust, fill in the awfulness of your choice, were lost. Do to all sorts of lost paperwork – horrible things are allowed to happen. God is a DMV employee it seems. I am sure there are some excellent DMV employees by the way. I need my God to be proactive on such matters – no shade to God.

If I don’t wake up tomorrow, I suppose it will be for this post, but in the spirit of free speech, I am going to risk it! And, besides, an omnipotent and all-seeing God would know all my thoughts anyway, right?

My father always told me that people who don’t do the right thing will get their justice, but you might not always be around to see it. I am kind of an impatient person, so that doesn’t work for me either. I am waiting on the couch, with my popcorn, waiting to hear and see the justice.

But let me get to my third point, and most important, which is the holy rollers and Bible thumpers that seem rampant in this great land that we call America. I think that this is my man problem. Jesus loving and sanctified on Sundays, and miserly, and mean-spirited on say, Monday, like  Paul Ryan – a practicing Catholic who has a serious boner for taking away healthcare for the poor and charging the elderly more for out of pocket costs so he can save a few ducats for his wealthy friends. Huh? Boy, bye! As the kids would say, where they do that at boo?

Hell, I am the gay, Madonna-loving New Yorker and even I know from the smattering of biblical teachings I had growing up that this is NOT what Jesus would do. And a large segment of Americans, belonging to the citizenry of the most wealthy country on this Earth, seem totally ok with this and would, of course, consider themselves to be Christian.

Yes, let’s talk about God. We so often put God into politics when it comes to abortion, how about health-care? How about taking care of the sick? Jesus was all about that, so I have heard.  How about banning the death penalty as the state shouldn’t be about the business of taking a life? Let’s talk about God and let’s talk about policy! Can I get an Amen? A witness? A hallelujah? No, not even one of those things? Eh, I tried.

Here is one thing I can respect about Trump (damn it, I am talking about him). While he is corrupt, vile, unintelligent, racist, narcissistic, ill-equipped, thin-skinned, a stooge for Russia, and most repugnant of all – ORANGE. Why is he still orange?  Anyway, does not bring God into the mix. He has the decency and the cojones to claim that all of his abhorrent thoughts and behavior have been squeezed out of that supposedly brilliant pea sized brain of his. He doesn’t wear his religion (although not sure he is religious), his Christianity, as a badge and then comes out and support laws that steal from the sick. On that account, he is better than someone like Paul Ryan – the supposedly smart and Catholic one.

I guess the worst thing about Christianity and religion, in general, are the so called members. Too many are not good spokespeople for the cause. Hell, most members of Congress belong to some sort of Christian denomination – that does not give me comfort.

So maybe we should talk more about what Jesus would do in the current political climate. Would he be building more prisons and be proud that the stock of private prison companies was going up? Would he advocate building walls and keeping out people literally fleeing death? Would he be so gung-ho to execute 10 prisoners in Arkansas because they are running out of the cocktail needed to perform lethal injections? Would he advocate revoking health care from millions? Again, it’s been awhile since I’ve been in a Church, but I think not. Ah, what do I know, I am just a liberal gay sinner, burning in hell according to some.

Thanks for allowing me to take a sort of Trump break (I know he was mentioned, but come on – I didn’t completely rant about him!). I am sure I will probably end up breaking my no-Trump rule sooner rather than later as the news keeps on rolling in on the Russia front. But, for the next few days, I am going to try and lay off of him for a bit. I think most of us get that story by now.

Thanks for reading.




From Russia With Love – Part Three

Cue the James Bond theme! What an extraordinary day March 20, 2017, turned out to be in American political history. If anyone tells you that witnessing the FBI Director admit, publicly, that the FBI is indeed conducting an investigation into whether or not the campaign of the sitting President of the United States colluded with the Russian government to get said President elected needs a hard slap in the face with a history book.

It’s huge! In honor of 45, it’s YUGE!

Number 45 has not been President for more than 60 days, and his White House is immersed in scandal. Clementine the Great better call Scandal’s Olivia Pope to extricate him from this mess. He needs a real fixer and stat!

As I watch this sideshow, I can’t help but think about President Nixon resigning for a cover-up of a petty office break-in and President Clinton being impeached for being unfaithful to his wife and stupidly perjuring himself in the process. When thinking of those two massive political scandals, the Trump allegations would seem monumental to me. I would believe that Congress would have surrounded the White House with pitchforks by now.

My favorite part of the entire thing is the fact that the Trump presidency is ablaze, engulfed in flames, and no one within his circle is running towards the flames with a pale of water! Meanwhile, the President, apparently gripped by madness in his preoccupation with conspiracy theories and other foolishness continues to douse gasoline on the burning house with his tweets and obfuscation.

Sing it with me folks, BURN BABY BURN!

But what a day! The FBI is investigating the Trump campaign for possible collusion with a foreign government and not just any government, Russia. RUSSIA. The main adversary of the American government and people during the last half of the 20th century. Eh, maybe there is nothing to see here as Sean and Kellyanne and others would have us believe.

Even though everyone around the President claims their hands were not in the cookie jar, they are always wiping chocolate from their hands and crumbs off their chins. Again, maybe there is nothing to see here and this will all go away.

And speaking of Mr. Spicer. Oh, Sean Spicer – that poor unfortunate soul. Can we take out a fund for this man and help pay his mortgage, cover his car payments, etc. – because while his spine has long ago disintegrated, even his innate dignity as a human being is wasting away as he continues to peddle poo to the media for his boss. Let’s pay his expenses so he can dust off his dignity, pick it up off the floor – and walk away from this circus.

Week after week he is trotted out to defend the defenseless, publicly and proudly proclaim and repeat the absurd and debunked, and of course convince the public to permanently suspend their disbelief on a variety of issues. And, so, as par for the course, he tapped danced today in a vain attempt to distract from the stench of scandal.

Poor, poor Sean Spicer – someone pass the collection plate. By the looks of things he apparently hasn’t slept since the Super Bowl, and if this level of scrutiny keeps up, I am afraid he is going to drown in a puddle of his own sweat. It seems unfair really, to have to publicly defend such a seemingly unstable, corrupt, and an ill-equipped man on a daily basis. It also must stink to know that you just keep serving up comedic gold on a platter for Melissa McCarthy on a weekly basis!

Today was a big day! While James Comey confirmed what most sane people who realize the sun rises in the east believed, it still was shocking to watch and hear it be confirmed. And look at James Comey, gossiping Chatty Kathy Jamey Comey, seemingly finding his spine and stating the obvious. However, off topic, can he get a script? Does the FBI talk? Does it not talk? I am not sure we should have had his confirmation about this investigation (as much as I loved it) or that Hillary Clinton nonsense he pulled in late October. Not always sure what to make of Mr. Comey, but maybe that’s intentional.

And if Mrs. Clinton was apparently corrupt, this administration would appear to be an overflowing vessel of corrupt, nefarious and odious actors who are a stain on our democracy.  This entire sideshow, in my opinion, is a big piece of karmic pie for those in Trump’s world and so I hope they all have a large sweet tooth!

So I will keep watching the Trump version of From Russia With Love. While I don’t know what will happen, my reading of the tea leaves does not look good for this President long term, mainly because he doesn’t know how to act and he refuses to learn. His first order of business should be to try to put out the fire, but based on his continued tweets and behavior at the rally in Kentucky last night, he is still standing in the corner with a blow torch.

Stay tuned for the inevitable posting of From Russia With Love – Part Four.

A Little More Grace

I am going to break a few of my own rules today first by posting twice in one day and second by going on a bit of a personal journey. Hopefully, you will indulge me as this will be devoid of my usual snark.

I truly enjoy blogging. I am able to do a little writing and some of you are kind enough to follow and read my political and cultural rants. I try to write these in an engaging and somewhat humorous, albeit extremely sarcastic at times, manner – and hopefully make a point at the same time.

I usually work on multiple posts at once and it might be days before I post one of the drafts. I also sit on a number of ideas until I feel the time is right – revising and waiting until I feel comfortable with the draft, or the right time. Of course, I always find something that I would want to change or express differently or a pesky grammatical error. I don’t know if I love that part of blogging, but it is helping me overcome some of my perfection issues that’s for sure! Once it’s out there in the universe – for better or worse – it’s out there.

Earlier in the week I wrote a post called “Kentucky Fried Stupid,” which I finally posted yesterday. I wrote it and then sat on it for most of the week. There was a hesitancy to post it – it just didn’t feel right. However, after reading more details about this health-care fiasco and being appalled at priorities of the Trump budget being set forth, I posted it in a snit.

I hope the blog is entertaining and topical, with a little comedic snark – maybe a bit sardonic at times, but never flat out mean spirited. Unfortunately, with my “Kentucky Fried Stupid” post I think I crossed the line into mean territory.

Listen, I do believe that a number of Trump voters have been conned and this circus around health-care is incredibly frustrating, but I could have expressed that in another way. I’m also an adult so I can admit when I am wrong or can see multiple points of view, unlike say – the President. See, I believe that was an example of appropriate snark – not mean – but sufficiently snarky for the subject matter.

I am troubled and disheartened by the things I have seen coming out of this administration and I do have a really hard time comprehending how Trump could have any supporters. But, you know, I am not sure if I have taken sufficient time to put myself in the shoes of people who might feel so economically insecure or stagnant in a world of rapid change around them that they can be taken in by a man who provides simplistic solutions and lots of blame for their predicaments. Trump must feel good and comforting for these people.

As I typed that last paragraph, there is a part of my brain that is screaming – no Kolbi don’t let these folks off the hook! Everything you said is true and they are horrible people and yada yada yada. But the truth is, while I doubt I have any Trump supporters reading my blog, if they were reading my blog yesterday that would not have persuaded those folks to my side of the argument.

Maybe as opposed to talking about what parts of the country make me scrunch up my nose, I could have taken more time to talk about the benefits of Obamacare. I could have expressed my sincere belief that whatever the faults of the law, I think most can agree that the goal of insuring people is not a deplorable idea and that some of the vitriol leveled at the former President was unfair. I could have said many things.

I often feel that the main problem of people on the other end of the political spectrum is their inability to put themselves in the shoes of the person  with no health-care, the woman in need of an abortion, the person in need of assistance, etc and then judge those people and support laws that ultimately will screw these people over. But, I must admit, I essentially did the same things with a group of people in my “Kentucky Fried Stupid” rant. Oh, and just because I jokingly said I was going to be biased and generalize, didn’t make it cute.

There are many things politically that send me into a rage these days, but I still want to attempt to be decent and believe in my fellow citizens. I plan to extend a little more grace and a little more understanding in the future – or I am at least going to try. In doing this blogging thing, I don’t have a specific snark limit, but I think I feel it in my bones when I have maybe crossed the line. I’ll pay a little more attention to that in the future.

Charlie Chaplin – The New Secretary of State

Rex Tillerson. What to say about Mr. Exxon Mobil? Let me start with this, I gave him a few more points than say, Ms. Betsy “watch out for the grizzlies” Devos, or Dr. Ben Carson who recently taught the world that slavery is just another form of immigration – albeit a little harder. Yes, I gave him more credit than those two cabinet picks. Did I think he would be the next Thomas Jefferson at State, absolutely not, but thought he would do a little better than this.

What’s with this silent movie routine during his press conferences? One of the things that makes our democracy different than say some sort of authoritarian regime is that the leaders pretend to act like the press is important and sometimes put on their big girl panties and answer questions.

The questions shouted at him don’t seem all that difficult, but there he stands awkwardly in silence. I am keeping waiting for him to pull an Ashlee Simpson and do a jig off the stage once he realizes that the music has stopped and he can’t lip-synch or mime his way out of this particular pickle. As an aside, if you have not seen or don’t remember that little gem of Ms. Simpson on Saturday Night Live, please go YouTube it.

But really, we need a Secretary of State that speaks! We also need one that does not reportedly need naps and extra rest so early on in his tenure, but I am going to be kind today and keep quiet about that.

More upsetting than his silence may be his complicity with the planned gutting of the State Department. In what job, and on what planet, does anyone ever agree to having massive cuts to the departments that they run? Trump plans to slash millions from the Department of State and his chosen Secretary of State seems to see no harm or any potential repercussions from this action. I am paraphrasing, but he seems to believe that because of increased military spending – there will be less wars and thereby American diplomacy will not be needed as much around the world. Huh? Come again. If he is going to espouse opinions like that, maybe he should keep his Charlie Chaplin routine going.

I don’t expect Tillerson to let out a tirade against what Trump plans to do (Trump is his boss after all), but some gentle push back would be nice. Some convictions about the importance of American diplomacy and “soft power” would be welcome, but he probably doesn’t know or believe in any of that – he is an oil man with no government experience. Also, I am aware that their is an anti-government fervor that has swept across the country. We don’t need to fund things like the National Endowment for the Arts or programs for the poor, but State? As a reminder for all those anti-government folks, State is one of those pesky departments that go back to the country’s founding – so it was deemed important in 1789 and certainly has not lost it’s importance in 2017.

So I am disappointed in this road we are heading down with Tillerson, but I suppose I should not be surprised at this point. Let me put him the unqualified boat with DeVos and Carson and so many others.




Kentucky Fried Stupid

Behold the amazing, glorious irony of a group of people ignoring and trashing a law for years that has benefited them, and proudly voting in people wanting to take away that benefit, only for the obvious consequences of such votes finally coming to fruition. Now, it appears, folks are upset.

What did these people think was going to happen? Dumb – just dumb. I call it a special version of dumb, Kentucky Fried Stupid. Trump and the Republicans are, after all, only doing what they said they would for years in regards to Obamacare.

Now let me just go ahead and get two things out of the way upfront. I am picking on the kind folks of Kentucky. Obviously, there are others who vote against their own interests, but I really like saying Kentucky Fried Stupid – so there. Second, I have a bias against the Trump voters out there. I have tried to understand, I really have but with each passing day and each passing absurdity of this administration it just makes it extraordinarily hard for me to believe anyone would willingly vote for this man and his policies.

I have debated posting this because there are elements that aren’t exactly kind. I can acknowledge that my feelings on this topic don’t represent everyone and there may be a stereotype or two in this post. These are my feelings, my opinions – not facts. See, look at me being an adult and more mature than our President and being able to distinguish between alternative facts, feelings, opinions, and actual facts.

I kind of scrunch my nose up these days when I think of anything West of the Hudson River and East of San Francisco Bay, so Kentucky is in that vast swath of American land where reading is bad, blacks are criminals and terrible- except Oprah, and health-care is even worse still.

So with no health-care, they probably have rotting teeth and are proud of it. I also envision barefoot women walking on dirt roads and men with coal on their faces at all times. Oh, wait, that’s what I envision when I think of West Virginia – I am confusing my downtrodden places. See, I told you I was going to stereotype and generalize. At least I was honest, which is more than I can say about Republican lawmakers trying to sell this new health-care bill.

Ok, now let me be an adult and temper my critique. My vitriol towards these folks exists because in my opinion they were uninformed and were conned. But because enough of them came out in droves and voted in Clementine the Great, the rest of us will have to suffer the consequences too – in a variety of areas. So, yes, sometimes I have a little disdain for the Trumpsters.

But as we are now witnessing with this new healthcare plan which would adversely affect a state like Kentucky, they will suffer too for allowing themselves to be duped. It turns out folks in Kentucky like their Obamacare even if they call it other glossy and pretty names. Turns out the Republicans aren’t magicians and have no special glittery health-care wands to lower costs and give access to those who need it. It appears as though while not perfect, Obamacare had some elements that work – imagine that.

So part of me is entertained by the entire spectacle. Sometimes I cannot help but hope that Paul Ryan and President Trump are successful in overhauling Obamacare and screw these people – maybe they will wake up and not make a mistake like this again. But, of course, innocent people who did not vote for this man will be hurt too – so I cannot advocate for that seriously. But I hope a lesson is learned and that maybe when they have an opportunity to vote for a Hillary Clinton or a Donald Trump in the future, they won’t pick the pussygrabber because the other one wears pant suits and is the “devil” – they will actually pay attention to policy.

Ok, had to get that off my chest!

I want to point out that I am not personally affected by any potential changes. As an adult, I have always had insurance through my employer – always. I have never been on Obamacare and to be honest, most of my friends and family are in the same boat and, so, you can argue they truly are not affected on a day to day basis by this law – whether it remains, is repealed, or watered down.

But you know what I am a human being. I am a decent human being in a Western country, and I believe people should have affordable health-care without being bankrupted and I believe the government does have an interest in seeing that this happens. And before anyone gives me that crap about other people subsidizing other people’s healthcare, the government subsidizes insurance people receive through their employers too – it’s called deductions and write off’s for those businesses.

I don’t want anyone to lose their healthcare, including my toothless friends in Kentucky. I am sure they are not as bad as all that I described earlier. Hell, some of my dearest friends and family live West of the Hudson in good old Pennsylvania so there is bound to be some good reasonable, logical folks in Kentucky too.

I want folks in Kentucky – and everywhere – to remain healthy and to keep their coverage and, ironically, it looks like that might happen. I want to live in a country that is willing to spend more on health-care for the elderly and sick than to spend money on manufacturing yet another bomb.

But there appears to be some good news.  The newly elected Governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, railed against Obamacare and wanted to repeal it, now in office, he seems less eager to do that. And some moderate Republicans are already balking at the idea of scrapping the Medicaid expansion component to Obamacare.

Also, as I mentioned, some folks in deep Republican-red Kentucky are waking up to the fact that Obamacare is a benefit to them and for those of us fortunate to not have to worry about this issue, could be there for us if we ever found ourselves unemployed or in a jam.

The other thing that kills me too is that we’re not talking about blue New York or blue California with the highest rates of uninsured, it’s Republican areas of the country (i.e. Kentucky) that are benefiting from this law the most and seeing significant drops in the rate of  uninsured. Look at the America hating Muslim helping out the country bumpkins!

I am glad to see people protesting in Kentucky and elsewhere. It’s not a coincidence that the deep red South has some of the largest uninsured rates in this country. It would have been nice had these folks been more vocal in their support in 2009 and 2010 when President Obama practically used all his political capital to get this done but, you know, better late than never. I hope everyone keeps their health care and that folks are more vigilant against the next con artist in the future.