Et tu, Charlie?

I was minding my own business yesterday at 6:45pm when I received a text from a friend that read, “Charlie Rose?!!! Noooo!!!” My heart dropped and I assumed that good old Charlie Rose had died. I mean, what other story could it be – it’s Charlie Rose. Professional, reliable, sensible, non-sexual Charlie Rose. A few moments later I was corrected with a simple “No,” followed by a link that CBS suspended him after multiple harassment accusations.

I was genuinely shocked and then I admonished myself for being shocked. At this point, why should I or anyone be surprised? In the words of a former President with questionable intellect, “fool me once, shame on you. Fool me, you can’t get fooled again.” Ah, the wisdom of George W. Bush, but he is right, of course. How could I be fooled by Charlie Rose? After all he is a powerful, successful man and that’s apparently all it takes to invite an unsuspecting woman to take a shower with you.

Do we know if Charlie is a masturbator who likes an audience like Louis C.K.?  What’s that about? I just assumed everyone liked to self-pleasure in solitude or with a verifiable, definitive supportive person. It’s true what they say, you learn something new everyday.

For 2017, I am going to compile a list of things that truly baffle me – so far I have these items:

  1. The aforementioned people who like to masturbate in front of unsuspecting and disapproving citizens.
  2. Elephant trophies. (that deserves it’s own blog)
  3. Ben Carson and Sarah Huckabee Sanders because they equally cause my brain to hurt and astound me at their ability to describe the world as they see it through the looking glass.
  4. Mistress of the Dark, Kellyanne Conyway.
  5. Conservatives who destroy their Keurig machines in support of Roy Moore. (Like, you care that much that they pulled advertising?)

But moving along, what are we going to do about this sort of behavior as a society? The patriarchy is so strong, so entrenched and entitled, that seemingly an entire generation of men – of all races, political affiliation, intellect, etc – seem to think it’s acceptable to grope, harass, proposition, and rape women. Besides the fact that it’s all gross, is Al Franken the same as Bill Clinton? What about Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, and Harvey Weinstein? When these revelations occur, is there anyway for the accused to make amends for their behavior – if it were not criminal? All things I never had to think about before.

One of my favorite episodes of Will & Grace is when Karen Walker is boozily watching a delivery man move a desk. He’s beefy and hunky and Karen, while ogling at him, proclaims “MOVE THAT DESK BITCH!” as his arms bulge and his butt is on display in tight jeans. Ok, I promise not to start writing gay romance novels!

At either rate, it’s funny because everyone knows it’s over the top and inappropriate, and Megan Mullally is of course a fantastic comedic actress, but more than that it’s funny because no one would really behave like that, right? Everyone knows how absurd such behavior is, or so I thought.

So where do we go from here? As someone I work with proclaimed after Charlie Rose went from being suspended to fired in less than 24 hours, “WE’RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO WATCH ANYTHING ON TELEVISION.” I laughed until I realized she was truly concerned. She followed up with, “they really want me to start reading.” I responded with, “Well, I have lots of books you can borrow.” OY VEY. She is an otherwise lovely woman, I promise.

So another night in America, another man out on his ass for being a pig. America, gurl, get your Barnes and Noble Membership cards ready because I have a feeling the “banned list” of programming will continue to get longer!

I Want To Know Your Politics

I stumbled across a Fox News article entitled, “Dear Taylor Swift, thanks for NOT telling me about your politics.” I really need my news app on my phone to be more selective with what it suggests I read. The article was a defense of another article that was critical of Ms. Swift for her silence during the 2016 election. The author of this article holds the belief that we only need our celebrities to “entertain” us.

OY VEY.

Here’s the thing, in a world with less on the line, I too could get behind the idea of simply being “entertained” and not caring whether or not the person entertaining me is an amoral monster. Sadly, the time of simple amusement and joyful ignorance is over.

If Ms. Swift, for instance, believes that a Muslim-ban is acceptable, or leaving Puerto Ricans to whither on the vine in their time of need, or voted for politicians who do, I don’t want my hard earned coins contributing to her personal enrichment.

If Ms. Swift, fort instance, used her vote in November 2016 to help a man in office who thinks it is acceptable to hunt for “elephant trophies,” I don’t want to offer her my support. This is a capitalist system and where our dollars go matters. As an aside, I may need to discuss the “elephant trophies” in another post. What is that? What type of boorish and barbaric people are into that? Oh, right, our President and his sons.

OY VEY.

There is no shortage of issues happening in our country politically right now that I find objectionable at my very core. Not only do I want to know if my entertainers support or object to what is happening, but I want to know if my friends and family members do too.

If I had a relative who claims to love me, but objected to my marriage because it is with another man, I might have to re-think breaking bread with them over Thanksgiving. My marriage, the person I am spending my life with, is kind of a big deal. As a black man, surrounding myself around people who when they hear the phrase “Black Lives Matter” feel the need to reply with “Blue Lives Matter” just doesn’t work with me. It’s not an issue for me that I can shrug off and simply say, well let’s agree to disagree. Black men are dying without justice ever being rendered. It’s hard to shrug varying beliefs about that off as if we are discussing how one likes their steak prepared. By the way, it should not be well done – that’s unacceptable.

So I want to know your politics. The time for pleasantries has past. I want to know the politics of just about everyone in my life, including those who entertain me.Personally, I like my entertainers liberal and outspoken like me, which I guess in Hollywood is not too difficult to find. And yes, it is Ms. Swift’s right to remain silent on issues in such a contentious time, but it is also the right of people to give her the side-eye and object to her failure to use her platform to speak out on so many issues that effect a large swath of the American people.

 

 

The Gladys Kravitz of the World

Iraq. Afghanistan. Syria. Yemen. Somalia. Libya…Niger. I did not list those countries in any particular order, with the exception of Niger. Niger receives special placement on this list as it appears to be the freshest of American entanglements, or at least in the consciousness of the American people.

Both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama entered our country into  various on-going conflicts when they were in office. We could debate the necessity of our involvement and the issues in each country, but that never happens. Maybe we should have a presence in all the countries listed above, who knows.

Iraq was the last real debate, regrettably a demonstrably dishonest one, and that was back in 2003. The U.S. military has remained busy since then. America now sneaks into war and conflict under cloak of darkness, it’s citizens – and politicians – apparently none the wiser.

And now the demented, tangerine colored septuganerian that occupies the White House is supposed to make rational decisions to make all of this better – great. Oh, and I am not even including Iran and North Korea on this list because they represent unique nuclear challenges unrelated to our War on Terror activities listed above.

So this brings me back to Niger, a country I am sure most Americans have never heard of and are secretly mistaking for that abominable “N word” we are all taught never to say, has an extra G, and remains popular at Ku-Klux-Klan and Trump rallies.

Why didn’t we know that America had close to 1,000 service members in Niger? Why didn’t we have this discussion as a country when President Obama decided to send the first soldiers to Niger over two years ago? Why did things seemingly escalate under President Trump without discussion or coverage? I mean we all know those Kardashian sisters copulated and are pregnant. Why did the current President of the United States say yesterday and I quote, “I didn’t specifically approve this mission.” Huh? What? So much for that civilian control of the military as our founders intended, sheesh! Now I will be partisan for a moment, could you imagine if that had of been President Obama’s response to say – Benghazi? I digress.

I am not going to debate the merits of America’s continued behavior as the Gladys Kravitz of the globe, peeking over fences and peering into the windows of countries looking for boogeymen and monsters. I am not opposed to American intervention in the world, but I am opposed to the autopilot approach our country seems to be on since 9/11 where it comes to supposedly rooting out terror.

And frankly, I am beginning to be more fearful of Americans with guns shooting me at the Whole Foods than I am about terrorists in Niger or Syria or anyplace else for that matter. I am probably more likely, in America, to be shot on the street – for no reason – than by a terrorist from Niger. Oh, and  the bullets that might come flying at me could come from a cop, a gang member, or a “domestic terrorist” – the title we reserve for any person of color who commits mass murder with a gun who isn’t a white male. So many ways to die – how fun.

I hope the four service members who died in Niger rest in peace and that their families find solace. I believe that our country should have known about their sacrifice before they died. I hope that our government, specifically members of Congress, remember they have the power to authorize and declare war – not the Executive. They also control the purse strings. Senator Graham and Senator Schumer shouldn’t be on television saying they didn’t know about the number of soldiers in Niger – it’s outrageous. America, as is the case with so many things, needs to do better.

 

 

Poverty Lessons from Ben Carson

Cover your ears, Ben Carson is talking again. I am serious, someone has allowed him to speak and it’s painful.  It wasn’t  enough to talk about slaves taking an odd journey of sorts to pursue happiness and prosperity in this land, now he is opening his mouth to discuss poverty. By the way, the slavery language is not a direct quote, but that’s pretty much what the man said. Oh, even better, remember when Obamacare was the worst thing to happen to this country since slavery? Oy vey. He’s got to let the slavery thing go.

Well since Mr. Carson’s speaking privileges were not revoked because of those other dimwitted statements, we now have the opportunity to hear his views on poverty! Ok, you ready? Here it goes. Apparently, if only people had the right mindset, they wouldn’t be poor. Moreover, if people grew up with Mama Carson as their mother, they definitely would not be poor. That’s it folks – the solution to the issue of poverty for millions in this country. So simple, who knew!

As a reminder, Mr. Carson is the official in charge of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). I am glad he loves his mama, but it cannot be the policy of the United States of America to say, “if Mama Carson were your mama you wouldn’t be poor.” That cannot be policy.

I just can’t. I miss the times when we only trotted out all the kooky African-American Republicans for laughs, and no one took them seriously, let alone put them in a position to make policy. Remember Herman Cain and his 9-9-9 plan. All of America’s problems were going to be solved with that 9-9-9 plan.  Iraq – 9-9-9. Teen pregnancy – 9-9-9. The Kardashians – 9-9-9! Ah, the good ole days.

But now we have Ben Carson, a celebrated neurosurgeon turned political loon, spouting off ludicrous statements every chance he gets, who is now actually in charge of housing policy.

I will say this, I will not dismiss one’s mindset and, of course, the role of parenting in helping people to become good, productive citizens who ostensibly won’t be unfortunate enough to be poor. I also know some very strong willed people, who had good parents, who are still poor. Actually, some of the strongest people I know probably could be considered working poor. I am not sure what Mr. Carson is getting at here.

It is sad that this country has a habit of demonizing the poor and the less fortunate every chance we get – from discussions on welfare to education, to healthcare – those that are less fortunate did something to get there, so screw them.

Mr. Carson’s statements are just expressing this sentiment in cute folksiness, as he is essentially saying poverty is a matter of will and good parenting. Somehow, in Mr. Carson’s world, poverty isn’t cyclical and actual government policy and the choices our country makes and does not make policy wise, apparently, play no role in this poverty.

Yes, Mr. Carson, there are stories of people who rise out of poverty. I am surprised he didn’t mention Oprah. Everyone always loves trotting out Oprah. But for every Oprah, there are millions of struggling people without adequate housing, healthcare, access to quality education in a safe school who are probably doing the best they can with the tools they have and most likely are not going to own Harpo Studios tomorrow.

Have these black-hearted holy rollers ever heard the expression, “there but for the grace of God go I?” It is truly unfathomable to me that people can be so dismissive of others, and I don’t even consider myself Christian.

So I am glad Mr. Carson had a good mindset and believes poverty is just “a state of mind” and that his Mama was the best Mama in the whole world and universe for that matter. That’s all well and good, but that’s probably of little solace to someone who is poor and in need of decent housing.

Good grief. Is it 2020 yet?

 

 

Breaking News!

America girl! Girl! GURRRL! You still have not got your s*it together! Trump is still here, and he is still a hot putrid mess! America is currently like your best girlfriend who is dating a broke bum with no job, no job prospects, no manners, and he treats her like crap.

You keep telling your friend that she can do better, that she’s worth more, but to no avail – he is still there. Well, America is your low self-esteem girlfriend and Trump is her boyfriend! We talked about this America! He has to go! Ugh, alas, he’s still here. One can always hope.

When’s the overthrow party occurring? I’ll bring the pitchforks if someone else promises to bring the torches!

I suppose I was only partially kidding when I wrote, before my Egypt vacation and writing break, that who knew what would happen next regarding the political drama within this country. I assumed there would be news, however, I did not anticipate the daily deluge of scandal. Any one of these stories about the White House would be scandals onto themselves in normal times.

Consider the following events this week:

  • Trump fires Comey.
  • Trump’s team lies about the rationale for firing Comey, presumably to defend their boss, but Trump never to be outdone goes off script and admits he fired Comey because of Russia. He also adds that he was going to fire him regardless of any recommendations from the Justice Department.
  • The Trump team was told about Flynn being under investigation before they hired him for National Security Advisor (which means they have lied previously, including Mike Pence). However, as of this writing, they are publicly denying this story.
  • Comey apparently keeps love notes about his conversations with Trump, which apparently show Trump pressuring him to drop the investigation into Flynn. Ok, I couldn’t help but throw a bit of shade at Comey. I am glad he has apparently kept detailed notes.
  • Trump associates apparently had 18 contacts with Russia prior to the election, which were previously undisclosed.

And that is not everything and the week is not over. It’s just Friday morning, so there is still some time for more breaking news, for some industrious reporter to do the work that folks in Congress seem to have an aversion and allergy to conducting. Although, the appointment of a Special Counsel makes me happy. That’s right up there with a slice of chocolate cake in wonderfulness and joy for me this week.

Yeah, so the breaking news within the breaking news is a bit much. After all, I can only read so much and watch so much news on a daily basis. I do have Real Housewives of Every and Any U.S. City to watch, study, and gossip about. But seriously, how are we supposed to keep up with all of this? I can’t even go to get a haircut and a shampoo without breaking news occurring about Trump while I am already watching the news and he is already being discussed! Sheesh!

I am going to have to start grabbing a V8 or getting some B12 shots to sustain the energy necessary to keep up with the trainwreck that is the unraveling of the Trump White House. Oh, wait, a relative just told me the other day and I quote, “this Russia thing is nothing. The media just won’t give him a chance.”

So, there is that perspective. Oy vey! That story, and how every piece of glass subsequently broke in my apartment from the shrieking I did after hearing that sentence, will have to wait for another blog post on a different day!

 

 

Where Is Our Modern Day Julia Sugarbaker?

A very dear friend of mine is a fan of the sitcom Designing Women. Now as far as television programs centered around a group of funny women, I have always been partial to The Golden Girls myself. I am a sucker for middle aged sluts and saucy-mouthed senior citizens. But there is one area where Designing Women trumps The Golden Girls for me, one area where that show practically spoke to my soul, and that is the political rants of Julia Sugarbaker.

God bless Dixie Carter and her ability to give a monologue without stopping for air! I live for the rants of Julia Sugarbaker, which made me stop and think – where is our modern day Julia Sugarbaker? Where are our politicians and leaders filled with so much righteous indignation about what is happening to our government and country that they are raging every chance they get and everywhere they can?

I guess we have Bernie and Elizabeth and Maxine Waters on the Democratic side but is that it? And what about the Republicans? John McCain sometimes seems like he wants to grab a mic and simply shout out bullshit, but then he retreats. But John McCain shouldn’t have to carry that burden alone. Where is everyone else in his party?

Lindsay Graham seems like he wants to try and put on his big boy pants and find his spine, but he can’t do anything without the aforementioned McCain. Senator Sasse from Nebraska seems sane and we’ve heard rumblings from him here and there, but where are the others? Hell, even good ole Dubya has been out telling people he doesn’t like “the racism” coming from the current President, but I am not sure this is enough.

Then we have Paul Ryan and his ilk, so elated to have the opportunity to take health care from the poor, low-income earners, and the sick he is willing to grin and bear the defiling of the Presidency. You can practically see his wheels turning, just move fast enough to get the clementine skinned dope to sign the bill, get him to sign the bill! Get him to sign the goddamn bill – this may be our last chance! A bunch of shameless Scrooge’s.

So as our democracy is in the process of being slung through the gutter and the concept of truth is being discarded like yesterday’s meatloaf, those that are “outraged” seem so…so calm. Others have seemingly made deals with the devil for their own political gain and desires. We make jokes, we shake our heads and go on with our everyday lives. Sometimes the media seems willing to fight, at times they don’t.

I am not saying I am above any of this. To watch Trump and his cronies is to remain in a perpetual state of rage and, so, I suppose all we can do some days is to laugh to keep from crying. But as I think of Julia Sugarbaker, I cannot help but think what would she be saying? I think we all would be better served if we tapped into our inner Julia Sugarbaker’s a little more. Maybe a little perpetual outrage is what this moment calls for in Trump’s America. It would appear that the health and standing of our country depend upon it.

Enjoy some more Julia below:

And this remains timely:

 

Caitlyn Jenner – Gurl, Bye!

A bit of buyer’s remorse was flying through the air in the mythical and strange land that is Republicanville this past week. The White House rescinded an Obama era order allowing transgender youth to use restroom facilities corresponding to their gender identity. Liberals and progressives, not surprisingly, were not pleased but there was some displeasure on the right as well.

Jackie Evancho, who sang at the Inauguration and apparently has a sister who is transgendered, wanted to talk with Trump and Caitlyn Jenner, as stated in a Tweet, thought the entire thing was a disaster and wanted Trump to call her.

I don’t know enough about Jackie to have an opinion, but let’s discuss Caitlyn.  Because of her notoriety, she has become an advocate for transgender rights and issues. While she may be a transgendered female, something tells me that Ms. Jenner, with her wealth and fame living in Calabasas, has not faced the same struggles as your average transgendered youth. It is this privilege that seemingly would allow her to vote for someone like Trump in the first place.

Listen, Caitlyn, Trump doesn’t need to call you. He doesn’t care that you thnk this policy is a disaster. Trump is doing what anyone who has been paying attention would expect him to do. You can tweet for him to call you all you want, but the damage has been done.

Labels matter. When you go to the grocery store, and you read the nutrition facts on the back of the bag of potato chips you know what you’re getting. There’s going to be fat and a whole bunch of salt. Conversely, the Republican Party has a label when it comes to LGBTQ issues – it’s in bold print and reads: GENERALLY NOT SUPPORTIVE.

So what has Caitlyn been doing? She hasn’t seen the label and the fine print of the policy and platform of the Republican Party? What did she think they were going to do? I imagine Caitlyn has remained a Republican presumably for her own financial interests and that crap about smaller government, although that ridiculous concept for another blog post and another day.

It is Caitlyn’s right to be part of any party she chooses, but she can’t clutch her pearls and hold her chest for dramatic effect when the outcome society receives because of long desired Republican policy becomes a reality. Lady, read the damn label!

As my Grandmother would say, you get what you pay for or in this case, what you voted for. I am not mad at Trump for this, I am angry at the Caitlyns of the world. People like Caitlyn vote against their own self-interest and then later whine and complain as they are clenching their buttocks together trying to avoid the unceremonious screwing they now must endure. Read the labels! Potato chips have fat – don’t be shocked. Republicans, as a whole, are not for gay rights let alone transgender rights. Don’t be shocked!

Did Caitlyn Jenner really think Donald Trump and his cabinet would advocate for transgender youth? As Trump promised to destroy the Obama legacy, did she not believe that they’d go after that too? Has she not been paying attention to the rhetoric and policy positions of the Republican Party for the last decade or more?

Caitlyn should have been smarter. Having just received her first set of boobs for the first time in her sixth decade on this planet, I would have expected her to be better versed in these matters – especially if she is going to keep running her mouth and proclaim to want to be an advocate. Nothing about that should have screamed, let me give Trump my vote.

I want Caitlyn to go back to Calabasas, keep her lovely manicured hands from tweeting, and to keep her mouth shut until 2020 when she is able to attempt to rectify her voting error.

Trump is being Trump. What the hell is her excuse?