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Shit that Pissed me Off – 3/17

Democratic Congressman Makes Me Defend Kellyanne Conway

I was on vacation for the last two weeks and that means I need to play a little bit of catch up.

Now let’s be clear that I think Kellyanne Conway is a tool.  Her job is to go to the press and ignore their questions as a way of obfuscating all the stupid bullshit our rich white President tweets out.  More on that later.

However, the controversy around the following picture is a bunch of bullshit.

Conway is taking a picture of her President surrounded by black people in an attempt to make it look like he has a lot of friends who are black.  I could totally make fun of that because I’m pretty sure Donald Trump knows as much about the black experience in America as Ben Carson.

But instead, people like Democratic Congressman Cedric Richmond made fun of conway for being barefoot on a couch.  I suppose the implication is that she slept her way to the top or something while ignoring the fact she was instrumental in getting Donald Trump elected.

I can hate her for that.  But I also have to respect her for that.  And in spite of the bad taste it leaves in my mouth, I have to defend Conway on the grounds that you don’t get to make that kind of joke about her.

Given all the stuff she does that is completely horrible, shouldn’t it be OK to shy away from calling her a slut because she’s taking a picture with her shoes off?  Do we lack so much creativity as a society that when we are presented with a woman we don’t like, we can find no other outlet to criticize her than shaming her for not behaving like we think a woman should behave.

Conway and her President will do and say so many stupid things in the next 24 hours (pick any 24 hour period), it seems like wasted effort to focus on something so unimportant.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 2/23

Bad Headline Theater

Dear liberal friends.  We had a bad election.  We are going to have a bad run here and the conservatives are going to do a lot of stuff that makes us angry.  At least fifty percent of the time, our anger will be justified.

Some of the time, though, we need to make sure we understand what is making us angry.

Earlier this week, a friend posted this article with the headline “Dino’s Gyros Cans Employee who Took off for ‘Day Without Immigrants’ Protest.”

Now it is true Dino’s Gyros canned an employee who didn’t show up for work and it is true that employee was taking part in the day without immigrants protest.  This headline would make you think Dino’s Gyros were Capitalist fucks who didn’t give a shit about causes important to their employees.

And let’s be fair – they may be.

The truth, which we see if we read the whole article, is that they admitted they should not have fired him because he was participating in a legal strike and they offered him his job back with a raise.  He turned it down.

Then there is this story which has the headline “Oklahoma Legislature Just Passed the Most Oppressive law Against Women in History.”

I checked the great seal for the state of Oklahoma and it doesn't say "fuck women" anywhere.  Not even in Latin.

I checked the great seal for the state of Oklahoma and it doesn’t say “fuck women” anywhere. Not even in Latin.

In this case, the law in question is pretty horrible.  It requires a woman to get permission from the father before she has an abortion, which is some seriously misogynistic bullshit because it takes a woman’s control of her own body away from her.

But – and given the headline this is super important –  the law hasn’t passed yet.  Later in the article you will read that it has only been passed out of committee.

And believe me, if the legislature actually passes this law as it is written, I’m going to be bringing it up again.  And I will find an opportunity to refer to Oklahoma lawmakers as “controlling gibbons who care about the lives and health of women only slightly less than they care about the lives and health of babies once they are born” when that happens.

All the bad laws in the world don’t justify a headline that is demonstrably untrue.  In a world where the term “fake news” is used as a weapon, we have to be doubly sure we are precise.

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Shit that Pissed me Off 2/17

Assholes Throwing Their Garbage on the Ground

I actually witnessed this at a McDonald’s drive through this week.  Someone purchased an iced coffee drink (I’ll tell you how I know it was an iced coffee drink in a minute).  Then they drove forward about twenty feet and (I presume) poured the iced coffee into another container.  They stopped, opened the passenger door, and threw the cup on the ground.

Then they drove off.

Now at this particular McDonald’s, there is a trash can just around the corner from the drive through no more than ten feet from where they dumped their cup on the ground.  It is conveniently situated so a driver could roll down their window and throw their trash away.

But that, apparently, was too much work for these folks.

They would probably watch twelve hours of C-Span because they were too lazy to find the remote

They would probably watch twelve hours of C-Span because they were too lazy to find the remote

Such behavior isn’t an accident.  Tossing your cup into the parking lot when there is a trash can mere feet away isn’t something that you do by mistake.  There was a clear intent to make someone else’s life more difficult.  And to make a McDonald’s parking lot somehow more unattractive than it already was.

I don’t know why.  Maybe the person at the drive through was rude.  Maybe they were pissed that their iced coffee tasted a lot like it was made at a McDonald’s and not a Starbucks.  Maybe they think trash on in a parking lot is beautiful. Maybe they were fired from that McDonald’s and felt that throwing a cup on the ground in the parking lot would send a powerful message of defiance to their former manager.

My son, being the helpful sort, pointed out that he would have no trouble picking up the cup and together we cleaned up their mess (which is how I know it was iced coffee).

Which means that manager will never learn a valuable lesson.  I guess that’s a price I was willing to pay.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 2/10

Senate Silences Elizabeth Warren

Prior to the Senate vote in which Jeff Sessions was expected to be confirmed as Attorney General, Elizabeth Warren was reading a few remarks about Sessions penned by Coretta Scott King.  They pointed out that Sessions didn’t have the best record when it came to protecting the rights of his black constituents.

As is the case when this sort of thing is happening, the Senate floor was mostly empty.  Senators like to talk but they aren’t particularly interested in listening.

This is a non-partisan issue.

Anyway, because she said some bad things about now former Senator Sessions, the Republicans chose to censure her.  You just don’t say bad things about senators, you see.  That’s the rules.

Warren, of course, has become a hero of the left and she’s fine.

This T-shirt slogan was written by Mitch McConnell. Well done, Mitch.

This T-shirt slogan was written by Mitch McConnell. Well done, Mitch.

The problem here is the fact the Republicans have basically served notice that they don’t give a flying fuck what the other side says and if they are tired of it, they will just force the other side to shut up.  I mean, this isn’t much of a shock but frankly, all they needed to do was let her talk.

It didn’t fucking matter.  Sessions was going to be AG and the words Warren was reading were already out there.  It shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone on the Senate floor.

What took place was the Republicans reminding Senate Democrats (as well as the rest of the country) that they don’t matter.  When they tire of Democrats chatter, they can shut them up.

I don’t like that precedent.  And neither should anyone else.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 2/3

I’m sorry I took the last two weeks off.  Life intrudes sometimes.

We all know that we are entering week three of the Trump Presidency.  I am trying to figure out how to write my blog so it isn’t just a weekly rant on all the horrible things Trump says and does.  But I’m two weeks behind and he has been busy.  

There is a lot of other stuff going on that pisses me off.  It’s just that Trump is so fucking noisy.


Donald Trump Didn’t Threaten to Invade Mexico

Look, we all know that I don’t like our current President very much.  I think I have very good reasons for believing he will go down as the worst person ever to run our country.

But I’m feeling like I need to stick with stuff he’s actually done.  And therein lies the problem.

Earlier this week, Trump had a phone call with the Mexican president.  Shortly after the call, news organizations reported that Trump had threatened to send American troops across the border to deal with some “bad hombres.”

“Bad Hombres” is the name of my Los Lobos cover band.

A few hours later, it was reported that such a threat never happened.

Days later, however, a bunch of my liberal friends are still talking about Trump invading Mexico.

In a world where Trump is openly hostile to any news organization that doesn’t kiss his ass, the press actually has a responsibility to make sure what they report is accurate.  Trump is doing all sorts of shady shit.  Hell, this week he said this during remarks about Black History Month

Last month, we celebrated the life of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history. You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office. It turned out that that was fake news. Fake news. The statue is cherished, it’s one of the favorite things in the—and we have some good ones. We have Lincoln, and we have Jefferson, and we have Dr. Martin Luther King. But they said the statue, the bust of Martin Luther King, was taken out of the office. And it was never even touched. So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is. Very unfortunate.

If you read the transcript of the speech, it was almost entirely about him.  This isn’t made up.  It’s something he actually said.

And what was he talking about?  The way the press keeps reporting shit that didn’t happen. In this case, of course, it was a mistake the reporter in question corrected almost immediately.

The press has to do better.  In the rush to break stories these days, they don’t take the time to verify what they are reporting.  And that allows Trump and his minions to do all sorts of horrible stuff because they can point to the small number of erroneous reports as a reason why nobody should believe anything the press says.

And to all my liberal friends out there: please let’s all make sure we know what the fuck we are talking about.

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Shit that Pissed me Off – 1/13

Note: I didn’t write about the work the Senate made to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week because, while it really does piss me off, it is also an extremely complex maneuver and I’m not sure any of us completely understand what is going on.  Least of all the Senators who voted for it.

Let me just say before I proceed, however, that anyone who can, with good conscience, vote to re-establish a pre-existing condition clause, is a complete waste of a human being.  It may well be true that they won’t end up re-establishing that clause.  A vote still exists in which Senators are going on record supporting just that.

Vaccination Safety Committee To be Headed by Anti-Vaxxer

At least this is the claim made by anti vax proponent Robert Kennedy.  We’ll see if it really happens.

Look, I know vaccinations are controversial.  And I try to be sympathetic.

Then I remember I have two vaccinated children on the autism spectrum and that every single study about vaccines has concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any of the other things anti-vaxxers claim they cause.  And I read quotes like this, which could be referring to my family:

I employed the term [holocaust] during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families

And I stop being sympathetic because this fucker is talking about my kids.  My kids who have full lives and are wonderful human beings and whose existence has shattered my family not one single bit.  Autism is a hurdle my kids have to jump over.  Most of us have hurdles they need to get over.  To suggest their hurdle has shattered my family is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t even have the basic understanding of the autism spectrum would suggest because they are an ignorant jackass.

Yeah – this kind of thing gets me pretty worked up.

Anti-vaxxers may make me just a little bit crazy.

Anti-vaxxers may make me just a little bit crazy.

It is bothersome enough that our President-Elect (fuuuuuuuuck) denies climate change.  That he also seems to jump into bed with anti vaxxers suggests that the American People elected someone pretty much willing to believe any crazy conspiracy theory pops up so long as it doesn’t involve him.

You have to give him credit for being equal opportunity when it comes to denial of scientific data.  Climate Change denial comes from the right and anti vaxxers typically come from the left.  Donald, however, has a big tent and there is room for everyone who thinks scientists reach conclusions just to fuck with the rest of us.

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Shit that Pissed me off – 1/6

Boy Scouts Bar Transgender Boy

Due to a lot of factors, my boys aren’t really involved in scouting any longer.  I am supportive of scouting and even though I’m aware of the larger issues that surround the Scout’s continued public disapproval of LGBTQ kids (and atheist kids for that matter), I’ve seen some attempts by the organization to soften their stance.

The people my kids have worked with are good people and whatever the national chapter of the Scouts may choose to do, our troop is a good troop that, I think, would not engage in this kind of discrimination.  If my kids were still engaged in Scouts, I don’t think I’d pull them over this because I’d be punishing my kids by taking away something they enjoy.

And that makes me kind of crazy.  Because on the one hand, I wouldn’t want to punish my kids for being who they are.  On the other hand, the Boy Scouts just punished a kid for being who they are.

As we move (slowly) towards acceptance of homosexuality in our society (even as some fight to be able to discriminate free from consequence), transgender rights has now become a new arena and I fear this fight will be harder because people don’t get it.

I do not understand why people are transgender and therefore I will hate them for it.

I do not understand why people are transgender and therefore I will hate them for it.

If you’ve spent your entire life being totally comfortable with your gender, you have no way of understanding someone who is identified as a boy because they were born with a penis but has spent their entire life playing the role of a boy.

As an actor, I get to stop being a character I don’t like when I’m done with the performance.  Someone who is pretending to be a gender with which they do not identify never gets the chance to step off stage.  They are constantly pretending.  And it is exhausting.

Giving them the freedom to stop pretending ought to be something we all celebrate.  It ought to be something that makes us happy because we ought to want other people to be happy.

I mean, aside from pedophile priests.  You gotta draw the line somewhere.

But we don’t give a fuck about that because we are more concerned with who is peeing in the stall next to our kid.  Our kid doesn’t care because they just want to get back to the playground.  They probably didn’t even notice the person in the stall next to them.

Our own discomfort with the idea of gender identity is the problem.  If we are cool with the gender identity we were assigned at birth, we can’t understand why anyone else isn’t.

The Boy Scouts should be a place where young men (and by that I mean people who identify as young men) can learn how to be responsible adult men.  Part of that responsibility should be learning to accept that we aren’t all the same.  Their rigidity is disheartening to say the least.

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