Monthly Archives: July 2019

Thoughts On the First Night of the Second Round of Democratic Debates

Last night, the first night of the second round of the Democratic nominees aired on CNN. Over the course of three hours, the nominees debated, argued and did their best to prove why they should go against you know who next fall.

I have a few thoughts about last night.

  • As much as I would like to say that Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vermont) will be our first Jewish-American President, I don’t think he will be the nominee. From my perspective, his plan can best be summed up as a Monet. He didn’t do anything for me during the 2016 Presidential Election and does not do anything for me now. But, he did have the best one-liners.
  • Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said nothing new or different than she has said before. This round of debates are do or die for the candidates. While the Senator had many good talking points, nothing she said inspired me.
  • Marianne Williamson surprised me. I didn’t think much of her during the previous debate. But last night, she sounded like a candidate who might have a shot winning the nomination. However, her limited political experience bothers me. Not that there is anything wrong with a political newbie, but given the lack of previous political experience of you know who, I would feel more comfortable with a candidate who has at least some experience in government.
  • Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota) stood out. I read her as a centrist Democrat who is able to walk the fine line of holding true to the ideals of the party while appealing to all Americans. I honestly believe that the ideal Democratic candidate to go against you know who is a centrist Democrat whose appeal goes well beyond the party’s base.
  • I don’t agree that immigrants whose status is labelled illegal should just be handed health insurance. Let them pay in, either out of their own pockets or via taxes and enroll in one of the government insurances. I’ve spoken on past posts about my immigrant forebears. They came to this country for the same reasons more than a century ago for the same reason that immigrants are coming today. My forebears did not ask for a handout. They only asked for an opportunity, which what they were given. We should be giving these immigrants the same opportunities that past generations of immigrants were given.

Those are my opinions. Readers, what do you think? What moment or quote stood out to you from last night?

P.S. Did anyone else notice that everyone on stage last night was Caucasian? All of the nominees of color are debating tonight.

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When Will We Reach the Breaking Point? Another Mass Shooting in America

As Americans went to bed on Sunday night, we were reminded that gun violence and mass shootings are a plague that has yet to be cured.

Earlier today, a disgruntled employee walked into a Mississippi Walmart and starting shooting. He killed two of his colleagues and injured an officer.

I am so sick and tired of turning on the evening news or picking up a newspaper and learning of another mass shooting. What is the breaking point? How many innocent civilians must die before Washington wakes up?

Wherever you are, hug your loved ones and thank your lucky stars that you lived to see another day. Two people are unable to do neither today because they died of unnecessary gun violence.

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The Apology Book Review

Sexual and physical abuse, especially against children, is a scourge on our world. The scars of this kind of abuse can stay with the formerly abused child long after they have grown into adulthood.

Eve Ensler is just one of the millions who grew up with a physically and sexually abusive parent. Her new book, The Apology, is the story of the abuse she received at the hands of her late father. Told from his perspective via a letter written to his daughter, Ms. Ensler tells the painful story of her abusive childhood.

A couple of things struck me as I was reading this book. The first thing is that Ms. Ensler must have a will of iron. Many who have gone through what she has gone through have ended up as addicts, in jail or in an early grave. The fact that she is 66 and thriving speaks to an inner strength that I frankly admire.

The second thing is that there is a mental health component to this issue that must be spoken of. The child survivors of physical and sexual assault should not only be believed, but given the support and the therapy needed to become healthy and productive adults.

I recommend it.

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This Weekend, Four More Citizens Died From Mass Shootings

When the weekend comes, we want to relax. We want to enjoy our precious time off and not worry about what is going on in the world. But unfortunately, we have to.

As I see, the issue of the gun laws in this country should be non-existent. We respect the rights of those who are legal gun owners and of sound mind while taking guns out of the hands of criminals.

Unfortunately, the issue is not straight forward. The messiness and arguments have opened the door to too many mass shootings in this country. This weekend, there were two mass shootings.

On Saturday night, the citizens of Brownsville were enjoying a lovely summer evening with their annual “Old Timers” festival. Then shots rang out. By the time it was over, one man was dead and eleven were injured.

In California, it was a beautiful day out. Guests at the Gilroy Garlic Festival were enjoying the day and spending time with their families. Then someone starting shooting. Three people were killed, two of whom were under the age of eighteen. The accused gunman (who shall not be named on this blog) killed his victims with an Ak-47 style rifle. It was purchased in Nevada, where it is legal to purchase this kind of weapon. In California, one may only acquire this type of weapon via illegal means.

Enough is enough. How many citizens must die from mass shooting because Washington does something? California Governor Gavin Newsom blasted Republicans for their inaction and frankly, I couldn’t agree with him more.

It’s time to put the lives of our citizens ahead of our guns or the lobbyists who are directly responsible for preventing real world gun reform. But until certain members of Congress step up to the plate, mass shooting and the unnecessary loss of life will continue.

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Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in Your 20s and Beyond Book Review

Life would be easy if it came with an instruction manual. But it doesn’t and that forces us to unfortunately learn as we go.

Earn It!: Know Your Value and Grow Your Career, in your 20s and Beyond was published earlier this year. Written by television journalist Mika Brzezinski and producer Daniela Pierre Bravo, this book is the guidebook I wish when I was in my 20’s. Using the personal experience of the authors and the experience of other successful women, the reader is guided through every step in the early stages of their career.

While I was reading this book, I kept thinking back to my 20’s and the career mistakes that I made back then. This book is the perfect book for the young person in their 20’s (young women especially) who are starting their careers and need a helping hand. It is part guidebook, part cheerleader and part fire lighting under the proverbial behind of the reader.

If I had to choose one aspect of the book that stood out, I would say though the advice is aimed at twenty somethings, some of it can be applied long after we have aged out of our 20’s.

I recommend it.

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Feminism Is… Book Review

There are many myths about feminism and the fight for true equality.

The new book, Feminism Is… sets out to tell the truth of feminism, examine the issues that fall under the feminism label and tells the stories of some of the women who helped to create the feminist movement.

The book starts with a forward written by Roxane Gay. It then walks the reader through the issues of feminism (such as pay parity and the #Metoo movement). Also included in the book are profiles of women such as Sojourner Truth and Emmeline Pankhurst.

Though this book is meant for young readers, I feel like it appeals to everyone who is interested and/or knowledgeable about the feminist movement. It speaks of the movement in such an open and honest tone that I hope that anyone who reads it at the very least, gains an understanding of what it is to be a feminist.

I recommend it.

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Alienating Voters is Not the Way to Win the 2020 Presidential Election

It’s not exactly a secret that we have a Presidential election coming up next fall. There are, as of now, more than twenty Democrats who would like nothing more than to dethrone you know who.

That being said, it would behoove you know who not to alienate voters.

His latest Twitter attack against citizens and politicians of color is against Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland).

Yesterday, he stated the following on Twitter about Representative Cumming’s district: “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

There are some who hesitate to call you know who a racist. If it looks like a racist, swims like a racist, and quacks like a racist, then it probably is a racist. The problem is that there are too many who will either make excuses for his racist comments or brush them off.

I have two major issues with those who either make excuses or brush them off. The first issue is that this man represents America to the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter what the average American believes or does not believe, when one thinks of America, they think of the President. The second issue is that we, as a culture and a country are working to make up for the way we have treated citizens of color in the past. Instead of bringing us into the future, you know who is dragging us back to the past.

If I had one piece of advice for you know who, I would say that it is unwise to alienate voters. We, as voters, have a long memory and do not forget what our political leaders have said and/or done, especially when we walk up to the ballot box.

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Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood Movie Review

It takes a creative mind to take an old story and retell in a new and different way.

Quentin Tarantino‘s new movie, Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, has just hit theaters. Set in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Rick Dalton’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) career was once red hot. But that limelight has faded. His best friend/assistant/former stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) is always by his side. While Rick and Cliff try to revive their careers, Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) is Hollywood’s latest it-girl. But there is danger lurking behind the bright lights and glittering facade. The Manson family is out to commit murder.

This is not the first time that Tarantino has played fast and loose with history. His 2009 film, Inglorious Basterds also played fast and loose with history. What I liked about this movie is that both Rick and Cliff are flawed and likable characters. They just want to return to the success they once had. As Sharon Tate, Margot Robbie tells the story of the real life woman, not the murder victim that we think of today.

If I had to name my favorite aspect of this film, it was the chilling effect of the scenes with the Manson family. Though we know now what plans they had in store, the general public knew nothing about the murders until it was headline news.

I recommend it.

Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood is presently in theaters.

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Summer of ’69 Book Review

The summer of 1969 was one of the most tumultuous in American history.

In Elin Hilderbrand’s new novel, Summer of ’69, the tumult is also affecting the Levin/Foley family. Every summer, the family spends their summer at their grandmother’s house in Nantucket. But this summer is different.

The eldest, Blair is pregnant and at home at the request of her husband. It appears that her marriage has reached it’s breaking point. Kirby, the second oldest is determined to prove that she can be an adult. While firmly believing in social justice movement of the era, Kirby works at a hotel at nearby Martha’s Vineyard. Tiger, the only son, is serving in Vietnam. Jessie, the youngest, is not happy to be left with her mother and grandmother, both who seem to be holding onto secrets.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the characters, I loved the narrative and I loved that even though this book is set 50 years ago, it still feels relevant. I have to commend the author for balancing the number of characters she does. It can be difficult to ensure that every character is given equal time on the page, but Ms. Hilderbrand has done it.

I recommend it.

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A Sign of the Times: Border Patrol Targets American Citizens

The general idea of law enforcement is to protect the average citizen and ensure that the those who are breaking the law are removed from society. Their job is not target and/or arrest someone because of his or her religion, cultural background or family history.

When it comes to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, their job is specifically to protect our borders. Their job is not to harass citizens.

Back in February, Ana Suda and Martha “Mimi” Hernandez, two Latina-Americans who live in Montana were stopped by border patrol and asked to show ID. They were stopped not because they were suspected of committing a crime. They were stopped because they were speaking Spanish. Both women are American citizens. There is a lawsuit pending against the officer who stopped them.

Last month, 18 year old Francisco Erwin Galicia, an American citizen and a Dallas native, was detained by immigration officials for a month before he was released. He stopped and arrested along with his younger brother. Mr. Galicia was released but his younger brother was eventually sent to Mexico and is residing with his grandmother.

This is not the United States that I know and love. We do not treat immigrants (or anyone else for that matter) like animals and second class citizens. We should not target American citizens and send them to another country because we assume that based on their mother tongue and/or surname, that they are not citizens.

It’s time to stop this madness before we ruin everything that is good about America and the American democracy.

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