Category Archives: National News

Words Hurt-Thoughts On The Keaton Jones Video

Words have power, more than we think we do.

Keaton Jones is a young man from Tennessee. His mother recently posted a video of her son crying over the bullying he received at school.

My heart breaks for this kid. Yes, kids can be cruel, but childhood bullying can leave scars long after we have left school.

Many adults may look at bullying as a mere rite of childhood. The truth is that is bullying hurts, more than some of us are willing to admit while we are being bullied. Bullying can lead to depression, lower self esteem,  decreased academic achievement and worst of all, suicide.

I can only hope that justice is done for this young man and the bullies receive what they deserve. Hope is the key word here.

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Thoughts On The Al Franken Resignation

Al Franken resigned from the Senate today.

I have mixed feelings about the resignation. On one hand, what he did was wrong and he should be held accountable for his actions. Unlike the Cheetos colored blowhard sitting in The White House and the child rapist running for Senate in Alabama, Mr. Franken seems to be genuinely regretful for his actions, but there is also proof that cannot be refuted.

But at the same time, leaving an open seat in the Senate, especially considering with the questionable bills that the Republicans are trying to push through, it makes me a little nervous. With one less dissenting vote, the Republicans who are voting for party over country may have an easier time getting their bills through.

Only time will tell what Mr. Franken’s future will be and if the bills sitting in the House and Senate actually get signed into law. I just hope that there are still enough rational voices in Washington D.C. to continue to counteract the blind loyalty of those on the right.

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Billy Bush Finally Speaks

We all remember the Billy Bush Access Hollywood tape from last fall.

It was what many of us hoped would be the downfall of Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign. Instead Trump won the election and Billy Bush‘s life and career were left in tatters.

Though he publicly apologized for the video’s content last year, Trump has recently rescinded that apology and claimed that it was not him making those statements.  In response to the rescinded apology, Billy Bush has not only written a NY Times Op-Ed about the video, but he also recently appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert to talk about not only the video, but how his life has changed since last fall.

It’s not easy to do what he did, especially considering the very public downfall that occurred after the release of the video. Nor is it easy to forgive him for condoning Trump’s behavior. But the fact that he is willing to speak up says a lot. I hope more will join him. Perhaps then, this country will return to a state of normalcy.

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Add Another One To The List Part VIII: James Levine

The list of prominent men accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment has grown today to include one more name: James Levine.

Mr. Levine the legendary conductor of the Metropolitan Opera. He has conducted orchestras all around the world and has mentored musicians and singers who have become successful in their own right.

Mr. Levine has been accused of taking advantage of a young man from the time he was a teenager until the time when he was an adult.

The myth about sexual assault is that the victim is female and the perpetrator is male. That is a fallacy. Victims and perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment can a male and a female or two men and two women. Unfortunately, this fact is often under-reported.

The fact is that we need to have this conversation, regardless of who is the victim and who is perpetrator. We need to openly and honestly talk about this because both sexual assault and sexual harassment are a stain on humanity. Until that stain is cleaned (i.e. these events are prevented and prosecuted, if they cannot be prevented), we will always have this stain on our cultural consciousness.

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Thoughts On The Senate Tax Bill

The Senate tax bill was passed last night.

I’m not an economist, nor was math my favorite subject when I was in a school.

But common sense tells me two things: first that handwritten edits going to senators just before they are about to vote without reading the draft is not the wisest choice. Elizabeth Warren posted the video below last night.  The fact that the senators were expected to read and vote on a bill that has not yet been clearly defined and cleanly written by its architects just makes it that much more questionable.

Secondly, I have a sneaking suspicion that cutting taxes for corporation and the rich to create a modern version of trickle down economics is not going to go as planned. Ronald Reagan tried it in the 80’s. The results were not what he and his administration hoped they would be.

The fact is that this tax bill will not just affect this generation, but future generations. It is also dubious as to whom it will benefit, despite claims from Trump and the Republicans that middle class Americans will see a positive change in their taxes.

A tax bill, in my uneducated opinion, need to be logical, cleanly written and works for the benefit of the 99%, not the 1%.  From what I can tell, the tax bill as it stands now cannot be defined by any of these factors.

 

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Where There Is Smoke, There Is Fire: Michael Flynn

There is an old saying: Where there is smoke, there is fire.

Today, former Trump official Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his interactions with the Russian government. The sources report that a senior official within the administration gave the green light to start secret talks with the Russians. While the name of the senior official has not been formally made public, some believe that it was Jared Kushner.

This directive did not come out of thin air. Somebody, whether it was Kushner, Trump himself or someone else who has yet to be named made the decision to have this communication with the Russians. I find it completely ironic that during the election, the chants of “lock her up” were heard throughout the country.

I have not read the emails, so I cannot comment on the contents of said emails. While I believe that using a private email server for business purposes was a lapse in judgement on Clinton’s part, as far as I know, it’s not illegal. What is illegal (again within my very limited legal knowledge) is secretly colluding with Russia to swing the election toward Trump and not just that, but openly lying about those interactions.

Only time will tell if Trump (G-d forbid) lasts until 2020 or someone finds the smoking gun that leads to impeachment before then.  But where there is smoke, there is fire (and Trump).

 

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Add Another One To The List Part VI: Garrison Keillor And Geraldo Rivera

The not so honorable list of prominent men accused of sexual assaulting and/or sexually harassing their female colleagues has grown to include two more: Garrison Keillor and Geraldo Rivera.

Garrison Keillor is the founder of A Prairie Home Companion. Broadcasting since 1974, the show has become a staple of public radio. After it was discovered that Keillor crossed the line with a colleague, he was fired and A Prairie Home Companion was removed from the channel’s lineup.

Geraldo Rivera has been a journalist and talk show host for many years. Recently Bette Midler accused him of sexual misconduct in the 1970’s.

I get it that firing these men, especially at this point in time is necessary. A message needs to be sent that such actions are not ok and there will be consequences for those who do act in such a manner. But at some point, the firing is going to be counterproductive. I just feel like for now, there is no choice but to fire these men. If they are not fired, the problem will continue and it simply can’t.

 

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Add Another One To The List Part V: Matt Lauer

This morning, the list of prominent men accused of sexual harassment and/or abuse of their female staff grew to added one more name: Matt Lauer.

After hosting NBC’s The Today Show for twenty years and becoming one of the faces of morning news television for a generation, he lost his job and his reputation this morning.

At this point, I have no sympathy for these men. They got caught and in the process, were exposed for the predators that they are.  While I feel for Lauer’s family and I admire his victims for stepping forward, I am still shocked and reeling from the news.

We, as a culture, need to change. We need to change how we treat women. We need to teach our sons to respect the women around them and we need to teach our daughters that they are valuable and important beyond traditional female roles. Most of all, we need to put men who acted as Lauer did in his place and remind them that just because they have female subordinates does mean that these women are there to be his sexual playthings.

I just hope, that when this is done, that real change is enacted. If not, then all of this was for nothing.

P.S. Does anyone else see this as karma, especially considering how Lauer treated Ann Curry when she was fired in 2012?

P.P.S It is ironic and a sad telltale sign that while Lauer and others who have done such heinous acts have lost their jobs and reputation, a certain man in Washington D.C. who has been accused of similar acts is still in office. Why?

 

 

 

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Add Another One To The List Part IV: John Lasseter

The list of well-known men who have been accused of sexual assault has grown to include one more: John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Disney.

Several female employees have accused Mr. Lassetter of grabbing, kissing and commenting about their physical attributes.

He has temporarily left the company and has apologized for his behavior.

As painful as these allegations are, I believe that they have to be brought into the light and investigated. Change is never easy, especially when it is overall cultural change. But this change is necessary. The problem of sexual assault/unwanted sexual comments or action has to be addressed. This is the time and place to address it, otherwise we will never be able to move forward as a society.

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The Importance Of Net Neutrality

For all of it’s downsides, the internet is a form a digital democracy. No matter where we come from or what we believe, the internet allows us to voice our opinions without censorship.

For Americans, that may be changing soon.

Ajit Pai, the FCC Chairman wants to remove net neutrality and let the cable companies control where we go on the internet and what opinions we voice on the various websites.

This is an attack on democracy as we know it to be. The internet is the great equalizer. It opens the door way to business, education and to the downtrodden who use the internet to right the wrongs of our society.

Please sign the petition. Without net neutrality, our democracy will be meaningless.

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