DeSantis and Abbott Should be Charged With Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is both a crime against humanity and a crime in the United States. At the same time, it is not against the law to ask for asylum in this nation. Immigration has been the backbone of this country since its founding. And yet, there are some who want to restrict who can enter the US.

Over the last few weeks, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have been using tax dollars to ship South American migrants to blue states. Not knowing where they were going, they were expecting that jobs were waiting for them when they reached their final destination. Instead, the locations they arrived in (New York City for the migrants sent from Texas and Martha’s Vineyard for the migrants sent from Florida), the local officials were not aware or prepared for the new arrivals. As of this past weekend, NYC is looking at the possibility of taking legal action against Abbott.

This goes back to what we all know. Serious reform of our immigration policy is necessary. The most recent change was a decade ago with DACA. While DACA was a huge step forward, it does not solve the overall issue. The problem is made worse by our current political climate, which has at best led to mostly partisan legislation and at worst, created a deadlock that cannot be overcome.

I think the answer to the question should be yes. They have broken the law and like anyone who has been accused of a crime, should have their day in court. But only time will tell if this comes to pass.

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P.S.: A woman who was among the over 10,000 migrants bused from Texas to New York killed herself on Monday. Abbott has blood on his hands.

Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t: The Florida Teenager Who Will be Forced to Give Birth

Being a parent, especially when your children are young is an all-consuming task. It requires one to be financially stable as well as emotionally and physically present. While I would love to say that every adult is able to materially and emotionally able to care for their children, the truth is that some are not.

Last week, in Florida (because of course it’s Florida), a court told a teenage girl that she cannot have an abortion. This girl is an orphan and is without the support system that other young ladies in her situation have. Though she clearly stated that she is not ready to be a mother, the court decided that she was too immature to make the decision herself.

Let me make sure I understand this. A young girl, who is a ward of the state because she is without family, is told to have the child. Even though she clearly stated that she is unable to care for said child. This means, that when she or he is born, the cycle of poverty and relying on the government will potentially be repeated for another generation.

This is the bullshit that the pro-life movement propagates. They are all about the 9 months of pregnancy. But after the birth, the parent(s) are their own. They then complain that precious tax dollars are being given to Americans who are not pulling their weight. If this girl would be allowed to make the decision about her body and her future, then she would be able to one day stand on her own two feet and not be a “burden”.

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Billy Porter on Progress and Those Who Hold us Back

Martin Luther King Jr., was above all things, a wise man. He once spoke of justice and truth in a manner that is timeless and universal.

 “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” 

Last week, actor/director Billy Porter was on The View, promoting his new film, Anything’s Possible. Towards the end of the interview, Ana Navarro asked Porter about his opinion of what is happening in Florida.

Starts at 6:22

Progress happens whether we like it or not. What the haters don’t like is that they no longer have all the power. Those of us who have been denied our rights are no longer silent. The only thing we want is a seat at the table. If it means marching, protesting, and passing laws to protect what should have been ours in the first place, so be it.

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Republicans and the Hypocrisy of Small Government

Every political movement, big and small, has a core ideal that governments their policies and legislation.

If we are to believe the current Republican party, they are governed by the idea of small government. As per Thomas Jefferson, it is as follows:

[A] wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned.

On paper, it doesn’t sound hypocritical at all. It comes off as fairly reasonable. The powers that be should not be interfering in the day-to-day life of the average person on the street. But the reality is another story entirely.

When they are called out for their duplicity, they claim “free speech“. What about my right to free speech? Why is it they are allowed to speak their truths, but if I do it, I am labeled a radical lefty snowflake?

If they want to live in a right-wing, sexist, and racist Christian theocracy, that is their choice and their decision. As we say in Judaism “Zolst leben un zein gezunt!” (Yiddish for you should live and be well!). but do not impose your beliefs on me and expect me to quietly give in.

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Dirty Rotten Cleaners Review

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find cleaning my home to be a chore that I would do without if I could. But it has to be done, so I just suck it up and get it done.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners premiered on A&E last year. This reality show follows two different cleaning companies in Florida as they clean the properties of their customers. Their task is more much than the standard clean. Many of these houses are filthy, filled to the brim with junk, and covered in mold.

What I like is that unlike other programs within the reality television genre, the truth about this job is not glossed over. It is genuinely gross and dangerous. Similar to its’ sister show, Hoarders, the clients are not used for a laugh or pushed into a stereotype. They are merely the patrons who need their properties cleaned.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Dirty Rotten Cleaners is available for streaming on Hulu.

Cutting SSI & Medicare Benefits is the Wrong Decision For the GOP (Unless They Want to Lose)

As we get closer to the 2022 midterm elections, politicians and those around them need to make smart decisions to ensure that they either maintain their position or win their election.

Possibly cutting SSI & Medicare benefits in five years is not a smart decision.

Last week, Senator Rick Scott of Florida proposed a bill that states that Congress has to reauthorize SSI and Medicare benefits every five years. His rationale is as follows:

“Force Congress to issue a report every year telling the public what they plan to do when Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt.”

Of course, Senator Scott is a member of the GOP from Florida (why would he not be?).

Historically, Americans of a certain age are known to vote in larger numbers than younger citizens. If these benefits are cut, how many of our elders would be on the streets and without access to medical care.

Potentially cutting off these programs is practically handing the Democrats a win in the fall. If they want to shoot themselves in the figurative foot, that’s their decision.

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The Book of Lost Names Review

During wartime, there are multiple ways of fighting an invading enemy. One way is doing combat on the battlefield. The other is joining the resistance and fighting in ways that are not obvious to the naked eye.

The Book of Lost Names, by Kristin Harmel, was published last year It starts in 2005. Eva Traube Abrams is a semi-retired librarian living in Florida. While putting her books away, she is drawn to an article in the New York Times. Within the article is the image of a book that Eva has not seen in decades-The Book of Lost Names. It describes the libraries that were looted by the Nazis and the attempt by modern-day authorities to return the books to their rightful owners. The book in the photograph contains a code that researchers are unable to crack. But Eva knows its secret.

The narrative flashes back to 1942. Eva was then a young woman living in Paris with her whole life ahead of her. But because she and her family are Jewish, there is a target on all of their backs. When her father is taken away, Eva and her mother escape to a small town in rural France that is not yet under Nazi control.

Joining the resistance, she starts forging documents for Jewish children who are trying to get to Switzerland. But this kind of work is dangerous in both the physical and emotional sense. Eva starts to fall for Remy, a young man with a handsome face and a charming demeanor. To save the real identities of the young ones she is trying to save, their real names are recorded in The Book of Lost Names. This work becomes even more important when Remy disappears and their network is betrayed.

As usual, Harmel writes in a way that is entertaining, readable and teaches the audience without hitting them over the head. As the main character, Eva is a compelling heroine. The story is absorbing and exciting. My problem is that the romance overwhelms the narrative. It almost felt like the love story took prominence over the war. I get that Eva is young and falling in love is part of being young, but I wish the emphasis was a bit more on the danger of their work.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning toward yes.

The Book of Lost Names is available wherever books are sold.

Playing with Myself Book Review

Overnight success is a misnomer. What is really is years of hard work and a few moments of luck that open the door to seeing a dream becoming reality.

Randy Rainbow‘s new autobiography, Playing with Myself, was released last month. Born in the suburbs of Long Island, he spent his childhood in both New York and Florida. Rainbow was a chubby, introverted child who was exposed to classic Broadway musicals at an early age. After coming out in his late teens, he returned to New York City and dreamt of being on Broadway.

When that didn’t come to pass, Rainbow took the out-of-work actors’ career route: working both at a restaurant and as a receptionist. Using his MacBook and the news as his raw material, he started creating videos. His career took off at the start of the 2016 Presidential election and the announcement that you know who was the Republican nominee. From there, he became the satirist, comic, and musical genius that has kept us laughing and sane for the last six years.

I loved this book. Rainbow is candid, funny, and authentic. He is uniquely himself in a way that is both universal, endearing, and charming. There is something universal in his struggle that I think we can all learn from while getting a few giggles in the process. And if anyone is still asking, that is his real name.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

Playing with Myself is available wherever books are sold.

Am I the Only One Confused by the New Covid Mask Ruling?

Covid-19 has been part of our lives for more than two years. Since March of 2020, we have become accustomed to wearing masks, minimizing socializing, leaving our homes, and making sure that we get our vaccines.

Last week, Florida Judge Kathryn Mizelle (who was nominated by he who shall not be named, FYI) struck down the federal mask mandate on airplanes and other public transportation. While it was music to the ears of airplane passengers, it also created confusion among the local municipalities in and nearby New York City. Adding to the confusion is that the number of cases are again rising.

I know that we are all sick of this virus. With the warmer weather on the horizon, the urge to fling off all Covid-related restrictions and just pretend as if the last two-plus years have not happened. But my gut tells me that we cannot. Though the vaccines have allowed us to relax, we must remain ever vigilant. The chances of another wave is not out of the question. Until this virus has completely disappeared, the need for keeping the emergency light on will continue.

Florida Republican Fuckery: Banning Math Books and Cutting Tax Ties With Disney

As I see it, the only way for the government to function is for those in power to at least, be able to listen to someone else, whether it is another politician who has different beliefs or a business owner.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis appears to feel otherwise. In addition to his Don’t Say Gay law, his state is upping the ante on book banning within schools. Following on the heels of the so-called “CRT (aka Critical Race Theory)” bullshit, 54 math books have been rejected because some claim that CRT is included in the material.

First of all, CRT has nothing to do with math. It has everything to do with the denial of the truth of American history and the fact that racism, in all forms (especially against people of color) is still alive and well in this country. Second, this concept is not even taught in the K-12 classroom. It is only taught at the university level or higher. That means that the student is not exposed to it until they are at least 17.

Third of all, math, in all of its forms, is one of the core concepts of learning. It starts when we are very young and being taught to count by our parents. Even if we choose a career that has nothing to do with numbers, it has everything to do with our daily lives. Whether it’s maintaining a budget or calculating miles, it is absolutely essential. In going down this path, DeSantis and his ilk are limiting the education of his state’s children and their future opportunities.

While this has been happening, he has been tangling with Disney in regards to their response to the Don’t Say Gay legislation. As of yesterday, the company has been stripped of its tax status and independence that has been in existence since the late 1960s. For decades, Disney has had tax breaks and has paid its own way in regard to municipal services such as law enforcement, the fire department, etc. This means that the funds will come from the taxpayer. Nothing gets politicians out of office and voters to the voting booth faster than a tax hike. If he wants another 4 years in office, I would re-think his decision.

I don’t agree with everything that the company puts out, nor am I an economist. While we have to recognize that Disney did not do anything until its employees walked off the job, I admire that they are standing their ground. Given its popularity and the number of IPs that it owns, I don’t think that this is a wise decision. If I were to make a guess, I would say that the tax dollars that come in from the park’s visitors add a pretty penny to state coffers.

When one takes political office, they are serving all of their constituents, not just the ones who agree with them. It would behoove Governor DeSantis and other Republicans to remember this. I guess the only way they will learn this lesson is when we boot them all out of office come November (hopefully).

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