Saturday, September 17, 2016

Donald Trump is the Champion of White Supremacists

Donald Trump  the KKKandidate of choice of  racist sociopaths...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

He's Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaccckk!

One of  the great silver linings  in the dark cloud of absurdity, bigotry and outright stupidity  that is the Republican Party of 2016, is  what  has, as a result of those clouds  made a glorious comeback...

The first of course is Berkley Breathed beloved , iconic  and legendary comic strip Bloom County.


Donald Trump's inflammatory rhetoric might have awakened satirical comic strip Bloom County, its characters and creator up from a 25-year-nap.

Now Opus the Penguin, Milo and other wacky denizens of Berkeley Breathed's Pulitzer Prize-winning strip are headed for a comeback, more than a quarter-century after the strip went dark.

According to the new strip Breathed posted on Facebook on Monday, Opus awakens after what he discovers from Milo is a 25-year nap.

But that apparently was just the tip of the Trump inspired Iceberg. That's right... Keith is back!

Former MSNBC and ESPN host Keith Olbermann is getting another show, but this one isn't on TV.  Olbermann will host a bi-weekly series for GQ magazine called "The Closer with Keith Olbermann." The news was first reported in POLITICO's Morning Media newsletter.

Keith Olbermann will "be providing commentary on the election, with the flexibility to delve into other timely issues when relevant,” a GQ spokesperson told POLITICO's Joe Pompeo. Olbermann will also be joining GQ as a "special correspondent."

The move to GQ not only brings Olbermann in front of the camera for the first time in more than a year, it also marks a return to politics for the veteran host, whose commentary on MSNBC made him a household name. Olbermann left MSNBC for Current TV, and subsequently re-joined his original TV home ESPN, which he left last summer.

Welcome back Keith,  we have sorely missed you .   Your return comes at the time we need it most.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Remembering a September Morning

(The following is an updated repost  of an entry from Sept. 11th, 2011)

Today the media, and the blogposphere will undoubtedly be full of all sorts of remembrances and commentary around what is the 15th  anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States on September 11, 2001.

To be honest I really don't like to dwell on the topic. Not out of any sense of personal pain, but more out of respect, for those people I know who were far closer to the events of that day than I was. My experience that day was a somewhat surreal one.

I had gotten up very early and caught a flight from Chicago Midway to Houston. I was heading there for work. It was about 20 minutes into the flight, the seat belt sign had just turned off, and people where shifting about, getting comfortable. I had just pulled out my laptop to work on the presentation I was going to be giving later that day. Suddenly the seat belt sign came back on, and the crew announced that everyone was to return to their seats and prepare for landing, the flight would be returning to Chicago.

The Pilot then came on the speaker system to say that there was nothing wrong with the plane, and we were returning to Chicago because the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) had ordered the flight to return to "clear air traffic". He said that was all the information they had, and he apologized for the inconvenience.

Everyone on the plane thought the same thing. (Not terrorism.) Chicago Midway had upgraded to a new Air Traffic Control System earlier in the Summer and a few weeks prior, there had been a series of glitches that had delayed several flights.  Everyone groaned, made comments about "Government Efficiency" assuming it was yet another problem with Midway's system that was going to mess up  our day.

This  assumption that was bolstered when the captain came back on the loudspeaker  and announced  that we were not returning to Midway but rather we were diverted to Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

The woman sitting next to me was happy about this thinking at least it might be easier to get on the next flight out to Houston. I nodded, and said "I hope so", thinking of how I might salvage the rest of my schedule that day and make my afternoon meetings on time.

It took us about 30 minutes of circling over O'Hare before we could land. Sitting in a window seat I watched as the line of planes waiting to land stretched to the far horizon and oddly enough, no planes were taking off. I commented on this to the woman next to me, and she said "wow Midway's systems must be really screwed up!" I laughed and said that what we get for Ronald Reagan having fired all the good Air Traffic Controllers. She laughed and said she had forgotten about that.

We landed and had to wait an additional 20 minutes to get a gate. but finally pulled up to a jetway , and we all lumbered off the plane into the gate area I was getting annoyed because people were not clearing the area in front of the door but were all standing around the televisions that were tuned to the CNN Airport Network. I was about to say a loud "excuse me!" when I happened to look up at the TV and saw CNN  replay footage from ABC of the second plane hitting the World Trade Center.

CNN then cut to live shot of a column of smoke and ash where the World Trade Center Towers were supposed to be, but weren't. I called my office and my boss told me not to come in, The area in downtown Chicago around the Sears Tower was being evacuated. I called my parents and let them know I was not in Houston, got on the CTA Blue Line and went home.   The rest of that day I did what most Americans did, watched the news, and when the images became overwhelming, I put on my roller blades and went blading along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

It was brilliant sunny day. One of those late Summer, early Fall days that you get in Chicago that make you appreciate what a beautiful city it is. As I stopped at Oak Street Beach and admired the downtown Chicago skyline, I didn't think that somehow the "world had changed". But rather I found myself thinking how the United States had  sadly, finally  joined the rest of the world.

Before that that morning, Terrorism was something that happened in other places, Israel, Lebanon London, Belfast , places far away. Even the first World Trade Center bombing for many people, didn't seem like international terrorism. After all, the people responsible were caught when they tried to get the deposit back on the rental van they had used. (How sinister could people that dumb be?)    That is what changed I think, it was the moment America lost the illusion that somehow our two oceans would keep us safe from global terrorism.

For friends of mine who lived in New York on that day,  I understand  that  today  is a much different  experience for them.   A good friend of mine is  a New York City Police Officer  who  lost an arm in the attack that day.   Another friend of mine worked  for an investment bank housed in the  North Tower,  she had a doctors appointment so she didn't go into work  that morning.   For her, today  is a reminder of  the  friends and co-workers  she lost  that day.

For the numerous friends of mine who have served, and currently serve in both Afghanistan and Iraq with the American and British Armed Forces, they deal with the effects September 11, 2001 on a far different level than most people ever will.

So this evening, as many Londoners and ex-pats attend the 9-11 memorial service at Westminster Abbey , people all over the world will remember the events of that day, pray for those who were lost, and show solidarity and support for friends and family for whom this anniversary is far more personal than political.

God Bless America, God bless us all.

Friday, September 02, 2016

Donald Trump on Immigration - We have seen this before...

MSNBC's  Rachael Maddow  gives  what may well be the best , and most accurate analysis of how we got to this place.  Where an emotionally unstable,  racist sociopath  is the Republican Presidential nominee.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gene Wilder, 1933-2016

from BBC News:

Gene Wilder's distinctive looks helped him create roles that he made his own.

His performances combined sentimentality, comedy and suppressed rage, often veering between idiocy and apoplexy. Films such as Young Frankenstein, Silver Streak and The Producers established him as one of Hollywood's top comedy talents.

But behind the corkscrew hair, the bulging organ-stop eyes and the twitchy mannerisms, lay a much gentler, more reflective individual.

He was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on June 11, 1933.   He later described his childhood as "sane but disturbed" and was always drawn to acting by the "chance to be someone else".

When he was eight years old, Wilder's mother had a heart attack Her doctor took the confused child to one side and told him: "Don't ever get angry with her, you might kill her." He turned to leave and added: "You can make her laugh, though."

For years Wilder harboured the belief that any harsh words would end his mother's life.

His parents sent him to a military school in Hollywood where, as the only Jewish boy, he recalled the bullying that made his life a misery. He quickly returned home where he became involved with the local theatre, making his first public performance at the age of 15 in a production of Romeo and Juliet.

He took a course in Communication and Theatre Arts at the University of Iowa before moving to England to pursue his studies with the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. He felt stifled by his acting lessons in Britain, but became the first American to win the English Schools Fencing Championship. He admitted he had always worshipped Errol Flynn.

In 1956 he was drafted into the US Army where he found himself posted as an aide in a psychiatric ward, helping to administer electro-shock therapy to patients. On his discharge, he went back to acting, having changed his name to Gene Wilder, partly, he later said, because he could not imagine a Jerry Silberman being asked to play Hamlet.

He also became an outspoken critic of the US involvement in Vietnam and would later oppose the invasion of Iraq.

In 1961, he had a small part in a production of Arnold Wesker's Roots and made his Broadway debut as the comic valet in The Complaisant Lover. His breakthrough came in 1963, when he starred alongside Anne Bancroft in a Broadway production of Bertolt Brech's play, Mother Courage and Her Children. 

Bancroft was then dating her future husband, Mel Brooks, who invited Wilder to look at a screenplay provisionally entitled Springtime for Hitler. At the time, Brooks lacked the money to turn it into a film so, in the event, Wilder's first cinema role was that of Eugene Grizzard, the undertaker captured by Bonnie and Clyde in the 1967 gangster film.
A year later Brooks finally began casting The Producers. Wilder's role as the neurotic accountant brought him his first Oscar nomination in 1968, for Best Supporting Actor.Wilder was liberated by the spontaneity of Brooks's direction and the pair enjoyed an extremely successful partnership.

In 1971, he gave a tour de force performance as Willy Wonka in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's novel. Wilder stipulated that he would not take the role unless Wonka's opening scene saw him pretending to be crippled and leaning on a cane. It became one of the film's most memorable moments as Wilder halts, tumbles forward then leaps back on to his feet.

"I knew that from then on," Wilder says, "the audience wouldn't know if I was lying or telling the truth."

In Woody Allen's 1972 comedy Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask), Wilder played a doctor who was in love with a sheep.

Wilder was reunited with Brooks for the 1974 spoof Western Blazing Saddles, and the inspired lunacy of his trigger-happy Waco Kid, burnt out at 29, helped create a worldwide hit. In the same year Young Frankenstein brought him and Brooks another Oscar nomination, this time for screenwriting.

He spoke of an almost "telepathic rapport" with Richard Pryor, and the comic duo blundered their way through a series of films, including Silver Streak in 1976 and Stir Crazy in 1980.

"I have an affinity with people who've had a tough time in their lives," he later said

When Pryor's ill health prevented his appearing again with Wilder in Hanky Panky in 1982, the part was rewritten for the doyenne of the Saturday Night Live line-up, Gilda Radner. She became Wilder's third wife and occasional co-star, but died of ovarian cancer in May 1989.

 Radner had been misdiagnosed in the 10 months before her death and, for the next five years, Wilder channelled his energy into saving "the hundreds of other Gildas out there".

In 1990, he established a Los Angeles cancer detection centre in her name, and even went to Congress to speak out for early medical screening for women at risk. Gilda's Clubs sprang up all over America.

Wilder married again in 1991, and later returned to performing. For two years, he starred in the NBC sitcom Something Wilder and, in 1996, made his London stage debut in Neil Simon's Laughter on the 23rd Floor. He continued to act, notably appearing as the Mock Turtle in a star-studded US TV version of Alice in Wonderland, but he was becoming increasingly disenchanted with the limelight.

"I don't like show business, I realised," he explained on a Turner Television tribute. "I like show, but I don't like the business."

He was scathing about 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Warner Bros remake of Willy Wonka, describing it as a money-making exercise. The same year he published a very personal account of his life, Kiss Me Like a Stranger: My Search for Love and Art.

Over the following seven years he published three novels, My French Whore, The Woman Who Wouldn't and, in 2013, Something to Remember You By: A Perilous Romance.

For all the vicissitudes he suffered in his personal life, the boy who kept his mother alive with his funny voices succeeded in conveying his own quirky brand of humour to millions of others.

The world is a sadder  and darker place without Gene Wilder...

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Meanwhile... over in Damage Control-Land

While Donald Trump and Nigel Farage had their little " We love to hate" fest down in Mississippi, over on MSNBC,   Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway  (one week into her new job) was trying valiantly to contain the dumpster fire that is her candidate.

Clearly this  is Kellyanne's  role. To go on television and pretend  everything Donald Trump has said and done while running for President up to this point, never happened.       

In a digital age, where everything Conway would like to simply sweep under the rug is there to see and hear,  that is  pretty tall order.

Good Luck with that Kellyanne...

Donald Trump & Nigel Farage - Two Racist Peas in a Pod.

From the "birds of a feather, flocking together department..."(Via the Huffington Post )
JACKSON, Miss. - Nigel Farage, a key figure in the successful campaign to get Britain out of the European Union, lent his support to Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Wednesday, saying Trump represented the same type of anti-establishment movement that he masterminded in his own country.

Farage appeared with Trump before a cheering crowd of thousands at a rally in Jackson, Mississippi. Farage partly based his Brexit drive on opposition to mass immigration to Britain that he said was leading to rapid change in his country. Trump summoned Farage on stage in the middle of his appearance, shook his hand and surrendered the microphone to him.

“I cannot possibly tell you how you should vote in this election. But you know I get it, I get it. I’m hearing you. But I will say this, if I was an American citizen I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me,” Farage said.

Now for those of you outside the UK who may not be familiar with Nigel, and his political Party , UKIP (The UK Independence Party);   Ukip is part of the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD). The group includes representatives of the Danish People’s Party, the True Finns Party, the Dutch SGP and the infamous Italian Lega Nord – all of them far-right. Nigel Farage is co-President of the group along with Lega Nord’s Francesco Speroni, who described multiple murderer Anders Breivik as someone whose “ideas are in defence of western civilisation."

Mario Borghezio, another member of the group, declared in a radio interview that Breivik had some "excellent" ideas. Farage’s reaction was to write a strongly-worded letter to Borghezio, asking him to withdraw his comments or Ukip would pull out of the EFD. Borghezio not only did not apologize, but responded with an extraordinary speech in which he raged: "Long live the Whites of Europe, long live our identity, our ethnicity, our race… our blue sky, like the eyes of our women. Blue, in a people who want to stay white."

Nigel Farage did not withdraw from the EFD. He continues to co-preside over it, along with the leader of the Lega Nord.

Last May, during a Pre-Brexit radio appearance on London's main talk radio station,   The UKIP leader endured a 'car-crash' interview as radio presenter James O'Brien quizzed him over racism, expenses and his party's links to far-right European politicians  prompting the party's director of communications to step in and try to bring the interview to a halt.

Like  his new BFF Donald Trump,  whenever Farage is confronted with his Party's clear racist  and far right extremist ties,  he  (wait for it...)  blames the media!    So is it really any surprise that this is who Donald Trump, the Republican Presidential Nominee invites on stage to speak at a nationally televised campaign rally.  

Birds of a feather indeed...

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Latest Episode of: "What Donald meant was..."

One of the things supporters of Donald Trump cite as reasons for supporting him is; “He tells it like it is!” and “He means what he says!”. Yet never before in modern American history has a campaign and political party had to spend so much time clarifying how what their candidate “really meant” is different from what he actually said.

The latest episode of  “Donald Trump said what?!?” comes to us from a rally yesterday in North Carolina, where the Republican nominee suggested the  way to prevent  Hillary Clinton from appointing judges should she be elected President,   would be that “2nd Amendment people” might have a way to stop her.

The reaction on both sides of the political spectrum has been swift and fairly predictable.  Sane people are horrified and crazy  people and their apologists are blaming everybody BUT Donald Trump for the controversy.  The New York Daily News  devoted its entire front page to calling for Trump to either end his campaign,  or for the GOP to finally walk away from him,  (Good luck with that...)

But  all of that really is not the issue.  Also the issue isn't did Donald Trump mean somebody should shoot Hillary Clinton, because clearly he didn't mean that..   But the fact remains,  he SAID that, and he said that knowing full well that  it could be interpreted as such.

Here is the reality of Donald Trump,  he said it because he thought it would sound good. He said it because he thought the crowd there would like it.  There was no thought process beyond that.  He gave no thought  as to would it be a wise thing to say or an appropriate thing say, or even a potentially dangerous thing to say.  Donald Trump's  train of thought never makes it that far down the track.

We are now in a time when  there is no point in asking if this latest episode of the Trump un-reality show will be too much for the Republican Party to bear.  It's not.   The fact is the GOP has decided that this is who they are, and the real tragedy is, they are right.  This really IS who they are, and what they have become.

Trump is the political equivalent of the guy in a youtube clip who,  moments before the totally predictable,  horrible accident, turns to his buddies and says "hold my beer  while I try sumthin..."   He is what it would look like if  MTV's  Jackass  was  political campaign.  

Donald Trump is not stupid,  he just can't be bothered to think any of this through.

I'll say it again, Donald Trump is not stupid.   Donald Trump,  is a fool.   Like most fools,  he will do and say foolish, reckless, dangerous  and profoundly stupid things, with no thought to any potential consequences;   simply for the short term gratification of  being  the center of attention.

Like most fools,  he will make make mindbogglingly bad decisions, without a moment's hesitation, if those bad choices feed his ego.   If  anything bad does happen  as a result,  like most fools he will contort himself  incoherently  and attempt  to blame anyone and anything but himself.

So,  I have to ask my Republican friends one simple question;    Have you ever watched  Star Wars?