Twelve Years of Bloomberg as Mayor: A New Yorker’s Perspective (Part Two)

Now that former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has thrown his hat into the 2020 presidential circle, it is important to look back at his performance as Mayor. Blogger-friend Brendan Birth has lived his entire life in New York City and well remembers Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor. I mentioned to Brendan last week that I might like him to do a guest post for me, and he went one better, and is doing a mini-series! The series began with an intro on Monday that I re-blogged on Tuesday, and today he gives us Part II of a look at Mike Bloomberg as mayor. He will finish with a conclusion next Monday, just in time for Super Tuesday! Thanks Brendan, for sharing your birds-eye views!

Blind Injustice

As I announced last Monday, I will be doing a couple of posts on what it was like to have current presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg as mayor (and particularly justice-related topics from his time as mayor). This is the first of two such posts, as honestly, I have too much material to fit into one post.

This first post will focus on his treatment of other people while he was mayor, particularly his treatment of people of color, Muslims, women, and the poor. Buckle up, because this is going to be rough…

While he has apologized repeatedly for the existence of stop-and-frisk under his police force while he was mayor, I think it’s difficult to talk about his time as mayor without talking about that practice. The practice, which allowed police to stop someone temporarily to search, question, and detain someone, disproportionately targeted people of color. Consider the fact that…

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Back With More … Snarky Snippets

Today, I woke already filled with residual snark from last night.  Then, the day added it’s own dose, and the net result is that Filosofa is once again grrrrrrrowling.  Wait … did I ever stop growling?


You call this a debate???????????

Last night’s debate was a most disgusting display, and if this is an indicator of things to come, please shoot me now.  These debates … they are not opportunities to hear the candidates’ platforms and ideologies.  They are naught but popularity contests … a chance to see and be seen, to be heard, to see who can scream the loudest, who can …  get the best dig in at one or more of the other candidates.  They are a chance for the people of this country to see what a shamble we have devolved into. debate-2Arm-waving, fist-shaking, yelling and talking over one another … it reminds me more of a neo-Nazi rally than a political debate.  I did not watch past the 20-minute mark, so I don’t know who was the ‘winner’.  In my book, based on what little I saw, there were no winners … only a bunch of losers on the stage.

This nation has been without a leader for more than three years now.  We have had no president, or one in name only.  And, it appears that we will have none for the next four years if what I saw last night on the debate stage was any indication.  Whatever happened to the days when politicians spoke well and in a reasonable tone of voice, when they acted like humans instead of hyenas?

The remaining three or four candidates who still stand some chance of winning the nomination in July damn well better get their act together, better re-think their strategy and stand above the fray, for if they don’t, they will be responsible for putting the final nail in the coffin of the United States.eyes-2020


He demands what????

Even while Donald Trump, along with his family, was enjoying a two-day vacation in India (at our expense), he didn’t let that stop him from meddling in Supreme Court business.  Please note that the Executive branch (president, vice-president, and cabinet) is completely independent from the Judicial branch (courts) as per the U.S. Constitution.  However, Trump took it upon himself to practically demand that two members of the Supreme Court, Justice Sandra Sotomayor and Justice Ruth Ginsburg, recuse themselves from any cases that involved him.

His beef with Justice Sotomayor was her dissenting opinion last Friday when the court ruled 5-4 to allow Trump & Co. to deny green cards to immigrants who might likely need some form of assistance, who do not meet a certain “wealth test”.  Well, first of all, immigrants coming to this country left their homeland with little other than the clothes on their backs and of course they will need a bit of a leg up!  Second, the Court’s decision was strictly along party lines … something that is happening more and more these days and that should give us all cause for concern.

Trump seems to have picked up his outrage on Sotomayor’s opinion from none other than the ridiculous Laura Ingraham of Fox ‘News’ fame:

“‘Sotomayor accuses GOP appointed Justices of being biased in favor of Trump.’  This is a terrible thing to say. Trying to ‘shame’ some into voting her way? She never criticized Justice Ginsberg when she called me a ‘faker’. Both should recuse themselves on all Trump, or Trump related, matters!  While ‘elections have consequences, I only ask for fairness, especially when it comes to decisions made by the United States Supreme Court!”

And, of course his antagonism toward Justice Ginsburg goes all the way back to 2016, when she called him a ‘fake’ and said she could not imagine him as president.  She was so spot on!  I still cannot imagine him as president!

This is unprecedented behaviour and cause for grave concern. It is my hope that Chief Justice John Roberts will, once again, admonish Mr. Trump and remind him of the separation of powers as per the U.S. Constitution … a document Trump took an oath to uphold, yet has never read.  As I said in my first snippet, we have no president.  We have a pathetic excuse for one.


Junior is out for bear

Donald Trump Jr has been granted the right to hunt a grizzly bear in north-western Alaska.  You all know how I feel about hunting beautiful animals (or even ugly ones, for that matter), so this has me growling anyway, but there’s more …

grizzly-bearFor the license to go out and brutally murder an innocent creature, Junior paid exactly $1,160!  That is as much as some families spend on food for a four-month period!  That is a full month’s rent for my family!  If the Trump clan have nothing better to do with their riches than use them to buy a permit to kill an animal … grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  I hope the bear eats Junior.


A day to remember …

Trayvon-MartinIt was eight years ago on this day that young Trayvon Martin was murdered by a trigger-happy man named George Zimmerman.  Martin, a young black man had gone to a convenience store to buy a soda, was on his way home, doing nothing wrong other than … being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Zimmerman saw him, decided a black teenager didn’t belong in the neighborhood, wrestled him to the ground, and ultimately shot and killed him.

George Zimmerman, a white man, got off scot-free.  Had the tables been turned, Trayvon Martin would be on death row today.  This should be a reminder, folks, that justice in the United States is not colour-blind, but is still very much tilted toward white privilege.  Equal justice for all?  I think not.

Twelve Years of Bloomberg as Mayor: A New Yorker’s Perspective (Part One)

Much of what Michael Bloomberg claims will enable him to be president is his record as Mayor of New York City. Blogging friend Brendan has lived in New York City all his life, and therefore had a birds-eye view of Bloomberg’s mayoralty. What was Bloomberg really like, as mayor? Brendan is doing a short series this week, sharing his ‘birds-eye’ views with us … I think his words will provide us with some much-needed insight. Thank you, Brendan, for permission to share these posts with my readers!

Blind Injustice

As I said in my recent “blog news” post, I hope to focus on issues that are either misunderstood or “under the radar” during this election season.

One of those “under the radar” issues is the mayoralty of Michael Bloomberg in New York City, especially since he is viewed as the “alternate to Bernie” (for those who are scared of Bernie Sanders). And, considering the fact that I lived in New York for nearly his entire tenure as mayor (with the exception of my freshman year and part of my sophomore year at college), I feel that I have something to offer on this under-the-radar issue. I feel it’s under the radar because, while certain elements of his past, such as stop-and-frisk, have been highlighted, many other elements of his time as mayor seem not to be discussed as much as they should be.

Some people may ask why…

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Trumpism, Explained

Jeff has shared a guest post by his friend, Jerry Gramckow that is an excellent summation about the definition of ‘Trumpism’. Thanks so much, Jeff & Jerry … this clarifies a bit more the mentality of those who blindly follow “the leader”, without understanding the damage he is doing.

On The Fence Voters

The following is another post from my friend Jerry Gramckow, who’s spent the majority of his life in the evangelical community. We value his insight and reflection. Thank you Jerry!

What is Trumpism?

by Jerry Gramckow

I’ve read several definitions of the term Trumpism. Some definitions, such as the one posited by Victor Davis Hanson in National Review, give it a mostly positive spin. Others, like this one in The Hill, are more critical. And some, like this one in the Los Angeles Times, pull no punches in making the term (and the movement) synonymous with dangerous, mind-numbing cultism.  

Here’s my definition and analysis of Trumpism:

Definition: Trumpism is a movement made up mostly of willfully ignorant traditionalists whose self-centeredness makes them oblivious to the oppression or neglect of anyone outside themselves and their closest companions and willing to defy historic ethical norms to achieve their desired goals.

Analysis:…

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All New Snarky Snippets

If ever there is a day that I don’t feel snarky about something, we’ll know that either a) the republicans are all out of office and sanity has been restored to our government, or b) I’m dead.  So, here’s today’s batch of snark from Filosofa!


Who, exactly, is president???

Apparently, Donald Trump forgets the office he holds, for just last night he called for (former) President Barack Obama to be impeached!  On Thursday evening, Trump conducted one of his carnival acts, otherwise known as a rally.  Pundits were left shaking their heads when he said …

“President Obama, 28 times he said, ‘keep your doctor, keep your plan. keep your doctor, keep your plan… Right?  It was a lie. We should impeach him. We should impeach him.  Impeach Obama. Get him out of office.”

Um … isn’t he already out of office?  Did I miss something here?

Many of us have been saying for a long time that there is something seriously wrong with Trump’s mental health, and I think this should be proof enough!  He doesn’t realize, even though he himself replaced President Obama, that Obama is … no longer in office!  Who doesn’t know what???  Next he’ll be wanting to invite Adolf Hitler for tea at the White House!

C’mon, Mike Pence … initiate that 25th Amendment!  Here’s all the proof you need!


Open mouth, insert foot

Last year, Alabama passed one of the strictest abortion bans in the nation.  As I said at the time, lawmakers knew it would be challenged in the courts, and that was exactly the purpose … to push it up the line, all the way to the Supreme Court, thereby giving the Court an opportunity to overturn Roe v Wade.  As a woman, this infuriates me, but we’ve been over all that before, and it isn’t my purpose today to reiterate my position on women’s rights.

In response, Alabama state representative Rolanda Hollis introduced a proposal to force men to have vasectomies when they reach the age of 50, and also calls for mandatory vasectomies after a man sires his third biological child.  Sure, the proposal was never expected nor intended to become law, but rather to show just how unfair, how sexually biased the abortion ban is.  The intent was to make a point, and personally I applaud the effort … though if it were me, I would have done it a bit differently … I would have called for a Lorena Bobbit treatment for any male accused of any form of sexual abuse.

Enter Ted Cruz.  Now, Ted is from Texas, not Alabama, so … I don’t really know why he rang in, but I’m glad he did, for he pointed out the utter hypocrisy of those who would take control of a woman’s body away from her.  Here’s what ol’ Ted tweeted …

“Yikes.  A government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take everything…literally! Alabama Democrat proposes bill mandating all men have vasectomy at age 50 or after third child.”

See it?  See the utter and complete hypocrisy???  Ted is appalled that the government might impose its will on men’s reproductive ‘rights’, and yet … he’s perfectly comfortable with the government imposing its will on women’s reproductive rights!  Good one, Teddy!!!  For the record, Ted Cruz is strongly against women’s rights when it comes to the abortion issue.

And just as an aside … since when is a man’s ‘right’ to sire a child …“everything … literally”?  Does he think that is his sole purpose in life?  🙄


Pardon?

Donald Trump got a little carried away with his pardon pen last week.  One of the people he pardoned was Rod Blagojevich.  Actually, I’m surprised he didn’t do it sooner, for I wrote nearly two years ago, May 2018, that he was considering it.  Blagojevich, you may remember, was the governor of Illinois when he was convicted for trying to sell the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama.

Now, Blagojevich has spent 8 years of his 14-year sentence and is now a free man.  Is he repentant, ashamed?  Ha ha … you’ve got to be kidding!  No, he is now referring to himself as a “freed political prisoner”.  Hardly, Rod.  Yesterday, he appeared on CNN for an interview with Anderson Cooper where he accused “a handful of corrupt prosecutors” of “lying to the jury” about his actions.

blagojevichDuring his tenure as governor, Blagojevich was charged with corruption and impeached by the state Legislature in 2009. His charges included trying to solicit money for an appointment to former President Barack Obama’s US Senate seat after he won the presidency. He was also accused of shakedowns involving a children’s hospital, a racetrack owner and a building executive.  He broke laws.  He is a criminal.  And yet, he calls himself a ‘political prisoner’, and Donald Trump has now pardoned him.  Why?  Well, one could speculate, I suppose, that it might have a little something with the fact that Blagojevich was once a guest on Trump’s old television show.  Trump’s explanation, tweeted of course …

“Rod Blagojevich did not sell the Senate seat. He served 8 years in prison, with many remaining. He paid a big price. Another Comey and gang deal!”

Oh … so if you attempt to commit a crime, but fail, then you should not be punished, but should be left free to try, try again?

On the same day Trump pardoned Blagojevich, he pardoned ten others, all criminals who deserved the sentences they got, all nasty characters, or as Trump would say about others, “bad hombres”.  Why?  Why now, given that we know he was considering a pardon for Blagojevich as early as May 2018?  Because he can.  When the United States Senate acquitted Donald Trump of the two articles of impeachment, in essence they said … “You can and may do whatever you wish and we will not move to stop you.  We will turn a blind eye, so have at it … give it your best shot!”  And that, my friends, is how monsters are created.

A View From An Evangelical

Our friend Jeff has a new post that simply must be shared. He has connected with a member of the Christian evangelical community, albeit one who, unlike the rest, sees quite clearly what Donald Trump is, but tries to explain how his fellow evangelicals see him. This is well worth reading and pondering, for if we understand the thought processes of those who would make Trump king, perhaps we can counter them. Thank you, Jeff, and Jerry!

On The Fence Voters

A few weeks back, I was lucky enough to have an article of mine published at The Culture Crush digital and print magazine. It was called Under The Influence. Alongside my piece, another article was published by Jerry Gramckow entitled Against Interpretation. While mine dealt with how snake oil salesman have been wreaking havoc in our society for generations, Jerry’s went deep into the mind of the modern day evangelical. He should know, because he’s been in that community for 47 years. Today, I’m proud to publish a provocative post from Jerry that dives into Trumpworld from his own unique perspective. 

Jerry graduated from Multnomah University, a conservative evangelical institution, and served as an editor at two prominent evangelical Christian ministries. 

Thank You Jerry!

When The Right Thing To Do Is Wrong

By Jerry Gramckow

“There’s nothin’ you can do to turn me away, Nothin’ anyone can say. You’re with…

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The “Great” Debate …

I actually managed to watch the full debate last night without once trying to punch my computer or throw it across the room.  In fact, there were several points at which I laughed aloud, causing the girls to look at me in awe, for it is a sound they don’t often hear coming from me these days.  Typically, I think the value of the debates is far over-rated by the pundits, but it is an opportunity to see the candidates speak for themselves, see how they handle pressure under fire.  But, if I want to know what their platform is, I will go to OnTheIssues.org  which is the best place I have found over the years to get all the candidates’ platforms in one place.

What follows is only my takeaway from last night’s debate.  I have no doubt that others will have different opinions, but since I gave up two hours of my life that I can never get back, I thought the least I could do is opine just a bit.

There are six democratic candidates left from the 20+ that entered the race:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Joe Biden
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • Michael Bloomberg

The main reason I watched this debate last night … the first one I watched all the way through … was that I wanted to see how Mike Bloomberg handled the pressure of the questions he was inevitably going to get regarding his racist profiling in the stop-and-frisk policy he implemented in New York City, and the reports of sexist behaviour toward women in his businesses.  So, let me start with my take on Bloomberg’s performance last night.

The first word that comes to mind here is: arrogant.  His body language and facial expressions said:  I’m above all of this, I’m far above all these others, why am I even here?  Not one time did he actually smile, not once did he engage in any form of camaraderie with the others, and he rolled his eyes several times when asked a question that he felt unfair, or when critiqued by another candidate.  I sometimes think that body language and facial expressions tell as much as the words that come out of a person’s mouth.

But going beyond that, Mr. Bloomberg’s responses were unsatisfying, at best.  He seemed to defend his stop-and-frisk policy, though he has apologized for it.  But an apology is just words, and as they say, actions speak louder than words.  His defense of the reasons he started the policy was a turn-off for me.  Then there was the little matter of the treatment of women in his company.  Much of what women have alleged, Bloomberg denies, and yet … and yet, those women have been made to sign non-disclosure agreements.  One must ask why.  Elizabeth Warren called on Bloomberg to release the women from the agreements so the public could hear their allegations, but Bloomberg flatly refused.  According to much of what I have read, Bloomberg’s attitudes toward women, his vulgar language and crass remarks, are no better than Donald Trump’s.  If he wants transparency, what better place to start?

There were two candidates whose fire and genuine passion stood out last night:  Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.  The media have declared Sanders the winner of the debate, but in my humble opinion, while they were both great, I’d give Warren the prize.  Perhaps this is a slight prejudice on my part, for I frankly think the time has come for us to steer away from the old, white, male image of the presidency.  Nonetheless, Warren showed us what she’s made of, and I liked it.

Joe Biden.  Sigh.  Poor Joe … by most standards, and judging by history, Joe Biden should be the #1 frontrunner.  He has the most applicable experience, he understands foreign policy in a way that not a single one of the others do, and he has good ideas.  What he lacks, though, is the persona.  He simply hasn’t got the passion, seems to have lost his way somewhere along the line.  Perhaps it is still the effects of his son’s death that have turned his world to grey, or perhaps it is the constant barrage of mindless accusations by Donald Trump that have taken the wind out of his sails.  Either way, he just wasn’t quite … there.

I like Pete Buttigieg, though perhaps not quite as much as I did in the beginning.  A few things stood out last night, but the biggest one was his almost continual attacks on Amy Klobuchar, some of which seemed unfair, to say the least.  The media, and Pete, have made much of the fact that when asked the name of the president of Mexico last week, she couldn’t remember.  It has been blown far out of proportion, and Buttigieg seized on it last night … unrelentingly.  Heck, there are days that I cannot remember my own name, let alone the president of Mexico’s!  Buttigieg does his homework, but it would have shown humanity to have let it drop.  He disappointed me in his attacks on Klobuchar. Buttigieg has a few things in his favour with me, though, and one is that while the other five have a net worth in the millions, or in Bloomberg’s case, billions, Pete Buttigieg’s net worth is approximately $100,000.  This impresses me far more than Bloomberg’s $63 billion.

I thought Amy handled the stress of Pete’s attacks fairly well, but a few times she did seem overly emotional, such as when she said, “Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?” Far too much has been made over a bit of momentary forgetfulness, I think.  Overall, I was impressed with Ms. Klobuchar’s heart.  I believe she cares very much about people and would be a strong advocate for human rights, but I have to wonder if she’s a bit too emotional and too thin-skinned for the job of president, for more than once it seemed as if she was near tears.

As for the debate itself … two main takeaways.  First, while climate change and the environment was briefly discussed, it was altogether too brief.  When the DNC refused to hold a debate focused solely on climate change, they made a huge mistake, in my book, for this is the single most crucial issue on the ballot.  While each candidate said one of their first moves as president would be to re-join the Paris Accords, that’s about all we learned.  I want to know details!  I want to know more than the 5 minutes or so that climate change was discussed last night provided.

Secondly, I was put off and rather disgusted by the structure of the debate.  Candidates had small bits of time to answer a question, then when time was up they kept on talking, while all the others on stage were rudely interrupting, and with six people plus the moderators all talking at once, the closed captioning was useless and it was impossible to discern what anybody was saying.  I don’t know what the answer to this is for future debates, but I do wish somebody would come up with one.  It would have been far more helpful if all the candidates had stuck with giving their opinions of the issues rather than their opinions of their opponents.

Overall, I was glad I watched for I got a bit of a feel for the personas of the candidates, but as I said in the beginning, if I want to know their platforms and ideologies, I’ll turn to another venue.   Unfortunately, the infighting is doing nobody any good, and it is almost certain that no single candidate will end up with a clear majority by the time of the nominating convention in mid-July, which opens a whole ‘nother can of worms.  Sigh.

Considering Michael Bloomberg And A Worry For Another Time

Greg is the other half of On the Fence Voters, though for a number of reasons, he has been unable to post for several months. But, yesterday he wrote a very thoughtful and thought-provoking post about Michael Bloomberg’s candidacy, and he brought up some points that I think we must all be willing to consider. Please take a few minutes to read this excellent post and let Greg know your thoughts! Thank you, Greg, and it’s great to hear from you!

On The Fence Voters

I’ve heard a lot of disapproving talk about Michael Bloomberg trying to ‘buy’ his way into the Presidency, and it’s certainly understandable.  It’s true that electing our president should only be about finding the best man or woman to lead our country.  It shouldn’t be about who can outspend all the others, but unfortunately that’s what it’s come to in America.  In this election year, however, our top priority must be in nominating whichever candidate seems most likely to defeat Donald Trump. We should be thinking of almost nothing else. Money in our politics is definitely a problem but I think this time around, it’s a worry for another time.

It doesn’t bother me so much that Bloomberg has unlimited funds to spend in his campaign because I think there are simply too many other pressing concerns.  I admit I’m looking for a savior.  Most people I talk to are…

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Sharpen Your Claws — Gonna Need ‘Em

At first, I thought it was somebody’s idea of a joke … a stupid, sick joke.  But, the more I read, the more I began to wonder, so I kept digging.  It appears there is no joke … and I am sickened, disgusted, and enraged.  What, you ask, has me spluttering and cursing now?  An event that will take place in Orlando, Florida, on May 1-3.  The event is a 3-day convention called “Make Women Great Again”.  Yep, you heard right.mwga-posterHere’s a snippet from their intro on the website …

“Women today are being taught to act more like men. Where has that led us? Skyrocketing rates of broken families, a documented decline in female happiness since the 1970s, endless social and dating dysfunction, and America at the #1 spot in the world for single motherhood. No longer will you have to give in to toxic bullying feminist dogma and go against your ancient, biological nature as a woman, the men have arrived to help #MWGA.

EXPERIENCE a miraculous three day (and night) event with iconic 100% pure male speakers gathered from the worldwide manosphere community to help you dramatically improve your life as a woman and total femininity.”

Feel your hackles raising yet, my friends?

All the speakers will be men, and tickets are sold only to women … for a price of … $1,999!  Oh, but wait, for a limited time, if you bring a friend, you can get a ‘buy one, get one free’ ticket.  I would not spend twenty-five cents to attend this misogyny party!!!

Among the male speakers are Anthony “Dream” Johnson, who bills himself as the first president of the “Manosphere,” and Alexander J.A Cortes, a fitness guru who famously enraged the internet by tweeting out a list detailing “How to be a beautiful woman” by wearing more pink, shaving and being thin, among other attributes. Also on the lineup is far right activist Stefan Molyneux and ol’ Mike Cernovich of Pizzagate fame, who has argued that there’s no such thing as rape and who also won Filosofa’s Idiot of the Week award back in 2017. mwga-hatsMore topics from their website include …

THE WAR ON MOTHERHOOD

America is officially the #1 country on the planet for unwed single motherhood after a dramatic rise in recent decades. “Single Parenthood” of any kind is just another way of saying “broken family.” Statistics conclusively show that this is absolutely devastating for children, as well as mothers. Poverty, crime, mental health issues, and overall decline in well being is rampant today in America and the West in this context, thanks to feminist anti-motherhood propaganda. Generations of women have been lied to with “you can have it all”, a clever way of tricking them into de-prioritizing motherhood until ~90% of their eggs are dead by 30. This has led millions of women down a path of endless heartbreak, dead-end relationships, and left children at significantly heightened risk of birth defects via geriatric pregnancies. Today, we are witnessing the slow motion collapse of intentional motherhood and intact family formation.

BEAUTY AND THE OBESITY

Over 80 million women in America today are overweight or obese. These epidemic level numbers are no secret in spite of endless hyper-fit photoshop pictures of Instagram celebrities at ridiculously low body fat levels. Nevertheless, being sick and obese (a recognized disease in modern medicine) is not beautiful. Taking good self-care of your body is beautiful in process and outcome. Men admire healthy, fit women. They are after all sizing you up for reproduction, and your decisions will be passed on to your children through the choices you make via epigenetics. At The 22 Convention, you’ll learn how women have been lied to about “body positivity” and how you can embrace #beautypositivity right away!

THE WAR ON LOVE & ROMANCE

At incredible speed, the saying “Where did all the good men go?” suddenly became “Where did all the MEN go?” Believe us, men are saying the same thing in reverse today. The truth is that both positive masculinity and femininity have been under relentless attack for decades. Both have taken catastrophic social, cultural, personal, and philosophic damage for tens of millions of people. The result is a depolarized mess where men act like women, women act like men, everyone’s confused, and nothing “works” anymore. At The 22 Convention you’ll learn about the drivers behind this bizarre and stupid social experiment, what you can do to heal the damage and pain it’s caused you, and how to find awesome men and build healthy relationships.

And they say the ways in which they will make women’s lives better are …

  • Raise your femininity by 500% (I wonder if this includes a lobotomy?)
  • Get pregnant and have unlimited babies (oh yeah, like there aren’t enough children starving in this world, and the world isn’t already overpopulated!!!)
  • Beat the competition – become the ultimate wife (barefoot and pregnant?)
  • Make fitness great again (says the 300-pound, beer-guzzling couch potato man!)

To my women friends who live in Florida … please organize a protest outside the venue on the first day of this abominable ‘convention’!  To my men friends … don’t get no ideas!

I’m thinking … perhaps I should write a bit about how to “Make Men Great Again”?

Check out the trailer for this ‘convention’ …

This sort of thing … I can honestly say that I don’t think I know a man who would condone this bullshit.  It is right-wing, misogynistic and a lot more adjectives I could apply.  It is a sad sign of how some in this nation still view women, though, and I take that seriously.  There was a day, not so very long ago, when women in this nation could not vote, could not own property.  A day when women were often not hired if they were of child-bearing age.  A day when women earned only a portion of what men did for comparable jobs.  And still, in this the 21st century, women are having to fight for the right to make her own medical decisions, control her own body, and in some cases be treated as an equal in the workplace.  Women are still considered by many to be second-class citizens that should be dominated and controlled by men.  How many decades now have we been fighting for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment?  Nearly half a century, my friends.

My sincere hope is that nobody shows up for this ridiculous conference, that no woman in her right mind is fool enough to pay $2,000 to be put into a male-dominated mold.  What they really mean, rather than ‘Make Women Great Again’, is ‘Make Women Slaves Again’.

Black History Month — Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1928 … her given name was Marguerite, but her older brother nicknamed her “Maya”, derived from “Mya Sister”.  Her parents divorced when Maya was just three years old, and when she was eight, she was sexually abused and raped by her mother’s boyfriend.  She told her brother, her brother told the rest of the family, and the man, whose last name was Freeman, was arrested.  But, though Freeman was found guilty, he was freed after only one day in jail.  Incensed, an uncle or uncles, it is unclear whether it was one or more, beat and kicked Mr. Freeman to death.  Says Maya …

“I thought, my voice killed him; I killed that man, because I told his name. And then I thought I would never speak again, because my voice would kill anyone.”

And she spoke not a word for nearly the next five years.  Angelou credits a teacher and friend of her family, Mrs. Bertha Flowers, with helping her speak again. Flowers introduced her to authors such as Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, Douglas Johnson, and James Weldon Johnson, authors who would affect her life and career, as well as black female artists like Frances Harper, Anne Spencer, and Jessie Fauset.

maya-angelouDuring World War II, Angelou moved to San Francisco, California. There she won a scholarship to study dance and acting at the California Labor School. During this time, Angelou became the first black female cable car conductor in San Francisco.

During the 1960s, Maya and her son spent several years in Ghana, where she became an administrator at the University of Ghana, and was active in the African-American expatriate community. She was a feature editor for The African Review, a freelance writer for the Ghanaian Times, wrote and broadcast for Radio Ghana.  It was in Ghana that she met and became close friends with Malcolm X during his visit in the early 1960s.  Angelou returned to the U.S. in 1965 to help him build a new civil rights organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity; he was assassinated shortly afterward.

Maya remained a civil rights activist, and in 1968 Martin Luther King asked Angelou to help organize a march.  She agreed, but before the plan could reach fruition, Martin Luther King was assassinated – on Maya’s 40th birthday, as it happened.  For many years thereafter, Maya refused to celebrate her birthday, but sent flowers to King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, on that day. maya-angelou-2Maya Angelou went on to become one of the greatest writers and poets of our time. Despite having almost no experience, she wrote, produced, and narrated Blacks, Blues, Black!, a ten-part series of documentaries about the connection between blues music and black Americans’ African heritage, and what Angelou called the “Africanisms still current in the U.S.” for National Educational Television, the precursor of PBS.  Also in 1968, she wrote her first of seven autobiographies, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, published in 1969. This brought her international recognition and acclaim.Maya-caged-birdIn 1993, Angelou recited her poem On the Pulse of Morning at the presidential inauguration of Bill Clinton, becoming the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since Robert Frost at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.

I came across this quote by Maya regarding writing …

“I make writing as much a part of my life as I do eating or listening to music. I also wear a hat or a very tightly pulled head tie when I write. I suppose I hope by doing that I will keep my brains from seeping out of my scalp and running in great gray blobs down my neck, into my ears, and over my face.”

And now I know what I’ve been doing wrong all this time — I must wear a hat from now on when I write!!!maya-angelou-4There is so much more I could tell you about Maya Angelou, who died in 2014, but there are many, many great books both by and about her.  What I do want to share with you, though, is one of her most famous poems, Still I Rise.  Just as with Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, I cannot listen to her recite this without a tear coming to my eyes. In this, she writes about racism and slavery,  about rising above hatred – something that is just as relevant today as it was when she first published it in 1978.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya Angelou died in 2014, at the age of 86.  Among other, former President Bill Clinton and then-First Lady Michelle Obama both spoke at her funeral.

“And then she developed the greatest voice on the planet. God loaned her His voice. She had the voice of God, and He decided he wanted it back for awhile.” — President Bill Clinton

“For me that was the power of Maya Angelou’s words, words so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House.” — First Lady Michelle Obama

During her lifetime, she won Grammy Awards for three spoken-word albums, was a civil rights activist, streetcar conductor, Calypso singer, dancer, movie director and playwright.  She left behind a legacy that will not soon be forgotten.maya-4