James Comey Day

Yes, I will say it now. I’m going to procrastinate today. Wait a minute. The James Comey testimony is today? Do I really want to see this? My political junkie side says, pull up the popcorn, fix me a non-alcoholic drink and let the games begin. My non-political junkie side says, by the time this is all over, there will be smoke but no fire. It will mean nothing in the long run. The end result will be no blow to Trump no matter what pundits may say.

Maybe I’ll make a leisurely day of it.  Fix a decadent brunch and chow down and watch the hearing. I know regular coverage will be pre-empted, and being that it daytime TV schedules disrupted, what is left to watch, should I choose to watch something else, will be limited to the bottom of the barrel Springer/Povich baby daddy/stripper fight drama or QVC clothing marathons. This is the life without cable.

I already know the answer. I’m going to try to fight not watching the hearing, but ultimately I will be pulled in. It’s in my nature. I might watch the hearing while working on some writing projects, but I know I’ll be watching the hearing like a lot of my political friends.

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A Rough Anxiety Day

No radio noise for sleep last night, so I’m up and groggy. Not a good start of the day.

That was the tweet I sent early yesterday morning. Yesterday was a struggle. Bad anxiety hit me just as I got to work. Kept myself quiet, forced myself through the issue. I know that a contributor to the issue was the internet connection on my tablet I use next to the bed wasn’t working. I thought it was a wide range internet outage so I ignored it. It turned out the device was the issue and my router just needed a reboot.

It’s been so frustrating that the little things are causing so much difficulties right now. I know intellectually it has to do with the stress of dealing with my parents’ condition. The thing is, as much as I know rationally what’s going on, meaning I should be able to identify and work around it, I haven’t been able to do this as efficiently as I would like.

Oh, to the guy with the flip phone who was texting or something with the sound on so every type could be heard; you figured because you look like a homeless crazy guy you act crazy? Seriously, I saw other people pissed off and wanting to do bodily harm to you. Very jerky move on your part.

So, what broke through the anxiety? Well, the Star Wars toys (trust me, a small display) at work subliminally reminded me that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, came out yesterday. It didn’t hit me it was out until I left work. That little reminder worked and I felt a lot better. Picked up the Blu-Ray before I got home.

When I get off work today, I’m going to see if I can get an affordable tablet to replace the defective one.

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Don’t Want Nobody’s Name on My Behind

I took a photo of this woman on the bus yesterday. When I did a quick edit and posted this morning, I noticed the woman, who was obviously striking, but what shook me were the amount of company logos she had on. It wasn’t NASCAR crazy but to me she was a billboard. 

I remember the early 80s crazy of designer jeans. It was a sign of status to have the designer’s name stitched on the butt pocket of jeans. Nothing got between 16 years old Brooke Shield’s Calvin’s. I know manufacturers try to get symbols and logos synonymous with a product so we automatically associate their brand with a product. I think I was taken aback because I’m used to the caricature image I see of advertising. Its that NASCAR example I mentioned which I used to think as a thing but it isn’t.

You get coffee from a fast food place or convenience store and that logo advertises that chain. Jeans, shirts and other clothes have logos stamped on them. I might take some time to see what Android phone you have but an Apple phone can be spotted yards away.

We tell ourselves we get those items for style or quality, but we are influenced by little things we don’t notice. I probably won’t buy a Nike jumpsuit, but was craving a soda later that afternoon and I’m not a big soda drinker.

Traveling this morning I’m seeing subtle and blatant advertising on everybody. From designer clothes and accessories, gadgets from phones to headphones, shoes, bicycles; I feel like I’ve been dropped into the They Live movie. Everything I see seems to have subliminal consumer messages. Well, not really so subliminal since its plain to see.

Too bad I’m all out of bubblegum.

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Focusing on Productive and Necessary Planning

Ever since getting the call on Friday from my mother about the state of her and especially my father, I’ve been mentally scrambling to figure out how to raise the money, get affairs in order when I have to leave and other issues that, in the pain of grief, I probably will not be thinking clearly about.

I’m feeling a little better now because in planning things out I know a lot of panic issues have been avoided, because there were assumptions I had about travel in times of grief that don’t apply today.

The first thing I learned is most airlines don’t have bereavement fares anymore. I was disappointed when I learned that because I figured having to get a short notice flight, especially with grief, a person would be taken advantage of. However, I’m planning all this out to try an avoid that. What I found as a good option for an out of pocket expensive sudden flight is using your airline points if you have them. It was a surprise to me that I had points available, which, on the formula I saw the airline my credit card is with, would give me a free one way trip.

I don’t have enough for a round trip ticket at the moment, but I could purchase points or use the card more often to earn points. In thinking though the possibilities, right now I’m probably going to use the points for the one way ticket. The sad reality is, and I’m sorry but I need to have gallows humor to deal with some of this, there will be another shoe that will drop and that will be a harder situation to deal with because that will have me dealing with a lot of things alone as the only heir to the estate, such as it is. So while I’m planning, I need to make sure the network is set up so when I’m faced with this happening again I’m even more prepared.

My parents don’t live near a major airport hub. The closest airport is in Columbia SC, but it still over an hour drive to their town. I thought about renting a car but the price of renting is pretty steep. Also, when I factored in the one way ticket, I didn’t want to deal with trying to find a rental place in their town to return the car.

Something I just saw I didn’t mention, which will make sense for the rental car issue, is I decided for the return trip to take a bus. It will be about two days to return back, but the cost of the bus, at the high end, will be $200. That is manageable for me now. I was tempted to take the bus round trip, but I know when I get the news, I’m not going to want to take two days on the road and end up at the end of the trip miserable then face the family. I know if I took two days to get there, they will gossip as to why I wasn’t there right away. Better to get there early.

I was able to see that Greyhound has two trips, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, that will get me into town and, what shouldn’t be a surprise but it was, they have Uber drivers. From the bus terminal to my parent’s house isn’t that far. Between bus fare and Uber the cost from the airport to their house is less than $40.

Once I’m at the house I’m sure I’ll do a lot of traveling and will be using one of the cars.

This plan helps a lot because there’s no telling when I will leave. I didn’t lock things down with an airline because if the plans changed I didn’t want to pay steep fees for flight changes. The bus fare is reasonable no matter the time and it is only a 10 minute drive from the house to the bus station. While it will be a two day ride back home, that might be what I need to decompress.

Now, how I’ve planned things at the moment is for a sudden emergency. When I mean sudden, I’m talking about the dreaded call coming within a month. Hopefully, that won’t happen and I can breathe and possibly come up with other options.

I’m doing a lot of organizing to keep myself busy. I’m gotten over the initial weight of the information and in getting this information gathered I’m not as panicked and stressed as I was days ago when I was certain I had no plan on how I was going get everything in order. What I’m doing is taking the procedures I would do for a trip and apply to this task. Unfortunately it not a pleasant idea to think about but I’m sure that’s what blocked me from working on this earlier. I always have nervous anticipation when I go on a trip. I go over the checklist in my head and, importantly, I have a set date when I’m leaving.

This planning is different because I don’t know when it will happen and when I get the word it’s not going to be pleasant.

What I’ll be working on in the next few weeks will be the trauma kit. I still have my 20+ years travel through Europe backpack which barely makes regulations on flights. Trips to the 99 cents store and Walmart will be made to get fresh clothes and the like for the bag. I want to have things set so when I get the call and I’m away from home, I can head back to the house and to the shutdown procedures before leaving. I don’t want to think about what to pack. When the shutdown procedures are complete I want to grab and go. That’s how I do my vacation and that’s how I want to run this.

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Pot, Kettle, Have You Met?

A few days ago, when The View panel was talking about health care, Sunny Hostin was vigorous in stating the Obamacare was working wonderfully for people and even though others on the panel used personal examples of the program not working. She was quick to say that you can’t use anecdotal evidence and need to look at the whole picture. A few days later, a discussion was going on about proposed cuts in the budget, including Meals on Wheels. Sonny Hostin, on this issue, was quick to use the personal example of her grandmother using Meals on Wheels to illustrate how vital the program was and when confronted with statistics, argued that people with the statistical information should talk to her grandmother.

What I saw on The View is the reason a lot of conservatives can laugh at liberals. I get where liberals can call conservatives silly and not sticking to facts, but when you don’t do it yourself, you have no supporting arguments when criticism is thrown at you. I understand why Hostin would use her grandmother as an illustration of a benefit of Meals on Wheels. Using her grandmother shows a benefit of the program, much like others, in illustrating the concerns of Obamacare, used personal examples illustrating failures of Obamacare.

I see this happening too many times with talking heads. They’re very quick to silence, over talk or otherwise intimidate people on subjects they’re passionate about. They will use whatever they can to convince the crowd they’re correct. Logic has nothing to do with winning the hearts and souls of the audience. It’s all emotions by personal stories, cold facts or gotcha moments. It’s not about presenting information and letting the viewer decide on the issue.

Look, you can’t one day you wants stats and no personal stories then the next use a personal story to buttress your facts. As a lawyer Hostin knows better, but I believe part of the reason why no one called her on the double standard she used was because she is a lawyer and, because it was a heated discussion on both topics and days apart, there might not have been pause enough to look back and think through how her argument was contradictory.

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Thin Skinned Bully DJT

The man in the Oval Office got offended by a video by Snoop Dogg, posting the following message of Twitter.







This said by the same person who spent years accusing Obama of being born in another country, demanding to see his birth certificate and college transcripts. Mr. Trump, you didn’t get jail time for your false claims and accusations. You became Commander in Chief, and even with that accomplishment you continue to make false accusations against Obama.


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Finding the Silver Lining

With a lot of the chaos I’ve been dealing with, I have to look at the humor in the absurdity of things. A lot of times life is going to do what life does. No amount of trying to force situations to what you want them to be will make them ultimately work the way you want them to be, I believe.

For me, when I start to, in a way, let go and follow the flow, take a few course corrections, things will work out OK for me. Now, that’s not to say I haven’t tried to break my own ideas. Trust me, there have been things recently that have pushed me to places I didn’t want to go, but even with what I’ve considered wrong turns, I can still hold my head up high and considering the alternatives, I’ve come out of the struggles with small battle scars.

There was another health scare with my father over the weekend. It bothers me, but I’ve gotten to a point where I’m not dwelling over the issues coming up. Somehow, someway, he pulls through the episodes. My mother has her own health issues, which she downplays because of father’s issues. I know they’re older and bluntly, it’s just a matter of time before one of those calls will be THE CALL. All I can do is financially prepare for it. Because I have the focus, all of a sudden I’m sacrificing a lot to get the funds in order and getting to the financial goals are within reach. Years of trying to save and get out of debt hasn’t worked but with this pall hanging over me I’m able to cut, pay bills and save.

Crazy that it has taken the tragedy to get myself there but it’s what has to be done.

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Black History Month

Frederick Douglass illustration by John Jennings / Donald Trump photo by Nigel Parry for CNN. Dialog over photo Reginald Mizell

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Gingrich Has No Principles

Said on Fox & Friends by Newt Gingrich:

Schumer could conjure up tears for people being held in an airport but not for the hundreds shot and killed in Chicago?

Hmm, where is your concern Gingrich? Where are your tears for Chicago? When did you march in protest for the killings in Chicago? Did you speak out against it when you were running for President? No, you blame the victims and innocence that live in a desperate environment. You criticize people like Schumer, John Lewis and the millions of people who fear the reckless actions of this President.

What is disturbing to me, Mr. Gingrich is that you denounced Trump during the Republican primaries, knowing he was a loose cannon. You had principles at that time. Now, because of a blind sense of party loyalty, not American loyalty and principles, you support Trump to a dangerous degree. You want to mock and denigrate those who peacefully disagree with the President’s policy. Your mockery suggests that those who oppose the President are disloyal to America. You disagree with that assessment? I would argue that the former acting AG would disagree with you. Since the President fired her because she disagreed with his policy, his actions speak volumes of what happens when he is opposed.

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Reminder that Change is Slow

I read an article today that talked about how a black organization was exploiting the death of a black man, using the incident as “a springboard for an organized hate campaign.” The article talks about how community leaders are trying to promote harmony among the groups, but the “organized pressure group” was stirring trouble. While the writer of the article does admit the death of the black man was tragic, if blame for his death is focused on the people of the state of Mississippi, characterizing the whole state as racist, then those that are arguing that point of view must look to the state of Illinois, Chicago in particular, and blame them for the high crime in their state and city.

See, the young man that was killed was from Chicago.

Now, you might see where I’m going with this. “The city’s murder rate is increasing” was a statement President Trump mentioned recently. He has talked about the “carnage” of the inner cities and the high crime rate in Chicago, in particular. When there is a death of a black man by police, or by misguided citizens in the case of the young man in Mississippi, it seems easy for people to blame the victim. When groups come in to protest the death, the citizens of the cities close ranks. They distrust the outside people, often labeling them as outside agitators and organized pressure groups. There will inevitably be some “community leader” which translates into a docile minister with his own agenda in the town, who will talk about unity and peace. He is the one who will be in front of the cameras. He will be the one that the establishment will shake hands with, who will stand by the police and who can be counted on the calm peacemaker who will say it’s going to get better and we shouldn’t make the incident racial.

Carolyn Bryant, does that name ring a bell? Probably not. The incident I mentioned in the opening paragraph, about the black man whose death was exploited. That was from an article written by Tom Ethridge. The young black man he talked about in the article was Emmett Till. The article was written a few days after his death and in the article, he argued that the crime in Chicago, where Till was from, was far worse and deserved the focus of the NAACP instead of them coming to the South and causing trouble.

He did write “Two white men charged with the brutal crime are now in jail and a speedy trial within the month seems definitely assured.” That did happen and those two white men were acquitted after their speedy trial.

Carolyn Bryant is the white woman Emmett Till supposedly whistled at. I know it’s hard to imagine that a black man could be killed, just because he wanted a stick of gum, but that’s what happened. I say that sarcastically, of course, because we know black men and women get killed by police for all sorts of things. No matter what, when they are shot it takes less than a day for the blame to be shifted to them. I could go on about crime and justice and race in this country and it won’t resonate enough for people to do something. People were shocked and outraged back in 1955, but, as many white people at the time thought, if he hadn’t whistled at the white woman he wouldn’t have been killed.

It was recently reported that Carolyn Bryant lied in court. This is how the New York Post described what she testified to in 1955 in an article today –

She testified that Till had grabbed and threatened her inside the store – and that he had used an “unprintable” word when he told her he had been intimate “with white women before.”

“I was just scared to death,” she said in court.

Her conscious is clear all these decades later, relatively clear I guess.

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