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Maintaining Focus in the Era of Hate

Posted on January 23rd, 2017

Dave!

I touched on this yesterday, but the shit is really getting out of hand.

The loathing lobbied at both our former and current First Ladies has reached a level of toxicity so terrible that I'm almost afraid to login to Facebook or open Twitter.

Michelle Obama is one of the most beautiful, accomplished, and classy First Ladies to have ever graced The White House. The horrific racist comments and extreme levels of hate she endured on a daily basis breaks my heart. And yet she rose above and survived eight years of those who would demean, disrespect, and dismiss her. Michelle Obama is a role model of strength and conviction that has inspired the world in more ways than can be counted, and I am ever so grateful to have had her as a part of our First Family.

And now? Melania Trump looks like she's doing her level best to respect her new position and act with grace, dignity, and class. And yet her pick for a husband and past career choices are going to be wrapped around her neck like a boat anchor for the next four years. My heart goes out to her, and I truly hope that she has the strength to endure the hateful attacks that I keep seeing thrown her way over and over. I may loathe President Trump with the heat of a thousand suns, but he's earned that. From all appearances, First Lady Melania Trump has done nothing but try to be a good wife and mother in the face of overwhelming pressure. Her reasoning, her past, and her choices are hers. Until she proves me wrong, I'm just going to accept that she's done the best she can with her life and focus on the shit that actually matters.

But it doesn't end there.

Just as Sasha and Malia were the victims of disgusting attacks by their father's political opponents, now it's Barron Trump's turn.

Barron is 10 years old.

He's a 10 year-old kid.

I'm pretty sure he never signed up for this crap. I'm almost positive that he was never consulted over his father's words, actions, or political policies. He's just trying to be a kid under circumstances that would crush the strongest of adults... at 10 years old. His wealth and privilege aren't even on his radar yet. And nobody knows what his future holds. For all we know, he could abandon it all and become a monk... or dedicate his life to helping the poor... or use his wealth to benefit those in need. He is in a rare position to literally do whatever he wants with his future. Until he proves me wrong, I'm just going to accept that he's doing the best he can with his life and focus on the shit that actually matters.

And, needless to say, there's a lot of shit going on that needs focus right now.

   

Bullet Sunday 491

Posted on January 22nd, 2017

Dave!Don't despair that The Age of Darkness is upon us, because an all-new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Inauguration! No, I didn't watch it. The last thing I felt like doing was celebrating a racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic, sexist, hypocritical bigot ascending to the highest office in the land. I did see photos in my newsfeed, however, and thought our new First Lady sure was lovely...

First Lady Melania!

First Lady Melania!
Photos from The Associated Press

Though she seemed to be channeling Jackie Kennedy's fashion sense...

Jackie Kennedy!

But, hey... if you're going to copy somebody, copy the best! Which is apparently what Trump's team did with the inauguration cake.

   
• Melania! I should confess that I have serious concerns for Melania Trump. What bothers me most is how badly our new First Lady has been slut shamed throughout the campaign because of her past. From all indications, she is doing her absolute best to be respectful to the role she has to play. She was radiant and classy at the inauguration. She seems genuine and sincere about living up to her obligations. She has even said she plans to use her new position to address such horrors as cyber-bullying. What more do you want from her? Go ahead and bash her for swiping First Lady Obama's speech or Jackie's clothes... or whatever... but not for her past, which was hers to live. In all likelihood, Melania Trump may well be the only thing that's half-way decent to come out of the Trump presidency, so cut her some slack.

Because her husband sure doesn't seem to. Facebook was exploding over the fact that President Trump seemed happy to ignore his First Lady at every opportunity. Given how nervous the poor woman appeared, this was kind of shitty... but not surprising. At The White House transition, he didn't bother waiting for her before bounding up the steps... then ignored her when it was time to go inside. Fortunately, President and Mrs. Obama were there to help...

Contrast and compare the same moment from the Bush/Obama transition (45 seconds in)...

And then there's this gem...

Stay strong, Mrs. First Lady!

   
• Size Matters. President Trump's obsession over the size of his crowd at the inauguration has me laughing so hard I almost can't breath. He even has his press secretary wasting valuable time admonishing the media over it. Like there's nothing more important for him to focus on right now other than how YUGE his crowds were? In all seriousness, YOU'RE THE PRESIDENT OF THE FUCKING UNITES STATES OF AMERICA, YOU PATHETIC PRICK! Is this the kind of petty dumbassery that's going to dominate your presidency for the next four years? Can you imagine the reaction by Republicans if President Obama were to spin his wheels over this kind of inconsequential bullshit? How fucking embarrassing for this country. Our Cheeto-Faced-Ass-Clown-In-Chief must have a penis the size of a Tic-Tac if something this idiotic has him so riled up. I can't wait until President Trump decides to compensate for his small dick by blowing off his YUGE nuclear arsenal. BWAH HA HA HA HAAA! We're all fucking doomed.

   
• Size Matters? In other news on crowd size... 20 Million Muslims March Against ISIS and The Mainstream Media Completely Ignores It. Because covering such a massive demonstration doesn't fit the media narrative that ALL MUSLIMS ARE TERRORISTS! How can people complain that Muslims aren't condemning Muslim extremists when something like this is out there?

   
• Size Matters! And then there was the Women's March on Washington (and numerous other cities) which was an attempt to remind President Trump that the women-folk aren't going to go quietly into the night as their rights are threatened. Whether it's defunding Planned Parenthood where many women in poor and rural communities are able to get care... or restricting access to abortion as guaranteed by The Supreme Court... or continuing to marginalize women when it comes to fair and equal treatment in the workplace... ladies everywhere were marching. Even in Antarctica...

First Lady Melania!
Photo Credit to Linda Zunas

And that's all seven continents.

It would be nice to think that President Trump could take ten fucking minutes away from blowing himself on Twitter to use the march as inspiration to start taking women's issues seriously, but I think we all know that's not going to happen. Between shitting all over our military by saying rape is to be expected for women who enlist... to saying it's hard for women to be attractive if they don't have large breasts... to bragging about him sexually assaulting women... well, his record is pretty clear. And pretty disgusting. March on, ladies.

   
• Mantra! I keep seeing Republicans condemning people for not rallying behind President Trump "for the good of the country." Which is hypocritically insane given how they did nothing of the sort when President Obama took office. Both times. The unhinged reaction to Obama was based on outlandish shit that was mostly fantasy. The reaction to Trump is based on outlandish shit he's actually said and done. And while I usually attempt to take the high road and "rise above" when faced with this kind of crap, don't expect it this time around. Unless President Trump suddenly rejects all past action to become a shining beacon of tolerance, acceptance, equality, liberty, and freedom... he just doesn't deserve it.

Which is why I'm trying to come up with a song that I can use as a mantra for the next four years. I think I have it narrowed down to two...

It will either be this bit of genius from the movie Popstar by The Lonely Island...

OR... perhaps this classic from Lily Allen...

Decisions. Decisions.

   
And that's bullets for this Sunday. Fortunately President Obama never got around to taking our guns, declaring martial law, outlawing Christmas, enacting Sharia Law as a Secret Muslim, executing white people, putting everybody in FEMA camps, forcing everybody to get gay married, starting up death panels... or turned out to be The Antichrist... so I might just be back with more bullets next week.

   

Thanks, Obama

Posted on January 20th, 2017

Dave!=sigh=

Back in 2008, I was an enthusiastic Obama voter. His advocacy for Hope and Change was a message that resonated with my loathing and disgust of the political machine that's been destroying this country for decades. I wasn't necessarily convinced that anything would change for the better... he's still a politician, after all... but I was hopeful that he would at least try and improve government transparency as he had promised in his campaign.

I was disappointed almost immediately. His seat in The White House wasn't even warm before President Obama's administration was classifying documents on ACTA instead of making them public as any government promising transparency would have done. The ACTA discussion was considered a "matter of national security" which was (and still is) fucking bullshit.

Obama and I were off to a bad start.

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

But I kept telling myself anything was better than MIA/POW traitor John McCain and the shockingly idiotic Sarah Palin... even though a part of me wondered if that were true. Sometimes you're better off with the devil you know, and I had come to know the devil that is John McCain very well through my MIA/POW advocacy.

This is not to say that I didn't respect and admire Barack Obama as a person. Despite my many disagreements with how he ran things, I honestly think that he felt he was doing his best to represent the American people both at home and abroad. Needless to say, being President of the United States of America is one of the toughest jobs in the world, but President Obama always seemed to handle it with a grace and humanity that belied the horrendously difficult decisions he was called to make every day. He's a true leader who inspires people, which wasn't easy when his political rivals were determined to fight absolutely everything he tried to do and smeared him with hate and lies every single day.

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

When it came to his re-election, I went candidate shopping. President Obama had proven a disappointment when it came to transparency and lobbyist reform, so maybe there was somebody else willing to take up the cause? My favorite GOP candidate was Jon Huntsman Jr., but he was (predictably) eviscerated by his own party, leaving us with Romney/Ryan... both of whom I loathed. Instead of voting for Obama as I had done in 2008, I ended up voting against Mitt Romney in 2012.

And so... another four years of President Obama. Maybe since he didn't have to worry about running again, he'd get around to his promises from the first time around?

Not so much.

If anything, government transparency worsened as Obama's administration ramped up drone strikes, expanded spying on American citizens, and made an overall heinous mess of foreign policy that was bad in ways even his most fervent detractors never saw coming. My opinion of President Obama took a dramatic downturn. Partly because I could not grasp how he was failing so badly... but mostly because I didn't understand why he was failing so badly. Sure, Republican opposition to absolutely everything made Obama less effective than he could have been... but things going sideways everywhere from Syria to Israel was clearly in his court.

And yet...

Despite it all, I still liked the guy. Probably because he made it so difficult to dislike him...

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama has always been warm, funny, kind, genuine, and, in so many ways... patriotic... in his service of the USA. Yes, he did some decidedly unpatriotic things, but I'm saying that as an outsider looking in. I don't know what he knows or what information he had that compelled him to make those decisions I didn't agree with. All I know is that there is no doubt Barack Obama cared for his country. And he did so even when his country didn't love him back. When they questioned his citizenship. When they said he was going to declare martial law, round everybody up, and put them in FEMA camps. When they accused him of planning to take everybody's guns. When they labeled him a Muslim terrorist. The list goes on and on. And yet he ultimately managed to rise above it all and become a great president. A few of my favorite hits...

  • Dramatically improved America's image in foreign lands. As a world-traveler, I am so very grateful for this. After being in the toilet from Bush missteps for years, I didn't have to be quite so embarrassed to be American abroad.
  • Expanded broadband internet access and promoted net neutrality. The internet is an equalizing force that must be made easily available and provided free from interference by assholes for everybody. Period.
  • Improved support for our veterans. I argue he didn't go far enough, but Obama made big moves to support those who served their country, cutting veteran homelessness in half.
  • Repealed "Don't Ask Don't Tell." LGBT Americans have every right to serve their country the same as anybody else. This was a long time coming.
  • Aided in economic recovery, growth, and job expansion while working to reform Wall Street so they don't fuck us over quite so heinously next time and wipe out any gains we make in economic recovery, growth, and job expansion.
  • Salvaged the US auto industry, creating not hundreds... but thousands upon thousands of jobs in the process. Though I'm not a fan of this kind of government intervention, at least this time it was intervention for good!
  • Advocated for green initiatives in many areas. His efforts to support science and combat global warming, reign in pollution, and promote resource efficiency made the US a global leader in leaving a better planet for future generations
  • Took a stand on hate crimes by introducing new legislation. While the concept of "hate crimes" is controversial, I support any measure that aims to stem the tide of violence against people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or any disabilities they might have.
  • At least attempted to do something about the sad state of health care in this country. Yes, it ended up being a mess and I still support single-payer reform to keep asshole insurance companies from destroying affordable care... but you miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and I can't fault him at least trying.

Of course his biggest accomplishment is probably serving two terms without some outrageous personal scandal erupting... quite a feat for a politician!

My admiration for President Obama is only eclipsed by my pride for our First Family. Michelle Obama was the epitome of beauty, style, grace, and heart. She used her position to advocate for those Americans who needed it most. Whether it was veterans in danger of becoming homeless with the Joining Forces Initiative... or children being inundated with unhealthy lifestyles and foods with the Let's Move! Campaign... or girls who were excluded from education around the world with the Let Girls Learn Initiative... our First Lady put in the work to improve the world. That she was also a mother to two wonderful girls who represented their country beautifully (even under the most heinous of circumstances) is just the icing on the cake. When it comes to a First Family, we really lucked out. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for your service.

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

And, naturally, the past eight years wouldn't have been the same without "Uncle Joe" Biden by his side. I never gave much thought to the Vice President all these years, but all that changed when I started reading about his tragic history... a history so devastating that I can't fathom how Biden continued to function, let alone serve his country. That such an enduring friendship between President and Vice President managed to come of it is remarkable given the toxic state of American politics (and is a friendship deeper and more heartwarming than I could have guessed). Many thanks, Mr. Vice President.

President Obama Photo by Pete Souza
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

And so...

We may have had our differences over the years, but that in no way diminishes my appreciation, gratitude, respect, and love for President Barack Hussein Obama, 44th president of The United States of America. I suspect that I will miss you every single day for the next four years.

Probably longer.

From the bottom of my heart... thanks, Obama.

   

Bullet Sunday 430

Posted on April 26th, 2015

Dave!My eyes may be bruised and battered, but I'm glad to be alive... because Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Thanks, Obama! The president's speech at this year's White House correspondents' dinner was literally laugh-out-loud funny. Probably the best CD speech I've ever heard. Self-deprecating in all the right ways... yet nicely vicious in the right ways too...

Killed it.

   
• Speech! And Cecily Strong did an amazing job too...

I'm guessing that's going to rub some people the wrong way...

   
• Mo! Oh shit! Did the Surgeon General's nurse just give Elmo autism?!?

Av ery good question indeed! Hmmm...

   
• Color! Man of Steel was a shitty movie that took a huge, steaming dump all over Superman... but this makeover would have gone a long way towards at least making it LOOK like a Superman movie...

Next up, Zach Snyder gets to drop a load all over Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

   
• Joker Products! And speaking of taking a dump all over a beloved DC Comics character, here comes Suicide Squad...

DAVETOON! Lil' Dave is sick with his eyes closed and his tongue hanging out.

I am interested in seeing what Jared Leto brings to the role, as he's an incredibly talented actor who seems a perfect fit. But this "look" they've got going for him seems more silly than scary. I'm trying to keep an open mind here, but Hipster Joker? Really?

   
• Relief. A massive earthquake has killed over 3000 people in Nepal, injured scores of others, and affected millions. As always, Doctors Without Borders is there. If you have a few extra bucks in your pocket, you can help them to help others by donating here.

   
And now it's time to put my aching eyes to bed. See you in seven days... same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.

   

Performance

Posted on September 6th, 2012

Dave!It was a night of performance art tonight. Here are some of my favorites...

   
• Gabrielle Giffords "The Pledge of Allegiance" at the DNC. Tell me this isn't one of the most amazing things you've ever seen. The woman survives a frickin' assassination attempt... a gunshot to the head... says "fuck you" to the bullet, and is on-stage leading the DNC in the Pledge of Allegiance a year-and-a-half later. I don't care what your politics are, this kind of raw courage demands respect. There wasn't a dry eye in the house, making Gabrielle Giffords the performance to beat tonight.

   
• Pink "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" at the MTV VMAs. I have yet to see Pink in concert so every time I see one of her beautifully orchestrated live performances, I'm a little pissed-off. Tonight's VMA blow-out has her singing yet another amazing track from a string of amazing tracks... "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" and it was fantastic. Once I got past her dopey hair-do, Pink had me completely captivated as she did her whole "Cirque du Soleil" act better than Cirque du Soleil.

   
• President Obama "Acceptance Speech" at the DNC. My candidate for the upcoming election was Jon Huntsman. I thought he was smart in all the right ways, and the person most likely to bridge the icy divide between Republicans and Democrats to fix our fucked-up country. But Republicans seemed to truly hate the guy because he wasn't bat-shit-crazy-Right, and you can't get anywhere when your own party doesn't support you. So Huntsman was shoved off the stage and we got... Mitt Romney. Who has the personality of a wooden board wrapped in a wet blanket. He does not inspire me in the least, and I abhor most of his politics when it comes to personal liberties... an area TRUE Conservatives should be getting the fuck out of in the name of less-invasive government. Oh well. So Barack Obama it is then. His acceptance speech was good. Very good. And as the consummate politician, our president delivered it in a way Romney can only dream about. He makes me forget that he wasn't my first choice. He makes me forget that he did some things I am really upset about. He makes me remember that he is a good man, a true patriot, and a decent president who is doing his best to get us out of a horrible situation. And while Obama is not my dream candidate, his speech makes me feel better about voting for him in November, which is what it's really all about.

   
• Jennifer Granholm at the DNC. Talk about your rousing performances... Granholm descended on the DNC like a tsunami and belted out a speech that was so unabashedly pro-Obama that it made other speakers look like they lacked support for the president. And I'm including Barack Obama. She waxed so poetically about the president's auto-bailout that it almost made me forget that it was President Bush who got the ball rolling by approving monies that would keep our auto-makers in business until Obama got in office. Granted, this was probably at least partially inspired by the Obama transition team laying groundwork for the new president... but it's still a glaring omission in giving credit where credit is due. Whatever. Granholm was there to rally for the president, and she got the job done by delivering a wake-up to the convention that was a much-needed slap in the face.

   
• Taylor Swift "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" at the MTV VMAs. In stark contrast to some of her previous televised live performances which were, for lack of a better word, "bad"... Taylor had a terrific (and impossibly cute) performance of her latest hit that brought down the house.

   
• Zach Wahls at the DNC. Zach is a great kid with a great story and a speaking presence that is really going to take him places. When I first saw his speech in defense of marriage equality at the Iowa House of Representatives, I was blown away. The guy is 19, but connects with an audience like a seasoned pro. The only problem is that all his speeches and talk show appearances are starting to sound the exact same. He's got two moms. His family is as normal as any other. Yadda yadda yadda. I know that's why he was at the convention, but Zach needs to mix it up a bit. Still, he did a great job, and you really have to admire his tireless efforts to get people onboard the equality bandwagon.

   
• Eva Longoria at the DNC. Seriously... who knew?

   
Annnnnd... after traveling all day, it's time to unwind and prep for a busy day tomorrow.

   

Bullet Sunday 276

Posted on April 29th, 2012

Dave!Time to check your bandwidth, because a special All Video Edition of Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Punisher! President Obama once again killed it at the White House Correspondents' Dinner. I didn't think he could top his awesome performance last year, but he came really close. Except... was I the only one who kept seeing a skull shape when his shirt was eclipsed by the microphones? At first I thought that it was proof positive that he was, in fact, not a Secret Muslim... but instead a Secret Satan Worshipper! And then... then... it came to me. it's not Satan... it's The Punisher!

President Obama is the Punisher

If only.

I may not always agree with his politics, but I really do like our president. He's a good guy doing a tough job the best way he knows how... all while under constant attack by people who have no respect for his office or our country. If you haven't seen his speech, it's pretty damn funny and well worth watching...

   
• Election! I don't think there's any question that Mitt Romney will most definitely not be getting my vote. What is in question is whether or not President Obama will get my vote. Right now, I honestly don't know. If he starts caving on things like CISPA and equality, I have no problem with a write-in vote like I've done before when both candidates suck. Otherwise, it's kind of his vote to lose. All that being said, I am kind of enjoying Obama's latest round of ads: "Mitt Romney vs. Reality" where he takes his old footage to address Romney's bullshit pandering. Genius. Romney comes off looking either uninformed or a liar, while Obama dings him without going negative...

It will be interesting to see where Romney's campaign goes now that he's running for president instead of candidacy. Because, I gotta say, his ads always seem more embarrassing than informative or compelling. The guy is so awkward and detached that his every appearance seems to be a reason why he shouldn't be president. He needs an ad team that can work this out... fast.

   
• Houdini! I stopped watching MTV a long time ago. They used to be all about music, but now all they give a crap about is stupid shit like Jersey Shore which I wouldn't watch if my life depended on it. The upshot being that I don't see many music videos anymore. Not that it's a big loss... most music videos suck ass these days. But I do follow Foster the People, and their latest video for my favorite song (Houdini) off their last album (Torches) is really good...

Creative, funny, well-executed, and fitting to the song. Doesn't get much better than that.

   
• Old! A year ago, somebody asked a question that has been burning up the internet this past week... "What are the Windows A: and B: drives used for?" Since I was around when computers went consumer mainstream, I remember all too well about things like modems, data cassettes, BBSs, and yes... floppy disks for your A: and/or B: drive. I also remember VHS tape, Pong, record players, and... heaven help me... rotary telephones...

It's not that I feel particularly old over it all... the technological advances over the past 30 years have been astoundingly fast... it's what we're in for over the next 30 years. Just as the iPhone bears -zero- resemblance to the rotary phone, I'd imagine the "phone" of the future will be an even bigger departure from iPhone. It's at that point that I really start to feel my age. Oh well. I honestly think that the limitations that my generation had to put up with from technology made it more fun than the sheer magic we get from technology today, so there's that*.

   
• Ridley! When it comes to movies this year, I'd have thought it would be impossible to top my excitement for The Avengers, but Ridley Scott's offering, Prometheus, does exactly that. The new international trailer has me aching for a good science fiction movie...

June 8th can't get here fast enough.

   
And now I suppose it's time to put away YouTube so I can get some real work done.

   

*Oh who am I kidding? I would have killed to have had an iPhone back in the 80's, and everybody knows it.

   

Mirror!

Posted on April 4th, 2012

Dave!It's been a tough day. It's been a tough series of days.

And everybody knows that when the going gets tough, the tough get going... so I'm going to get going on this bottle of Jägermeister.

But before we start drinking:

This happened...

Nichelle Nichols and President Obama give the Spock salute!

Am I the only one who thinks that President Obama should consider himself very, very lucky that he met up with the Regular Universe Uhura instead of the Evil Mirror Universe Uhura?

Mirror Univers Nichelle Nichols Uhura and President Obama

She would cut a bitch for reals.

I have to admit... I love having a cool guy as president. Regardless of how I feel about Obama's politics, the idea of going back to having a wooden, tense, socially awkward president fills me with dread.

And I suppose that's my cue.

Drink Jäger and Prosper my friends.

   

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