Tag Archives: Elizabeth Warren

A smaller Democratic debate entertains but lacks fireworks, and a few words from a Booker supporter as he bows out. An awesome “Family Feud” horrible answer. And Ken Jennings is a “Jeopardy” God

The Democratic presidential debate stages are getting smaller, which makes me happy. But they’re also getting whiter, which does not, and this week brought a second defeat to candidates I support (more on that in a minute).

First some thoughts from a lively, but relatively tame, CNN debate:

— Right from the first question Wolf Blitzer pissed me off. It’s not just him, lots of people ask a variation of it. It was a question directed to Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, asking how can Americans trust your judgement when you made a mistake voting for war back in 2003 with Iraq (Biden) and 2001 with Afghanistan (Sanders).

So basically the premise of the question is that, “Hey, you made a mistake once, so how can we ever trust you again?” I’m sorry but that’s freaking ridiculous. Every single person on Earth has made a bad decision or judgement in their life, so no one is to be trusted again?

“Steve, in 1998 you decided to go to that terrible office party instead of seeing Prince live in concert. How can we ever trust you again?”

Such a stupid premise. People make mistakes! Doesn’t mean they can’t learn from them and grow. I just so, so hate this line of questioning.

— Biden was sharp Tuesday night. He’s been getting better and better. It’s like the first few debates were spring training and now he’s rounding into form.

— I thought Elizabeth Warren, now my top choice (more on that in a minute), had another terrific debate, standing up for women candidates, showing savvy and intelligence on foreign policy, and again showing why she’d be an outstanding President. I don’t want to hear any of my wishy-washy fellow Democrats talk crap about “ooohh, she’s too liberal, she won’t get the moderates, yada yada yada.”

Screw the moderates, she’ll get the liberals and progressives to turn out in Obama-like numbers, and that will be enough to get to 270 electoral votes.

— I also loved it when Warren said she and Amy Klobuchar were the only candidates on the stage who’d never lost an election. Women!

— A few words about Cory Booker, my No. 1 choice for President and a man I truly think would have made an excellent nominee, and Commander-in-Chief. Booker suspended his campaign for the nomination this week, and I am not surprised but crestfallen. He is a strong, smart, incredibly-charismatic man who I believe has a terrific heart, and he failed in this nomination because not enougb people felt that way.

I don’t know, truly, why Booker never caught on. Maybe it’s that we’ve already had an African-American President. Maybe he never found a lane between progressive die-hards like Warren and Bernie, and moderates like Klobuchar and Biden. Maybe he should’ve done big-money fundraisers to keep him in the race, I don’t know.

But he was a longshot from Day 1, and it makes me sad that is candidacy is over. I was more stunned that Kamala Harris failed in this quest than Booker did, but it still makes me sad.

Sigh. Elizabeth Warren, you’re getting all my support now. Go get it done.

**Next up today, game-show screwups always bring the funny. Check out how confident and proud of herself this blonde woman is when she gives what she thinks is the best answer to host Gerry Dee’s question on the Canadian version of “Family Feud.”

What’s really scary? What did those other 46 people out of 100 say?

**And finally tonight, let us all bow down to the greatest mind of our generation, Mr. Ken Jennings.

OK, maybe he’s not the greatest mind. But who knows more than this guy? Tuesday night he finished his downright evisceration of two incredibly smart guys on the “Jeopardy” Greatest of All Time Tournament.

In winning three of the four matches against James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter, Jennings just again showed mastery of all subjects, winning the $1 million cash prize and a super cool trophy. It was incredible how good he was, against two “Jeopardy” masters.

The whole tournament was great, as three dudes who got super-wealthy for knowing stuff had fun in the competition.

Hey kids, it’s cool to be smart. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Good News Friday: A bookstore, an old lady, and a college student provide an amazing act of kindness. Elizabeth Warren and a little girl share a beautiful moment. And a dog (not Rowlf from the Muppets) plays the piano wonderfully

And a Happy Friday to you all! Another surreal day Thursday in Washington, D.C., I know it shouldn’t surprise me anymore, anything this President does, but I have to say I kind of marvel with awe and amazement at one thing: Every other politician in history that I’ve ever heard of has tried to deflect, obfuscate, or ignore a scandal when it comes his or her way. They talk about other things they’ve done, or want to do, and try to downplay the scandal as much as possible.

Not this guy! He RUNS to scandal, he can’t WAIT to talk about it, and talk about it some more, and then talk about it some more. He relishes talking about his scandals!

It’s truly quite something.

Also, a personal note to let you know there will be no new blog post in this space on Monday; the family and I are taking a short vacation with much of our other family on a little three-day cruise. Should be fun and provide lots of blog material 🙂

OK, on with the show.

Want to start Good News Friday this week with a fantastic story I saw on my friend Catherine’s Facebook page the other day. It’s about a bookstore clerk, an elderly customer, and a college student on line to buy textbooks.

This is the beginning, but I highly, highly recommend reading the whole thing, the kindness and generosity in it blew me away:

I work in a decent sized, local, indie bookstore. It’s a great job 99% of the time and a lot of our customers are pretty neat people. Anywho, middle of the day this little old lady comes up. She’s lovably kooky. She effuses how much she loves the store and how she wishes she could spend more time in it but her husband is waiting in the car ‘OH! I BETTER BUY HIM SOME CHOCOLATE!’ She piles a bunch of art supplies on the counter and then stops and tells me how my bangs are beautiful and remind her of the ocean (‘Wooooosh’ she says, making a wave gesture with her hand.
Ok. I think to myself. Awesomely happy, weird little old ladies are my favourite kind of customer. They’re thrilled about everything and they’re comfortably bananas. I can have a good time with this one. So we chat and it’s nice.

Then this kid, who’s been up my counter a few times to gather his school textbooks, comes up in line behind her (we’re connected to a major university in the city so we have a lot of harried students pass through). She turns around to him and, out of nowhere, demands that he put his textbooks on the counter. He’s confused but she explains that she’s going to buy his textbooks.
He goes sheetrock white. He refuses and adamantly insists that she can’t do that. It’s like, $400 worth of textbooks. She, this tiny old woman, boldly takes them out of his hands, throws them on the counter and turns to me with an intense stare and tells me to put them on her bill. The kid at this point is practically in tears. He’s confused and shocked and grateful. Then she turns to him and says ‘you need chocolate.’ She starts grabbing handfuls of chocolates and putting them in her pile.

It gets better from there. I have no idea if this story is recent, or a few years old. Doesn’t matter. The sentiment is beautiful.

**Next up, I’m not trying to influence you on who to support in the Democratic primary, but I think we can all agree this is a super-sweet moment on the campaign trail between Elizabeth Warren and a little girl named Viola.

Just a minute or two of pure, unadulterated innocence and joy. Really, really sweet.

**And finally today, just because after the last few days of political madness we all need some mindless joy, may I present a dog playing the piano, and a baby dancing along with it.

If only these two were running our country right now… (insert your own joke here).

The U.S. is now a “problematic” place to be a journalist, says world safety organization, and it’s getting worse and worse. Trevor Noah makes laugh, on the Democratic Town Halls. And the “Jeopardy” legend of James Holzhauer grows ever bigger

At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, while most of us were either sleeping, getting ready for work, or getting off a graveyard shift somewhere (dudes working the 7-11 at that hour, I feel you), the President of the United States was wide awake and Tweeting.

I try really, really hard to ignore the ravings of this madman, because he’s just so awful, so psychologically damaged, but he’s so dangerous to the world.

So sometimes, I can’t ignore it, despite my best instincts. Sometimes, he says something so awful that if offends me as a human, and also as a journalist, which I still consider myself, even though I’m not a full-time journalist anymore.

This is what the President of the United States wrote on Twitter:

I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time, as they did after the 2016 Election. But this one will have to be a far bigger & better apology. On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!

Yes, the President of our free democratic nation is saying the largest, most reputable and most legendary newspaper in America should get down on their knees and apologize to him, and that they, the New York Times, are the Enemy of the People.

The Enemy of the People.

A newspaper full of journalists, exposing wrongdoing all over the world, reporting on war and famine, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, is the enemy of the people.

Disgusting and outrageous doesn’t begin to express how I feel. He’s said this before, I know, and it’s disgusted me then, too. We are barely a year past the massacre at the Capital-Gazette newspaper in Maryland (the names of the deceased are in the above photo), and it has never been more dangerous to be a reporter in the U.S.

Trump’s Tweet came just a few days after this story caught my attention, that the international group Reporters Without Borders has dropped the U.S. to No. 48 out of 180 on its World Press Freedom Index, downgrading America to “problematic” for reporters in its rankings.

“Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection,” the report stated.

Ten journalists have been physically attacked this year, and 46 since 2017. In January, one reporter was punched in the face and her phone stolen, while interviewing voters in California.”

As you know, I take this shit VERY seriously. People in my beloved profession having to live in fear, and being treated like this, is unconscionable. And our fearless leader stoking the embers of this fire makes me want to vomit.

“The phrase “enemy of the people” is not just false, it’s dangerous. It has an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information,” New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger said in response to Trump’s attacks on the paper in February.

He’s a dictator and a tyrant, and it’s enough.

Be safe out there, reporters, and keep doing the people’s work. You are far from the enemy.

**Next up today, I don’t watch Trevor Noah and “The Daily Show” as much as I should, and I say that because every time I take the time to watch one of his clips on Twitter, I laugh pretty hard.

Here’s Noah from Tuesday talking about the five CNN Town Halls Monday with Democratic Presidential candidates (I didn’t watch them all, but quickly, I still love Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren is brilliant and amazing, and I’m just not quite buying the hype over Mayor Pete yet, I think he may prove to be a flash in the pan).

Anyway, Noah is fabulous here, especially with the “white guy advantage” stuff at the end.

**Finally tonight, not sure if any of you are as big “Jeopardy” fans as we are in our house, but have you seen the last few weeks of utter and complete domination by James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler? Dude hasn’t just been winning, he’s been obliterating the competition, making cartoonishly large bets on Daily Doubles, and just garnering obscene amounts of money.

He’s been breaking the one-day money record like it’s nothing, and Tuesday night he continued his tremendous winning streak, getting his 14th straight win, winning $118,816 total and now up to a grand total of $1,061, 554.

The guy is a machine, and we absolutely need to get him in the Tournament of Champions against weird-dude Austin and Ken Jennings immediately.

I am in awe of this dude. And he doesn’t seem like a jerk, either!

 

Michelle Obama and the Democrats show how it’s done, with 2 beautiful days. And Trump pissed off his littlest followers, and now they’re suing

My goodness, what a breath of fresh air the last two days of the Democratic National Convention has been.

Look everyone, actual grown-ups giving speeches, with specifics, and those crazy little things called facts, and somehow giving us the idea that America isn’t a complete hellhole just a few weeks away from total obliteration!

The contrast could not be more obvious. Monday night and Tuesday night in Philadelphia, a cross-section of America, people that actually look like America, walked up to the podium and spoke from their heart with an uplifting, realistic message.

And Tuesday night, a little before 7 p.m., a woman became the nominee of one of our two major political parties, for the first time ever. Even though it has been known for months that Hillary Rodham Clinton would make history, it was still pretty amazing to see it happen.

So much I want to talk about from the first two nights, but I have to start with the greatest speech from a First Lady, maybe ever.

— I mean, how inspiring was Michelle Obama? This highly educated, graceful, beautiful woman stood on the stage at the Wells Fargo Center and tore the roof off. She spoke so movingly about her daughters, and about history, and starting at the 11:30 mark of the above video, uttered one of the greatest passages I’ve ever heard spoken.

“Today, I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves. And I watch my daughters, two beautiful, intelligent black young women, playing with their dog on the White House lawn.”
What an incredible line, delivered beautifully. I know she would never, ever do it, but I’d vote for her for elected office in a nanosecond.

– Cory Booker = the 2024 Democratic Presidential nominee. He was powerful and passionate Monday night as well, making the case for Hillary strongly. I still think he should’ve been the VP pick.

MothersofMovement.DNC

— Another sensational moment Tuesday night was the speeches by the Mothers of the Movement, moms whose children had been killed by law enforcement in the last few years. Hearing their gripping, beautiful words of pain and grief is so important.

— Can’t believe I’m saying this, but I don’t think the speakers the first two nights hit Trump hard enough, specifically, how incredibly terrifying a Trump Presidency would be. The GOP spent four days last week on doom and gloom and fear and horror, preying on Americans’ worst nightmares.

I think 20 minutes of the nightmare of Trump and Putin destroying the world is in order, maybe tonight by Joe Biden. The case has to be hammered home, over and over, how catastrophic a Trump win would be.

— The Big Dog, aka Bubba, aka Bill Clinton, gave a long and mostly terrific speech about his wife Tuesday night. He humanized her, which needed to be done, telling great anecdotes about their life together, but when talking about how she sticks with things, he might’ve said “And she stuck with me through all my cheating and zipper problems, even after I got oral sex in the Oval Office! How ’bout that woman!”

Still, he was solid and seemed to, as always, relish the spotlight.

— Finally, allow me a few words to vent about the idiotic Bernie Sanders delegates who heckled, booed and disrupted the first two days: GROW UP. Seriously, grow the f up. Heckling Elizabeth Warren with chants of “We Trusted You!” and, most amazingly, “Goldman Sachs” was just ridiculous. Elizabeth Warren, the most anti-Wall Street politician in the country, getting heckled with “Goldman Sachs” chants… so stupid.

The ideological purity and absolute fealty they were demanding was so naive and juvenile, and booing their OWN hero, Bernie Sanders, during his speech Monday and then again on Tuesday showed these narcissistic blowhards to be beyond the pale.

We Bernie fans desperately wanted him to win. He didn’t. Shit happens. Get on board and realize a Trump Presidency would be astronomically awful. Grow up.

**Finally today, this story, pointed out to me by avid blog reader (and wonderful friend) Will, just about made my freaking day. Do you remember that incredibly creepy “pep rally” video I posted on the blog back in January, of three little girls doing a dance routine before a Donald Trump rally? If you don’t recall it, watch it above (Their group is called “USA Freedom Kids,” which sounds like an awful charity or something.)

Then again, maybe don’t watch it: It’s about the worst piece of propaganda I’ve seen since that awful Rick Santorum “Game on” commercial back in 2012.

Anyway, I’d forgotten about these little misguided darlings until Tuesday, when the Washington Post ran a story saying that the father/manager of one of the girls, Jeff Popick, is suing Trump because he never paid the group what they were promised.

“These are guys that insist they’re straight shooters,” Popick said, “‘You may not like what we’re going to say, but we mean what we say and we say what we mean’ — and they just would not say anything of any substance!”

“I’ve invested a lot of time, effort, money,” he continued, “and it’s just been complete silence.”

You can screw with lots of people, Donald Trump. But you do NOT fuck with the USA Freedom Girls, OK?

A glorious night in America, as an African-American gets re-elected President.

Warning: This blog post may be only semi-coherent, as I’m beginning to write it at 3:04 a.m….

Four more years. Four more years of a decent, honorable, well-meaning man of color, continuing to make history and change lives, sitting in the Oval Office.

Four more years of the equal rights of women and gays to do with their own bodies, and love whoever they want to, being respected.

Four more years of science being taken seriously. Four more years of economic recovery, and immigration reform, and maybe even a few new Supreme Court justices who are (gasp) liberal.

Four years where maybe, real progress is made on climate change and the drug war and economic policies that help the neediest.

Most importantly, four years where universal health care becomes a reality.

Barack Obama got it done Tuesday, and in a huge way. 332 Electoral votes (I’m counting Fla.) in this day and age is massive, and absolutely gives him a strong push for a second term that’s historic and revolutionary.

His acceptance speech was beautiful and touching and rousing, the kind of speech Obama gave in 2008. It made me proud to have voted for him.

I’m exhausted but happy and thrilled to be an American tonight.

Some other huge headlines on a election night when liberals like me couldn’t have asked for much more:
The Senate races fell about as great as possible for the Dems. Chris Murphy won in Connecticut (hey Linda McMahon, what did that $77 million get you?). Elizabeth Warren and Heidi Heitkamp won, too.

— Tammy Baldwin, the newest Senator from Wisconsin, deserves her own paragraph. She’s the first openly gay Senator in U.S. history, and what a wonderful pioneer she will be. A great night for women politicians all around.

— A terrific night to see two silly barriers start to come down. First, Maine and Maryland legalized same-sex marriage, the first state voters to approve this enormous change. Washington state may do the same, although full results for that won’t be in for a few days. And a constitutional amendment declaring that marriage is only between a man and a woman was defeated, too. Gay marriage for all in America is now irreversible, don’t you think?

And Colorado and Washington state citizens legalized marijuana, a long-overdue move. I know the federal gov’t won’t allow people in Denver and Seattle to just start smoking up in public, but finally, the people have spoken and acknowledged how silly it is for pot to be criminalized.

— Thank you, Florida Democrats, for refusing to let Rick Scott and his disgusting voter-suppression tactics give Romney a win there.
— Fox News was fascinating after the race was called, with Karl Rove bitching that Fox News’ own analysts shouldn’t have called Ohio for Obama so fast. Bizarre stuff.

— Oh, and just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, with Dems making gains in the Senate and Obama cruising to re-election, at least 1 and maybe 2 of the most radical, dangerous GOP House members go down to defeat. Allen West of Florida lost by about 2,000 votes to Patrick Murphy, and Michele Bachmann as of this writing is clinging to a 900-vote lead in Minnesota, with 11 percent of the vote still to be counted.

I know, I know, it’s too much to ask for. But if Bachmann could somehow lose, I’d be so, so happy.

— “Hillary 2016” was trending on Twitter tonight. Heaven help us, Dems, do we really want to go back to that? Won’t it be time for some fresh blood? Ah, not gonna let the specter of another Hillary run get me down tonight. I’m in too good a mood.

— The best line in any speech Tuesday night came from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who will be a serious 2016 Prez candidate if he wants to be. This is what he said about the pot legalization victory:

“Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or goldfish just yet.”

— I have no idea where Mitt Romney goes from here. I thought his concession speech was OK. This election was there to be won by a better candidate who actually help positions and consistent beliefs.

— Finally, let’s never take for granted that we get to have peaceful elections in this country. It’s a wonderful thing.

Thank God it’s Election Night: Some stuff I’ll be watching closely. “Homeland” starting to confuse me again. And the machine that sorts Skittles

It’s become a cliche to say that election nights are like sports games, because there are two teams, a clear winner and loser, and lots of arguing about what should or shouldn’t have happened.

But if you’re a sports junkie AND a political junkie like me, then man, a Presidential election night is like crack cocaine: Addictive and guaranteed to keep you up for hours.

Of course there are so many important races and ballot initiatives to be decided tonight; yours truly will have the laptops and the TVs set up watching as many results com in as possible; by midnight I’ll be stalking around in our apartment and mumbling about Cuyahoga or Palm Beach County, I’m sure.

Besides the obvious (that Barack Obama will be re-elected President, sparing us Mitt Romney and a return to the policies of George W. Bush), here are six things I’ll be watching most closely: (and please, if you haven’t voted already, please vote today. You lose your right to complain if you don’t.)

1. Scott Brown vs. Elizabeth Warren, Mass. Senate: This has been one of the most expensive and nasty fights in the country, as a true progressive fights a former darling of the Tea Party. Warren should win this, but the polling is so close that I’m nervous.
2. Chris Murphy vs. Linda McMahon, Conn. Senate: Thirty million bucks really oughta buy you a Senate seat, but McMahon is just so unlikable, and so far right, that she’s alienated most of the state’s voters. If she pulls off an upset win, it’s a bad omen for the rest of the night for Dems.

3. Patrick Murphy vs. Allen West, Fla. House of Rep (18th district).: It’s really, really, really hard to be crazier than Michele Bachmann, but West has done it. From declaring that “78 to 81 members of the Democratic party are Communists,” to saying “women that support Planned Parenthood are “neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness,” West is as obscenely nuts as they come.

Me and millions of others have given Murphy a boost financially in this race; he’s got a good shot at pulling it out.

4. Richard Carmona vs. Jeff Flake, Arizona Senate: This race is a toss-up between an ex-Surgeon General (Carmona) and a popular GOP Congressman in a very Republican state. If Carmona can pull this off, then the Dems are having a very good night.

5. Marijuana maybe getting legalized:  Not just medically, but altogether. Colorado, Oregon and Washington state all have ballot amendments ending the prohibition on pot this year and in Colorado, polls say it’s likely to pass. This would be a fantastic development, puncturing a hole in the “War on Drugs” and stopping the government from needlessly and stupidly imprisoning minor pot users. Of course, the federal gov’t could come in and stop states from enforcing the relaxed marijuana laws, but let’s see what happens.

6.Gay marriage on ballot in four states: Maine voters seem likely to pass a gay marriage equality amendment, which would be historically huge (first time it’s been voted into law.) In Washington, Maryland and Minnesota, it’s going to be awfully close.
This could be an historic election on so many levels, but even two of those four states allowing all people the freedom to marry the person they love would be so enormous and wonderful.

Final Wide World of Stuff predictions: Obama wins EV, 303-235, Democrats retain Senate control, 54-46.

**OK, here’s an invention the world didn’t need, but is delightful nonetheless: A machine that sorts all of your Skittles for you.

**Finally, some quickie thoughts on this week’s “Homeland,” which wasn’t as awesome as the last two episodes but really, it’s hard to keep up that pace:

— The Dana-Finn hit-and-run storyline is getting more and more ludicrous every week. Dana just somehow stumbles into the ICU and finds the person they hit? And then she somehow finds out the woman died, without knowing her name or anything? I have no idea what the writers’ payoff for this will be, but it better be good because this is a waste of the show’s time right now.

— Great last scene with Carrie and Brody; I don’t think he knew about the ambush in Gettysburg that Roya and Nazir orchestrated, but it is possible. Also, did Quinn survive the ambush? Because he sure looked like a goner at the end of the show.
— Can’t wait until we find out Virgil is actually a terrorist. Come on, two audio screw-ups while they were trying to overhear conversations? And he lost the dude who turned out to be a terrorist in the subway station? Virgil, you’re better than that.