Kanye West is no stranger to controversy. His music talent assures him hall of fame status as a hip hop artist. His marriage to Kim Kardashian is a thing of pop culture legend. And boy does he like to spread his opinion. And his opinions are … well ...
You see - Kanye West loves Donald Trump. His wife does not but whatever. There it is. But now, some of you are saying - “Why is this controversial? Thirty million white people adore Donald Trump.” There being, the rub. Kanye West is a black man who grew up in Atlanta and Chicago with a middle class family. Now he’s a filthy rich hip hop artist. So, obviously - there aren’t too many black hip hop artists that are pro Trump. Why is that? Because many can make the strong case that the modern Republican party doesn’t give a rats ass about people of color. Which is why the crushing, overwhelming majority of black Americans vote against the Republican party and voted against Trump.
Now, Kanye West, rightfully so, responds, “Whatever. No one tells me what politician I can or can not support.” And he’s right. Of course, he is also the famous musician who stood up in front of millions of viewers and said, “George Bush doesn't care about black people” during a live fundraiser for victims of Hurricane Katrina. And he was right then too.
Which belabors the question why Kanye West thinks that George Bush doesn't care about black people but Donald Trump does. Jimmy Kimmel asked him this very question and West’s silence spoke volumes (Kimmel had to cut to commercial due to the silence). When Kimmel came back from commercial, West never bothers to respond and moves on to other topics. About three weeks later at a Chicago radio station West was asked the same question and came up with this:
“I feel that he (Trump) cares about the way black people feel about him. He would like for black people to like him like they did when he was cool in the rap songs and all this, and he will do the things that are necessary to make that happen because he’s got an ego like all the rest of us. He wants to be the greatest president and he knows that he can’t be the greatest president without the acceptance of the black community so that’s something he’s going to work towards.
Um, okay. So Kanye's answer is - Trump doesn’t really care about black people except for their value as a prop to help him gain more power. Well, um, yeah, I agree with you Kanye! Trump doesn’t give a rats ass about black folks except how he can exploit that relationship for personal gain. Which means he doesn’t care about black people!
Does West know this? Is Kanye trolling the world? Is this all a marketing scam to remain in the public eye? I mean, as long as he kicks the hornet's nest he sells more records? Or something?
Maybe. But his love for Trump does seem sincere.
But that’s not all. A few months ago he said this about slavery to the folks at TMZ, “you hear about slavery for 400 years. For 400 hundred years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you was there for 400 years with all ya’ll? (Kanye laughs at this point).”
Now, I don’t care how much of a “free thinker” you claim to be, laughing that slavery was a choice is just butt ass stupid. Thankfully, the entire internet beat him up until he backtracked the comment.
And then, just last week he stepped in it again and tweeted a picture of himself wearing a MAGA (Make America Great Again) hat and wrote:
“This represents good and American becoming whole again. We will no longer outsource to other countries. We build factories here in America and create jobs. We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love”
Ugh. So much to unpack.
First of all “America becoming whole again.” This is a fine idea. And all good folk should want this. Better said than done, but still.
“We will no longer outsource to other countries. We will build factories here in America and create jobs” This is a fine idea but Kayne West is as fucking nieve as a tiny baby if he thinks his buddy Donald Trump will build American factories.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that Donald Trumps has said over and over that he will bring factories back to the U.S. and nieve folks all across America screamed, “Trump, Trump, Trump!” It was a main platform for Trump in the campaign. MAGA = bring American jobs back!
But guess what?
Didn’t happen. Won’t happen. Not with Trump in charge.
The vast majority of Trump products are currently manufactured overseas in China, Bangladesh, Canada, Honduras, Germany, Taiwan, Mexico, Slovenia, South Korea and Vietnam. But mainly, in China.
Here is Jimmy Kimmel ordering a bunch of product from Trump.com and having a hard time finding anything made in the U.S. But he did find some illegal product that violated U.S. import laws. So, at least there’s that.
In fact, back in July, Trump hosted a White House event to promote American made products and, as you can imagine - the vast majority of Trump products could not be featured at his own event that he hosted to promote goods manufactured in the country where he’s the president.
How bullshit is that?
And you will still find millions of Trump supporting jobless factory workers from small towns all over the U.S. who have been financially devastated when a big corporation closed down the only manufacturing plant in town and moved it overseas to pay workers in Bangladesh ten cents per hour. These are the very same people that chant, “Lock her up! Lock her up!” about Hillary because of - I don’t know, something about her emails.
So, to be clear. If you approve of Trump because you think he’s the president that, as Kanye tweets, will, “Build factories here in the U.S. and create jobs” you’re only fooling yourself.
And finally we get to the last part of West’s tweet, “We will provide jobs for all who are free from prisons as we abolish the 13th amendment. Message sent with love.”
Abolish the 13th amendment? The, um, amendment that … you know - abolished slavery? West wants to get rid of that? WTF?
Well, as you can imagine - the internet went bonkers. Here is a rich, black man writing to abolish the amendment that got rid of slavery. Well, that kind of sounds like something a white, nationalist Nazi would write. You know?
Of course, West immediately corrected himself saying he “misspoke” and that he wants to “amend” not abolish the 13th amendment. Well, fair enough. This makes a bit more sense. His beef with the 13th amendment is with the “unless you are in prison” portion.
As you may or may not know the 13the amendment specifically says,
"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."
I added the bold, italic as emphiss. To clear up what he meant by the 13th amendment West later tweeted, “In order to make a freed man a slave all you have to do is convict them of a crime.” This, I feel, is a fair point. Kevin Dickinson writing for bigthink.com kind of agrees too in his very nice piece, Kayne West’s 13th amendment outburst was baffling, but worth considering.
A few points he brings up:
“Arizona's Tent City prison was infamous for its inhumane conditions. It was overcrowded, prisoners remained outdoors at all times in the Arizona heat, and many were forced to work in chain gangs for no compensation. Although closed last year, Tent City remained operational for more than two decades...”
He also talks about how enormous amounts of unreported rape happen behind bars and posits that this could be considered a form of sexual slavery especially if the prison guards know about it and don’t do anything to interfere. Well, the 8th amendment provides protection against cruel and unusual punishment. So, maybe it should all tie together and the 13th amendment could be revised slightly to end for profit prison slaves. Agree with it or not, it’s a fair point.
Of course, West doesn’t suggest out “how” the 13th amendment should be amended only that it should be. Which is fine. There are lawyers for that. But still I mean, that’s the whole point of the Constitution having amendments - so that it can evolve over time.
Okay. So, despite some of the crazy things Kanye has said in the past (and will say in the future), I’m giving him a pass on his 13th amendment tweet. I believe he honestly meant amend and not abolish.
But, Kanye - all that other “Trump is going to bring factory jobs back to the U.S.” - what bloody alternative universe do you live in, man?
Bill Cosby has been denied bail and was sentenced to 3 - 10 years for drugging and raping Andrea Constand while she was incapacitated. Cosby is now an 81 year old convicted sex offender.
For those who have not heard, Cosby’s record of allegations began back in 2000 when several women came forward accusing him of sexual assault and rape going as far back as 1965 and into the 80’s and 90’s. One of them was Andrea Constand who sued Cosby in civil court after the D.A. refused to prosecute him in criminal court. She settled for an undisclosed amount in 2006.
There was some media coverage but for the most part, too many folks never really believed that TV’s dad (from the Cosby Show in the 80’s) was a serial rapist. And then, suddenly, just as quickly as the accusations were made - the allegations were swept under the rug and went away. For way too long.
Cut to 2014.
Stand up comic Hannibal Buress had been working on new material in his routine. And one of his bits was about Bill Cosby “talking down to young black men about their mode of dress and telling them to pull up their pants.” Buress shot back at Bill with, “Yeah, but you raped women, Bill Cosby, so that kind of brings you down a couple of notches!” You can watch video of the bit here.
The audience laughs along because it sounds like Buress is joking. He is, after all - a comedian. Plus, I mean, Bill Cosby - a rapist? Come on!! But then Buress doubles down and encourages people to go home and Google, “Bill Cosby rape.”
The bit began to get a little press, which is how I heard about it. I did exactly as Buress said (because I couldn’t believe it). I Googled, “Bill Cosby rape.” And I was shocked. There was story after story about Bill Cosby drugging and raping women as far back as the 60’s. And there were trials and investigations back in 2000 and all I could think of is, “How the hell did I not know about this?”
Well, there were many who thought the same thing and suddenly a media firestorm picked up. Then, over the course of the next few years - more than sixty women came forward with similar stories - that Bill Cosby either attempted to assault them (but the woman escaped) or that Cosby drugged them, sexually assaulted or raped them, when they were too incapacitated to give consent or object.
Oh, and there were multiple police reports to back this up in several states from multiple decades, so it’s not like this is anything new. Law enforcement has reports on Cosby ranging from attempted assault, to sexual assault to rape in the 80’s, the 90’s, in 2000, in 2002, multiple reports in 2005, a report of attempted assault in 2013, and then dozens and dozens or reports in 2014 and 2015 who came forward to recount their stories from the past.
One, of course, wonders - if Cosby hadn’t been rich and famous, would he have been caught and put away a long time ago? Well - probably. But - he is rich and famous. And he’s rich and famous for playing a really, really nice guy on TV. And that warps people’s minds. Folks really want to believe that the onscreen persona that actors play is - exactly who they are. So no one wanted to believe that super nice TV personality Cosby dad - was a serial rapist.
Of course there were some people who knew the nice TV dad guy was an act. Richard Pryor’s widow, Jennifer Lee Pryor, on a 2015 podcast interview for Allison Rosen is Your New Best Friend, had this to say about Cosby and the allegations:
“Bill’s just a fucking hypocrite, and dirty on the inside. It was a well-kept secret that Bill fucked everything that moved.”
Pryor was upset that Cosby came down on her husband and told him to always “be clean” in his act. For anyone who remembers Richard Pryor you know damn well that “be clean” was never, ever on his mind. (Richard Pryor died in 2005).
Jennifer clarifies that no one had any idea about the drugging and the assault, which is probably true. I mean, even if you are married (which Cosby was) it’s totally legal to “fuck anything that moves” - as long as it is all consensual. Adultery is not sexual assault. If Cosby’s wife knew that Cosby was committing adultery and she chose not to leave him - that’s none of our business! So I won’t speculate.
Anyway, all I’m suggesting is that there were obviously folks that knew Cosby’s squeaky clean image was completely fraudulent. Alas, knowing someone is morally dubious doesn’t mean you know they are a serial rapist.
But I digress.
Cosby had his day in court. In fact, he had multiple days in court over multiple decades. And finally, finally his victims get some semblance of justice. A 3-10 year sentence. Hopefully, that sentence is on the longer side but I won’t hold my breath. I’ve seen too many rapist men get sentenced and then released after a shockingly short time incarcerated.
The famous case of Brock Turner comes to mind. You remember that douche bag, right? He raped an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He was caught by two Swedish exchange students who luckily happened to be passing by. Brock ran, one of them went to assist the victim, the other chased and caught Brock. Turner was eventually arrested, charged and sentenced. The Judge was super duper nice to the rapist and gave him a six month sentence. Turner was out of jail three months later.
Three months in jail for raping an unconscious woman.
So, forgive me if I don’t hold out much hope that filthy rich Bill Cosby will spend much time in jail. And, he’s at the end of his life. Sure, he’s had a rough few years what with the accusations and the criminal investigation but, basically - he got away with it for almost his entire life. Despite the fact that there were a dozen accusations against him in multiple states over multiple decades - it still took more than 20 years to convict him of sexual assault.
Which, I guess, is better than nothing.
Last month, as you may or may not know, Nike released a new Just Do It campaign starring a variety of young athletes as well as Lebron James and Colin Kaepernick. The ad is great. Before I get back to Nike, a bit about Colin Kaepernick:
Colin has been in and out of the news since 2011. First as a backup QB for the San Francisco 49ers as his team went to the Championship game in 2011. Then Colin took over as the starting QB and led his team to the Super Bowl (where they lost 31-34 to the Ravens). Then in 2012 Colin led them right back to the NFC Championship game in 2013 (which they lost).
Kaepernick's productivity dipped slightly during the next few years, mainly due to an injury that lasted into the 16 season and he never seemed to fully recover and was not named a starter again; however, his 4-2 play off victories and the fact that he’s only one of four quarterbacks to get 3 passing touchdowns and a 100 yards rushing in a single game means that while he might no longer be an elite starter in the NFL, it’s pretty obvious he would make an exceptional backup QB.
But then something happened. Colin decided to protest racism - by silently sitting during the national anthem. And folks took note. And the red, rage conservative aneurysms began. And fake news sites spread the word that Colin Kaepernick was “protesting the flag and disrespecting American troops!”
Also, Kaepernick had grown out his hair into an afro. Which makes conservative Americans uncomfortable. No, seriously. As black comedian Paul Mooney says, “If your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair is nappy, they’re not happy.”
And suddenly - redneck white rage was all over the NFL. And Colin Kaepernick took note. He heard that NFL watching white Americans were angry. Kaepernick didn’t want to appear disrespectful to soldiers and he didn’t want his message mixed so he spoke with former Seattle Seahawks player and U.S. Army veteran Nate Boyer about his idea of “sitting down” during the anthem.
Kaepernick says about the meeting with Boyer:
“After hours of careful consideration, and even a visit from Nate Boyer, a retired Green Beret and former NFL player, we came to the conclusion that we (Kaepernick and teammate Eric Reid) should kneel, rather than sit, the next day during the anthem as a peaceful protest. We chose to kneel because it’s a respectful gesture. I remember thinking our posture was like a flag flown at half-mast to mark a tragedy.”
Well, as you can imagine - conservative white Americans still lost their shit and wrote all sorts of inflammatory, untrue, hit pieces about Kaepernick calling him everything from “ungrateful” to “traitor.” But the hatred focused on the same false narrative over and over - that Kaepernick’s kneeling was purposely disrespectful to the troops and the flag.
It didn’t matter how many times Colin would eloquently speak up and remind people his protest was about police brutality against people of color; redneck Americas still reared up as fast as possible to call him a traitor, a soldier hater, ungrateful and, of course, the oft used, ni***r!
It didn’t matter that, time and again, Colin would put his money where his mouth was as he donated (and raised) money to and for, what he called, “oppressed communities.” In 2016 he gave a million dollars to charities and neighborhoods all over the country to help with homelessness, community-police relations, prison reform, hunger, etc, etc.
If that wasn’t enough he put together his #10For10 pledge where he asked fellow athletes and artists to donate money to a similar cause. Then Colin agreed to match their donation. Here is what was raised and by whom:
1. Kevin Durant: $20k to Silicon Valley De-Bug in San José, California
2. Jesse Williams: $20k to Advancement Project in Washington, DC
3. Steph Curry: $20k to United Playaz in San Francisco, California
4. Snoop Dogg: $20k to Mothers Against Police Brutality in Dallas, TX
5. Serena Williams: $20k to Imagine LA in Los Angeles, California
6. T.I.: $20k to Angel by Nature in Houston, Texas
7. Jhene Aiko and Chris Brown: School on Wheels in Los Angeles, California
8. Nick Cannon and Joey Badass: $40,000 to Communities United by Police Reform in New York, New York
9. Meek Mill: $20k to Youth Service, Inc. in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
10. Usher: $20k to H.O.M.E. in Lithonia, Georgia
Some familiar names to me, some not. But whatever. Money for good causes is still money for good causes (though, I’m not sure what the F! The “Silicon Valley De-Bug” charity is. I’ll have to look into that one a bit further). But I would say for the most part - worthy causes.
And now let’s come full circle. Colin Kaepernick has been universally vilified by conservative white America. And he’s been blackballed by the NFL for “controversy.”
And Nike does not care.
Colin Kaepernick is now the face of Nike’s new long running Just Do It campaign. And, just like when he took a knee - redneck America is in an uproar. Head over to YouTube and search for hilarious videos of people burning Nike product in protest. See if you can find some of the truly genius ones where folks run out and buy hundreds of dollars of Nike products only to come home and burn them!
You read that right. They give $$ to Nike and then burn the product. So, um, Nike already has their money.
Some people are so dumb.
Anyway. Because of the “controversy” of Nike casting Colin, shares for company dropped the day after that ad released by 3%. Conservative fools everywhere whooped their joys of racism! Hell, even our President chimed in via (where else) Twitter:
The President’s Tweet:
“What was Nike thinking? Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”
But not so fast!
After an initial minor backlash here we are three weeks later and Nike is reporting - all time record sales. Reuters is reporting a huge increase in sold out Nike material (up approx 60%) and anyone can jump online and see that Nike’s market value has surged by $6 billion.
Look, I’m not a Nike guy. At all. This is not a paid advertisement. I’m all with RUN DMC - me and my Adidas! (And Vans). I am however a free speech guy. And, despite the ignorant, racist Kaepernick backlash - he’s clearly one of the good guys.
That being said, I will leave you with Lebron James gloating over President Trump’s “Nike is getting absolutely killed…” Tweet.
Nike stock closes at $83.47, an all-time high for the company.
I am probably like you in that - I hardly ever watch the Emmy Awards. And why is that? Well, for starters there was a run of 20 years where the exact same network shows won year after year. And if it wasn’t the exact same show it was, well, kind of the same type of show. Hill Street Blues, LA Law, NYPD Blue, The Practice, West Wing, the Sopranos. Seriously, that was like - 20 years! The same shows.
And what about those same 20 years in comedy? Well - Cheers, Murphy Brown and Frasier basically dominated from 83-98. Fifteen years and three shows pretty much won year after year.
And that gets pretty dull.
Don’t get me wrong. The morning after the Emmy’s I would always check in to see who won. But I don’t think I saw the show once between maybe 1988 and 2005. Or maybe I saw it once, or twice. But not often.
And that seems to be par for the course for most Americans. Now, keep in mind that the Emmy awards never kept track of viewers until 1990 and for about a decade viewership remained consistently within the 15-20 million range; however, ever since Ryan Seacrest took over the Emmy awards in 2007 (where The Sopranos and 30 Rock won top honors) the Emmys have struggled to get more than 12 million viewers.
There was one highlight in 2013 where show host Neil Patrick Harris brought in almost 18 million viewers (I watched that one!) but for the most part viewership has been declining for the past decade.
This seems odd to me. Once the “Golden Age of Television” began, about - ten years ago, I assumed that a wider variety of nominated shows would bring in a wider audience. For those not in the know, the “Golden Age of Television” has kind of universally been known as the rise of the cable programing and the decline of network TV all within the past decade.
Basically, all it suggests is that extremely high quality, high concept, original and sophisticated TV is universally found on cable stations these days, with the networks picking up a rare gem but usually floundering in the dark with dead fish, after dead fish.
Again, I assumed that a wider net cast by the Emmys would pull in a bigger catch. But, I was wrong. (And enough with the fish metaphors).
The most Emmy nominations by network for 2018 (2017 was similar with Netflix and HBO swapping places):
Wow. So Netflix received almost as many nominations as all three major networks combined. Of course, with the amount of original content that Netflix pumps out, I guess I am not surprised (I confess I get a little overwhelmed when decided what to watch on Netflix). But still. How long are the networks going to broadcast the Emmy awards when the prime time networks hardly win any Emmys?
In the past ten years, all the best drama winners have been from cable stations (mainly AMC and HBO). Best variety show has been a cable show since 2003 (Comedy Central has dominated this category until HBO took over very recently). Admittedly, 6 of the past 10 comedy winners were from the networks but that was because Modern Family won for 5 years in a row until Veep (HBO) took over for three years. Glancing over all acting categories I would say there is a pretty even mix of network to cable stations winning.
So, yes, there is a network that wins here there and everywhere but those number dwindle as the years pass. One doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to see where this is heading.
Anyway, it has been reported everywhere that this year was the lowest rated Emmy awards ever. I don’t know why. Perhaps audiences have grown tired of the same old cable shows winning again and again. And I guess I can’t blame them. It’s the very same reason I stopped watching in the first place.
Also, it should be noted. I didn’t watch the Emmy awards this year, either. But the morning after I looked over the winners and I did watch the opening monologue, which I thought that was pretty good. So I attached it.
And for those that are interested in such things, here is a list of all the nominations and winners:
Louie Anderson," Baskets"
Alec Baldwin, "Saturday Night Live"
Tituss Burgess, "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
Brian Tyree Henry, "Atlanta"
Tony Shalhoub, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
Kenan Thompson, "Saturday Night Live"
Henry Winkler, "Barry" *WINNER
Zazie Beetz, "Atlanta"
Alex Borstein, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" *WINNER
Aidy Bryant, "Saturday Night Live"
Betty Gilpin, "GLOW"
Leslie Jones, "Saturday Night Live"
Kate McKinnon, "Saturday Night Live"
Laurie Metcalf, "Roseanne"
Megan Mullally, "Will & Grace"
Antonio Banderas, "Genius: Picasso"
Darren Criss, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" *WINNER
Benedict Cumberbatch, "Patrick Melrose"
Jeff Daniels, "The Looming Tower"
John Legend, "Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert"
Jesse Plemons, "USS Callister (Black Mirror)"
Jessica Biel, "The Sinner"
Laura Dern, "The Tale"
Michelle Dockery, "Godless"
Edie Falco, "Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders"
Regina King, "Seven Seconds" *WINNER
Sarah Paulson, "American Horror Story: Cult"
Anthony Anderson, "Black-ish"
Ted Danson, "The Good Place"
Larry David, "Curb Your Enthusiasm"
Donald Glover, "Atlanta"
Bill Hader, "Barry" *WINNER
William H. Macy, "Shameless"
Pamela Adlon, "Better Things"
Rachel Brosnahan, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" *WINNER
Allison Janney, "Mom"
Issa Rae, "Insecure"
Tracee Ellis Ross, "Black-ish"
Lily Tomlin, "Grace and Frankie"
Sara Bareilles, "Jesus Christ Superstar Live In Concert"
Penelope Cruz, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Judith Light, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Adina Porter, "American Horror Story: Cult"
Merritt Wever, "Godless" *WINNER
Letitia Wright,"Black Mirror (Black Museum)"
Jeff Daniels, "Godless" *WINNER
Brandon Victor Dixon,"Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert"
John Leguizamo, "Waco"
Ricky Martin, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Edgar Ramirez, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Michael Stuhlbarg, "The Looming Tower"
Finn Wittrock, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
Jason Bateman, "Ozark"
Sterling K. Brown, "This Is Us"
Ed Harris, "Westworld"
Matthew Rhys, "The Americans" *WINNER
Milo Ventimiglia, "This Is Us"
Jeffrey Wright, "Westworld"
Claire Foy, "The Crown" *WINNER
Tatiana Maslany, "Orphan Black"
Elisabeth Moss, "The Handmaid's Tale"
Sandra Oh, "Killing Eve"
Keri Russell, "The Americans"
Evan Rachel Wood, "Westworld"
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, "Game of Thrones"
Peter Dinklage, "Game of Thrones" *WINNER
Joseph Fiennes, "The Handmaid's Tale"
David Harbour, "Stranger Things"
Mandy Patinkin, "Homeland"
Matt Smith, "The Crown"
Alexis Bledel, "The Handmaid's Tale"
Millie Bobby Brown, "Stranger Things"
Ann Dowd, "The Handmaid's Tale"
Lena Headey,"Game of Thrones"
Vanessa Kirby, "The Crown"
Thandie Newton, "Westworld" *WINNER
Yvonne Strahovski, "The Handmaid's Tale"
"The Amazing Race"
"American Ninja Warrior"
"RuPaul's Drag Race" *WINNER
"At Home with Amy Sedaris"
"I Love You, America"
"Saturday Night Live" *WINNER
"Tracey Ullman's Show"
"Full Frontal with Samantha Bee"
"Jimmy Kimmel Live!"
"Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" *WINNER
"The Daily Show with Trevor Noah"
"The Late Late Show with James Corden"
"The Late Show with Stephen Colbert"
"The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" *WINNER
"Curb Your Enthusiasm"
"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" *WINNER
"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
"Game of Thrones" *WINNER
"The Handmaid's Tale"
"This Is Us"
According to a recently updated information from the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) Thriller has been surpassed as the number one selling album of all time. Which, as an 80’s kid, makes me a little sad. =(
The last time the RIAA compiled data on this subject was way back in the ancient time of 2006, when digital sales were hardly a thing. Well, now the RIAA has caught up with the rest of modern society, added in digital sales, and updated the Best Selling Albums of All Time List for the first time in twelve years! And, to be honest, most of the results are not surprising, except, of course - for the ones that are totally surprising! I’m looking right at you #9!
Before I reveal this list, allow me a moment to reminisce. I was in grade school when Thriller was released. We, and I mean every last kid, teacher, mother and grandfather was madly in love with Billie Jean and Beat It and Wanna Be Startin Somethin and The Girl is Mine and, of course, Thriller (The Lady in My Life - meh, not so much). But, mainly Billie Jean, Beat It and Thriller. Ahhhh - nostalgia. And youth and dancing in front of the mirror.
Oh, that’s right. I danced in front of the mirror to Billie Jean. For, like - years. #comeatmebro!
I guess new generations can express their childhood love for modern day pop tarts and boy bands - but their love is misplaced because Thriller is still the big boy on the block!
Only, not any longer.
But actually, it still kind of is because the new list CHEATS!!!!
You see, the new #1 selling “album” of all time is … a compilation of greatest hits. So, even though this compilation of greatest hits has now outsold Thriller by 5 million albums - Thriller is still the top selling, non compilation record of all time.
Anyway … here are the top 20 best selling albums of all time:
Hurricane Florence begins its long assault on the Georgia, Carolina(s) coastline. My understanding of Florence is that it is an anomaly amongst storms, the main reason being - it’s both wide and slow. Florence is much wider than a typical hurricane and is only travelling at about 2-3 miles per hour. Which isn’t even as fast as a regular person can walk.
What this means is that the force of the storm will linger twice or three times as long as a typical hurricane. And, perhaps obviously - the longer your area is battered with 100 mile an hour winds, the more damage the storm will potentially inflict.
Now, it’s true that in the last several days the storm has dropped from a Category 4 to a Category 3 and now hits the shores as a Category 2. (Go here for a breakdown on the differences between categories of hurricanes) But just because Florence has been downgraded to a C2 doesn’t mean that everyone can now breathe a sigh of relief. The danger is far from over. A C2 hurricane can and will cause significant damage. Again, because the storm is slow it will affect your area much, much longer than a typical storm.
Plus, one hundred mile an hour winds aside, there will still be 30 to 40 inches of rain in a large part of the Carolinas and the coastline is expected to have massive flooding of - get this - anywhere from 6-13 feet of water.
If you can’t imagine what 100 mph wind feels like, think of this - Hurricane Floyd, which also hit the Carolinas in 1999 brought 60 hours of rain (in some areas), massive flooding, caused 74 deaths and approx. $6 billion in damage. And since $100 in 1999 is equal to $147 today (adjusted for inflation) - that would be approx. $9 billion in damage today.
Okay. But Florence is so wide and so damn slow - it’s possible that some areas can expect to be affected by the hurricane twice or three times as long as what happened in Floyd. Imagine that - 120-180 hours of rain! That’s six to seven and a half days of pouring rain!
But that’s not all! Meteorologists have tracked waves 20 feet high and up to 80 feet long heading toward the coastline. Earlier reports suggested the waves were 80 feet high but weathermen (and women) around the country quickly corrected them. I mean, an 80 foot tall wave is 2004 Indonesia Tsunami high and that wiped out entire cities and swept a quarter of a million people into the ocean. Thankfully, Florence does not have 8o foot high waves.
But still, an 80 foot long wave has tremendous force and once it hits the shore will push inland for a very long time. That, coupled with the rain means - massive flooding. Probably, unlike the Carolinas (and Georgia) have ever experienced.
Florence is expected to be full force from late Thursday until early Sunday. Approx. 36 hours of hurricane gale hitting affected areas. And then - additional rain (for days). I certainly hope most folks heeded their Governor’s warnings to evacuate the area.
Of course, I say that and I am not trying to sound glib. There are plenty of reasons where one might not evacuate. Living in poverty with nowhere else to go comes to mind. I understand there are people who might not be able to evacuate and there are always folks who chose to stay for various reasons. I understand.
But man, if I had the means I would be so out of there.
So, what happens after the storm? Well, as usual the best way that you or I can help is to donate to the American Red Cross. From the Fed side of things there is the Disaster Relief Fund. Of course, President Trump has recently made news because - during the height of Hurricane Florence worry - the President transferred almost $10 million from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) to ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement).
Now, thankfully, the money President Trump transferred out of FEMA wasn’t part of the Disaster Relief Fund as some have reported. Of course, as reported by Vox.com, this still complicates things. From their Is Trump Using Hurricane Relief Money to fund ICE? Not exactly:
“The Trump administration points out that the $9.8 million transferred from FEMA didn’t come out of the Disaster Relief Fund that is specifically appropriated for major disasters. Instead, it came out of the agency’s “operations and support” fund. DHS (Dept. Homeland Security) characterizes that fund as used for administrative expenses: Examples listed by a DHS official included “employee travel expenses, training, basic purchase cards, office supplies, HQ overhead support.”
What complicates this slightly is that one of the things funded by FEMA “operations and support” is the agency’s Office of Response and Recovery, which organizes the agency’s emergency operations and rebuilding efforts. About $2.5 million of the transferred funds came out of the response and recovery budgets.”
Lovely! So the exact office that organizes the Disaster Relief Fund just had a budget cut of $2.5 million - all during the Florence build up! Think about it this way - what happens in your office when you suddenly lose a significant percentage of your work force and / or work support? You know what happens. Suddenly lots of people double up on jobs that they don’t have any experience in and things are more expensive to process and take twice as long to figure out! Which, is totally what we want to happen when people need the Disaster Relief Fund, right? We all want to make it as hard as possible for people to receive assistance! Right? (Please, note the sarcasm).
*sigh* It’s almost like we have a President who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about people.
Anyway, all that being said. I wish the best for the folks of the Carolinas and Georgia.
This is an updating story. We will publish more about disaster relief, where to find it and how best to help, ASAP.
Multiple sources around the country are reporting on the NY Times Anonymous Op-Ed published on Wed September 5th titled, “I am part of the resistance inside the Trump administration.” You should take a few minutes to read it over or watch the video in which CNN’s Kate Bolduan reads the entire piece. I'm not going to speculate who wrote it, but I do want to discuss it in general.
The Op-Ed has stunned many and, apparently - enraged President Trump.
Um. Okay. I get why President Trump is angry. But why is everyone else stunned by this admission?
The Op-Ed basically says, “Hey, there are people within the White House that are actively trying to stop President Trump from fucking up the country. I should know. I’m one of them.” Conservatives are up in arms. Even Liberals are like, “This is not how the country works Mr. Anonymous - no one voted you into office so shut your piehole and obey!”
What about this Op-Ed is controversial? It basically says that - politicians and officials are working against each other. Don’t we already know this? I mean, don’t we have two parties publicly working against each other on many issues, all the time? Hell, didn’t the House and the Senate run 6 extremely vocal years of obstructionism against President Obama? It wasn’t even a secret. They went on TV and shit, and were like, “We’ll just not ever pass a budget and threaten to shut down the government every year and just not do our jobs and never vote on things - ever - as long as Obama is in office.”
Is the fear now supposed to be that “we didn’t elect” the person who wrote the Op-Ed who claims to be working against the President from the inside? Okay. I guess I can understand why that seems a bit awkward. Except that our elected President(s) get undermined by billionaires and officials both elected and / or appointed like, all the time.
I mean, I guess it’s controversial because finally someone came out and admitted it. Fair enough. The idea of the Deep State Conspiracy is that there is a body of people, typically - influential folks with powerful positions, that are secretly manipulating government policy. Some people believe in the Deep State actually runs the government. Some people think the entire idea of a Deep State is ludacris.
I don’t actually understand why the Deep State idea is even controversial.
Don’t get me wrong - I don’t believe for one second that the Deep State is a secret alien run Illuminati conspiracy. That’s fucking nonsense. But, as to the idea that influential (rich) folks and Corporations get politicians to do their bidding! Well - duh. Everyone knows this happens. That’s what lobbyist do. It’s not even a secret and it’s legal. And they are out in the open. All over Washington. They don’t need a secret conspiracy to coerce the government into being their bitch. It pretty much just happens out in the open. With colossals amounts of cash. The manipulation of elected officials is nothing new and has been happening for … well, probably since folks invented government.
And now we have someone saying, “Hey, we’re working against the President. But, like - from within and in secret.”
Okay. Well, lots of people work against the President. But I guess this time it’s controversial because Anonymous is supposed to be on the President’s side. Therefor the whispered “soft coup” keeps popping up in the press. Well, a coup is an attempt to seize power from the government which I think we can all agree that is usually a bad idea but … but …. but it happens all the bloody time!
Lobbyists and their Corporate masters get our elected officials to do and say all sorts of asinine things that only help Corporations and will never, ever, ever help the people of the country. Sure, if a politician is publicly outed as being 100% in the pocket of Evil Corporation A, you can try and vote them out of office but the insane amount of $$ thrown into elections makes it very difficult for the people to seize any sort of power back from career politicians. Especially, when those politicians are in the pocket of Corporations.
It certainly doesn’t help that extremely popular conservative news organizations and even some moderately popular fringe liberal websites - just make shit up and spread fake news everywhere. Without accurate information it sometimes makes it hard to separate the good guys from the bad guys.
But I digress.
Look, I can see why the word “coup” frightens people. But I hardly feel this is a legitimate coup attempt. Perhaps Anonymous is overstepping his or her boundaries (it reads to me as if it was written by a man). Are people not allowed to over step their boundaries in order to do things that are just and moral?
I certainly think so. Perhaps you don’t.
Anyway. If you want to make the argument to me that “but, maybe this kind of “soft coup” isn’t how it should be in our Republic” then I would probably agree with you. But if you say, “this just isn’t how things operate in our Republic” then, um - what the F! are you even talking about?
It sounds as if the famous counter culture alternative weekly has finally gone the way of the Dodo. After 62 years in print and one final year online only, the Village Voice has ceased the publication of new stories. Village Voice owner, Peter Barbey released a statement basically saying he couldn’t keep the publication in business due to harsh economic realities.
Most of the staff is going to be (or perhaps already has been) laid off with only a skeleton crew remaining behind to work on a digital archive of past stories.
This story is nothing new. The Village Voice joins a long list of familiar names that have abandoned print in favor of online only content - Jet, Computerworld, Vibe (who now prints only quarterly, I believe), Electronic Gaming Monthly (which has come and gone in print for the last decade and is currently gone). But that doesn’t mean they won’t be back.
About the only chance the Voice has is if it’s sold to a larger conglomerate that can eat up a bit of a loss to get it (print or online) back in shape. To outsiders (as in, those living outside NY) the Voice probably always seemed like a gossip rag but New Yorkers loved it and viewed it more as news that affected New Yorkers and a local info source for all sorts of counter culture shows, venues and art. I lived in NY for several years and let me tell you, that mag was revered in coffee shops around the five boroughs.
But the closing was to be expected, especially if you know anything about NYC (and / or currently live there). “Counter culture,” and I use that phrase in the common sense attachment of the word, has become more mainstream. Hot Topic flourishes in malls around the country sitting pretty next to a Footlocker or a Gap, while most brick and mortar alternative retail locations have faded (though I note that Trash and Vaudeville is still going strong on 7th street!). Even NY’s most famous alternative 24 hour restaurant, The Yaffa Cafe closed down a few years ago. (Which made me sad - I adored late nights at the Yaffa Cafe).
And so it comes as no surprise to me that the mainstay alternative press in NYC has finally closed down as well. And so after more than 60 years in publication the Village Voice is no more. Perhaps, a miracle buyer will resurrect the beloved alternative press but … I won’t hold my breath.
All good things...
Multiple sources are reporting that Louis CK made a surprise appearance at the Comedy Cellar in New York City on Sunday night. You may or may not know that at the height of his career Louis CK was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. He sidestepped and denied the allegations for many years, finally telling the NY Times in 2017 interview:
“I’m not going to answer to that stuff, because they’re rumors. If you actually participate in a rumor, you make it bigger and you make it real … (CK then was asked, “So they’re not real?”) … They’re rumors, that’s all that is.”
Well, CK denied the “rumors” for years. Until too many women came forward and then he admitted that “These stories are true.” He was immediately fired from multiple shows, lost deals and had his recent film, “I Love You, Daddy” pulled from distribution. A film he wrote, directed, produced and starred in. The film also starred Chloe Grace Moretz and John Malkovich. The unreleased film is about an aging filmmaker (Malkovich) with an appalling sexual misconduct past and his new relationship with seventeen year old Moretz who happens to be Louis CK’s daughter. It’s unreleased but folks have still seen it. I mean, hell - I’ve seen it. And to be honest - it was okay. It’s even been nominated for awards! True story - the Alliance of Women Film Journalists gave it nominations and an award - winner of the Most Egregious Age Difference Between The Lead and The Love Interest Award and nominee for the Hall of Shame Award!
Way to go Louis! =)
Anyway. You can imagine the shit storm of negative social media and press Louis CK was going to get when he made a walk on surprise appearance. Keep in mind that Louis CK often did walk on performance in the past to the sold out room (115) of the Comedy Cellar. It’s just that this was the first one since the allegations broke almost one year ago.
Apparently, audience reaction was fairly positive. His fellow comedians performing that evening said it was “classic Louis” and “quite good.” Cellar owner, Noam Dworman verified that he received one complaint email but also, several supportive emails. So, it sounds as if the walk on show - was fine.
But for the most part celebrity reactions have been uniformly disgusted. Comedian Kathy Griffin tweeted: “You know how many talented women and POC comics are knocking on doors trying to get some time in front of audiences or powerful people in this business? And Louis just gets to glide back in on his own terms? Gosh, does it payoff to be in the boys club..the white boys club.”
Top Chef host, Padma Lakshmi tweeted: “Not falling for this Louis CK "triumphant return" narrative after years of him humiliating women who worked for & with him.”
I would even go so far as to say the vast majority of coverage of Louis’s surprise set was negative. Very, very outraged and negative.
But Louis was not without his supporters. A few fellow (male) comedians voiced approval. Marlon Wayans said, “It’s nice to see Louis out of comedy jail.” SNL actor and Emmy host Michael Che had a lot more to say.
He mocked the twitter outrage with, "'OMG! Can you believe that guy went on with his life?! (Yes, I can.)”
But Che’s main point was that the outrage was more about fame obsession gone wrong. Che wrote:
"What’s interesting to me about these articles against Louis CK performing again, is how important fame is to people. A lot of what I read says that CK shouldn’t get to be a ‘famous’ comedian anymore. Because to them, he’s still winning. Isn’t that strange? Meaning he can be shamed, humiliated, lose millions of dollars, lose all of his projects, lose the respect of a lot of his fans and peers, and whatever else that comes with what he did. But since he can still do a comedy set for free at a 200 seat club a year later, it means he got off easy. THAT’s how coveted fame is. Just because it looks to you like someone is 'getting off easy' cause they still have the perks you would kill to have, doesn’t make it so."
Okay. Maybe. Those are some fair points that I hadn’t considered.
I would push back though, that Che doesn’t seem to mention the shame, humiliation, loss of $$$ and loss of projects that all of the women suffered due to CK’s actions, the subsequent cover up and the strong arm harassment tactics to get the women to just shut up. A lot of them left comedy because of it. How are we to value their loss of $$$ and loss of careers. How do we offer them their “comeback?” Is that even a thing? Are you allowed a comeback for something you dropped ten years ago due to harassment against you? I mean, you might not even be good at it any longer - because you haven’t done it in ten years! So, what should we allow your “come back” to be? A check? How much should it be worth? Should it be based on the overall value of what you lost? How do we calculate that? Is your only “payment” from this ordeal that Louis CK no longer gets to work in comedy? Is that fair for all parties involved?
I mean, you can be cynical and say that had the women not been subjected to sexual misconduct and harassment - maybe they still wouldn’t have had “what it takes” to become a famous comedian. Okay. Well, what if some of them did have “what it takes.” Maybe one of them had the potential to become the next Tiffany Haddish (only the greatest female comic working today!).
Oh, man. That hurts my soul a bit. To think that a comedy powerhouse like Tiffany Haddish could have been lost to us because of sexual misconduct and harassment. That could have happened. And maybe it did.
Look, maybe Louis just “tried it out” to see what the reaction would be. And now that he sees the overwhelming negative praise, he won’t try it again. Or at least not for a long time.
Maybe he’s working out new material and planning a big come back and doesn’t care if social media is angry. We have no idea what Louis CK is thinking or if he has done anything (or nothing) to right some of his wrongs.
But something tells me - we’re about to find out.
Legendary conservative maverick John Sidney McCain III died today from complications to brain cancer. His family announced just yesterday that McCain would no longer receive treatment for his cancer. Like many, I assumed that meant his passing was near but I was still shocked to hear of his death not even 24 hours later.
McCain has been in politics for 40 years first as a Navy liaison, then in the House and then a six time elected Senator. He was mainly an old school “war hawk, small government” Republican but at times cast surprising votes as he did in the July 25th, 2017 American Health Care Act vote but for the most part he, like most other politicians towed the party line. Initially, he even supported Donald Trump, albeit tepidly although in the past several months McCain has been incredibly critically vocal against the sitting president. McCain has laid low at home since December battling cancer, but he has still been active on social media and has only harsh words for the sitting President, basically agreeing with Hillary Clinton that Trump is a Putin puppet.
McCain has even been planning his funeral for months and has made it explicitly clear that President Trump is not invited. In fact, Senator McCain asked that former Presidents Obama and Bush give the eulogy. It reminded me of a few times during his failed 2008 Presidential run where he defended Obama against hostile crowd members. How many modern politicians can you name that have the guts to stand up to their own voters and defend a rival? The only two I can think of are Senator John McCain and President Barack Obama.
Anyway. Much has been written about and by him. He has multiple memoirs and there are thousands of tributes to him all over the internet. I will leave it to you to seek them out. Love him or hate him, Senator McCain was a very important figure in the United States and he fought a lot of good fights.
I doubt we will see anyone like John McCain in the Senate, especially on the Republican side of the aisle - any time soon.
I leave you with a touching tribute from his daughter, Meghan McCain. Her tweet this morning: