Jon Cazares

Jon Cazares

The damage from Hurricane Michael is staggering. Georgia’s farms were clobbered and the agricultural industry is reporting “unprecedented generational losses” that are estimated to reach nearly $3 billion in damages.

 

About a million acres of timber has been destroyed as well all sorts of vegetable and nut farms. Lots of sources are still reporting about the Tyndall Air Force Base near Panama City, Fla. The base, if you have not heard, sustained heavy damage from the storm. Most of Tyndall’s planes were flown to safety before Michael hit the coast but 17 F-22 Raptors were left behind because they were undergoing maintenance and were not flight worthy. Each of the Raptors cost an estimated $330 million each. Which means that’s almost $6 billion dollars of fighter jets that may have taken significant damage from Michael.  The Air Force is being a little mom on the subject, which - fair enough. There is no reason to broadcast to enemies how many of our fighter planes were damaged beyond repair.

 

But that isn’t even touching on the personal cost to homeowners up and down the coastline. The NY Times has a “Damage in Pictures” all about Michael and from the look of things it’s as bad as everyone expected. Entire towns are wiped out. Farms are gone. Houses obliterated. It’s apocalyptic looking stuff.

 

If that’s not bad enough there are sheriffs in FL reporting that they are arresting about 10 looters each night since last Wed. Armed looters, it appears, are targeting homes without electricity and taking advantage that first responders are stretched thin. People really suck sometimes, you know?

 

There are even neighborhoods putting up hand made signs that say things like, “You loot. I shoot.”  Which - sounds about right to me.

 

 

 

 

Still, it sounds as if hundreds of thousands of people are still without power and cell phone service has only just recently been (mostly) reinstated.

 

And keep in mind this is all damage from one hurricane. That’s not counting the damage that Florence did just last month. It’s not counting the death toll when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and almost three thousand people died as a result. How about Irma and Harvey - two Hurricane’s that pummeled the south just last year.

 

They keep coming and they seem to keep getting more destructive and more costly. And why is that? Well, last year my co-worker wrote a strongly worded story titled “Hurricanes should blow climate deniers’ eyes, minds open.”  In it he writes:

 

“While I wish the best to all those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, I also hope climate change deniers affected by the hurricanes realize their denial of climate change contributed to their current situation and will contribute to worse situations in the future.

Mother Earth is doing her best to convince climate denying Americans that global warming is no hoax and that people are responsible for the increasing instances and intensity of weather disasters. She started by flooding the Gulf Coast with category-three hurricane, Harvey, which AccuWeather predicts will cost America more than Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina combined.”

His story makes compelling arguments and he links to more than a dozen reputable sources and studies.  He wrote that more than one year ago and he was correct in predicting that this year the hurricanes would be much, much worse.

And they are. And now all we can do is rebuild and assist those that are in need. And we’ll probably have to do it again. And again. And again.

 

If you can, donate to the Red Cross.

If you can, donate to the Humane Society Animal Emergency Rescue Fund.  

 

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Sears declares bankruptcy

On Monday morning sources around the country reported on the Sears bankruptcy. But that doesn’t mean the company is out of business. Well, not yet anyway. It’s a good ol’ fashioned restructuring type of bankruptcy. I don’t believe that many feel the restructuring will work but there it is.

 

There is blame o’plenty. Current CEO Eddie Lampert blames Sears retirees. Analysts around the globe blame the CEO for his bad decisions not committing to online sales. Common sense and reason suggests that Walmart and Amazon gobbled up Sears customers like an old school game of Pac Man. It might even have been because of that time in 2003 when Sears sold its highly lucrative credit card business to Citigroup. No, seriously, that credit card business was more than 50% of the company’s profits. And they sold it off. *shrugs*

 

Anyway. It was probably a giant mixture of events that led Sears to inevitable bankruptcy after 130 years in business. CNN interactive made a really nice timeline of the company leading up to Monday’s announcement.

 

This all seems eerily familiar to my childhood. I grew up in MPLS, MN and we had a huge Sears building on Lake Street, kind of midtown Minneapolis. And I spent many an hour walking those retail halls or getting my keys made there or wondering why we could only shop on floor 1-3 but the building clearly had several stories above those - what was happening there? I even have fond memories of scrolling through the Sears catalog and circling all the toys I wanted for Christmas. Our Sears building closed down in 1994 and was eventually declared a national landmark building. Then in 2006 it was reopened as the Midtown Global Market with apartments and condos above. I’ve also spent many an hour eating and drinking at the Midtown Global Market so it all came full circle for me.

 

For the Sears company however, it all came down to that $134 million dollar payment they had due on Monday. And they couldn’t afford to make it. Hence the bankruptcy and restructuring.

Everything Sears seems to be fading fast. Even the famous Chicago Sears Tower, at once the tallest building in the US, was eventually bought and renamed the Willis Tower. The only silver lining here for Sears - I’m pretty sure everyone in the world still calls it the Sears Tower.

 

Again, this isn’t the end for Sears (yet) but the company does plan to close more than a hundred underperforming stores.  

 

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Hurricane Michael hits Florida coast

Hurricane Michael, the strongest on record in the U.S. since 2004 hit the Florida coastline this afternoon. It’s too late to evacuate. If you’re there - you’re there. Michael is a Category 4 hurricane with winds at 155 mph. But that makes it that top end of Category 4 because as soon as winds hit 157 it will officially be a Category 5. Not that there is much difference between 155 and 157 mph winds other than the rating system because, either way, enormous damage is about to rain down on Florida.

 

Not even one month after Florence flooded Georgia & the Carolinas and caused $1.5 billion in damages, the E coast is getting hammered again. This time by Hurricane Michael, which meteorologists have rated a Category 4.

 

Folks in Georgia and the Carolinas still have flooded areas in large portions of the coastline and in a few more days will receive more rainstorms as Michael hits Florida today but will move N further inland by Friday. Michael is actually the opposite of Florence which went from a Category 4 down to a Category 1 by landfall while Michael increased in strength as it came closer to the SE coastline. In fact, meteorologists believe that Michael will still be a Category 2 Hurricane when it hits Alabama and southern Georgia.

 

If that’s not bad enough Hurricane Michael, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, could spawn tornadoes anywhere from 50-100 miles outside the hurricane eye. That’s all those folks need, right? Tornadoes to go along with their Category 4 hurricane.

 

Last month, our very own Dr. Daliah wrote a “How You Can Help” column for Hurricane Florence and all of her information is relevant for Michael as well. You can read her column here. Her column also has plenty of links to the Red Cross, the Army Emergency Relief and other sources if you want to donate assistance. The American Red Cross is accepting monetary and blood donations. Financial donations can be given here or on their website at redcross.org. Moreover one can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. More relief numbers in her column.

 

The forecast cone is expected to stretch Michael all the way north to Maryland, which is a lot of damage, and a lot of danger.

 

This is a developing story.

 

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?

 

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Bill Cosby sentenced for sexual assault

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.”

 

Snopes has a nice write up of the full event here.

 

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.



Well I mean I guess WE’RE on ????????????????????????????????. ???????????????? #JokesOnYou #NikeLifer✔️

 

Darren Rovell‏Verified account @darrenrovell

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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):  

  • Netflix 112
  • HBO 108
  • NBC 78
  • FX Network 50
  • CBS 34
  • ABC 31
  • Hulu 27
  • Prime Video 22
  • Showtime 21
  • National Geographic 17

 

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:

Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

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

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

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"

 

Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or TV movie

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)"

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or TV movie

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"

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

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"

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

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"

Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or movie

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)"

Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie

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"

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series

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"

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

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"

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

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"

 

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

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"

Outstanding reality/competition series

"The Amazing Race"

"American Ninja Warrior"

"Project Runway"

"RuPaul's Drag Race" *WINNER

"Top Chef"

"The Voice"

Outstanding variety sketch series

"At Home with Amy Sedaris"

"Drunk History"

"I Love You, America"

"Portlandia"

"Saturday Night Live" *WINNER

"Tracey Ullman's Show"

Outstanding variety talk series

"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"

Outstanding limited Series

"The Alienist"

"The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" *WINNER

"Genius: Picasso"

"Godless"

"Patrick Melrose"

Outstanding comedy series

"Atlanta"

"Barry"

"Black-ish"

"Curb Your Enthusiasm"

"GLOW"

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" *WINNER

"Silicon Valley"

"Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"

Outstanding drama series

"Game of Thrones" *WINNER

"The Handmaid's Tale"

"Stranger Things"

"The Americans"

"This Is Us"

"Westworld"

 

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.

 

Make sense?

 

Anyway … here are the top 20 best selling albums of all time:

 

  1. The Eagles, Greatest Hits 1971-1975 (38 million).
  2. Michael Jackson, Thriller (33 million).
  3. The Eagles, Hotel California (26 million).
  4. Billy Joel, Greatest Hits Volume I & II (23 million).
  5. Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin IV (23 million).
  6. Pink Floyd, The Wall (23 million).
  7. AC/DC, Back in Black (22 million).
  8. Garth Brooks, Double Live (21 million).
  9. Hootie & The Blowfish, Cracked Rear View (21 million).
  10. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours (20 million).
  11. Shania Twain, Come On Over (20 million).
  12. The Beatles, The Beatles - "The White Album" (19 million).
  13. Guns N’ Roses, Appetite for Destruction (18 million).
  14. Whitney Houston, The Bodyguard (Soundtrack) (18 million).
  15. Boston, Boston (17 million).
  16. Elton John, Greatest Hits (17 million).
  17. Garth Brooks, No Fences (17 million).
  18. The Beatles, The Beatles 1967-1970 (17 million).
  19. Alanis Morissette, Jagged Little Pill (16 million).
  20. Bee Gees, Saturday Night Fever (Soundtrack) (16 million).

 

%PM, %13 %883 %2018 %20:%Sep

Hurricane Florence arrives

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!”

 

Huh?

 

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?

 

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