When TV collides with life: Trump, House of Cards, FBI & CSI Cyber


Quick note to start – yes, I am still training and fundraising. In fact, it would be fabulous if you would throw in $30 to the cause. I pretty much need $30/day for the rest of the time to meet the minimum. Also, things are starting to hurt a little. I’ll save that for another update (really!).

Project Athena Harbor to Harbor – $1,800 needed, please help!

And now, on to the main event!

These are the thoughts rattling through my head in recent weeks.

The first, I realized while watching the story about the FBI and Apple unfold that my impression of the whole scenario was being influenced not by any actual knowledge I have, but by the TV shows I watch! As I would read how the FBI needed Apple to create a back door hack into an iPhone that had been used by one of the San Bernadino terrorist attackers, all I could think was “But why? Can’t they just hack it themselves?! They do it ALL THE TIME on CSI Cyber!” You know, just throw the phone at Crummy and he’ll just type away madly on a keyboard for 20 seconds and VOILA! Phone unlocked! That’s all real isn’t it? Seriously I have just been SO unimpressed with the the REAL agents did here – asking the county to change the password and somehow not knowing how to get the backed up data or perhaps even locking themselves out of it? Meanwhile, since it was the guy’s work phone, not his personal one, I seriously doubt there’s anything on it worth having. At this point I am pretty much leaning towards being happy that Apple is standing their ground. Makes me feel pretty good knowing that darn little pass code I have on my phone is so impenetrable!

As an aside, can we talk about how damn awful CSI: Cyber is? I got suckered into watching it since my son and I are addicted to all things CSI and we were feeling major withdrawals when the original one wrapped up. I liked that they transitioned the Ted Danson character over form Vegas to DC, but from the absolutely atrocious episode that aired most recently, it looks like he is now out of there. I swear he probably went to the producers and said “Dear god, please write me out! The writing and acting are pitiful! I don’t need a paycheck this bad!” I mean, CSI: Miami was not anything fabulous either, but at least they seemed to be writing that one with tongue firmly planted in cheek. That’s why the Horatio meme of making a dramatic statement and then sliding on sunglasses is still going strong on the internet! But Cyber has NO CLUE they are bad. They are just…really really bad.

Meanwhile….House of Cards Season 4 dropped. WOW. No spoilers, but I pretty much think I loved this one as much as Season 1. Like most I totally binge watched, though I did spread it out over 3 nights. Here’s the thing though: some of the “Holy shit did they just DO that?” bite was somewhat diminished by what is happening in our very REAL election this year!! Every time I would think “No Presidential candidate could get away with THAT sort of theatrics/scheming etc.”, I would think to myself “Oh yeah. Trump.” That man has broken every single rule of class, decorum, leadership, respectability….whatever you want to call it. At this point I don’t even care what his policies are, I am just stunned at what he says, the vitriol he incites, and now the way his own supporters are behaving at his events. I mean (and this isn’t a spoiler)…there is a segment on House of Cards when an old picture of Frank Underwood’s father standing next to a Grand Master of the KKK is blown up and draped over a billboard in his home state of South Carolina. As always, Frank wiggles out from under what would normally be an End Of Your Campaign moment. But THEN…I immediately flashed to Donald Trump being endorsed by David Duke (he of the modern day KKK/White Supremacy movement). I remembered the many times when he, personally, has re-tweeted statements made by known White Supremacist leaders. Just today there is an NPR story about a family who has never been involved in politics who is now phone banking for Trump. The images show the woman with tattoos on her hands depicting the Hitler 88 symbol and the white supremacy associated star. And is ANY of this sticking to Trump in a negative way to devalue his campaign? He claims he doesn’t know about “any of that” and he simply manages to bluster louder than the people who deign to question him. And does it impact his campaign? Hell, from where I sit it seems to be HELPING him to have latched onto these sorts of voters because damn if he didn’t win a bunch of states again yesterday!

Please take note that in House of Cards, it was about the character’s FATHER’s association with Klansmen. This is directly about the candidate himself. In real life!

I just….really…don’t understand how the GOP 2016 campaign has turned into something LESS shocking than House of Cards! Are we living in a reality TV show?

Please tell me a President Trump would really NOT be worse than a President Underwood?

Just my .02 – I’ll go back to either working or walking now.




My Favorite Podcasts


My favorite form of entertainment either while I run, walk or work has been podcasts. I’m *starting* to get into audio books too – finally subscribed to Audible for that, but for everyday feeding my brain/soul this list really teaches me and makes me laugh.

Typical of me, it is a blend of sports, liberal politics, some light introspection/inspiration, and comedy. I also really LOVED the Serial series of podcasts so a good story telling genre is also a favorite.

I’d love to hear suggestions for more so please share!

(all links go to their iTunes page)


Edge of Sports with Dave Zirin – where sports and politics collide (a slice of heaven for me!)


The Katie Speak Show – amazing interviews already with only a handful of shows so far – I have done a fan girl “squee” a couple of times when I heard who would be on. Fantastic commentary and wonderful music as a bonus that sticks in my head all day (in a good way!)

Bonus, here is her awesome website with ALL her media links including her writing which is insightful, vulnerable, clear, concise and often funny as hell. I adore her banner message:

Speak and change the world


WTF with Marc Maron  (best interviewer ever IMHO – go listen to his talk with President Obama…check that..it was with Barack Obama – it’s pretty fantastic)


Best of the Left – when you cannot listen to or watch *every* great media outlet that leans to the left, this is the solution.


Radio Headspace – from THE place to learn Mindful Meditation – the podcast covers a huge range of inspirational and truly amazing exercises and interviews on every topic you can imagine. The most recent download included a fantastic talk with two comedians who have emerged as voices of authenticity on mental illness and the stigma around it.


Intersection with Jamil Smith – An editor at The New Republic, Jamil does a fantastic job exploring exactly what his show is called – the intersections of race, gender and myriad other ways we identify ourselves. He’s a former producer of the Melissa Harris Perry show (Nerdland!) and does a great job putting together panelists who cover a board spectrum of societies and viewpoints. It’s a relative new show but one that has had me nodding my head and silently saying “thank you for teaching me that!” as I listen. Actually, ALL of these shows do that at some point or another which is why I love them!


Conversations with Alanis Morissette – What is it with all the Orange in these podcast badges? This one is a leap of faith listing. I just subscribed today when I found out about it and have not yet listened to an episode, BUT – it’s Alanis! For those who *don’t* know me, I have often said that at certain times it felt like Alanis was writing songs from thoughts that were rolling around in MY brain so I suspect that I might be able to connect/relate to just about anything she does 🙂


This Week In Blackness Radio – I saved my favorite for last. The link is to their Prime show, but I adore all of the shows in the TWiB family. http://thisweekinblackness.com/  They are the ones who got me into listening to podcasts and now, as you can see, I am hooked!

I’m talking about it


We interrupt the December theme of ornaments and recipes for this dark shot of reality.

It’s political, but it shouldn’t be, so I have to get my thoughts out here.

Friday’s tragedy in Newtown Connecticut was devastating. The nation has reacted in sadness and with empathy for the families who have suffered and unimaginable amount of pain. So it has been on everyone’s mind in some form.

Yesterday while driving past an elementary school on the way to our Sunday morning trail run, just the sight of the school gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. I have no connection to that school, know no one there, but just seeing a place that is supposed to be filled with innocence and learning and knowing how one was shattered just a few days before shook me deeply.

This morning I received a message from the high school principal where 16 attends school. He was re-assuring the parents about all the precautionary steps they take to keep our kids safe.

It was a stark reminder that our children have never known a time when they didn’t have to go through lock down drills to guard against school shootings.

I never endured those. I had fire drills and earthquake drills, but I was blessed to go to school AFTER the nuclear drill scares and BEFORE the school shootings started.

For whatever reason the drills I did go through didn’t particularly frighten me. Mostly because there was a sense that the cause was “natural” (I put that in quotes since obviously fires can be started by humans but I think you get the gist of it, right?). What we were training for were things not under human control. It wasn’t that HUMANS were trying to harm us, it was the weather or nature or basically non-human related events.

In this child’s mind anyway. Those drills didn’t teach me to fear random humans. But those lock down drills sure do.

It’s domestic terrorism. Plain and simple. But there is no cause they are fighting for. No specific group we can target to guard against. Nope, it’s just random acts of terror simply because a violently inclined disturbed mind has easy access to weapons that can kill more and more people more accurately and faster than ever. It can be a mall, a church, a school, a workplace, a community gathering, a movie theater, a beauty salon, etc etc etc. Any place where people gather as they go about their regular day.

It’s infuriating and as the President said last night at the memorial service in Newtown – it has GOT to stop.

So, let’s talk about what everyone says we shouldn’t talk about yet, but that which if we do not talk about NOW, will never get talked about because there will be yet another shooting resetting the “you can’t talk about this yet!” clock.

(did ya get that? yeah, I didn’t either but that’s kind of the point)

Here’s my personal take on guns: They should not be easier to obtain than a driver’s license and a car.

I am not the first one to say this and I know there have already been people writing about how the desire to own a military style weapon is just like the desire to own a Ferrari. It’s just a high end gun/car! Why should that be banned?

Well, because cars are not guns, that’s why (apples..oranges…ya know)

Cars are not built TO KILL. Yes, when not operated properly, they DO kill…but…that is not their primary purpose. The car I drive has been on the road for over 10 years and 140,000 miles and hasn’t harmed a soul. Ok, perhaps a bug or two and that one lizard (ick) but you get the drift. Yes, I know many gun owners will say that the guns in their locked cabinets have not harmed anyone either. I know that. But WHY were they even built? What is their main purpose? To cause harm.

So why is it easier to get a gun than a car?

I have just helped my 16 year old through the process of obtaining his driver’s license. First an online training course that took many hours and a test before he could get behind the wheel. Then 6 hours of professional training and several dozens of hours practicing in between. Then another test. Now he has his license, but he is still not driving. Why? No car yet. He needs insurance which is expensive as any parent knows. And there is the matter of buying a car and having the money to put gas in it, etc etc.

Now, I fully support the right to bear arms. But a RIGHT does not translate to NO REGULATION. There are still some conditions that I believe should be met in order for my neighbors and I to possess weapons designed solely to cause harm. Conditions and training and yes, LIMITS to the types of weapons and ammunition you can own.

After all, there are vehicles that are not street legal. There are vehicles that are only driven by law enforcement or the military.

Look, I know many responsible gun owner’s. They love their guns. One person is a collector. It’s her primary issue that she be able to keep what she owns. But guess what? They don’t have military grade weapons and ammunition clips or enough ammunition to BE their own army. Guns are locked over THERE and bullets over HERE. Responsible. Exercising their right to bear arms as it should be.

I fully support being able to keep things that way.

But I do NOT support keeping things as they are now with little to no consistent regulation on who can purchase a gun, where and what kind. The same applies to ammunition.

We cannot watch yet another senseless tragedy go by without an honest conversation about what we can do to prevent these. And then we must translate the conversations to action.

I think, I HOPE, that the world just sent a message to the President and Congress about what this next term of theirs should be focusing on. And I hope they stay focused, and stop letting lobbyists rule their votes. They represent the people, the children, of this country. And it is time they show it.

Election Result follow up


The day after an election is often spent by both sides reflecting on what they did correctly or incorrectly. Winners and losers assess what happened. Unfortunately, what has been observed over the last couple of Presidential election cycles is that one side isn’t quite getting that the electorate is changing. Demographically, and socially, voters are just more progressive. Plus, they like to rely on the facts they observe around them, vs just listening blindly to one media source. I was going to write up something about that. And then, this was posted:

Evolution Is A Thing – courtesy of the opening segment of Rachel Maddow’s show last night. A beautiful list of FACTS and TRUTH and REALITY that even two days after the election, many in the GOP (specifically it’s pundits on TV) just do not seem to grasp. The script then goes on to explain why this is bad, and why it happens:

In other words, I don’t need to write anything – it was all laid out perfectly by the writers at TRMS and delivered perfectly by Rachel.

I’m sure the folks like the guy who wrote that facebook comment in my last post wishing that he had a POTUS who saluted the flag are living inside their own bubble.

I’m sure my friend – who broke my heart when she stated that she believes that Obama’s second term will result in foreign enemies attacking us and war right here on our own soil – is living in some sort of dark feedback loop bubble.

I wonder sometimes if fear is not the force behind all this. Is there some part of people’s minds that gets so awash in fear that it becomes irrational, that dominates your ability to reason and observe reality?

I know I saw that on the left during the Bush years. Folks who just went off the deep end and lapped up any tidbit of nonsensical information fed to them as long as it supported their narrative of Bush as a manically evil dictator.

The difference is that those fearful lefties had to go digging for that feedback loop in dark corners of the internet. There were no radio shows. No TV stations that they could plug into and wallow in 24/7. They were pushed aside by folks like me and anyone serious minded and actually involved in Democratic politics. To this day there are some on the left who I blocked, unfriended, and stopped reading their blog posts because they have lost touch with reality when it comes to politics.

It’s a LOT easier to find sources of blood flow for conservative fear junkies. And it seems like many of what I would label “fringe” opinions are given larger platforms and even embraced by the party as a whole.

I really hope that Rachel is right and that this second Presidential defeat for the GOP results in a crack in their conservative media vacuum. I really do. Because the country IS stronger when both parties are strong.

And that requires relying on facts. And science. And math.

And letting go of irrational fears. Because living in fear is not living.

Oct 4 – Debate Notes


My post for today is over on my other site since it is about the debate 🙂

Pragmatic Progressive

I didn’t hang out on twitter because I didn’t want other people’s reactions to skew my own. I also knew I couldn’t multi-task nearly well enough to read and listen closely at the same time!

So, I watching while texting with my very a-political boyfriend who follows nothing other than receiving classic chain emails and opinions from a very conservative friend and then whatever he hears from me from the left.

His first text?

“Romney is getting burned right now”

Followed by:

“It just seems like Obama makes more sense”

“POTUS is very calm and collected”

“Romney has a little sarcastic humor!”

I think he fell asleep after that since he’s traveling for work in the Midwest.

Anyway – here are my own notes written into a notebook:

Blue and red ties? Really? How predictable.

Obama uses his “new economic patriotism” line again. It had been mentioned that Romney had…

View original post 755 more words



So unless you were hiding under a rock, you were at least marginally aware that we’ve just wrapped up two weeks’ worth of political party conventions. The every four years parties to tell us why we should support your party.

Perhaps equally obvious to you if you know me at all is that this week’s DNC convention was a little more agreeable to me than last weeks GOP event 🙂

You probably also know that what finally dragged me away from the GOP were social issues, specifically the issue of marriage equality.

Therefore it will come as NO SHOCK to know that MY favorite speech of the two weeks was not all that obvious and not even in prime time. There were surely many tear inducing, cheer inducing, goose bump inducing moments this week. But this one – this one spoke to my heart and the issue that is more important to me than all the others.

I’m a sixth-generation Iowan, an Eagle Scout, and I was raised by my two moms, Jackie and Terry.

People want to know what it’s like having lesbian parents. I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m awesome at putting the seat down. Otherwise, we’re like any other family. We eat dinner, we go to church, we have chores. But some people don’t see it that way. When I was 12, watching the 2004 Republican convention, I remember politicians talking about protecting marriage from families like mine.

Now, supporting a view of marriage as between a man and woman isn’t radical. For many people, it’s a matter of faith. We respect that. Watching that convention on TV, though, I felt confused, frustrated. Why didn’t they think my family was a real family?

Governor Romney says he’s against same-sex marriage because every child deserves a mother and a father. I think every child deserves a family as loving and committed as mine. Because the sense of family comes from the commitment we make to each other to work through the hard times so we can enjoy the good ones. It comes from the love that binds us; that’s what makes a family. Mr. Romney, my family is just as real as yours.

President Obama understands that. He supports my moms’ marriage. President Obama put his political future on the line to do what was right. Without his leadership, we wouldn’t be here. President Obama is fighting for our families — all of our families. He has our backs. We have his.

— Zach Wahls

Make sure you are registered to vote!


Go here: Can I Vote? 

As you can see from this screen shot, there is everything you need to find out if you registered at your current address, the laws regarding registering in your state and also information on early and absentee voting. This website is NON PARTISAN meaning not affiliated with any particular political party. Spread the word about it and make sure those folks who love to pontificate on politics are actually able to vote! I’m always stunned when I come across someone who loves to debate, but then when I ask if they are voting, they say they either aren’t registered or don’t know if they are! WHAT?! Get yourself registered please. Vote. THEN you can yap 🙂