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!

Video Interview from San Jose


Last week, just a few minutes after I arrived in San Jose for Netroots Nation, I ran into a young man who describes himself on his business cards as an “Apprentice Troublemaker”. I think that is a very accurate description 🙂 I also think I was some pretty darn good company to have been interviewed by him – click on his site www.HenryBurner.com to see for yourself. Right after the interview he told me the tale of the FIRST walk out he led at his day care center. I’d say this kid has a pretty bright future ahead of him!

Netroots Interview

These things shouldn’t shock me so much


Yes, the day is finally here! Election day! I am cautiously optimistic that this will happen:


And then I see a random facebook comment (in response to the posting of the photo above) like this:


WTF? And yeah, even sadder – he looks to be wearing a military uniform.


Ignorance is golden isn’t it?

I haz a rant


On the eve of a mid term election day, and despite my absolute passion for politics and the games surrounding it, I am absolutely DONE with people who MIX politics and games – specifically, the World Series.

Quit telling me who to root for in the Series based on political beliefs! Seriously – STOP IT!

You know why I love sports? Because I am a fan of that particular sport and a die hard fan of my local teams. I root for them no matter what. Fan being short for fanatic, I take that very seriously. Win or lose, I love My Padres & My Chargers and whatever team my son happens to be playing for at the time. It’s also quite shallow. No hidden meaning. No real life impact. Just good old FUN.

Do I care whether the owners of the team are conservative or liberal? Hell No! Do I care about the political leanings of the players on my teams? Hell No!

Sports is an ESCAPE from politics – not something to be blended with it. It’s supposed to be mindless and fun. You cheer & boo players and teams lustily to let off steam about all the other real life crap going on in your world.

So do I care about this Calif vs Texas (blue state vs red state) World Series? Hell no! All my liberal baseball fans are screaming that we have to root for San Fran because they somehow “represent”  liberals. WTF? NO – they represent the Giants & Giants fans and that’s IT! And as a diehard Padres fan – NO – I do NOT have to root for them thank you very much!  I am still absolutely allowed to be bitter about losing the division to them. I am absolutely allowed to be pissed at the recently developed assholish behavior of previously fun loving Giants fans. So yes, this proud Democrat, who already mailed in her straight ticket Democratic ballot for California, is rooting full scale for The Rangers. Yes, they are on the verge of losing most likely, but I don’t care. Yes, it would make the Worst President Ever happy if the Rangers pulled it out. I don’t care!!! I can separate those things.

Politics is not a 24/7 thing – it shouldn’t take over your entire life. You shouldn’t be looking for political statements or spin in everything everyone says or does.

It reminds me of the Adam Lambert fans who cannot seem to breathe without asking his permission. How sad is that? Don’t you know who YOU are without validation from him? Here’s one of my favorite (sarcasm) exchanges with an Adam fan – which has happened three times in the last year:

Fan: “Do you watch True Blood?”

Me: “No, I am not into vampire stories at all”

Fan: “Oh, but Adam LOVES it!”

Yeah – so? I’m supposed to change around all of my interests & passions to match Adam’s? Uh, NO. Also, boy did YOU miss his message to everyone about being happy IN YOUR OWN SKIN!  Yes, I love Adam and his music. No, I don’t love True Blood. Oh look, my world did not shatter at that statement!

I am balanced. I am nuanced.  I have a mind of my own & I use it. Try it.

He started it!


He started it

Ah, the classic way to dodge responsibility for your own bad behavior – point the finger at someone else who has done the same thing as if that somehow absolves you of guilt.

Happens in the political sphere ALL THE TIME. Conservatives disrupting town hall meetings preventing any real discussions from happening? It’s OK, the left did the same thing during the attempts to privatize social security! Joe Wilson says those famous two words during a Presidential address and the *first* thing I heard was “Did the Dems ever do anything like that?” as if finding an example of their bad manners would excuse his. Oh and the left does it too. So many times on the blogs I’ve seen “But THEY started it!” or “They do it too, and worse than us!” and so on and so on. Tit for tat and no one ever actually acknowledges that whatever the behavior is is just flat out wrong and unacceptable no matter WHO does it. And therefore no one ever stops.

If you are still defiantly thinking it’s a perfectly acceptable way to get out of trouble,how about in this scenario?

At a youth football game, a coach is screaming at his kids. Loudly. Loud enough that everyone on the other side can hear it. Dropping f-bombs and other foul language and statements at his own players, at the opponents, at the refs, you name it, he’s yelling at ’em. You are a volunteer parents holding the down markers for the game which are held on the same side as this offensive coach. For reasons you don’t understand, the referee is not flagging this coach. Yes, they can hear him because one of them even says to you as he walks by “Man, I’ve about had enough of this” but nothing happens. Finally, after 3 quarters of this nonsense and with him standing right next to you as he yells you cannot help it and say something like “I really think you should control your language around these kids. Not to mention that everyone in the stands can hear you.” His response? “Well, that side does it too!” You respond with “First of all, no, I haven’t heard anything close to your language from the other side at all and, even if I did, what bearing does that have on your behavior?” Which of course elicits an even more vitriolic response from the coach and now there is attention being paid to the sideline and who gets flagged and thrown out? Yep – you – the volunteer parent who was trying to get the guy to behave! But you, rather than playing the “He started it!” card and arguing with the refs who you KNOW heard this stuff, calmly represent your side with some dignity and leave without incident so the real point of everything – the kid’s game – can continue in relative peace.

So what happened there? The coach was clearly in the wrong correct? Even IF the other side was “doing it too”. All that would have meant is that both sides were wrong. The point was, the behavior needed to stop. You would probably have no argument with that if you had to hear your kids being yelled at like that, right?

Since when did we stop insisting that people actually grow OUT of their childhood bad habits? Since when did we, as a nation, start letting people get away with the “He started it!” crap?

When is bad behavior just BAD no matter who does it? What example are we setting for our kids? Do you let your kids get away with this? I doubt it! I mean, if you would have gotten in trouble for that kind of out of control, rude, uncivilized nonsense as a kid, then for heavens sake don’t even *think* about doing it as an adult! Or are we really just letting the loud, insecure bullies take over?

I don’t care who used Hitler as a comparison to which President first or that both sides have done it – it’s just plain WRONG – stop it!

I don’t care that both sides have shouted down debate in town hall meetings – it stifles healthy exchanges of ideas that could help everyone and it’s just RUDE – stop it!

I don’t care who started cussing out their team first – it’s also just plain WRONG – stop it!

I don’t care who started it – I want to be able to say like I did to that parent who walked away at the right time – “Thank you for being the adult” and stopping it.

This week in politics


My plan this week had been to do book reviews on the candidates’ books. But I still have a little more to go to finish Obama’s Dreams of My Father and besides, Robin asked for my impressions of this week’s PA primary 🙂

As I sit here typing this though, I am feeling really dragged down at the end of a long week and not just a little distracted since FoodGirl who I hiked with last week is going to be on Air America radio in just 30 mins so I am streaming it online. All of a sudden I am all excited and nervous for her!!

So, the PA primary. From an Obama supporter’s perspective. Keeping also in mind though that I am NOT anti-Hillary and am not one of those voters claiming to intend to abstain from voting if my first choice does not get the nomination. Those kinds of voters really piss me off!!! Thom Hartman requested calls all week challenging supporters of both candidates to call in and first of all tell why you supported your candidate, but then also to give an example of what they would say in support of the other candidate should he/she win instead. It was a fascinating exercise! Also not a little frustrating as I listened to several callers every day from both camps just be so INTENSELY sure they would NEVER vote for the other one – yet never giving a logical reason for that stance. Since I listen to the radio at work with headphones on, I am sure it was a little funny to occasionally hear me say “moron!” under my breath as I worked 😉 One time I was so disgusted I ripped my ear phones off and stormed off to get some water muttering obscenities – yes, I take this seriously and I really have no patience for those who do not!! Oops…got off on a tangent there didn’t I? Sorry.

Ok, another side track – shout out to our August mom in NC who ‘canvassed’ successfully for Obama on Tuesday! She has a friend in PA who woke up on primary day still not sure who she would vote for but leaning towards Hillary ever so slightly. NCmom gave her the reasons SHE will be voting for Obama on May6th and convinced her friend. You go girl! Perhaps you should be phone banking in your state leading up to your primary??

I should also mention that I do not think Hillary should bow out before the rest of the primaries are held. Yes, the campaign has been bloody. Yes, the party seems divided (based on those moronic phone calls I heard!). That is the down side to this extended primary season. However, I think the positives still out weigh those issues. All signs indicate that this will be over by the end of June. That gives dedicated Democratic voters plenty enough time to get over their anger and unite against McCain. And I believe that most of them will. Meanwhile whoever our nominee is will surely know this country better than anyone since they will have spent time in all 50 states. I personally have always been a full believer in Howard Dean’s 50 state strategy and in many ways this totally fits into it! Unintentionally of course 🙂 Voter registrations are up significantly on the Dem side in every state and turnout has maintained it’s all time high – often more than doubling those from previous years. This is all very encouraging, not only for the Presidency, but also for what they call the ‘down ticket’ races for senate and congressional seats. Obama has already proven his commitment to just that role by campaigning for one congressional candidate before a primary (who then won) and by having his campaign launch a 50 state voter registration drive in support of the DNC initiatives. Yes, I am sure that last is a strategic move in an effort to show undecided Super Delegates that he will be the superior representative for the party. Works for me! Every blog I read this week after Tuesday had at least one posting about insiders who indicate that the undecided Supers will go with Obama eventually, but that they don’t want to tip their hands officially before the primaries are all completed. I agree – might as well let them finish out at this point.

So, the big question – why couldn’t he knock out Hillary in PA? Well, that was about as likely as Hillary knocking off Obama in Illinois or Kansas or Hawaii – states where he has roots. She has roots in the state dating back to her childhood summer home being there. She has a long established political machine in the state which gave her a huge head start. She had a very popular governor campaigning for her from the start. Polling in the state just one month ago had her at a 20-25 point lead. She ended up winning by less than 10 points which means that Obama closed quite a large gap. If you are not a political junkie who watched the 2004 convention, or if you did not live in Illinois, Barack Obama was not a name you knew until very recently. In nearly every state he has really been introducing himself to that state’s voters for the very first time. It’s a very large uphill climb for him especially running against someone with such high name recognition (for better or worse) as Hillary Clinton. Basically, I don’t think it was ever realistic for anyone to expect him to beat Hillary in PA. To me, it doesn’t take away his momentum at all. Super delegates seem to agree as he has again gained more commitments than her this week even after PA. There was also a defection of a major fund raiser from the Clinton camp to Obama’s just today. He has a decent chance of beating Hillary in Indiana and he will most likely win in NC. I remain optimistic IOW.

OK, I am pooped! I will put together those side by side book reviews for next week. I think they will detail (for me) why I chose Obama.