Not Quite ‘Consoler-in-Chief’

First we had Trump telling people in shelters after Hurricane Harvey to “have a good time, everybody”.

Today he visited Puerto Rico and told them the rescue of Puerto Rico was impacting the federal budget.

Then he tossed paper towels to the crowd.

Does it need to be said that rescue supplies assembled for a photo op isn’t like a beach ball at a Buffett concert? Evidently so.

Ten bucks says he mentions Trump Casino in Atlantic City tomorrow on his visit to Las Vegas.

Gross.

Posted in An Opinion on Everything, Happenings, Up to Speed

RIP Tom Petty

Music is profound. Music is life changing. Music is inevitably attached to memories during our life.

And what is interesting is that songs can mean different things to each person. But while singing along to your favorite tune with your friend or at a concert, you are simultaneously projecting your personal meaning of the song while experiencing the feeling of unity of that moment with others.

So it is today it’s with sadness I learned of the passing of one of my favorite artists of my teen and early adult years. Tom Petty, a classic rock genius with too many hits to count. His music featured a simple chord structure and oftentimes lacked flourishes, which only served to enhanced the songwriting and melodies meant to supplement the lyrics and their meaning.  And made for killer acoustic versions, too.

My favorite Tom Petty song has always been “Learning to Fly”. Many thought it was about drug use, but he said he was moved to write the song after hearing pilots talk about flying being easy but landing planes being the hard part.

I always felt it was about young people going out in the world on their own, leaving behind an earlier, simpler time, and while things change for the good or the bad, always knowing they’ll never be the same thereafter. Maybe that’s me projecting and you thought it was about something else. Which is the uniqueness and moving part of music, and why the deaths of artists move people profoundly.

RIP

 

           Learning to Fly

Well I started out down a dirty road
Started out all alone
And the sun went down as I crossed the hill
And the town lit up, the world got still

I’m learning to fly, but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing

Well the good ol’ days may not return
And the rocks might melt and the sea may burn

Well some say life will beat you down
Break your heart, steal your crown
So I’ve started out for God knows where
I guess I’ll know when I get there

I’m learning to fly, around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

 

Posted in All the Feels, Happenings, Pop Goes the Culture, Up to Speed

Partner Your Thoughts and Prayers With Policy

Waking up this morning to the news in Las Vegas was a gut punch.  Seeing the numbers of fatalities and inured rising just increases the impact.

Here’s the latest as of the time this post was written.

Cue everyone posting on facebook to “Pray for Vegas” or “sending thoughts and prayers”.

If prayer brings you comfort, go for it.

But how about you partner your prayer with policy. Policy which would find sensible regulations to at least somewhat minimize the mass killings from gun violence in the country?

Earlier in 2017, the Trump Administration revoked the rule which prevented the severely mentally ill couldn’t buy guns.

Later this week the US House of Representatives plans to vote to allow wider use of silencers.

That’s just two examples of policy being made which allows gun violence to go on unchecked.

Did you know the GOP has actually made it against the rules to study gun violence?

The way our country is choosing to stay willfully ignorant regarding gun violence will continue to allow mass shootings to occur.

How about limiting magazine size so shooters would need to stop and reload more often, providing more time to stop them? How about annual mental health evals to be able to own a firearm? These seem like a starting point for reasoned discussion which may provide an incremental level of safety without abridging the rights of gun owners.

Perhaps maybe when you send a prayer up for the victims you can also send a prayer up for productive dialogue, common sense policies, and courage to the lawmakers to enact those policies. Because at this point just posting thoughts and prayers on social media don’t seem to be working.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

A Chef on a Mission

Instead of focusing on tweets which demean and blame not to mention do nothing to help on the recovery of Puerto Rico, this morning Focused Feed is choosing to highlight one of the many heroes working tirelessly to help the people on the island.

Please read about Chef Jose Andres in the Miami Herald.

He and his team have fed tens of thousands — yes I said tens of thousands — of meals to those in need. He’s also done it in Haiti and Houston after disasters.

Chef Andres became an American citizen in 2013 and has talked openly about his love for the country and citizens. He represents the best of America.

As a famous line in Hamilton goes, “Immigrants, we get the job done!”

Bravo, Chef Andres.

Follow him on Twitter at @chefjoseandres where he posts on their latest work in Puerto Rico. (Today it’s delicious looking paella for 6,000!)

Posted in All the Feels, Happenings, Up to Speed

A Dog Whistle! Do You Hear It?

Do you know what the term ‘dog whistle’ is?

Because there was a particularly strong/loud one on Twitter this morning.  See if you can spot it?

Regarding Puerto Ricans impacted by the hurricane —

Relatedly, I’ve seen posts and comments about how Puerto Ricans weren’t “really” Americans.  Like somehow they are lesser or of a lower rank.  Or they aren’t worthy of the full disaster response of the government.  As one radio host on a Kansas City station said on Friday, “did the heartland of America run out of gas and food and water?”  (I’m not going to give their podcast the page views, but if you are interested, it’s KMBZ, 34:00 minutes in to the final hour of the Jayme & Wickett show.

If you think your part of the country is “more American” than others, then whether you know it or not, you are being manipulated by dog whistles.  Perhaps — even just for a fleeting moment — you thought the Puerto Ricans were lazy or undeserving of disaster help after reading the tweet above.  If so, you heard the whistle.  And that’s the point.

Dog whistles aren’t new to the Puerto Rican crisis.  They’ve been around for years.  Google the term “state’s rights” or “welfare queens” or perhaps even “entitled, spoiled athletes”.  That’s just to name a few

People are using inherent biases to reinforce negative beliefs and tear our country apart.  Don’t let them.

 

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

I Don’t Know Roy Moore But He’s Going to Cut Taxes

Hi, America! Meet your likely new Senator from Alabama (pending election in December), Judge Roy Moore!

Who the heck is he?? Why, since you asked…he’s a Republican from Alabama, has previously been in the news for controversial stands on the ten commandments and marriage equality, and if you didn’t know this, you aren’t alone!

It seems the current Republican Senators and Representatives in DC forgot all about him, too. See, good old Judge Moore is a bit of a “firebrand” or “theocrat” – pick your term – many in Congress aren’t quite sure they want to hitch their proverbial horse to him.

Can you guess why?  Let’s take a look at some of his views:

Here’s a story on how he blamed the shooting in Newton, CT because Americans have “forgotten the rule of God” .

Time has a look at some of his quotes including his belief ‘homosexual conduct should be illegal’.

Vox details his belief in how the Bible should be put above US law. He was a Alabama Supreme Court justice and was removed twice for not following the laws of the land due to this belief.

You’d think with those controversial quotes national Republicans would be aware of who he is, since he’s likely to be joining them in the next few months. But boy, it seems they’ve gotten a case of the forgetsies when it comes to Judge Moore. Politico asked many Republicans about Judge Moore and if they endorsed him, but most claimed to not be aware of who he was. But most galling, to me, was Senator Rob Portman. See, Senator Portman is considered a ‘moderate’ in the Senate on the R side of the aisle. He also has a gay son, so perhaps he’d be interested in the view of Judge Moore on the idea that perhaps Senator Portman’s son’s sexual orientation would cause him to break the law.

But in a telling quote to Politico, he claimed to not know much about Judge Moore except “he’s going to be for tax reform”. So, it seems you can look past other views if he’s willing to vote for a tax cut. We hear you loud and clear.

Maybe the Congressional members don’t know Judge Moore. Or maybe they DO know him and don’t want to endorse his views. Nobody is saying they have to agree with him 100%, but nobody on the R side of the aisle is actively denouncing his views either.

Hey Congress, you can pretend to not know him, refuse to denounce him or provide limited endorsements of his views, but the Freudian slip about tax reform tells us all the information we need to know where you stand.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

Baby Pandas Are Cute

It’s been a long week with plenty of bad things going on in the world.

You know what we all need?  BABY PANDAS!

 Buzzfeed features pictures of new baby pandas presented to the world today!

You’re welcome.

Posted in All the Feels, Up to Speed

The Price Was Not Right

“When News Breaks…We Pick Up the Pieces”

Tom Price has resigned as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Take home – friends don’t let friends needlessly charter private jets on the taxpayers dime.

Posted in Up to Speed

Not Reassuring

It’s Friday! Which means we’re almost at the weekend, lazy days off, football and Friday night news dump.  Yes, at FocusedFeed we are at the ready for any and all news breaking when most people aren’t watching.  After all, “When News Breaks, We Pick Up the Pieces”.

But while we are awaiting whatever fresh horrors may pop in to our newsfeed around 7pm tonight, we foundthis little nugget of creeping authoritarianism.

So let me get this straight, CNN, you are saying the government is trying to execute search warrants for Facebook and other private information on what they call ‘anti-administration activists’? OK, so I don’t have any clue who these people area, but if you want to look at their groups, associations, friends and posts just because they held a sign and marched in a pussy hat on January 21st, then I know who the snowflake is, and it ain’t the marchers.

Maybe they’re bad people and need investigation…which if that’s the case, you gotta do better than ‘anti-administration activists’ because that makes it look like you are going after your political rivals. And this isn’t North Korea or Venezuela, we don’t do that in the USA.

So, hey, everyone, when you see people saying “this isn’t normal” regarding the current administration, remind yourself that while basic governmental institutions are still in place, they may be hanging on a thread.

Food for thought.

Posted in Happenings, Up to Speed

They’re Baaaaaack!

Holy Guacamole!

I nearly forgot tonight is the night, peeps.  The triumphant return of Will & Grace.

Surely there are countless pieces on how W&G changed the landscape of TV with the main-streaming of LGBT (mostly the G) characters which I could link.  But hey, everything doesn’t need to be an exercise in serious analysis.

I enjoy the sharp wit, the rapid fire dialogue, and the comedic genius of Megan Mullally.  Maybe you like something else.  We all probably enjoy seeing the friendship of four divergent personalities.  And frankly, the country could use a little escapism for 30 minutes — am I right?

So, don’t be bothering me at 9pmET/8pmCT tonight, I’ll be tuning in.  And admit it, you probably will be, too (while recording Project Runway on the DVR and keeping one eye on the Thursday Night Football score, too, obvi).

Posted in Pop Goes the Culture, Up to Speed