You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Famous People’ category.

Man builds a Furby organ using recycled vintage electronic Furbys.

From the Green Book to Facebook: How black people still need to outwit racists in rural America.

If you care at all about the idea of journalism, Project Veritas should horrify you.

Here’s a free tutorial on how to crochet a blanket based on climate change data.

The “Pocahontas” nonsense matters but not in the way that Trump might like it to.

CNN crusades against the slave trade in Libya but they knew about it for years.

A look at a LEGO set featuring the women of NASA.

The Church of Sweden no longer refers to God as “he” or “lord.”

What if American hadn’t done the dumbest thing imaginable after 9/11?

The executives who bankrupted Toys R Us want $16-32 million in bonuses for their performance.

More than 80,000 vintage sewing patterns are now available online.

The driverless revolution may exact a political price.

10+ revenge stories that will make you think twice about being an asshole to other people.

6 badass acts of resistance erased from history.

Dollar General hits a gold mine in rural America where even Walmart failed.

Will the alt-right produce the next Timothy McVeigh?

How Clinton and Obama failed to defend the middle class.

Undoing the New Deal: The 1944 coup against Vice President Henry Wallace.

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Presidents' Day
I’ve been meaning to write this about my first year of living under President Donald Trump but I got diverted by the Women’s March on Washington and other things in my life. But I still wanted to write about my impressions about Donald Trump after living under his regime for a full year. Besides it’s pretty appropriate for me to upload this post today since it’s Presidents’ Day.

Deport Trump Mural

(Photo originally uploaded on March 16, 2017.)

I’ve also included some photos and drawings I’ve done over the past year in this entry, some of which are definitely NSFW.

picture11

(Drawing originally posted on January 24, 2017)

I had very low expectations of that man mainly because he had never held public office before and the only jobs he had ever held were in his family-owned business. (In fact I uploaded this post on Inauguration Day where I predicted that Trump will not last past his first term in office. I still maintain that there will not be a second term for Donald Trump and it’s possible that he might get removed from office before then.) He never had to deal with such things as being accountable to someone else or trying to work with a difficult person. He never had to worry about being fired or laid off. He was immune from all this for much of his life and he’s now having to deal with a very steep learning curve that most other adults his age have long since encountered and mastered.

photo35

(Photo originally posted on February 8, 2017.)

Let’s just say that President Trump hasn’t done anything that exceeded my low expectations so I’m not really disappointed in how he behaved in his first year in office.

(Drawing originally uploaded on July 31, 2017.)

When he was elected I did a bunch of Google searches on what Nazi Germany was like in the early days. That’s because I knew that the concentration camps didn’t start on the first day of Adolf Hitler’s reign. Those started much later. I found that Nazi Germany started off subtly with the passing of anti-semitic laws and increased censorship but, otherwise, things seemed normal for most people (except for the Jews). As time went on, the Nazis escalated things until the entire regime turned into a total nightmare for most people. The slow progression of the Nazi regime from being relatively benign to a total horror show was like putting a frog in a pot full of lukewarm water and gradually turning up the heat until the frog boiled to death.

Women's March on Washington, January 21, 2017

(Photo originally posted on January 31, 2017.)

So far I haven’t seen anything happening in my area that would convince me to gather whatever I can carry on my back and make the long trek north to Canada. In fact, I’ve seen signs, stickers, and even protests that have proved to me that the people in the Baltimore-Washington DC area haven’t given up in their opposition to Donald Trump.

Werk for Peace Dance Protest, Washington, DC, February 3, 2017

(Photo originally posted on February 9, 2017.)

Not too long ago the local movie house in my area had a free screening of the 1940 film The Mortal Storm, which starred Margaret Sullavan, James Stewart, Frank Morgan (who had appeared on film the previous year as the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz), and Robert Young (who would later star in the TV shows Father Knows Best and Marcus Welby, MD). The movie showed how the rise of the Nazis eventually tore apart a family who lived in a small town in the German Alps. I found the film to be very engrossing yet its depressing ending had me compare that film with what is currently going on in real life.

(Drawing originally uploaded on August 30, 2017.)

So far I haven’t seen any book burnings like the one that was depicted in The Mortal Storm but I still remember when the neo-Nazis marched on Charlottesville last year, which resulted in Heather Heyer being mowed down by a car that was driven by a neo-Nazi. Donald Trump not only refused to denounce what had happened but he seemed to side with the neo-Nazis. On top of it, it seems like Trump’s siding with neo-Nazis have seemed to encouraged others who would never consider joining a far-right hate group like the KKK or the neo-Nazis yet still consider people of color to be inferior to those with white skin to start openly use racial slurs, such as this recent example.

(Photo originally posted on June 21, 2017.)

There was a scene in The Mortal Storm when Professor Roth’s defense of science in his classroom was the last straw for the local Nazis and he was arrested and taken away to a concentration camp. (They were already suspicious of him because of his Jewish background.) The Trump Administration have gone out of its way to deny science, especially with climate change. After all, President Trump had appointed a climate change denier to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

(Drawing originally posted on September 28, 2017.)

The Nazis in The Mortal Storm considered Professor Roth and his family to be non-Aryan based on their last name and the Nazis in real life cracked down on Jews, gypsies, and other people deemed to be non-Aryan. I’ve heard about the Trump Administration’s ICE agents rounding up and deporting immigrants—many of them have been in this country for years (with some having been brought to this country as very young children) with the majority of them having brown or black skin. There was the notable exception of a white foreign-born man who was brought to this country at the age of five and who is now being targeted for deportation. People on social media were shocked that the Trump Administration was going after a white person but I wrote this blog post about why I’m not really surprised that Trump would target someone who was born in Poland.

Juggalo March, Washington, DC, September 16, 2017

(Photo originally posted on October 2, 2017.)

I live in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area and, from my own vantage point, I haven’t personally seen any pro-Trump neo-Nazis march in my area. I haven’t seen any ICE agents in real life. However a woman in my congregation said back in January that she had seen ICE agents go after her immigrant next-door neighbors, which had horrified her because she had always gotten along with that family. (I have to add here that, to be fair, the Obama Administration had also deported a record number of immigrants.)

(Drawing originally posted on October 1, 2017.)

I have seen a few of my federal employee friends who have worked in the government for years take advantage of early retirement offers because their workplaces have dramatically gone downhill since Trump took office—especially in the Environmental Protection Agency.

Three Little Birds Sewing Company Door, Hyattsville, Maryland

(Photo originally posted on March 28, 2017.)

The main reason why Trump was elected was that he reached out to the working classes during his 2016 campaign where he pretended that he understood their pain. For a group of people who have become increasingly marginalized since Ronald Reagan’s days in the White House, it’s understandable why they turned to Trump when Bernie Sanders was unable to get the Democratic nomination for reasons that would take a separate blog post to explain. Trump basically echoed Bernie Sanders’ message about how the working classes had been left behind and the working classes felt that—at long last—someone had finally understood them.

(Drawing originally posted on October 2, 2017.)

The only reason why I didn’t fall for Trump’s dog and pony show was that I’ve been well aware of that guy since he published his first book (The Art of the Deal) back in the 1980s. I’ve visited Trump Tower a few times with its indoor waterfall cascading down a wall of pink marble and I’ve seen the other buildings with the Trump name throughout Manhattan. I find it laughable that he pretended to be a working class hero when he had been born into wealth and had spent much of his career cultivating a public persona as the stereotypical rich man who lives in a penthouse in Trump Tower that looks as if King Midas had been hired as the interior decorator. At least the late John Lennon actually grew up among the working folks in Liverpool when he wrote and recorded Working Class Hero and never had to pretend otherwise.

(Photo originally posted on December 31, 2017.)

Trump only used the working class to get their votes only to abandon them once he was elected. The fact that the government had come up with this radical new tax program that blatantly favors huge tax breaks for the very wealthy while condemning the non-rich to pay higher taxes says it all about how much esteem Trump really had for his working class base once he was elected. At least the Nazis actually reached out to its supporters after it had seized power in the early years before the start of World War II by coming out with social programs that benefitted the masses. Among the programs was one called Strength Through Joy, which provided free or low-cost leisure activities for the masses, such as concerts, plays, libraries, day trips, and holidays.

(Drawing originally posted on October 10, 2017.)

Can you imagine the Trump Administration coming up with something similar to Strength Through Joy for the enjoyment of the American people? Me neither, especially considering the fact that Donald Trump had long built his hotels, condos, and golf clubs with the very wealthy in mind while charging fees so high that they are out of reach for most Americans who aren’t rich. This Caitlin Johnstone essay says it all about the Trump Administration: Trump Isn’t Another Hitler. He’s Another Obama. Here’s a choice quote from that essay.

I still sometimes get Democrats telling me that Trump is about to flip into Hitler 2.0 any minute now and start throwing non-whites into extermination camps. Whenever I point out that they were wrong about their “your choices are Hillary or Hitler” alarmism I get a bunch of them telling me “give him time”. Well he’s had time. They were wrong. They didn’t get a Nazi, they got another shitty neocon. And since the Dems have been paced into alignment with the neocons there’s no one left to oppose their agendas, which is why we’re seeing so little pushback on Trump’s Iran saber rattling.

I get Trump supporters telling me that he’s fighting the deep state, but the only way you can believe that at this point is to redefine “deep state” to mean “Democrats and their supporters”, which would actually just be more partisan bickering, which is all we’re actually seeing at this point. The only people you see pushing the collusion narrative and working for impeachment at this point are Democrats and Never-Trumpers; now that Trump has proven himself a good, compliant little boy the intelligence community has been putting its energy into the anti-detente propaganda effort to manufacture support for its new cold war escalations instead.

As a personal note to anyone reading this who are Trump supporters who have since grown disillusioned with how he’s running things as president so far, I understand where you’re coming from. I feel your pain. I really do. I once had similar hopes when I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 only to feel let down when I saw him cater more to Wall Street and less to the average folks who turned out in record numbers to vote for him. I was mad when I saw him go to great lengths to reach out to Republicans by agreeing to a pay freeze for federal employees like my ex-husband and many of my friends who work for the federal government. (Yes, I was still married when that pay freeze went into effect.) But the sooner you realize that you fell for a con artist like Donald Trump who only used you for his own purposes, the better you can turn your attention to the upcoming mid-term elections where you can vote for any candidates running for Congress who have indicated that they will stand up to The Donald.

(Photo originally posted on December 16, 2017.)

There are times when I find Donald Trump to be totally draining to deal with, especially when he spends most evenings and weekends tweeting out the most batshit crazy stuff on Twitter. This guy seems to be incapable of keeping a low profile for even 12 hours. Trump’s total love affair with Twitter has made me even less enthusiastic about that platform than ever before. The only reason why I still continue to tweet is because I want to show potential employers that I know how to use Twitter. Believe me, if I ever get to the point where I can abandon Twitter without having to prove to others that, yes, I know how to use it, I will not deal with it anymore. As it is, I basically use it to upload recent photos and there are whole days when I don’t even visit Twitter at all.

(Drawing originally posted on October 12, 2017.)

Mother Jones has an article titled Does Donald Trump Want to Be Dictator of the United States?, which provides a list of instances where Donald Trump is slowly becoming more and more authoritarian. I don’t deny that Trump probably have secret fantasies of being a dictator and he’s testing the waters to see what he can increasingly get away with. Unless a strong opposition rises up in Congress to oppose him, it’s possible that the U.S. will eventually become a banana republic dictatorship where the majority of people are condemned to live in poverty while Trump and his people impose brutal methods to crack down on opposition. So far the Republican majority in Congress seems to be unwilling to put country before party, which is unlike what the Congressional Republicans did in an earlier era when the Watergate scandal broke and there was evidence that it started with Richard Nixon. (They basically stood up to Nixon and he eventually resigned.)

The Women's March on Washington 2018

(Photo originally posted on January 29, 2018.)

This is why it’s important for everyone of voting age to vote in the mid-terms for any congressional candidate who has indicated that he/she will stand up to Trump and his agenda so any ambition that Trump has to become an absolute dictator gets thwarted.

(Drawing originally uploaded on November 28, 2017.)

Basically the first year of the Trump Administration is a mixed bag, especially for the average American. The neo-Nazis and the KKK have gotten more brazen with making public appearances in other parts of the country yet they frequently get targeted by counter-protesters that, in some cases, have even succeeded in shutting those marches and rallies down because these racist fascists were outnumbered. I haven’t felt discouraged from airing my opinions in this blog or on social media and I’m currently not afraid of being arrested by the government or being killed under mysterious circumstances (like what has happened to so many critics of Donald Trump’s close ally Vladimir Putin).

(Photo originally posted on November 9, 2017.)

I’ll also admit that, as a white woman who’s getting less young each year, I have some privileges in that I don’t have to face frequent suspicion from the police or other authority figures because my skin color isn’t brown or black. But I am facing sexism and ageism in the workplace as I struggle to find a new day job that will enable me to pay all of my bills and my debts ranging from the dark times when my husband abruptly left me with zero advanced notice. (He pretended that he was a loving and devoted husband until the night he left. He left me while I was still recovering from hip surgery three months earlier.)

(Drawing originally posted on December 25, 2017.)

Yet I’m seeing a society where the rich is getting even richer while the poor and middle class people are getting more and more financially screwed. Unless this gets addressed soon, I predict that there will be increasing unrest on the streets and it could result in people getting killed.

(Photo originally posted on February 15, 2018.)

The only hope that Donald Trump’s reign won’t last beyond 2020 is this recent development where Robert Mueller, the special counsel, has charged 13 Russians for interfering in the 2016 elections that helped Donald Trump win the White House. I think that the claims that “Russia hacked the 2016 elections” are a bit exaggerated because that would imply that Russia had somehow launched some kind of a cyber-attack on the electronic voting booths in each district and added votes for Donald Trump. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the Russians did put out propaganda disguised as news that convinced some Americans to vote for a person they would have never voted for otherwise had they not been exposed to that Russian-written propaganda. America has long intervened in the elections of other countries so it would be logical for Russia (or any other country for that matter) to intervene in the U.S. elections in order to get its preferred candidate (Donald Trump) elected.

(Photo originally posted on August 3, 2017.)

I’ve long maintained that I wouldn’t be shocked if the reports were true that Donald Trump had gotten financing from either Vladimir Putin or from a member of Russia’s oligarchy or both. This is a man who has a history of doing whatever it takes—both legal and illegal—to not only remain as rich as possible but to also flaunt his wealth by building expensive properties and buying other expensive luxury items (such as his short-lived Trump Princess ship) in order to impress the average person who isn’t rich. This is a guy who has gone through not just one bankruptcy but multiple bankruptcies. This guy has never even considered adopting a more modest lifestyle similar to the millionaires who were profiled in Thomas J. Stanley’s 1996 book The Millionaire Next Door because he thrives on attention that he can only get when he flaunts his wealth by buying then showing off expensive toys that the average person will never be able to afford.

(Photo originally posted on March 22, 2017.)

I’m just hoping that Donald Trump becomes his own worst enemy that Robert Mueller can exploit by bringing down both the Trump Administration and the Trump Organization once and for all. In the meantime I’ve been enjoying this book that I checked out of the library recently that was co-written by Alec Baldwin (who has been doing those wickedly funny impersonations of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live) and Kurt Andersen titled You Can’t Spell America Without Me. That book is hilarious to read and the accompanying photos are just as hilarious. I highly recommend it.

(Photo originally posted on January 23, 2018.)

DIY rebels are working to become the decentralized online alternatives to the Internet tech giants.

Why engagement rings should be banned.

Cornel West on the sad legacy of Barack Obama.

The 10 most socialistic countries in the world.

The Boston Public Library will digitize and put online 200,000 vintage records.

Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks, Hilliary Clinton.

Here are some facts and questions about that Nazi the New York Times failed to note.

A dog called Odin survived the California wildfires after refusing to abandon his goats.

White newspaper journalists exploited racial divisions to help build the GOP’s southern firewall in the 1960s.

The plutocrats are pursuing Internet censorship and they are barely even hiding it.

Revisiting the Greenbelt towns, a forgotten 1930s attempt at American Utopia.

Why the fall of the House of Clinton may trigger domino effect worldwide.

The military is burning art from Guantanamo that the world should see.

The driverless revolution may exact a political price.

This normal-looking house is actually a modern hobbit hole in disguise.

Reaganomics killed America’s middle class.

The retaliatory state: How Trump is turning government into a weapon of revenge.

MLK Jr. quotes about capitalism that Dodge didn’t include in their Super Bowl truck ad.

How the Right is mainstreaming the Holocaust-denying fringe.

Robocalls flooding your cellphone? Here’s how to stop them.

The lower sugar version of Quaker Apples & Cinnamon Instant Oatmeal has 35% less sugar because they’ve cut the portion size by 35% while the price remains at 100%.

Girl shames friend for achieving everything because of white privilege but doesn’t expect to get a response like this.

The Greek gods and goddesses come to line in this magnificent cartoon family tree.

Donald Trump and the Elements of Dictator Style.

Yes, this $375 “antifa” jacket from Barneys is actually real.

This is what a news cycle that holds sexual predators accountable looks like.

A look at some daguerreotypes of anonymous African Americans.

Nina Turner explains why “the Democratic Party can’t just whisper sweet nothings anymore.”

70 years before Harvey Weinstein, Maureen O’Hara dropped this bombshell on Hollywood predators.

Bella Cornell, a 14-year-old Native American activist, is no stranger to racism.

Tiny 3D-printed Raspberry Pi cases look like classic computers.

The Democrats’ reckoning with the Clintons is long overdue.

A written portrait of Baltimore in black and white.

Bill Clinton was accused of sexual assault 15 times. Why is he still treated like a hero?

A tiny hedgehog named Azuki goes camping and his pictures are the best thing you’ll see today.

The rigged system of the second Gilded Age isn’t being challenged.

Reaganomics killed America’s middle class.

The Retaliatory State: How Donald Trump is turning government into a weapon of revenge.

Here’s the story so far. A YouTube star named Logan Paul flew to Japan with a few of his buddies where he made a series of vlogs that basically dissed both the Japanese and their culture and they went to great effort to be the epitome of the Ugly American stereotype. If that weren’t enough, Logan Paul and his friends went to a park in Japan that’s known as the Suicide Forest because many people frequently travel there to commit suicide. Logan Paul and pals went off of the marked trails and went further into the woods where they found a guy who had recently hanged himself. Logan Paul then filmed the dead body in nauseating detail while he and his pals laugh and cracked tasteless jokes.

Logan Paul uploaded that video online where it experienced a nasty backlash. Many people flagged that Suicide Forest video yet YouTube kept it online and it even listed that video on its Trending list along with a thumbnail of Logan Paul wearing that goofy Toy Story hat and that hanged body. The video was taken offline by Logan Paul himself and not YouTube after it had received so many views and so much backlash.

In the wake of that debacle, YouTube decided to remove Logan Paul from its very lucrative YouTube Red and Preferred Partner programs while keeping him on the regular Partner program. At the same time YouTube decided to notify a bunch of smaller YouTube channels (including my own Sagittarius Dolly channel) that they will be removed from the Partner program on February 20 unless they get a huge amount of both subscribers and watch hours. YouTube said that it was being done in the wake of the Logan Paul Suicide Forest debacle even though thousands of innocent people are being unfairly penalized for what Logan Paul did. I did a video on the subject titled Dear YouTube, Why Should Small Content Creators Like Myself Pay the Price for Logan Paul?

A few weeks after that video, Logan Paul attempted to show remorse for his actions by putting out a video titled Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow, which is a very nicely done PSA that seeks to raise awareness of suicide. Many people on the Internet were crowing that it’s a new chapter in Logan Paul’s life as he has learned his lesson. I didn’t join the crowd initially because I wanted to see what he does next after releasing that video. Basically he did a few things that led me to conclude that Logan Paul’s suicide prevention video was little more than a PR stunt and he hasn’t really gained any new sense of empathy for suicide victims or anyone else. I did a second video where I recorded my reaction to seeing Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow while blasting Logan Paul for his post video antics titled Why Logan Paul can take his “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” Video and Shove It.

I thought I was done with making videos blasting Logan Paul. But then something else happened today. Logan Paul made yet another video that has gotten the Internet in a tizzy. As The Guardian puts it:

In a video uploaded on Monday, he tasered two dead rats and removed a live fish from water and “performed CPR” on it. YouTube responded by suspending all advertising on his channel.

Basically YouTube has removed Logan Paul from its regular Partner program so he can no longer collect any kind of ad revenue on any of his videos. But the BBC has a further detail about Logan Paul’s latest punishment:

This time it has decided to temporarily suspend all advertising on his channels.

That’s right, the suspension is just temporary and YouTube could easily reinstate Logan Paul to that program at a later date when this newest round of outrage dies down.

Personally I think it’s not enough. Logan Paul has been given so many chances and has screwed them all. I’ve seen other YouTubers get their videos yanked off-line and even thrown off the platform for lesser violations that what Logan Paul has done. I know that Logan Paul is YouTube’s cash cow but this is a time when that cash cow has too much of a dark side that will affect YouTube’s reputation.

Meanwhile thousands of other channels like myself will soon be demonetized due to Logan Paul and other YouTubers who’ve done wrong (such as DaddyOFive). I made a short video expressing my outrage that Logan Paul is getting as what amounts to a slap on the wrists. It’s the shortest of my Logan Paul rants because I’ve already gone over so much material in my previous two videos. Here is Another Open Letter to YouTube Regarding Logan Paul and Demonetizing Smaller Channels Like My Own.

I promise that this will be the last video I’ll make about Logan Paul and YouTube because I have too many other things to worry about at the moment.

Not too long ago I made a video that’s an open letter to YouTube where my channel (also called Sagittarius Dolly just like this blog) is in danger of being demonetized. YouTube decided to do this in the wake of Logan Paul’s Suicide Forest video except YouTube is penalizing the wrong people.

This past week Logan Paul uploaded the first new video he made since both the Suicide Forest video and his subsequent apology video. It’s a nicely done PSA called “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” and it included an interview with a man who attempted suicide by jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge and he miraculously survived. Here’s the video:

The video seemed promising even though there was one thing that had bothered me. Had Logan Paul simply made that Suicide Forest video then I would say that this new video is sufficient enough to prove that Logan Paul has learned a lesson from this incident. However, prior to the Suicide Forest video, Logan Paul made other videos where he and his pals essentially made fun of the Japanese and their culture while visiting their country. As of this writing he has yet to issue any kind of apology to Japan for his awful behavior. Here are the lowlights of those videos that were compiled by We The Unicorns.

I didn’t immediately jump on the “Logan Paul has learned his lesson” bandwagon because of that lack of apology to Japan. I’m glad I sat out that bandwagon because there were two recent incidents that had me question the sincerity of Logan Paul’s “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow” video. One was an inappropriate comment he made on a picture that was posted on rapper Cardi B’s Instagram account. The other was this interview he made on ABC’s Good Morning America where he basically said that the guy committed suicide in the Suicide Forest as a way for him to make that Suicide Forest video and raise awareness of suicide prevention. You can watch this interview in its entirety—if you can stomach it.

In response I made this video titled “Why Logan Paul Can Take His ‘Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow’ Video and Shove It.” In that video I briefly mention the earliest suicide that affected me when my Great Uncle Jack killed himself when I was seven or eight years old. Feel free to share it with everyone you know.

Writing off Logan Paul is no big loss for me and I definitely won’t regret making my latest video. Here’s a video I found which goes over previous outrageous things Logan Paul has done in the U.S. prior to his fateful Japanese trip that will have your blood boiling.

A free tutorial on how to make your own DIY safe from common household items like a can of shaving cream.

Democrats paid a huge price for letting unions die.

Sexism, remembered and forgotten.

Remembering the life and music of labor agitator Joe Hill.

The 10 greatest films of all time according to 846 film critics.

15 gay Founding Fathers and Mothers.

How to make America more like Scandinavia.

Hey, Nicki Minaj, Pocahontas was a rape survivor, not a sex symbol.

Before buying a Kindle, consider the physical book’s benefits.

The Internet is enabling a new kind of poorly paid hell.

One person’s opinion after visiting the Museum of the Bible.

Closing malls and bankrupt stores: blame Wall Street predation for the “retail apocalypse.”

An Etsy seller specializes in papercraft dollhouse-sized miniatures of furniture, housewares, and decor.

Your brain on poverty or why poor people seem to make bad decisions.

Yeah, sure, #Resistance, let’s pretend that Bill Clinton isn’t a sexual predator. 

Forget the Nordic Diet. Try the Nordic Tax Plan.

Behind the scenes of the new Museum of Selfies in Los Angeles.

The secretive family making billions from the opioid crisis.

Harvey Weinstein, Hugh Hefner and the poor excuse that explains a lot.

Ever since Donald Trump has gotten into office there have been so many incidents of ICE agents cracking down on immigrants and deporting them along with so many stories about families who have literally been torn apart. To be fair, Barack Obama’s administration did a lot of deportations as well but those flew under the radar because President Obama was the first African American president and there were plenty of people leery about criticizing him although one could easily criticize President Obama’s policies without resorting to racism. Since Donald Trump is an old white guy who ran his campaign based on his racist imagery of Mexican drug dealers and rapists and building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, there is now more media attention on those deportations—most of which affect immigrants with black or brown skin. (And that’s not to mention President Trump’s recent descriptions of Haiti and Africa as “shithole countries.”)

Recently a white immigrant was rounded up by ICE agents and they are trying to deport him as well. Lukasz Niec was a guy who was born in Poland and he was brought to the U.S. with his parents back in 1979 when he was only five years old. (At that time Poland was a communist country that was aligned with the Soviet Union and it did the usual communist repression against its own citizens so it was understandable why his parents wanted to leave.) When he was a teenager he got into some minor troubles with the law. He got a green card and he decided to straighten out his life by going to college then to medical school. He became a doctor and he eventually got married and had two children. His most recent offense was an arrest on a domestic violence charge in 2013 but he was later found not guilty by a jury.

Those brief brushes with the law were enough to provide an excuse for ICE agents to round up this guy and begin proceedings to have him deported back to Poland. This is a country that this guy had not even lived in since he was five years old. He has long since forgotten how to speak Polish and he has no immediate family ties in that nation.

When I saw this story blow up on social media I read social media posts from people acting surprised that the Trump Administration would focus on a white man. As I think back to my childhood, I have to say that I’m far less surprised that his ICE agents would pick on a Pole than most people.

Let me give you a brief history lesson here. There was a time prior to the Industrial Revolution where most Americans considered themselves to be WASPs—White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution there were plenty of immigrants from many European nations, including Poland. While many Polish immigrants had white skin, they were not Anglo-Saxons so, according to attitudes of the time, they didn’t count as being real white people. On top of it, most Poles were either Roman Catholics or Jews, which made them be seen more as outsiders by the WASPs. Given that attitude, it was no wonder that hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan considered Jews and Roman Catholics to be just as bad as African Americans.

Even though Poles gradually were assimilated into the melting pot, there were stereotypes that still persisted. I was born in Baltimore, where many Polish immigrants settled, and I grew up in nearby Glen Burnie. Even though my family lived next door to a Polish American family and there were plenty of people of Polish descent, I still grew up hearing Poles being described as “Dumb Pollocks.” I heard a lot of Dumb Pollock jokes being told on the playground while I grew up. Here’s one such example, which was among the milder Dumb Pollock jokes I heard:

Q: Take Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Smart Pollock, and the Dumb Pollock. Put them all into a single room together. Place a $5 bill in the middle of that room. Who would get that $5 bill?

A: The Dumb Pollock because there is no such thing as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or a Smart Pollock.

The Dumb Pollock stereotype didn’t end with just jokes. There was a liquor store that I used to go with my parents when they made an occasional trip there. That was because that store had a shelf that sold novelty gag gifts and I loved looking at them. Among the gag gifts sold was a box marked “Polish Gun.” When you open the lid, you see a gun with the barrel bent backwards making it look like you would get struck with a bullet when you pull the trigger.

But that’s not all. When my family used to make its annual summer vacation to Ocean City, I remember the raunchy t-shirts. Among the t-shirts I remembered was an illustration of a guy looking down his own pants with the slogan “Polish Peeping Tom.” Another shirt had an illustration of a guy in a boat holding a fishing rod where the hook was on the back of the guy’s pants that had the slogan “Polish Fisherman.”

Even though I lived next door to a Polish American family and grew up attending a Roman Catholic parish that had Polish Americans among its membership, I still heard those Dumb Pollock jokes. Given that Donald Trump spent his entire life in New York City, which was another place where Polish Immigrants settled in large numbers during the Industrial Revolution, I’m sure that he heard those Dumb Pollock jokes as well. Except he was more insulated from actually knowing any person of Polish descent than I was because he grew up in a wealthy neighborhood in a WASP family (two of his grandparents were German immigrants and his mother was from Scotland) and his father was arrested back in the 1920s for attending a Ku Klux Klan rally. (Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, the KKK hated Roman Catholics and Jews just as much as it hated African Americans.)

Growing up I used to love telling Dumb Pollock jokes as much as the other kids on the playground. But it has been many years since I told those jokes because I don’t find them funny anymore. What happened? I can’t say for sure but there were a few factors. First of all I grew up and I became exposed to more sophisticated adult humor (especially from watching TV shows like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Saturday Night Live) that made those Dumb Pollock jokes seem stupid and childish by comparison. Then I went away to college at the University of Maryland at College Park where I met a variety of people and there was sort of an unsaid social thing against telling ethnic jokes of any kind. (At least that was the case among the groups of people I socialized with.)

What finally got me to quit telling Dumb Pollock jokes for good was when I converted to Unitarian Universalism a year after I graduated from college but shortly before I got married. That faith has seven principles, the first of which is this:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

In a nutshell every person is entitled to being respected no matter what that person’s background is. Telling Dumb Pollock jokes—or any other type of ethnic jokes—dehumanizes a certain category of people simply because they were born that way and it’s not something that one can control.

While I managed to let go of the Dumb Pollock stereotype, it’s obvious that President Trump has not. In fact back in the 1980’s it was said that he broke the law by hiring illegal Polish immigrants to work on building his Trump Tower without even providing the proper safety equipment necessary to do the job. He paid them $4 per hour, which is far less than the minimum wage at that time. Of course that was when he even bothered to pay them. Many of these workers weren’t paid at all yet they were forced to continue working on that building project because they were threatened with being reported to authorities and deported. If that weren’t bad enough, here is what one Polish worker said about his time working on the Trump Tower project:

Trump also hired a smaller crew of unionized demolition workers who teased their nonunion Polish counterparts. “They told me and my friends that we are stupid Poles and we are working for such low money,” Adam Mrowiec, one of the Polish workers, later testified.

So here is a man who was probably exposed to the same Dumb Pollock jokes that I was, except he grew up in a more insulated environment than I was so he never learned to consider Polish people as being anything other than Dumb Pollocks to be used and discarded for his own purposes just like inanimate objects. And if these Dumb Pollocks aren’t useful to him, then they should just go away.

With a mindset like that, it’s no wonder the Trump Administration has sent ICE agents after a Polish American man to be deported from the only country he has ever known to a nation that he hasn’t seen since he was five years old.

If you’re a Polish American who voted for Donald Trump back in 2016 expecting that he will—to quote his campaign slogan—Make America Great Again, then the joke’s on you since he’s basically a con artist who could care less for anyone who isn’t a wealthy WASP like he is and who basically looks down on people like you.

January 20 was the one-year anniversary of the inauguration of Donald Trump while the following day would be the one-year anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington. (Ironically the Federal Government also shut down on that same day but it would reopen three days later.) The organizers decided to hold another Women’s March that would take place in cities throughout the United States. (There were other Women’s Marches that took place in other countries as well. One of my Facebook friends attended one in her hometown of Montreal.)

This year’s Women’s March on Washington was different in some ways. Last year the DC march was the main march and people from all over the U.S. and came to DC. It drew famous people to that march like Madonna, Ashley Judd, and Alicia Keys. This year the main focal point of the march was being held in Las Vegas, where the organizers spent Saturday (January 20) holding a conference with the theme of “Power to the Polls” (this year is the mid-term elections where plenty of Senate and House seats are up for grabs) while spending the following day (January 21) marching on the streets to commemorate the anniversary of the 2017 march. Las Vegas was chosen as the main march for this year because it is a swing state in the upcoming elections.

There was definitely a difference between this year’s march and last year’s march. Last year I remember going to a Metro station on the Sunday before that march so I could take advantage of the free parking on the weekends (Metro charges people to park during the week regardless of whether you actually ride the subway or not) and the usual light crowds to add more fare to my SmartTrip card so I wouldn’t have to stand in a very long line on the day of the march. This year I forgot to do this and I wasn’t willing to pay the $5.20 weekday parking fee just so I could increase my SmartTrip farecard. I took my chances and saw that the lines were pretty short this year and I had no problem with adding fare to my card on the day of the march itself.

Last year a group of women from my church decided to go and we agreed to meet very early in the morning in order to be able to beat the expected crowd. This year there were no organized effort from my church to march together. I had planned on getting there on my own by about 7 a.m. except I had a hard time getting to sleep that night due to the fact that I gorged myself with too much cake at this party that was held at my church the night before so I woke up later than I intended.

The one thing that remained the same is that I wore the same Grumpy Cat hat that I wore last year. Apparently there was some controversy about wearing those knitted pink pussycat hats last year on the grounds that they trivialize the serious issues regarding sexism and feminism. This year there’s controversy about the hats because the pussy hats are supposed to represent women’s pussies and the color pink is supposed to represent the color of the vagina. Except the hats could be offensive to transgender and non-binary women who may not have the usual pussy and it could also be offensive to women of color, whose vaginas tend to be more brown-colored than pink.

On top of it, I never got around to knitting my own pink pussycat hat mainly because I was more focused on knitting other hats in a variety of colors for my church’s annual mittens and hats sale late last year. So I wore Grumpy Cat on my head once again. In a way it’s appropriate because I’m grumpy about politics these days plus I’ve learned that the real life Grumpy Cat is actually female. (Which explains why actress Aubrey Plaza was hired to do the voice of Grumpy Cat in the movie Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.) Here are a couple of selfies wearing that hat after I reached the rally in downtown DC.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

The weather was even better this year. Last year it had rained in the area for the past few days prior to the march and it had even rained on Inauguration Day. Even though it didn’t rain on the day of the march, the sky was still very gloomy with the clouds out and the ground was incredibly wet. I remember it was cold as well so I wore my heavy winter coat. This year it was sunny and the latest below-freezing cold temperatures that had been plaguing our area for the past few days had finally left our area the day before. On the day of the march the temperature went up to the 50’s so I decided to wear a lighter jacket instead of my heavy winter coat.

Another difference I noticed between this year and last year is that I didn’t see any signs touting Hillary Clinton nor did I see anyone cart any life-sized Hillary Clinton standees. I think the march participants have moved on and decided to just focus on President Trump and the upcoming mid-term elections.

Like last year I took a bunch of pictures, which I’ve posted here. Unlike last year, I managed to shoot a short video of the event at various points of that march, which you can view right here.

The rest of this post has the still photos I shot that day along with my personal descriptions and opinions of that event.

So I woke up late that morning and I wasn’t finally out the door until 10 a.m. I was nervous about how crowded the Greenbelt Metro station would be until I arrived there and I found that I had no problem with finding a parking space. I also found that there were almost no lines to speak of. There was just one fellow protester stationed at the Metro entrance who was greeting people.

Women's March on Washington 2018

The Metro subway train wasn’t very crowded and I managed to find a seat. Since I heard that this year’s rally was being held further down the Mall at the Reflecting Pool next to the Lincoln Memorial, I got off at the Foggy Bottom Metro station. (I learned years ago that Foggy Bottom is the closest station to the Lincoln Memorial because you’ll end up doing less walking than getting off at the Smithsonian Metro and walking down the entire length of the Mall. I saw plenty of march participants get off at the Smithsonian station while I knew that they had a very long walk ahead of them. LOL!)  When I got out of that station the first thing I saw were the merchants outside the Foggy Bottom Metro station who were hawking Women’s March-related wares (including t-shirts, buttons, and even pink pussycat hats).

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Two men were playing chess while people were doing other things around them like vendors selling merchandise and protesters buying merchandise and walking towards the Lincoln Memorial.

Women's March on Washington 2018

I purchased three buttons from a vendor who was having a three buttons for $10 sale. I pinned them to the back of my Grumpy Cat hat.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

While walking down 23rd Street, NW, I encountered a mix of protesters lining the street with their signs. I also saw more vendors selling their wares every block or so between the Foggy Bottom Metro station and the Lincoln Memorial.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

I finally reached the Lincoln Memorial where I saw protesters with their signs.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Anti-abortion protesters tried to stage a counter-protest but they were clearly outnumbered by the women’s marchers, many of them are pro-choice. (Many of the anti-abortion protesters were in town for the annual March for Life, which usually happens on the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision that legalized abortion.)

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

The last time I was at a protest by the Lincoln Memorial was when I checked out the Juggalo March last September. There were far more people at this protest than at the Juggalo one. Yet this protest was less crowded than last year’s Women’s March but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. For one thing we weren’t packed tightly into a single area like sardines, which I definitely liked.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

One guy managed to swipe an anti-abortion sign and alter it in order to turn it into a pro-Planned Parenthood sign.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Naturally there were more vendors there as well.

Women's March on Washington 2018

This next photo, where I set the camera on the highest telephoto setting, was the closest I could get to the stage or the giant jumbotron video screen itself. But I was able to hear many of the speeches unlike last year, when I was too far away to hear anything.

Women's March on Washington 2018

I brought my portable folding chair with me so once I found a decent place to sit where I could hear the rally, I sat in my chair and ate my lunch. I only moved once when I needed to use one of the portapotties. Most of the speakers I heard were Democratic congresspeople (such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi) and DNC Chair Tom Perez.

I was really pissed when Debbie Wasserman Schultz took to the stage where she denounced Trump. I still remember when, during her time as DNC Chair in 2016, she helped in rigging the Democratic primaries that would allow Hillary Clinton to get the nomination. She disregarded the numerous polls that said that Bernie Sanders had a far better chance of defeating Donald Trump in the general election than Hillary Clinton. I’m not making this stuff up as a pro-Bernie sore loser. Former Interim-DNC Chair Donna Brazile wrote a book last year that basically confirmed this. As far as I’m concerned, Debbie Wasserman Schultz should not have been invited to go on stage giving her speech when she is one of the people who made Donald Trump’s election possible and I’ll never forgive her for this.

After sitting in my chair for a while I used the portapottie again. Afterwards I literally ran into a group of friends from my neighborhood, which thrilled me because I wouldn’t be protesting alone. The rally ran overtime like last year but it was bearable this time since we weren’t packed together like sardines. We walked around while I took a few pictures of a few people, such as this woman who played her violin while the protesters walked past her.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Even though the weather was mild on that day, the Reflecting Pool was frozen from all of those days of below-freezing temperatures that had been going on since Christmas. I saw people walking on the frozen Reflecting Pool despite a posted sign from the National Parks Service warning people not to do this. I didn’t see anyone fall through the ice but other people did because this news story had photos of people who crashed through the ice at the Women’s March. Fortunately the Reflecting Pool isn’t very deep but I still would never walk on the ice like that.

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

Women's March on Washington 2018

When the rally ended we started to march past the World War II Memorial.

Women's March 2018

Women's March 2018

Women's March 2018

We eventually reached Pennsylvania Avenue, NW where we marched down that street.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington

We walked past both the Secret Service and the DC Metropolitan Police.

Women's March on Washington

Women's March on Washington

We marched past the Renwick Gallery, which I recently visited on Christmas Eve.

Women's March on Washington

The march ended at the White House, where people gathered into both the closed-off area of Pennsylvania Avenue, NW and nearby Lafayette Square.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

An impromptu dance party broke out in Lafayette Square while people took selfies and admired each other’s signs. Arriving at the White House gave all of us a chance to sit down. (At least I actually went on the march to the White House this year. Last year I was so tired and frazzled from being packed in the Mall that I didn’t even bother with marching.)

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The next two photos show an encampment that was originally set up by antiwar activists back in the early 1980s (when Ronald Reagan occupied the White House) and it still remains in Lafayette Square to this day despite the fact that the two original founders, William Thomas and Concepcion Picciotto, have since passed away.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

As people left the White House area, many of them left their signs outside of the fence where I took a few more photos.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

The Women's March on Washington 2018

I saw yet another vendor by the White House.

The Women's March on Washington 2018

After a while we all left the White House since the protest tended to peter out once we all reached the destination. We parted ways since my friends took a car into DC while I took the Metro. I walked towards the Metro Center station so I could take the Metro back to Maryland. On my way there I encountered this really nice looking historic clock that I couldn’t resist photographing.

Women's March on Washington 2018

At one point during the march we ran into a photographer we knew who shot a group picture of us. That photo of us was published in the latest issue of The Greenbelt News Review. The link (which opens in a new window) goes to a .pdf document but the photo in question is on the front page located in the bottom right hand corner. You can clearly see me in my Grumpy Cat hat on the right.

It’s the second year in the row that I participated in a Women’s March in January. I have a feeling that I’ll be attending more such annual marches wearing my Grumpy Cat hat until the Trump Administration leaves the White House or I die—whichever comes first.

For a comparison between this year’s march and last year’s march, check out my post about the 2017 Women’s March on Washington.

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