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As you may know, this past weekend was the one-year anniversary of the Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville which resulted in the horrible death of Heather Heyer. As for Donald Trump, he has steadfastly refused to denounce the white supremacists and their actions last year. There were quite a few vigils for the victims of Charlottesville (such as two events I went to in the same week on August 14 and August 16) but I find it telling that Donald Trump has refused to distance himself from these latter-day Nazis and KKK members and has said little about Heather Heyer or the other people who were victimized by the alt-right.

For the first anniversary of Charlottesville, one of the original organizers of the Unite the Right rally, Jason Kessler, wanted to do a repeat performance in Charlottesville. When he was denied a permit for his little shindig, he decided to move the event north to my hometown of Washington, DC. He probably figured that since Donald Trump is basically a racist fascist sympathizer, President Trump would be flattered if a group of his most loyal alt-right supporters would have a march to Lafayette Square (located just across from the White House) then have an Unite the Right 2 rally.

Except things didn’t turn out that way. Donald Trump decided to head out of town this weekend. (After all, even though they are his most ardent supporters, they aren’t rich like he and his cronies are so they really don’t matter at all, except for getting their votes at the ballot box in 2020.)

I decided to head down even though I knew that I would be risking my life in doing so. I’m just fed up with all of the hatred of the poor, minorities, and women that has sprung up gradually since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980 and it has continued through the years until the hatred grew and grew and it’s now this big monster that is a threat to this country. I’ve experienced some of this hatred myself ever since I was in elementary school when the kids called me “retarded.” This taunting went through high school. Even though the teasing stopped during my freshman year at Anne Arundel Community College, I was still frequently looked down upon like I was some kind of an inferior lowlife freak (mainly from those who went to my high school—the students who went to different high schools and didn’t know about my so-called “retarded” reputation treated me like I was a human being). I ended up permanently moving from Glen Burnie as an adult because I knew that, no matter what I did, these people would never see me as anything other than someone who is inferior.

But I will admit that my experiences with facing this kind of hatred is nothing compared to an African American, as the families of people like Travon Martin, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and numerous others will attest.

Going downtown to face those Nazis wasn’t an easy decision for me. I still remember vividly the car that was intentionally plowed into a group of people by that alt-right scumbag in Charlottesville. There was a possibility that something like that could’ve happened to me. I was still waffling on the fence about going to DC last Sunday until I saw this trailer for Michael Moore’s upcoming documentary, Fahrenheit 11/9.

Watching that preview only strengthened my resolve to go ahead with my plans for last Sunday. I was all ready to go downtown with my camera, take photos of these alt-right assholes, then plaster them all over social media in the hopes that someone will recognize these assholes and they either lose their jobs or get evicted from where they are living or their neighbors shun them or something equally bad happens to them.

I knew that there was a chance that I would end up like Heather Heyer but I swallowed that fear and headed downtown anyway. I began to realize that this is what a soldier in wartime has to deal with, especially if he or she is sent to the front lines.

Before I left home I took out a blank sheet of paper and wrote down my name, address, the phone numbers of my next of kin, the cell phone number of my housemate (who had just left for a week-long trip visiting relatives in New Jersey the day before), and the phone numbers of my church and the minister. Then I folded the paper and put it in the pocket of my shorts. I felt that should the worst happen to me like what happened to Heather Heyer last year, at least some people will be notified so they could plan some kind of a memorial service for all of my friends, relatives, and acquaintances.

So I took the Green Line Metro from the Greenbelt station. As I was about to board the train I noticed a bunch of people leaving the train who looked like they were cosplaying as their favorite anime and video game character. I remembered that the annual giant East Coast anime convention known as Otakon was that weekend and it was the third and final day when the entire con pretty much closes down after 3 p.m. (I used to go to Otakon but I haven’t been since 2013 because I grew tired of paying at least $75 for a weekend pass only to encounter huge crowds everywhere I went. Besides my finances have gotten increasingly dicey so I really can’t afford major splurges like Otakon at the moment.) So I boarded the Green Line train and switched at L’Enfant Plaza. While I was switching trains I saw this artist who was engrossed in doing this sketch right in the Metro station.

Artist

I switched to the Silver Line then got off at Federal Triangle. I made my way to Freedom Plaza, where many of the counter protesters had gathered.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

I arrived late in the afternoon just in time for the beginning of the march to Lafayette Square. I managed to get a few pictures of people with their signs.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

As you can see from the photos there was a mix of people of all ages, races, gender identities, and sexual orientations. One of the people in the next photo even gave me free bottled water after I shot this picture.

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

Eventually the march began from Freedom Plaza. I heard people with microphones or bullhorns warning us that this march was risky since we would be directly confronting the Unite the Right 2 people. People’s spirits were up despite the risks involved and the fact that it was very humid outside. (Fortunately the day was cloudy so we didn’t have to deal with being in direct sunlight.)

Counter Protest Rally in Freedom Plaza

So the march started to move towards Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There were Secret Service people around, especially as we started to get closer to Lafayette Square.

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

There was a street musician on the march route who serenaded the marchers with his rendition of “Stand By Me” while singing this altered lyric, “No, I won’t be afraid. No I won’t be afraid of the KKK. For as long as you stand by me.” He also earned a lot of tip money that day (as you can see in the photo below).

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

The March From Freedom Plaza to Lafayette Square

We finally arrived at Lafayette Square where there was a huge police presence (some of them on horseback) along with extensive barricades that completely blocked the other end of Lafayette Square.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

There was another street musician in Lafayette Square who was playing his violin while earning a huge amount of tips in the process.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

So we all crowded into one end of Lafayette Square while trying to see if anyone had seen any alt-right Nazis or KKK people there. I overheard someone who was sitting in a tree saying that she could barely see them because they were located so far on the other side of the park. So we all waited patiently as we heard thunder and saw a few lightning bolts appear before the rain really started. (Which is why you can see plenty of umbrellas in some of these photographs.)

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

At one point a guy approached me asking if I want a free sign that he had just made up. Apparently he had created a bunch of signs and he decided to give them away. I took him up on his offer. Here is what that sign looked like.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Here’s a glimpse of the White House in the distance.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

PETA was there as well along with two costumed folks.

Counter Protesters in Lafayette Square, Washington, DC, August 12,2018

Lafayette Park has long been home to this 24-hour-a-day/7-days-per-week anti-nuclear protest camp that has been there since Ronald Reagan occupied the White House. It has continued even though both of its original founders are now deceased. I saw that this camp had been moved from its usual spot at the edge of Lafayette Park that’s closest to the White House all the way over to where the counter protesters were gathered. (Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that site.)

After waiting for a while I pulled out my smartphone looking for news on the alt-right protesters only to find out that a whopping 20-25 protesters from the other side had shown up. The counter protesters outnumbered the alt-right protesters. When I read later news reports, I saw how pathetic the turnout really was on the other side.

Unite the Right was a pathetic failure

There were plenty of reasons for the pathetic display. But the basic issue is that Charlottesville was a complete disaster — a moment that was supposed to somehow win white nationalists favor, but actively turned much of the nation against them when they engaged in violence and, in one case, literal murder.

White nationalists dwarfed by crowds of counter protesters in Washington

The showing from “Unite the Right 2” participants fell far short of the hundreds that organizer Jason Kessler was expecting, based on his event permit application.

Kessler, who organized last year’s “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, blamed the low turnout on logistical issues and confusion regarding the group’s transportation — a claim echoed by at least two men who spoke to reporters. “People are scared to come out after what happened last year,” one of the men added.

Rally by White Nationalists Was Over Almost Before It Began

After weeks of hype, white supremacists managed to muster just a couple of dozen supporters on Sunday in the nation’s capital for the first anniversary of their deadly rally in Charlottesville, Va., finding themselves greatly outnumbered by counterprotesters, police officers and representatives of the news media.

Unite the Right: White nationalists outnumbered at Washington rally

As a small group of white supremacists gathered for their second “Unite the Right” rally, the rain began to fall.

Much like the sodden pavements outside the White House, the follow up to last year’s rally in Charlottesville was nothing more than a damp squib.

This last article explains why I never saw any alt-right protesters nor was I able to come up to them close enough so I could get a shot with my camera.

‘Hell no’: counterprotesters outnumber white supremacists at White House rally

To protect their safety and that of others, officials had organised a special route for the parade. Kessler and his companions were escorted onto the metro. A special car was prepared for them, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported. In downtown Washington, police officers said they planned to clear part of the metro station platform to escort Kessler up to the street. As he came up the elevators, he was met with hundreds of news photographers and a roar of outrage from protesters amassed waiting.

In Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, Kessler and his tiny group of supporters were taken away to their own distant corner of the park talked to each other in front of journalists. Cordoned off and dozens of meters away, too far to even see him, a crowd of thousands of counter-protesters waved signs and shouted their disapproval.

In a nutshell, the tiny alt-right group showed up at Lafayette Square earlier than originally scheduled then decided to cut their rally short when the rain came down and leave the area. So the counter protesters won this round simply by outnumbering the alt-right.

To be honest, I don’t even know what Jason Kessler was thinking when he decided that DC would be the perfect place to have his little hate rally. With the exception of having a white supremacist currently occupying the White House, he was holding a rally in hostile territory. There is an African American majority living in that city. Plus there are plenty of Latinos and LGBTQ folks who also call DC home. There was no way in hell that they were going to sit back and let the alt-right have their rally with no blowback at all. Especially since it was the one-year anniversary of that brutal murder of Heather Heyer at the hands (or maybe I should say car) of a white supremacist.

Hell, many of the local bars and restaurants in DC had decided that they would not serve any white nationalists.

I arrived in downtown DC while bracing myself for the likely possibility of a violent confrontation. In the end it turned out that I stood a greater chance of being struck by lightning than getting killed by a Nazi. I’m glad that no one was killed on Sunday and that the alt-right were too minuscule to provide much of a threat.

I grew tired of sitting in the rain with my umbrella so I decided to head back to the nearest Metro station that was opened. Metro, in its infinite wisdom (sarcasm), decided to close the two Metro stations that were closest to Lafayette Square. I ended up walking several blocks until I found the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station. While I was walking I saw a group of black-clad antifa demonstrators blocking the corner of 13th and G Streets, Northwest. I didn’t know why they were doing this. They managed to get this white car that was headed in the antifa’s direction to turn around and drive a different route. Here are a few photos of what I saw on my way back to the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro station.

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

Counter Protesters Agains the Unite the Right 2 Protesters

I just kept on walking towards the Metro station. It’s just as well that I kept my distance because I read some news stories about antifa and they weren’t flattering at all:

Unite the Right 2018: antifa attacks police and journalists in Charlottesville and DC

At Unite the Right, black-clad antifa again give peaceful protesters a bad name.

I would rather focus on the fact that the counter protesters won through largely peaceful means. However, I read this opinion piece that sounds pretty alarming: I was at the sad white supremacists gathering. It didn’t fool me. Their movement is rising.

It sounds like the counter protesters have won a battle but it hasn’t decisively won the war—yet. We’ll see how things turn out in the mid-term elections this November. In the meantime, here’s a video I also shot at the counter protest that included all kinds of footage ranging from shouting some unique slogans (such as “Oy Vey! Oy Vey! Nazi Scum Go Away!”) to street musicians serenading the counter protesters as they made their way to Lafayette Square.

Here’s hoping that there won’t be a Unite the Right 3 anywhere in the United States next year.

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The boss at my current day job decided to spend a large chunk of August in India with his family (where they originally came from). No, I’m not getting paid while he’s in India visiting members of his extended family who still live there. (Without going into details, let’s just say that I’ve been working for this guy for over four months and not only have my hours not increased to full-time work, despite his assurances that it would eventually happen, but they have gotten increasingly erratic.) I took a one-day offer to do some side work for a friend of mine while he’s working at his day job in Takoma Park, Maryland.

The annual National Night Out happened to be taking place on that same day and it’s near where my friend works so my friend and I decided to head over to that event to check it out. I’ve attended the National Night Out events in Greenbelt (and I even wrote a blog post about it back in 2016) so I was okay with seeing how a different town observes that event. I took some photos as well.

The event was held in the parking lot outside of Piney Branch Elementary School (which was closed for summer vacation). The police closed down the street that went past the school.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

The police and other local community groups gave away free food and drinks. I managed to eat a hot dog and a hamburger for dinner.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

A local television station was covering this event.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

MacGruff the Crimefighting Dog was there greeting people and having his picture taken with them.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

There were all kinds of activities for people of all ages to do, including playing with a giant chess set, playing with a giant Jenga tower, petting a police horse, and playing various games. A deejay was there spinning the tunes while all this was happening. Everyone present seemed to have a good time.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

There was even a “Dunk-A-Cop” game where kids could throw balls to soak a cop.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

There was a petition drive to recall the Takoma Park City Council. I don’t know what the issue was about nor did I bother to find out because I don’t live in Takoma Park.

National Night Out, August 7, 2018

Here’s a video of the event, which I helped to shoot and edit using a friend’s iPodTouch. I played around with the slow-motion features of this camera during the jump rope footage, which was pretty interesting when I viewed it later.

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I happened to be visiting a friend at his job in Takoma Park when I saw a recently finished painting project. Someone had painted the steps that are located outside of the Takoma Park Community Center in a variety of rainbow colors. In addition, it had a bunch of sayings in a variety of foreign languages that all had to do with rise, rising, rise up, or rising up. (Takoma Park is home to a huge number of immigrants who hail from countries in Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.)

I wrote a previous blog post about those steps. More recently I was visiting the same friend at his workplace when I saw that the painting project was finished. I decided to climb up those steps while taking these pictures.

I saw that the top of the steps led to an elementary school, which is currently closed for summer vacation.

Here’s a view of Takoma Park itself from the top of the steps.

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My Organic Market (or MOM’s for short) had been in College Park, Maryland for a number of years. The store recently moved into larger store space in the same shopping center (which once housed a REI).

Not only has MOM’s floor space dramatically increased but it has added a new vegan cafe and a pinball arcade.

Yes, a pinball arcade.

It’s a decent sized pinball arcade featuring both newer and vintage pinball machines.

Those pinball machines definitely give me a reason to visit MOM’s more often.

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Last month I shot this photo of Emma G performing at The Campfire Sessions that was held at The New Deal Cafe in Greenbelt, Maryland. I found her to be such a phenomenal performer on stage. Here’s a photo I shot of her on stage.

Here’s a video I shot of her, where you can get an idea of how she is a fierce performer on stage.

If you like that video I shot, you can check Emma G out right here.

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Here are some random photos from my smartphone that I recently took, starting with this unexpected product I found at a local Giant supermarket. On the shelves in the organic food section are organic junk food. I kid you not. There are now organic versions of Doritos and Cheetos. What’s more, each bag costs twice as much as their non-organic counterparts.

Organic Junk Food

I was visiting a local public library not too long ago when I saw this chair that’s covered in parrot fabric. I have no idea how old this chair is but it definitely looks very kitschy.

Parrot Chairs

Parrot Chairs

Here’s a bumpersticker I found on a car with this interesting slogan: “Kitten thinks of nothing but murder all day.” Uh, well, okay, whatever, nevermind.

Bumpersticker

Earlier this month I went to the local movie house where I saw a recently restored version of The Beatles’ classic animated feature film Yellow Submarine. The color and music were very excellent. The story itself is a bit weak but the music makes up for it. I took a photo of the movie poster after the movie ended.

Movie Poster

The last three photos I took with the Hatsune Miku smartphone app. I was visiting my friend, Phil Shapiro (he’s at the computer wearing a hat in the background in the last two photos) at his workplace when I took these quick snapshots featuring the virtual international pop superstar.

Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku

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Baroque-inspired portraits of black girls highlight their amazing natural hair so other girls would stop hiding it.

Millennials born in the 1980s may never recover from the Great Recession.

Retro ads reveal sky-high prices of now archaic technology.

White people should be more afraid of other whites than they are of people of color.

Couple have been using same 1950s appliances for more than a half a century—but they’re finally ditching them.

The Goler clan spent years in their isolated, inbred town until the cops showed up.

Why the coming collapse will happen in the United States.

Tech investors are increasingly investing in midwest tech companies instead of Silicon Valley.

Why does Donald Trump normalize corruption? Because Bill and Hillary Clinton normalized it.

MIT economist warns that the U.S. has regressed to a developing nation status.

Disney and Pixar offer free online animation and film classes.

How Sears CEO Eddie Lampert may come out ahead even if his retailer goes out of business.

22 things you won’t believe are in the Bible.

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I was on an errand that was related to my day job where I had to go to this really large liquor store in Laurel, Maryland.

A few years ago I knew this liquor store as Corridor Fine Wines. When I was still married my then-husband and I used to make the occasional run to that liquor store where we would purchase something that the closer liquor stores didn’t carry. This liquor store was about the size of a large supermarket.

I haven’t been to Corridor Fine Wines since my marriage imploded back in late 2011. I was sent to the store to pick up an order that my boss’ brother had made. There were a few things about that store when I stepped foot inside for the first time in years. First, the store had changed its name to Total Wine & More. Well, okay, I’ll have to get used to this new name, especially if I ever decide to shop there for myself again.

But I found out that this liquor store had changed locations. It was still in the same shopping center as before but it had taken over an even bigger space that used to be occupied by the Sports Authority.

When I stepped foot inside I saw that the interior was far fancier than on my last visit years ago. I managed to pick up the order and have an employee load it into the trunk of my car. After that was done, I realized that I needed to use the restroom so I went back in the store and went to the ladies’ room, which was located in the back of the store. Afterwards I walked around the store trying to find the entrance, while I took a few pictures.

The one thing that the new location had that the old one didn’t was a dedicated room that is used for tasting the various alcoholic beverages that the store currently has in stock.

The store also had a separate closed-off room that was just for cigars.

I could have easily taken more photos if it weren’t for the fact that I had to make a delivery run.

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While I was walking around my neighborhood a few weeks ago, I saw this bumpersticker on someone’s car that really resonated with me.

Bumper Sticker Philosophy

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Study confirms this method of repelling ticks really does work.

Serfdom in the Magic Kingdom: Disney workers rise up against poverty-level wages.

Dolls Who Code: Barbie-branded coding lessons start this summer.

The Trump-Russia-NRA connection: What you need to know.

You might be a genius, if you share this key trait with Leonardo da Vinci.

Want to stop fake news? Reinstate the Fairness Doctrine.

Why Mike Pence won’t be president.

Black man graduates with law degree and MBA from two different schools on the same day.

Remembering Kent State 45 years later.

“Jesus never charged a leper a co-pay”: The rise of the religious left.

Lewis Carroll’s haunting photographs of girls, including the real-life inspiration for Alice in Wonderland.

The renegade sheriffs who are part of a law enforcement movement that claims to answer only to the Constitution.

A lynching’s long shadow.

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