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I’ve just read the news about First Daughter Ivanka Trump closing down her fashion line. While I feel bad for the employees who will be losing their jobs, I have zero sympathy for Ivanka Trump.

Actually she was someone whom—under entirely different circumstances—I would have felt sorry for because she didn’t have it easy despite growing up in wealth and privilege. Try to imagine being a kid who’s old enough to learn about the media coverage of her parents’ divorce along with her father’s open affair with Marla Maples (who later became his second wife for a brief spell). Try to imagine growing up with a father publicly saying all kinds of sexually inappropriate things about his own daughter, which The Daily Show has archived in this two-part series: Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter and Again, Don’t Forget: Donald Trump Wants to Bang His Daughter.

While I would love to feel sorry for her, I just can’t do it. Ivanka chose to work for her father after she finished college—the same father who said those sexually inappropriate things about her. She has spent the bulk of her professional career working for her father. When her father was elected president, Ivanka moved with her family to Washington, DC in order to serve as an advisor to her father.

I still remember when Donald Trump first arrived at the White House I read about some people expressing hopes that Ivanka Trump would serve as some kind of a moderating force for her father in the White House—a kind of a softer version of a social justice warrior. That was definitely wishful thinking on their part because, to date, I have yet to see Ivanka take any kind of a major stand on an issue while urging her father to support that issue. It’s like this Daily Beast headline says: How Ivanka Trump’s Loyalty to Her Father Killed Her Fashion Label.

The rationale for people hoping for Ivanka to be a social justice champion in the Trump Administration was the fact that she claimed to be a “feminist” while also publishing the book Women Who Work. If these people had read closer about Ivanka Trump, they would have realized that she was never going to be a white wealthy female version of Martin Luther King. There were the women who work in those factories in Third World countries making her clothes and shoes for her fashion line who were paid very little while working in poor conditions with little occupational safety and they were frequently separated from their own children. There was also the fact that she was very reluctant to give maternity leave to her own female employees working in her U.S. offices.

Her fashion label won’t be missed. Her clothes didn’t impress me at all. In fact, I’ve seen better designed clothes at Target. Then there were the accusations that her fashion line has plagiarized the designs of some of the shoes from Aquazurra. Even if I was a major supporter of her father, I would not be interested in wearing anything from her fashion line because her clothes, shoes, and jewelry were mediocre at best and possibly plagiarized from others at worst.

I’ll end this post with this Saturday Night Live fake ad from last year which skewered Ivanka Trump (played by Scarlett Johannson) and it still remains among my favorite parodies of Donald Trump and family.

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I don’t have children. Sometimes I regret not having a child but these days I’m mostly glad because, after the hell that my ex-husband put me through over the past few years, I would’ve really dreaded having to face that asshole on a regular basis regarding the children. I also would’ve had to face the possibility of periodically going back to court over child visitation and custody issues because my husband left me for a seriously mentally ill woman and he married her just two months after our divorce was final. I would’ve been really concerned about exposing a child to whatever drama that would result from having a seriously mentally ill stepmother.

There are too many people who have no business ever becoming parents but they have one or more kids anyway and it’s the children who usually suffer. A case in point is a YouTube controversy that originally started last year but it has continued into this year. Here’s a quick recap.

A YouTube channel was created in 2015 called DaddyOFive. It was a series of videos featuring the real-life adventures of Mike Martin, his wife Heather, and their five children (hence the name). The videos were supposed to be light-hearted entertainment featuring a fun yet quirky family.

One regular feature of these videos had the parents playing pranks on one or more of their children. The videos began to gain popularity and the parents were able to make revenue from their videos.

As time went on, the so-called “pranks” took on a more disturbing tone and they became more and more controversial. The shit really began to hit the fan last year when popular YouTube commentator Philip DeFranco made this video questioning whether these “pranks” are actually child abuse. (This video have a few brief excerpts from the video where one of the kids was targeted in a “prank” that involved invisible ink.)

When DeFranco’s video went viral, there was more public scrutiny aimed at Mike and Heather Martin over allegations that their kids were being abused on video while profiting off of that abuse. The Martins responded to DeFranco’s video by blaming him for the public vitriol being aimed at them. DeFranco responded with a second video where he included more disturbing scenes from other DaddyOFive videos, which included the couple’s only daughter being slapped in the face by her brother after prompting by their father, one of the smaller boys being body-slammed to the ground by his larger brother, and one of the sons asking his father to leave him alone and stop filming him only to have the father continue putting the camera on the boy.

That second video only added fuel to the fire. It turned out that two of the children were Mike Martin’s from a previous marriage or relationship. (I wasn’t able to figure out whether he was ever married to that previous woman or not.) They were also the same two children who bore the brunt of those so-called “pranks.” The children’s biological mother soon got wind of the existence of those videos and she responded by getting a lawyer and filing for sole custody of the children, which she ultimately won. Here’s the biological mother’s brief interview on Good Morning America from last year, where she explained how she felt when she learned about her children’s appearances in those videos.

On top of it, the local authorities began to investigate the child abuse claims. What’s really embarrassing is that I learned that these two so-called “parents” lived in my state (Maryland).

Ultimately Mike and Heather Martin removed most of the videos from the DaddyOFive channel with the exception of a video featuring just the two of them where they apologized for their videos. A few months later they were sentenced to five year’s probation for child neglect. As part of the probation, Mike and Heather are not allowed to contact Mike’s two children in any way unless a judge authorizes it first.

So things died down a bit regarding DaddyOFive. There were no new videos uploaded and the couple seemed to keep a low profile for the rest of 2017. Sometime after the controversy and receiving probation Mike and Heather Martin took the remaining three children and moved from Maryland to West Virginia. Okay, I can understand that decision to some extent because that move gave them the opportunity to make a fresh start in their lives and put the recent past behind them. If they had stayed off-line, they probably would’ve eventually fallen into obscurity.

But that didn’t happen. The family re-emerged online just one year later with two new video channels—FamilyOFive and FamilyOFive Gaming. I can understand the name to some extent since Mike, Heather, and the three sons are now a family of five. But I find it mind-boggling that Mike and Heather would give both of those channels a similar name to the DaddyOFive channel that got them into trouble in the first place.

It wouldn’t be long before Philip DeFranco began to devote a video to FamilyOFive, especially since this new video series included footage of one of the sons being hit hard in the groin with a ball.

But, wait, there’s more. Amanda the Jedi made this video featuring more disturbing footage involving the three sons under the guise of “entertainment.”

In addition, local station WUSA9 started to extensively cover the story and they contacted YouTube and the local authorities in the couple’s former (Frederick County, Maryland) and current (Berkeley County, West Virginia) residences for their responses regarding the matter.

In any case, YouTube finally pulled the plug a few days ago and took down all of the DaddyOFive/FamilyOFive channels and banned Mike and Heather Martin from the platform. I applaud YouTube for making that decision. Child abuse should never be considered entertainment and people should not be allowed to profit from it.

While it’s great that Mike and Heather Martin are gone from YouTube, this story doesn’t exactly have a happy ending. If you conduct a YouTube search under DaddyOFive, you’ll see that many of the original DaddyOFive videos have been re-uploaded on to YouTube by people using names like Team Takedown, Post, DaddyOFive Re-uploaded, ToxicFaygo 29, Legendary Posts, daddyofive archive, That One Guy, Fire Phoenix, polly annner, and DaddyOfive ReUploading. And these re-uploaded videos are just the tip of the iceberg, which once again proves the adage that the Internet is forever and it’s the children who will suffer the most for years to come.

There’s something else that I also find concerning. If Mike and Heather acted atrociously towards their children in front of the camera, can you imagine what family life is like when the cameras are turned off? I really believe that the three remaining children should be removed immediately from their parents and placed either with other relatives or in foster homes so they’ll have a chance to lead normal lives without having a camera focused on them while they are being abused by their so-called “parents.”

UPDATE (August 7, 2018): The FamilyOFive channel has migrated to Twitch. So far I’ve only seen one video where the family is playing the video game Overwatch with no live child abuse scenes. There are other videos posted and it seems like they are all of the family playing video games, which are all pretty mild compared to their previous videos. (I’ll admit that I haven’t watched any of their videos in its entirety.) If past behavior is any indication, I wouldn’t be surprised if the parents eventually go back to resuming their “pranks” on their children for more views.

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Ramadan

As someone who used to admire Roseanne Barr and was a faithful viewer of her 1990s sitcom, I am not getting much pleasure from her sudden downfall today. For those of you who haven’t been checking out the news, here’s the basic gist. Roseanne Barr used to champion the working class and the downtrodden (especially the LGBTQ community) on her old TV show and in her comedy routines. At one point she unsuccessfully attempted to get the Green Party nomination for president.

Ever since Donald Trump decided to run for public office then was elected to the presidency, Roseanne began to declare herself a Trump supporter and, before you know it, she began to champion every single alt-right conspiracy theory that was out there (especially the notorious and now-discredited Pizzagate) on Twitter. She would frequently retweet people like Alex Jones, who spewed crazy conspiracy theories.

This year ABC decided to revive her sitcom, Roseanne, which would feature all of the original cast members of that 1990s sitcom. The show would feature Roseanne’s character being a Trump supporter, just like Barr is in real life. There were plenty of people who were less-than-thrilled by this and the show got mixed reviews ranging from mediocre to awful. But the show was a big hit despite the reviews. (For the record, I didn’t watch her new series mainly because I had become so alienated by her blind loyalty to Donald Trump and her championing crazy alt-right conspiracy theories that I couldn’t even gather enough enthusiasm to watch her new show.)

Meanwhile Roseanne Barr kept up with her offstage antics, such as accusing teenage Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg of being a Nazi on Twitter.

But today the shit really hit the fan. Roseanne made a tweet saying that one of President Obama’s former aides, Valerie Jarrett, was the child of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Planet of the Apes film. The fact that Jarrett was born in Iran to African American parents only made it worse. Roseanne deleted the tweet and issued an apology by saying that it was a bad joke but the damage was done. Roseanne’s revived show was cancelled by ABC. The reruns of her original 1990s sitcom were pulled from the Paramount Network, TV Land, and CMT. She even got dropped by her own talent agency.

While I feel sorry for the other actors and crew who lost their jobs (and their residuals from the old sitcom), Roseanne gets zero sympathy from me. She should’ve known better that to make that ape comparison with an African American. I used to faithfully watch her show in the 1990’s because she stood up for working folks of all races (her old sitcom had working class African American characters who were portrayed in a positive light) and LGBTQ in an era when both groups were either ignored or, in the case of the latter, discriminated against. I was such a fan that I watched her series until midway through the ninth season when that show began to get too weird for my tastes. I also watched a few of Roseanne’s specials on HBO because I could relate to her and her humor.

Here is why Roseanne Barr resonated so much with me. I grew up in Glen Burnie, Maryland, which was a mix of lower middle class and working class. There were no mansions or upscale stores like Saks Fifth Avenue where I grew up. My family encountered financial struggles at times, especially with the inflation periods of the 1970s, that were similar to what Roseanne’s sitcom family went through. I had high school classmates who married young just like Roseanne’s eldest sitcom daughter did. I had other classmates who joined the military immediately after high school in an effort to escape to a different life. (I remember the military recruiters who used to set up tables in my high school cafeteria a few times a year so the students can talk to them during lunch period.) I knew people in my Unitarian Universalist congregation who came out as LGBTQ in an era when doing so could adversely affect their lives in many ways. (This was in the 1980s and 1990s when AIDS was prevalent and there was a conservative backlash to the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s.) Roseanne bravely featured LGBTQ characters in a positive sympathetic light in her sitcom back when it wasn’t the trendy thing to do. I am a woman with a less-than-perfectly shaped body while Roseanne became a major star despite being obese at times and she remained a star without having a perfect 10 body. I definitely identified with Roseanne Barr. I even followed her on Twitter at one point.

All that changed when Trump entered politics and she became his biggest celebrity supporter. She totally changed—for the worst. Late last year I decided to unfollow her on Twitter because I felt so alienated from her and the alt-right conspiracy garbage she was tweeting on a regular basis.

It’s just like what Shepard Smith of Fox News said, “Racism is not funny and Roseanne Barr is a racist.” The biggest irony is that the 1990s Roseanne would have gone full social justice warrior mode on the 2018 Roseanne. As for me, I’m done with her.

Fuck you, Roseanne Barr.

Bye, Felicia!

UPDATE (June 1, 2018): Roseanne initially blamed Ambien for her unfunny racist joke tweet aimed at Valerie Jarrett, which prompted this classy response from the drug’s manufacturer.

Oh, SNAP! Whoever at Sanofi came up with that tweet deserves a raise. When the Ambient defense failed to take hold, Roseanne Barr started to blame Michelle Obama for her series getting canned.

Bitch, please! If Roseanne really wants to find out who is to blame for her current predicament, she should just stand in front of a mirror and she’ll get her answer. By the way, I read this blog post from a woman who once worked as Roseanne’s stand-in for three years on the original 1990s sitcom and, boy, does she have a story to tell!

UPDATE (July 22, 2018): Roseanne released this video where she attempted to explain the Valerie Jarrett tweet that got her fired. I would strongly advise you to lower your computer speakers before playing this clip because she definitely screams in this video.

Yesterday she released another video where she’s way more calm about her side of the story.

She implied that ABC got rid of her because she is a Donald Trump supporter. Here’s the thing—it had long been common public knowledge that Roseanne is a Trump supporter. ABC knew that she is a Trump supporter before they decided to put her revived sitcom on the air. If ABC had been so opposed to Roseanne being a Trump supporter that they didn’t want her associated with the network at all, they would have never revived her sitcom in the first place.

So, once again, fuck you, Roseanne Barr!

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Ramadan

Last month I went to Baltimore so I could check out Light City for the third year in a row. (You can read about my previous visits in 2016 and 2017.) The first year I went I basically just took the Charm City Circulator bus as far as the Shake Shack (which is located across from Harborplace) and I underestimated how big this festival was. The second year I had an animation that was showing at Light City so I took the Charm City Circulator until I got to a stop that was as close to the On Demand area (where my animation was being shown along with other film shorts) and I still have memories of sitting outside for two hours waiting for my animation to show up on screen as the temperature kept on getting colder and colder as time went on.

This year I decided not to submit anything to Light City so I could begin my tour anywhere. I also ended up going on the last night of Light City. I couldn’t get there earlier in the month due to scheduling conflicts so the final night was my first and last time that I visited Light City 2018.

I had the idea of taking the Charm City Circulator all the way over to the other side of the Inner Harbor near where Little Italy is located. When I arrived I found that this area has been heavily built up. There’s a new complex called Harbor East and I took some photos there along with some photos of Little Italy. I took so many photos that day that I decided to break up this year’s Baltimore/Light City entry into two separate posts. First I’m going to show the photos I took when I first arrived in Baltimore before I showed up at Light City.

I drove my car to Linthicum and stopped at a Royal Farms store so I could pick up a chicken dinner and a diet soda for only $7. (I know from previous years that many of the restaurants, fast food outlets, and food tents tend to draw very long lines during Light City. It was easier to bring my own food to Light City.) I parked my car at the North Linthicum light rail station and took the train to the Camden Yards station. When I arrived at the front gates of Camden Yards on my way to the nearest Charm City Circulator bus stop I saw that a Baltimore Orioles baseball game was already underway.

Camden Yards

Camden Yards

Camden Yards

I took the Charm City Circulator’s Orange Line bus to the Little Italy stop. I didn’t do much exploring in Little Italy other than the peripheral area, where I shot these photos.

Little Italy

Little Italy

Little Italy

When I was younger and I still lived with my parents, my family used to periodically eat at a restaurant in Little Italy. (We used to alternate between Sabatino’s and Chipparelli’s—both of which are still in business.) I have never dined inside of La Tavola restaurant but I found their exterior wall murals to be charming.

Little Italy

This restaurant features some cool trompe l’oeil in its fake “windows.”

Little Italy

Little Italy

La Tavola isn’t the only place with colorful wall murals. Mo’s Fisherman’s Wharf also has some cool exterior touches.

Mo's Fisherman's Wharf, Baltimore, Maryland

Mo's Fisherman's Wharf, Baltimore, Maryland

I came across Columbus Piazza where this statue of Christopher Columbus stands. I know that in recent years Columbus has become such an increasingly polarizing figure that some places in the U.S. have renamed “Columbus Day” as “Indigenous People’s Day.”

Columbus Piazza, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

I also walked past the President Street Station, which is the oldest surviving big-city railroad terminal but it now houses the Baltimore Civil War Museum.

Baltimore Civil War Museum

Baltimore Civil War Museum

I would’ve loved to have gone inside but it had already closed for the day when I arrived.

Baltimore Civil War Museum

Baltimore Civil War Museum

Here’s a jarring juxtaposition between the older President Street Station (foreground) and the newer Harbor East complex (background).

Baltimore Civil War Museum

I remember when that area near Little Italy had a lot of construction going on over the past few years. It was the first time I came upon the result of all of that construction: Harbor East. This place is a mix of upscale restaurants and shops and upscale apartments and condos.

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

This place has security, which uses vehicles that looks like a cross between a scooter and a Segway.

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Some of the buildings in Harbor East is waterfront property, complete with its own marina. There are also some available activities for the people ranging from sitting at an outdoor bar and/or restaurant to playing with a giant chess set.

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

Harbor East, April 28, 2018

A major high point of my visit to Harbor East was finding out that Charm City Cakes has opened a second bakery there.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Charm City Cakes’ original location on Remington Avenue was the setting for the Food Network’s reality series Ace of Cakes. That was one of the few reality shows I watched on a regular basis because the focus was more on the cake making process with very little of the hysteric drama that frequently plague most reality TV shows. I remember being sad when that show was cancelled because I really enjoyed seeing the employees create those unique one-of-a-kind cakes that were gorgeous to look at.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

The baked goods that were on sale that day looked delicious.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

I was a bit on the broke side so I could only afford to purchase a small bag of chocolate chocolate chip cookies for $2. I found them to be very tasty.

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Charm City Cakes at Harbor East, Baltimore, April 21, 2018

Located in the center of Harbor East is the National Katyń Memorial, which is dedicated to the Poles who were brutally mass-slaughtered by the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) during World War II.

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

The National Katyń Memorial, Baltimore, Maryland, April 21, 2018

I would’ve loved to have explored more in both Little Italy and Harbor East but I had come late in the day because I wanted to check out Light City. I will have to make a return trip to that area at a later date because I have a feeling that there is more to check out in that area.

I moved on to Light City, which I’m going to write about in a future post.

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A few hours ago I found out that 80-year-old Bill Cosby has been found guilty of drugging and raping Andrea Constand. This came after a video of comedian Hannibal Buress did a comedy routine that mentioned Cosby’s past rape accusation went viral and it led to numerous women coming forward with their own stories about how Cosby drugged and raped them (with some of the accusations going as far back as the 1960s).

It created a scandal that hit at the same time that a special exhibition of Cosby’s personal art collection opened at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC, which I visited once soon after it opened and I wrote a blog post about it back in 2014. The biggest irony of that exhibition is that there was a blanket on display that was made from the t-shirts that were once owned by Cosby’s late son, Ennis (who was brutally murdered in the 1990s), and one of the t-shirt panels featured this slogan that’s frequently used by anti-rape activists: “What part of NO didn’t you understand?” (Apparently Ennis was more aware and educated about what constitutes rape than his father was.) The National Museum of African Art kept that exhibit open until its scheduled closing date in late January, 2016 despite numerous calls for the museum to end that exhibition early in light of the scandal.

But then something amazing happened: Bill Cosby was arrested. Due to the statue of limitations, he could only be prosecuted for the 2004 rape of Andrea Constand but it was still amazing that a celebrity of his stature was arrested nonetheless. The first attempt to try him ended in a mistrial. In the wake of that ending, Cosby announced that he was going to hold a series of town hall meetings that would educate people on how to avoid being accused of sexual assault, which reeked of total arrogance and chutzpah. The prosecution wasn’t amused by any of this so they decided to retry him and, this time, he has been found guilty.

Whether or not Cosby will see the inside of a jail cell remains to be seen but at least the women who have accused Cosby of rape have been vindicated, which is a good thing.

I’ll admit that part of me is sad over today’s verdict and that’s because Bill Cosby has been a part of my life for the majority of my life. It started when my parents used to watch I Spy on television when I was very young but I didn’t become aware of who Cosby was until I started watching the Fat Albert cartoon series on Saturday mornings. I saw Cosby on the numerous Jello commercials over the years and I used to watch The Cosby Show with my then-husband.

But I’m pretty much over Bill Cosby now. I still remember back in December when I was eating dinner at a Popeye’s in Baltimore while I was on my way to attending a Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School event at The Wind-Up Space (link is NSFW). I was already pretty frazzled from being pulled over by a cop due to a busted taillight so I just wanted to eat my fried chicken dinner and go on to Dr. Sketchy’s. This particular Popeye’s happened to have a big screen TV (which was something I had never seen at the other Popeye’s fast food places I have been to) that was tuned to a local TV station that was airing a re-run of one of The Cosby Show episodes from the 1980s. I moved to a part of the place where I wouldn’t have to see the TV screen so I wouldn’t see Cosby’s face while I ate my meal. If I ever encounter a TV screen showing a Fat Albert cartoon, I would have the same reaction by not watching it.

I’m glad to hear that Cosby’s victims have a reason to celebrate now that he has been found guilty in a court of law.

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Yesterday I went to my first training for the Poor People’s Campaign in order to prepare for next month’s activities of protests in order to highlight the plight of the workers, the poor, women, racial minorities, and immigrants. The season of protests is scheduled to kick off nationwide on Mother’s Day weekend and it’s meant to build on Martin Luther King’s original Poor People’s Campaign (which he had just started when he was killed 50 years ago this month).

The training was held at Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda, Maryland.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Cedar Lane had some nice touches on the outside that proclaim to the general public how it’s open and accepting of everyone regardless of who they are while taking moral stands on certain issues (such as Black Lives Matter, LGBTQ rights, and gun control).

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

I went inside and saw a few training flyers I needed to pick up. I made some small talk among the fellow participants until the start of the training session.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

The training was straightforward. We were taught how to behave ourselves in public while protesting in order to not turn off the general public to the message that we were trying to send. (For example, we are discouraged from wearing masks while protesting, drinking alcohol, taking illegal drugs, and uttering foul language.) The most important thing was that we had to remain nonviolent at all times.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

I took part in the workshop on how to do nonviolent civil disobedience. At this point I’m not sure if I will actually set myself up to be deliberately arrested at a protest because I have just started a new job and my current finances are precarious. I still took the workshop just in case some cop decides to do a very wide sweep and arrest those who aren’t doing civil disobedience as well as those who are trying to get arrested. At least I know how to react if I somehow get caught up in some kind of a wide sweep.

I remember when I was a child my parents used to watch All in the Family and I still remember the episode where working class conservative bigot Archie Bunker happened to go to an anti-war protest in order to retrieve his son-in-law after Edith and Gloria were worried about Mike’s safety when they heard that the protest was getting violent. Mike returned home safe and sound while Archie ended up in jail along with the protesters whom he normally would never have any association with simply because he got caught up in a wide sweep by the police. You can read more about this episode here. There’s a full episode on YouTube that’s available for now but it’s unknown as to whether it will remain online or will get yanked for copyright reasons. In any case, I kept that episode in mind as I went to the training because I want to be prepared for the possibility that I would end up in jail like Archie Bunker even if I’m not doing civil disobedience.

The most memorable part of the training where we took turns simulating a civil disobedience act while other people playing the role of counter protesters and provocateurs yelled in our faces. The hardest part was remembering the chanting we were doing while someone yelled in our faces.

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Maryland Poor People's Campaign Training

Well, anyway, I learned a lot that night. The only downside of the training was that it rained that day. It wasn’t so bad going to the church but when we left, the rain was pouring down harder. I tried commuting on the Capital Beltway and it was so harrowing with the cars speeding in the downpour like it was nothing. I got off in Silver Spring and I blundered around until I consulted my smartphone GPS app and I managed to configure it to give me a route back home while bypassing all major highways. I traveled along the back routes until I arrived home. The drivers were more civilized on the back routes so I didn’t have to fear getting into an accident. The downside was that I had to stop at so many traffic lights that I didn’t return home until after 11 p.m.

In any case, despite the rain and the harrowing car trip home, I don’t regret going to that training. The Poor People’s Campaign is set to have its inaugural rollout nationwide on Mother’s Day weekend next month so stay tuned, folks!

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I had a pretty busy Saturday at my church. First I went to a memorial service for a longtime church member who passed away recently. I had decided to attend an all-ages party that was being held at that church that same evening so I went to the memorial service, hung around for the reception that followed afterwards, then headed for the nearby Starbucks that is located inside of a Target where I brought my laptop with me and killed time by surfing the Internet until it was time for the second event to begin at my church.

We ended up having a pretty light turnout. The high point was that someone had brought Play-Doh and soon everyone—both adults and children alike—were playing around with the stuff.

I ended up joining in as well. I used to love playing with Play-Doh as a child but I outgrew it once I was around 9 or 10 years old. I haven’t really touched it in years. So I played around with it. I began to remember the old Saturday Night Live sketches featuring The Mr. Bill Show, which satirized children’s TV shows by featuring a character made entirely from clay who would end up getting abused in a gruesome yet hilarious fashion. I attempted with making Mr. Bill’s head but I was relying 100% on memory so I know it’s not that great.

It turned out to be all for naught because only one other person present got my Mr. Bill reference. Everyone else were either too young to remember Mr. Bill’s late 1970s heyday or they were way older than me and they could’ve cared less about Mr. Bill even when he was popular enough to spawn a line of t-shirts. (I still remember having my own Mr. Bill shirt when I was in high school.)

After that attempt, I took out a dolphin-shaped cutter and I began to just roll out the blue Play-Doh then used the cutter to cut out dolphin shapes. I ended up making this pattern of clay dolphins.

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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.

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(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.)

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.

I celebrated my birthday on December 15 and I wrote this post about how I treated myself to a few things while I mentioned that I was a divorced woman with no children who was raised as an only child with one father who’s now deceased and a mother who is currently struggling with multiple sclerosis and her health is slowly slipping away. Ironically, on that same day, conservative pundit Ann Coulter wrote this Twitter post about how she is among the singles who live empty lives of quiet desperation and will die alone while denouncing Senator Marco Rubio’s demand that the controversial tax reform bill includes a child tax credit increase.

That unusually personal tweet briefly went viral on Twitter and it elicited all kinds of responses. To some extent I can understand where she’s coming from (although, unlike her, I don’t mind if parents would pay less taxes so they would have more money in their pocket that would help them pay for adequate care for their children). There are nights when I think that dying alone will be my ultimate fate. But here’s the thing. Whenever I go someplace and run into my friends, they are usually happy to see me. (Or at least they act this way. I’m not a mind reader so I don’t have access to their innermost thoughts and feelings.) I’m fortunate enough to live in an area that’s within walking distance of a few places that I can go to (including a cafe, a library, and a makerspace) if I feel too sad and lonely. Whenever I go there I usually find someone I know who says hi to me and ask me how I’m doing.

The reason why people are happy to see me and aren’t ashamed to be seen in public with me is because, unlike Ann Coulter, I haven’t made a career out of publicly insulting and denigrating the poor, immigrants, 9/11 widows, Muslims, Jews, people with disabilities, women, African Americans, Asian Americans, liberals, victims of sexual harassment/sexual assault/rape, Hollywood, LGBTQ people, the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, soccer players and fans, pot smokers, and Delta Airlines.

There’s a reason why the British newspaper The Telegraph once published an article with this headline—Ann Coulter: The woman trying to be America’s most hated.

But there’s a cost in trying to be as vile and offensive as possible while being unapologetic about it. She had a speech scheduled at UC Berkley cancelled twice because of safety fears. Her appearance on the TV show Good Morning Britain have outraged viewers in that country. Over 10 years ago some anonymous blogger wrote two sexually explicit posts that went viral titled I Fucked Ann Coulter in the Ass, Hard and Back in Ann Coulter’s Ass-Saddle Again. If they had been written about any other woman, I would’ve denounced them as exercises in sexism and slander. But I have a hard time raising a similar ruckus because they were written about Ann Coulter, a person who had long been hurling outrageously nasty insults towards others and I felt that, in this case, turnabout was fair game. She was simply reaping what she had sowed by acting so hateful by uttering things in public that most other polite adults would never think of uttering.

I still remember the days when I was still married with cable television and my then-husband and I used to watch Real Time With Bill Maher every Friday night on HBO. Maher frequently had Ann Coulter as a guest on his show, supposedly as a conservative voice, but she would spew all kinds of hateful stuff. It got to the point where some people in the audience would boo her every time she walked on stage.

I get that Maher was trying to get conservatives on his program in order to have a real discussion with liberals on the issues of the day. But there are far more thoughtful conservatives out there than Coulter who don’t go around hurling insults at other people. (The fact that Maher would have Coulter on his show at the expense of these other thoughtful conservatives is one of the reasons why I have since lost respect for him.)

Like Ann Coulter I have no children but, unlike her, I was married once. If my husband hadn’t decided back in 2011 that he would rather be with a friend of ours who has a history of serious mental health issues that have become so bad that she’s on SSI disability, I would still be married today. There’s a reason why Ann Coulter is still unmarried and is worried about dying alone. To be blunt: Most people don’t want to hang around with someone who acts that hateful in public all of the time.

Ann Coulter could have easily learned that lesson years ago had she read (or seen one of the numerous TV and film adaptations of) Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. At least Ebeneezer Scrooge managed to have a change of heart at the end of that story and he made a sincere effort to stop being so greedy and start showing compassion towards others. Maybe if Ann Coulter would make a sincere effort of doing what Ebeneezer Scrooge did and change her actions and attitudes, then maybe people won’t look at her in such a negative light. It’s just like the title of this article on the Bustle website: Don’t Hate Ann Coulter Because She’s Single. Hate Her Because She’s Ann Coulter.

But I’m not going to hold my breath wishing for a change in Ann Coulter’s heart. All I can say is that it’s her life and if she doesn’t want to stop acting so hateful in public then she shouldn’t complain if she really does die alone. After all, actions have consequences.

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