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It’s bad enough that the FCC has voted to eliminate net neutrality in the United States. But then there is this awful video starring FCC Chairman Ajit Pai where he attempts to explain why repealing net neutrality is a good thing but ends up failing. The entire Internet has gone “WTF?!?” with this video.

I’ve seen commercials from local car dealerships with better production values and more finesse than that. I would find it funny if it weren’t for the fact that the FCC has just setback Internet access in the U.S. by at least 50 years and that 83% of Americans had supported net neutrality.

The only good thing that has come of this is that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman plans to sue the FCC over this. I only hope he doesn’t end up with a pro-Trump judge.

UPDATE (December 15, 2017): A DJ known as Bauer is pursuing legal action against Ajit Pai for using his song “Harlem Shake” in that video without permission. Bauer said that he favors net neutrality and he’s aghast that his song is being used to promote the idea of getting rid of net neutrality.

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This is yet more drama featuring a person whom I briefly worked with at a startup that ultimately went nowhere last year. I got the job because the entrepreneur/owner of that startup is housemates with a friend of mine. I basically did administrative work where I helped with designing promotional materials for this new startup as well as doing research on things like obtaining trademarks. I also spent a lot of time helping with creating prototypes for this startup’s product, which would be rolled out at the annual Loudon Lyme 10K/5K/1K Fun Run.

There were problems with this startup. I made the mistake of letting him talk me into writing a post in this blog about the startup instead of getting a separate blogging account that would be just for that startup. (The entrepreneur/owner couldn’t be bothered with getting such an account.) In addition he wanted to use my Square card reader with my linked PayPal account instead of getting a separate Square card reader/PayPal account just for that startup.

So we were preparing for the Loudon Lyme 10K/5K/1K event and I naturally assumed that we would have a vendor booth. It wasn’t until just two days before the event when he told me that he didn’t get a vendor booth. Basically I learned that his entire sales strategy consisted of this: Never register for a vendor booth at any event. Instead, just show up with backpacks full of wares, open the backpacks and sell your wares. I was appalled (especially since I had helped with creating brochures that I assumed would be displayed on a table) but, by that point, I had committed to this event.

To make a long story short, this sales strategy was a disaster and we didn’t sell anything. A few days later he sent a multi-part text message essentially blaming me because I was into “self-sabotage.” (Never mind the fact that not even registering for a vendor booth at an event is the ultimate in self-sabotage.) The following day he sent another text asking me to show up at some upcoming Lyme events where I would sell my wares from out of backpacks.

By that point I hadn’t been paid for most of the work I had done and he said that I would only get paid if I did those events. Of course he asked me after he accused me of self-sabotage. I decided to bail at this point. I even wrote a retraction post taking back everything I had ever written in that previous post the entrepreneur/owner wanted me to write while, at the same time, I announced a new policy where I would no longer write about any ongoing projects I do for other people in this blog until after they are completed. (I would be more than happy to help with setting up a separate blogging account for anyone who wants me to write work-in-progress posts.)

My former boss eventually paid me the rest of the money that he owed me six months later so I thought there were closure. But then this year began when he attempted to restart his business on Facebook using my selfie that I had taken without even asking me permission first.

But now he’s engaged in some family drama with his sister over their mother and I only know about it because he has taken it to Facebook. On Mother’s Day I saw that post in my own newsfeed where he not only has hurled accusations against his sister but he printed her name and telephone number and he encouraged anyone reading his message to start calling her.

Since that time he would occasionally write on Facebook about how horrible his sister is for somehow not letting him visit or even speak on the phone to their mother but at least he hadn’t named her or posted her phone number. I haven’t bothered with writing new posts about what he had written because I just don’t want this blog devolving into a glorified “Shit My Ex-Boss Says About His Sister on Facebook.”

But then Thanksgiving Day happened and here’s a heavily edited screenshot of what he posted about his sister.

He asked prayers for his sister while posting a horrible accusation against her plus posting her name and telephone number! If that’s not passive-aggressive behavior, I don’t know what is.

I’m not inclined to immediately side with him because I remember when he not only accused me of being into self-sabotage on the day of that Loudon Lyme 10K/5K/1K Fun Run but there was another incident that occurred while I worked for him. He wanted to use my Square Card reader with my associated PayPal account instead of getting his own Square Card/PayPal for his startup. I hadn’t used that reader in a while so I was trying to figure it out. There were some glitches and the boss started to get angry with me until we figured out what was going on. He accused me of being secretive because, while I was figuring out how that Square Card reader worked (which I was doing on HIS request), I was doing it without verbally announcing “I’m going to try Option A first. If that doesn’t work, then I’ll try Option B…” and so on.

On top of it, he then insulted me by saying that I’m naturally secretive because of my birth order. He was the first person I had ever worked for on a professional level who had made my birth order an issue.

So, yeah, I’m not going to immediately take his side, especially since I have never met either his sister or his mother so I don’t know the whole story. For all I know, his accusation against his sister could be as outrageously untrue as when he accused me of being secretive and engaging in self-sabotage.

All I know is that what he’s doing to his sister is called doxing. The minute he started posting her name and personal phone number on Facebook is the minute that he has lost whatever moral high ground he had stood on this issue. Doxing his sister on Mother’s Day didn’t help with solving the dispute he has with her so I don’t know why he thinks that doxing his sister again on Thanksgiving Day would result in anything different.

In fact, what he has done has only exposed him to a potential lawsuit because if his sister ever finds those posts, all she has to do is take screenshots, print them out, then show them to a lawyer. What’s more, it’s possible that there is a Facebook friend who is still friendly with both siblings and that person could easily send a message along with a screenshot of that post to the sister saying “Hey, check out what your brother has been posting about you on Thanksgiving Day!”

I sent the link to my ex-boss’ Facebook post in an email to my friend on Thanksgiving Day because I felt he needed to know what his housemate did. Since they share the same roof, there’s a very small chance he could be affected by whatever legal outcome could arise from that post.

I’m not totally unsympathetic to my ex-boss’ plight. If it is true that his sister is indeed trying to prevent anyone from seeing their mother, then he seriously needs to see a family lawyer who is well-versed in eldercare issues instead of posting his sister’s name and telephone number on Facebook. Doxing his sister on various holidays is not only an ineffective strategy but it’s also a lawsuit waiting to happen.

I’m just glad I walked away from his startup when I did. If he would engage in doxing against his own sister, I would hate to find out what he would’ve done to me if we had engaged in a really nasty dispute. What’s more, I now have an unedited version of that Thanksgiving Day screenshot along with the Mother’s Day screenshot that I can use on future job interviews in case anyone asks about why I left that startup because I now have evidence showing the type of person I was working for in his own words.

I never thought I felt the need to write a sequel to Fuck You, George Takei (and Every Other Hollywood Sexual Predator)! so soon but then Al Franken happened.

Like George Takei I had long followed Al Franken’s career starting with his days on Saturday Night Live. I read a few of his books and I was thrilled when he was elected to the Senate because I agreed with nearly all of his political positions.

First there was that account about how he had pressured a reluctant television news anchor into French kissing him during rehearsals for an upcoming show for the U.S. troops then had a photo shot of him placing his hands on that same woman’s breasts while she was taking a nap.

The good news was that he owned up to that behavior and publicly apologized for it, unlike George Takei, who has blamed Russian bots for his predicament. The bad news is that today a second woman had come forward with her tale about how he was stalking her in her own home soon after the two of them had appeared on a television talk show and they had gotten into an argument on the air about a certain issue.

I’m just as done with Al Franken as I am with George Takei. While I admire both of them for their stands on various political and social issues, I can’t support or justify sexual harassment, sexual assault, or stalking. Besides there are a lot of other people out there who have also done admirable things and taken principled stands on certain issues who don’t engage in rape, stalking, sexual harassment, sexual assault, or anything similarly disgusting.

FUCK YOU TOO, AL FRANKEN!

P.S. If you’re a man or a woman who has survived sexual assault and/or rape and you’re having a hard time dealing with it, there is help for you. Contact RAINN either through its hotline (which is open 24 hours a day) at 1-800-656-4673 or online at rainn.org.

UPDATE (November 20, 2017): And the accusations just keep on coming. A woman has accused Al Franken of squeezing her buttocks as her husband was taking a picture of the two of them together.

UPDATE (December 7, 2017): Senator Franken has announced that he will resign soon after another woman had come forward with her own allegations.

I’ve been watching with dismay over how the Hollywood sexual predator scandal has been unfolding over the past few weeks. Initially it was just Harvey Weinstein, whom I decided to lampoon in an ink drawing since that scandal originally broke during Inktober.

But then some of Weinstein’s accusers collaborated on this Google Doc (I have to insert a trigger warning here since it provides the gory details about Weinstein’s alleged sexual predatory behavior ranging from sexual harassment to rape) and his reputation is pretty much toast at this point. On top of it, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., and a whole bunch of other Hollywood people have been accused of similar disgusting actions.

I saw this post on the Uncustomary blog titled Fuck You, Louis C.K. where she expresses disgust and disappointment to someone whom she had long admired and had even attended a few of his shows. I can understand her feelings, especially since I recently had to take a hard look at a different famous person whom I had long admired. In a way I wasn’t too surprised about Louis C.K. since I had long heard rumors that he had a nasty, misogynous streak. However, the person I’m writing about is different because he had been a part of my life since childhood and he seemed to be the opposite of Louis C.K. in terms of temperament and personality. His name is George Takei.

I spent a large portion of my childhood watching reruns of the original 1960’s Star Trek series, which included George Takei playing the role of Sulu alongside a multi-racial and multi-ethnic cast. As an adult I watched an older George Takei reprise his role as Sulu in a few of the Star Trek feature films. I’ll admit that I mainly saw his acting work in Star Trek. (The only non-Star Trek movie I ever saw George Takei in was The Green Berets, which starred John Wayne. I saw part of that film on TV once and I have to say that it didn’t impress me all that much, which was why I either changed the channel or turned the TV off so I didn’t see the whole thing.) Like many of the other Star Trek actors, George Takei had a difficult time finding work after the series ended because he not only had to deal with typecasting as being capable of doing only science fiction space epics but he also had to deal with being an Asian American actor in a field that tends to heavily favor white men.

I began to see George Takei in a different, more positive light when he started to speak out about his past. He was born to a Japanese American family that was sent to an interment camp soon after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. He talked about what it was like being forced to grow up in a place like that and how it affected his family. It wasn’t too long ago that there was a Broadway show called Allegiance, which was loosely based on Takei’s childhood in that internment camp.

But then he came out as gay a few years ago. I never held it against him that he waited until he became a senior citizen before he came out because I knew that had he come out in the 1960s or 1970s, there was a strong chance that his acting career would’ve been ended prematurely. (Despite the start of the gay rights movement in the late 1960s, homophobia was still very rampant in those days. In some ways homophobia is still strong in this country but that’s another story altogether.) He began to use his celebrity to fight for marriage equality and he publicly married his longtime partner, Brad, back when it was uncertain as to whether same-sex marriage would even be legally recognized in the long-run. I began to really admire him for doing that.

In a way his coming out had renewed his career in the public eye. I began to follow him on social media and I enjoyed his posts. I purchased this ebook, Oh Myyy! There Goes the Internet, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I even shot this picture of a faded poster featuring George Takei, which was hung in the window of the local Social Security office back in 2013 when I was there filling out forms notifying them of my recent name change (which came about as a result of my divorce).

George Takei Poster

When George Takei and his husband, Brad, did a short-lived YouTube series called It Takeis Two, I watched it and enjoyed it. I thought it was totally hilarious yet it was every endearing, especially in the scenes that focused on just George and Brad. (Due to recent circumstances, I refuse to link to this series so you’ll have to do your own Google search if you’re curious.)

It all came crashing down just a few days ago when a onetime male model gave an interview where he claimed that George Takei sexually assaulted him while he was drunk back in 1981. (I have to insert a trigger warning here since it contains a graphic description of that assault.) I felt dismay at first. I found myself wishing that this alleged victim was just a crazy fan who was unusually obsessed with Takei and he was taking that obsession way too far. I know that celebrities have to frequently deal with such crazy fans. I’m old enough to remember when John Lennon was murdered by an obsessed fan outside his own home and Selena was murdered by the president of her own fan club.

But then I had to take another look at this story when this interview George Takei did on Howard Stern’s show last month surfaced and, to be blunt, it didn’t make him look good at all. I heard that interview and I found it to be too reminiscent of Donald Trump’s infamous “grab them by the pussy” Access Hollywood bus recording in that Takei sounded more like a sexually predatory creep.

He dug an even deeper hole for himself when he then claimed on Twitter that Russian bots are behind the sexual assault allegations. He deleted that tweet but not before so many people had made screenshots and they simply re-uploaded that screenshot online.

Now he’s saying that he was just playing the role of the “naughty gay grandpa” on Howard Stern’s show and he really didn’t mean what he said on that show. Had Howard Stern’s show been a TV network situation comedy that is scripted by writers, this explanation would’ve been very plausible. However, Howard Stern’s show is basically a talk show (albeit one that’s emceed by a shock jock who will say anything outrageous on the air just for pure shock value). People who appear on talk shows tend to tell true-life stories about themselves—including the ones who only make such appearances in order to promote their latest book/movie/TV show/website/etc. Howard Stern’s show is no different. Stern may be more raunchy than a typical media interviewer but he is still basically a talk show host.

Given what has happened over the past few days, I wouldn’t be surprised if Takei’s response to the sexual assault allegation will one day be discussed in a college-level public relations class as a case study on how NOT to respond to a potential career-ending scandal.

But seriously I’m pissed off at him. I used to think he was basically a good guy who was willing to use his celebrity for a good cause (marriage equality). Now I know better. George Takei is no better than the other Hollywood public figures who have been named in this scandal.

The only silver lining is that a couple of years ago I had a chance to actually see George Takei in person when he and fellow Star Trek alum William Shatner made an appearance at Awesome Con in Washington, DC. I knew I would never be able to afford the extra fees required (in addition to the basic admission fee to enter the convention itself) so I could get an autograph and have my picture taken with him. I had hoped to be able to see him from afar and maybe check out any panel that he was participating in. It turned out that I didn’t go to Awesome Con at all that year because my finances were too tight to even afford the basic admission. I used to regret missing out on the chance to see George Takei in person. Now I’m no longer regretting it. I’m just glad I wasn’t among the throng of people who paid extra money for that autograph and photo because I can only imagine trying to decide what to do with these expensive items in light of that scandal.

The good thing about this scandal is that it is separating the wheat from the chaff in terms of how it is bringing out both the best and the worst in people. I was heartened when Gal Gadot announced that she would not do any more Wonder Woman films unless an accused sexual harasser was permanently removed from that project. While I enjoyed Gadot’s role in Wonder Woman, I really respect her stance. It would be a disgusting irony if a film franchise featuring a strong woman superhero that champions female empowerment would continue to employ an accused sexual harasser. One of that accused sexual harasser’s victims, Ellen Page, wrote an eloquent yet harrowing Facebook post about how he tried to force her out of the closet before she was ready to do so. (While Page eventually came out as a lesbian, at least she did it of her own volition when she did this. I have LGBTQ friends who told me that coming out is such a long process that requires a lot of mental and emotional preparation. Forcing someone out of the closet before he/she is fully ready to come out have led to major trauma and sometimes that person will attempt suicide as a result.)

Last weekend I pulled out my DVD copy of Clerks, which is the only Miramax movie I currently own, and watched it. I still enjoyed the movie as much as I enjoyed it the previous times. I only flinched when I saw the closing credits where the director, Kevin Smith, thanked Harvey Weinstein for introducing him to the best potato skins he had ever eaten. Recently Kevin Smith announced that he will donate all future royalties from the movies he made for both Miramax and The Weinstein Company—including Clerks—to the non-profit organization Women in Film.

While Gal Gadot and Kevin Smith are trying to do what they can to rectify the ongoing Hollywood sexual pervert scandal, unfortunately there are still people like George Takei who will eventually end up on the wrong side of history. As for me, I’m done with George Takei. I plan on unfollowing him on all social media and I will never again purchase any more ebooks with his byline. I will follow suit with any other famous person whom I had previously admire because sexual harassment/sexual assault/rape against any woman, man, or child has no place in this society. It is not cool or awesome and I don’t want my money to support something like this.

FUCK YOU, GEORGE TAKEI (AND EVERY OTHER HOLLYWOOD SEXUAL PREDATOR)!

UPDATE (November 17, 2017): In the midst of writing and uploading this rant late at night, I forgot to include something. If you’re a man or a woman who has survived sexual assault and/or rape and you’re having a hard time dealing with it, there is help for you. Contact RAINN either through its hotline (which is open 24 hours a day) at 1-800-656-4673 or online at rainn.org.

By the way, check out my sequel to this post: Fuck You Too, Al Franken!

UPDATE (November 24, 2017): The one fringe benefit of unfollowing George Takei on social media is that I’m no longer exposed to his links to news stories that he shared not because he found them interesting but because some website or news outlet paid him to do so. The Guardian has a story about how George Takei and other celebrities are frequently paid to share certain links on social media without disclosing those links as paid advertising. Takei lost some of his deals with these sites when his sexual abuse allegations surfaced but other celebrities are still going strong with those deals as they share links they are paid to share.

Last year I attended a networking event at TechShop, a giant makerspace located in Crystal City, Virginia.

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This place was literally a makerspace on steroids. It was very large and it was filled with the latest top-of-the-line equipment that members could use, such as this machine.

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TechShop definitely had more resources than the local makerspace in my own neighborhood (which is run as a non-profit on a very shoestring budget). The only reason why I never joined TechShop is because its monthly member fees were very expensive. (I don’t remember the exact fees but I think they cost at least $150-200 per month.) Had the fees been more affordable, I definitely would’ve joined and tried going there at least twice a month.

Today I learned that TechShop has abruptly filed for bankruptcy and closed all of its locations nationwide. It’s too bad that this happened because it was an amazing place to see in person. I still remember the member who was building his own personal airplane and that plane was on display as a work-in-progress in the middle of TechShop.

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I only hope that this member managed to finish his plane before TechShop closed for good. (From what I’ve read online, it looks like TechShop didn’t even provide any advance notice to its members before it closed down.) You can check out more photos I took during my one and only visit to TechShop right here.

I was born in Baltimore. I lived there until I was five years old, when my family moved to the nearby suburban town of Glen Burnie. My parents kept on telling me how good I had it in Glen Burnie even though the kids called me “retarded” and many of them refused to have anything to do with me from elementary school all the way to high school. My mother used to tell me that having nice things was more important than having friends while I was raised in a Roman Catholic faith that taught me that materialism was bad. (Yeah, I got some total mixed-messages here. LOL!)

I even had this bully swipe my yearbook when I was in middle school and signed some hateful stuff in it without even asking me if she could sign it. I finally got my revenge a few years ago when I uploaded both her autograph and her yearbook photo in this blog. It’s an equal punishment that fits the original crime because just as her signature in my yearbook can never be fully erased (because it was written in ink on glossy paper), my post about her can never be fully scrubbed from the Internet because there’s always the chance that someone has made a screenshot of it or it’s backed up somewhere else online. Don’t believe me? Look at what happened when Anthony Scaramucci deleted his tweets after he was hired as the White House Communications Director. (Scaramucci would be fired after serving just 10 days at his new job but that’s a different story altogether.)

My life definitely improved when I attended the University of Maryland at College Park then I permanently moved away from Glen Burnie when I got married 10 months after I finished college.

I’m a member of this Facebook group called “I remember Harundale when there was a Mall…” where people reminisce about their pasts in Glen Burnie. I tend to lurk there more than I post because I really don’t have too many positive memories about my life in Glen Burnie. I enjoy people posting about their memories of places that no longer exist, such as the Ritchie Drive-In Movie Theater and the local Italian Delight pizza parlor. Every now and then I see a negative snarky post (such as complaining about Latinos or people who qualify for Section 8 housing moving into Glen Burnie) written by someone that only serves to reinforce my desire to never move back to Glen Burnie.

Today I saw this post in that Facebook group that I hadn’t seen before from a guy who was reminiscing about a local woman. Apparently she was known as Fort Meade Annie and she was known to the locals in the 1950’s and 1960’s long before my family had even moved to Glen Burnie. I don’t recall ever seeing anyone on the streets of Glen Burnie that even matches her description so I guess she must have either moved away or died by the time my family arrived in that town.

Fort Meade Annie was frequently seen in public wearing a raincoat and scarf while carrying an umbrella, regardless of rain or sunshine. She would wear this outfit all year long in both hot weather and cold weather. Apparently she was named Fort Meade Annie because, according local legend, she was once engaged to someone who was stationed at Fort Meade but the wedding never happened because he was either killed in a war or he left her for someone else. I don’t even know how true this backstory is or if it’s something that the locals made up about her in order to make her seem even more pathetic than she really was. From the descriptions I read in that post about her, it sounds like she had some serious mental health issues at the time. In any case the local teens used to taunt her a lot.

So this guy writes about that one summer night in the early 1960’s when he and his friends decide to drive in a car looking for Fort Meade Annie so they could taunt her. They found her at the right moment when they saw her walking along the street while they were stopped at a traffic light. They began to taunt her and she responded by attacking the car with her umbrella so forcefully that the teens started to freak out and they drove away before the traffic light turned green. The car suffered minor damage to the windshield wipers and some minor scratches while one of the youths worried about getting in trouble with his father since he was driving his father’s car that night.

I was reading this story hoping that he and his friends learned a lesson from this encounter by acting more mature and compassionate towards others. But, no, here is how he ended his story.

So did we learn a lesson from this adventure? Probably not. We continued with stupid behavior. Calling out to the girls on the street. Jokes, sometime cruel jokes, at other’s expense. Starting trouble. Tormenting people. We kept doing all the same crazy stuff we always did. We just never did it to Annie again.

Oh, great, they stopped taunting Fort Meade Annie but they continued their harassment of other people and were pretty much assholes. They were only lucky that their other victims didn’t attack them or their car like Fort Meade Annie did.

What’s even worse is that he and his friends took the wrong lesson from this incident. The lesson isn’t “Don’t ever mess with Fort Meade Annie again because she can use her umbrella to defend herself.” The real lesson is that you don’t ever verbally harass strangers who are just minding their own businesses. The fact that he and his friends continued to harass other people after their unfortunate encounter with Fort Meade Annie shows them to be such total morons that I’m amazed they were even able to graduate from high school at all.

So basically this guy writes a post about how he was an asshole teenager who seems to be proud that he continued to be an asshole and he also seems to relish his memories of his youth when he and his friends taunted someone who obviously had mental health issues. I don’t consider this guy to be anything other than a coward. Because only cowards would stoop low enough to attack a mentally ill person who was just wandering the streets minding her own business and not harming anybody.

As J.K. Rowling once wrote in one of her Harry Potter books, “If you want to see the true measure of a man, watch how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” I definitely got the true measure of that Facebook writer and it’s not very big or impressive at all.

What if Fort Meade Annie (or the other women who were victims of his and his friends’ drive-by harassment) had been this writer’s grandmother, mother, aunt, sister, cousin, girlfriend, wife, daughter or niece? Would he still write on Facebook about the fond memories he had when this woman was harassed?

What’s even worse is that there were people who were praising his writing skills and were urging him to write a book about his youth in Glen Burnie. I’ll admit that he is a good writer. But I can’t endorse anyone who not only acted like a total douchebag towards someone who was mentally ill but continued this douche behavior towards others and seems proud enough of those douchebag memories to write a post on Facebook bragging about it.

This post was originally written in June but the moderator of the Facebook group decided to bump it back to the top of the group because today someone else wrote a less-offensive post asking if anyone remembered Fort Meade Annie. At least the people in that thread aren’t talking about harassing her for no good reason. [UPDATE OCTOBER 31, 2017: Apparently that second thread about Fort Meade Annie turned abusive since it was deleted and a new notice from one of the moderators mentioned why it was deleted. Yet the original jerk’s post that inspired this rant remains online.]

I’m glad that this guy is older than me so I never had to endure this jerk’s behavior myself when I was growing up. (Instead I had to endure other Glen Burnie assholes who at least have the decency to not make Facebook posts about their fond memories of their youths as being douchebags.) He is one guy I would never want to even meet online, never mind even meeting him in person. I certainly as hell would never do any kind of business transaction with him.

Seriously if this guy ever writes his memoir, he should just title it Confessions of a Glen Burnie Asshole.

Donald Trump has been such a disaster from day one of his presidency that I’ve always been glad I never started a political blog because I would never get any rest. Every few days this man starts some new drama on Twitter that has me constantly rolling my eyes.

Then there is Trump’s messed-up interactions with children. First there was that lawsuit alleging that Donald Trump raped a 13-year-old girl (which was later withdrawn due to Trump’s election). Then there was that crazy incident at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll where a boy asked Trump to sign his hat. Trump signed it and, instead of giving the hat back to the kid, he tosses it into the crowd even though there were people shouting “NO!” If that wasn’t enough, there was that looney speech at the Boy Scout Jamboree where he talked about inappropriate topics like repealing the Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton.

You’d think by this point that most parents would keep their children away from being physically anywhere near Donald Trump. But there are some parents out there who naively think that this time President Trump has learned from his past mistakes and he would be on his best behavior around their own children. How else can you describe yesterday’s incident where members of the DC media allowed their children to arrive to the White House dressed in their Halloween costumes so they can do some early trick-or-treating at the Oval Office?

Of course President Trump messed that one up as well. Here’s this headline:

Trump questions how media could produce “such beautiful children” at trick-or-treat event

But that’s not all he said around the kids yesterday. Here is what another headline said about Trump’s interaction with those trick-or-treaters:

Trump to Little Girl as He Hands Out Halloween Candy: “Well, You Have No Weight Problems, That’s the Good News, Right?”

In Trump’s world, it’s never too early to get girls to worry about their appearances, including gaining too much weight. There’s this old interview Trump did with his second wife, Marla Maples, where he said that their daughter Tiffany, who was only one year old at the time, has Marla’s legs and he even speculated about the size of Tiffany’s future breasts.

The fact that Donald Trump can’t even do something as simple as handing out treats to young costumed trick-or-treaters at Halloween says a lot about him—none of it very flattering. If I had children at home, I would never allow them to get anywhere near Trump ever because he would make that visit all about him, his need for constant attention, and his willingness to use children to score all kinds of attention for him while ignoring their needs and preferences.

The next major holidays coming up after Halloween are Thanksgiving and the Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanzaa holidays. Parents really need to resist the temptation of a White House visit and keep their children at home because President Trump would just use them for his own ends.

Donald Trump’s presidency has been a disaster from Day One. It has been so bad that a senator made this eloquently powerful speech against the president. Mind you, this speech wasn’t made by Bernie Sanders nor any Democratic Senators. This was made by a senator in his own Republican party. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona has recently announced that he would not seek re-election. Soon after that announcement, he made this eloquent speech on the Senate floor against Donald Trump. I found the transcript at The New York Times but I think it’s worth reprinting in full.

At a moment when it seems that our democracy is more defined by our discord and our dysfunction than by our own values and principles, let me begin by noting the somewhat obvious point that these offices that we hold are not ours indefinitely. We are not here simply to mark time. Sustained incumbency is certainly not the point of seeking office and there are times when we must risk our careers in favor of our principles. Now is such a time.

It must also be said that I rise today with no small measure of regret. Regret because of the state of our disunion. Regret because of the disrepair and destructiveness of our politics. Regret because of the indecency of our discourse. Regret because of the coarseness of our leadership.

Regret for the compromise of our moral authority, and by our, I mean all of our complicity in this alarming and dangerous state of affairs. It is time for our complicity and our accommodation of the unacceptable to end. In this century, a new phrase has entered the language to describe the accommodation of a new and undesirable order, that phrase being the new normal.

But we must never adjust to the present coarseness of our national dialogue with the tone set up at the top. We must never regard as normal the regular and casual undermining of our democratic norms and ideals. We must never meekly accept the daily sundering of our country. The personal attacks, the threats against principles, freedoms and institution, the flagrant disregard for truth and decency.

The reckless provocations, most often for the pettiest and most personal reasons, reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with the fortunes of the people that we have been elected to serve. None of these appalling features of our current politics should ever be regarded as normal. We must never allow ourselves to lapse into thinking that that is just the way things are now.

If we simply become inured to this condition, thinking that it is just politics as usual, then heaven help us. Without fear of the consequences and without consideration of the rules of what is politically safe or palatable, we must stop pretending that the degradation of our politics and the conduct of some in our executive branch are normal. They are not normal. Reckless, outrageous and undignified behavior has become excused and countenanced as telling it like it is when it is actually just reckless, outrageous and undignified.

And when such behavior emanates from the top of our government, it is something else. It is dangerous to a democracy. Such behavior does not project strength because our strength comes from our values. It instead projects a corruption of the spirit and weakness. It is often said that children are watching. Well, they are. And what are we going to do about that? When the next generation asks us, ‘Why didn’t you do something? Why didn’t you speak up?’ What are we going to say?

Mr. President, I rise today to say: enough. We must dedicate ourselves to making sure that the anomalous never becomes the normal. With respect and humility, I must say that we have fooled ourselves for long enough that a pivot to governing is right around the corner, a return to civility and stability right behind it.

We know better than that. By now, we all know better than that. Here today I stand to say that we would be better served — we would better serve the country — by better fulfilling our obligations under the Constitution by adhering to our Article 1 — “old normal,” Mr. Madison’s doctrine of separation of powers. This genius innovation which affirms Madison’s status as a true visionary — and for which Madison argued in Federalist 51 — held that the equal branches of our government would balance and counteract with each other, if necessary.

“Ambition counteracts ambition,” he wrote. But what happens if ambition fails to counteract ambition? What happens if stability fails to assert itself in the face of chaos and instability? If decency fails to call out indecency? Were the shoe on the other foot, we Republicans — would we Republicans meekly accept such behavior on display from dominant Democrats?

Of course, we wouldn’t, and we would be wrong if we did. When we remain silent and fail to act, when we know that silence and inaction is the wrong thing to do because of political considerations, because we might make enemies, because we might alienate the base, because we might provoke a primary challenge, because ad infinitum, ad nauseam, when we succumb to those considerations in spite of what should be greater considerations and imperatives in defense of our institutions and our liberty, we dishonor our principles and forsake our obligations. Those things are far more important than politics.

Now, I’m aware that more politically savvy people than I will caution against such talk. I’m aware that there’s a segment of my party that believes that anything short of complete and unquestioning loyalty to a president who belongs to my party is unacceptable and suspect. If I have been critical, it is not because I relish criticizing the behavior of the president of the United States.

If I have been critical, it is because I believe it is my obligation to do so. And as a matter and duty of conscience, the notion that one should stay silent — and as the norms and values that keep America strong are undermined and as the alliances and agreements that ensure the stability of the entire world are routinely threatened by the level of thought that goes into 140 characters — the notion that we should say or do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavior is ahistoric and, I believe, profoundly misguided.

A president, a Republican president named Roosevelt, had this to say about the president and a citizen’s relationship to the office: “The president is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able and disinterested service to the nation as a whole.”

He continued: “Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that there should be — that there should be a full liberty to tell the truth about his acts and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile.” President Roosevelt continued, “To announce that there must be no criticism of the president or that we are to stand by a president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public.”

Acting on conscience and principle in a manner — is the manner — in which we express our moral selves and as such, loyalty to conscience and principle should supersede loyalty to any man or party. We can all be forgiven for failing in that measure from time to time. I certainly put myself at the top of the list of those who fall short in this regard. I am holier than none.

But too often we rush to salvage principle — not to salvage principle, but to forgive and excuse our failures so that we might accommodate them and go right on failing until the accommodation itself becomes our principle. In that way and over time, we can justify almost any behavior and sacrifice any principle. I am afraid that this is where we now find ourselves.

When a leader correctly identifies real hurt and insecurity in our country, and instead of addressing it, goes to look for someone to blame, there is perhaps nothing more devastating to a pluralistic society. Leadership knows that most often a good place to start in assigning blame is to look somewhat closer to home. Leadership knows where the buck stops.

Humility helps, character counts. Leadership does not knowingly encourage or feed ugly or debased appetites in us. Leadership lives by the American creed, “E pluribus unum.” From many one. American leadership looks to the world and just as Lincoln did, sees the family of man. Humanity is not a zero sum game. When we have been at our most prosperous, we have been at our most principled, and when we do well, the rest of the world does well.

These articles of civic faith have been critical to the American identity for as long as we have been alive. They are our birthright and our obligation. We must guard them jealously and pass them on for as long as the calendar has days. To betray them or to be unserious in their defense is a betrayal of the fundamental obligations of American leadership and to behave as if they don’t matter is simply not who we are.

Now the efficacy of American leadership around the globe has come into question. When the United States emerged from World War II, we contributed about half of the world’s economic activity. It would have been easy to secure our dominance keeping those countries who had been defeated or greatly weakened during the war in their place. We didn’t do that. It would have been easy to focus inward.

We resisted those impulses. Instead, we financed reconstruction of shattered countries and created international organizations and institutions that have helped provide security and foster prosperity around the world for more than 70 years.

Now it seems that we, the architects of this visionary rules-based world order that has brought so much freedom and prosperity, are the ones most eager to abandon it. The implications of this abandonment are profound and the beneficiaries of this rather radical departure in the American approach to the world are the ideological enemies of our values. Despotism loves a vacuum and our allies are now looking elsewhere for leadership. Why are they doing this? None of this is normal.

And what do we, as United States senators, have to say about it? The principles that underlie our politics, the values of our founding, are too vital to our identity and to our survival to allow them to be compromised by the requirements of politics because politics can make us silent when we should speak and silence can equal complicity. I have children and grandchildren to answer to.

And so, Mr. President, I will not be complicit or silent. I’ve decided that I would be better able to represent the people of Arizona and to better serve my country and my conscience by freeing myself of the political consideration that consumed far too much bandwidth and would cause me to compromise far too many principles.

To that end, I’m announcing today that my service in the Senate will conclude at the end of my term in early January 2019. It is clear at this moment that a traditional conservative, who believes in limited government and free markets, who is devoted to free trade, who is pro-immigration, has a narrower and narrower path to nomination in the Republican Party, the party that has so long defined itself by its belief in those things.

It is also clear to me for the moment that we have given in or given up on the core principles in favor of a more viscerally satisfying anger and resentment. To be clear, the anger and resentment that the people feel at the royal mess that we’ve created are justified. But anger and resentment are not a governing philosophy.

There is an undeniable potency to a populist appeal by mischaracterizing or misunderstanding our problems and giving in to the impulse to scapegoat and belittle — the impulse to scapegoat and belittle threatens to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking people. In the case of the Republican Party, those things also threaten to turn us into a fearful, backward-looking minority party.

We were not made great as a country by indulging in or even exalting our worst impulses, turning against ourselves, glorifying in the things that divide us, and calling fake things true and true things fake. And we did not become the beacon of freedom in the darkest corners of the world by flouting our institutions and failing to understand just how hard-won and vulnerable they are.

This spell will eventually break. That is my belief. We will return to ourselves once more, and I say the sooner the better. Because we have a healthy government, we must also have healthy and functioning parties. We must respect each other again in an atmosphere of shared facts and shared values, comity and good faith. We must argue our positions fervently and never be afraid to compromise. We must assume the best of our fellow man, and always look for the good.

Until that day comes, we must be unafraid to stand up and speak out as if our country depends on it, because it does. I plan to spend the remaining 14 months of my Senate term doing just that.

Mr. President, the graveyard is full of indispensable men and women. None of us here is indispensable nor were even the great figures of history who toiled at these very desks, in this very chamber, to shape the country that we have inherited. What is indispensable are the values that they consecrated in Philadelphia and in this place, values which have endured and will endure for so long as men and women wish to remain free.

What is indispensable is what we do here in defense of those values. A political career does not mean much if we are complicit in undermining these values. I thank my colleagues for indulging me here today.

I will close by borrowing the words of President Lincoln, who knew more about healthy enmity and preserving our founding values than any other American who has ever lived. His words from his first inaugural were a prayer in his time and are now no less in ours.

“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break the bonds of our affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely as they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

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Back on Inauguration Day in January I made this prediction where I said that Donald Trump would not last past his first term in office while also saying that it’s possible that he may not even finish his first and only term. Each day I find that my prediction is inching just closer to becoming a reality.

A couple of days ago I came across this video by Keith Olbermann where he’s reporting that, after serving less than a year in office, President Donald Trump has finally realized that “people really fucking hate me.” Here’s the video where you can hear about this for yourself.

But I really don’t need Keith Olbermann to tell me this. As a Washington, DC-area resident, I’ve seen this lack of love for The Donald first-hand ranging from hearing frequent cracks about President Trump from various locals to seeing some of the stores in DC create signs and store windows openly mocking the president.

I even have new evidence showing how unpopular Donald Trump has become since he occupied the White House. Last Saturday there were two major political rallies both occurring on opposite sides of the Mall and the local media were speculating that it might turn into a total street brawl between the two different groups that would be similar to what went down in Charlottesville. One was being put on by Donald Trump supporters and it was called “The Mother of All Rallies” (or MOAR, for short). The other was being put on by the rap group Insane Clown Posse and this group was holding this event as a protest against the FBI classifying its fans as a gang. To be fair, I read that the ICP had planned this rally for over a year—long before Trump was elected president and Barack Obama was still in office. (Which means that it was an Obama Administration FBI who had made the gang proclamation against the ICP’s fans.)

There was so much hype in the media over this so-called “clash of two different groups” that Metro had decided to close the Smithsonian Metro station that day, which turned out to be a totally bone-headed decision. (That’s not to mention that I had to do more walking than usual because I had to get off and on at stations further away from the Mall because Metro had closed down the one station that is actually located right on the Mall itself.)

It turned out that more people turned out for the Insane Clown Posse than for Donald Trump. That’s right, there were more people who were willing to openly proclaim that they are a Juggalo (which is how the ICP dubbed their fans) than people willing to openly proclaim that they still support Donald Trump.

I shot a short video comparing the two events where you can clearly see how lopsided the attendance at both events were. Don’t let the anti-Hillary Clinton “Lock Her Up” chant at the beginning deter you from watching the rest of this video. Just marvel at how the Juggalos outnumbered the Trump supporters.

I also shot a bunch of still photos as well but I’ll make a separate post featuring them sometime next week. In the meantime, you can check my recent posts on Instagram or Flickr if you’re dying to see these pictures right now.

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