Two Emails in Two Hours Is a Bad Sign

Thursday, June 11th, 2020

At 6:31 PM last night, a well-known theatre in Princeton, New Jersey sent out an email with the following subject line:

  • Subject: Arts and Culture Matter

Exactly 100 minutes later, a second email was sent:

  • Subject: My Apology

Yeah.

The apology was solid, noting the “very poor choice of words…in the subject line for today’s email”, which “came across as if we were equating arts and culture with the Black Lives Matter movement…not a belief that McCarter or I hold”. Of course, with a bit of thought and more judicious editing, the need for a second email. could have been avoided entirely.

Take heed, marketers. The lessons from Rothy’s screw-up six years months weeks ago don’t just apply to COVID-19.

Just Stay in Your Bunker 

Wednesday, June 10th, 2020

You should wear a mask. You should wear a mask when you leave the house, you should wear a mask while you’re donating platelets, you should wear a mask when you’re wearing Rothy’s, and you should obviously wear a mask when you’re visiting the Mayo Clinic.

Another time you should wear a mask is when you’re touring a factory making sterile swabs for use in detecting COVID-19. As you can surely guess, Donald Trump chose not to do so when he visited Maine’s Puritan Medical Products last Friday.

“The running of the factory machines is very limited today and will only occur when the president is touring the facility floor,” Virginia Templet, the company’s marketing manager told USA TODAY in response to questions about the event. “Swabs produced during that time will be discarded.”

The above statement is obviously an attempt to downplay the problem here, but even a small number of wasted swabs is too many. The underlying arrogance of Trump’s refusal to wear a mask in even the most straightforward of situations really shouldn’t be glossed over. However, the fact that the machines ran in a very limited capacity on the day of Trump’s tour is also a major problem, given this:

Nearly a third of Maine nursing homes reported last month they had no nasal swabs to collect specimens, the Portland Press Herald reported. Nearly 61% of those that responded to a Maine Medical Directors Association survey said they had seven or fewer at their disposal.

National shortages of swabs was part of what severely hampered early coronavirus testing efforts…Puritan, which received millions of dollars from the federal government to double production, is one of only two companies that make the kind of swabs needed in coronavirus testing.

Despite major shortages of testing swabs, the president’s actions disrupted one of the only active factories making this critical product, leaving workers play-acting instead. In any sane world, this would be a major scandal. In 2020, and Trump’s America, it’s just a scantily reported story garnering little attention as we lurch to the next massive screwup from this ill-equipped administration.


Voting Information: There are many things we can do to end the Trump presidency, but it all starts with voting. Visit https://vote.gov to register to vote, or to check your registration status. Once you’ve done that, get your friends and family registered next.

Look Up to Her 

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020

Later this year, in celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage in America, the faces of 14 female leaders of the suffrage and civil rights movements will appear on Mt. Rushmore. It’s a start.

[Christina] Korp, an entertainment industry veteran, said she wanted to create some type of visual mosaic to honor the anniversary this August, prompting her friend to joke that Korp, a South Dakota native, should put images of women on the facade of Mount Rushmore in her home state. Korp took it seriously.

I like Korp’s moxie.

Derek Chauvin, Fraudulent Voter 

Monday, June 8th, 2020

The voter fraud is coming from inside the police brutality!

This Is What She Does Now 

Friday, June 5th, 2020

On Monday night, Reverend Gini Gerbasi was among those who were forced away from St. John’s Church in Lafayette Square. Her account of the shameful events is well worth reading.

Additionally, while I trust my disgust was obvious, my previous post about Trump’s church stunt was sardonic. I want to be sure my feelings are not mistaken in any way. There is absolutely nothing funny about the way excessive force was used, at the behest of the president, and against peaceful protestors striving toward an end to police brutality, in order to make this hollow photo op possible. In one word, it is a disgrace. The same word neatly sums up Donald Trump himself.

How Do You Kneel on a Neck for Nine Minutes? 

Thursday, June 4th, 2020

When George Floyd was already subdued and in police custody, officer Derek Chauvin drove his knee into Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. As a result, Floyd is dead, and the world is searching for answers as to how this could have happened yet again.

The Washington Post compiled multiple sources to create a video timeline of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis. I felt myself get physically sick while watching it, but I urge you to see it for yourself as well. It’s a grueling 7 minutes and 44 seconds, and yet that’s still a minute less than the amount of time Chauvin kneeled on Floyd. Small wonder that so many in our country, and around the world, are outraged.

I’ve found myself utterly unable to understand the mindset of Chauvin, and too many others like him. An officer has a suspect utterly subdued, with complete bodily control over them. That suspect pleads, stating “I can’t breathe”. What kind of person doesn’t let up before the suspect winds up dead? How can a human being act this way?

Over at the Atlantic, Graeme Wood put it in simpler terms: How do you kneel on a neck for nine minutes? His conclusion is that at best, to do this, one must be totally indifferent to the person’s survival.

The Church Stunt

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020

By now, you’ve likely seen photographs or even video of Donald Trump’s Monday night church stunt. In short, the world’s least likely Christian, a twice-divorced admitted sexual assailant who states that he has never asked God for forgiveness, wasted government resources in an attempt to wash away the fact that he’d spent part of the previous weekend hiding in a secure bunker, by having his picture taken in front of St. John’s Church. I won’t bother to reproduce one of the photographs here, because even that is giving them what they want, but it is exactly as stupid and empty as it sounds.

I found this publicity stunt to be deeply offensive, though not because I am at all religious. Instead, I am offended at how goddamned incompetently it was executed. After nearly four years of the hellish Trump administration, I certainly don’t expect any better. Still, the myriad ways in which this was bungled are remarkable. It is at least slightly uplifting to spell them out, though, so let’s do that!

Many of the details below come from the Washington Post’s timeline, but corroborating sources are abundantly available.

Minimal Traveling

Despite the fact that the President can go pretty much anywhere he wants in America, these lazy monsters opted to go the minimal distance possible, to the absolute nearest church to the White House. Yes, this church was damaged during Sunday night’s protests, but that fact wasn’t even acknowledged. The only way they could have exerted less effort to get their staged photograph is if they’d printed a picture of a church and taped it to a wall in the White House.

Maximal Tear Gas

Despite its proximity to the White House, to get access to this church, the administration decided they needed to order authorities to clear out peaceful protestors from Lafayette Square. Seemingly under noxious bullfrog Bill Barr’s direction, flash-bangs were set off and tear gas was deployed against both protestors and church officials. Apparently, no one considered the optics on that.

Too Early For The Curfew

Washington, D.C. had a curfew in effect Monday night, beginning at 7 PM. At that point, authorities would have had at least a paper-thin justification to clear people out. And yet, the clearing out instead began just after 6:30 PM, well ahead of the curfew. Not content with being merely incompetent, the team had to be impatient as well.

A Lack of Substance

As he finished his short speech in the White House’s Rose Garden, Trump declared “I’m going to pay my respects to a very, very special place”. At that point, Trump and his toadies toddled over to St. John’s. However, the president didn’t permit a few pictures to be captured as he went inside to pray, because he did not go inside to pray. Nor did photographers capture him as he conferred with church leaders, as he didn’t do that either.

Instead, he simply stood in front of the church as pictures were taken. It should be expressly stated, this was not an event which happened to offer a photo op. Instead, it was nothing but the nakedly opportunistic photo op itself. There was no event, and there certainly was no respect to the church, which served solely as a backdrop.

Oh For The Love Of God, Just Lie!

As Trump stood awkwardly in front of his sacrilegious backdrop, he answered a few questions. That led to this hilarious exchange:

“Is that your Bible?”

“It’s a Bible.”.

The president has been a liar his entire life, and he hasn’t slowed the pace of lies during his time in office. Why was this the time he opted to make a truthful statement? Just lie! And did no one think that question might come up? Did they not spend even just a few minutes rehearsing Q&A? Apparently not.

An Awkward Prop

In addition to not rehearsing for possible questions, it’s clear Trump didn’t even practice holding a Bible. Frankly, it like he’s never held a book before. The entire event was about getting a picture holding a Bible in front of a church. Wouldn’t it have made sense to spend just 90 seconds determining how he’d pose?

How did they let this happen?

It would not be unreasonable for you to wonder about how Trump’s team let all this happen. How did no one stop to think about any of the above? While Trump has shown himself to be a fool of limitless vacuity, surely others could have foreseen the backlash this event would cause, if they possessed even a modicum of foresight. And yet, they do not, so they did not.

That’s a natural result of Trump’s stated M.O, which is literally to surround himself with people less intelligent than he is. That would be a bad idea for even a genius, and it’s an irredeemable disaster for this witless dunderhead. It’s also a disaster for America, and the world. This stunt is simply the latest sad example of that.


Voting Information: There are many things we can do to end the Trump presidency, but it all starts with voting. Visit https://vote.gov to register to vote, or to check your registration status. Then, get your friends and family registered.

Our Job Is Never Done

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2020

By now, you surely recognize the name “George Floyd”, who died while in police custody in Minneapolis. In the past few days, protests over this sickening killing, and too many others like it, have spread across America. The moment feels portentous, and yet we’ve been here before. Five and a half years ago, following the lack of prosecution in Eric Garner’s tragic death, I penned a piece entitled “I Can’t Breathe Either”. Re-reading that post in 2020, when another black man in America has died at the hands of the police while croaking “I can’t breathe”, I can’t help but feel disheartened. Have we made no progress at all? Is there nothing we can do?

I don’t want to believe that. Like President Obama, I want to be hopeful about the future, even as I recognize and confront the problems of the present. So today, I’ve chosen to provide financial assistance to help fund our march toward a more just nation. In fact, I’m declaring it to be Giving Tuesday now, and I invite you to take part.

Below, I’ve highlighted five different organizations I’ve just supported personally.

Campaign Zero: Campaign Zero was built for this moment, and founded on the belief that America can be a country where police don’t kill people. Their collection of clear policy solutions aims to bring an end to police violence, and they’re pursuing important legislation throughout the country.

Color of Change: I wasn’t familiar with this organization before this week, but I’ve seen it mentioned repeatedly the past few days. Color of Change was formed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and in just 15 years, they’ve grown to be the nation’s largest online racial justice organization. They’re amplofying minority voices and championing minority causes.

ACLU: In their own words, the ACLU “dares to create a more perfect union — beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees”. From fighting for racial justice to ensuring and expanding voting rights, the American Civil Liberties Union is quite simply one of the most crucial organizations in America.

Committee to Protect Journalists: A free press is a vital part of making protesting voices heard. CPJ does what their name implies, defending journalists as they report the news around the world. Now, stuck with a president who regularly attacks the press, their work within America’s borders is more vital than ever.

Amy McGrath for Senate: This one is a bit more abstract. Donald Trump is the most despicable individual on the planet, but Mitch McConnell is a close second. His disgusting willingness to subvert democracy to win at all costs has done grave damage to our country, and his legacy will be a foul one. McGrath is running a long-shot campaign to unseat McConnell in Kentucky, and help take back the Senate from Republican control.

I hope you’ll consider contributing both money and time to these worthy causes, and to others like them. It’s a start.

Organized Crime 

Monday, June 1st, 2020

Friend-of-the-site Brent S. submitted this amazing tale of organized crime. Their mistake was failing to put “* Do not lose this to-do list” on the list.

The Mind Boggles 

Friday, May 29th, 2020

As you already know, we should all be wearing masks in public for the collective good. My mask is for you, your mask is for me, and they all help reduce the transmission of COVID-19 infection. Not wearing a mask in public makes a statement, but it’s not a good one.


Kevin Siers has brilliantly encapsulated the problem with American individualism.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that plenty of people just aren’t getting it. This Washington Post article has an article on establishments that are refusing to allow their customers to wear masks. Texas bar owner Kevin Smith was quoted giving this defense for the indefensible:

Bartenders need to see their customers’ faces to check IDs and make sure no one gets served too many drinks, he argued. Anyone with the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, should not be coming out to begin with.

Please, allow me to repeat the key line there, with added emphasis:

Anyone with the virus, including those who are asymptomatic, should not be coming out to begin with.

The mind boggles. Does Smith believe that all people who are infected are aware of it, even those without symptoms? That is of course not the case, and that’s a massive part of how the virus spreads. Thus, the only logical extension of his statement is that everyone should stay home. Indeed, we’ve done exactly that. Now, as those restrictions are being slowly loosened in an effort to open things back up safely, that means wearing masks. Learn it. Know it. Live it.