The Appearance of Being Earnest: Democrats, Climate Change and…

I looked up the most recent Real Clear Politics aggregate poll (averaging all the polls) for the 2020 Democratic nominees and was shocked and dismayed by what I saw.  I saw that Governor Jay Inslee of Washington was dead last. Behind Gillibrand. Behind Yang and Gabbard. Behind Tom Steyer and John Delaney. And yes, behind the star of The Dark Crystal(s) – Marianne Williamson.  I knew he was not yet at the 2% threshold, but I was not prepared to see that he was listed last, even among those only averaging 0.3%.  So this blog is not a call for donations for Inslee, which I have been doing (and will continue to do so) like it’s my job over the last several months.  This is a plea to the Jay Inslee team to face reality.  Democrats say they care about climate change.  At best they are committed in word, but not deed. But it may just be that Democratic voters are liars. It’s time for you to find out.

In November 2018 a CNN poll revealed that the issue that ranked as most important to Democratic voters was climate change.  82% of respondents listed it as “very important.” Second place, right after it, was health care.  Now I understand that this doesn’t mean that everyone who said it is “very important” means that it is their #1 issue.  But more than any issue, according to Democratic voters, it was recognized as a priority.  So I don’t begrudge Governor Inslee for believing there was a viable candidacy in climate change focus, both because he believes it in his heart as THE priority, and because Democratic voters indicated so in polling data.  But he was wrong.

Now, a friend yesterday showed me 2016 data indicating that climate change was barely a top 10 issue to voters at the time of the Clinton-Trump matchup.  But a few things as to why that data is misleading. One, it included Republicans. Less than 20 percent of Republicans view climate change as a very important issue.  Two, since 2016 there has been even more dire data about climate change as well as a host of epic natural disasters that have heightened the public’s awareness of the “climate crisis” as Kamala Harris Jay Inslee originally dubbed it among the nominees.  So because it is the Democratic nomination I am concerned with, there is literally no reason to consider GOP voters in this discussion.

Democrats/Progressives have a grand tradition of saying the right thing and insisting that someone else do it. Starting with desegregation – the North adopted a strong NIMBY approach. They loved pointing the finger at the South, as well they deserved. The North had the historical benefit and moral authority of fighting slavery in the Civil War, but when it came to desegregating housing (“Chicago could teach Mississippi something about hate,” said MLK Jr when marching to desegregate housing in the Windy City), schools (e.g. Boston) and even windfarms (Ted Kennedy did not like the eyesore of windmills) Democrats have been much better at launching rhetoric against the worse villains, but not adjusting or sacrificing on their own end.  This is not to say that progressives have not made sacrifices or changes, enforced change and done many good things.  But the modern progressive generally excels at things like marriage equality, civil rights legislation, etc. – things that require political will and moral strength, but no real tangible sacrifice unless you are a bigot crippled by prejudice (the same energy that Trump has weaponized – a robot took your job, but it feels more tangible and actionable to your hate if you can blame it on a Mexican). In other words if it doesn’t cost any money and won’t require you to pause Netflix, a majority of Democrats are warriors for justice.

Now the GOP is basically a lost cause at this point, but needless to say I believe they are a lot worse than Democrats on issues of justice, equality and the environment.  But no issue more than climate change and no candidate more than Jay Inslee demonstrate the disconnect between Democrats’ words and deeds.

As a quick recap, Jay Inslee has the best track record and experience of any candidate running for the Democratic nomination. 8 terms in Congress with a great progressive voting record, 2 terms as the governor of Washington and a brief social media campaign of thirst for the strapping, bespectacled man:

  • Lost his first seat in Congress supporting the assault weapons ban of 1994 (and yet the New York Times failed to mention him in an article today about the 1990s battle over assault weapons – but they managed to mention Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper. Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang, Cory Booker, Joe Biden, Beto O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand.  HALF OF THESE PEOPLE WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL WHEN INSLEE WAS SACRIFICING HIS JOB ON THIS EXACT ISSUE AND THE NY TIMES CANNOT EVEN MENTION HIM
  • voted against the Iraq War, the repeal of Glass-Steagall and against the Hyde Amendment
  • As Governor he has pushed through gun control laws, the country’s best clean energy plan, the first public option health plan, the best teacher pay increase in the country, a long term care plan for seniors and has pardoned thousands of non-violent drug offenders while also banning the box. Oh and his state has the #1 GDP in the country, the highest minimum wage and is rated #1 in business AND employee satisfaction.

But above all, Inslee has staked his campaign on an issue he has fought on for 25+ years and that polls say is “very important” to Democratic voters: climate change.  He has a progressive record of accomplishment second to none in the campaign (all due respect to Kamala Harris’ mile wide, inch deep policy knowledge and Elizabeth Warren who was a registered Republican when the 1994 crime bill was passed (just a fact to illustrate the point that not everyone is a “perfect Democrat”… though Inslee is as close as I have ever seen).  Well I am here to tell Governor Inslee that I think he is wrong.

Not wrong that climate change should be the number one issue.  He has issued the best plan and most comprehensive climate plan because it addresses everything from the environment to climate justice to enhancing organized labor and using the USA’s prestige and leverage to move the world along.  But all that has fallen on deaf ears and blind eyes.  Let’s start with everyone’s favorite punching bag: the media.

Other than MSNBC, Inslee has been an afterthought on CNN and in the New York Times.  He was the first to call Trump a “white nationalist,” during the debate ON CNN, and yet a few weeks later he was not even listed on a very crowded graphic of Democrats who had called Trump a white nationalist.  The Times last week had 3 straight days of climate change related articles on the front page and yet in every article about candidates on issues that Inslee is a LEADER on, including climate, he is never mentioned.  That is a fu*king disgrace and disservice.

But the real and deeper problem is Democratic voters.  Jay Inslee will likely make it to the donor threshold by the August 28th deadline to qualify for the September debates, but it will take a miracle for him to get to the polling threshold. And I think, quite simply that Democratic voters don’t really care about climate change. They care about saying they care. It’s what a good Democrat does. You sound better than the GOP, who admittedly seem to want to poison the Earth. You have the same opinion as Leonardo DiCaprio! Tesla and Prius!

Inslee made the ethical and moral decision to campaign on what he actually believes. But if he also believed that Democratic voters were more than talk he should be dissuaded of that opinion now.  He has two options and I think he should do both:

Highlight His Entire Record

I suggested months ago, assuming budget constraints, that Inslee’s team should make a series of YouTube videos – at least 5, where he splices leading candidates talking about their plans, followed by a clip and graphics of Inslee making that policy law as a legislator or governor. His tag should be “Vision to think it. Experience to get it done. Jay Inslee – ready on day 1.” I suggested he go after Warren during debate 1 with this backhanded compliment technique. He chose to make it generic of “plans vs accomplishments,” which was good, but not good enough. I still think his digital team should make these videos ASAP.  They would be cheap, insightful, informative and headline grabbing.  What is the defense to an “attack” of “I like your idea. I already did it”? There is none. And when just trying to get to 2% it is inexcusable to not be audacious.

Call the Democrats to Action

Jay Inslee strikes me as a truly good man. But also a man who could beat the sh*t out of Donald Trump’s Type II ass if he creeped behind him during a debate.  And it is time for that combination to be turned on the Democratic electorate.  I am not optimistic about Inslee qualifying for the September debates.  I have given him more money than my Manhattan rent so don’t take this as a retreat.  It is a strategic shift.  He should be planning on the October debates (and if September happens then that is a bonus) and on top of the guerilla digital approach he must deliver an address to galvanize the real progressive spirit in all Democrat voters.  I wrote in early July a speech that I thought tapped into this. Obviously it was not used or adopted, but THIS IS IT if you want to read it.  Right now I feel like the Inslee campaign is being run like Shiny Happy People:


But it needs to be a more desperate version of JFK’s plea of asking “what can you do for your country?”  I suggest months ago a possible large speech – bill it to the media as a major address.  Do it in your home state if you need to, in order to guarantee a larger crowd.  And make the theme that it is time to call all Democrats to re-capture the spirit of JFK.  In the speech I wrote I make the connections to the great things Democrats and progressives have done but also link climate change inaction (or mere words of support) to issues like affordable housing, windmills, etc that Democrats have often NIMBY’d (Not In My Backyard).  I would title the speech “The Time of NIMBY Progressivism Has To End Now.”  Climate change is the big issue, but unless Inslee can inform more voters of his second-to-none record of accomplishments ACROSS THE BOARD and how climate change is the chance at redemption for a party that, while driving change, has often slow-walked change in their own world, all while talking a good game against Republicans and their sins.  Governor Inslee is at the cross roads of no time left for the planet and nothing left to lose in his campaign. It is the time for bold action – he is asking the country to take bold action and he is right. It is time for his campaign to do the same damn thing.


Before CNN Made The History of Comedy, Ken Burns…

Tonight, the highly anticipated and publicized series The History of Comedy makes its debut on CNN.  I will be watching, if for no other reason that I will need many laughs after watching John Wick 2.  But what has confused me is the lack of attention that legendary documentarian Ken Burns received for his 2 part series from 2015-2016 COMEDY.  Is it because he focused on the contributions of mostly African-American comedians, while the CNN series promises a more “mainstream” treatment.   For those that have missed it below are the YouTube links to the 2 parts of Ken Burns COMEDY. It is a valuable piece of entertainment history that should not be forgotten amidst the hoopla surrounding CNN’s series.

Ken Burns Comedy: Episode 1

Ken Burns Comedy: Episode 2

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Donald Trump Names Donald Trump His VP Choice

After consulting himself, reviewing all the words he knows and DVR-ing all the Sunday shows, Donald Trump has come to the conclusion that of the all the names on his short list for Vice President, Donald Trump is the clear best choice.  “The main thing you want in a Vice President is someone who can be President, if God forbid, something were to happen to me that wasn’t terrific. And by that measure, there’s no one more presidential than me. I mean, I’m really terrific and so presidential. Tremendous presidential qualities.”  Among the reasons he also cited was that despite putting together “the greatest list of VP choices you’ve ever seen,” none passed his litmus test of “are they as good or close to as good at great things as me.”

His final five choices, which were kept quiet so that a proper “tremendously great vetting” could occur in secret, were a diverse group:

Suge Knight made the final five, because of his “great blackness,” “his name rhymes with ‘huge'” (it doesn’t) and “business leadership credentials – really a take no nonsense kind of guy,” but was eliminated because “he lost out on Dr. Dre and Beats headphones and I would never allow that.”  When asked if Knight’s prison time affected his decision Trump replied, “You can do amazing things with technology and I don’t need my VP in any particular place, so no – it had nothing to do with it. Martin Luther King Jr. was in prison, and I’m not saying Suge is MLK, but he’s a strong black and a leader so no, it had nothing to do with.”

Admiral James Stockdale made the list because he was the last VP candidate of an insurgent/third party candidate (Ross Perot) to gain any real national traction. “Great military guy, I mean one of the best, Patton, Eisenhower, Schwarzkopf and Stockdale are my Mount Rushmore of great military people,” said Trump of Stockdale, who passed away in 2005. “Alive, dead, who cares – Stockdale has more energy than Jeb Bush – that I guarantee it, but in the end it turns out he was captured during Vietnam and I think that sends tremendous weakness to our enemies, so I had to get rid of him.”

Chris Christie was also on the list of finalists.  The absentee governor of New Jersey has been acting like Trump’s verbal Luca Brasi on the campaign trail and has a record of leadership. “Probably the best governor we’ve ever had in this country, truly great,” gushed Trump.  “But he is a fat pig and I cannot digest my food around him. I mean it’s like watching Rosie O’Donnell have sex to look at him and if I can’t eat, I love to eat – I’m a terrific eater, then how can I lead, so Chris is a great friend, good guy, horrible, disgusting man. Can’t pick him.”

Ivanka Trump rounded out the final five, which was not much of a surprise considering how much trust Trump has shown her in business dealings. “I mean listen to that voice. She sounds like a phone sex operator, but instead of being some fat pig or phone bank in Mumbai – I love the Indian people, do a lot of business there, but come on – phone banks should be in America; it’s a disgrace – she looks like as hot as she sounds.  She can close business deals with her brain or with her body – really terrific young woman.” But in the end Trump couldn’t pick his daughter for one major reason. “She’s too hot. I mean we all saw what happened to Bill Clinton, I mean a real scumbag, when he had mediocre women around him in the White House. Ivanka is a guaranteed sex scandal if she is too close to me all the time. It’s not PC, but the fact is she is beautiful and I want to be faithful to Melania before I divorce her for her 50th birthday.”

So there it is, Donald Trump, after a wide ranging, thorough search has decided that a Donald Trump-Donald Trump ticket is what will make America great again.

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Lambert and Tiger and 9th Graders, Oh My!

Three of the biggest stories of the last couple of weeks have been sex related: Adam Lambert’s simulated gang-bang at the American Music Awards, Tiger Woods having sex with everyone (it’s bad enough that he stole the white man’s game, but now by having sex with porn stars and Hooters’ waitresses, he has now stolen the redneck’s fanstasy) to make up for lost time that his large teeth and bug eyes cost him in his younger days before his $1 billion net worth, and I saw today on CNN that one-third of 9th graders in America are having sex and that one half of 10th graders are.

I know this will make me appear as a Puritan relative to many of my contemporaries (especially in comedy), but perhaps the sexual revolution has swung the pendulum too far.  Like the nuclear bomb creators thought, sure we can, but should we?  Like gun control and abortion, it seems advocates of individualized morality and sexual freedom to the nth degree seem to consciously or sub-consciously fear ceding any ground for fear that it may validate an opposition that they dislike, hate or from which they fear judgment.  But isn’t this enough?

First there was the Lambert story.  He claims that he has been banned from most ABC shows (except that bastion of freedom, The View – will Hasselbeck boycott?) because there is a double standard – when women act extremely sexual in heterosexual or lesbian acts during performances it is not treated nearly with the same outrage and repulsion as homosexual men.  And I agree with Lambert (but to be fair, I can’t say I can help my instinctive – “did he just tongue rape that guy? ewwww” reaction.  The double standard is true (Janet Jackson’s nipple crossed the line from simulated to actual, so don’t bring up that hoopla).  However, I would simply ask, why is any of it actually appropriate or necessary?  Maybe people getting dry humped or skull-fu-ked is inappropriate for general public viewing, regardless of who is doing it with who.

I often try to stand up for religion, not even in doctrinal specifics, but as an overall structure of values that I think people can benefit from  – you can get them from other places besides religion I suppose, but the sense of being part of something bigger is important to a healthy society I think (believe me if Twitter, cell phones, Blackberries and Facebook are now providing us with our sense of belonging, unity and community I think we are in trouble as a culture and society.  That faux-community is based solely on the importance of, and focus on, self. Say what you want about religions (not necessarily religious people), but they usually have community well-being as their bases, at least the way I’ve experienced them).

Following that, one of the biggest criticisms of religion I hear from my friends is the sense of repression and shame religion attaches to sex.  A valid point, but even jaded atheists will agree that at some point (perhaps as “innocent” as 16 year old Britney Spears or as gross as Jerry Springer/Maury Povich guests) people should feel some degree of shame for their conduct in the sexual realm – not knowing your baby’s father, but narrowing it down to 11 guys is sort of nasty (or being one of 11 guys on that panel).  But with religion, or at least the sense of community well-being that it can foster and nourish, being diminished in our society, as well as many of my friends believing “judgmental” is the worst epithet that can be thrown at a person, it has come to feel like, “do whatever you like because we are free, we have no restrictions, no code of decency beyond our own individualized sense of what that entails and most importantly no judgment from others.”

However, I think there is still a sense of outrage at Tiger Woods, which I think is appropriate (note to his wife – marrying a driven, successful man, who was driven by his Dad from a young age and is not that attractive, but-for the media saturation of his face that creates a comfortable familiarity mistaken for attractiveness and is now worth a billion dollars is a bad recipe for marital bliss – as if a nerdy loser with money, met a horny black guy and a pushy Asian with a sense of entitlement  to form the perfect storm of cheater)  Some people say, who cares?  Or he’s a celebrity – that’s what they do.  But this guy did not just have an indiscretion.  That was five or six or twenty-two women ago.  This guy’s endorsement shouldn’t be worth anything that is not golf-related.  Not that we put much stock in his endorsement to begin with, but I think you can agree with me.  We have gotten to the point where the only realistic role models we can have (or are allowed to have without incurring the wrath mentioned in the previous paragraph) in terms of personal conduct are men like Derek Jeter or George Clooney, guys who don’t cheat on wives because they don’t have them (please don’t let Obama have an indiscretion).   Most of young people’s role models for moral behavior are now those who decide to sit out of the game basically.

It reminds me of something that happened when I was engaged.  I remember hearing from a friend of my ex that she had been releived when she found out I had once cheated on a girlfriend in college (which I told her).  And I asked, “relieved?” And the friend said, “well no girl feels secure if they think their guy is perfect.”  Now I know this is not every woman’s opinion, but it still startled me, which it probably should not have.  The reality television culture we live in is now a race to a view of the bottom – so we can always see that we are better than someone else, rather than a view of the top – so we can aspire to be better (once again Obama being the exception – even just for this can’t the self-righteous conservatives give him a break?).  We seem to enjoy people’s failings because they make ourselves feel better about ourselves.  We want less Kennedy and Obama and more Jersey Shore and Real Housewives.

And now there is a trickle down effect, which is sort of the point of this whole rant.  Congress held hearings about steroid abuse by athletes because of “the children.” But to those who may have felt that concern it should be no surprise that 9th graders are banging each other at record highs in this country.   Some may not feel there is anything wrong with this, but doesn’t that feel a bit young for such high numbers?  Sure it seems a little more appropriate for that kid that was shaving in 4th grade or that girl with the really touchy-feely uncle, but one of of every three?  And then one of every two by 10th grade?  Kids are impressionable to what is marketed to them and to peer pressure.  Even the best and most enlightened parents will have a tough time combating that.  And between all the social tools that act to separate us despite their purported connectedness, sex has become the latest thing to depreciate in this country to record lows along with the dollar and letter writing.

Liberals and libertarians (yes you comedians!) love bashing the Puritanical views of sex in this country and mocking the religious right (who sadly, often turn out to be hypocrites, at least the ones you are told about because America loves to hate a hypocrite), and I will admit I am no saint.  But at some point when will we feel liberated enough?  I don’t want to have to make sure my future daughter is using protection when she still has a lunchbox (for the record I will make any future daughters use a lunch box through graduate school).


I Am Pitching A New Reality Show For Bravo

It’s called “Chris Brown Beats Up The Women On  Bravo Television Shows”

If Bravo were a bar it would be a place where shallow women and shallow gay men could meet and discuss the lives of other shallow women and shallow men, both straight and gay.  Unfortunately it is a television channel that sometimes shows women with nice bodies and on my way from CNN to Comedy Central I am sometimes distracted – the same way an episode of The Bunny Ranch or Real Sex on HBO can sometimes derail me on my way to finding real programming.

Well I recently caught a few episodes of Millionaire Matchmaker, the genius show on Bravo that tries to match millionaires who are either ugly dudes with incredible arrogance/douchebagginess or decent looking dudes with no social skills with women in Los Angeles who, get this, are willing to date millionaires.  The matchmaker on the show claims to have a 99% success rate.  Why not 100%?  Matching rich dudes with shallow women is the second easiest job in the world after being Usain Bolt’s track coach (“run fast and try not to dance before the finish line”).  Bravo is actually releasing a companion show soon called Porn Star Matchmaker where I try to match female porn stars in their 20s with guys from New Jersey who are willing to date porn stars.

I also caught The Real Housewives of New York on Bravo.  I could not stomach a full episode, but here’s  synopsis:

  • These women do no housework. 
  • They all have children uglier than them because they married ugly rich dudes thus diluting their husband’s intelligence and drive with their shallow whoriness and diluting their looks with their husbands’ faces for radio.  What you get is a batch of mediocrity known as the bottom 50% of New York City private schools.

I admit this was only from about 30 minutes of viewing one episode, but I seriously could not watch more than that.  Perhaps I am wrong and these are real salt of the Earth people. 

My real questions is when did the bitches win?  I have had women tell me that bitches always win and nice girls finish or get taken advantage of.  Sadly, this may be true because these women hardly ever do any self reflection which might cause them to break down and realize their lives are shams.  But even if bitches do win and get their way, why are we celebrating them?  I keep seeing ads for The Bad Girls Club, which from the looks of it could literally be called cu-ts.  I know the language is a little harsh, but please correct me if I am wrong.  Rather than accepting these women as a sad part of society we are celebrating them. 

That is why I am proposing a new show for Bravo starring Chris Brown called Beat Down with Brown (other possible title is Brown Town).  The premise is simple – Chris Brown goes on dates with women from shows on Bravo (and throw in Bad Girls Club on oxygen for good measure) and then does his thing.  Does the date end in a kiss and a dance or a biting session?  Tune in to find out.   At the end of the season only one girl is left standing.  Literally.  Or in a shocking turn one of the girl/women’s fathers shows up (most of these women have to have physically or emotionally absentee fathers to be on these shows in the first place) in the season finale and beats the piss out of Chris Brown (which makes me question – does Rihanna have a brother or a father?  probably not if she’s subjecting herself to Chris Brown, who if it were my daughter or sister, would end up on the sidewalk like Carlo in the Godfather).

Hopefully Chris Brown gets word of this.  Everyone loves a comeback.


90,000 Sex Offenders Barred From MySpace

At least I still have Facebook.

I read yesterday that MySpace has removed and barred approximately 90,000 sex offenders from MySpace.  I am not sure that will save it from dying an excruciating death at the hands of Facebook, unless they go negative and start claiming that Facebook is a haven for sex offenders.

How did MySpace find these people?  I never saw the “rapist” or “pedophile” option on relationship status or occupation.  And I have to assume that if you are a sex offender you cannot be so stupid as to make an account with your own name, unless, instead of employing a clever ruse (candy, white van, “this room is really warm, do you mind if I take off my shirt”), you are more a brute strength sexual assaulter, but then you would have to bar most fraternities and Mike Tyson from MySpace, which they did not.

And have you seen some of the girls on MySpace.  I don’t want to say any of these girls are asking for it, but when your screen name is Hot Wet Pussy Cat (coming soon to my “Top Friends”) and every picture is an ass pose of some variety shouldn’t that the two to tango policy.  Furthermore, I thought you had to be at least 16 to be on MySpace.  I assume, if on-line dating is any primer for MySpace sexual predatory tactics, there will be 8 to 10 months worth of inane banter and by then wouldn’t the victim be of legal age?  And if a person younger than 16 is lying, how is that the sexual assaulter’s fault?  Sure the Dora the Explorer backpack should have been a clue as well as the fact that her favorite movie is High School Musical 3, but can’t it be assumed by the assaulter that she was of age when her 13 year old boyfriend forwards her sextexts to everyone (kids these days!)?

And isn’t anyone who watched Brittney Spears’ first video on MTV that was older than 18 sort of a sex offender anyway? 

Or at least forwarded it on the Internet?  Now sex offenders need to run to Facebook or Twitter (which sort of sounds like a finishingmove for a sex offender video game character, probably voiced by CNN’s Twitter-obsessed Rick Sanchez).  As long as narcissism does not become a crime Facebook should have nothing to worry about.  How’s Friendster doing by the way?