Category Archives: CURRENT TRENDS

Anger At Jesse Williams’ BET Awards Speech And Outcry Over Political Comedy Betrays An Anxiety Around Discomfort— A Critique

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

To many he blew the doors off the house with said speech upon accepting a humanitarian award, applauded for taking the opportunity to make meaningful public commentary on something as impactful and profound as the devolving state of continued police brutality on minority communities, particularly the black community. Being a member of the black community, doing it as well as the Harvard graduation speech also going viral online earlier this summer, graduation speeches earning standing ovations, national recognition, and for good reason. This of course brought out the haters who thought he should be fired from his gig on Grey’s Anatomy for being anti-white, circulating a petition to that effect; basis of the petition seeming to be, had a white person said the same things about African Americans they would have been globally chastised and expediently Fed- Xed to the unemployment line, relegated to answering want ads, virtually black listed and rightly so. Especially considering the fickle nature of his profession and that one little wrong move can derail your career in Hollywood, being deemed difficult to work with or one big movie flop, one lack luster performance, suddenly no one wants you. In this case citing precedent on the Grey’s set, who could forget of course, Isiah Washington’s very public firing and removal of character Preston Burke after Washington made a homophobic slur to fellow cast member, at the time, TR Knight referring to his as faggot. Orientation of Shonda Rhimes, Grey’s Anatomy creator’s politics aside, never mind what Williams said about race and police while being ‘anti-white and anti-law enforcement’ was 99% true and needed to be said; what he said wasn’t a slur of any kind rather a frank, blistering assessment of the way things still are, an example of the work still needing to be done, how far we still have to go…Few however alighting on what the true firestorm should have been about: the redundant, unhelpful indictment of his own community taking on a new face; the hypocritical indictment of white people willing, trying to help after seeing with their own eyes videos describing, detailing what minorities have said for years, having had the scales taken form their eyes, so to speak, finally beginning to think what if that was me, my child, my sister, my brother, aunt, uncle, friend. And he repays them with that speech, after years of begging, pleading, imploring whites to find their conscience, see blacks, other ethnicities as human beings, as equals, not animals, chattel, see and acknowledge the injustices visited upon blacks by police, employers, those who should be their fellow citizens, they start to and he rewards their effort with that speech….How is it that someone did not stand up from the BET awards audience and tell him just as ‘eloquently’ where he could stick his thoughts on the ‘right’ way and the ‘wrong’ way to wear ‘black identity,’ the ‘right’ way and the ‘wrong’ way to represent ‘black’ identity,’ represent the African in African American, grabbing that award trophy away and breaking it over his obviously too thick, fame inflated head or at his feet, whichever is non-lethal while imparting the same powerful lesson. There isn’t just one way to encapsulate a culture, an ethnicity, a community, and if you have to start your commentary, your work telling whomever it is you’re endeavoring to help to look more like this, don’t do that and start doing this, you are precisely the wrong person to be receiving a humanitarian award, the wrong person to be speaking to, or on behalf of, ethnicity issues, regardless of your skin color, if your skin color matches those you’re trying to reach, make understood to the rest of the world… the problem with Jesse Williams’ speech isn’t that I have heard spoken word poetry done better, though I have; my skinny, white high school writing teacher read Sekou Sundiata’s Space to classes year after year with more great oratory befitting a single, underrepresented ethnicity, in literature or elsewhere, than any aspect of Mr. Williams’ delivery that night. Nor that there is a palpable anxiety around discomfort in our supposedly increasingly coddled culture of safe spaces; though I have no idea if that’s the core reason their named conservative targeted him or attacked comedy ‘because it was no longer fitting into the mold of almost totally white and acceptable excluding all previously fringe portions of society.’ And the reason I don’t care about either 2 items is because there is so much more to care about; the bright red bullseye problem with what Jesse Williams said in his BET acceptance speech is it’s the same old repackaging of black respectability politics that never really went away in the first place…. It smacks too much of Bill Cosby shouting down the kids who weren’t getting shot down for political reasons, but got shot for stealing pound cake when we knew it was about so much more than pound cake, Coca Cola; asking where parents crying at their child in an orange jumpsuit were at 2, 12 and 18, how they missed their child had a pistol, when he should have been asking why trained police felt it ok to shoot anyone in the back of the head for suspicion of petty crime. Knowing full well a staggering percentage encompassing those absentee, clueless parents were probably incarcerated on varying degrees of legitimate charges, virtually assassinated in the street not by thugs, bangers, gang members committing drivebys, rather by police before we knew names like Eric Garner—Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the newest names added to the carnage since Jesse Williams decided to channel Cosby in front of a microphone trying to tell it like it is… Mr. Jell-O…Irony of a man telling kids to pull up their pants who couldn’t keep his zipped and needed to drug women to get them into bed despite his celebrity status, probably committed the far greater crime, than expecting things handed to you, sagging your pants or blaming ‘the system’ for your own failures—rape, fathering at least one child out of wedlock while bashing women for having 8 kids by 8 different fathers simultaneously amassing 20 mistresses, paying hush money to protect his stellar image was lost on all of no one… No, Jesse Williams shouldn’t be fired for his provocative poetry, neither should he be lauded for it, but like Bob Costas, Lawrence O’Donnell and Ed Shultz in late 2012 emphatically insisting if Jovan Belcher had not owned a gun, i.e. had guns not been so easy to get, he and Kasandra Perkins would still be alive, he deserves to be called out for getting it horribly wrong in crucial ways, for too quickly jumping on the bandwagon of respectability politics run by those who came before him to the same disastrous results, resorting to discussions on pound cake, sneakers, vernacular instead of the issue…Or in Williams’ case, why name brand clothes are bad for blacks and blacks alone: because slavery… How easily he dismisses for all the “Burying black people out of sight and out of mind, while extracting our culture, our dollars, our entertainment like oil—black gold. Ghettoizing and demeaning our creations then stealing them.” Those who happily line up to be ‘stolen from’ ‘exploited,’ who don’t see it as exploitation and shouldn’t; to make money and do well showcasing your culture all of it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the raw, real places people come from, come up from and come out of informing people and creating a good life for you and yours, fluffing the economic 11th commandment: giving your children better than you had, the 11th commandment for the impoverished: get the heck out of the projects. The ‘white’ people who work at record labels, similar venues who aren’t racist or exploitive making the same money helping back people tell their stories through their music, their clothing, their business venture, and what pray tell is wrong with that again, other than you don’t like it… . It reminds me of a white college English professor I had who told the story of her little boy also ethnically completely white (no more than 8) who liked talking in black vernacular was very free in church, things she tried to discourage him out of lest he be called a racist, accused of the same, wrong, bad form, exploitive cultural appropriation; let’s make that sit down and for good measure shut up… Jesse Williams is the type of person, at least in his identity politics, who makes people feel they aren’t black enough, loyal to the cause enough if you don’t do certain things, arrange their life a certain way, accused of cozying up too closely to oppression otherwise…deemed uneducated fools in the streets who will never reach their full potential thanks to their habits. And if this is not Jesse Williams, if this was not his message, why did he give that speech and give it that way; if I’m reading this wrong and his not touting respectability politics with a side note or 2 on other issues, then why give that speech, why the lines about brands on our bodies, why the lines about gentrifying genius, extracting dollars like oil, black gold? If it meant something else, other than telling black people the evils of money, to focus on something else, never saying what, acting like we should all be in sack cloth and ashes until such a time as what, he never clarified either, then why did it hit my ears and so many others that way, why engage the argument that way at all, why not the line about Tamir Rice and stop, giving people more to think about on top of it?Read More

Dallas was Wrong But Completely Unsurprising

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Echoing, Baltimore, Ferguson what did you expect; 2 people gunned down savagely by police with badges and you didn’t think there would be a reaction, a response, predictably a violent one, retaliation aimed at officers? commiserating with citizens over their justifiable anger toward police after a grand jury declined to indict the lead officer responsible for the chokehold ultimately killing Eric Garner. Where we had video showing exactly what the officer did: initiating the pile up atop a man trying to walk away, saying please don’t touch me, asking over and over why police were bothering, harassing him, later smiling and waving to present cameras after seeing the man he arrested carted off in an ambulance unresponsive, exactly what Garner did: passively pulling away, growing agitation not violence, his labored statements repeating 11 times I can’t breathe while officers continued to kneel on him, hold him down, press his head and body into the sidewalk. And again no charges; replacing charges, the unmitigated gall of a police union representative trying to insult everyone’s intelligence by calling what one of their own had done a seatbelt maneuver. Going back a short ways again to Ferguson, when bumbling Mayberry-esque law enforcement top brass couldn’t even get their stories straight on why they stopped Michael Brown, was it jaywalking or was it he fit the description of robbery suspects potentially guilty of stealing $4.88 in mini cigars, let alone why a lone officer pelted him with bullets, the last literally blowing off his forehead. Didn’t stop them from releasing an inflammatory video of a person committing a strong armed robbery speculated to be Brown; then seeming genuinely confused regarding why they had people looting everything that wasn’t nailed down… The only reason Michael Slager was charged in the savage, man with a badge, induced death of Walter Scott was because civilian video shows him running away and Slager lying through his teeth about administering CPR, rifling his pockets instead; the only reason the other South Carolina officer, who shot a man in the hip, was removed from his department and charged is because his own dash cam shows the man non-violent, actually following officer instructions to show license and registration. Both arrests the products of public pressure, intense scrutiny and protest to hold police accountable than an inherent understanding what they did was wrong, should never have happened. Video not always working to bring justice, glaringly obvious in the death of Tamir Rice, independent of a patrol car rolling up on him and within quite literally 3 seconds they open fire, despite 12 year old Tamir being alone in that gazebo, only after video came out did they say they told him to put his hands up, drop his ‘gun’ from the car; one guesses because there was no audio and other people in the public park it gave the grand jury reasonable doubt, translation the redundant no indictment… Speeding us toward right now Baton Rouge Louisiana, Alton Sterling suddenly tackled to the ground by police, held down to the ground by 2 officers, one pointing a gun at his chest yelling, using expletives, threating him not to move until the other officer yells gun, 2 distinct pops and Alton Sterling is now expediently dying on the parking lot pavement…A single day later Philando Castile’s deadly traffic stop live streamed on Facebook by his girlfriend as it happened, as Castile groaned in pain and bled out right there while the officer continues to point his gun at her awaiting backup. Why, because the officer mistook Castile for a possible robbery suspect and panicked when he reached for his ID as instructed all while trying to tell the officer he was licensed to carry and had his legal firearm on his person, in his vehicle; Minnesota, like Ohio, home of Tamir Rice, being an open carry state presence of a gun shouldn’t have ended like that. A day after two more black men succumbed to the looming danger of jittery patrol personnel former Army reserve Micah Johnson takes up multiple sniper positions killing 5 police officers present in solidarity with protesters, wounding 7 other police members and 2 civilians in Dallas Texas…. Compartmentalizing for a moment getting serious about the ongoing wars we fight, waged for years, seeing no end in sight and the toll it takes on good people sent to fight them, scars left on them not erased by returning to their home geography, reentering civilian life, lasting effects we don’t have a process for mitigating, treating or have outlandish expectations as to how well it works….are police always so unprepared; by the time we had gotten to the Eric Garner grand jury decision paralleling the death of New York officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu police retaliation wasn’t new or unheard of in the wake of video gone viral putting on display police brutality, excessive force adding up to needless civilian death? At the same time the named officers were ambushed in their patrol car L.A. had already seen a cop shot at, Ferguson had already erupted once, would again when Darrin Wilson faced zero incitement and a Florida officer was killed under similar circumstance; far from random, New York and Missouri explained, L.A. a direct response to the released autopsy report of one Ezell Ford developmentally delayed, shot by police, medical examination finding one shot was to his back, at close range leaving powder burns in the wound and inciting the public, nation too focused on Michael Brown to string together the pieces… Further Dallas is a huge metropolitan metropolis housing exponential numbers of tall buildings and it took it happening before you look up and think someone might do this, aptly named skyscrapers make ideal, prefect sniper perches; compounding what can only be called police shortsighted stupidity at our reading juncture, you have Dallas police chief David Brown scrutinizing positions of his dead officers calling the landscape adjacent to the shoot out a fatal funnel meaning their sniper took more time analyzing the area than they did when it came to where they should place officers, precautions they should take in the event of a protest disturbance, actual riot or active shooter situation—huh?.. Why are police always so flummoxed when confronted with criminal work arounds to achieve their goals, not necessarily in the heat of the moment believing there was more than one shooter, but in the immediate post analysis, the mistaken idea no one would ever take up a sniper perch at a protest, there aren’t civilians who possess requisite training to pull off such a plan and the persons who hold aforementioned training are not unstable enough to do so, earnest in their assessment nothing like that would happen during a protest scenario? Every assumption utterly false considering the sheer amount of returning soldiers, and all their problems, coming home in the last decade…. And in light of extensively listed facts and practical realties regarding scenarios various police divisions, law enforcement specialties should be fully aware of, the best thing they could do to disarm, neutralize the threat this guy presented to cops, protesters and citizens below was to, for the first time ever in U.S. policing history, send in a robot armed with a bomb to blow him apart?… Reading up to our current paragraph illustrating it goes beyond black lives matter, really incomparable to all lives, blue lives matter because it isn’t just coming to the understanding black, minority lives are also human lives, not the animals they have long been portrayed as, the understanding black, minority lives are important, more so now with them continually under siege…about correctly identifying, to a reasonable standard, what is a threat and what’s not, what is a deadly threat and what is a more moderate type of threat; it is coming full circle reaching the realization when shown a picture of a black person, seeing a black person walking down the street they are not a thug, they are not a gangbanger, drug dealer, shifty criminal about to commit petty theft, simple assault, because they sag their pants, wear oversized clothes, have necklaces around their necks and name brand sneakers. They are not, if female, a prostitute working the corner based solely on her clothing and location, they did not steal it, i.e. the car they’re getting into, because they have nice things, they aren’t necessarily out of place in that neighborhood because it is upscale and they are black, they are just people going about their business like you do when off duty, during a traffic stop, legitimate questioning by police, even situations as deadly as Dallas, they are not an exaggerated, elevated threat because they are black… Alton Sterling wasn’t a thug, a gangbanger, drug dealer, a hood rat, a hardened, habitual criminal; he was just a guy trying to earn money the only way he could, money intended to support his children not buy drugs, get high, spent on booze. Philando Castile had no criminal record absent a sizable collection of traffic stops and citations, half of those 52 amassed in the maximum 16 years he possibly had a driving license dismissed once reaching court…Philando Castile wasn’t violent, a thug, a gangbanger, miscreant, had a job, as a school cafeteria supervisor where students described him as Mr. Rogers with dreads…Prevailing attitude remains, there’s no need to change police culture regardless of we have a man, a civilian putting out video on how to survive a traffic stop, not departments nationwide who have seen this, unfortunate in their eyes, type of shooting happening with alarming frequency….When Senator Tim Scott, singular black republican, must resort to testifying on the Senate floor about times he has been pulled over throughout his life focusing on the 7 times in one year because police did not believe him to be the elected official he was to get his fellow republicans to comprehend then contemplate the clamors for mandatory and immediate criminal justice reform, reigns put back on our policing…Then over the weekend following one thwarted attempt to kill Baton Rouge police a man succeeded in ambushing, killing 3 cops and wounding at least 3 others; president Obama making clear it can’t be open season on police, there is no justification for targeting police and justice on their behalf will be done. Quick rebuttal being why not Mr. president, it’s been open season on us for years going all the way back to Rodney King…
Read More

Brexit Buyer’s Remorse, Calls For A Do Over A Cautionary Tale To Americans Considering Their Own Elections?

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Impact felt immediately as world stock markets tumbled after the profound uncertainty of an outcome every educated person looking at it said wasn’t likely to happen; comment from one British analyst: they lost more in one night than in 15 years of payments to the EU, the pound cratering to a 31 year low against the dollar…Worries there, now former Prime Minister Cameron was onto something when he forewarned of a possible self-induced recession, the UK representing the largest to second largest, depending on source, European economy, thought being where they go others will follow or be caught in the undertow; thinking not limited to economic realities, who could be hurt in the interim 2 years it may take to engineer the UK’s lengthy, complicated, convoluted and, complex EU exit, who could find themselves in dire straits as the UK implements Brexit, shifts from EU guidelines, regulations and laws to exclusively UK ones. While worries in America center on their own coupled with global financial markets, stocks tumbling for 2-3 days straight, 401ks, retirement accounts losing up to $5,000; market uncertainties not going anywhere knowing as, stated, it could take up to 2 years for the UK to process its formal, official I’s dotted, T’s crossed exit. Down the road issues of trade, alliance on a global political scale, what the threat of a breakup of the UK, more likely the EU, means for global security, a constant American concern as definitive global leader in shaping worldwide events. Real trepidation is reverberating through Europe other countries will follow suit using Britain’s example, that it could reach so far as to divide the UK itself; Scotland for example, overwhelmingly voting to remain in the EU, already having held their own internal referendum seeking Scottish independence from the UK in the not so distant past. Defining catalyst behind forming the EU was to shape a post-soviet Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall, moving from vision to existence a unified Europe for the benefit of participating nations pillared on ‘four freedoms’ of: movement of goods, services, people and money; emphasizing these are small counties land mass a faction of the United States, populated landmasses in Canada, Asia causing a coalition, unification like the EU to make sound sense allowing people things, workers, service to flow freely in such close quarters, increase trade, lower costs, completely disconnected from the elitist power play, better to go it alone lines fed to the people. Processing the leave vote, worries there may be significant problems operating their national health service as it depends heavily on other EU members for doctors, nurses, support staff…foreshadowing for Americans if they continue to blithely listen to Donald Trump and like-minded persons, is hearing people’s explanations behind their vote, thought processes, lack thereof resulting in the shockwave magnitude world consequences; comments like they didn’t think their vote would count, thought their vote insignificant, they didn’t really want to leave they just wanted to make a statement, shrugging it off saying they could always vote differently next time. Right after the vote’s announcement the most googled thing from there, what is the European Union, what does it mean to leave the European Union; shouldn’t that have been a topic you were googling before you cast your ballot, whichever decision you made? It’s like watching a montage to the uninformed voter, would be funny if it wasn’t so serious…British born comedian John Oliver never letting up on Britain for their monumentally stupid decision, quashing calls for a revote with this succinct line: there are no f-ing do overs, sentiments needing to be prevailed upon the public prior to election day obviously, realization coming too late; the punch in the nose, mentioned during the first set of videos at the top of the piece, coming to the voters who thought this would solve your problems. Politicians lied to you, shocker—that’s what politicians do; they said the 300 million pounds going to the EU daily would go to the NHS, strongly implied it, and it didn’t? Except anyone having passed high school level government 101, knows the excess money not used by countries in paying bills, seeing to operations, funding various programs is usually funneled back into generic government coffers and there are no earmarks; someone please tell me if UK democracy, democratic republic structures are that different…What could this mean for Americans poised to make their own decisions, we can’t keep buying into the Trump mantra of making America great again by dragging back jobs from China, Japan, Mexico, everywhere when existing trade deals, trade memberships like with the WTO, stand in the way. Moves away from them could mean drastic ripple effects not singularly for us but other westernized and developing nations alike. We can’t buy that one liner realizing it doesn’t matter how many jobs he might bring back with different deals if it translates into making enemies out of people we must trade with, equal world players, superpowers holding their own weight to throw around who can make things infinitely worse in trading with the United States, if animosity is the ‘weapon’ of choice, and most importantly, when we don’t have the skilled workers waiting to fill those suddenly available jobs. Young people today seen as being pushed away from dirty jobs, working with your hands, Mike Rowe and Bill Maher fond of saying “we can’t all be the person drawing on the cave wall,” the former saying we need people to do something, forever sounding the alarm about the skills gap still failing to understand what’s truly behind it. Young people are going in different directions to follow job landscape shifts yes however, also possessing different talents and seeking out different places to ply them; regarding America, business, including the remaining facets of the manufacturing, skilled trades, construction, exc., failing to be candid and forthcoming about their need for workers, the academic subjects needed for success in field X paired with places to receive training…As the child of a blue collar, unskilled worker, a parent who did factory work, who grew up as part of the transitional generation between pencil and paper, the typewriter and the computer, smartphone, tablet, information age I’m struck by one fundamental question, why can’t we understand industry, working, job markets have changed…e last time industry kept pace with service was in the 1880’s…tasks, technology experts predicting a drastic shift in the face of what future work looks like. Leading my analytical mind to a single set of follow up questions, where is the revitalization of steal towns, coal towns, rust belt areas to match the changing job landscape whether from the government or neighborhood by neighborhood renovations instigated by the people? UK or America, if you don’t like your neighborhood can you mobilize people and supplies….imagine if some of those older citizens in the UK seeing the younger people on street corners offered to teach the knowledge, skill they worked in for years…Read More

This Is Not Parenting Round What Are We Up To Now: Louisiana Mom Arrested After Disciplining Her Kids For Breaking Into A Neighbor’s Home

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

The Baton Rouge mom telling police openly she spanked 2 of her children with an RCA cord and 1 with a belt after a neighbor informed her the 3 had robbed her house, her witnessing them cart belongings from her home. Police report detailing the eldest son “had lacerations to both his arms and linear marks on his leg, shoulder, back and stomach…” The 12-year-old had “lacerations to his left arm that did break his skin,” and the 10-year-old had “a small scratch on his hand.” Comment summing up brilliantly why this woman was formally charged by police for alleged discipline, “Louisiana mom could face felony charges after punishing sons for robbery” What idiot wrote that headline??? She’s not facing felony charges for punishing her sons-she’s facing felony charges for CHILD ABUSE. Her ‘punishment’ consisted of whipping them until they bled. That’s blatant child abuse. This is not about the punishment, it’s about her taking the punishment way, way across the line into physical abuse. So let’s get the damn headline aligned with the facts here, and not write headlines like they’re click-bait stories.” [Sic]… Actions have consequences a favored line when extoling the acceptability of spanking the virtues it allegedly instills, fosters in young people, defending it as cultural tradition, particularly in the south, part of the American fabric like apple pie, the 4th of July Christmas and Mardi-Gras. Easily forgotten actions have consequences also applies to adults; it isn’t largely dismissed when you come of age, when you reach 18, 21, achieve middle age. Your parenting shouldn’t be making headlines but when it does, when your parenting crosses the line, you better be ready to accept those consequences. Consequences exactly what Schaquana Spears experience in both being booked into jail and having her children taken; consequences one final time not for, spanking, attempting to discipline her kids but for the brutal, physically damaging, abusive way she elected to do so…. Understanding one last time the people charged here, convicted here including Spears were charged under long standing statutes pertaining to child abuse not newer rules outlawing spanking; Adrian Peterson avoided jail time with a plea deal and counseling, Demecio Powel’s abusers are in jail. Video, police photos solidifying in the public mindset what too many call discipline is instead abuse. The will of the majority resoundingly saying they want to end barbaric spanking a gateway to child abuse in some cases sexual more than they want the purported benefits, better behaved kids it, evidence in the modern era has yet to materialize, it produces. Read More

No You Can’t Blame the Press For This One It’s The Candidates’ And The Public’s Own Mess

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Oh yes when we don’t like something reach for that old go to— blaming the media after all it takes the heat of you and is a convenient story almost anyone can believe, especially cozied up next to its twin bias in the media exhibited by the dueling networks of MSNBC and Fox News, rival print media The New York Times and the Washington Post, missteps at say CBS’ 60 Minutes, hosts still thriving in talk radio pushing one political side alone; a phenomenon that started, hard for some to comprehend, before this election cycle, even before the days when Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan’s latest shenanigans hit the morning shows, Alek Baldwin was assaulting photographers, LeBron James’ choice of professional basketball team warranted mention on a national news program and Mel Gibson garnered as much of a name for himself as a celebrity fallen from grace prone to drunk driving arrests and racist rants over his extensive acting, directing body of work. And it worked for Ben Carson deflecting questions about the veracity surrounding events in his autobiography, Ted Cruz used it to get through more than one debate boiling serious questions facing Americans regarding the candidates down to the satire of “are you a comic book villain,” Ben Carson can you do math” exc., simultaneously democrat Bernie Sanders told the entire world he was sick and tired of hearing about her (Secretary Hillary Clinton’s) damn e-mails plainly wanting to focus on voters issues…Enter an article posted on Salon.com allegedly exposing 3 big ways the press, reporters of news and information to the people, have failed us this election cycle including a brief history citing other media egregious leanings to one glaringly skewed side of partisan politics, misshaping the truth by sidestepping, omitting whole sections of the situation, subject under discussion, bad, by that meaning incompetent, irresponsible reporting using that other modern stock go to— 9/11 and it’s coverage. Despite clear, fact supported, implicating of Fox News in the staggering percentage of disinformation permeating the American public about U.S. military conflict, vis-à-vis the Iraq war, specifically imaginary links between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, they expand that to all news outlets, print as well as television in discussing the press’ significant let down of voters approaching 2016. Accusations they essentially covered Trump too much…endless election coverage especially on primary and caucus election nights leading to show anchors on CNN, MSNBC counting votes before they’re cast, calling it, election results too early, causing voters, yet to cast their ballots, make their decision on paper to stay home believing the election already over. Finally ignoring real, bona fide news related to the election, voting and how inherently rigged our system is—valiantly exposed by Bernie Sanders, surprise, surprise according to writer, Sophia A. McClennen…No the mainstream media is not responsible for making Donald Trump the republican nominee, unduly helping, never mind creating, any presidential nominee to date…“This time we witnessed a race called before any votes had been cast. On June 5, the Associated Press called the Democratic nomination for Clinton based solely on the interviewing of super delegates, who do not cast their votes until the Democratic Convention on July 25.” Except, though super delegates aren’t ever going to be the whole story, their opinions were simply confirming the blatantly obvious acknowledging Clinton won by an overwhelming margin of pledged delegates (being those assigned to a singular candidate), not merely super delegates alone… Under the subheading ignoring the real news Ms. McClennen meant news pertaining to the election and election outcomes noting subsequently listed items encountered upon continued reading, but again she’s thinking only of the cable news opportunities where they cover this for hours and hours a day; still they have to cover other breaking, up to the minute happenings. Some other needed to be covered topics, events: shootings in a Colorado planned parenthood, San Bernardino’s terror attack, Orlando’s nightclub attack hate crime and terror fueled massacre, Egypt Air flight 804 going missing, weather, tornados, floods, fires ravaging the west, terror attacks in both France and Bustles, the shocking shooting of UK parliament member Jo Cox, the UK’s brit-x vote, to name only a fraction of headline worthy things taking place around the nation, across the globe people would wish to know about, seek information concerning…. These 2 paragraphs up to this very line showcasing an abject failure to understand the primary process, primary, voting rules…And please stop saying there was no follow up on voter suppression stories to favor Hillary over Bernie Sanders who would have won but for voter suppression engineered by the DNC… chief reason we haven’t heard anymore is in both Arizona and New York a decision has been rendered…levance may have been a key player too as it began to matter less in terms of delegate math whether or not Bernie Sanders could have won any massively voter oppressed state mentioned…Remember it wasn’t that Trump supporters hadn’t heard his controversial statements, hadn’t heard a better candidate from either, any party better speaking to their issues and certainly not because of skewed media coverage, it’s that they liked what he had to say and appeared to drastically down play negative implications of his rhetoric and policies even when presented with it; issues not fixed by changing media coverage, format, content. Read More

Gay Men Still Can’t Give Blood Exactly The Wrong Kind Of 80’s Flashback

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Telegraph commenter absolutely right, science has moved beyond our feeble debate; if you can test for blood born infections, every pint/blood sample collected undergoes screening, anyone thought to be healthy should be allowed to donate within the LGBT community or without, including gays, lesbians and bisexuals. One more reason why the marriage equality portion of gay rights, pushback against bathroom bills was and is so important because the recognition went far, far past just marriage, just a piece of paper signifying you as a legal couple, far, far past access to social security, death, survivors benefits from the government generating the understanding gay people are in more ways than not, just like you, choosing to love someone of their own gender the way you love your wife, capable of cultivating lasting relationships and stable families, ironically instability once applied to blended families of 2 people marrying after divorce. Because it focuses us on practical social realities backed by science and research; science and research that says children can thrive in homosexual homes just as they do in heterosexual ones, science and research that dispels the myth homosexuals, transgender people are pedophiles making identity over birth sex assignment bathroom choice a case of perverts lurking near you or your kids. Science that proves medically gays pose no greater risk to the national blood supply than automatically assumed healthy people listed above, statistics unearth probably aren’t, sloppiness of lab screeners brought on by preconceived attitudes about who gets something like HIV and who doesn’t, sloppiness in general marring test results. Negligence stories involving hospital errors, unscrupulous dentists, doctors, nurses, lab techs, healthcare professionals across the board…. Singular way the FDA’s affirmation of their ‘no gay men’, ‘no man having had sex with a man in the last 12 months’ policy works is to pre-conclude every homosexual man, every homosexual, bisexual person is 100% an infected person. Except let’s refresh memories on what those terms mean, homosexual is the term for anyone, gender non-specific, who is sexually attracted to one’s own gender, bisexual refers to anyone attracted to their own gender as well as the opposite gender, gay the gender specific term referring to males who prefer their own gender when seeking sexual partners, definitions telling us nothing about disease status; you determine disease status using a blood test, blood tests we have and are effective. Writers sadly correct treating gay men as an increased danger, greater threat to the national donated blood supply than a heterosexual man treated for a myriad of STD,STI infections not only constitutes a double standard but a dangerous one considering anti-biotic resistance sweeping across all sectors of the medical community also showing up in the treatment, containment of sexually transmitted illnesses; all the major ones gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, demonstrating aforementioned resistance, are already documented in the United States or are headed this way tracking information from entities like the World Health Organization. FDA in their shortsightedness may be initiating the spread of resistant infection by accepting blood offered by individuals having been treated for STI/STD infections in the last 12 months, asymptomatic, certain their infections are gone, anti-biotics rendering them undetectable, harder to detect, but their only concern is gays…Worse related to the Orlando shooting, you could say they are only endangering each other, their own kind, a kind select sections of society evangelicals, conservatives gave up on eons ago, if you want to be that cold, cruel, crass and insensitively cynical, so let them give blood…. We expect this kind of ignorant, fear mongering, uneducated dogma from republican politicians who haven’t picked up a science textbook since the 1970’s maybe before considering the median age of those serving in the 114th congress, who didn’t have the benefit of modern sexual education and their religious affiliations made it even more unlikely they got the proper sexual health information of their day. People who think women can spontaneously prevent pregnancy during rape and a fight for insurance covered birth control was about women having so much sex, being such sluts they wanted the government to pay for their birth control as opposed to access through insurance for women battling genetic disorders and reproductive diseases having nothing to do with sex, endometriosis polycystic ovarian syndrome, who required higher end, more expensive birth control to help treat their ailment, preventing pregnancy a secondary, happy side effect. Not from the FDA, reiterating those initials stand for the food and drug administration, the governmental, oversight body meant to keep our food supply safe, monitor regulated drugs, medications pertaining to the safety and wellbeing of the general public, monitoring for zero contamination in our nation’s donated blood supply, keeping in place procedures towards ensuring that outcome….Worth instilling in the public mindset, not everyone in the Pulse night club on June 12 was gay; some there because it was a cool club, they had a singular drink someone preferred, they came for the Latin music, were dragged out by friends for a good time, something out of your house, to the nearest place serving liquor, functioning as a designated driver. Nor will every time a gay person wants to give blood be in reaction to something affecting just their ‘isolated little enclave’ many motivated to donate out of a genuine desire to help; their blood that could save countless lives if entered into the supply as safely as anyone else’s. Bottom line, people don’t care where their blood comes from as long as it’s clean, it’s safe, you haven’t crossed species, a current impossibility, it’s not a synthetic blood product, products also just reaching human trials. People only care, after answering the clean and safe question, it will be there when they, their loved one need it…Read More

Disease, Weight And Our Drastically Skewed Perceptions On Health, Wellness And Longevity

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Hate to break it to you but the 60 is not the new 40, less for the emotional/social reasons listed by the Wall Street Journal, changing social structures derived from years of better medicine, nutrition, knowledge, people living better, able to do more in later years, not just living longer, the sobering prediction our chronically obese kids may have shorter lifespans than we do/did because of it, and instead due to median, average life expectance ages not having moved that much. 40 is considered middle aged precisely because the average life expectancy hovers around 80, give or take 5 years; for 60 to have gradually become the new 40 the life expectancy numbers would have to top out in the 120-125 range…. people here, if you believe the latest retirement preparedness commercial, are living into their 90’s; which would put middle age at roughly 45, not 60. Secondly looking at the last years of so called super centenarians, those passing 110, most are toothless, constantly nodding off and can’t walk well, if at all, dependent on neighbors, friends, family members for the bulk of their existence; that is in counties where they aren’t placed in a care facility less due to younger family member selfishness but having no living family, the extent of care required for the person at their advanced age… It’s rarely the 107 year old dancing in the Whitehouse with President and first lady Obama…Wall Street Journal onto something more than the author knew when he talked about investing post retirement, golden year energy into the truly young people, the legacy and future coming after, surviving them not on being/looking younger than you are, the new fad proving you’re the picture of longevity, upping the ante living your entire life that way, utilizing the time you have rather than bargaining for more—Especially by eating ‘rabbit food’ never touching meat, eggs or milk, viewing bread as the enemy, occasional doughnut, movie popcorn, French fries or cheeseburger as edible death. As for relearning what’s good for us, taking pleasure in nourishing foods giving our bodies what they need, take a good look at the photo gracing the top of that article and tell me that baby is going to get a foodgasm from that broccoli instead of pure revulsion; foodgasms about gastronomy, the science of gourmet dining, blending aroma, texture, quality food, taste and presentation to produce an experience not merely gorging one’s self on high calorie dishes—what I intend to do and not do respectivelyRead More

The Collegiate Money Machine Has So Many Other Problems Than What They Pay Commencement ‘Celebrity’ Speakers For 45 Minutes Of Work

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Just when you think we as a country might be able to get through a national event, a nice, joyous occasion on a national scale with minimal, it’s too much to hope for no, controversy the embarrassments start crawling, in a slow trickle, out of the woodwork to showcase the worst of us. Graduation ceremonies grinded to a halt for the dumbest of reasons initiated by adults who should know better, not ditzy, entitled brats blocked from getting their way, ceremonies denied students displaying the very traits we say we admire, reward, conveniently tied to either ‘the rules’ contrived so those charged with administrating don’t have to make the big D—a decision, exercise the other D—discretion, or the hot button issues of the year; remember the kid who couldn’t even voluntarily reveal his sexuality as the last 15 seconds of a several minutes valedictorian speech, or the kid barred from wearing his tribal eagle feather on his graduation cap after coming from far behind to graduate with his class, crass explanations of graduation dress codes were replaced with exposed racist test questions in one school currently wrapping up the year, salacious editing of yearbook photos for modesty has been replaced with kicking people out of ceremonies for facial hair i.e. male beards, goatees, the kid who passed out on a hot school bus where the driver refused to let students open the windows for fear of emergency alarms exemplifies why year round school remains a bad idea. Top other ones in 2016 causing people to go some variation on berserk, transgender people who dared use the bathroom corresponding with their identity not their birth sex assignment, Muslims walking down the street, getting on airplanes, and to older peoples’ chagrin, graduating high school while wearing their traditional headscarf. And now a supposed exposé espousing our addiction to greed and shallow celebrity culture ensconced in how much we’ll pay famous commencement speakers to grace graduations while keeping most professors part time and below the poverty line. Sure we get many millennials and younger people, relatively new, first time voters comprising high school/college graduates are feeling both the Bern, movement started by Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and the burn of their student loan debt, the looming prospect of all the money it will take to enter then compete college, but is this really the place to put, channel their outrage, at ‘bad’ commencement speakers and their pay? …. But that isn’t where all, or some, of your tuition hikes, 4 years of incurred debt, are going, what your student loan dollars are buying; in fact it’s hard to tell where exactly that money, in its massive amounts, is going… what they’re paying commencement speakers, even lumping in all the student activities, celebrities and events used to keep students there and spending their financial aid dollars, their parents’ cash, educated guess comes out to a single year’s tuition for an entire small, lone, individual classroom of students. Ah, another uncomfortable truth, the author seems to have suddenly woken up yesterday realizing student activities budgets, predictably derived from some portion of your tuition, go to all those fun events that make college campuses not only fountains of learning but one of the coolest places you’ll ever be…Then there’s Scott Timberg’s perplexing response to should be acceptable commencement addresses rendered by those who aren’t celebrities in the traditonal sense…30,000 as starting to make sense because “giving an accomplished person whose accomplishments fit the mission of the school bother me a lot less: For Rutgers to pay Toni Morrison – a novelist who has won a Nobel Prize, after all…;” me thinks I smell a jilted English major who wanted their favorite author at commencement and didn’t get them… Read More

Artists Have Day Jobs Because No One Values Art, Artists Or Artisans Anymore

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

And of course the, looming for decades now, reality that the internet has ‘reduced’ journalism to anyone with a blog, has given rise to multi-million, multi-billion dollar communications entities who are under the mistaken impression that ‘because everyone has a blog,’ ‘everyone is vying for that all important breakout moment, exposure’ they can treat established writers, field artisans the same, by not paying them simply dangling before them the ‘honor’ of being placed in well-known magazine, newspaper X. This combined with growing understanding that the arena of journalism, op-ed writing, even more creative venues, i.e. fiction books, highly successful ones, has been virtually eating itself alive, not just the changing landscape of writing mediums in the digital age, has led to artists ‘working for free,’ not to be confused with creators who can’t find their lucrative niche, didn’t negotiate to get paid, paid enough, the accusation Jennifer Lawrence wrongly leveled at herself and media was all too happy to run with, or choose the right job to earn a wage. Dido with exclusively art, whether you’re doing actual painting or digital variations, it’s bigger than the concrete, immovable truth it’s less versatile, useful than jewelry people can wear, pottery that has more than an esthetic function. It isn’t the newfangled psychology behind the art, the new medium unworthy of a bona-fide artist trying to be a modern Van Gogh; it’s how artists have to alter an intensely personal form of self-expression to get it to sell for money they can actually eat on, be displayed in a gallery for minimal compensation…. Brooks, who bitterly embodies the phrase those who can’t do teach, an educator who can’t grasp, seemingly for the life of her, that writing is an inherent talent to be honed not a skill to be taught, learned the same way you assimilate 2+2, different levels of writing require different levels of skill, lastly academic writing is a sector of writing wholly removed unto itself still; blasting high school writers struggling with 20 page papers, incidentally the ballpark for my college English major capstone senior essay circa 2006, Brooks writing in 2011, that’s excluding the ones today who have moved to a faculty reviewed portfolio and a reflection essay of 3-5 pages. For immediate historical reference, a decade ago when I was completing said college program 20-25 pages was the maximum for an undergraduate final experience essay, 50 for a master’s thesis and 100 for a doctorate. And to be abundantly clear artists have day jobs because they are forced to not because they want to…but millennials are just lazy, just refuse to work unless it’s under their optimum conditions. No, the remaining lucky ones, extremely industrious ones, adventurous ones go engineer their optimum conditions by starting their own company founded on the work principles they cherish when mainstream employers, college professors exc. tell them their optimum conditions are impossible….oh and women apologize a to inanimate objects for bumping into them out of respect to the people whom the objects belong, not because they are socially wired to be meek, demur and say sorry regularly and spontaneously. Read More

George Zimmerman: As If There Was Any Serious Doubt To His Guilt There Isn’t Now

Current Trends by Natasha Sapp

Then there’s the evolving story that cropped up about 2 weeks ago as George Zimmerman put up for auction the gun he shot Trayvon Martin with, recently returned to him by police; one gun seller almost immediately taking it down, another auction site inundated with prank bids ranging in the millions, latest announcement—auction, on the one site willing to host it, is closed, bids in the double digit thousands. Reigniting old debates about race, individual rights and gun ownership in America; assuredly opening old wounds for Martin’s family as Zimmerman treats the death of their son via the gun he used, as a celebrity piece, as a means to an end to make money he admittedly says he will spend fighting the group Black Lives Matter and its supporters, in his mind, including democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Actions generating comments like Larry Whitmore’s spot on scathing assessment encapsulating it all: “who woke up this rotting piece of human excrement?”…Yes George Zimmerman is, independent of opinion, for better or for worse, a free American who is free to do what he wills with his possessions, in accordance with the law, including selling a controversial gun in the most public way possible. We as a society, a collective public are also free to express, sans violence and lawbreaking ourselves, our unease, our upset, our insistence that he not make a buck off of killing a teenager, however heroic he wants to paint himself to be. Graduating to a special kind of sick to use the auction as a means to come out publicly badmouthing and trashing his parents who ‘didn’t raise their son right [‘]…And we wonder why kids are so apt to fight, why Trayvon Martin resorted to his fists that night, because it’s a survival skill less for the mean gang banger, drug infested, dilapidated streets of the inner city and more and more for ordinary suburbia, the modern day classroom, not from their fellow students, bullies 2 grades up, but their teachers, school resource officers, beyond school, zealot neighborhood watch wannabes. They never know when or if someone, an adult, an authority figure, random person on the street is going to hit them, punch them, choke them, tackle them, sit on them till they can’t breathe, cut them, shoot them, kill them.Read More