Posted in commentary, latest posts

Seat at the Table Podcast Wrap Up

Special Snowflake Sharona took on the issue of why having a seat at the table matters and why hate speech isn’t and shouldn’t be protected, endorsed or sheltered. We live in the gotta hear both sides generation where memes entirely separate from reality inform policies at high levels in the White House.

I tweeted the above before news of the cancellation of a certain book by Simon & Schuster over pedophilia comments from one of its writers. Well now we know I was only half true. It seems conservatives are perfectly fine with hate speech, antisemitism, prejudice and misogyny but draw the line at child molestation. The notion that speech with these messages deserve a seat at the table is illustrative of what values certain companies and brands carry.

In our second segment we discussed the “Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis” documentary concerning the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. Are we ever going to come together as people and as humans? The things that bond and divide us are more important to me than ever before, and hopefully today’s podcast did justice to discussing these questions.

When something indescribably and horrifically bad happens to you, and you survive it, it changes you. It becomes important to you that your message about those things is done the right way. Which is why I had such a profound reaction to the documentary. Empathy and understanding is crucial to helping address and answer them.

You can listen to today’s podcast here.

Posted in commentary, latest posts, Sports

Iggy Stardust Podcast Wrap Up

Special Snowflake Sharona returned with another episode of Back Talk with special guest Mirza Alfaro to discuss gaming, sports and the latest in immigration from whoever the hell is running the insane asylum that is the White House these days.

First up, we talked gaming and what games appeal to us as women. Gaming franchises suffer from the same issues that companies like Twitter do. They don’t know who they are or what they want to be. Instead of focusing on what made the product great they look over their shoulders at what everyone else is doing and try to replicate it. Imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery but it will kill your product. #Message

Next, we talked some sports and the current state of the Tennessee Titans. The Titans have been a mess for several years but things finally might be on the upswing. Cornerback, and the entire secondary, is the area that needs addressing the most either via the draft or free agency. Marcus Mariota is young, but improving, and with a solid run game the future is bright for the team.

Finally, we talked about immigration and the discriminatory nature of the current White House and why the atmosphere of hate is so troubling. The current administration uses hate and policies derived therefrom to hide the greed pervading the cabinet appointments and what is to come. Americans are paying attention now and becoming increasingly involved in the process. Together, we can make a difference.

You can listen to today’s episode here.

Posted in commentary, latest posts

From Russia With Love Podcast Wrap Up

Back Talk returned with a new episode of Chopping It Up with Matt to discuss the latest in #RussiaGate plus the Presidential Records Act and why violations of it matter.

We are living in historical times, some of it good and some of it bad. The resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn a mere 25 days into this new administration is historical, in a bad way. Participation in the democratic process by average Americans is one of the lone bright spots.

The Russia connection with the current administration should be concerning to everyone but we live in times where partisan politics trump all else for far too many (okay sorry).That Russia interfered in our country’s 2016 presidential election no longer seems debatable and that certain high ranking officials in the White House were at least complicit.

The question remains as to the identity of those individuals and the extent to which they were involved, or did nothing to stop it.

Russia is a problem worldwide and the United States isn’t the only country where it is middling in national elections. Russian aggression in the Ukraine, and elsewhere, remains a problem too. Destabilization, along with the close ties between certain high ranking governmental officials, are ways to make certain this aggression gets lost in the crossfire.

Combine all this with violations of the Presidential Records Act and obstructionism from those in positions of power toward an investigation of Russian interference and you get an authoritarian cocktail that is deadly to democracy. You can listen to today’s podcast here.

Posted in commentary, latest posts

We All Need Nurturing #StillShePersisted

I have never been a cat person, having cohabited with a dog for most of my life; I’ve always been on #TeamDog. However, recently, I adopted three stray cats; two boys and a little girl. The two boys are brothers and came first, with the girl coming a couple of months later.

I never thought I would adopt a cat, much less end up with three of these furry monsters and yet, here we are. The two boys, Smokey and Bandit, came to us because Bandit decided it was his home and that was the end of it.

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First picture with Bandit. The moment I knew it was meant to be. #WeAreFamily

As young babies, the two boy strays would seek shelter on our back porch. At the time, my dog Libby was getting older, growing ever more sick; ultimately she would die. I wrote about that journey and the aftermath – I didn’t really need anything else on my plate.

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Smokey (left) and Bandit (right) as babies #WeAreFamily

The boys kept showing up and looking hungry, so of course I fed them. Bandit does not know a stranger and would beg to be held. Smokey is more wary around people, but he and Bandit are mostly inseparable. One day,  I left the back door open without realizing it and we have been a family since then.

Bandit naturally always fit in. He would socialize with visitors and would not stop until he got the requisite amount of petting and belly rubs. Smokey, not so much. My shy boy at first would not naturally come to me except when he wanted food. He did not want to be petted, and snuggling was absolutely out of the question. Socializing with strangers was also absolutely out of the question.

Smokey the original loner.
Smokey the original loner.

It took time and a multitude of snuggles for our bond to become natural. Now he loves to be petted and snuggled and generally makes an appearance when company is around. On occasion, he deigns to allow strangers to pet him and/or rub his belly; treats are always welcomed.

My little baby Iggy came to us in a similar, but  yet remarkably different fashion. Momma cat brought the runt of her litter to our back porch,  and stayed with her until I came outside and found her. Here was this little grey ball of fur, mostly skin and bones, incredibly malnourished,  and on the verge of death. I took her in immediately, nourished her to health and then released her after a couple of weeks to Momma who regularly came to check for her.

About two weeks later, she was back, once again malnourished and on the brink of death. Nursing her back to health this time was oddly different and took longer. It no longer seemed practical or humane to release her so she joined our family.

Continue reading “We All Need Nurturing #StillShePersisted”

Posted in commentary, latest posts, Sports

Transformation Podcast Wrap Up

Hello Resistance! We are 21 days into the Bannon Administration and there has been progress even though it might be slight. There is no time to let up however. So let’s celebrate some successes but also look at areas where we need to pay attention.

There are several notable victories as Vox Media notes here via @blowticious and they are important. The 9th Circuit dealt a small blow to the Muslim Ban in a victory for the states of Washington and Minnesota but no court to date has addressed the merits of the ban. Last, but certainly not least, we are seeing engagement from our citizenry on a widespread and thus far sustained level.

The level of involvement is important but so also is maintaining that level of commitment. Town hall meetings are important, phone calls are important but so also is staying focused and committed. There will be misdirection, progress and setback. Vigilance and longevity will be key to lasting change.

The list of things to watch is long but of great concern right now is what @ICEgov might be doing. Reports continue to circulate that agents are going into communities looking for immigrants. While widespread operations have not yet been seen, but it certainly bears some watching.

Finally, Congress is being asked to look into the numerous conflicts of interest surrounding the White House. President Donald Trump vowed to divest himself of his assets prior to taking the oath of office. He has not. Representative Jerrold Nadler has filed a resolution of inquiry seeking information so Congress can take a look at the issue. For a good primer on possible White House conflicts, see this piece by Jeremy Venook at The Atlantic. 

All politicians bear watching and now more so than ever. It is incumbent on citizens in a representative democracy to actively engage in the process. Oversight is important and so is participation on a fundamental level. We are seeing more average citizens declaring they will run for office. That, perhaps, might be the lasting legacy of #TheResistance.

You can listen to today’s podcast here.