Wednesday, September 21, 2016


Marcha fúnebre - Chopin

Guest Post by Todd Tennis

The following brief essay by Todd Tennis is reprinted with permission:

So I'm driving home listening to Sirius/XM radio and they have an ad for the upcoming presidential debate. Then they go into a pitch that really made me think.

In essence, they said that if you're a conservative, you can listen to XM Patriot. If you're a liberal, you can hear it on XM Progress.

Todd Tennis
I think I'm seeing the problem here. Our media has devolved into an entertainment apparatus that will cater to whatever preconceived notions we have. We don't have Edward R. Murrow or Walter Cronkite anymore. We have whoever you want to tell you whatever you want to hear.

Think liberals are scum? We have a news source for you that reinforces that belief! Think conservatives are fascists? Listen to this station here and we will prove you right!

I've been wondering for a while how it is that so many reasonably intelligent people can believe things about the world and this nation that are so diametrically opposed. It's because information in our society has been separated into two or more very distinct patterns that serve not to illuminate, but to confirm. Not to educate, but to reinforce.

The world is gray, but we are being taught that it is black or white, and anyone who says otherwise is just a filthy rotten liar.

This is how civil wars get started.

Courtesy YouTube/The Rubin Report

Todd Tennis is a county commissioner and partner at Capitol Services, a prominent government relations firm, where he focuses on civil law, labor, public utilities, retirement, education, childcare, consumer protection, tax policy, public benefits and poverty law. He graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1993. A former aide to a state senator, Todd and his wife, Jacqueline, live in Greater Lansing with their son, Troy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Idiot Music - Slick Idiot

Dissing Lauer and Nailing Trump

Courtesy Huffington Post

I whine a lot. Sometimes I get so fractious and frustrated that my wife and kids want nothing to do with me – actually, my kids never want to do anything with me but sometimes Anita does – and I find myself watching television alone. It’s more difficult for them to put distance between us when I’m listening to the car radio but Anita’s equipped everyone with MP3s and ear buds so they’re not without recourse when something perturbs me in the van.

One of the things that really pushes my button is the false equivalence that the media advance during this presidential campaign to keep us watching, reading and thinking the way their corporate overloads want us to. The differences between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could not be starker: he lies more than a rug in a mosque while she’s a tad less than perfect. To hear the white-toothed, perfectly-coiffed teleprompter readers on TV, however, you’d think the candidates are practically indistinguishable except for hair color and genitalia.

This is why I found a recent episode of TBS’s “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” so refreshing. Not only did she skewer the overrated, underwhelming Matt Lauer for his dismal recent interviews with Trump and Clinton – and she’s not the only one; click here to read, “Matt Lauer Fields Storm of Criticism over Clinton-Trump Forum” – but she addressed the false equivalence to which I refer above and described The Orange One so brilliantly that I just have to share it:

“On the one hand, you have the most breathtakingly unqualified ignoramus to ever heave his spray-tanned bulk within striking distance of elected office, a race-baiting, bully who according to two meticulously-researched biographies is a tax-cheating, investor-swindling, worker-shafting, dictator-loving, pathologically-lying, attorneys general-bribing, philandering, mobbed up, narcissistic serial con artist who hasn’t got the attention span to read a fortune cookie much less a fucking intelligence briefing...

...while on the other hand Hillary Clinton used a private e-mail server.

See? Perfectly even.”

Click here and here to see the entire piece (warning: contains colorful language).

I’m not Ms. Bee’s Number One Fan, I don’t watch much TBS and the point that our satirists and comedians are more reliable news sources than the network teleprompter readers has been made. But every once in a while, someone nails it so well, lampoons someone or something so accurately and cleverly that it just has to be disseminated far and wide. This post is me doing my part.

Anita and the kids apparently have no problem with me laughing and cheering because they don’t run out of the room as if the tornado alarm has sounded. This time they have Samantha Bee to thank.


Catch “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” on Mondays at 10:30 p.m. on TBS.

Sources: Vox Media, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee,”

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Never Forget

Tchaikovsky - Swan Lake Op. 20, Act. II No. 10

Never Forget About Reality

There’s something I just don’t understand.

Well, there are many things I don’t understand but what I’m referring to now is the alternate reality in which so many of my fellow Americans live. It’s the pushback against “Black Lives Matter.” It’s the outrage over a football player not standing when the National Anthem is played even though the only time people DO stand is when they’re part of a crowd and are afraid of being singled out for staying seated. And it’s the perception that Barack Obama is less of a president than his predecessor.

Today is the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington and the related plane crash in a field in rural Pennsylvania. Facebook is of course chock full of posts, photos and links commemorating this sorrowful occasion. This isn’t as surprising to me as the introductions that some people included in their posts:

Whether you like him or not, he kept us free from anymore terrorism. History will remember him as a good President who had a lot to handle. He also lowered taxes, which kept the massive mistakes of the Obama administration from being even worse, if possible! To those who lost family and friends on 9/11, you will never be forgotten.

We need another President like this. Granted, Bush wasn't perfect but nobody is. He wasn't afraid to stand up for our nation and her people. When those towers came down fifteen years ago, he wasn't willing to step back and hide in the shadows. He wasn't willing to put our nation's well being on the line just to keep from "offending" others. He cared about America, and that's what we're missing today.

Worth a read....I don't want something like 9/11 to happen under Obama's or Hillary's watch.They wouldn't have been so committed...At least Bush genuinely cared about America when he was president.I really hope America doesn't have to suffer further with Hillary getting into power...we need a strong leader like Trump who will and does actually do something when bad things happen.....Also a reminder to pray for all the families who have lost so many loved ones to the events and after events of 9/11.Never forget.

Remember 9/11 all of you not on the side of sharia. Here's a choice that is simple - hag like this don't deserve even words. As with that fried like bacon looker Colon and his ilk and those by their the shredding of nation by being gutless, bottom of the barrel feeders. Here is the damage done by Obamar and his Hag as they divide and conquer those incapable of figuring things through. The recent remark of the hag's as like the clinging to their guns and prayer books painting by her black hero whom she patterns herself after - speaks volumes..The Mao Hag, dumb as a rock, must know that among those lost on 9/11 were those that she now would categorize as " basket of deplorables."

Thank you president George W. Bush glad you've been finally vindicated this and the 23 really 38 pages released no news can propagandize this.

This is why I liked Bush...obummer will never measure up to this...."We’re at war," Bush told Vice President Dick Cheney. Hanging up and turning to his aides, he added: "When we find out who did this, they're not going to like me as president. Somebody's going to pay." "I can't wait to find out who did it," Bush said. "It's going to take a while and we're not going to have a little slap on the wrist crap."

Hey Obummer 👇THIS is how a REAL President acts !!!!! "We're at war," Bush told Vice President Dick Cheney. Hanging up and turning to his aides, he added: "When we find out who did this, they're not going to like me as president. Somebody's going to pay."

It’s not the poor or nonexistent punctuation that rubs me the wrong way (although it does) or the fact that some people can’t express themselves better than a four-year-old (although they can’t). What gets me is the denial about what really happened that day and subsequently. Bush didn’t lay the groundwork for an improved economy; he destroyed it. He didn’t bring Osama bin Laden to justice; as he himself admitted, he stopped looking for or caring about 9/11’s mastermind. He doesn’t care more about the United States than Barack Obama and our current president measures up to Bush in every way. So how do people embrace this Alice in Wonderland version of reality? How do they convince themselves of their skewed reality or ignore that the exact opposite of what they describe is what really happened?

Because I was so riled up and flabbergasted after reading these posts, I posed my question to Anita. “How can so many people be so wrong about so much?,” I asked. Is it our education system? Is it the media? Is it environmental? Is there something in the water? (Sadly, the people of Flint can answer that in the affirmative.) She replied that I shouldn’t act so flummoxed because I know this already. I know that people believe what they want to believe no matter what. I know that many, many men and women see things differently than I do. And I know that whenever I go online, I risk being confronted with opinions and arguments that leave me speechless and annoyed.

She prefers the speechless thing to the annoyed thing, she added.

One last thing about 9/11: I know that a significant number of innocent human beings lost their lives on that horrible day – over 3,000, the experts say, including more than 400 police officers, firefighters and paramedics – and countless friends, loved ones and families will never be the same. I know that 8,900 people were injured on September 11 and that it was the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil. And I know that because I’m not personally acquainted with anyone who was touched by this catastrophe, my perspective is probably lacking. But I can’t stop thinking about one of the many handwritten signs photographed and published soon after the attacks. A group of young Palestinians held up a placard with the words, "Sorry, USA - We Know Because We Have Sept. 11 Every Day."

Click here to read, “9/11 Happens Every Day to Victims of U.S. Foreign Policy.”

I don’t think it’s a disservice to those who died and still suffer to reflect upon this. The disservice, in my opinion, is embracing beliefs that are devoid of facts about what really happened that day and in the decade and a half that’s followed. It’s in beating our chests and waving striped cloth when people continue to die all around the world partly because of us. And it’s in blaming the wrong people for what happened while letting the real criminals – those who took advantage of the goodwill of the American people, advanced their personal and political agendas at our expense and helped to create a climate in which ignorance flourishes – get off scot-free.

I won’t be solemn and morose today. I won’t join those who believe that 9/11 matters more than anything that’s taken place and continues to take place elsewhere. I won’t be gleeful, disrespectful or ungrateful to be born in the USA but I won’t be glum and gloomy. And I won’t read any more Facebook posts; if I feel like reading fiction, I’ll pick up the new J.K. Rowling release.

Sources: New York Daily News, Facebook,,

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mama Bear

Baião Destemperado - Barbatuques

Boy, Are We Paying for Rick Snyder!

I know Americans are currently in a tizzy about some athlete’s refusal to adhere to the wishes of a loud but vocal minority who care more about music than freedom and justice. I feel obligated, however, to do what I can to highlight something that actually matters, something that impacts lives but isn’t spurring the same level of outrage as a San Francisco quarterback’s commitment to his principles.

I’m talking about the blatant theft of millions of taxpayer dollars by the incompetent, unscrupulous, disingenuous politician who resides in my state’s governor’s mansion.

Everyone knows about Governor Rick Snyder’s actions and inaction which led to the poisoning of 100,000 largely African-American residents of Michigan’s seventh most populous city (except perhaps the bearded, scruffy guy who lives in the woods near my home and mutters to himself). The decision by Snyder’s emergency manager to start pumping toxic Flint River water into residents’ homes, neglect to treat it properly and cause thousands of children to be exposed to unsafe lead levels made international news. To add insult to poisoning, the Snyder administration denied citizen complaints for almost two years, told alarmed locals and professionals essentially to “chill,” called the poisoning an “honest mistake” and then blamed every “career bureaucrat” they could find.

Click here to read, “Pure Michigan My Ass.” Click here to read, “Slimy Snyder and the Water Crisis, Part Two.” And click here to read, “F*ck You, Flint.”

Now it’s being reported that Michigan taxpayers are funding Snyder’s legal defense (as well as that of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality) to the tune of $7.9 million. The guy could actually face criminal charges so he’s lawyering up; instead of setting up a private fund and snagging donations from GOP fat cats, the Snyder cabal is hiding behind our State Administrative Board – the seven-member entity that ostensibly has control over the administrative activities of Michigan’s state departments and agencies – which announced its approval.

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Why the snark? Because this board consists of the governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, state treasurer (appointed by the governor), director of the Michigan Department of Transportation (appointed by the governor) and superintendent of public instruction. That’s why.

But wait. It gets better: the board isn’t really required to approve any contract that’s requested directly by the governor, regardless of the amount.

It’s all a ruse, y’all.

From an article at

In addition to the $7.9 million now approved for DEQ and Governor's Office attorney bills, there's more to the cost to state taxpayers for legal action related to Flint water.

The Department of Health and Human Services has told MLive that it has spent more than $246,000 in legal fees and $3.9 million has also been appropriated for Attorney General Bill Schuette's criminal investigation of the water crisis.

Click here to read, “$3.4 Million Snyder Tab Prompts Bill To Limit Private Counsel.” Click here to read, “Ten Things They Won’t Tell You About The Flint Water Crisis – But I Will.” And click here to read, “Why Snyder Didn’t Need Approval.”

Rick Snyder
A Democratic state legislator is introducing a bill that prevents Snyder, the secretary of state, the treasurer and the auditor general from using public funds to secure private counsel. (The attorney general normally represents the state in this kind of situation; I have no idea why Bill Schuette is conducting his own investigation rather than defending his boss.) It seems silly since the state legislature is dominated by Republicans and Snyder wouldn’t sign this into law even if it were to reach his desk. But at least someone’s doing something.

In an era when a lying, offensive, bigoted, orange-skinned shyster with bad hair is seriously being considered for the presidency of the world’s only superpower, it shouldn’t be surprising that a state governor is allowed to poison an entire city without repercussions. Other governors – New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Paul LePage in Maine, Rick Scott in Florida, Nathan Deal in Georgia and Wisconsin’s Scott Walker come to mind – have made blunders and obnoxious statements, alienated significant numbers of constituents, engaged in questionable and in some cases corrupt behaviors and generally erased any semblance of nobility from public service. But this is just wrong.

It’s wrong to cut services to the poor and needy so that you can line the pockets of your lawyer pals. It’s wrong to force our state’s residents to prioritize your legal defense over their needs and wants. And it’s wrong to flip the proverbial bird at your constituents while thousands go without safe water to bathe in and drink.

It’s your job to serve the state, Rick Snyder – not the other way around.

P.S. Get a load of this probably-taxpayer-funded piece of propaganda that Snyder tweeted last March. See what I mean about blaming everybody under the frikkin’ sun?

Sources: Detroit News,,,,