Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Approval rating drops...

People are wising up.  The core of die-hard supporters is shrinking.

Good to know that 45 isn't going to keep on getting away with everything.

The past few weeks have not been kind to President Trump's poll numbers.

RealClearPolitics average of polls, May 3 - 43.6%
"                  "                               "         May 24 - 40.4%.

Gallup poll, May 23 - 38%

Economist/YouGov poll - 39%

Monmouth poll  -  39%

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Pope extends compassion to dt

What would Jesus do?  If dt paid him a visit, that is.

Probably the same thing Pope Francis did.

He was polite, even attempting a joke with Melanie Trump.

He spoke to dt privately--about health care, immigration, and the environment.  He gave dt a copy of his encyclical on the importance of action against climate change.

He probably spoke about peace too--peace vs. war.  As in "Was it right to sell $110 billion worth of armaments to Saudi Arabia?  What do you think they will do with them?  Will more lives be lost?"

Fortunately, Sen. Rand Paul will force a vote in the Senate to approve or disapprove that deal.

What did dt say afterward his meeting with the Pope?  He marveled at the man in white robes: "He is something."

He didn't try to sell him arms, or a used car either.

What did the Pope say afterwards--or perhaps think?

"God forgive him--he knows not what he does."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Shalom and Salaam

Angel of Peace in Donetsk (Ukraine)

Shalom... Salaam... Peace.

The trip of president #45 to Saudi Arabia and Israel has at least a few people talking about peace again.

Trump's vitriol against Iran has the Saudis trying to interest Israel in their 2002 Arab Peace Initiative.

For anything to come of this, the Saudis would have to publicly own up to their increasing interest in Israeli products, influence, and military might.

The Israelis would have to agree to a Palestinian state.

Thus the odds are on the side of the status quo.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Nun whose killing was hushed up

I'm not into murder mysteries, but I plan to watch this one.

The Keepers on Netflix, a six-part series documenting the murder of a nun in Baltimore on Nov. 7, 1969.

It's about a nun teaching in a Catholic girls' high school.  

It's about why she was murdered--to cover up child sexual assault by priests.

It's about the Baltimore police department being controlled by the Roman Catholic Church so that the investigation of the murder goes nowhere.

You can watch all six parts if you have access to Netflix.  If you don't, I don't know how you can see it.  Try a library?

See the website for Stop the Silence - at

A couple of years back, I posted this. I think it's worth it to post again - let's stop this, together! Stay posted for updates as to how we can!
The reality (no fiction about it) is that about 1/4 or girls or more and about 1/6 of boys (or more) are sexually abused in the U.S. by the time they are 18 years old, with most of the abuse beginning for these child victims at around the age of 7 or 8 years old, and usually lasting over an extended period of time, and getting worse as it does.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) can be disastrous for child victims and adult survivors, and costs our society at large BILLIONS of dollars each year, not to mention the damage to our work force in productive time lost (e.g., due to mental and physical health problems). The aftermath of CSA often is comprised of poor school performance, clinical depression, PTSD, various other psychological disorders, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, prostitution, trafficking, cutting, suicide and homicide and chronic disease. All of these are associated with CSA in the high double digits.
The vast majority (at least 90%) of offenders are known to the child(ren) and have access to them on a regular basis. About 40% of those 90% are family members... It's not just the Catholic Church... It crosses all racial, ethnic, religious boundaries. And there is a generational component to this due to many psychological and related factors.
And we, as a society, remain afraid to learn and talk about this! How can we continue to afford to be afraid, however difficult it may be to talk about?! How can we allow children to continue to suffer? How can we afford the results? CSA has to be prevented. The survivors have to find help and healing.
Talk about it. Join the movement toward the prevention and treatment of child sexual abuse. This is a public health problem of enormous proportions. We have to talk. We have to prevent. We have to heal. We have to end child sexual abuse. Here and throughout the world.
Pamela Pine, PhD, MPH
Founder and CEO
Stop the Silence: Stop Child Sexual Abuse, Inc.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Take me as I am...

Pacific Coast near Pt. Mugu, north of Malibu

Spiritual director Elizabeth Nordquist led us in singing this song from the Wild Goose Worship Group, part of the Iona Community on an island off the coast of northwest Scotland.  It was composed by John Bell in 1995.

Take, oh take me as I am.

Summon up what I shall be.

Set your seal upon my heart

And live in me.

Go, Sally Yates!

Former Acting Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates

What a relief to see strong women standing up to the clowns surrounding 45 and the Republican senators defending him.

I watched the Senate Intelligence Committee subcommittee hearing for a while today.

Sally:  I told them Mike Flynn was compromised.  They went ahead.

Republicans:  But who leaked what when?

Sally: I was in the White House on Jan. 26, the afternoon before the EO banning travelers from seven countries, but the men I met with didn't mention it or ask for any review.  Perhaps they didn't want input on whether it was Constitutional or not.

Republicans:  But who leaked what when?

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: Is it material for blackmail when an official [Flynn] is caught on tape saying one thing & then lies to the vice president?

Sally and James Clapper: Yes.

Republicans:  But somebody leaked something...

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Just when you're feeling safe...

Imagine my horror, while driving peacefully around beautiful Palos Verdes Peninsula, to discover this sign.

I thought I was safe in blue, blue southern California from all things dt.  

No so.  You round a corner, and he's staring you in the face with gold lettering.

I took solace in the goofy bird-in-paradise flowers also there staring at the sign, as if to say, "Yeah, he's about as crazy as we are."

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Idolatry 2.0

What's wrong with this crucifix?

Yes, Jesus probably had a moustache and beard, but really--

YHWH, creator and ruler of the universe, as male? In 2017?

Aside from the idiocy and male idolatry, isn't the family resemblance between the two cute? Neither is Asian or African.  

These crosses are imported and sold by George S. Chen Corporation, based in Ontario, CA.

George and his employees need to learn that God is not male.  

Please post a message on their Facebook page:

Write or call them or send them a tweet at:
2725 E Philadelphia St
Ontario, California
Call 909-773-1788 / 1-800-777-3611

Friday, May 5, 2017

What do you long for?

Retreat organizer Madeline Stewart with retreat leader Elizabeth Nordquist.

"What do you long for and need?

  • quiet or conversation?
  • rest or activity?
  • inspiration or relief?
  • solitude or community?
  • or maybe just time to reflect and journal?"

With these words, the Reverend Dr. Elizabeth Nordquist invited us women to plan our time this weekend according to the needs we were feeling.

It was the annual women's retreat of St. Augustine by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Santa Monica, being held at the Mary & Joseph Retreat Center at the top of the Palos Verdes Peninsula.  

The theme was "God's Gift to You; Your Gift to God."

Elizabeth read aloud and then brought to life the stories of five biblical women:

  • Hannah - 1 Samuel, ch. 1
  • Lydia and the anonymous slave girl - Acts 16:11-40
  • The bent-over woman - Luke 8: 43-48
  • Phoebe - Romans 6: 1-2

She invited us to be like Hannah, who stood in passionate but silent prayer in the house of YHWH at Shiloh, asking for a male child, the necessary key to social status in that day.  

Pastor Elizabeth imagined Hannah holding a tray before God with her assets and her needs: she was barren, but her husband loved her.  Other women made fun of her, but she had deep faith in God.

When she was rebuked by a priest for suspected drunkenness, she called him out: 

"Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation all this time."  The priest repented and blessed her.  

She went home "and her countenance was sad no longer."  She did get that baby.

It reminded me of "But still she persisted"--both Hannah then and Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2017.

Pastor Elizabeth invited us all to go before God with our deepest needs, first drawing a sketch of "the things on our tray" --items in our lives that we could lay before God, whether sources of joy or of pain.

This was just the first night of a powerful weekend together.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Depression spikes today with House vote


I can't deal with the House of Representatives passing a bill that would hurt women, the poor, people trying to fight addiction, and people with mental health issues.

And the prez lies: "We're going to have great, great health care for all Americans."

1)   Pregnancy, C-section, and post-partum depression are pre-existing conditions.  If you are pregnant and lose your job and have to get a new health insurance plan, your pregnancy will not be covered.

Happy Mothers Day, women.  

"Even a completed pregnancy, with no or minor complications, would result in a premium hike of $17,060 – a 425% increase," reports The Independent,

2)   All mental health issues are fairly long-standing.  They're pre-existing--so no help under this so-called "health plan" for our nation.  We can expect more insane mass murderers.

3)   Being addicted to drugs is another way to not be covered.  No coverage for medical help for addiction if you are addicted and need to change health plans.

4)   Being poor will disqualify some 24 million people from health insurance over the next ten years, thanks to a nearly trillion dollar cut in Medicaid.

Depression.  I'm now depressed by hearing this news--I and 200 million other Americans.  Out of the 322 million people in this nation, I estimate that 2/3 are dismayed/disgusted/depressed by this attempt to roll back health care.

So we all have this condition that will not be covered one of us loses a job with health insurance and has to buy a new insurance plan.

It's the era of 45, folks.  Run out and get your meds for depression or anxiety now if you have insurance.  And don't do anything that might cause you to lose your coverage.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Our Bumbling Idiot President

Abraham Lincoln: aghast at dt,
the bull in the china shop of Civil War history

I don't follow dt any more.  I've decided the New York Times and Los Angeles Times and Washington Post can keep an eye on him without my help.

But every few days some tidbit of what 45 has said or done penetrates the walls I have placed around my serenity.

Today it's the remarks he made on May 1 regarding the Civil War.  This NYT headline says it all:

This President Doesn't Go by the (History) Book: Remarks on Civil War Underscore Tenuous Grasp of the Past.

Andrew Jackson "really angry" about the Civil War??

Why did the Civil War happen, anyway?

What--Abe Lincoln a Republican?

Frederick Douglass isn't a radical living today?

The sheer ignorance of this bumbling, dumbling fool is dismaying.

Abraham Lincoln is aghast as a ghost.  

President Obama is holding his breath and hoping this fool doesn't start a war with North Korea.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Memoir as Self-Discovery

"Self- Discovery: The First Frontier" was just one of the mind-blowing panels at the 2017 LA Times Festival of Books (Conversation #1083).

"Being intersex was not an issue throughout my childhood at all," said Hida Viloria.  "The exclusion I felt was in being the only Latina at my school."

Nevertheless, she was relieved to check her private parts with a mirror at age 8 and discover "I was a girl after all" because she did not pee through her large clitoris.

Her memoir is titled Born Both: An Intersex Life.  Meeting her was very moving, and I hope Virginia Ramey Mollenkott will review her book for Christian Feminism Today's website,

"Being born as something that's not supposed to exist--that's difficult," she said.

Tash Aw described being an ethnically Chinese person raised in Malaysia in his memoir, The Face: Strangers on a Pier.  It was nominated for the new Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, which was won by Wesley Lowery for They Can't Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America's Racial Justice.

"We were taught not to examine or interrogate anything that goes on inside," Aw said.  "For poor migrants, new life is dependent on scrubbing out everything that came before."

"My cousins work in factories and as bus drivers," he said, though he teaches at Columbia University.  "I think about them every day," he added.

Steph Jagger went on a ski trip around the world and skied "some 4 million vertical feet" in search of something more in her life.  Her memoir is Unbound: A Story of Snow and Self-Discovery.

"I pushed away the models of mother, sisters, aunts," she said.  "I took a solo journey with the mountains."

Each of these speakers was enchanting to meet.

I bought Faces and Born Both, resisting Unbound, much as I would have liked to buy and read it.  Later.

avatar for Daniel Hernandez

Daniel Hernandez

Hernandez is a journalist, editor, correspondent, long-time blogger, and the author of "Down & Delirious in Mexico City," a beloved exploration of youth subcultures in contemporary Mexico. He is a former staff reporter at the Los Angeles Times and LA Weekly. While living in Mexico City, he became editor of VICE Mexico and then chief of VICE News for Latin America. He is working on a second book of non-fiction, and recently joined a... Read More →

avatar for Tash Aw

Tash Aw

Aw is the prize-winning author of three novels, including, most recently, "Five Star Billionaire", as well as a memoir, "The Face: Strangers on a Pier.” His fiction has been translated into more than twenty languages, while his non-fiction appears in The New York Times, The London Review of Books, and The Guardian, among others. “The Face: Strangers on a Pier,” is a finalist for the 2016 L.A. Times' Christopher Isherwood Prize for... Read More →
avatar for Steph Jagger

Steph Jagger

Jagger splits her time between Southern California and British Columbia where she dreams big dreams, writes her heart out, and runs an executive & life coaching practice. She holds a CEC (certified Executive Coach) degree from Royal Roads University and she believes courageous living doesn't happen with one toe dangling in, but that we jump in, fully submerge, and sit in the juice. Think pickle, not cucumber. Her book is “Unbound: A... Read More →
avatar for Hida Viloria

Hida Viloria

Viloria is a writer and intersex activist, chairperson of the Organization Intersex International (OII), and founding director of its American affiliate the Intersex Campaign for Equality, also known as OII-USA. Hida's mission is to obtain equality for intersex and nonbinary people as part of a broader vision for a world that accepts and values difference of every kind. Her memoir "Born Both" was published in March.

Deutschland uber alles?

What a jarring moment in The Promise, just released film about a love triangle during the Armenian genocide, 1915-1923.

German officers in Constantinople standing at a party with Turkish leaders in 1915 began singing their national anthem "Deutschland, Deutschland, uber alles..."  

That really threw me, hearing Hayden's beautiful tune sung in this context.  I associate the melody with a beloved hymn, "Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God...."

I'd never before heard the tune sung to the ugly words "Deutschland, Deutschland uber alles."

I ended up doing an internet search on the subject afterwards.

The German lyrics, written in 1841, begin: "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles, / Über alles in der Welt."

The correct translation is "Germany, Germany, over all other things, over all in the world," a personal statement of loyalty to Germany above other things one might value: city, family, health, even life.

As Wikipedia says, it "meant that the most important goal of 19th-century German liberal revolutionaries should be a unified Germany which would overcome loyalties to the local kingdoms, principalities, duchies, and palatines (Kleinstaaterei) of then-fragmented Germany."

In order to mean "Germany over all other nations," it would have to be "Deutschland uber alle," not "alles," as in "Deutschland uber alle anderen Nationen."

Nevertheless, Germans don't sing the first two verses today because after the two world wars, any extreme statement of nationalism feels inappropriate. They sing only the third verse, which is about unity, freedom, and justice.

At any rate, it's a chilling moment in the film to hear German soldiers sing these words as World War I begins, three years before the National Socialist German Workers Party is founded, and eighteen years before Adolf Hitler gained power over Germany.

It's also a revelation in the film to see the close relationship between Turks and Germans in 1915.  Here's part of what Wikipedia has to say on it: 

The Ottoman–German Alliance was an alliance between the German Empire and the Ottoman Empire made on August 2, 1914, shortly following the outbreak of World War I. The alliance was created as part of a joint-cooperative effort that would strengthen and modernize the failing Ottoman military, as well as provide Germany safe passage into neighboring British colonies. The treaty came from the initiative of he Ottomans. It was replaced in January 1915 by a full-scale military alliance that promised Ottoman entry into the war.[6][7][8]

On the positive side, Germany came out in January, 2016, as officially recognizing the Turkish killing 1915-1923 as a genocide, just after the 100th anniversary of its beginning in 1915.  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Injustice: From Police to Prisons

The title of this panel was "Nonfiction: Police, Prisons & Justice" but actually it was about injustice (Panel 2031).  

Margot Roosevelt did a great job of introducing the heaviness of the books to be discussed: "Sometimes I just had to stop and take deep breaths just to recover from the shock and shame of what I was reading."

Leslie Klinger, on the board of the Mystery Writers of America, is a Sherlock Holmes expert.  With Laura Caldwell, he edited Anatomy of Innocence, a book that presents true stories of wrongly convicted persons, each alongside a matching story taken from murder mystery fiction.

"Estimates are that 5-10% of the people in prison have been wrongfully convicted," he said.  "That comes to about 200,000 people."

If police investigators or prosecutors don't have enough evidence to convict, they still press charges.  They're "certain [the accused] are guilty of something," Klinger said, "If not this crime, they've done something else," they reason, excusing themselves for fudging on facts or testimony. 

"America leads the world in the number of people in prison," he reported. "One third of the women in prison in the whole world are in the US."

"We have such faith in the system.  "If people go to jail, there must have been a reason,'" they say.

"The book reads beautifully like fiction, only it's entirely factual," one panelist commented.

Heather Ann Thompson won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize in history for Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.  She was also nominated in history at the LA Book Prizes, but the award went to Benjamin Madley for his book on the planned genocide of California Indians 1846-1873.  She's a professor of history at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

She revealed how the State of New York refused to release documents about the deaths in Attica Prison in 1971 and claimed that inmates had killed 39 and injured 138.  Actually, she learned, it was guards and sheriffs who killed the 39--but treatment of prisoners became harsher because of the widespread claim that inmates had done the killing.

She wrote from documents exclusively, not interviews.  In fact, she found a whole cache of documents that NY State didn't know existed, and now they have all disappeared again, except for her photocopies.  

"We have the most mass incarceration in the world.  In most cases people never see a jury.  They are forced to take a plea deal because public defenders are overworked."

"How many days a year does the criminal justice system in the US keep people in solitary confinement? It's not known--no records are kept."

Gary Younge was educated in England and lives in London.  He wrote Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives.  Using the fact that an average of 7 children and teens are killed every day in the US, he chose November 23, 2013, and researched the lives of the ten young Americans shot on that day.  He interviewed families and friends as well as reading the brief notices in local newspapers.

"None of them gets much press attention," he charged. "It's just the collateral damage of another day in America."

When he asked journalists why a particular death did not get a full article about the person and the situation, they answer, "It's just not so surprising that a kid would be shot in that area.  It's just not news."
"If a killing doesn't challenge the way America thinks about itself," he concluded, "It's not news."  Some killings do, especially those in white neighborhoods.  

"In no other country in the developed world would this be possible," he said.  "Americans see guns the way they see traffic.  It's here.  They can't imagine a world without them."

"Everywhere I go in promoting this book, people have asked me two questions about Americans," Younge said. "The first was about health care: why wouldn't they want it?  The second was guns: why would they want them?"

"Gun violence is seen as essentially American, but there's nothing natural or essential about it.  These deaths are the result of policy decisions."

Younge also pointed out the chronic lack of empathy he hears in comments like "They must have had it coming" or "The kids are ______ (whatever)" or "The parents are negligent--that's why they die."

"It's shocking how achingly normal these kids are," he said. "They go to school, have friends, use Facebook.  What they have in common is that they live in areas where they've been used to people being killed."

Victor M. Rios spoke about his new book Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth.  

He's now a professor of sociology at UC Santa Barbara, but at age 15 he was dealing drugs and found himself with a gun placed against his head.  At this point ..."he turned to a teacher, who mentored him and helped him find a job.  That job would alter the course of his whole life--putting him on the road to college and eventually a Ph.D," his book jacket reports.

"Instead of heart-breaking stories, we need to tell heart-making stories," he said. "We have to change people's hearts.  If there's a change of heart in authority figures, there will be a change of outcomes."

Right now we often see "a significant stripping away of dignity."  

"We see them as at-risk, so the solution is from a risk-based perspective.  Let's see them as at-promise and implement an asset-based perspective.  Instead of seeing him as a gang member, see him as a son, an employee, a student.  He may be gang-associated, but he's also a person with other worlds in which he moves."

All the panelists except Rios were angry, and their urgency about gun violence in the US was contagious. After vowing to buy no more books, I bought all except Klinger's.

avatar for Margot Roosevelt

Margot Roosevelt

Roosevelt covers the economy for the Orange County Register. Before that, she covered environment and energy news for the Los Angeles Times, and was TIME Magazine's National Correspondent. She was also a foreign correspondent for TIME, based in Paris. She covered Congress for the Washington Post and was the Post's New York bureau chief.

avatar for Leslie S Klinger

Leslie S Klinger

Klinger is the New York Times-best-selling editor of the Edgar®-winning "New Annotated Sherlock Holmes" as well as numerous other anthologies, books, and articles on Holmes, Dracula, H. P. Lovecraft, and classic mysteries and horror. His latest book is "Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted,” co-edited by Laura Caldwell, true stories about the experiences of exonerees (Liveright/W. W. Norton, 2017).
avatar for Victor Rios

Victor Rios

Rios is professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of “Human Targets: Schools, Police, and the Criminalization of Latino Youth.”
avatar for Heather Ann Thompson

Heather Ann Thompson

Thompson is an historian at the University of Michigan. Her book, "Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy,” is a finalist for the 2016 L.A. Times Book Prize in History, was a finalist for the National Book Award, and has been named on more than a dozen Best Books of 2016 lists as well as a Best Human Rights Books of 2016. It has also been optioned by TriStar Pictures and will be adapted for film by screenwriters... Read More →
avatar for Gary Younge

Gary Younge

Younge, an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Nation Institute, is an award-winning columnist for the Guardian and Nation. In 2015, he was awarded Foreign Commentator of the Year Award in Britain and the David Nyhan Prize for political journalism by Harvard's Shorenstein's Center. He is author of "The Speech,” "Who Are We—and Should it Matter in the Twenty-First Century?,” "Stranger in a Strange Land,” and "No Place Like Home.”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Memoirs of Troubled Times

"Memoir: Troubled Times" was one of my favorite at the LA Times Festival of Books this year (Panel 1044).  

Freddy Negrete discussed his memoir Smile Now, Cry Later and his current career as a tatoo artist.  His book reveals how he was recruited by an LA gang, sold drugs, and escaped that life.

Maggie Rowe's memoir is titled Sin Bravely: A Memoir of Spiritual Disobedience.  It's a brave story of growing up in a conservative Christian family where the fear of hellfire and damnation was drilled into her.  As a young adult, she becomes so fearful that she spends time in a psychiatric ward.  Today she is a stand-up comedian, actress, and screenplay writer.  

Rob Roberge writes in his memoir Liar about being bipolar, using drugs, recovery, and lying his way out of situations.

Moderator of the panel was Samantha Dunn, with whom I took several memoir courses a few years ago.  Since then she's married and now has an 8-year-old son.

I only bought one book from this session, much as I would have liked to buy all three.  Of course, that book is Sin Bravely.  I will review it for the Christian Feminism Today website,

I mentioned the website to Maggie, and she visited it.  She like the article "Was Esther a Post-Colonial Feminist?" by Princess O'Nika Auguste.

avatar for Samantha Dunn

Samantha Dunn

Dunn is a journalist and the author of the critically acclaimed novel “Failing Paris” and the bestselling memoirs, “Not By | Accident; Reconstructing a Careless Life” and “Faith in Carlos Gomez.” Dunn teaches at both the UCLA Writers Program and Idyllwild Arts Academy. She works as associate editor of Coast Magazine, a regional arts and lifestyle publication.

avatar for Freddy Negrete

Freddy Negrete

Negrete's memoir "Smile Now, Cry Later" is a riveting narrative that takes the reader from Freddy's days as a cholo gang member to pioneering black-and-gray tattoo artist to evangelical preacher to Hollywood body-art consultant to addiction counselor. His story is a testament to the spark within us all that gives us the strength to survive and transform what would otherwise destroy us.
avatar for Rob Roberge

Rob Roberge

Roberge is the author of four books of fiction and most recently the memoir, "Liar" (Crown, 2016), which was a Barnes and Noble Discover New Writers selection, chosen for several best of 2016 lists, with the New Yorker saying "…both the smallest and biggest pieces of this memoir fascinate." His work has been described as "Drop dead gorgeous and mind-bendingly smart" by Cheryl Strayed.
avatar for Maggie Rowe

Maggie Rowe

For the last fifteen years, Rowe has performed in and produced the Comedy Central stage show “sit ‘n’ spin,” Los Angeles' longest running spoken word show, having taken over the reins from creator, Jill Soloway. She has written for “Arrested Development” and “Flaked” for Netflix. She co-wrote the screenplay for and directed the New Age mockumentary "Bright | Day" and is the creator of the theatrical satires Hollywood Hellhouse... Read More →

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Bakersfield debate re migrants

Cesar Chavez, 1966

Bakersfield is a town famous for its migrant farm workers in the 1930s.  Cesar Chavez helped later workers to organize in the 1970s, and Chavez National Monument now honors him near Keene, CA.

John Steinbeck wrote The Grapes of Wrath about a family who migrated to the lower San Joaquin Valley during the Great Depression.

Pete Seeger wrote ballads such as "This Land Is My Land" about these workers.

But now Bakersfield's sheriff Donny Youngblood has proposed declaring Kern County, which includes Bakersfield, to be a "non-sanctuary county."

He wants to make a dramatic statement against cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, which are sanctuary cities.

This would dishonor all the migrant workers who have built agriculture in Kern County.

Thank you to The Bakersfield Californian for its editorial today speaking out against the proposal by Youngblood.

Genocide Begets Genocide

New film on Armenian genocide

I had never heard Hitler's famous quote before invading Poland until I read this column by Robin Abcarian.

"Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?" Hitler said in 1939.  

Our collective amnesia gave him license to invade another nation and take its Jewish citizens captive, killing them in concentration camps over the next six years.

Remembering is so important. 1.5 million Armenians were killed by Ottoman Turkey, starting on April 24, 1915, and lasting through 1923.

Now April 24 is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day, observed annually in Los Angeles by a march of 1.5 miles.

Not to be confused with Holocaust Remembrance Day, or Yom haShoah, occurring on the 27th day of Nisan (also April 24 this year), marking the date of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.  

And let's not forget the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day, observed on January 27, 1945, the day Russian troops entered and liberated the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps.

Robin's grandfather, Mike Abcarian, left Armenia in 1912 to seek his fortune in America, planning to send for his family after he got established.

"He never got the chance," writes Robin.  "They were murdered in 1915.  Only his younger sister, who was pinned under her mother's body, survived."

Today there are deniers of this holocaust, as of the Jewish holocaust during World War II.  

No American president has recognized this horror using the word genocide.
Turkey today refuses to admit that it engaged in systematic extermination 100 years ago.
Small planes flew above the march with a Turkish flag and a banner reading "Stop Armenian Lies."  Some news reports on marches qualify the genocide with "many say" and "most historians say...."

What can you do to show your caring?  Go to see the new film The Promise, a "big-budget American feature" about this genocide, released April 21. It's showing in Los Angeles at AMC, Landmark, iPic, Arclight,and Cinemark theatres, as well as other places.

It screened at the Vatican on April 4.

In fact, this film has been challenged by a matching Turkish film produced by those who deny that the Armenian genocide took place.

IMDb reports: “It’s an Erdogan propaganda film released as a feature film in the United States, remarkably, just ahead of us,” the director said. “The Ottoman Lieutenant,” which stars Josh Hartnett and Ben Kingsley, was produced by a Turkish company called Eastern Sunrise Films.

Thank you to Robin for her heart-breaking reminder with a photo of a seven-year-old today marching for his ancestors,