This morning, I headed to Downtown Los Angeles to join the masses in protest outside City Hall. Speeches and entertainers were scheduled, before a march to the Federal Building.
The crowd was huge, and the speeches impassioned. Honestly, I thought the event last week in Westwood was far better, even if overwhelmingly smaller. The speakers were particularly good -- three congressmen (including famously now, Maxine Waters) and a lot of local and state officials. They talked about what could be done and what was being done -- and there even were busses for taking blankets and toys and necessities down to San Diego detention centers.
The speeches Downtown were mostly telling us what was bad and terrible and horrific about Trump and his administration and this action separating children from their parents, along with a lot of immigration stories about themselves, including one young woman who was undocumented and told about her mother and father bringing their family to California. To be clear, those speeches are incredibly valuable in building up emotion and support for unity. But for me, speaking only personally, I didn't need convincing.
I have no idea exactly how many people turned out there, though the Los Angeles Times reports "tens of thousands." MoveOn.org says 70,000. (This appears to have been the biggest in the country. They report Washington, D.C. and New York as each other 35,000. And Chicago at 60,000.) The crowds stretched in all directions -- this above is just looking at the rear. And when I left after 90 minutes, people were still arriving on the Metro trains with signs.
I did leave before the march, which is actually the main thing I was looking forward to. But after 90 minutes of speeches, I had no idea when the march would begin. And since I was pretty much convinced at that point that putting babies in cages was a sick way for the government or humans to act, I took off, knowing that there was a flowing mass of outraged, motivated people shouting their anger still as loudly as when it all began.
And everyone was absolutely civil. Just really, really, incredibly furious.
You most-likely have read by now of the stunning, upset primary win in New York City by 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat Rep. Joe Crowley, arguably next in line to replace Nancy Pelosi as Democratic House leader. Even more stunning -- only the week before, local polls had him ahead by 35 points. AND she ended up winning by 15 points. Local polls like for this race are notoriously uncertain, but still -- that's like being in a boat in the middle of the ocean, dropping a rock over the edge and missing the water. If she wins in the general election in November -- and that's probable since the 14th District is so heavily Democratic, Crowley won last time with 83% of the vote -- she'll become the youngest woman ever elected to the House.
She appeared on Stephen Colbert's show Thursday night. It's a very personable interview. She comes across as bright and outgoing (and still a little overwhelmed by it all) -- and also like she's precisely what she is: 28 years-old. There's one exchange, for instance, where she's discussing a conversation with a constituent, and she enthusiastically describes it as, "...and then I go...and then he goes...and then I go..."
Here's the interview -- which includes the wonderful video that made the rounds of when she learned she had won. And she explains the story behind that.
Trump famously, and idiotically, put out a tweet after the election, chiding Crowley for losing, suggesting the reason was that, in this highly-Democratic district, mind you, the congressman was nice enough to him. And yes, Colbert asks her about that, as well...
Okay, so here's an actual Jon Stewart story, following the kerfuffle earlier today on this site. I figured you deserved something better.
So, for those of you who still miss Jon Stewart hosting The Daily Show on Comedy Central, here's an eight-minute fix for you from last night. It's not all funny -- it's not supposed to be all funny. It's just supposed to be pure Jon Stewart, and what he did and does so well.
After doing some deeper investigation, my nagging skepticism that that "Like" I wrote about was actually from Jon Stewart has bubbled more to the surface. And I suspect it likely wasn't, but rather a fake account. So, erring on the far side of caution, I've deleted it.
Boy, it took a LONG time for Trump to make a public statement about this. A full day. (Tweets don't count, but even that was delayed.
Of course, his words here raise some related questions. If as Trump says, the press "should be free from the fear of being violently attacked", will he stop calling them "enemy of the people"? Will he stop attacking them at his rallies where his vitriol is so vicious that reporters in attendance require protection? Will he stop calling every criticism from the press "fake news." Because otherwise, if not, his words today are meaningless and empty.
Actually, even with that, his words here are meaningless and empty. It would certainly help, but to show that his words have actual substance requires dealing with his past attacks directly and acknowledging that they were wrong and harmful, and that his supporters should not hold on to them. The damage is done, and to repair it requires triage and open heart surgery, not a bandage.
A 12-year-old black kid in Cleveland had the cops called on him for...cutting grass! He apparently went a few feet over the property line into the neighbor. BUT -- wait -- as repugnant as this yet-another story is, it turns out to have a great ending. Because of a video the "client" whose lawn he was cutting put out, he's been getting overwhelmed with calls for his summer business!
Here's the follow-up News 5 WEWS TV story. (Best line: him telling the camera -- "Just give me a call. I will be there. On time!”)
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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