Monthly Archives: March 2016

Eva B. Ross @ The Hotel Cafe

Eva Hotel Cafe.pngIf you haven’t seen my singer-songwriter daughter Eva in performance yet – this is the gig to see.

Eva 2.jpgI don’t know much about the music scene in Los Angeles, but I understand that it’s a big deal to play The Hotel Café. It’s evidently one of the cools gigs to get. And Eva’s got it.

So, check Eva out at The Hotel Café. The show just happens to be on my birthday, Saturday April 16th at 9:45. (Sure it’s a late start – but you can sleep in on Sunday, right? Besides, it’s my birthday, remember?)

Eva’s very talented UCLA friend, Nick Valentini, is also on the bill with his eclectic and tasty band. I’ve seen Nick and his crew perform – and they’re brilliant!

It’s going to be a legendary night of great music.

So, be there. Victoria and I will be — and we hope to see you all there.

The Hotel Café

1623 Cahuenga Blvd.

Los Angeles, CA 90028

For tickets, click on this link.

 

 

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Emilia’s Comic Ides of March…

E Art 3:15 copy

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March 16, 2016 · 9:17 pm

The Trump Song!

Okay. everybody — sing along with us!

We love him, we love him,

He make our hearts go thump

Nos encanta el grande     

Y macho Donald Trump     

(We love the great and masculine Donald Trump)

He pulls the string that makes everybody Jump

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

 (We love the giant testicles of Donald Trump)

 Trump es rico y loco          

When he is on the stump

On his competition

He likes to take a dump

The primary process for trump is a speed bump

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

Sure he’s got a big ego

And to us he’s no amigo.

But, hey, what do we care?

He’s the GOP’S nightmare

He wants to build walls

Even bigger than his balls

But he’s muy bold and funny

And his cabelo’s the color of honey.

His huevos enorme

His cojones grande

He takes on each crisis

From Iran to isis

With answers he pulls out the hole in his rump

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

TRUMP: SURE, I’VE GOT A BIG EGO

And to us he’s no amigo.

TRUMP: BUT, HEY, WHAT DO I CARE?

He’s the GOP’S nightmare

TRUMP: I’M GONNA BUILD WALLS

Even bigger than his balls

TRUMP: I’VE GOT STYLE — I’VE GOT CLASS

He’s an estupendo ass

Trump’s leading the polls

Though they nip at his heel

TRUMP: NO BOOK BUT THE BIBLE BEATS “ART OF THE DEAL”

He’s a rich racist fuck

TRUMP: BUT MY NUMBERS DON’t SLUMP!

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump      

 Amamos a los testículos       

Gigantes de Donald Trump

 

 

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Let’s Throw Some Healing Water On The Sanders vs. Clinton Flame Wars.

Flame banner jpegTrumpAs the Donald Trump Traveling Faux Populist Political Circus winds its way rightward into a merry, malevolent maelstrom of venom, vitriol and violence, I must tear my gaze from that cable news-abetted car wreck for just a moment to address a caustic and cancerous growth on the left.

I freely admit that I spend way too much time nursing my political jones by surfing Daily Kos, Talking Points Memo and The Huffington Post, among other sites. I find that the website articles and diaries about the 2016 Presidential election provide valuable perspective that can’t be gleaned from the shallow, repetitive and all-too-predictable TV news outlets — obsessed as they are with endless horse race prognostication.

Snarky back and forthBut when I drill down into the comment sections on sites like Kos, TPM and HuffPost, I’m increasingly concerned about the alarming tendency of progressives to snatch defeat from the jaws of potential electoral victory. Even as The Donald is torching the Republican establishment and blasting its electoral hopes to smithereens, many liberal Democrats and progressives seem intent on setting their own house ablaze.H is a liar

asshat 2Reading the comments on progressive, left-leaning websites reveals an ongoing, self-destructive flame war between passionate supporters of the leading Democratic candidates, Senator Bernie Sanders and Secretary Hillary Clinton.

H not fit for Prez 2It’s a disturbing fraternal fight, as “Bernie-bots” and “Clintonites” make critical mistakes of both an historical and politically practical nature.

06firstdraft-bernie-sanders-tmagArticleI’ll state right now that I support Bernie Sanders and his damn near revolutionary economic and social agenda. I would love to see him win the Democratic Party’s nomination. I can also state without equivocation that, should Bernie fail to win the nomination, I will support Hillary Clinton against whoever emerges from the GOP primary scrum.

That said, I’m no political Pollyanna. I know all too well that after a bruising primary fight it’s not always easy for a party to sing “Kumbaya” and come together. Just imagine how hard that will be for the Republicans this year. As I type this, Marco Rubio and John Kasich are both backing off their pledge to back Trump if he’s nominated.

2780922f-17d4-4a76-ab9a-a1fc65761d8dThat’s why I hate to hear Sanders backers say they’ll never vote for Hillary – and vice versa. Standing on principal is one thing: political suicide is another. Progressives should – and must – do better. That’s the practical part of my argument.

When a Hillary supporter sits out the general election because Bernie won the nomination (and vice versa), he or she may as well pull the lever for Trump or Cruz. That’s the reality of our nation’s current two-party system. (Until, of course, Trump fails to become the GOP nominee and launches his own Quixotic third-party bid.)

As I read them, there are two major threads in the Sanders vs. Clinton commentaries. Both are flawed.

Hope & Bernie jpegHillary Clinton, her surrogates, and many of her supporters in the blogosphere flame wars make the essential mistake of criticizing Senator Sanders and his supporters for their idealism. Rather than appeal to that beautiful, energized idealism with a message that can inspire young people and encourage frustrated but hopeful older progressives, Clinton and her campaigners too often drone on about being “practical” and “incremental” and chastise Bernie’s enthused base for wanting “pie-in-the-sky”.

Too many Clintonites view the Bernie-bots as callow youth, lacking the world-weary wisdom that Hillary has gained through her decades of experience. All too often, Hillary and her backers trot out the same stale arguments and dismissive language that the GOP has always used to denigrate progressive policy goals for education, health care and social services — saying that Bernie is “giving things away for free” and “buying votes with free stuff.”

newdealjpegIt’s sad to hear Democrats using Republican talking points. And it’s especially demoralizing to hear avowed liberals still using “socialist” and “Democratic Socialism” as dirty words. I would have thought that FDR’s New Deal would have ended that kind of talk. Wouldn’t it be better for those of us on the left to take advantage of Bernie’s candidacy to erase the stigma attached to “socialism”? It’s clearly not a dirty word to millions of young progressives – and 57-year old liberals like me.

$_35Bernie Sanders is running an aspirational campaign – much like candidate Obama did during his first run to the White House. Hillary and her base make a mistake when they dump on the dreamers. If we don’t reach beyond our grasp, we’ll never know how far we can go.

Take health care, for instance. Had Democrats aspired to a higher goal and put single payer on the table at the outset of the Senate negotiations – we might have done a lot better. We might have controlled the rapacious health insurance industry even more. We’ll never know because Democratic negotiators (in league with insurance companies) took a “practical” and “incremental” approach. Doubtless, Obamacare is far better than what we had before – but it might have been much better. As Bernie would say, “Just sayin’…”

H.pngAs for Bernie’s online legions, I’m often disappointed to hear shallow attacks on Hillary that betray a startling lack of historical knowledge. The worst of these is the constant charge that Hillary is a member of “the oligarchy” and therefore she can never truly represent progressive ideals and policies.

However, while it’s entirely appropriate to debate whether Bernie’s small-donor funded campaign makes him less beholden to special interests than Hillary’s financial support from Wall Street and big donors – it’s breathtaking historical naiveté to think that a member of the oligarchy cannot represent progressive, liberal interests.

1000509261001_1628429998001_BIO-Biography-13-World-Leaders-Franklin-D-Roosevelt-SFGet out your history books, Bernie-bots, and look up President Theodore Roosevelt, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and President John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

All three of these guys were members of the American oligarchy: born to very wealthy families, landed, connected, and raised in comfort and privilege. But what did they do?

GTY_theodore_roosevelt_sk_141229Teddy Roosevelt took on “the robber barons” of his time and broke up the Gilded Age corporate monopolies that dominated the American economy at the turn-of-the-century. They called this son of the oligarchy “The Trust Buster”.

In an economic situation much like that which led to the Great Recession of 2007, Teddy Roosevelt believed that Wall Street was acting unwisely. While greedy Wall Street financiers were living high off the hog, the working classes were getting the shaft. If cutting wages increased corporate profits — just do it! TR saw that this blatant exploitation of the masses could ignite a violent revolution: the kind that was roiling Europe. So in 1902, he launched an attack on the captains of industry, including JP Morgan, putting teeth into enforcement of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

1895155_origTeddy’s legendary battle against corporate greed and arrogance makes the 2010 Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act look very pale, indeed.

And then, of course, there was TR’s foundational work in environmental conservation and the growth of our great National Parks. Think he didn’t take on big mining, ranching and timber-cutting interests to preserve those awesome wilderness landscapes for the public?

78319-004-545F8CDD.jpg.pagespeed.ce.Q0DmgOlFcyFranklin Delano Roosevelt was also a member of the oligarchy. Both of his parents were members of wealthy old New York families on the social register – related by blood or marriage to 11 other former presidents: John Adams, James Madison, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Harrison, William H. Taft and, of course, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR’s fifth cousin. Now, that’s oligarchy for you.

fdr1But, did FDR’s wealth and connections make him the enemy of progressive values? Do I have to explain how he saved the nation after three successive Republican administrations drove America into the Great Depression? In that Herculean effort, FDR practically invented modern American liberalism with his New Deal – ambitious, progressive programs like the WPA, the Civilian Conservation Corps and that little thing called Social Security.

FDR was a Democratic giant, a champion of American progressive values – and a member of the oligarchy.

john-f-kennedyJFK was no FDR – but he was a progressive in his time, founding the Peace Corps and helping to advance the cause of civil rights and voting rights. Another son of great wealth and privilege, John F Kennedy may have been an oligarch, but he inspired a generation of young progressives – including Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.Young B&H

So, let’s keep everything in perspective, my lefty compatriots. Keep your eyes on the electoral prize.

Douse the flame wars.Stop bashing

Let’s keep the contest for the Democratic nomination honest and respectful — with an informed appreciation for the role of liberal values in American politics, past, present and future.

At some point this summer, we’ll all need to come together.

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Chicago 1968 & 2016

convention_aug08_5_631.jpg__800x600_q85_cropScreen Shot 2016-03-11 at 10.14.19 PMScreen Shot 2016-03-11 at 10.15.49 PMSomething very important happened in Chicago on Friday, March 11, 2016 at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A planned mass rally for Republican Presidential primary frontrunner Donald J. Trump descended into a maelstrom of anger, turbulence and confrontation not seen in American electoral politics in 48 years — since the famously contentious Chicago Democratic Convention in 1968.

Anti-war Vietnam

Vietnam War protestors march during the ’68 Democratic Convention.

That both events happened in the great city of Chicago should not be a surprise.

Chicago is America’s quintessential melting pot. For nearly two centuries, the City of Big Shoulders has been a magnet for generations of immigrants: yearning, struggling, aspirational minorities from beyond the U.S. borders looking for a better life in the Land of the Free.

Donald-Trump-Rally-ChicagoHow is it possible that Donald Trump thought the campus of the University of Illinois at Chicago — one of the most ethnically diverse campuses in the nation — would be a good venue for his blunt, bellicose message of nationalistic, Know-Nothing xenophobia?

Didn’t The Donald understand that the South Side of Chicago has been a racial DMZ for more than a century? Didn’t anyone tell him that Midwestern college students are vastly more progressive than the folks who have flocked to his rallies so far?

ndcThose of us who remember the 1968 Chicago Democratic Convention are not surprised. Neither are those few who remember the 1923 Munich Beer Hall Putsch. Those two events were violent, destructive spasms on the left and right. Does Mr. Trump have any clue about this dubious history – and the negative political energy he is generating?

“Until today, we’ve never had much of a problem,” Trump told CNN’s Don Lemon. “I don’t have regrets. These were very, very bad protesters. These were bad dudes. They were rough, tough guys.”

trump-rally-michigan-2So says The Donald. But I wouldn’t bet on his take against the verdict of history. The Bible (which Trump says he reveres) says, “They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind”.

Mr. Trump – Chicago, March 11, 2016 is your whirlwind.

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The Democratic Contest Begins…

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 30: U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-VT) speaks on his agenda for America during a news conference on Capitol Hill April 30, 2015 in Washington, DC. Sen. Sanders sent out an e-mail earlier to announce that he will run for U.S. president. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

150310151059-02-hillary-clinton-speech-0310-super-169

Whether you support former First Lady, New York Senator, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or Vermont Senator (and gasp!) self-avowed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, there is no doubt that the vote in the Michigan Democratic Primary has turned the 2016 Presidential nominating contest into a hotly contested race.

michiganTonight’s results from the great state of Michigan haven’t changed my mind. I’ve always loved me some Bernie Sanders. (I still remember “Brunch with Bernie” on Thom Hartman’s radio show – and all of his appearances on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program.)

To be sure, I’m feeling the Bern all the way to the Democratic Convention. But if Hillary somehow ultimately prevails in the delegate count – I’m 100% with her against whatever monstrosity the GOP nominates: whether it’s Trump or Cruz or some lousy, GOP establishment option they manage to cobble together at a brokered (okay, “open”) convention.Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 9.31.37 PM

So, my progressive friends – this was a great night.

Those of us who are progressive Democrats are in a great position. Bernie Sanders is leading in the right direction. If Hillary Clinton hopes to compete for the Democratic nomination, she must embrace Bernie’s populist, idealistic, progressive platform – and outflank him on the left.

Either way, we win.Screen Shot 2016-03-08 at 9.39.07 PM

Go ahead, GOP. Give us Trump or Cruz.

Can’t wait.

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You Know The Candidates – Now Meet The Can’t-idates!

Banner 1Banner 2Banner 3As crazy as the 2016 Presidential election cycle has been, my friend Craig Tomashoff’s new book proves that it’s actually crazier than you realize.

Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 9.38.30 AMIn an election year that features a billionaire tycoon/reality show star at the top of the GOP polls — The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name introduces us to a cast of candidates whose kookiness trumps Trump.

Craig has spent much of the past year getting to know the people he calls “The Can’t-idates” — some of the wildest dreamers and iconoclasts that have ever (somehow) gotten their names on a Presidential ballot. Can’t-idates like Pamela Pinkney Butts…

imrs.phpVermin Supreme…

…and Sydney’s Voluptuous Buttocks.

The folks in Craig’s book are definitely not contenders – unless they’re contending for the title of Most Improbable Candidacy of 2016. (A title that, come to think of it, The Donald has already locked up.)

But whatever their chances, whatever their motivations, the author treats all his “Can’t-idates” with dignity and respect — allowing them to tell their stories and reveal themselves in an entertaining and enlightening way.

IMG_3794You can get your copy of the book – and meet the author — at a book-signing party on Friday, March 25 at 7 pm at Book Soup in West Hollywood, CA. Craig assures me that daughter-made cookies will be provided, and that he will be happy to personally describe what it feels like to have Ted Cruz hug you, be interviewed with a pig, and stand five feet away from Donald Trump — not necessarily in that order.

For the book-signing, RSVP to ctomashoff@gmail.com or at this link.

More information on the book is available here.

The following are some excerpts from Craig’s press release…

Usera.Still002This country has long craved a non-politician who would campaign for president, a freewheeling dreamer not bound by conventional political wisdom. Who cares that, other than the need for oxygen to stay alive, Trump has little in common with most of his supporters? They still perceive him to be the only candidate bold enough to buck the system they despise. The thing is, he’s not. As you will learn in The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name, there are a lot of real real people campaigning to be Commander in Chief. If only somebody would listen to them…

2a90584Pundits also like to complain that our political system just produces the same old faces, yet they’re ignoring the hundreds of candidates who file every four years to run for president. The 2016 election has already produced more than double the number of “citizen candidates” than the 2012 election did – nearly 1,300 compared to 500.

So what keeps these people clinging against all odds to the ultimate American Dream? The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name has the amazing, inspiring and sometimes amusing answers.

To research this new book, award-winning journalist Craig Tomashoff spoke with more than 100 ordinary Americans attempting to accomplish the extraordinary – get elected to the highest office in the land without any political experience whatsoever. Out of those interviews, he found 15 unforgettable citizens who are running for the highest office in the land not just to make their country a better place. They’re also doing it to find something that’s been missing from their personal lives.

IMG_4011

No, that’s not Sydney’s Voluptuous Buttocks. It’s that woman who ran Hewlett-Packard into the ground.

Tomashoff traveled 10,000 miles in three weeks to meet these 15 people. There’s Harley Brown, the Hell’s Angel in Idaho whose job used to be informing military families that they’re loved ones had died. Until God told him to run. There’s Josh Usera, the ex-MMA fighter from South Dakota, who hopes his campaign will redeem his hometown reputation after several brushes with the law. And there’s Vermin Supreme, the Massachusetts political prankster who is back for a seventh run at the White House by promising free candy and ponies in exchange for votes.

The Can’t-idates: Running For President When Nobody Knows Your Name offers a lively, loving look at a collection of misfits, ne’er-do-wells and American dreamers who still believe in something the rest of us have long since forgotten.

People.Cantidates

 

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