Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October 3


Coffee and Politics

Something a little different today. I’ve become aware that my “Coffee” posts are a popular feature of my blog. Readers comment more on the coffee stuff than anything else I post. And I get personal questions about my coffee habits. So here’s my coffee confessional.

At home I use the Chemex method to brew coffee. I prefer the natural (brown) square cut filters. For coffee, I brew a custom combo – half Starbucks Sumatra and half 7-11 regular exclusive blend. I know. But it’s my preference. Three scoops per 12-ounce cup/mug. Multiple times per day. I can drink a mug of coffee right before bedtime, and it doesn’t keep me awake. Total coffee addict.

When ordering out, I go for an Americano with a splash of half-and-half and half a packet of Whole Earth Nature Sweet (Stevia/monk fruit blend). It took me awhile to get used to the taste of Stevia, but I can’t argue with the fact that it’s a non caloric natural product instead of a packet of chemicals. Past noon (or so) I drop the cream. Go ahead – judge me.

It seems inappropriate to post pictures of prurient interest at a time of national tragedy, so I’m taking the day off from that. Today, political frustration seems more important than soft porn. 

At the time of the Las Vegas mass shooting Sunday night, the curtain had already come down on Paul Rudnick’s (above) one act play, “Big Night”, playing at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Los Angeles. Yesterday the theatre was dark, but it will be a tough performance tonight, since the show includes a mass shooting as a sub plot – a gunman enters the Los Angeles LGBTQ Youth Center and shoots 50 kids. On Oscar night.

This poorly-reviewed show is not one of the best from openly gay playwright and screenwriter Rudnick (b. 1957), who has given us such classics as “Jeffrey”, “In and Out” and “Sister Act.” Right now he is writing the screenplay and lyrics for a stage musical version of “The Devil Wears Prada”, a project for which Elton John is composing the score.

A short while ago I copied and pasted a political commentary by Rudnick in which he vented his anger toward Trump voters. Somehow today seems the right time to share an excerpt from it.

(Rudnick)...The anger is caused by a single basic fact. If I agree, or at least entertain the idea, that Trump voters had genuine grievances and hardscrabble lives, there’s still something I can’t forgive. They saw who Trump was, they knew exactly what he stood for, and they chose him.

When I’ve talked to Trump voters, they often explain that they were rolling the dice, that they were sick of politics as usual, and that Trump felt like something new. If Trump was a truly fresh face, someone who arrived from nowhere, as a genuine populist hero, I could understand this hope, this betting on change.

But Trump? Every American knew he was a blowhard, whose businesses constantly went bankrupt; they knew that he abused women and never thought of anyone but himself. They knew that his rallies were ignited by the worst lynch mob mentality, and that he celebrated not America, but hatred. And they excused these facts or ignored them or claimed they were manufactured, but they knew. They had a choice, and they chose Trump.

Even if you hated Hillary or didn’t trust her or thought she was a political hack, she wasn’t Trump. She wasn’t worse. She wasn’t a proven, inept embarrassment. If nothing else, her service to America was indisputable. Trump has never done anything for anyone: this was who you favored, to represent our country?
That choice is what can’t be forgiven, because every day, that choice erodes our nation’s stability and dignity. None of Trump’s actions have been even the slightest surprise: not the fact that he champions white supremacists, or busily provokes a possible nuclear war, or mocks people suffering from a hurricane’s devastation.

Trump’s supporters are too cowardly to admit their mistake, so they blame fake news, or the Democrats, or, as one guy told me, “So what? It’s business as usual. Hillary would have been just as bad.”

Which isn’t true. No one would have been as bad. America isn’t being torn apart by policy disputes over taxes or healthcare, or an impasse between political parties; we’re suffering from the most sickening shame, and that can’t be healed by “understanding” or “reaching out” or “listening to the other side.” With Trump, there is no other side.

And from Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT):

“This must stop. It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic. There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”

The real strength of Murphy’s statement isn’t its use of light profanity, but its implied acknowledgment of the twin challenges facing the gun control movement. Nothing will change without policy, and policy is near-impossible to pass due to politics. Not to mention the sobering reality that, in terms of campaign contributions, the NRA sends its money almost exclusively to Republicans, who control both houses of Congress.

We’re screwed.

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