The Children’s Crusade and the B.S. Political Proposals About Guns

Are they hearing themselves?

Do they get what they’re proposing?

Has their time in office so rattled their brains that they’ve become unable to understand the words?

As predicted, the political response to the demands of the children who survived and the parents whose children did not survive has offered more, and more vicious, B.S.  More vicious B.S. or simply more pandering to the all-powerful NRA.

So, Miss Fidditch would like to parse a couple of these responses to see what they actually mean.

One of the responses is “longer waiting time and/or raising the age to buy assault weapons.”

The operative words here are not “longer waiting time” or “raising the age.”  The operative words are “assault weapons.”  Let’s check in with Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary for this one.

Both sources make it clear that “assault” is about a violent attack, physical or military, intended to cause bodily harm or to put a person in “immediate danger.”

Assault weapons aid in such a violent attack.  So the question becomes, “Why are people so bent on defending themselves (the Second Amendment rabble rousers) buying assault weapons at all?”  And why are we selling assault weapons in our country by the millions?

Assault weapons that are NOT used for defense but for attacks in domestic violence cases, school shootings, going after anything the shooter doesn’t like – employees in former work places, workers at abortion clinics, people out for a night of fun at dance parties, outdoor concert-goers in Las Vegas, you name it.  Guns for defense?  Hardly.

The second proposal that’s stuck in semantic hell is the idea of arming teachers.  And here’s where Miss Fidditch does a head spin and says with widening eyes, “Say wha?”

We’re going to fight the gun problem with MORE guns?

What a classic response from those with the billions whose lives revolve around the ideas of More, More, More?  Got a problem?  More of anything should fix it.

In the case of guns, this proposal is tantamount to declaring war – real war – in our country.  But, Miss Fidditch hears them say, “We’ll train the teachers to use their guns.”  Like the trained police who have been taking down unarmed citizens all over America?

This is hardly reassuring to a parent or grandparent or any thoughtful citizen, hiring NRA-qualified teachers who may not know how to teach what the kids need to know but can by God take down a potential shooter in a heartbeat.  “Oh, wait, that kid was just reaching for a pencil in his pocket. Damn. Sorry.”

The idea of arming teachers, even some of them, in the schools is an idea that could only happen in the minds of politicians who do NOT, do NOT want to offend the NRA and come face-to-face with the out-of-control gun-slinging situation in our country.  Trump even continues to applaud the damn fine NRA leaders.  The grieving parents did not join him in this.

There was a time when teachers taught.  Sadly that time is changing because the politicians just CANNOT give up that support from the NRA. And it’s not just the money.  It’s the card-carrying yahoo mindset that cheered Trump on from their Barcaloungers and think he’s doing a swell job as long as they can keep their assault weapons.

For Miss Fidditch’s money, arming the teachers has another, insidious sub-text:  When the fire-arm trained teachers are unable to save the kids in case of attack (the true use of assault weapons) because they can’t get the gun safe open or they’re too frightened themselves to shoot or they’ve already been shot (first target of the shooter), the politicians including – oh, being led by – Mr. Politician in Chief who have to blame somebody, anybody, other than themselves will blame the teachers.  And that’s a truly sad and frightening prospect.

Could we for once take a page from another country’s book instead of thinking we have all the answers?

Countries like Australia, the UK, Japan?

Miss Fidditch hates to be the one to break the news, but the NRA and U.S. politicians supported by them are not always the smartest guys in the room. Not even close.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Children’s Crusade – They’re Done With Trump!

We’re done with Trump and we’re done with the NRA.

There’s a new party in town and it’s the 2018 Children’s Crusade.  Viva, sweet youth!

Back in 1963, the Birmingham Children’s Crusade played a big role in ending segregation in our country, but that one was organized and led by adults.  This time it’s the children themselves who have had the moxie to stand up and be counted, to articulate what’s wrong with this country and to let Donald Trump and those opposed to gun control know in no uncertain terms that they’re calling B.S.

And the great thing – the marvelous thing, the truly terrific thing – is that no politician in his or her right mind is going to attack these kids.  Of course, politicians who are NOT in their right minds might do it, but then we’ll have all the proof we need that those particular politicians are as nuts as we’ve been saying they are.

No nasty tweets.  No “fake news” claims.

These kids have been through the fire, literally, and survived.  They’ve lost friends and teachers. They’ve been terrified and didn’t know from one minute to the next if they’d make it.  They’re not looking for counseling. They’re looking for change!

And by God we should all be standing up with them, making the same demands and refusing to listen to the usual B.S. coming out of D.C. or our state legislators.  Let me put it another way.

NO POLITICIAN WHO DOES NOT SUPPORT GUN CONTROL SHOULD BE ELECTED OR RE-ELECTED.  PERIOD.

And let’s not have any smarmy, mealy-mouthed waffling on the subject from politicians who worry about losing support from the frigging NRA.  ANY POLITICIAN WHO CAN’T GET ELECTED OR RE-ELECTED WITHOUT THE NRA DOESN’T DESERVE TO HOLD A SEAT IN D.C. OR ANY OTHER PLACE.

There’s been a small token movement in Washington today – getting rid of bump stocks – but it’s not enough.  It’s not nearly enough. It’s a token and the kids know it.  They’re still going to march and George Clooney, among others, is going to help them pay for it.

Democrats, by the way, should not even think of turning this whole issue into a political football.  Should not even think of holding up any serious action against guns.  Should not even think of taking sides on this one.  The only side to take is that of the kids in the Children’s Crusade.

We can’t get rid of all the violent shoot-em-up video “games,” and we probably can’t stop toy companies from selling serious replicas of military weapons to young kids, but we can vote.  And so, I might add, can the young people leading the 2018 Children’s Crusade – many of them are already 18 and eligible and many others soon will be.

And their parents can vote.  Their aunts and uncles and grandparents can vote.  The rest of us with kids and grandkids all over this country can vote.

A lot of us have been calling B.S. on Trump and the NRA for a long time now, but we didn’t have the voice we needed in order to be heard.  We have the voices now and they are the voices of the kids in Florida and other places calling B.S.  The voices who have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  The voices of kids who know and will remember forever.

We have the voices of our future leaders, and the so-called leaders in office right now had damned well better pay attention.  The Children’s Crusade is going to change America and it’s not going away.

And none of those children are going to be wearing some cheap imported truck driver hat that reads “Make America Great Again.”  They know the right way to make it happen.

And they’re done with Trump.

 

 

 

 

Why Is He Still in the White House?

He’s been holding hands with the Russians for a long time now.

He’s the Poster Boy for marital infidelity.

He’s the smarmy apologist for the deaths of school children and claims it’s not about gun control.

He’s the denier that he or his minions are to blame for anything at all.

He’s more interested in his golf game than the lives and well-being of Americans.

He’s a proven liar.

He’s refused to be open about his finances.

He’s incited rabid conflict in our country.

He’s insulted races, genders, American heros, athletes, former Presidents, and foreign leaders.

He’s happily created a climate of fear among immigrants, including children.

He’s Donald Trump, of course, and my question stands:  Why Is He Still in the White House?

 

 

Two Movies, a Presidential Birthday and a Rant

February 12th is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday and a week from that is President’s Day to honor both Lincoln and Washington whose birthday is still February 22.  But tonight the president I’m thinking about is Richard Nixon.

I’ve been watching All the President’s Men for the third or fourth time, the film about Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, Deep Throat and Ben Bradlee, back in the days when The Washington Post was about something and journalism was still alive and well.

I know the story, of course, both the reality and the movie version which is pretty close to the reality, and it got me thinking about what’s happening in Washington, DC today and how it’s playing out in the media.

The current cast of characters is different, to be sure, but a few things resonate like Deep Throat’s advice to Woodward to “follow the money.”  We were talking about a lot less money back then, but it’s still good advice.  Is any journalist in America following the money these days?

In one way, watching the movie again is a little comforting – we got through a terrible time with a terrible president and our country survived.  At the same time, it’s more than little unsettling but not because of the politics.

It’s unsettling to me because I came up in the old school of journalism and I see less and less of that old school in any newspaper these days.

I watched another movie not long ago, Good Night and Good Luck, the story of Edward R. Murrow in the days of the McCarthy hearings, the vicious time in the 1950s when lives and careers were destroyed by a megalomaniac advised by the one and only equally vicious Roy Cohn.  Murrow went after McCarthy with a vengeance and risked much in the process.  Is there a journalist today willing to take such risks?

Sidebar:  Roy Cohn mentored the current man in the White House and the lessons shine through every single day with every single tweet.

So back to the unsettling part of today’s media – the loss of serious journalism.

It was no metaphor then to say that good reporters did a lot of leg work.  They did. We did.  We weren’t sitting in front of computers Googling people with our goo-goo-googly eyes.  Or texting or sending emails.  We were doing the leg work to talk to people first hand.  Good, solid reporting meant hard work.  And back then, it didn’t always come with a byline.  Good reporters did the work because it was their job.

And good publishers and editors demanded it because that was their job.

The “new media” is flooded with just plain goddamned crap.  And I’m talking about some of the venerable old names in the media business – the aforesaid Washington Post, the New York Times, the Chicago Times, the Seattle Times, the Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune, the Boston Globe.  None of these or their brethren (and sistren) papers are anything like they once were.

Most of them are owned by people who don’t know or care about the news.  They care about advertising, money, and “clicks” and they believe that legwork means doing your Pilates every day.

I’m writing this because I’m concerned that too many people in America somehow believe and have hope that the media will save us as Murrow did in the 50s and as Bernstein and Woodward did in the 1970s with their breaking story.

It’s not going to happen.

Politics are worse than they’ve ever been, but the media is even worse than that.  The media doesn’t give a good goddamn about serious journalism.  If they did, they wouldn’t accept the pablum that comes out of a press secretary or any of the minions in DC without a battle.  They’d challenge everybody and not stop knocking on doors until they were threatened with arrest, and maybe for a couple of hours after that.

Real journalists would tell Donald Trump to go to hell and stop shoving to the front of the pack to cover the non-news of his every little preen and primp and idle threat.  They’d tell John Kelly to give them solid news or forget it.  And they’d give Susie Hucklebuck Cinders the bum’s rush.

We don’t have hard core press men and women these days.  We have Harvard grad wimps who won’t go out in the rain without an umbrella and who want their lattes on time.

Miss Fidditch has been the sworn enemy of the stuffed shirt for a long time, but tonight she’s also the sworn enemy of the lousy so-called journalists of 2018.  And of every source of fake news on Fakebook and Twister.  And of every politician who sets up his or her own “alt-news” site (I’m lookin’ at you, Devin Nunes – JHC).

I hope to live long enough to see America recover from this godawful mess, and I’ve sworn not to die until the current administration is ousted.  That particular oath is going to keep me alive for at least another three years. After that all bets are off.

Happy birthday, Mr. Lincoln.  I have a beautiful photograph of you in your memorial chair surrounded by Americans from many walks the night Barack Obama was elected.  They wanted to be close to you on the occasion and had climbed the steps to do so.  I cherish that picture.  We have to believe in something.

 

Miss Fidditch Has an End-of-the-Month Clearance Sale

Miss Fidditch is pulling out of the January heebie jeebies and ready to head into February at the end of the week.  January is “that month” for Miss Fidditch — recovering from the holidays and looking ahead to the new year but not quite fully geared up for it.  Are we ever fully geared up for it?

So today’s post is rather like an end-of-the-month clearance sale of miscellaneous items that might or might not fit, might or might not be useful and more than likely won’t be the right color or exactly what you were looking for, but what the hell.  It’s on sale and who can resist a bargain?

In other words, a Miss Fidditch clearance sale.

Leave Your Cell Phone at the Door
First, I want to give a big congratulations to musician Jack White for his announcement that no cell phones will be allowed among audiences for his concert tour.  Finally.  White, who is a consummate musician and creative goof (the best kind), was featured in the documentary film It Might Get Loud which was recommended to me by my musician grandson a few years back.  White knows what he wants and why and he’ll get it.

Back in the days before cell phones (ask your grandmother) musicians took things into their own hands by announcing at live concerts that no recording devices were allowed and to put the Sony Walkman away.  This worked some of the time.  A better strategy was to just stop playing if someone was caught making a recording.  I was present a couple of times when jazz dudes did exactly this.  One of those dudes was guitarist Charlie Byrd at his club in Washington, D.C.  Silence can be a powerful thing.

But the smart phone, Instagram, Facebook cult has made it nearly impossible to enjoy a live performance any more without some jackdonkey (or donkess) standing up with a brightly lighted phone in your face or very near you.  I’ve learned that these folks do not take kindly to being asked to please sit down and/or turn off the phone.

Jack White is making the live music scene so much better.  Miss Fidditch says thank you.

Algorithm Schmalgorithm or Google Knows Less About Me Than It Thinks It Does
Like so many others who use the Internet to look things up, I find it irritating that once I look something up, I see ads for the item or subject for weeks on end.  If it’s something I wanted to buy, I will have made my purchase long before those ads stop. If it’s some other topic like how to get grass stains out of my knickers (don’t ask), I’ll see links to a variety of places that might have information – links for household tips, gardening and, quite possibly, help for loose women.

But I’ve learned a trick to get rid of most of those ads and links…look up something else!  Let’s be honest – despite the scary movies and books, AI is no more a stable genius than the guy in the White House. AI is basically stupid.  I mess with it all the time.

I’ve learned that if you don’t want to see any more ads for, let’s say, furnace filters just look up something interesting or beautiful and look at those ads instead.  If Google thinks I want to buy gorgeous rugs, fine with me.  I’m not in the rug buying mode, but Google doesn’t know that.  I just looked them up because they’re pretty and when they pop up 20 times a day, are so much nicer to see than furnace filters.

As for those pop up quizzes about anything at all, often as the guardian of a website you’re interested in reading, do what Miss Fidditch does.  Give false answers to every question. It’s a small thing, I know, but if it skews the results even a nanobit, I’m happy.

Not Just the Wrong Decade, but the Wrong Century
My folks were bowlers, the kind who wore shoes with numbers on the back and had bowling balls and league shirts with their names on the pockets.  I learned to bowl, too, when I was a teen-ager and we lived in a little town where the main sources of entertainment were bowling or going to the bars.  My folks nixed the bars, so I became a bowler.

On the weekends, my dad like to watch professional bowling matches on TV.  Imagine anything so ordinary as professional bowling matches in today’s slam bam media world.  Oh, I know there will be bowling somewhere in the world and people will be watching it, but it’s hardly a hot ticket item.

Still, when I noticed in the news a few days ago that the Pro Bowlers were speaking up about this and that, I thought at first that bowling was making a real comeback.  And it had a voice.  And people were paying attention.  I was wrong.  Pro Bowlers, I learned, is just another name for football fanatics.  Wrong sport, wrong decade, wrong century for Miss Fidditch.  We’re not going back, my friends, not going back.

The Big Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 21st Century Style
New York University business professor, Scott Galloway, has a book out that I can’t recommend highly enough for understanding how our lives are being run by four American companies.  Despite my messing around with Google, I know I don’t stand a snowwoman’s chance of dodging the fallout from the big four – Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.

Well, that’s not exactly true – I don’t buy from Amazon or Apple and I don’t do Facebook.  Still, the fallout from them affects me almost as much as the fallout from Google.  I’ve lost old friends, for example, who tell me now that instead of being in touch, I should just follow them on Facebook.  This is a big loss, and I miss them, but I still choose not to go there.

Zuckerberg and Bezos are on the Miss Fidditch S-list (yeah, the S is for Scoundrel) and I won’t patronize either of them or hand over my personal information to feed their billions or their egos.

I don’t have a personal complaint about Apple – I just don’t like the arrogance, and I’m more comfortable with my PC (I also like Bill and Melinda Gates’ generosity).  Google’s another matter.

Galloway’s book is a solid and at times irreverent look at where we are, how we got here, and where we’re likely to go with these four tech horsemen.  The title is The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. 

My favorite line?  At the end of the chapter on Amazon and Jeff Bezos’ rationalization for his desire to take over the retail world (and probably more) forcing us all to shop through Amazon for even our every day needs, Galloway writes – purely, simply, honestly, and provocatively:  “Jeff, show some real fucking vision.”

Miss Fidditch could not have said it better.

Now onward to February and whatever, besides groundhogs, Mardi Gras, valentines, the Chinese New Year, and presidents, it brings…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galloway book