There are worse tweeters than Roseanne Barr… and some of them get banned

RoseanneB_MichelleW_MiloY_CharlesJ

Whether you watched, liked or disliked the original or rebooted “Roseanne” show is irrelevant. “Freedom of Speech” (First Amendment) does not grant a person the right to threaten others or to use gross disparaging words or caricatures of others esp. when it comes to one’s race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or creed. And the “Right to bear arms” (Second Amendment) does not allow unfettered discretion to shoot someone for fun, for spite or as an expression of poor taste. Moreover, Roseanne Barr was not performing as a stand-up comic where cutting edge humor can often run asymptotically with poor taste, vile and bigotry; she used Twittershere, an audience of more than 300 million users, to broadcast her hateful, racist posts.



For the most part, Twitter is self-regulated as are all social media platforms. In extreme situations, a call to action leads to accounts being shutdown as was the case with Milo Yiannopoulos, hateful provocateur, and Charles C. Johnson, hateful trollboth have worked at Breitbart, and both were banned from Twitter. As the emcee at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Michelle Wolf did not come close to the nadir in which Roseanne sank with her vitriolic tweet—in an annual event where Michelle was expected to unleash a barrage of jokes and rip into the media, public and government officials (as has been done by previous performers).
Advertisements

Homeless in the U.S. by the numbers

U.S. Homelessness Stats_Top30_PopulatedCities

Data from 1,000 most populated cities (estimated for 2016) was merged with the latest “Point-in-Time” (PIT) estimates from all “Continuum of Care”—non-profit programs working with federal and local government to curtail and aid the homeless—listed on the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Exchange. The aggregate homelessness statistics provided by 399 CoC cover all 50 states, District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. Top 30 cities by population were mapped with homelessness figures to build a table of metrics. The most populated metros face proportionally larger challenges in addressing homelessness.

About 45% of unsheltered homeless are estimated to be within the 30 most populated cities, yet these municipalities and counties make up less than 13% of the U.S. population and only 0.3% of the continental land mass, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Based on HUD’s definition of homeless (last updated in 2008):
Unsheltered homeless are persons residing in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the street.
Sheltered homeless are persons residing in an emergency shelter, including temporary emergency shelters only open during severe weather. And transitional housing for homeless people who come from the streets or emergency shelters.

The top 30 metropolises…

• Are 50 times more densely populated than all 50 states and D.C. combined.
• With 3.6 times more unsheltered homeless per 100k residents than the national average.
• And have 178 times more unsheltered homeless by area than the U.S. as a whole.

Having moved from northern New Jersey, near New York City, to Seattle in 2014, the relative ubiquity of homeless people in the “Emerald City” (of the Pacific Northwest) is palpable and disheartening. [This was also the case upon visiting San Diego and San Francisco]. Seattle is ranked 18th by population and 3rd among CoC based on unsheltered homeless. Compared with New York City…

• NYC is about 3.3 times larger in square miles than Seattle.
• NYC is roughly 3.7 times more densely populated than Seattle.

However,

• 47% of Seattle’s homeless are unsheltered (living on the streets or in wooded areas, with and without tents) compared with only 5% in NYC.
• Seattle has 17 times more unsheltered homeless per 100k residents than NYC.
• Seattle has 4.6 times more unsheltered homeless per square mile than NYC.

2017 marked the first year overall homeless figures rose since 2007—based on PIT estimates, provided by CoC and compiled by HUD. Overall, homelessness increased from 549,928 in 2016 to 553,742 or by 0.7%. The greater concern is the growing number of unsheltered homeless which jumped by 9.4% from 176,357 to 192,875, while sheltered homeless dropped from 373,571 in 2016 to 360,867 in 2017.


References


Top 1,000 Nationwide – 2017 Population Data: https://www.biggestuscities.com/
HUD Exchange: Resources: PIT and HIC Data Since 2007: https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/3031/pit-and-hic-data-since-2007/
“Metro or Continent square miles”: Bing search / Wikipedia source
Definition: Unsheltered Homeless: https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/counting_unsheltered.pdf

Addressing the Culture of Sexual Assault is Not a One-size Fits All Approach

Sexual assault culture shift

 

Unlike some people on the left, I am not interested in forcing or coaxing anyone to agree with my point of view on the allegation from 2006 against comedian/writer and co-host of Air America Radio, Al Franken. I saw the interview in full with Leeann Tweeden, and I believed her without hesitation. I shared her blog post on the day it was published, adding “Wrong is wrong”. It does not mean I think Sen. Franken (D-MN) should resign “right away” without first taking a closer look at his track record as a U.S. Senator in relation to the advancement of women, and with respect to his inappropriate behavior toward women (assuming there is more than one person), prior to his career in politics. Tweeden’s acceptance of the Senator’s apology does not absolve Franken of his transgression. She even went further to say on Good Morning America: “I didn’t do this to have him step down. I think Al Franken does a lot of good things in the Senate. You know, I think that’s for the people of Minnesota to decide. I’m not calling for him to step down. That was never my intention.”

On an ironically related legislative note, I do agree with the sexual assault survivor who asked Sen. Franken to remove himself from the bill he co-sponsored in support of sexual assault victims. Franken is not a saint by any stretch (nor is any liberal or conservative Congress member before or after they went into politics). Here is something to consider: How many other male Senators have proposed legislation in support and empowerment of women?

Then there are the other leftists who minimize Tweeden’s painful experience, disparagingly referring to her as a former model, Fox Sports host, friend of Sean Hannity and guest on his show (hence she must have an ulterior motive)… it’s misogynistic and base… moreover, it is irrelevant. Even if there was some truth to the timing in which Tweeden shared her story, it is overshadowed by her courage in publicly articulating a very uncomfortable and traumatic interaction with Franken. Wrong is wrong, and there are degrees of wrong. Same is true for doing the right thing and the impact that it has… in the short-term and long-term.

Rebecca Traister, author, editor and feminist journalism who I respect, summed it up well on Real Time with Bill Maher (November 17th episode) with a holistic perspective on the culture of sexual assault and female denigration:
“The focus on what the punishment is going to be [for the sexual harassers] is also on some level an easier conversation to have because then we get to fight about it: ‘Should he resign?’ And then we all go to our partisan battle stations.

“[It’s easier] than actually looking at the more difficult conversation, which is about the whole culture: it’s about a culture that empowers white men to abuse their power in a million ways, from the villainous predators to the fact that there is a sense of humor that we all understand in this country, that if a woman is asleep it’s funny to grab her t*ts. And that a man [referring to Al Franken] can gain power and stature and a place in the public sphere by profiting from that comedy.

“That doesn’t make [Al Franken] the same as Harvey Weinstein, but it’s not about him. It’s about reckoning with the fact that we make that culture, we participate in that culture, it’s our good politicians, it’s our friends, it’s our husbands, and it’s ourselves. That is a harder conversation to have and it’s the one we should be having about this moment, not ‘Should he resign…’”

 

To that I would add: No matter one’s stance on women’s rights, anyone who says “it takes balls”, “grow a pair”, “man up”, “don’t be a p!ssy” and the like do not get that they are complicit contributors to the culture of sexism, misogyny and sexual assault.

 
Referenced links:
http://www.kabc.com/2017/11/16/leeann-tweeden-on-senator-al-franken/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/11/17/im-a-feminist-i-study-rape-culture-and-i-dont-want-al-franken-to-resign/
https://www.thecut.com/2017/11/al-franken-accuser-leeann-tweeden-resign-comments.html
https://www.salon.com/2017/11/17/franken-fallout-sexual-assault-survivor-wants-his-name-removed-from-legislation/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/11/17/former-franken-female-staffers-speak-out-he-treated-us-with-the-utmost-respect/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMysyy0s5t4
http://deadline.com/2017/11/bill-maher-al-franken-real-time-harvey-weinstein-donald-trump-1202210878/

 

 

Another White House Scandal; Another Divisive Distraction from Trump

Another divisive distraction

Top screenshot (Sept. 25th) from “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” on MSNBC | Bottom screenshot (Sept. 25th) from “CBS This Morning”

 

Officials from Trump’s Administration have claimed that six current and former West Wing Advisors used private emails to discuss sensitive White House matters rather than use their government emails, or at the very least forward it to their WH email accounts. In an effort to distract the public and media outlets from another egregious and hypocritical impropriety in the White House, Trump took a calculated risk in attacking the NFL, its athletes and referees. The undercurrent of racism streaming through his public and social media invectives is palpable and predictable. It did not go unnoticed by Trevor Noah from The Daily Show, and late night talk show hosts Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers… or Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas… or Vietnam Veteran and Texas Sports Anchor Dale Hansen. There is also a misogynistic tone in Trump’s mocking of the NFL: he implies referees are making the violent game of football “too soft” by calling unnecessary penalties so they can impress their wives “sitting at home”.

In an exchange Monday on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, Dr. Jason Johnson shared an interesting perspective on the predominantly white NFL team owners, who appeared to show solidarity with players on Sunday and Monday Night Football. He pointed out “That was just a bunch of rich guys arguing with each other… when Bob Kraft [New England Patriots owner; close friend and outspoken supporter of Donald Trump] takes a knee, or Jerry Jones [Dallas Cowboys owner/GM; friend of the Clintons and Donald Trump; Trump inaugural donor] takes a knee, they don’t care about police brutality [or domestic violence].” Prof. Johnson went on to say “Jerry Jones [signed a player who was arrested for brutally assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend and later found guilty on another DV case].” He also added “Most of these owners don’t care about these moral issues. They were protesting because they don’t like another rich guy telling them how to run their business.” However, “the players who have been doing this all along [Colin Kaepernick started the protest of injustices to African Americans and other non-whites last year during the national anthem]: they were the ones speaking up [and demonstrating] for justice.”

Meanwhile Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, is desperately dealing with an unprecedented disaster from Hurricane Maria, which dismantled the island’s entire power grid, leaving over three million people without electricity. Puerto Rico has exhausted its limited resources and needs immediate U.S. assistance to tackle the numerous catastrophes, including massive flooding, widespread infrastructural damage, very limited cell phone access and minimal access to clean water, food and fuel. Since the hurricane hit the island on September 20th through this past weekend, Trump had not expressed support—either publicly or via Twitter—to the millions suffering in Puerto Rico and the families in the U.S. worried sick about their loved ones. Instead, Trump focused on creating a diversion to mitigate further damage to his public image. Even if the president had not intentionally attempted to redirect attention from another unraveling scandal, the latest vituperative diatribe is yet another demonstration of his shallow and unpresidential behavior. Moreover, Trump’s preference to spew insults at the NFL rather than champion a caring message for the devastated Americans in Puerto Rico is reprehensible.