A look back at the year that was 2021

2021 sucked as much as 2020

Before we all leave 2021 behind, it is good to reflect on everything that happened

For a lot of reasons, the last few years have sucked. In February 2020, I did a great show in Greenwich Village (at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club) and thought This is going to be my year! Three weeks later, everything in New York shut down and 2020 was no one’s year. Unless you count Covid 19, it was its year.

Things seemed to be looking up at the start of 2021. Joe Biden would be coming into the White House and Donald Trump would be leaving. There were a number of covid vaccines about to be approved. Sanity had prevailed and maybe the pandemic would end.

On January 6, pro-Trumpers rioted on the mall and stormed the capitol building. No one could have known at the time that the year was going to be decided that day. Chuck Todd once called the era we are living in the “post facts” era. He was right. Trump supporters believe that he won the election. One told me Trump received 81 million votes (that was Biden’s number). I have no idea what right-wing site he was reading but when I pointed him to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he told me that the FEC is a leftie organization and couldn’t be trusted.

Justice made a comeback this year

There were some really good things that happened. Police officers Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter were convicted. I was surprised in both instances as cops in the past have gotten off when they kill people. The men who stalked Ahmaud Arbery and killed him were convicted. Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s second in command, was convicted. R. Kelly was convicted.

These convictions don’t undo the wrongs committed. George Floyd and Arbery are still dead. The women and girls tormented by Maxwell and Kelly still have to live with what happened but it is a start.

George W. Bush was right about pandemics

How often do I tout things Dubya said? Rarely.

If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare.

George W. Bush in 2005

In 2005, Dubywa went on vacation and read John M. Barry’s The Great Influenza. He was so taken by the book and its message that he set up the office of pandemic preparedness in the White House (Trump effectively closed it down when he moved in). Bush saw the message of the book wasn’t “the 1918 flu was really bad” but that pandemics can happen anytime. I know people who blame the Chinese government for the current pandemic. While they are not blameless, this was a long time coming.

Back in 2006, I started worrying about bird flu. It wasn’t until 2013 that I blogged about it. I have read The Great Influenza and other books about deadly flu outbreaks. Most start in Asia. A pig can harbor a bird and a human virus at the same time. Viruses in pigs can mutate and now you have a deadly flu that can infect people. This is what scientists think happened in 1918 flu (if you are wondering why it was called the “Spanish Flu,” that is because this was during WWI and media outlets were banned from reporting on the disease everywhere but in Spain).

So things started opening up in the spring and then the Delta variant hit. I was vaccinated in April/May. By the fall, I thought things for vaccinated people were looking up. Then Omicron hit and the world started shrinking again. Now I had to cancel an event I was planning for Paul Rusesabagina. I am very sad about that.

We made progress against genocide in 2021

It is easy to only see the bad things that happen. In December, I delivered some petitions to Harry Winston asking the jeweler to stop sourcing #GenocideGems from Myanmar. Ten minutes after we left, they announced they would do just that. In February, Kirin Beer ended its relationship with the Myanmar military.

A few weeks ago, President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law. There are good reasons to think Secretary Blinken will declare what has happened to the Rohingya is a genocide. Gainesville, Florida passed an anti-genocide resolution. We are working with other localities and cities to get more of these passed. No government should profit from or fund genocide.

So, by 2021. I really hope 2022 is better.

PS. You can still lower your tax bill for 2021 AND help me fight genocide by donating to this.

I pledge allegiance …

the pledge

Today is National Pledge of Allegiance Day

When I was in the first grade, I stopped saying the pledge in class because I wasn’t sure if I believed in god and didn’t like that the pledge had “under god” in it. What I didn’t know is that the pledge has been revised several times.

It started out:

“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Original pledge, written in 1892

When Congress made the pledge official on December 28, 1945, it was:

“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Official version in 1945

Of course, during the Cold War and at the height of the nation’s anti-communist paranoia, it was changed again. In 1954, “under god” was added. The men who founded this nation were not religious zealots like we have today. They didn’t think god had any place in government, hence their appreciation for the separation of church and state. Now, back when I was six and already on the path to hell, I could have just not said “under god” but that didn’t occur to me until later so I just didn’t say anything

Fruitcakes for everyone!

Does anyone like them? Not me! But yesterday was National Fruitcake Day. Accordingly, I think I put a TikTok video up about Donald Trump. His snowflake supporters got all upset, how dare you say Trump never supported the vaccine! He got it last December! Pull your head out of CNN’s ass!

Wow. Don’t I need to watch CNN to get my head up its ass? Guess not. If you haven’t checked out my channel there, please do. You’ll thank me later.

Want to do some good and lower your tax bill?

There are still a few days left in 2021. If you want to donate to a great cause, make my work against genocide possible and lower your tax bill, please donate to No Business with Genocide. It would mean the world to me. Thank you!

PS. I remain pissed off about Annie. Check out why here.

Omicron comes to town

omicron

The other day was National Crossword puzzle day!

Omicron is on everyone’s mind but I am starting with something light. I was so excited to blog about this important holiday and you may not think I am serious but I am all too serious. Don’t believe me? If you were around me on any day that the NY Times has a rebus puzzle, you would not think I am not serious.

“What is a rebus puzzle?” Good question! That’s where they put MORE THAN ONE LETTER OR A DIGIT in a square and it MAKES ME CRAZY! Well, crazier than I normally am. The first time I saw one of these, I thought my head was going to explode. Seriously. And you don’t want to be around me when they get their facts wrong!

The first thing I do every day is the Times’ crossword. I LOVE IT! There is even a movie, Wordplay, about people who do and love crossword puzzles. If you are like me and love them, check it out!

Omicron is not a transformer, though it is transforming life

This week, New York City is once again the epicenter of covid activity thanks to the omicron variety. Not only that but the part of town where I hang out the most is the epicenter of the epicenter. That’s right! Greenwich Village is one of the hottest spots (for omicron) in the city.

Over the last seven days, for every 100,000 Manhattan residents, about 1,672 have been infected, the city said in a transmission chart on its COVID data site.

Source: NYC Health

And that’s just an average – in some Manhattan neighborhoods, the numbers are astronomically higher. In Greenwich Village and SoHo, it’s 2,927 cases per 100,000; in Chelsea, 2,513 per 100,000.

Source: NBC4 NY

This matters to me because when I go into the city, my number one destination is MacDougal Street, which is in the heart of the Village. Great. I thought I was getting my booster shot yesterday but had the date wrong. D’Oh!

Why I am still working to end genocide

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve. This will mark Paul Rusesabagin’s second Christmas behind bars. Please check out the piece I wrote for Medium.

And yes, I am still angry about Annie.

Stupid is as stupid does

stupid

You can’t fix stupid

I swear I think Forrest Gump has a quote for just about any situation in life. Yesterday, I was combing through the news to find things to joke about, as I do every day when I came upon this headline from the Washington Post:

D.C. third-graders were made to reenact episodes from the Holocaust

Now, this is the kind of thing I expect from the fine people who live in Florida but this was in our nation’s capital! A staff member at a DC-area elementary school had third-grade students reenact parts of the Holocaust. She had them pretend to take trains to the concentration camps, act like they were dying in the gas chambers, play out shooting each other, and then act out digging graves for each other. One student (who happened to be Jewish) was made to act out the role of Adolph Hitler and reenact his suicide at the end of World War II. How stupid could a person be?

The staff member asked the students not to tell anyone but did she really expect they would not tell their parents? When the school learned of these “lessons” they sent an email to all the parents:

“I want to acknowledge the gravity of this poor instructional decision, as students should never be asked to act out or portray any atrocity, especially genocide, war, or murder,” Principal M. Scott Berkowitz said in the email.

The school also provided the class with mental health experts to help the kids deal with the trauma caused by the exercise. When asked why she did this stupid thing, she said, “Because the Jews ruined Christmas.”

Does she not know Jesus was Jewish?

Huh? Since when was Christmas ruined? I am making a joke of this in the way Mel Brooks explained The Producers by saying he thought laughing at Hitler was the best revenge but this is also very serious. A recent report by the American Jewish Committee found:

  • One in four American Jews say they have been targets of antisemitism in the last 12 months;
  • Four in 10 American Jews have changed their behavior out of fear;
  • Four out of 10 of all Americans have personally witnessed antisemitic incidents;
  • And 82% of American Jews say antisemitism has risen over the last five years while only 44% of the general public believes that to be the case.

Moreover, attacks on Jewish people, cemeteries, and synagogues has been on the rise so when “lessons” like this are taught in schools, it leaves a lasting impression on already impressionable children. The comment that “Jews ruined Christmas” may be more prevalent than the rantings of one stupid school worker. The staff member in question was placed on leave but that woman needs to be fired and kept out of all schools. She has no business influencing children. As a bigger issue, we need to really look at how prevalent her thoughts on Jewish people are.

Sarah Palin was back in the news

Always known for being a gentlelady and a scholar, Palin told a conservative group:

“It’ll be over my dead body that I’ll have to get a (covid vaccine) shot. I will not do it. I won’t do it, and they better not touch my kids, either.”

Forbes

Clearly, Palin has no idea how vaccines work. I mean, if she’s dead, we aren’t wasting a dose on her! Right!?!? But she went on to say:

“If enough of us, though, rise up and say, ‘No, enough is enough,’ there are more of us than there are of them.”

Forbes

Now, Palin really is showing she has no idea how this virus kills people. It’s generally not killing vaccinated people, it’s the unvaccinated who are dying. The more people don’t get vaccinated, the more of them will die and there will be more of us than them. I never advocate for the death of anyone but it’s more Republicans who are not getting vaccinated than Democrats so GOP lawmakers who oppose vaccine mandates are killing their own voters.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Today, I am annoyed about Annie

Annie live

Seriously, how is Annie a good idea?

I have never liked the musical Annie. Maybe it is because my dad was a sociopath and it would have been nice to be adopted by a rich guy who was not. Or it could be because the Annie I grew up with had red hair and I have red hair and people always said, “You look like (insert redhead here)!” My reasons are deeper than that.

Have you ever actually thought about the plot of the play/movie? Rich, single guy sends a minion to the local orphanage to pick one up for the holiday. Let that sink in. He needs an orphan for the holiday. Since when can rich people just go pick up a child for the weekend? Isn’t Ghislaine Maxwell on trial for doing that for Jeffrey Epstein? Wouldn’t every rich pedophile in the world be hanging out near the local orphanage? How is this a good message?

So, the minion picks Annie because Mrs. Hannigan, who runs the orphanage, is so mean to her. Oliver Warbucks (what kind of name is that? I get Oliver is an homage to Oliver Twist but Warbucks?) gets upset because he thought all orphans were boys. Hey, I wanted a boy to play with!

In any case, Warbucks learns Annie has never been to Manhattan to they walk 45 blocks in December. Who does that? No one. Average people take the subway. Uber rich people like Warbucks take a car. What are you taking her on the Bataan Death March?

Oh, and in the description of Mrs. Hannigan, I read she “doesn’t care for children but loves alcoholic beverages.” Yeah, sounds exactly like the kind of person you want running an orphanage. Never mind that this story takes place during the Depression (though the play came out in 1977) and they get FDR involved because he had nothing better to do, I just don’t think this is a positive message for anyone. Ever.

Are you in NYC? I am working on two events.

  1. Harry Winston protest. This will be one week from today — December 9, 2021 at 10:00 am. This is also World Genocide Day. We will walk from the US Mission to the UN to the Harry Winston headquarters and flagship store. Learn more about this here.
  2. In January, I am working with Two Joke Minimum, No Business with Genccide, the Paul Rusesabagina Hotel Rwanda Foundation and the New York Comedy Club to host a fundraiser for Paul’s legal defense fund. The night will be headlined by Nore Davis, see on the Tonight Show. Wavy Maguire will host and it will feature Jenae Boston, T-Storm, Jason Ox-Horn and me! You can get your tickets here. There will be an option for people who are not in NYC to donate and watch later. Get in touch if you need more information about that.