Uprisings: Harder than he thought

By : Billy Manes
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We’ve all been in over our heads before. All the vocational training you can crack two credit cards at will still never ensure that somebody at your new job is not going to roll their eyes at you, call you stupid behind your back and talk to management about your mistakes, even – if not especially – in your first 100 days. There’s acclimation to be had, names to be remembered, systems and files, the whole rhythm of the gossip train as it runs to the water cooler.

That, in part, is why most U.S. Presidents dip their toes in the water in the field – you start as an organizer, you become a state representative, you rise to a governorship or a U.S. Senate seat, you learn the ropes by actually walking across them.

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Uprisings: Health and horror

By : Billy Manes
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Have you ever been sick? I mean, so sick that you really needed help of the professional kind, maybe even a friend to drive you to the hospital? With Obamacare – or, as it’s really called, the Affordable Care Act – passage fading in our rearview mirrors right now, there are a lot of things we need to talk about in moving forward. But what we’re talking about now – namely, the failed Trumpcare plan – is a daunting wisp of comb-over terror. Republicans have seized on this notion that, when squinted at, reads like, “Support big pharma; screw the little guy.” There is nothing to this rhetoric that doesn’t reek of opportunistic capitalism, and there is not a brown pill bottle around to smooth over its side effects. What we’re talking about now – thankfully also in the past tense – is an illegible plan to make health an investment, to make people suffer more.

It may sound a little socialist, and for that I smile, but the health of our nation is certainly the best investment possible from a government. We buy things. Just four years ago, I watched a friend deal with the death of a single mother as she fell apart and fell down while trying to sell vacuum cleaners on the side for extra money. Her condition was treatable. Her bank account was not. Charlene Dill became a symbol of all it is that we are doing wrong in terms of taking care of our citizenry. Charlene Dill is dead.

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Uprisings: A New Deal?

By : Billy Manes
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On the last day of February, our national leader and television star Donald Trump launched his congressional speech with a nod to his wife and to Black History Month, attempting, apparently, to launch a new narrative about the Trump presidency, one that doesn’t involve salacious groping and Twitter accounts.

“Tonight, as we mark the conclusion of our celebration of Black History Month, we are reminded of our Nation’s path toward civil rights and the work that still remains,” he said with all the gall of a teenage actor.“ Recent threats targeting Jewish Community Centers and vandalism of Jewish cemeteries, as well as last week’s shooting in Kansas City, remind us that while we may be a Nation divided on policies, we are a country that stands united in condemning hate and evil in all its forms.”

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Uprisings: Tax and Spin

By : Jeremy Williams
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In a weekend that saw the tropics swirling with hurricane terror and a Saturday Night Live takedown of the first presidential debate earlier in the week featuring Alec Baldwin (Kill Street, anyone?!) and Kate McKinnon (the shimmy), you might think that the Donald Trump campaign should be mixing its news and humor distractions with a packet of B.C. Powder and some whisky while hiding in a dark room.

After all, Trump’s actual performance was more over-the-top than Baldwin’s grumpy sniffles (Clinton is almost unanimously considered to have trumped Trump in the debate). And when Trump took those “sniffles” to Twitter in the wee-hours of the morning, he managed to offend an entire gender and the entire Latin community with his attacks on former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

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Uprisings: The most deplorable

By : Billy Manes
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What a dizzying two weeks of nonsense we’ve witnessed on the presidential campaign trail. So dizzying, in fact, that one candidate – she of a thousand prefixes Hillary Clinton – became TMZ phone-cam fodder when she wobbled in the hands of staffers on her way to a vehicle after a Sept. 11 tribute in the overbearing sun and overbearing endorphins of public appearances. The world gasped, as it does, when it saw the slight shifts of her head on television as she was politely escorted away. Surely that meant that she was unfit to be president. Surely she was chiming a death knell for all the world to hear. Trump for everyone!

And though, by most messaging available to the media, Trump didn’t do his typical headline buzzard routine on something so private as Clinton’s personal health (optics!), he was quick to make note of her absence in recovery from the diagnosed bout of pneumonia from which she was suffering. That came mostly because of Clinton’s savage – but true – attack on Trump supporters as “deplorables.” Show me a Trump supporter who doesn’t have airs of privilege wrapped up in smug smile of “I’ve got mine” or some other prosperity gospel, and I’ll show you a bigot with a confederate flag living right down the road with a Trump sign in his yard.

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Uprisings: Diminishing returns

By : Billy Manes
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Though anyone who is taking the time to read this missive understands that this writer’s cynicism weighs more than two heavy bricks in two large pockets, the fact that the Aug. 30 primary only drew a 20 percent crowd in Orange County – and a similar number in Pinellas County – is a bit of a kick in the teeth. In some ways, I’ll take the blame. I was asked by numerous voters who to vote for, but I didn’t have the time to just throw numbers and precincts in their faces. I also didn’t, perhaps, do my due diligence in making that clear.

In a primary, in a gay paper, we don’t generally parse details. You’re with us, or you’re against us. We aren’t going to vote Republican, generally, so there’s that (sorry about your logs). The pols that have been with us were very clear in their messaging, and we likely profiled them in the past. The ones who are against us? Well, there aren’t enough ticks in a clock for us to deal with them at any reasonable length. So, on one hand, I’m issuing an apology. If any news source should be standing and screaming into the district-depths of individual primaries, it should be us, mine, the one that I edit. On the other hand, these are small towns and there are a lot of voices, many of which are familiar with my contact information, so I didn’t want to sink into the quicksand of political gamesmanship. In fact, because of social media, I did make some personal comments on personal pages, and I may have overstepped and come off as a dick.

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UPRISINGS!: We don’t want to liveblog the Democratic debate tonight (in the wake of unspeakable terrorism in Paris and Beirut), but we’ll give it a go.

By : Billy Manes
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This is how it goes. You starch your sarcasm collar up high and point your judgment nose low, and then everything falls into a saltwater pool of international proportions. While we had planned on digesting tonight’s debate on CBS between the Democratic triumvirate bench in the typical bathroom manner with which we digest small bits of food, today has fallen beneath the pall of last night’s coordinated attacks on Paris and on Beirut. There’s still talk that this plays into the Russian plane crash and any other act of terror that might be bothering the temples on either side of your eyes. In response, CBS told the New York Times that it is realigning its question path to match the timbre of the times. OK, so … will it be like those strange post-9/11 telethons were? Or will it be Hillary’s chance to shine in the international diplomacy mirror? Or will Bernie shut it down with some well-earned outrage? The O’Malley situation seems less relevant by the minute, but he’s eye candy, so there’s that. At any rate, we will be chiming in as appropriate starting at 9 p.m. We apparently didn’t have anything better to do (which is a lie), but we’re also still puffy-eyed with tears from the decay of modern civilization at a freaking concert in Paris. Grab a corndog and watch along as everyone walks the “too-soon” tightrope walk on international conspiracy, the one that tilts as safely as possible to the left. It might not be as fun or funny as previous liveblogs from this particular scribe, but he (I) has a feeling that it may be an important moment in political discourse. And abuse of tenses.

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