16 videos: notable public figure reactions to Orlando

Someone asked me if I knew of a central place to see many of the high-profile videos regarding Orlando. I did not. So I made this playlist.

Use the pulldown menu at the top left of the video player.  Every video will play start to finish and then go to the next one.

Included are clips from Anderson Cooper, Samantha Bee, Stephen Colbert, President Obama, Apple CEO Tim Cook and others.

Cooper’s is the hardest to watch.

Bee’s is, I think, the most prescient.

Apple’s Cook is interesting in that he, along with Cooper, suggest that those in the LGBT community are indeed the ones who are feeling this the hardest. Of course we all ache for the loss and despair at the violence. But who among us has not felt even just a bit unsafe walking down a street, walking in or out of a bar or showing same-sex affection in a public place? This truly could have been any of us.

I thought James Corden’s Tony Awards opening was pitch perfect. The same goes for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony acceptance speech.

The most “Hell YES!” moment comes from overseas where British newspaper columnist Owen Jones storms off the SkyNews “Press Preview” set (a show I adore btw) after the host and co-presenter try to insist that the fact that the victims were in a gay bar is irrelevant.

But they are all good, which is a small testament to how far we’ve come. It wasn’t so long ago that many of us could burn to death in a bar fire and the media didn’t much notice.

I did not include those from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders (both of whom have been very good) or Donald Trump. It just felt as if campaign videos should be separate.


I was certain this would happen some day


We all deal with things in different ways. I deal with them by writing down my thoughts.

I’ve sat at my desk at home feeling conflicting emotions as live news of the Orlando LGBT nightclub shooting plays on my television screen.

20 50 dead. At least. 53 wounded as of the last credible count.

Empathy. Sadness. Confusion as to the exact circumstances. But primarily anger. This is not the first time something like this happened and it most likely will not be the last.

We are making progress, beyond what I thought we would ever have made in 2016.

But it has always been true that our progress and visibility engender a seething hatred in people whose religiously-induced biases and mental illnesses are never far from the surface. Great strides by us have often been followed by hate crimes large and small, meant to put us in our place: a place of silence and fear and shadow.

We cannot let this happen. 

Every season of LGBT pride celebrations is accompanied by critics in our own community who ask, “Are the events really needed any longer? Are they not outdated in an age when so many of us are free to be? Aren’t they just silly now?”

They are not silly, nor outdated.

Aside from their more celebratory aspects, these celebrations serve many purposes. They are about visibility, first and foremost. We are not going anywhere. We are a part of these communities in which we live and we have as much right to celebrate as any parade based on pride in being Irish, Italian or any anything else. You never hear people ask, “Oh, should we stop having the St. Patrick’s Day Parade because it’s out of date.”

If they can have Mardi Gras, a drunken bacchanal which keeps local state and federal police agencies busy every day of its existence, we can have our parades where peacefulness and joy reign.

But Pride celebrations are also about defiance. Not only are we not going anywhere, but we most pointedly refuse to go anywhere; to hide. From the largest celebrations in our most populous cities, to tiny marches in countries and regions where being LGBT is still a daily struggle. Our large celebrations feed those smaller celebrations and give hope to those who are not as lucky as we are to live in places where the rule of law mostly protects us.  Mostly.

We in America may not be in a place where they are still rounding us up in bars, but we must not forget those of us in this country and  overseas who have been left behind in ways large and small. The LGBT youth suicide hotlines run by the Trevor Project and others in this country are not going out of business any time soon.

I’ve covered these issues long enough that the people with whom I’ve worked for so long and I have often thought: when and where will the carnage happen to us (again). I’m sure we’ve all thought the same thing on some level at some time. While I don’t want to overstate the exact level of danger any of us faces on a day-to-day basis, the truth is, as someone who has covered anti-gay violence most of my life, every time I attend a large LGBT gathering I think, “Is there someone in this crowd carrying a gun who wishes us ill will? A bomb?”  And then I move on because that is the best and only response you can have.

Seen through this lens, every step taken at an LGBT pride parade is an act of defiance and community-building. Every time you hold the hand of someone in public, it is an act of love and defiance. And as Orlando and other LGBT bar attacks have proven, every time you walk into one of those places with your friends, you are committing an act of defiance that goes back all the way to those nights in New York City where everyone — lesbians, gay men and trans folk — decided they’d had  enough. We’re not going anywhere. If AIDS, bigotry and violence didn’t stop us, nothing else can or will.

So let’s stop the nonsense questions about whether in our annual weeks in June or whenever, we should gather and celebrate our mere existence. That alone is cause for a parade and a few dance parties. We owe that to those who come after us. And we owe it to those people in that Orlando bar and every trans, gay or lesbian person who is still attacked and sometimes murdered even in our largest cities.

Be sad.

Sad that so many who were simply engaging in the innocent act of having fun in an LGBT nightclub should have paid with their lives.

Be angry.

Angry this kind of hatred — exemplified by this unbelievable tweet  by the lt. governor of Texas in the immediate aftermath of the carnage — still exists here and around the world.

Be proud. 

Proud that we as a community have been through so much and have come out as better people for it — overall more intelligent and accepting of the differences which make the world a beautiful, interesting place.

But mostly just love. Keep loving your chosen families, your friends, spouses, partners, your children in same-sex or trans families — and, yes, your sexual partners — in ways they would like to stop through senseless violence.

But also love your neighbors and learn to love the many differences which make the world a more vibrant, interesting place. If it raises your ire to hear people speaking loudly in a public place in a language other than English — people speak too loudly in English all the time, in case you have not noticed — you are part of the problem

Love is the answer. It has always been and will always be the only long-term answer.


Bill Maher with a Sanders/Clinton reality check

It’s not often I agree with !00% of what Maher says on any given segment of his show, but this time he is spot on.



President Obama delivers his 8th Pride address


These are awesome times we live in. 

I just hope everyone turns out to vote to help ensure that they continue.

Note that VP Biden also attended. I love Biden.

Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are COPS


This is from April. I have no idea how I missed my two favorite New England Patriots players being silly in their very own segment of “COPS.”

Well, that worked out for everyone


Drone footage montage from the NYCDFF


Here is a cool collection of drone footage from the NYCDFF (the New York City Drone Footage Festival.

It’s actually from March, but I had not seen it, and I’ll bet a good number of you have not either.

I would have made this much longer to allow longer clips and more photographers, but nobody asked me.


The Greasy Strangler teaser trailer


My more cerebral film fan friends will be horrified with me (as usual), but here is my initial reaction to this teaser trailer for “The Greasy Strangler”:

  • Gross out special effects? Check.
  • Dark humor? Check.
  • Pee, poop and fart jokes? Check.
  • Totally tasteless? Check.

In short, my kind of horror flick.

“Morning Joe” and Trump’s continuing crash-and-burn

“She’s guilty of the server.”

With that spectacularly nitwitted response to a question to Donald Trump on “Face The Nation” regarding which specific laws Hillary Clinton has broken which incidentally will not send her to jail for the nearly substance-free email scandal manufactured by the national GOP, Trump continued to mark himself as the empty suit everyone but his equally dim supporters have come to expect.

The result of this poor showing in almost every recent public appearance, and the ongoing Trump controversy over his remarks regarding “Mexican” Judge Gonzalo Curiel — whom it was revealed in short order was actually born in Indiana — is that the saner segments of the GOP cheering section, such as they are, are in meltdown mode. With each new outrageous Trump utterance you can almost sense the electoral flop sweat forming on the fattened brows of the GOP cultural and financial elite across the country.

To wit: watch the video below of MSNBC’s  Joe Scarborough pitching what actually is a mildly entertaining fit on “Morning Joe” regarding what he believes the GOP leadership must do to disavow Trump and save the imploding GOP. It’s a study in the willful blinders the GOP has worn for decades over the monster its leaders were creating.

The segment is entertaining as much for what the group does not say as for what they do, including Mike Barnicle, the clueless politically “moderate” former Boston Globe columnist and WCVB-Channel 5 talking head:

Joe Scarborough, speaking ostensibly to GOP into camera: “Listen to me guys! You embrace a guy making racist comments…”
Mika Brezinski, in an aside to Scarborough: “Why do you have to say this?”
Scarborough, to Brezinski. “Because they’re stupid. Stop running scared. You’ve got to STAND UP to Donald Trump and say, ‘Prove to us that you deserve our support. And WHEN you do that, then maybe we’ll consider giving you our endorsement back. But right now, Will [Geist], they’re running scared. And Donald smells it, so he can say whatever the hell he wants. And he sees them as weak cowards unless they start standing up to him RIGHT NOW and they take their Party back. Donald Trump needs them more than they need Donald Trump!”
Geist: “That’s my question. What is the cost of saying what you just said? Why is that a risky thing to do? If Paul Ryan came out and said, “No deal. My endorsement is off the table. I’m not supporting you until you change.’ Why can’t he come out and say that? Why can’t all the people who tell us privately and roll their eyes about Donald Trump come on the show and support him in very ham-handed ways, Why can’t they say that? What is the cost of saying that? What do they lose?”
Barnicle: “They’re not going to say that because once they say that, they will admit to a truth that they know, that the Republican Party is now in flames. It’s going up in flames. And it’s being led by a guy who started the fire, took off around the country, and came back to throw more kindling on the fire.”

Jeez. Where to start?

Poor Mike Barnicle. Lapping up received wisdom and regurgitating the least interesting and most irrelevant parts. Still.

Incidentally, if you think this segment is annoying to watch once, try transcribing it. By the fourth round of watching it I felt as if I had hornets in my head.

I did discover that the most entertaining thing about it is to turn down the volume and watch Mika’s facial expressions as she tries in vain to get a word in edgewise and manages mostly to just mumble to herself the entire time.

So let’s take Scarborough himself, the ringleader of this pointless talking head clusterfuck.

Did you notice how he tried to set himself and his cronies apart from the Trump mess? By referring to him and his pals in a very telling aside as “small government conservatives” he tries to absolve himself and his shitty television program from the responsibility it has for fanning the flames of right-wing hysteria over the years which have brought us to this singular point in time where their offspring from this noxious union of greed and ignorance — Trump himself — has been foisted upon the American public.

Scarborough is shocked — shocked, I tell you! — that his carrying water for Newt Gingrich, Trent Lott, Trey Gowdy, Louis Gohmert and the rest of the lunatic GOP fringe has somehow resulted in the living orange-and-flyaway-blonde embodiment of the the GOP’s campaign to obfuscate and scandalize even the most mundane functions and responsibilities of a sane government.  If Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Bachmann hooked up (I know: eeew!) and produced a political offspring, it would be a bouncing baby Trump, shitting his way into messy situations for others to clean up.

As for Geist, as likeable as he can seem, he appears to serve even less of a purpose than Barnicle. While Barnicle spouts conventional wisdom, Geist appears to inhabit a place even more lowly for news talk show backbenchers — that of the person who asks questions meant to elicit obvious answers.

Geist: “I don’t understand. Why did Linda Lovelace keep going back to suck on those ginormous penii?”

“Barnicle: “Here’s the deal, and I kid you not about this. My sources tell me it’s because she was getting paid.”

Geist: “That’s my question. What is the cost of saying what you just said? Why is that a risky thing to do?”

Barnicle: “Fuck if I know! But here’s what I read on Breitbart.com!”

Here’s the real answer summed up in two words: primary challengers. 

That and the fact that much of the GOP’s rural white base has lived next to industrial cesspools their entire lives, thereby stunting their social and intellectual development. But that’s a subject for another column.

The reddest of the dyed-in-red Republicans — John McCain for chrissakes! — have had to suffer through primary challengers from Tea Party yahoos because those old line Republicans have refused to dole out in its entirety the Krazy Kool-Aid which dictates that Obama is a Muslim, and more guns than the (at least) one we now have for each American man, woman a child will deter the middle-aged white conservative gun owners who already blast their way through their mid-life crises.

Elected GOP officials are not afraid of Donald Trump. They’re afraid of his followers, whose fears, conspiracy theories and lack of scientific knowledge have been encouraged every step of the way by Joe Scarborough, Sean Hannity, Paul Ryan and that crazy person screaming and pushing a shopping cart down your street.

It’s all very harsh and I apologize (but just a little) for the language. But these are the people who brought us to the edge of a very dangerous brink in politics and don’t seem to understand the role they played. We may have dodged a bullet on Trump, assuming we still do. This time.

The right-wing effort to normalize Trump continues

Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, being sworn in prior to one of this many appearances before Congress to answer for questionable activities during his time in that post.
Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, being sworn in prior to one of this many appearances before Congress to answer for questionable activities during his time in that post.

Even many Republicans, including Paul Ryan, have condemned Donald Trump’s efforts to smear a sitting Latino judge overseeing the court case against the scammy, illicit Trump University.

But after the condemnations in situations such as these come the attempts large and small by GOP functionaries to normalize the same aberrant behaviors other condemned.

In the case of Trump and the judge in question, the dirty work is being done by, among others, the oily, scandal-plagued former Attorney General in the administration of Bush the lesser:

But there may be other factors to consider in determining whether Trump’s concerns about getting an impartial trial are reasonable. Curiel is, reportedly, a member of a group called La Raza Lawyers of San Diego. Trump’s aides, meanwhile, have indicated that they believe Curiel is a member of the National Council of La Raza, a vocal advocacy organization that has vigorously condemned Trump and his views on immigration. The two groups appear to be unaffiliated, but Trump may be concerned that the lawyers’ association or its members represent or support the national advocacy organization. Coupled with that question is the fact that in 2014, when he certified the class-action lawsuit against Trump, Curiel appointed the Robbins Geller law firm to represent plaintiffs. Robbins Geller has paid $675,000 in speaking fees since 2009 to Trump’s likely opponent, Hillary Clinton, and to her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Curiel appointed the firm in the case before Trump entered the presidential race, but again, it might not be unreasonable for a defendant in Trump’s position to wonder who Curiel favors in the presidential election. These circumstances, while not necessarily conclusive, at least raise a legitimate question to be considered. Regardless of the way Trump has gone about raising his concerns over whether he’s getting a fair trial, none of us should dismiss those concerns out of hand without carefully examining how a defendant in his position might perceive them — and we certainly should not dismiss them for partisan political reasons.

Finally, some have said that Trump’s criticism of the judge reflects on his qualifications to be president. If the criticism is solely based on Curiel’s race, that is something voters will take into account in deciding whether he is fit to be president. If, however, Trump is acting from a sincere motivation to protect his constitutional right to a fair trial, his willingness to exercise his rights as an American citizen and raising the issue even in the face of severe criticism is surely also something for voters to consider.

Got that?

It’s very, very bad if Trump was questioning the judge’s integrity based solely on the judge being Latino (which is clearly what Trump was doing).

But wait. What if the GOP could now embark on a project in the court of public opinion  to make Trump ‘s questions seem reasonable by attributing to Trump motivations that Trump himself never actually mentioned?

This is how disinformation campaigns work.

Pretty soon Trump will be seen by the GOP masses as a hero sticking up for judicial integrity, instead of the self-serving GOP demagogue he truly is by using his campaign to try to influence his own court case — a court case that could be explosive if the MSM do their job.

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