Unconventional: RNC Kicks Off With No Money, Celebrities Or Establishment Support


“Liquid assets are one challenge. Hardware is another for the Trump show. Apple and its CEO Tim Cook, declined to support the 2016 Republican National Convention in any fashion. No cash. No technology. Imagine a multi-day meeting of any kind – political, corporate or non-profit – without MacBooks and iPads. Believe it. Although Apple declined to publicly comment on its non-support of this week’s festivities, it’s pretty clear RNC leadership is a little butt hurt over the slight. A spokesman for the convention team said, “We are working with a variety of major tech partners who are focused on being part of the American political process.”

Read the full post at Contemptor.

Missing in Action: The Week’s Overlooked News Stories


Ill–received attacks on equality blamed upon business leaders, young people with shingles and why did Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro have to take a stand against anti-vaccers? Here’s what might have escaped your notice this week….

In last week’s Missing in Action column, we talked about a piece of anti-LGBT legislation, known as the “Religious Liberty Bill,” which was headed to the Governor of Georgia’s desk. Thankfully, Nathan Deal vetoed that bill amid outrage from gay rights groups and community business leaders. Corporations like Disney, Apple, and Time Warner threatened to change their dealings in the state if discrimination was signed into action. Well it’s 2016 folks and political gall is in long supply. In an act of incredible and laughable hypocrisy, a conservative group is calling Georgia businesses “corporate bullies,” claiming they’ve “declared war” on religion. Just so we’re clear on their position: it’s completely fine to deny basic services to LGBT citizens, but not ok to object to hateful policy by hitting a bunch of backward state legislators in the wallet. Alrighty then.

This week, a member of the BeckySarwate.com team came down with a not-so-fun case of shingles, an adult reactivation of the chicken pox virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends people over the age of 60 get the shingles vaccine. Commercials promoting the shot are all over television. But here’s the rub – our suffering staff member is only 35 years-old. In fact she’s the second person in that demographic personally known to us to contract the painful illness within the last nine months. It turns out, shingles ain’t just a middle-aged disease. There are plenty of 30-somethings afflicted with this “older” people problem. In an article published earlier this year, Fox 5 in Atlanta found three women in their 30s struggling with the painful effects of Shingles, left wondering how they contracted the illness. Doctors don’t seem to have any answers, but anecdotally our staff member is certain the multi-prong stressors of career, family and the search for personal fulfillment are a factor in increased shingles cases (and other diseases) among late Gen Xers/early Millennials.

To continue the theme of item #2, you can’t get shingles if you didn’t have chicken pox, and you won’t contract chicken pox if you were vaccinated as a child. Our staff member is infinitely happy that her kids won’t suffer the way she is. Vaccines are good. They prevent horrible maladies like measles, polio, and diphtheria (does anyone even know what that is?). But there are still those who stubbornly ignore scientific fact. In 2010, Andrew Wakefield was stripped of his medical license for linking vaccines to autism in a discredited 1998 study. And now a documentary about Wakefield has been pulled from the Tribeca Film Festival by co-founder Robert De Niro. It seems this is a long-running controversy that just can’t be put to rest. Where’s Jenny McCarthy?

Ear Worm (January 19, 2011)


After several thousand opportunities to view this commercial (most often during NFL football games – I wonder who Apple’s target audience is?), I have altered my opinion of its theme song. It is purposefully catchy, so much so that I often find myself waking in the morning with its sunny notes on the brain. Initially, this made me hate the tune, the iPad product as well as the overexposed company itself (Team PC, laptop and Blackberry!).

However, when nodding in and out of a multi-stage nap in front of the TV this past weekend, my semi-conscious began to take note of the interesting musical progressions comprising this deceptively simply ditty. As a music lover, and with my curiosity piqued, I came to learn that the tune is called “Never Stop,” by an artist named Chilly Gonzales. Let it be known that I am a fan of anything bearing the moniker “Chili” in all its various spellings – the food, the singer from legendary girl group TLC, and of course Chilly Willy the Penguin.

The 30-second clip begins with the light, percussive off-rhythm sound of snaps. A few moments later, a pretty neat piano refrain is added. Let it be known that I am a fan of the ivories, though I never learned to play. I never recovered from the simple joy of the “Heart and Soul” duet danced out by Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia in the 1980s flick Big.

Midway through the sample, hand claps can be heard on top of the snaps and piano. And finally, a fairly awesome bass line completes the wordless composition.

Funny that when I realized I enjoyed the song on its own merits, rather than running from Apple constantly forcing it down my throat, I no longer minded its persistent occupation of brain space.

I still won’t buy an iPad, but “Never Stop” certainly does its job. You can’t stop the beat – or its association with the technological best seller.


And Then There Were 58…Bayh, Bayh Evan (February 16, 2010)



Aw nuts!

If there is one thing I admire about the hard Republican right, it’s their apparently insatiable appetite for battle. Over the last 12 months, the “Party of No,” has used its spare energy for nothing beyond intense ideological and bureaucratic grudge matches – and seems to relish the confrontation. Like Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple as well as Pixar, the people who have taken you back to the Revolution – literally to the 1770s with the resurgence of the “Tea Party” – seem to thrive on adversity and their underdog status. It’s like they are daring anyone in Congress to actually try something. Democrats are body checked at every turn.

But the bullying gets so much easier when your opponent takes his toys and goes home. It has always stymied me to come up with reasons why those most wed to change (many, but not all of the left leaning Dems) appear to have the weakest stomach when it comes to fighting for it.
Today we learn that Evan Bayh, a former two-term Indiana Governor, and two-term Senator, who has never lost an electoral contest, is leaving the game. His reason: “‘There’s just too much brain-dead partisanship’ in Congress, Bayh told ABC, and the American people need to vote out those who are ‘rigidly ideological.’”

Alright, I feel you there Evan, but how does your resignation help us to achieve that goal? By vacating your formly Democratic seat, aren’t you just opening it up to Republican takeover, a prospect not impossible in semi-conservative Indiana?

It is hard, both as a staunch liberal, and as a lover of the textbook (rather than actual) political process, to find much to celebrate these days. Though I do not place the blame on Obama, who has nonetheless developed into a curiously “lame duck” first term chief, “Change” becomes an ever dimmer possibility with every news cycle. The divided electorate seems more fractured and unwilling to come together to get work done than at any time in our history. And that is dangerous, because we have a comprehensive list of real problems that need solving now.
I would beg Senator Bayh to reconsider, but I am sure he has already fielded calls from Majority Leader Harry Reid, possibly even the President himself.

I am daydreaming of a targeted flood, a la Noah, that could wash away Capitol Hill and give it a fresh start. It appears nothing short of that is going to move American democracy forward. I guess Evan Bayh shares my dream. It’s just that I thought we went through the process of electing officials so they could help us, not get bored/frustrated/annoyed and give up. If Senators get disillusioned and quit, how do they expect us to stay engaged?