Editorial :: It’s not about Kellyanne on the couch—it’s about the circumstances


It’s not about the couch, y’all. It’s about how Kellyanne Conway turfed up in that room in the first place.

Given the record number of bomb threats called into Jewish schools and community centers yesterday and the excitement of the 50th Academy Awards the day before, some people might be surprised that the public seemed most interested in a picture of Kellyanne Conway kneeling on a couch in the Oval Office fiddling with her cell phone.

Some media outlets rolled their eyes at the Kellyanne Conway couch controversy. Other commentators found her informality in the Oval Office itself to be an egregious breach of basic White House etiquette. It’s a serious topic. Let me tell you why.

Here’s the reason the pic of Kellyanne Conway’s couch crouching moment is a big deal:

The room is filled with the presidents of HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in their tailored suits meeting a president who has shown in many ways that he has no respect for people of color, regardless of their accomplishments and accolades.

A tense moment, at best.

Then there’s Kellyanne Conway herself, showing visible disrespect by kneeling on the couch in her short dress in order to take pictures of some of the most important people in the entire country with the current head of state.

Presidents, like the ambassadors they deploy, are expected to afford visiting guests all of the respect and honor that is befitting of their stature. The best world leaders make everyday people feel as though their presence is just as important as that of a visiting king.

Those sorts of leaders make sure they have a professional photographer on staff to take pictures of every visitor to commemorate their meeting.

This administration thought it fitting to have a controversial member of the president’s staff take snapshots with her phone of this historical moment.

It’s not “just” her feet on the couch. It’s everything that put Kellyanne Conway and her cellphone in that room filled with HBCU presidents in the first place, a choice that was inappropriate at best, deeply disrespectful at worst.

What do you think?


If you decide to comment, please be civil and courteous. Remember, you’re talking about people and to other people—not faceless entities on the internet. No name-calling. No trolling. No viciousness. Thank you.

Editorial :: Getting Along in Difficult Times

Child's cupped hands holding the bud of a rose beginning to flower.

A friend of mine on social media posted a question today that preoccupies many of us.

Why can’t we just get along?

It’s a good question but a difficult one, as there are many ways to answer that will diverge in vastly different directions.

Below is my reply to that friend, which I later shared on social media. Now I’m sharing it with you.

I hope it helps.

I think it’s important to examine why you feel the need to “get along” as well as considering what it is specifically that makes you feel unable to sit with the discomfort caused by “not getting along.”

I bring this up because history has shown us numerous instances where friction and social discomfort had the potential to stop genocide, but the societies in which these actions were happening—often in full view of other citizens—chose to get along instead of raising alarm, which, ultimately caused an unnecessary loss of precious life as well as the permanent warping of those societies who had preferred social niceties over direct action.

The great men and women who have used the tactic of non-violence to change social norms did not (and do not) get along with people in societies that have done great harm to their fellow humans.

It is a mistake to view these people as saints. MLK Jr. didn’t get along with a whole lot of people. If you read more about his life, you’d find that he was constantly pointing out the ill actions of people, cities, companies, and countries, and would visibly work against these entities for the greater good.

The same could be said for Gandhi and Mother Teresa—as well as many other figures who fought for people’s rights against societies’ norms.

Right now in the U.S. and the world, we find ourselves living in one of those moments in which the future of entire vulnerable populations will be ultimately decided upon by you, the individual. For anyone who ever said that they would have fought the Nazis or struck back at Stalinist Russia had they been there, you are standing in the middle of the same ethical dilemma that other societies have faced to good and bad ends for centuries:

Do we go along and hope things will be better for some of us at the expense of others? Or do we go through the pain, discomfort, and ultimately transformative experience of exacting change for a great many people, knowing in the interim that making these higher choices will disrupt families and long-held friendships in the process?

If you have been afforded the luxury of being able to ask this question of yourself and your community, you have a great deal more privilege than those who will—and are already—the object of great anger, poisonous rhetoric, dehumanizing discrimination, and the will to violence.

But for those of you graced with choice, you have a decision to make that no one can make for you—and “getting along” is one part of that question.

Meanwhile, history awaits.

Smiling German Resistance fighter Sophie Scholl
Sophie Scholl helped create one of the most daring resistance movements in Nazi Germany while many fellow citizens maintained their silence. Scholl was executed for treason at the age of 22.

Photo Credit: [Top] “Child’s Hands Holding White Rose for Peace” by D. Sharon Pruitt / Wikimedia. [Bottom] Graphic design based on photograph of Sophie Scholl. by Courtenay Bluebird for Bluebird Blvd.

Editorial :: So you think your country might be fascist: A quiz

Close-up of Josef Stalin mustache and collar.

Have you ever found yourself in this dilemma?

You’re a citizen of ______________.

  1. America, the UK, Turkey, or Greece
  2. Hungary, the Philippines, or Venezuela
  3. Poland, Germany, or France
  4. Slovakia, Romania, or Russia.

A group of people who call themselves ______________ have come to power in your country.

  1. nationalists
  2. true patriots
  3. concerned citizens

If you read the national news, headlines have mostly nice things to say about your new ______________.

  1. prime minister
  2. president
  3. premier
  4. ruling party

When you read international news elsewhere, you find yourself confused because the information is different, even opposite, of what your own newspapers seem to be saying.

Your neighbors appear to have completely conflicting ideas about how your country should be run.

Some of them believe this is the best thing that has ever happened in the history of your nation. They may also believe these politicians might return your country to its days of glory. They do not specify which days were the glorious ones.

Other neighbors tell you they are terrified that this new ruling power might remove their rights, maybe even ______________ them because of their ______________.

  1. jail
  2. disappear
  3. deport
  4. kill
  1. culture
  2. skin color
  3. religion
  4. gender
  5. sexual preference
  6. political beliefs
  7. class
  8. profession

Sometimes these neighbors mention a thing that has happened to them or people that they know, but when you try to look up the incident in the paper, you find nothing there.

If it is in the news at all, it’s because the journalists say ______________ or ______________.

  1. the crime never existed
  2. it was a hoax
  3. fabricated by their enemies
  4. highly exaggerated
  5. a prank
  1. it’s not possible
  2. they don’t have enough information
  3. an investigation is pending

You are not sure what to believe because these two groups don’t even seem to be talking about the same country or the same events, much less the same politicians.

The ______________ has/have gone out of their way to assure you that they will not harm anyone and that they are here to rule everyone fairly.

Yet, every person appointed to office by that ruling party has a history of behaving in ways that your country has formerly found unacceptable.

  1. prime minister
  2. president
  3. premier
  4. ruling party

At least, you think they found it unacceptable.

The newspapers suggest you give these new political officeholders a chance before you cast judgment. They don’t seem to talk much about the other things these politicians did anymore.

When they do, newspapers use language that sounds much softer and friendlier than you remember. The facts don’t seem so harsh. The once-condemned quotes by these people are bracketed with new explanations.

Even the photos are different. Everyone is smiling and friendly. The sun is out. Well-dressed citizens are in the picture, not the paramilitary groups you remember, the ones who dragged people out in the middle of the night and made them disappear.

There are other pictures: the pretty children of the ruling party, the arenas full of supporters with their hands raised and cheering, the ruling party politicians at events with ordinary people—because they are ordinary people, like you.

But you’re not sure what ordinary is right now.

Another strange thing: During the election campaign, the ruling party claimed their opponents were fundamentally dishonest. That they ______________.

  1. lied
  2. cheated
  3. said terrible things
  4. should be in jail
  5. may be prosecuted
  6. could be exiled
  7. will be reprimanded

You keep looking in the paper to see whether the ruling party has brought charges against their opponents, especially given how grievous their crimes are supposed to be. Yet you find nothing.

It’s like they disappeared or ______________.

  1. the ruling party forgave them
  2. it never happened in the first place.

There is new legislation. The ruling party says this will help them keep your homeland safe from attacks ______________. They say the legislation will never be used against ______________.

  1. at the border
  2. outside of your country
  3. within your country
  1. honest citizens
  2. their allies

You seem to remember that the ruling party had offered up this legislation before they had power, but it was never made a law. Or that it was ruled unfair and punitive. Or maybe it was made a law when they were in power before and then not made a law when their opponents were in power last year.

Still, you can’t remember and you can’t seem to find any explanation about it on the news.

After this legislation is put in place, half of your neighbors stand in their yards with their arms crossed looking at the neighbors who ______________.  They have ______________ to call them.

  1. did not support the opposition
  2. will have to carry special papers
  3. are called “dissidents.”
  1. new names
  2. old names
  3. special terms

You feel a little uneasy about this, but you can’t quite find the words to explain how you feel.

The other neighbors never come outside of their house anymore. Their drapes are drawn tight. You’re not even sure their children are in school. One day their child came home with a black eye, crying. You have not seen them outside since.

Some of your neighbors have even disappeared. Their things are still there, but they have been gone for months and months.

Neighbors from the ruling party have put ______________ proclaiming their love for their ______________ and you see many posters and pictures of your nation’s leader everywhere. He looks ______________.

  1. flags on their houses
  2. placards in their window
  3. bumper stickers on their car
  1. premier
  2. president
  3. general secretary
  4. leader
  5. ruler
  1. fatherly
  2. stern
  3. friendly
  4. wise
  5. kind

These images are posted in government buildings and shops and on the street. You are not used to so many painted eyes looking at you all the time. You tell no one this because you’re concerned they will misunderstand you.

Your neighbors who love him say that he’s the best thing that ever happened to your country. They say there will be new jobs and better homes and everyone will feel more secure and safe. It’s just a few new laws, they say. They’re for our protection.

You cannot read their faces. The sun is out. The flags are flying. Their children are playing on their green lawns with new toys.

“Nothing can go wrong now, “ your next-door-neighbor says. “Nothing. It’s going to be sunny days all the time.”

You feel a chill.

You excuse yourself and go inside.

You pull a sweater from a drawer and put it on.

You’re still cold though, and you don’t know why.

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Editorial :: Todd Kincannon: The GOP’s Bumbling 140-Character (or Less) Assassin

Todd Kincannon's face with doodles on it.

    Warning: This editorial piece contains both intense profanity and actual facts using verifiable sources (both of ’em mostly provided by Todd Kincannon himself), not to mention a LOT of racist and sexist language popular amongst Kincannon’s social set. Comments are turned off for obvious reasons. As you know, we’ve made it a point for years now to not write political editorials on Bluebird Blvd. Well, circumstances have changed.

    I got 99 problems, but a bitch ain’t one.
    If you having girl problems, I feel bad for you, son.
    Hit me!   Jay-Z

    The Democrats just never learn: Americans don’t really care which side of an issue you’re on as long as you don’t act like pussies. When Van Jones called the Republicans a**holes, he was paying them a compliment. He was talking about how they can get things done even when they’re in the minority, as opposed to the Democrats, who can’t seem to get anything done even when they control both houses of Congress, the presidency, and Bruce Springsteen.   Bill Maher

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It looks as though baby-faced Republibubba Todd Kincannon is having a banner week.

Ever since Kincannon called Texas Gov. hopeful Wendy Davis a whore on Twitter nine days ago, he’s been, as we like to say in Texas, living high on the hog. Kincannon’s unsubtle remarks about Davis were inflammatory enough to be considered worthy of minor press coverage in two major news outlets.m(Is Wendy Davis a Whore? Answers at 11!)

A smattering of his ongoing whore-related comments on Davis caused liberal bloggers to take bait and run around with Kincannon’s personally-tailored flaming bags of poo. This is what Kincannon does. He works hard at those inflammatory remarks of his, putting in twenty hour days on a regular basis while sitting around in his BVDs and black sock garters drinking buttermilk out of the carton. And all Kincannon’s hard work does pay off: Every once in awhile the flame does catch.

So the Wendy Davis comments are a big win for a man like Todd Kincannon, whose highest achievement to date within the South Carolina GOP (SCGOP) was a two-month appointment as Executive Director, a job that has always been a two-to-ten year gig for his fellow compatriots.

And while the 32-year-old Kincannon is the first to crow that he was his party’s day-to-day man, he never gives a peep about how briefly he had that job. Hell, he doesn’t mention it anywhere where he lists his Executive Directorship, including his LinkedIn page, his start-up law firm’s website, his Twitter account or the resumé his mom stitched in his drawers.

Good ol’ Kincannon, much like the GOP, has been kicking around town since losing the top slot. Someone finally got through to the big guys in the GOP that the internet isn’t a fancy set of Encyclopedia Britannica—it took fifteen years, but by gawd, they did it. Conservatives of all stripes have swarmed the social media marketplace since 2010.

Even permanently poker-faced Bill O’Reilly slapped up a minimalistic Facebook Page in support of one of his “Liberals Killed Abraham Lincoln/Jesus/Your Mama” books, but he hasn’t been seen around since. Of course, there’s the updated-nearly-hourly RedState site, whose tagline is this clever tongue-twister: “RedState does not stand athwart* history yelling stop. We yell “’ready,’ ‘aim,’ and ‘fire,’ too.”

In 2013, Kincannon stopped kicking around long enough to discover the pleasures of Twitter. His tweets are, as you might think, the high-class comedy everyone has come to expect from outriders in the GOP camp, but Kincannon has a special feel for which curse words to place where. Kincannon has been been banned five times in a single year by Twitter, an accomplishment in and of itself.

Today, Kincannon teeters between keeping his current Twitter account and losing it again. He’s worried about being sent back to the “Twitter Gulag” and jokes around about his recent stint at the “Twitter Reeducation Camp.” Not being allowed to use capitalism-friendly Twitter because you have a habit of bullying and hate speech is just like the experience of unsuspecting citizens of Russian and China when their countries decided communism was the way to go, like it or lump it.

Those are the kind of analogies Kincannon likes to share with his followers, and he’s good at them. Sort of. Another good point in his favor: Kincannon’s a little more swift about checking his spelling and his grammar than most online newspapers. His syntax actually is remarkable for the fast conversational style of Twitter. He can spell c-o-c-k like a pro and p-r-o-s-t-i-t-u-t-e and a-d h-o-c as if to the manor born.

Just last Wednesday night after tweeting for 19 hours straight, his Oxford commas were lined up like sentries, and there was no mistaking his meaning when he typed out syntactically-correct beauties like “Nips have a single letter for every concept imaginable. If you go to Sonic and they forget your Coney, there’s a specific Jap letter for that.”

Our buoyant grammatist Kincannon weighed in on a number of topics near and dear to his char-broiled little Southern heart last night. Top recent tweets included such fine thoughts as a tutorial on the body temperature of the Mayor of Atlanta in bad weather (“Black folks actually freeze at 53 degrees instead of 32.”); why sexist language doesn’t exist (“Your problem is that you think saying snarky, catty things about a woman is sexist. If it was, EVERY WOMAN WOULD BE A SEXIST.”); the qualifications of government employees outside of his home state of South Carolina (“In other states it’s like they try to hire complete retards for government positions.”); and Satan’s personal party of choice and why Kincannon’s again’ it: (“Satan wants Progressives elected. I’m going to do everything lawful to stop that. If God deems me overzealous, so?”).

The South Carolina GOP must be so proud of their native son.

Here’s the thing: Kincannon knows he’s on Twitter to make his mud, and he openly views himself as the point-man, taking a hit for the good of the misguided GOP. (He’s got plenty of ideas of how to help fix you, GOP, so go and read his thoughts on your leadership. Eye-openers, all of ’em.) It takes a real saint to call Wendy Davis a whore, and a true pundit who can come back with show-stoppers like “I’m married, retard. To a smoking hot chick.”

Maybe Kincannon set his sights lower after being swiftly moved out of his primo appointment as Executive Director for the SCGOP. Maybe he’s taking the long view of his political prospects. At any rate, Kincannon spends most nights sitting in the dark on Twitter, like Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now** as played by Huckleberry Hound. On Twitter, he calls himself “the honey badger of American Politics”— and that sounds about right. Kincannon’s some kind of animal for sure. He’s the kind that shouts its mouth off, but doesn’t do jack-shit.

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*Athwhat does that word mean? Athwart: 1. From side-to-side, angled. 2. Perverse and oppositional.

**Not actually as off-topic as I would have thought. Listen, if your English teacher didn’t walk you through “Heart of Darkness,” give it a crack, won’t you? There’s some genuine reasons, plural, Francis Ford Coppola was inspired to create “Apocalypse Now” from Joseph Conrad’s super-spooky novella about the bad-awful behavior of Belgian imperialists in the Congo. (Go cheap, if you buy a copy. You’re gonna wanna mark that thing up with notes.)

CREATIVE CONSULTANT for this editorial: Phillip Lozano