The Coverage of the Hernandez and Stephens Suicides

The news picked up on two stories of murderers who took their own lives this week. The first was Steve Stephens, otherwise known as “The Facebook Murderer,” and the second was Aaron Hernandez, the former New England tight end. Each of these stories was framed by the media quite differently, though their crimes were the same.

“This story will Takes your breath away,” states ESPN. “It is a tragedy.” “I have but one word: tragedy.” “From beginning to end, this is a tragedy.” Hernandez was described by many news outsets as “troubled.” His teammates and community shared a sense of “sadness,” “disappointment”, and “shock.” They felt sorry for his family and his daughter who would grow up without a father.”

Stephens, on the other hand, was not even mentioned by his own name in a number of the stories that told his story. He was presented as merely as “The Facebook Murderer,” or “The Murderer.” He was known as “The Suspected Killer.” The New Yorker titled its story, “Facebook and the Murderer.” One headline read, “Is it OK to hope a cold-blooded murderer kills himself?” CNN calls it “Black on Black” crime. “I was horrible.”  In a number of articles they said that they felt “relief,” because he is dead. “I feel comfortable now.”

In retrospect, how is it that one suicide was “tragic,” and yet the other was “horrific?” One of these murderers was described to have committed “black on black” murder, but the other was not described to have committed, “Latino on Black,” or “Latino on Latino” murder.  One man killed a human being, and the other killed a human being (and possibly three.)  In my opinion, both of these men committed murders, yet the reaction of their stories and coverage were not congruent with each other.

I do not necessarily write to sympathize or to justify Stephen’s actions. However, I do believe that terms and labels matter. We should avoid using phrases like “Black on Black” crime. There is just “crime.” Hernandez had a family and people who cared about him. Surely, Stephens did too. We offer as much respect to Stephen’s family as we do Hernandez’s.



Tax Day Ultimatum – My Phone Call with Ted Cruz

Happy Tax Day!

Today I called my two senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn. This is the message I left for them.


“Hello, this is Senator _______’s office, how may I help you?”


“I would like to leave a message for Senator ______.  My name is _____, and I live in _______. My zip code is ______.


“Thank you. What message can I pass along?”


“I am calling because I want see President Trump’s tax returns from the last ten years. Transparency is essential to democracy because it creates trust between elected officials and their constituents. President Trump has refused transparency by opting to not release his tax records. His businesses pose possible conflicts of interest, and I, as an American, have a right to know about if these conflicts exist.

“I would like you to work with the other members of Congress to negotiate an ultimatum for the President in order to ensure that he releases his tax returns. As President, Mr. Trump has the right to sign executive orders. He does not; however, have the right to fund these orders. That right is held solely by members of Congress such as you. To reiterate my point, I do not want you to fund any executive order signed by Donald Trump until he releases his tax records.

It is your duty to hold the President responsible for his actions. You do not work for the President. You do not work for the Republican National Committee/Democratic National Committee. You do not work for your donors. You work for Americans who live in your state and district, and you work for me.

Thank you,

________ “

I would like to encourage everyone to call their members of Congress to rouse them to steer the President towards transparency by releasing his tax records. You may use my letter as a template.

ALABAMA Sessions, Jeff Birmingham (205) 731-1500
ALABAMA Sessions, Jeff Huntsville (256) 533-0979
ALABAMA Sessions, Jeff Mobile (251) 414-3083
ALABAMA Sessions, Jeff Montgomery (334) 230-0698
ALABAMA Sessions, Jeff Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4124
ALABAMA Sessions, Jeff Wiregrass (334) 792-4924
ALABAMA Shelby, Richard Birmingham (205) 731-1384
ALABAMA Shelby, Richard Huntsville (256) 772-0460
ALABAMA Shelby, Richard Mobile (251) 694-4164
ALABAMA Shelby, Richard Montgomery (334) 223-7303
ALABAMA Shelby, Richard Tuscaloosa (205) 759-5047
ALABAMA Shelby, Richard Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5744
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa Anchorage (907) 271-3735
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa Fairbanks (907) 456-0233
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa Juneau (907) 586-7277
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa Kenai (907) 283-5808
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa Ketchikan (907) 225-6880
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa Mat-Su Valley (907) 376-7665
ALASKA Murkowski, Lisa Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6665
ALASKA Sullivan, Dan Anchorage (907) 271-5915
ALASKA Sullivan, Dan Fairbanks (907) 456-0261
ALASKA Sullivan, Dan Juneau (907) 586-7277
ALASKA Sullivan, Dan Kenai (907) 283-4000
ALASKA Sullivan, Dan Ketchikan (907) 225-6880
ALASKA Sullivan, Dan Mat-Su Valley (907) 357-9956
ALASKA Sullivan, Dan Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3004
ARIZONA Flake, Jeff Phoenix (602) 840-1891
ARIZONA Flake, Jeff Tucson (520) 575-8633
ARIZONA Flake, Jeff Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4521
ARIZONA McCain, John Phoenix (602) 952-2410
ARIZONA McCain, John Prescott (928) 445-0833
ARIZONA McCain, John Tucson (520) 670-6334
ARIZONA McCain, John Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2235
ARKANSAS Boozman, John El Dorado (870) 863-4641
ARKANSAS Boozman, John Fort Smith (479) 573-0189
ARKANSAS Boozman, John Jonesboro (870) 268-6925
ARKANSAS Boozman, John Little Rock (501) 372-7153
ARKANSAS Boozman, John Lowell (479) 725-0400
ARKANSAS Boozman, John Mountain Home (870) 424-0129
ARKANSAS Boozman, John Stuttgart (870) 672-6941
ARKANSAS Boozman, John Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4843
ARKANSAS Cotton, Tom El Dorado (870) 864-8582
ARKANSAS Cotton, Tom Jonesboro (870) 933-6223
ARKANSAS Cotton, Tom Little Rock (501) 223-9081
ARKANSAS Cotton, Tom Springdale (479) 751-0879
ARKANSAS Cotton, Tom Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2353
CALIFORNIA Feinstein, Dianne Fresno (559) 485-7430
CALIFORNIA Feinstein, Dianne Los Angeles (310) 914-7300
CALIFORNIA Feinstein, Dianne San Diego (619) 231-9712
CALIFORNIA Feinstein, Dianne San Francisco (415) 393-0707
CALIFORNIA Feinstein, Dianne Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3841
CALIFORNIA Harris, Kamala Fresno (916) 448-2787
CALIFORNIA Harris, Kamala Los Angeles (213) 894-5000
CALIFORNIA Harris, Kamala Sacramento (916) 448-2787
CALIFORNIA Harris, Kamala San Diego (619) 239-3884
CALIFORNIA Harris, Kamala San Francisco (213) 894-5000
CALIFORNIA Harris, Kamala Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3553
COLORADO Bennet, Michael Arkansas Valley (719) 542-7550
COLORADO Bennet, Michael Denver Metro (303) 455-7600
COLORADO Bennet, Michael Four Corners (970) 259-1710
COLORADO Bennet, Michael Northern Colorado (970) 224-2200
COLORADO Bennet, Michael Northwest/I-70W (970) 241-6631
COLORADO Bennet, Michael Pikes Peak (719) 328-1100
COLORADO Bennet, Michael San Luis Valley (719) 587-0096
COLORADO Bennet, Michael Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5852
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Colorado Springs (719) 632-6706
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Denver (303) 391-5777
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Fort Collins (970) 484-3502
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Grand Junction (970) 245-9553
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Greeley (970) 352-5546
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Pueblo (719) 543-1324
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5941
COLORADO Gardner, Cory Yuma (970) 848-3095
CONNECTICUT Blumenthal, Richard Bridgeport (203) 330-0598
CONNECTICUT Blumenthal, Richard Hartford (860) 258-6940
CONNECTICUT Blumenthal, Richard Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2823
CONNECTICUT Murphy, Chris Hartford (860) 549-8463
CONNECTICUT Murphy, Chris Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4041
DELAWARE Carper, Tom Dover (302) 674-3308
DELAWARE Carper, Tom Georgetown (302) 856-7690
DELAWARE Carper, Tom Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2441
DELAWARE Carper, Tom Wilmington (302) 573-6291
DELAWARE Coons, Chris Dover (302) 736-5601
DELAWARE Coons, Chris Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5042
DELAWARE Coons, Chris Wilmington (302) 573-6345
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Broward (954) 693-4851
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Fort Myers (239) 334-7760
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Jacksonville (904) 346-4500
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Miami-Dade (305) 536-5999
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Orlando (407) 872-7161
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Tallahassee (850) 942-8415
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Tampa (813) 225-7040
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5274
FLORIDA Nelson, Bill West Palm Beach (561) 514-0189
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Jacksonville (904) 398-8586
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Miami (305) 418-8553
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Naples (239) 213-1521
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Orlando (407) 254-2573
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Palm Beach (561) 775-3360
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Pensacola (850) 433-2603
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Tallahassee (850) 599-9100
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Tampa (813) 287-5035
FLORIDA Rubio, Marco Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3041
GEORGIA Isakson, Johnny Atlanta (770) 661-0999
GEORGIA Isakson, Johnny Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3643
GEORGIA Perdue, David Atlanta (404) 865-0087
GEORGIA Perdue, David Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3521
HAWAII Hirono, Mazie Hawaii (808) 522-8970
HAWAII Hirono, Mazie Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6361
HAWAII Schatz, Brian Honolulu (808) 523-2061
HAWAII Schatz, Brian Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3934
IDAHO Crapo, Mike Eastern Idaho, North (208) 522-9779
IDAHO Crapo, Mike Eastern Idaho, South (208) 236-6775
IDAHO Crapo, Mike Idaho State (208) 334-1776
IDAHO Crapo, Mike North Idaho (208) 664-5490
IDAHO Crapo, Mike North-Central Idaho (208) 743-1492
IDAHO Crapo, Mike South-Central Idaho (208) 734-2515
IDAHO Crapo, Mike Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6142
IDAHO Risch, Jim Boise (208) 342-7985
IDAHO Risch, Jim Coeur D’Alene (208) 667-6130
IDAHO Risch, Jim Idaho Falls (208) 523-5541
IDAHO Risch, Jim Lewiston (208) 743-0792
IDAHO Risch, Jim Pocatello (208) 236-6817
IDAHO Risch, Jim Twin Falls (208) 734-6780
IDAHO Risch, Jim Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2752
ILLINOIS Duckworth, Tammy Chicago (312) 886-3506
ILLINOIS Duckworth, Tammy Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2854
ILLINOIS Durbin, Richard Carbondale (618) 351-1122
ILLINOIS Durbin, Richard Chicago (312) 353-4952
ILLINOIS Durbin, Richard Rock Island (309) 786-5173
ILLINOIS Durbin, Richard Springfield (217) 492-4062
ILLINOIS Durbin, Richard Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2152
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe Evansville (812) 425-5813
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe Fort Wayne (260) 420-4955
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe Hammond (219) 852-0089
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe Indianapolis (317) 226-5555
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe Jeffersonville (812) 284-2027
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe South Bend (574) 288-2780
INDIANA Donnelly, Joe Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4814
INDIANA Young, Todd Evansville
INDIANA Young, Todd Fort Wayne
INDIANA Young, Todd Indianapolis (317) 226-6700
INDIANA Young, Todd New Albany (812) 542-4820
INDIANA Young, Todd Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5623
IOWA Ernst, Joni Cedar Rapids (319) 365-4504
IOWA Ernst, Joni Council Bluffs (712) 352-1167
IOWA Ernst, Joni Davenport (563) 322-0677
IOWA Ernst, Joni Des Moines (515) 284-4574
IOWA Ernst, Joni Sioux City (712) 252-1550
IOWA Ernst, Joni Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3254
IOWA Grassley, Chuck Cedar Rapids (319) 363-6832
IOWA Grassley, Chuck Council Bluffs (712) 322-7103
IOWA Grassley, Chuck Davenport (563) 322-4331
IOWA Grassley, Chuck Des Moines (515) 288-1145
IOWA Grassley, Chuck Sioux City (712) 233-1860
IOWA Grassley, Chuck Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3744
IOWA Grassley, Chuck Waterloo (319) 232-6657
KANSAS Moran, Jerry Hays (785) 628-6401
KANSAS Moran, Jerry Manhattan (785) 539-8973
KANSAS Moran, Jerry Olathe (913) 393-0711
KANSAS Moran, Jerry Pittsburg (620) 232-2286
KANSAS Moran, Jerry Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6521
KANSAS Moran, Jerry Wichita (316) 631-1410
KANSAS Roberts, Pat Dodge City (620) 227-2244
KANSAS Roberts, Pat Overland Park (913) 451-9343
KANSAS Roberts, Pat Topeka (785) 295-2745
KANSAS Roberts, Pat Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4774
KANSAS Roberts, Pat Wichita (316) 263-0416
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch Bowling Green (270) 781-1673
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch Ft. Wright (859) 578-0188
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch Lexington (859) 224-8286
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch London (606) 864-2026
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch Louisville (502) 582-6304
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch Paducah (270) 442-4554
KENTUCKY McConnell, Mitch Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2541
KENTUCKY Paul, Rand Bowling Green (270) 782-8303
KENTUCKY Paul, Rand Crescent Springs (859) 426-0165
KENTUCKY Paul, Rand Hopkinsville (270) 885-1212
KENTUCKY Paul, Rand Lexington (859) 219-2239
KENTUCKY Paul, Rand Louisville (502) 582-5341
KENTUCKY Paul, Rand Owensboro (270) 689-9085
KENTUCKY Paul, Rand Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4343
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Alexandria (318) 448-7176
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Baton Rouge (225) 929-7711
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Lafayette (337) 261-1400
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Lake Charles (337) 493-5398
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Metairie (504) 838-0130
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Monroe (318) 324-2111
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Shreveport (318) 798-3215
LOUSIANA Cassidy, Bill Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5824
LOUSIANA Kennedy, John Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4623
MAINE Collins, Susan Augusta (207) 622-8414
MAINE Collins, Susan Bangor (207) 945-0417
MAINE Collins, Susan Biddeford (207) 283-1101
MAINE Collins, Susan Caribou (207) 493-7873
MAINE Collins, Susan Lewiston (207) 784-6969
MAINE Collins, Susan Portland (207) 780-3575
MAINE Collins, Susan Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2523
MAINE King, Angus Augusta (207) 622-8292
MAINE King, Angus Bangor (207) 945-8000
MAINE King, Angus Presque Isle (207) 764-5124
MAINE King, Angus Scarborough (207) 883-1588
MAINE King, Angus Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5344
MARYLAND Cardin, Ben Baltimore (410) 962-4436
MARYLAND Cardin, Ben Bowie (301) 860-0414
MARYLAND Cardin, Ben Cumberland (301) 777-2957
MARYLAND Cardin, Ben Rockville (301) 762-2974
MARYLAND Cardin, Ben Salisbury (410) 546-4250
MARYLAND Cardin, Ben Southern Maryland (202) 870-1164
MARYLAND Cardin, Ben Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4524
MARYLAND Van Hollen, Chris Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4654
MASSACHUSETTS Markey, Ed Boston (617) 565-8519
MASSACHUSETTS Markey, Ed Fall River (508) 677-0523
MASSACHUSETTS Markey, Ed Springfield (413) 785-4610
MASSACHUSETTS Markey, Ed Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2742
MASSACHUSETTS Warren, Elizabeth Boston (617) 565-3170
MASSACHUSETTS Warren, Elizabeth Springfield (413) 788-2690
MASSACHUSETTS Warren, Elizabeth Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4543
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Detroit (313) 226-6020
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Grand Rapids (616) 233-9150
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Lansing (517) 377-1508
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Marquette (906) 226-4554
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Rochester (248) 608-8040
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Saginaw (989) 754-0112
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Traverse City (231) 947-7773
MICHIGAN Peters, Gary Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6221
MICHIGAN Stabenow, Debbie Flint/Saginaw Bay (810) 720-4172
MICHIGAN Stabenow, Debbie Mid-Michigan (517) 203-1760
MICHIGAN Stabenow, Debbie Northern Michigan (231) 929-1031
MICHIGAN Stabenow, Debbie Southeast Michigan (313) 961-4330
MICHIGAN Stabenow, Debbie Upper Peninsula (906) 228-8756
MICHIGAN Stabenow, Debbie Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4822
MICHIGAN Stabenow, Debbie West Michigan (616) 975-0052
MINNESOTA Franken, Al Duluth (218) 722-2390
MINNESOTA Franken, Al Moorhead (218) 284-8721
MINNESOTA Franken, Al Rochester (507) 288-2003
MINNESOTA Franken, Al Saint Paul (651) 221-1016
MINNESOTA Franken, Al Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5641
MINNESOTA Klobuchar, Amy Metro (612) 727-5220
MINNESOTA Klobuchar, Amy Northeastern (218) 741-9690
MINNESOTA Klobuchar, Amy Northwestern & Central (218) 287-2219
MINNESOTA Klobuchar, Amy Southern (507) 288-5321
MINNESOTA Klobuchar, Amy Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3244
MISSISSIPPI Cochran, Thad Gulf Coast (228) 867-9710
MISSISSIPPI Cochran, Thad Jackson (601) 965-4459
MISSISSIPPI Cochran, Thad Oxford (662) 236-1018
MISSISSIPPI Cochran, Thad Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5054
MISSISSIPPI Wicker, Roger Gulfport (228) 871-7017
MISSISSIPPI Wicker, Roger Hernando (662) 429-1002
MISSISSIPPI Wicker, Roger Jackson (601) 965-4644
MISSISSIPPI Wicker, Roger Tupelo (662) 844-5010
MISSISSIPPI Wicker, Roger Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6253
MISSOURI Blunt, Roy Cape Girardeau (573) 334-7044
MISSOURI Blunt, Roy Columbia (573) 442-8151
MISSOURI Blunt, Roy Kansas City (816) 471-7141
MISSOURI Blunt, Roy Springfield (417) 877-7814
MISSOURI Blunt, Roy St. Louis/Clayton (314) 725-4484
MISSOURI Blunt, Roy Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5721
MISSOURI McCaskill, Claire Cape Girardeau (573) 651-0964
MISSOURI McCaskill, Claire Columbia (573) 442-7130
MISSOURI McCaskill, Claire Kansas City (816) 421-1639
MISSOURI McCaskill, Claire Springfield (417) 868-8745
MISSOURI McCaskill, Claire St. Louis (314) 367-1364
MISSOURI McCaskill, Claire Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6154
MONTANA Daines, Steve Billings (406) 245-6822
MONTANA Daines, Steve Bozeman (406) 587-3446
MONTANA Daines, Steve Great Falls (406) 453-0148
MONTANA Daines, Steve Hardin (406) 665-4126
MONTANA Daines, Steve Helena (406) 443-3189
MONTANA Daines, Steve Kalispell (406) 257-3765
MONTANA Daines, Steve Missoula (406) 549-8198
MONTANA Daines, Steve Sidney (406) 482-9010
MONTANA Daines, Steve Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2651
MONTANA Tester, Jon Billings (406) 252-0550
MONTANA Tester, Jon Bozeman (406) 586-4450
MONTANA Tester, Jon Butte (406) 723-3277
MONTANA Tester, Jon Glendive (406) 365-2391
MONTANA Tester, Jon Great Falls (406) 452-9585
MONTANA Tester, Jon Helena (406) 449-5401
MONTANA Tester, Jon Kalispell (406) 257-3360
MONTANA Tester, Jon Missoula (406) 728-3003
MONTANA Tester, Jon Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2644
NEBRASKA Fischer, Deb Kearney (308) 234-2361
NEBRASKA Fischer, Deb Lincoln (402) 441-4600
NEBRASKA Fischer, Deb Norfolk (402) 200-8816
NEBRASKA Fischer, Deb Omaha (402) 391-3411
NEBRASKA Fischer, Deb Scottsbluff (308) 630-2329
NEBRASKA Fischer, Deb Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6551
NEBRASKA Sasse, Ben Kearney (308) 233-3677
NEBRASKA Sasse, Ben Lincoln (402) 476-1400
NEBRASKA Sasse, Ben Omaha (402) 550-8040
NEBRASKA Sasse, Ben Scottsbluff (308) 632-6032
NEBRASKA Sasse, Ben Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4224
NEVADA Cortez Masto, Catherine Las Vegas (702) 388-5020
NEVADA Cortez Masto, Catherine Reno (775) 686-5750
NEVADA Cortez Masto, Catherine Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3542
NEVADA Heller, Dean Las Vegas (702) 388-6605
NEVADA Heller, Dean Reno (775) 686-5770
NEVADA Heller, Dean Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6244
NEW HAMPSHIRE Hassan, Maggie Manchester (603) 622-2204
NEW HAMPSHIRE Hassan, Maggie Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3324
NEW HAMPSHIRE Shaheen, Jeanne Berlin (603) 752-6300
NEW HAMPSHIRE Shaheen, Jeanne Claremont (603) 542-4872
NEW HAMPSHIRE Shaheen, Jeanne Dover (603) 750-3004
NEW HAMPSHIRE Shaheen, Jeanne Keene (603) 358-6604
NEW HAMPSHIRE Shaheen, Jeanne Manchester (603) 647-7500
NEW HAMPSHIRE Shaheen, Jeanne Nashua (603) 883-0196
NEW HAMPSHIRE Shaheen, Jeanne Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2841
NEW JERSEY Booker, Cory Camden (856) 338-8922
NEW JERSEY Booker, Cory Newark (973) 639-8700
NEW JERSEY Booker, Cory Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3224
NEW JERSEY Menendez, Bob Barrington (856) 757-5353
NEW JERSEY Menendez, Bob Newark (973) 645-3030
NEW JERSEY Menendez, Bob Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4744
NEW MEXICO Heinrich, Martin Albuquerque (505) 346-6601
NEW MEXICO Heinrich, Martin Farmington (505) 325-5030
NEW MEXICO Heinrich, Martin Las Cruces (575) 523-6561
NEW MEXICO Heinrich, Martin Roswell (575) 622-7113
NEW MEXICO Heinrich, Martin Santa Fe (505) 988-6647
NEW MEXICO Heinrich, Martin Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5521
NEW MEXICO Udall, Tom Albuquerque (505) 346-6791
NEW MEXICO Udall, Tom Carlsbad (575) 234-0366
NEW MEXICO Udall, Tom Eastside (575) 356-6811
NEW MEXICO Udall, Tom Las Cruces (575) 526-5475
NEW MEXICO Udall, Tom Santa Fe (505) 988-6511
NEW MEXICO Udall, Tom Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6621
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten Albany (518) 431-0120
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten Buffalo (716) 854-9725
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten Hudson Valley (845) 875-4585
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten Long Island (631) 249-2825
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten New York City (212) 688-6262
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten North Country (315) 376-6118
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten Rochester (585) 263-6250
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten Syracuse (315) 448-0470
NEW YORK Gillibrand, Kirsten Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4451
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Albany (518) 431-4070
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Binghamton (607) 772-6792
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Buffalo (716) 846-4111
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Melville (631) 753-0978
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck New York City (212) 486-4430
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Peekskill (914) 734-1532
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Rochester (585) 263-5866
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Syracuse (315) 423-5471
NEW YORK Schumer, Chuck Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6542
NORTH CAROLINA Burr, Richard Asheville (828) 350-2437
NORTH CAROLINA Burr, Richard Gastonia (704) 833-0854
NORTH CAROLINA Burr, Richard Rocky Mount (252) 977-9522
NORTH CAROLINA Burr, Richard Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3154
NORTH CAROLINA Burr, Richard Wilmington (910) 251-1058
NORTH CAROLINA Burr, Richard Winston-Salem (336) 631-5125
NORTH CAROLINA Tillis, Thom Charlotte (704) 509-9087
NORTH CAROLINA Tillis, Thom Greenville (252) 329-0371
NORTH CAROLINA Tillis, Thom Hendersonville (828) 693-8750
NORTH CAROLINA Tillis, Thom High Point (336) 885-0685
NORTH CAROLINA Tillis, Thom Raleigh (919) 856-4630
NORTH CAROLINA Tillis, Thom Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6342
NORTH DAKOTA Heitkamp, Heidi Bismarck (701) 258-4648
NORTH DAKOTA Heitkamp, Heidi Dickinson (701) 225-0974
NORTH DAKOTA Heitkamp, Heidi Fargo (701) 232-8030
NORTH DAKOTA Heitkamp, Heidi Grand Forks (701) 775-9601
NORTH DAKOTA Heitkamp, Heidi Minot (701) 852-0703
NORTH DAKOTA Heitkamp, Heidi Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2043
NORTH DAKOTA Hoeven, John Bismarck (701) 250-4618
NORTH DAKOTA Hoeven, John Fargo (701) 239-5389
NORTH DAKOTA Hoeven, John Grand Forks (701) 746-8972
NORTH DAKOTA Hoeven, John Minot (701) 838-1361
NORTH DAKOTA Hoeven, John Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2551
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RHODE ISLAND Reed, Jack Cranston (401) 943-3100
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SOUTH CAROLINA Graham, Lindsey Golden Corner (864) 646-4090
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TENNESSEE Alexander, Lamar Chattanooga (423) 752-5337
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UTAH Hatch, Orrin Cedar City (435) 586-8435
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UTAH Lee, Mike Ogden (801) 392-9633
UTAH Lee, Mike Salt Lake City (801) 524-5933
UTAH Lee, Mike St. George (435) 628-5514
UTAH Lee, Mike Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5444
VERMONT Leahy, Patrick Burlington (802) 863-2525
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VERMONT Leahy, Patrick Washington, D.C. (202) 224-4242
VERMONT Sanders, Bernie Burlington (802) 862-0697
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VERMONT Sanders, Bernie Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5141
VIRGINIA Kaine, Tim Abingdon (276) 525-4790
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VIRGINIA Warner, Mark Abingdon (276) 628-8158
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VIRGINIA Warner, Mark Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2023
WASHINGTON Cantwell, Maria Everett (425) 303-0114
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WASHINGTON Murray, Patty Everett (425) 259-6515
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WASHINGTON Murray, Patty Vancouver (360) 696-7797
WASHINGTON Murray, Patty Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2621
WASHINGTON Murray, Patty Yakima (509) 453-7462
WEST VIRGINIA Capito, Shelley Moore Beckley (304) 347-5372
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WEST VIRGINIA Capito, Shelley Moore Morgantown (304) 292-2310
WEST VIRGINIA Capito, Shelley Moore Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6472
WEST VIRGINIA Manchin, Joe Charleston (304) 342-5855
WEST VIRGINIA Manchin, Joe Eastern Panhandle (304) 264-4626
WEST VIRGINIA Manchin, Joe Fairmont (304) 368-0567
WEST VIRGINIA Manchin, Joe Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3954
WISCONSIN Baldwin, Tammy Eau Claire (715) 832-8424
WISCONSIN Baldwin, Tammy Green Bay (920) 498-2668
WISCONSIN Baldwin, Tammy La Crosse (608) 796-0045
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WISCONSIN Baldwin, Tammy Milwaukee (414) 297-4451
WISCONSIN Baldwin, Tammy Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5653
WISCONSIN Baldwin, Tammy Wausau (715) 261-2611
WISCONSIN Johnson, Ron Milwaukee (414) 276-7282
WISCONSIN Johnson, Ron Oshkosh (920) 230-7250
WISCONSIN Johnson, Ron Washington, D.C. (202) 224-5323
WYOMING Barrasso, John Casper (307) 261-6413
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WYOMING Barrasso, John Riverton (307) 856-6642
WYOMING Barrasso, John Rock Springs (307) 362-5012
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WYOMING Barrasso, John Washington, D.C. (202) 224-6441
WYOMING Enzi, Michael Casper (307) 261-6572
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WYOMING Enzi, Michael Gillette (307) 682-6268
WYOMING Enzi, Michael Jackson (307) 739-9507
WYOMING Enzi, Michael Washington, D.C. (202) 224-3424


Hippity-Hump, Hippity-Hump, I think I’m in a slump-ump

Blipity-Bump, Blipity-Bump, my throat has grown a lump-ump

Chickity-Chunk, Chickity-Chunk, I’m sure that I was drunk-unk

Trickity-Trunk, Trickity-Trunk, look how far I’ve sunk-unk

Flickity-Flunk, Flickity-Flunk, I’m stuck now in a funk-unk

Jickity-Junk, Jickity-Junk, I know I really stunk-unk

Chimpity-Chump, Chimpity Chump, I now feel like a chump-ump

Frippity-Frump, Frippity-Frump, because I voted for Trump-ump

– -B.D. King, ©2017


Buffet People: An Anthropological Examination


Anthropology is the study of human societies and cultures. All too often when Americans think of anthropology the most commonly conjured mental images are those of doctors and PhD students who travel to the forests of South America and Africa to study overly specific groups of indigenous peoples. There is a move in anthropology to turn their studies closer to home. Francis Q. Quindall seeks to accomplish just that. A PhD candidate from the University of Phoenix, he has chosen to travel the United States to better understand what he calls, “Buffet People.”

“Buffet People serve an important purpose in human society. The better we understand Buffet People the better we understand humans in their given society in general.” Quindall has spent the last ten years eating exclusively at buffets to understand the complicated patterns of Buffet People. According to Quindall, he met Megan Chasser from Duke University in Durham, NC at the China Buffet on Mayfair Street. She is a fifth-year senior studying Quantum Physics, and considers herself a Buffet Person. “It started with my freshman fifteen. I asked myself, why stop there? People are expected to gain weight their first year of college.”

Chasser has exclusively eaten at buffets since she entered the dorm as an eighteen-year-old. “Even when I go home, I say, ‘Sorry Mom, but I am going out to Ponderosa for dinner. You can join me if you want.’” She further explains that buffets take on lives of their own, thus supporting animistic theory that supernatural powers can originate from anywhere in the universe, such as a leaf, a rock, or even a self-serve Belgian waffle-maker.

Quindall ran into Marge McDougal at a CiCi’s Pizza in Davenport, Florida. She, like Chasser self-identifies as a Buffet Person. McDougal, a seventy-seven-year-old frequents the eatery five times a week. He quickly identified the old woman as a Buffet Person when he noticed that she had brought a seven-inch bowie knife to the diner. “Buffet knives just don’t cut it,” spouted McDougal. “I’ve been to every buffet joint in town, and all their knives didn’t make the cut.” After laughing ferociously at her own joke, McDougal demonstrated why she required such a sharp blade.


“It’s in the skins. I need to fillet them all off. They distract me.” McDougal picked up a cucumber slice and quickly circumcised the bit of vegetable and added the skin on a large pile on a napkin. The long-time patron explained that Cici’s Pizza only charges $5.99 a plate for all-you-can-eat pizza, pasta, salad, and dessert. “That’s why I come here. I come for my cucumbers.” Next to her lay two very large plates of cucumbers and a massive bowl of Thousand Island dressing. “Three or four ladles of dressing will do, just to get through these puppies. Since I never eat lettuce, I require extra dressing.” McDougal had substituted the one ounce salad dressing ladle for the eight ounce pasta sauce ladle, which she had licked clean. The logic seemed to work out in her mind, just as it would with any irrational behavior that materializes in the mind of humanity. Quindall said goodbye to the patron, and left to grab a salad of his own, only to find that the restaurant had run out of cucumbers.

John E. Joe became a Buffet Person when he learned that he could make money at the Pizza Hut Buffet in Glenville, West Virginia. “No one ever thinks to put liverwurst on pizza, and management hasn’t kicked me out yet.” Quindall met Joe from a catcall during lunch. Joe and whispered, “Psst. Howz about a chaw o liverwurst?” The PhD candidate looked around and saw Joe with a knife loaded with a hunk of spreadable liver sausage. “It’s only a quarter. I’ll even spread it on for ya.” On any given day, he could sell about eight pats of liverwurst, which cuts his cost of the buffet nearly by a third. “It’s a great deal. I’m gunna eat it anyways, I might as well sell it too. Now, that’s just good business.” In tune with diffusionist theory, Quindall observed that, in fact, some cultures are more easily spreadable than others.


The Golden Corral is a staple for fine dining among many Buffet People. Quindall observed D’Quon James, a proud Buffet Person from Boise, Idaho. He managed to mount an entire rack of cinnamon rolls on his plate. He showed little concern that icing had dripped onto the tabletop for nearly ten minutes before he commenced to consume the candied confection. “I noticed that you have this entire plate of cinnamon rolls,” noted the anthropologist. James looked up, but before responding Quindall interjected, “It’s fine by me. I am just curious, why? You must really like cinnamon rolls.” According to the PhD candidate, unlike most buffet people, James was sixteen-years-old and showed no signs of obesity. In fact, if anything, he looked underweight. The youth responded, “Mama can’t bake ‘em, baby’s gotta shake em, and I can’t fake em, so I’m just gunna take em.” Perhaps, someday his metabolism will catch up with him, but until then he indicated that he would continue his dessert devouring trend.

Anthropological studies have changed course, and thanks to Quindall’s work academia will have a better understanding of who Buffet People are, what they want, and why they want it. As we look introspectively to better understand what we want as people, we may too better understand this significant part of American society. Quindall plans to graduate with his PhD in 2020, and plans to teach Home Economics at his local high school.

What Does Gorsuch’s Nomination Mean


DJT will occupy the White House for two, maybe four, or if hellfire inundates the political landscape of these United States, for eight more years. In contrast, Neil Gorsuch will occupy his new seat in the Supreme Court for much longer. The Senate has, for one hundred years, required three fifths of the Senate (or sixty senators) to agree to vote to confirm a Supreme Court Justice. A cloture vote that would require the Senate to cease filibuster was too high for any majority party to intercede. This is because by tradition it was understood that Supreme Court Justices should be apolitical, and that both minority and majority parties should agree on the nominee.

In 2005 Supreme Court Nominee Harriet Miers met with the Senate Judiciary where she was encountered opposition. Miers had never actually served as a judge, and was perceived as one of Bush’s political protégés. At the time Republicans held a majority in the U.S. Senate, but requiring votes from Democrats, Miers withdrew her name knowing that she would never earn the approval of the minority party who would have filibustered. Enough Democrats did agree to nomination of the very conservative Samuel Alito who they believed to be less partisan and more experienced. In 1968 Republicans used a filibuster to delay a vote on Abe Fortas. He was not able to gain enough cloture votes to proceed, and Fortas soon thereafter withdrew his name. This system has worked for both Republicans and Democrats. Filibuster is a safety net to prevent political extremists from being elected to the Supreme Court.

President Barack Obama presented an apolitical centrist judge in Merrick Garland. The Senate (Mitch McConnell and the Republican leadership) decided that they would gamble on the 2016 Election by not allowing a hearing for Garland. Because they chose obstruction, America was deprived a Supreme Court Judge for over a year.

Then entered DJT who presented Neil Gorsuch, who unlike Garland was neither apolitical, nor a centrist. Republican senators, used their simple majority to block Garland, did not have enough votes to force a cloture. Instead of discussing Gorsuch’s nomination, and working with Democrats, they changed a one-hundred-year-old rule that protected Americans from electing political hacks into the Supreme Court.

The Republicans rushed to put in Neil Gorsuch. Perhaps, they acted so hastily because DJT is currently under federal investigation for treason, and the U.S. Senate wanted to install a conservative judge before impeachment hearings would ultimately halt the nomination process. Republican senators such as Ted Cruz certainly had no interest in investigating the nominee. During Gorsuch’s hearing the instead of asking him about pertinent issues regarding his his positions, the Texas senator asked him about how he enjoyed rodeos in Colorado. Democrats believe that DJT is not in a position to nominate a Supreme Court Justice because Supreme Court Justices, unlike U.S. Presidents, remain in power until they die or choose to retire, and the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice with ties to a possible fraudulent Trump presidency would easily have devastating effects, lasting for generations.

Republicans will not hold the White House and Congress forever. What goes up must come down. The tide will turn, but this Senate rule will not. Mitch McConnell has affixed a Band-Aid to heal an infected contusion. He won this battle, but in the end America has lost. He has set a precedent to allow all future Supreme Court nominees to become political appointments. I hope that when Democrats win back the Senate, that they take the higher ground by reinstating filibuster for Supreme Court judges.

After Six Years in the Minors, Brock Stassi Makes Roster Cut

There is no worse feeling in sports than struggling to climb out of minor league baseball. Minor league baseball requires players to train, travel, and sacrifice family life in order to play ball. Most players put up with it for a year or so, but minor league ball is not a glamorous lifestyle. According to a recent USA today article, most minor league players make between $3,500-7,000 during a five month season. For at least seven months a year training and playing baseball is a full-time commitment. Minor league ballplayers live in poverty unless they are supported by their families. Most minor league players play ball for no more than a couple years before they either ascend to the Major Leagues where their minimum wage is raised to $500,000 or being forced into retirement. All too often, retirement is the stark reality for most minor league players.
Minor league baseball players may be the poorest most talented people on the planet. Minor league fastball pitchers must be able to consistently hit targets no larger than six inches wide at ninety-miles an hour. Offensive positions must have the eyesight, reflexes, and judgement skills to be able to hit these balls, and they must do so in one third of a second. They must also acquire base running, throwing, and catching skills. Hitters are also expected to undergo weight lifting and training to not just hit the ball frequently, but to hit the ball hard. Very few of the general population will ever at any point in their lives have the skills and abilities to make a cut in any level of minor league ball.


Brock Stassi is one of the few players to work the minor league system. He has played for six different minor league teams since he was drafted in the 33rd round as the 1,021st overall pick. So many obstacles could have and should have impeded Stassi from reaching the majors, yet the Philadelphia Phillies have announced that this year Stassi has made their roster. Making a major league roster is monumental news for any baseball player, but perhaps this news has even greater meaning for Stassi who has had to work longer to reach it. Six years is a long time to live on $7,500 a year. He supplemented his income substitute teaching during the off-season, which typically only pays $80 a day. For now, his teaching and minor league days are behind him. Although, I am not by any means a Philadelphia fan, I admire the first baseman for his determination and hope that he has a good year. Happy trails.