DIXIE CHICKS REDUX? Not even close

On March 10, 2003, the Dixie Chicks slid from their position as the top female band in the country to near oblivion after lead singer Natalie Maines announced from the stage that they were “ashamed President [George W] Bush is fromTexas.” 

Fast Forward to May 31, 2017 and the women in that group look like amateurs in the face of comedian Kathy Griffin’s horrifying and potentially actionable exercise of the poorest possible judgment by starring in a video satirizing a fake Isis-style “beheading” of our current president.

What was Griffin thinking?

Though many people around the world dislike, are fearful of, and disrespect Donald Trump, few if any agree that such a video is either appropriate or in any way helpful to their cause.

Since we can imagine that rising to some degree of notoriety as a female comic, in a field--like many-- dominated by men, it is difficult, if not impossible, to justify such a tasteless and self-destructive act. Even Griffin’s New Year’s Eve partner in the annually televised holiday festivities--Anderson Cooper of CNN-- has weighed in to condemn Griffin’s outrageous stupidity. Until now, Cooper’s worst nightmare was probably his having to submit himself, out as a gay man, to Griffin’s endless sexual innuendos tossed his way. Now he risks the total dismantling of his journalistic credibility as a commentator if he appears at Griffin’s side again as the Time’s Square ball descends. She, more pointedly, loses her most important promotional appearance every year since CNN has now fired her.

So, in the end, Griffin has shot herself in both feet and potentially derailed a career she probably worked very hard to launch. Worse, she embarasses her colleagues, her fans (of which I am not one) and a nation struggling to repair damaged credibility and civility.

It has taken the Dixie Chicks more than a decade to put their Humpty-Dumpty fame together again: It appears that Griffin, on the other hand, may never find the forgiveness she begs for now. The difference is in the gravity of the satirical slam.  Being ashamed to come from the same state as a questionable president doesn’t hold a candle to acting out the fantasy of another’s assassination. Griffin will have few if any supporters for her actions which will doubtless have severe professional, legal and financial consequences for her and the videographer who joined her in this madness.

Meanwhile, more reasons exist today than ever before for the world to wonder if America as a whole has gone absolutely mad.

Mary Ann Sorrentino ( writes commentary for the Providence Journal, the Keene Sentinel, and other publications.





    January 20, 1017 - A Day for Generations!

More than a quarter million women, and men who love them, marched in Washington today...  as millions more did across the country and around the world. So we were all well-represented in telling Trump we WON'T go back to the bad old days.

Thank you Sisters and Brothers around the world.

Trump, meanwhile, through his Press Secretary, issued a statement basically reiterating his paranoia about the media as being his enemy and claiming his inauguration had the biggest audience in history-- though no police department, National Park Service, aerial estimate, or other crowd measurement issued agrees. In fact they all consistently say Obama's 2009 inaugural was attended by at least 33% more people and presented comparative photos to prove it.

NEITHER president commanded the kind of crowds seen today when the Women's March set a new record as the LARGEST protest march in Washington DC history!
Trump will just have to get over it!
                             Let's keep this going!

 To give you all an idea of the global participation, I attach BELOW photos from around the world...AMAZING!

           Antartica protesters

                    Rome    click here for Rome video





Los Angeles

For a Gallery of more global protest photos click HERE   

Now let's keep it going!

An All-American brand untouched by US hands

Because the nuns taught me to obey lawmakers and public officials in positions of power, when Trump tweets, “Buy LL Bean” I run right out to the new LL Bean Outlet down the road from my home. (To be honest, I am a sucker for a good deal, so I probably would have gone even if he hadn’t commanded me to.)

I start looking around the store and, low and behold, I couldn’t find one thing-- NOT ONE-- that was made in the USA!

Now I confess that I really don’t care where something is made: if I like it, I’ll buy it. But Trump ran for president -- and won-- on the promise to “bring the jobs home.” So why is he sending us all to a store that will benefit Jordan, Vietnam, Bangladesh and a host of other foreign countries instead of the US? (Answer:  because a Bean bigshot made a “HOOOOGE” donation to Trump and apparently he’s a slut for a good deal as well!)

I asked a saleswoman why I couldn’t find any US goods in the store. She wondered why I asked. I told her about Trump’s order that we all shop here and the conflict it had with his “America First” rhetoric. She asked if I realized that if LL Bean used American goods, “…the prices would be ridiculous…That’s how we keep the prices down!”

I said I realized that and, frankly, it was fine with me, but the President-elect said he’s going to fine companies that manufacture overseas and here he is recommending LL Bean!

So SHE asks, “Did HE send you here to check on this?”

I managed not to laugh aloud and simply said that the last time I spoke to Trump he didn’t even mention LL Bean and I was just looking for a nice warm bathrobe on sale (which they didn’t have in any case.)

I don’t know what to be upset about first: Trump’s ordering us where to shop, the saleswoman’s expectation that the President-elect might actually be sending spies into her store, or the absence of any real bargains there in the first place.

(Note to President Barack Obama: We’re REALLY going to miss you!)




By Mary Ann Sorrentino                 

Like many of you, I was up ‘til 2 a.m. watching this election unfold, stunned as we all were and are.

It reminds me of 1980 when Reagan first came to office -- an actor, not particularly articulate, nor bright, but stoking a similar national rage and desire to return to 1955 and all that era stood for. We thought the world had ended: it didn't.

So now all we can do is the mop up. Markets will tumble for a while, then they will recover and we shall all go forward as best we can.

Americans will have to learn to hold hands with each other. Ironically-- bad times make us understand that we are ALL in this together now. Once the dust settles, only the citizens can exert enough pressure on government and keep our Constitution alive and working.

Now we shall have to depend more on individual state governments – with significant power-- to challenge federal regulations that are unacceptable to them and their citizens. This is how past major problems (segregation, gender equity, minimum wages etc.) have been identified and, ultimately, moved closer to resolution.

The hopes of many have been dealt a major blow, but-- accepting that we shall face many difficult moments in the near future-- we must take a longer view.

Even in a Republican majority in Congress, there are enough reasonable, knowledgeable members to exercise the checks and balances they exist to impose. The Supreme Court is certainly a major issue: but we have seen people we feared-- appointed to that great body—who turned out, in the end, to be fine jurists and recognized their duty to interpret the law with no political emphasis. Sandra Day O'Connor-- the first woman on that court-- nominated by Reagan, is one good example.

Finally, watch for the honeymoon and how quickly it is likely to end in this case. Washington has a lot of faults, but it seldom suffers fools gladly or for long. It will take time, but by summer's end, my guess is that we shall all start to see who Trump's "loyal opposition" will be as they go into action.

As a feminist, I am wounded to the core. I must now accept that I may not live to see a woman elected president. I must accept that much of my life's work for reproductive rights may be disrupted briefly if not dismantled permanently. Like many of us, I am sad, anxious, and struggling to find my bearings.

But I am NOT done fighting for and working to support the causes we know are right and I shall remain convinced that the power of women and men yearning for justice, equality, and peace will ultimately survive and triumph
For now we must use our energies and resources to do our part to preserve justice whenever and wherever we can

Those of you who will take that torch when we pass it to you must prepare to grasp it and run like hell with it so America stays on the positive path that made it what it can be at its best. Most of all, this is the time to try to respect each other more than ever.

Take care as we go forward. The future we CAN control starts right now! As Churchill advised, “If you're going through hell, keep going!”


Mary Ann Sorrentino is a regular contributor to the Providence Journal and has written occasional commentary for the Keene Sentinel for more than 18 years


Dinner with Strangers

We were having dinner by the pool of the restored Sunset Towers Hotel in Los Angeles. Capote and other celebrities once enjoyed basking in its art deco elegance.

From the hotel's hilltop location, Hollywood's lights twinkled below and behind the Chateau Marmont's Parisian roof nearby. The once-chic Marmont is now known as the site of John Belushi's fatal drug overdose. That's Hollywood.

The chef fired up his poolside grill on which this evening's fare would be meticulously cooked. Tables filled up quickly. Under a green canopy on a couch-swing, a young, overly-amorous couple struggled to keep their bathing suits on.

Casually chic middle-agers, all sun-glasses and Ralph Lauren, urged their waiter to hurry so they could make "curtain."

Beyond the pool, an emaciated yuppified biker drank shots and beers, amazingly out of context here. He smoked endlessly. When a waiter clumsily poured his second beer straight up, creating a six inch head of foam, the smoker complained firmly and got a complimentary brew.

Halfway through our own dinner, two gentlemen took the last two terrace seats behind my chair. One was a tall, lean man whose dyed hair did not hide his advancing years. His dinner companion, a handsome 20-something stud, seemed all fawn without depth.

The elder man had a deep voice that rolled over us from his perch less than two yards from our table. His companion spoke is a softer tone, but audibly nonetheless. Other terrace diners, like ourselves, tended to eat quietly, enjoying the view, the night air and the breathtaking landscape. But the two men carried on a streaming dialogue, fueled by lots of wine, flirtatiously dancing around and toward the night ahead of them.

The young man spoke of his roots in Battle Creek, and his plan to leave his current lover. The older man praised being "open to new experiences," then allowed that they might get together in Battle Creek sometime, on one of his "business" trips. I wondered if he trafficked in corn flakes. Mostly, I sensed the bluesy sounds of loneliness behind this chatter.

The stud suggested he could probably eat "about half an entrée," so they ordered a hamburger plate to share, and, predictably, another bottle of wine.

During lulls in our own conversation, we continued to hear occasional bytes from the neighboring table. The guy from Michigan told the sexagenarian how much he enjoyed him because, "you've had so many experiences." Feigned modesty and giggles replied.

This could just as easily have been an older man speaking with a much younger women-of-the-evening. It wasn't about sexual orientation or about age but about the commerce that springs from aloneness.

As we prepared to leave the terrace, my shawl fell. The gentleman with the big voice picked it up and graciously handed it to me. Our eyes locked momentarily as I thanked him.

I shall never forget those eyes, begging me not to judge.

This piece originally appeared in the Keene Sentinel 8/29/2006


A 9/11 family-wide thank you

Like most 26 year-olds, 2nd class Petty Officer and Electrician’s Mate Nuclear (or EMN2, for short)  Ben Forzani probably never thought about how it would be to leave his wife and children, alone at Kitsap Naval Base in Washington state. He served with the US Navy in South Korea, China and the Philippines doing the work our military does while we work, go to the beach, and worry about what to make dinner.
Many of us take the joy of our children and grandchildren for granted, if not in fact, then via Skype or other electronic ways we have today for participating in their lives even from a distance.

Not so for Ben. For the last half-year while he was deployed, he and his wife, Allie, communicated mostly by email and a few times by telephone (when he was briefly on land here and there. But because of the ship’s signal limitations, he had no chance to see his 6 year-old son Jack, or “baby,” Josie -- just 2-- “live” and doing things Dads love to watch their kids do.

For Allie, the long stretches when Ben has been absent since he signed up in 2010 have been “different.” She just becomes used to having him home with her and the kids for dinner, then, suddenly, he’s gone. She and the children bonded “to form a really close unit” which -- as many military families know-- is the survival tool they depend on until the missing parent returns.

Ben’s 6-year commitment to the Navy will end this October. He has only been home for a few days and Josie just wants to stay in his arms. As her Dad says, with joy and pride, Josie, “just hugged me all over, and wouldn’t let me put her down!”
Ben and Allie, who met in college in Sarasota, Florida, will soon leave military life as Ben pursues an eventual Masters’ Degree in Aeronautical Engineering. He says he feels confident he will be able to find employment with the skills he has and, in general, seems optimistic about his family’s future.

As he basks in the sunshine of his children’s delight at having him back, I ask him how he will feel if and when Jack-- or even Josie-- decide one day to serve in the military, or are drafted. Ben say’s he would support those decisions if they make them, but also adds he will tell them exactly what to expect so they don’t sign up “unprepared” for all that service means as he and many recruits have done.

For now, it’s easier to focus on the joyous reunion this one American family is enjoying after the many sacrifices they and families like them make for all of us every day. It’s too easy to forget how much we owe them all—families struggling on the home front and soldiers battling the global hell still raging since 9/11.

So on this year’s anniversary of  9/11-- to Ben and Allie, Jack and Josie, “Thank you all for your service.”



Rudy DOES Love to be in drag
(maybe this is a turn on for the Donald )


Rudy "the mouth" Giuliani jumped in to defend Trump's 2nd amendment outburst today against Hillary Clinton....Giuliani and Trump deserve each other-- two lothario has-beens who these days get a charge out of bullying women in public. Here is who Giuliano really is (yet I still defended his right to fair treatment from the cardinal-  something he would never do for me.) 

The second column here is more recent and proves what we Italians say about parental influences on children, "...If you plant tomatoes, you get tomatoes."

 (This column originally appeared in the Keene Sentinel in June 2005) 

On May 28, 2004, Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, during an interview for the Baltimore Sun, ("Keep politics out of Communion -- It's between a Catholic and his conscience") told a reporter:
            "Our position is, Catholics have a responsibility to examine their own conscience and see if they are in a state     that is appropriate for the reception of the sacrament. We don't need bishops to get into the act. We have said a       gain and again as bishops, we are not in partisan politics. We dare not be pulled into a dispute between one         party and another."

Either something has changed in the Cardinal’s interpretation of Catholic teaching since then, or he made a mistake a year ago, but in May of 2005 the same Keeler refused to attend Loyola University’s commencement ceremonies in protest of an honorary degree that Catholic college was giving to former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Keeler’s boycott was based on Giuliani’s own pro-choice politics.

Giuliani, himself a former seminarian who dropped out of priestly pursuits to choose marriage-parenthood-adultery-divorce-and remarriage instead, is no raging feminist. His political survival, however, made supporting women’s abortion rights necessary in heavily pro-choice New York City.

Giuliani's treatment of his ex-wife, Donna Hanover, and their two children who were publicly embarrassed by Giuliani’s open philandering with his current wife Judith Nathan was not exemplary Catholic pre- or even post-Canna behavior. Before Nathan the mayor seemed to spend more time with his female chief of staff than his family.

Giuliani's recommendation to President George W. Bush that former New York top cop Bernie Kerik be nominated for the newly created National Security cabinet post blew up in all their faces when Kerik was found to outdo even Giuliani at screwing around. Kerik, it seemed, had a wife and child plus another woman (also married) set up in a love nest in Manhattan just in case he needed sex between commutes to his home in the suburbs.

But Cardinal Keeler, apparently, would have been perfectly content to share the stage with Giuliani the libertine and insensitive Dad as long as the former mayor condemned women seeking pregnancy terminations for relief from the traumas of rape, incest, or pregnancies by husbands like Giuliani who had since taken off with another babe.

Keeler’s remarks a year ago regarding communion for pro-choice candidates like Giuliani and John Kerry (whom now-pope-then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger had declared unfit for the sacrament) fly in the face of the Giuliani boycott. Since Catholics believe communion represents, “...the body and blood of Christ...” then Keeler implies that Giuliani may be good enough for Christ but not for him. Some people have taken this one step further to wonder if Keeler means Christ is good enough for Democrats but not for Republicans.

This year,  rival Catholic institution Notre Dame University awarded an honorary degree to U.S. Court of Appeals judge Jose Carbranes who is given a Grade A on the website for his excellent record on ruling to uphold Roe v. Wade, the law legalizing abortion in this country.

Feminist Elaine Kim, a professor of the University of California at Berkeley and no supporter of the Marian model for women is another 2005 Notre Dame honoree. No cardinal boycott for Notre Dame, however.

As a June footnote, the Covington, Kentucky diocese just made the nation's largest-ever settlement to litigants protesting its 50-year coverup of alleged sexual abuse by its priests and others. This settlement like huge cash payouts by Chicago, Boston, Albuquerque and others threaten to bankrupt the American church.

No word yet on how many good laypeople will boycott communion rails and collection plates to protest this gross disrespect for the same "innocent human lives" men like Keeler claim to care about.
Mary Ann Sorrentino is a columnist who was formally declared excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1984 for her work as then Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of RI.
Her email is


  • Mary Ann Sorrentino: Giuliani's upbringing nothing to write home about

  • By Mary Ann Sorrentino
    Much of the world knows about former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s recent rant that President Obama "doesn’t love his country” and “wasn’t brought up the way I was."
    Like Giuliani, I have Italian immigrant roots, and I challenge his skewed rationale. I know more men like Rudy Giuliani than I care to count. I know them well: I am even related to some and I nonetheless abhor their thinking and their bigotry.
    Giuliani’s parents were working class Italian-Americans. His father, a sometimes plumber, went to Sing Sing prison for robbing a milkman at gunpoint. Once released, he became an enforcer for a brother–in-law involved in Brooklyn’s rackets.
    My wild guess is this wasn’t a family championing the racial equality, gender equity or the gay rights that Rudy Giuliani supported when he needed money and votes. If Giuliani was brought up differently than the president was, maybe that’s his problem.
    Giuliani recommended top-cop friend Bernard Kerik to lead George W. Bush's Homeland Security Department. Kerik imploded beneath colorful zipper problem revelations and charges -- by no less than GOP icon Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. -- that he went AWOL and deserted in Iraq. But men raised as Rudy was are recklessly loyal: for them, a man’s worth is enhanced -- not damaged -- by his “girlfriend” (comare) quotient.
    While Mario Puzo’s Godfather deeply valued mothers and children, Giuliani publicly mortified the mother of his two children — TV anchor Donna Hanover — by revealing his divorce plans in a news conference. He chose Mother’s Day to film a “romantic walk” TV news feature with his mistress, aired from his wife’s studios.
    The Feb. 21 front page of The New York Times described today’s Giuliani as "an occasional fund-raising attraction [whose] time as a national Republican leader is past.” The article underscored that Rudy was not asked to speak at the 2012 GOP convention and concluded that his recent Obama slurs were the product of “slack political instincts” in a man who “has lost self-awareness.”
    I think Giuliani is aware of his inner Rudy, but the Rudy he channels is the now-defunct “America’s Mayor” of 9/11 and shortly thereafter.
    That Rudy urged us to join hands with New Yorkers in unity; entreated everyone to recognize and report terrorist threats and fight them valiantly. Today’s Rudy earns a fortune consulting with the government of Qatar, the country that gave refuge to 9/11 architect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
    Even though President Obama is seen — by detractors and supporters — as a caring father and husband and a decent, hard-working human being, and Giuliani himself admits Obama is “a patriot," the president’s mother and the grandparents who raised him don’t get any credit from Giuliani for all that.

 It would be unfair for Giuliani to blame his parents for his bad behavior. They probably didn’t raise him to behave this way. Rudy Giuliani likely evolved into the angry, arrogant, self-absorbed skunk at the Republican garden party all by himsel

Mary Ann Sorrentino

Mary Ann Sorrentino
Italy Series of articles runs Aug./Sept/Oct 2015

Hope for the Future: Uruguay 2007

Hope for the Future: Uruguay 2007
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"JOACHIM" - Oct. '92-March '08

"JOACHIM"  - Oct. '92-March '08
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