Halos & Horns: Our 2016 List of Who’s Been Good or Bad… or Worse

How Does This Work?

Who on earth do we think we are, doling out judgement left and right? Find out here.

The List

HALOS // The People of East Longmeadow — For creating a seven-member Town Council in the wake of a coup on the now-defunct three-member Board of Selectmen. This March, two board members teamed up to overthrow the chairman and hire a new police chief and town administrator. During the annual town election in April, East Longmeadow voters elected to switch to a town manager and town council form of government, and eliminate Town Meeting. This move guards against another two-person power-grab. Turnout for the election was high and residents acted quickly to “save” the town, as some people put it — and save it they did. — Kristin

HORNS // Kinder Morgan— Stop trying to make pipelines happen. — Peter

HORNS // Electoral College You had one job to do, electors of the Electoral College: Swoop in like a bunch of superheros and save America from a madman and deliver us into the arms of hunky Hillary Clinton. And you failed — spectacularly. The Electoral College system was developed by the Founding Fathers as a way to give small states a more sizable impact in elections. Having electors to make the Electoral College votes was a safety valve for elitists worried that large groups of uninformed voters would elect an idiot to the presidency. Prior to 2016, in the U.S. electors had cast their votes for candidates who didn’t win the state they represent nine times. In 2016, seven electors went rogue and voted for a couple of non-candidates or president-elect Donald Trump. If electors had banded together and delivered the presidency to Clinton, I’m not sure how I would feel. Electors are supposed to vote the same as the outcome of their state elections — some states have laws to that effect. But Clinton did win the popular vote by more than 2.9 million ballots, so would the electors voting for her instead of Trump — who won the Electoral College votes — have really been a case of voting against the will of the people? I’m torn. Fortunately, I don’t have to come to terms with that question to know that while we still may need the Electoral College system we certainly don’t need the electors — the people who cast the ballots. They’re useless at best, and, now thanks to 2016 we know, dangerous at worst. — Kristin

HALO // Whitney Houston A belated halo for a woman who died in 2012 but who brought more drama and soul to her intro humming than most pop stars can cram into an Auto-Tune solo. Houston had an amazing voice the size of Texas with a range that could scale the Andes before breakfast. A voice like hers comes along once in a generation. If it’s been a while, listen to “Greatest Love of All” and try not to cry. — Kristin

HALOS // Noho PD’s Transparency — Police everywhere are under heightened scrutiny as headlines about unarmed black people being shot by officers have become too common. In 2014, the White House convened a study on how to improve the beleaguered relationship between community and police. Researchers found that, among other things, transparency regarding police operations is a cornerstone of productive officer-citizen relations. And the Northampton Police Department is a good example of what kind of information can help residents feel better about calling the police. In 2016, Northampton PD became the first department in the state to join the White House Police Data Initiative, making call and crime data more available. The department created an online Open Data Portal that includes a racial and gender breakdown of the department, the race and ethnicities of drivers who are issued citations, and daily call logs. The NPD has also listed its department procedures online for more than a year. — Kristin

HALO // David Bowie When I was about five years old I saw Labyrinth for the first time. I was infatuated with the Goblin King and fell in love with the story and the music that accompanied his character. Bowie wasn’t just a musician or an actor, he was an artist of all shapes and colors. He musically collaborated with John Lennon and Nine Inch Nails, starred in too many movies to count, and will always be a fashion icon. It’s weird to mourn the death of a person you’ve never met before, but if that person was such a staple in your life’s memories, it’s kinda weird not to. — Jennifer

HORNS // Calls to Defund Planned Parenthood — Don’t judge a whole by only one part — abortion services only make up 3 percent of Planned Parenthood services. The national women’s health center celebrated its 100th anniversary this past October. That’s 100 years of providing health care for reproductive services, which includes birth control and women’s health screens. PP is a nonprofit and federally funded since 1970 when President Nixon signed into law the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act. “No American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition,” Nixon stated. Nixon! — Jennifer

HORNS // Pleasant Street Rotary Idiots — At some point in the past year, if you’ve been living or working in downtown Northampton, you’ve had extreme road rage due to idiots not understanding how to drive a rotary — like this is their first time in New England. In the morning, it’s not that bad. Maybe because the sun is shining? At night, however, it can be quite a clusterfuck with people magically forgetting how circles work. — Jennifer

HALO // Ed Vadas — Vadas was a veteran musician and a lynchpin of the Valley blues scene for over 40 years. He earned a reputation as a tough talker, but those who knew him best saw a loving and generous person who was truly one of a kind. He passed away in February at the age of 71. We’ll miss you, Ed. — Peter

HORNS // James Comey — Comey, you rat bastard, how dare you use the highest office in the FBI to sway an American election for your own political purposes. That’s not what we pay you to do. The FBI director’s job is to run the day-to-day operations of an organization with a mission to investigate federal crimes. Fulfilling that mission sans partisanship is integral to the FBI being a useful program instead of a political attack dog. Instead, on Oct. 28 — 11 days before the presidential election — Comey decided to announce that the FBI was reopening an investigation into candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server. This calculated move to influence voters cast doubt on Clinton where none was necessary and took attention away from president-elect Donald Trump’s disgusting views on women, his student-swindling “university,” his faux-charity, his unstable demeanor, etc. In fact, on Nov. 6 — two days before the election — Comey announced that upon further review he again found no basis to believe Clinton had committed a crime. But the damage was done. I’m not blaming Comey for delivering Trump the presidency — that blame falls to a lot of cynical people, including Comey — but I am saying that he is unworthy to head the FBI if he is going to use the office like a bat to the American brain. — Kristin

HALO // Hors D’Oeuvres — What exactly does Hors D’Oeuvres do for a living? Something nobody else does. Hors, whose “normal, everyday” name is Randy, is the area’s premier genderfuck drag queen, emcee extraordinaire, and self-titled H.B.I.C. (Head Bitch In Charge). Hors runs body-positive, queer-friendly events including Bon Appetit Burlesque, Maim That Tune Drag Show, and Drag Brunch with Hors and Friends — all of which are fun and approachable for everyone. It’s only taken about seven years for Hors to become a local icon. By 2020, we’re hoping he’s president. (Better than Kanye, anyway.) — Hunter

HALO // Polka Carousel — “Oompa, oompa” got a big oomph with the move of “Polka Carousel” from WMUA to WHMP in October. Host Todd Zaganiacz had been with WMUA for nine years, but made the decision to relocate because of cuts in community programming at the UMass Amherst station, which cut community DJs in favor of increased student programming. We’re glad to know polka is safe and sound. Sundays 8 a.m. to noon on 96.9 FM. — Dave

HORNS // WWLP’s Group Homes Story — The I-Team at 22 News produced an exceptionally trashy piece back in May called “The Unknowns of ‘Group Homes’” (note the scare quotes). Big scary red capital letters splashed across the screen: “substance abuse,” “psychiatric issues,” and “developmental disabilities.” Oh no! The piece warns residents that one of these “state licensed businesses” could be right next door and they might not even know it. “There’s nothing to be done to prevent one of these group homes from moving in next to you,” it continues, and “these companies can basically ignore local zoning laws.” Gulp! And you’re telling me that our tax dollars are actually helping to fund these hornet nests? Outrageous! Shouldn’t these people be locked away in some sort of asylum? It’s astounding that no one at 22 News had the wherewithal to smother this story in its crib. The “state licensed business” they chose to highlight — Guidewire, Inc. — is actually a nonprofit; a fact which was given a brief and perplexing nod at the end of the piece.

The piece claimed that the state refused to give out the addresses of the group homes — I’m assuming because the state’s position is that group home residents deserve the same right to privacy as the rest of us — but “through some digging” (through publicly available information) the team was able to find a handful. Should they put up a sign in the front yard? The bottom line is that some viewers are walking away from this story with the impression that group home residents are a threat to public safety — and as State Rep. Michael Finn points out in the piece, property values and “quality of life in that neighborhood” — instead of as people with rights that need assistance. Never considered is the possibility that residents in these group homes might actually be contributing members of a community. All this leaves me wondering if the “I” in “I-Team” actually stands for “inhumane.” — Peter

HALO // Gene Wilder — Driving to work through tears after my aunt’s funeral, I couldn’t help burst out laughing remembering just one of the many scene-stealing performances by Gene Wilder. This time I recalled Wilder breathlessly laying on top of a passed out monster screaming “Seda-Give?!!?” during that wonderfully wacky Young Frankenstein scene in which Dr. Frankenstein, who is being strangled by the monster, tries to communicate “Give him a sedative” through frantic hand gestures while his staff misunderstand the directives. Thank you for that, Gene Wilder. Your wit and mesmerizing acting have brought me and many others smiles at points when we’ve need them most.

One more, just to remember how awesome it was to watch Wilder go from an emotional 0 to 60 in two seconds:

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: “Love is the only thing that can save this poor creature, and I am going to convince him that he is loved even at the cost of my own life. No matter what you hear in there, no matter how cruelly I beg you, no matter how terribly I may scream, do not open this door or you will undo everything I have worked for. Do you understand? Do not open this door.”

Inga: “Yes, Doctor.”

Igor: “Nice working with ya.”

[Dr. Frederick Frankenstein goes into the room with The Monster. The Monster wakes up]

Dr. Frederick Frankenstein: “Let me out. Let me out of here. Get me the hell out of here. What’s the matter with you people? I was joking! Don’t you know a joke when you hear one? HA-HA-HA-HA. Jesus Christ, get me out of here! Open this goddamn door or I’ll kick your rotten heads in! Mommy!” — Kristin

HORNS // Neo-Nazis — Don’t try to rebrand with the political-sounding “alt-right.” We see right through that. If you believe in white male supremacy and anti-Semitism, you definitely are a Neo-Nazi. The only “alts” to that moniker we’ll allow are “bigots,” “hate-mongers” or “complete assholes.” — Dave

HALO // Alan Rickman — Whether as a German terrorist leader holding hostages in an L.A. skyscraper, a temperamental potions master in the Hogwart’s basement or an alien-portraying Star Trek actor spoof, you always amazed us. By Grabthar’s Hammer, you shall be avenged! — Dave

HALO // ‘Under the Table’ Investigative Series — Valley Advocate alum Amanda Drane dropped a major investigative piece about the long hours and low pay undocumented workers endure in restaurants in the Pioneer Valley and beyond. Drane’s reporting brought her down to New York City job agencies and inside the temporary homes of workers, and the series has prompted closer scrutiny of the restaurant industry. If you haven’t read it, check it out! We couldn’t be prouder. — Dave

HALO // Richie Davis — Recorder reporter Richie Davis celebrated his 40th year with the publication this year in journalistic style by producing some banger stories. Just this past year, Davis’ laser focus on the Kinder Morgan pipeline raised awareness on the issue, and ultimately in April he was able to report that the project was suspended. He also held absentee Congressman Richard Neal to account for ignoring his constituency north of the Tofu Curtain. Cheers to you, Davis! Your halo is well-earned. — Dave

HORNS // Being Vague — 2016’s political landscape has been a maelstrom of generalizations. But even in our less polemical moments, we’re really, you know, kind of vague. We vague-book about what we’re up to online, hoping people will ask us for more details. We’re vaguely civic-minded, aware of the world’s ills but not quite ready to hone in on specific ways to help. We’re more accustomed to sporadic weeks-long text conversations than we are to having a focused discussion for 10 minutes. The word “vague” is a Middle French word meaning ‘vacant,’ ‘uncultivated,’ or ‘wandering,’ and it’s tied to the word ‘vagrant.’ Don’t be a rambling language nomad in 2017 — make your point. — Hunter

HALO // Indigenous People’s Day — At the sixth session of Amherst’s annual Town Meeting in May, members overwhelmingly approved a resolution written by Amherst Regional Middle School students that made Amherst the first community in the state to formally replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day. “These are the people he oppressed,” eighth grader Christina Wehrli said at the meeting, “and these are the people who need to be celebrated.” Northampton followed suit the same week because, in the words of Spring Street resident Joe Golossi, “it seemed like a continuation of the community’s commitment to social justice.” Damn straight. — Hunter

HALO // Buz Eisenberg — In December 2014, after a dozen years in captivity, Guantanamo Bay detainee Mohammed Abdullah Taha Mattan arrived in Uruguay to begin a new life. The 35-year-old Palestinian was the last to be released out of the group of eight men represented for a decade by Ashfield attorney Stewart “Buz” Eisenberg. In an interview with the Advocate in March, Eisenberg — who also teaches political science and criminology at Greenfield Community College — explained that his line of work, as much as any, commits itself to pro bono work and community service. “I try to promote freedom for people who would otherwise be deprived of it,” he said. “I love to work, even when it’s painful … Guantanamo has taught me that life without hope is not life at all — you have to maintain hope. And sometimes my job is just human contact. It’s not always about writing a brief — it’s about looking someone in the eye and telling them that somebody cares — that somebody knows they’re there.” — Hunter

HALOS // Local Labor Groups — Last week we talked with local labor activist Jon Weissman, who has long served as the coordinator of Western Mass Jobs With Justice. Weissman, 70, told the Advocate that the best way to live in the world is “doing things that actually moved the ball … not just lip service.” WMJWJ will continue to do that work, under the direction of Weissman’s successor Eric Bauer. So will The Labor Center at UMass. So will the Pioneer Valley Workers Center. So will the unions that continue to hang on. So will volunteers, and committed staffers. Thanks for working toward achieving labor equity and justice. — Hunter

HALO // The Majestic Theater — Not everyone driving through the center of West Springfield would expect to find a live theater space that’s been home to locally-produced professional work since 1997. But thank goodness it’s there. Formerly a movie house, the renovated space now gives scores of jobs and creative outlets to local actors, musicians, and technical artists each year, from dramas, musicals, and children’s theater to concerts, open mic nights, and improv comedy shows. It’s how communities are built — one show at a time, with new surprises every month. — Hunter

HALOS // NCTV and Signature Sounds — Big ups, guys and girls, for partnering with us to get our new Advocate Sessions local music web video series up on its feet earlier this month. You brought professional-grade video and quality audio to the table with us — a bunch of excitable journalists and music fans who wanted to showcase local artists in a new way but weren’t quite sure how. The series has taken off in a big way online, in no small part thanks to you. This is what a great collab looks and sounds like. — Hunter

HALOS // Pop-up Performance Spaces — Matt Robidoux opened a new Greenfield performing art space in June called Jaume I. When Basemental columnist Will Meyer sat down with Robidoux, the musician expressed a hope that Jaume I would “step up the DIY game in Western Mass” and create less of “a separation between audience and performer.” Over the run of Jaume I, which rented a Miles Street shop month-to-month into the early fall, Robidoux achieved just that by bringing music, visual art, performance, film, and poetry to downtown Greenfield. Projects like this don’t always last long — but that’s not always the point. The chance to pool some money, get some new combos of makers in the same room, and gauge neighborhood interest in the arts is, for some, hard to pass up. Movers and shakers like Robidoux deserve kudos, and ongoing support. — Hunter

HALO // Diva’s Nightclub — For more than 15 years, Diva’s Nightclub in Northampton was one of the only spots in the Valley to get the true dance hall experience, and owner Lori Conte worked tirelessly with a small, dedicated staff to navigate a changing market and evolving notions of queerness, acceptance, and community. The space closed its doors this year, but Diva’s played a huge role in shaping an inclusive Valley nightlife, and it won’t soon be forgotten — especially by those same staffers, dancers, and performers who carry that self-possessed spirit with them wherever they go. — Hunter

HALO // Sanctuary Cities — Despite threats from the incoming Trump administration to defund so-called sanctuary cities — jurisdictions with policies that refuse to divert local resources to enforcing federal immigration law — many such cities are hanging tough. The fact is that forcing a police department to enforce federal law is a burden on their resources; not to mention that most immigrants — documented or not — become friends, neighbors, and contributing members of their communities. Think I’m off base? Go ask a police chief. — Peter

HALO // Gasoline Alley Foundation — Joe Sibilia and the folks at the Gasoline Alley Foundation are dedicated to making Springfield a better place — and they’re doing really cool things right under our noses. By incubating and advising socially responsible startups and running programs to provide troubled teens with marketable skills, Gasoline Alley’s model is one that’s likely to have a lasting impact on the community. — Peter

HALO // Valley Nerd Watch — James Olchowski, the lone superhero behind the blog Valley Nerd Watch, is on a quest to cast light on all the nerd-centric happenings in the Pioneer Valley. His weekly digest is an indispensable source for all things nerdy: card games, comics, art, entertainment, to book clubs. Majqa, Valley Nerd Watch! That’s Klingon for “well done.” Check it out at ValleyNerdWatch.com. — Peter

HALO // MassLive Coverage of SPD by Stephanie Barry — We’ve got to give credit where credit is due: Stephanie Barry and the team at MassLive have done tremendous work this year in their coverage of the Springfield Police Department’s handling of instances of police misconduct. And, boy, have they had their work cut out for them. So, we tip our hat to you, MassLive. — Peter

HALO // Pumpkin Spice — I always had this ingrained idea that coffee is an exclusively adult drink. So when I was 13 and got my first sip from my dad’s Dunkin’, it seemed like a big deal, like I was entering the void of taxes and office life that comes with true adulthood. Did I mention I was an anxious kid? I decided I was ready and took the plunge, a sweet sip of Pumpkin Spice coffee. It was delicious. Maybe this adult thing wouldn’t be so bad. — Kyle

HORNS // Blue Lives Matter — Do Blue Lives Matter? Absolutely. We should all feel sad and angry when senseless murders are committed, but to proclaim that “Blue Lives Matter” in the wake of a wave of killings of unarmed black civilians by police is akin to telling the community, “get over it.” Don’t let your support for police let you become an apologist for the small minority of cops that abuse their power. They’re tarnishing the badge and making all of us less safe. We all have a vested interest in protecting our fellow citizens and rooting out the bad guys — especially if they’re in blue. — Peter

HALOS // Officers Killed in the Line of Duty — Being a police officer is a hard, dangerous, and often thankless job. When no one else will come to help you, they will. That’s pretty amazing. Sadly, some officers don’t come back when they answer the call of duty. In 2016, nationwide 138 police officers lost their lives while protecting the public — 62 lives were lost to gunfire. In Massachusetts, two officers died this year Police Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr., of the Auburn Police Department, and Trooper Thomas L. Clardy. Thank you for your service. — Kristin

HORNS // Liberals Moving to Canada — Everyone, even you, knew you weren’t going. We understand the urge, but we need you to stay in the U.S. to stand up against the things that prompted you to make that ill-conceived proclamation in the first place. — Peter

HORNS // Turtleboy — Turtleboy Sports may have started out as a sports blog, but now it’s mostly a venue for an anonymous blogger to publicly shame people he deems worthy of ridicule. Turtleboy gained notoriety for shaming a group of aggressive student protesters at UMass Amherst in April by aggregating publicly available information about his targets — identifying them, posting arrest records, screen grabs from Facebook and dating websites, and barraging them with cruel, appearance-based insults designed to do as much damage as possible to their psyches and personal lives. The Worcester-centric blog has routinely targeted “social justice warriors” who’ve gotten under Turtleboy’s thin shell in some way. He seems to view himself as a purveyor of vigilante justice standing up for his values, but he fails to see that what he’s actually doing is shouldering college kids with a stigma they may not be able to live down in their adulthood. To be fair, Turtleboy often has legitimate gripes with the people he exploits. But rather than argue his point, he prefers the nuclear option. He draws from the same toolkit as the most loathsome, fascistic trolls: might-makes-right ad hominem attacks and the wielding of his fans as a weapon. He loves to dig up information on his targets and aggregate it on the website so that his supporters can do the dirty work of making their lives miserable. He pillories his targets by stripping them of their humanity, reducing them to stereotypes, and serving them up to an army of adherent internet trolls on a platter. And he’s not doing anything illegal, per se — except maybe a little light libel. “Social justice warriors need to be caged and humiliated,” Turtleboy wrote. “They barely qualify as human beings.”Needless to say, he’s a staunch advocate for public shaming. A headline from April 2015 reads: “Anyone Who Has a Problem With Public Twitter Shaming Is A Fraud.” It’s the kind of circular logic that doesn’t lend itself well to debate. Turtleboy’s mantra “Don’t poke the turtle” is a threat: anyone who dares to criticize will be subjected to the same humiliating treatment. That makes him an egotistical bully, not a righteous crusader.

So, who is Turtleboy? Though he has publicly denied being the driving force behind the blog, the business is registered to Aidan Kearney. For someone who’s so keen on exposing people, he sure values his anonymity. In June, I spoke by phone with someone at Turtleboy Sports for a story I was writing on “The Triggering,” the UMass event that’s now become infamous. I spoke with someone who denied being Kearney and declined to give his real name, but he was resolute that all the people that incur the wrath of Turtleboy are deserving. I’ve got to hand it to Kearney, though. He knows his audience. He’s a shrewd businessman, if a petty and completely unscrupulous one. — Peter

HORNS // Chip Debit/Credit Cards — Everyone uses a credit card, but how many people actually think about it when they use it? When I blindly spend my money on a $5 Starbucks or a $25 blanket at Target I like to swipe my card. There’s a certain satisfaction to it. But because of increased card security over this past year, every store seems to have adopted a chip card system and taken that satisfaction away from us. I can already see kids born in the coming decade asking us about the old movies we used to watch, and why the people in it were just able to slide their cards instead of awkwardly waiting 30 seconds in silence for it to process. — Kyle

HALO // Springfield Monkey Escapes Zoo — A guenon monkey named Dizzy at the Forest Park Zoo in Springfield escaped from its enclosure for three whole days this past June. Most people believe the best part of this story is the fact that Dizzy was found unharmed, but really, it’s his determination to explore something I’m assuming he thought was unreachable. You go, Dizzy — inspire the masses to reach their dreams. — Kyle

HORNS // Putin — Trump’s very obvious buddy with benefits has been swindling the United States this entire election. Do you think it’s a coincidence that since the election the percent of Republicans who viewed Putin “very unfavorably” dropped from 51 percent to just 14 percent? — Kyle

HALOS // American Civil Liberties Union, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, NAACP — You all have always done good work, fighting for rights and advocating for those who need a voice. Now, with the election of Donald Trump (and sinister sidekick Mike Pence) your work is more important than ever. Many people have recognized that, pouring money into your coffers — many under the name Mike Pence! Let’s all continue that trend:

action.aclu.org

donate.splcenter.org/

http://www.ppaction.org/donate

donate.naacp.org

— Dave

HALO // Water Protectors — One of the more deserved halos of the year, the water protectors of Standing Rock have successfully stopped the Dakota Access Pipeline from being built on sacred lands. Not only did they stop the destruction of sacred lands, but they did it with style and grace, not moving from the land for months and exposing the terrible things law enforcement will do to get what they want, so much so that they had a generation up in arms. In your face to everyone who says protesting will do nothing. — Kyle

HALO // Co-Ops — Earlier this year, we highlighted three worker-owned businesses that are using the co-op model. Collective Copies, Simple Diaper and Linen, and Pioneer Valley Photovoltaics (PV Squared) are proving that the co-op model doesn’t just work for grocers. Employee-owned companies offer their workers a stake in the company and a say in how it’s run. We’re hoping to see this model adopted more widely in the years to come. — Peter

HALO // That Poor Research Marmoset (In Memoriam) — In October of 2015, animal care staff accidentally burned to death a research marmoset while it recovered from a routine vasectomy. When a warming blanket was found to be broken, staff applied warming pads to the animal to maintain its body temperature. The primate was roasted alive. The USDA report was vague about the details and found no negligence on the part of the attending veterinarian. The official stance seems to be “accidents happen.” The only action taken was a change in policy that requires staff to test warming blankets before operating. — Peter

HORNS // GE — The General Electric company is responsible for contaminating the Housatonic River with somewhere between 100,000 and 600,000 pounds of PCBs. There seems to be widespread agreement that GE did a good job restoring the two miles of the Housatonic just downstream of their former Pittsfield manufacturing plant, but according to the EPA and environmental advocates, the job is far from done. The EPA finalized a decision in October that would force GE to clean up a much larger stretch dubbed the “Rest of River” and ship the waste out of state. GE pressed for the establishment of local waste dumps, showing blatant disregard for the vociferous opposition of residents, and has vowed to fight the decision in court. GE’s dragged the cleanup process out since at least the early ’90s, and it looks like those PCBs will be staying put at least a while longer. — Peter

HALO // Prince — The soul of an artist personified with a gift for the guitar that should humble Eric Clapton; Prince, we’ll miss you. — Kristin

HALOS // Civil Liberties and Public Policy at Hampshire College — With a woman’s right to control what goes on in her body under attack, it’s more important than ever to support a national reproductive rights and justice organization like the CLPP, which runs leadership programs to train the next generation’s activists. — Kristin

HORNS // Bashar Al-Assad — Of all the people on this list, no one deserves horns more than Bashar Al-Assad. The Syrian president has led a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of innocent Syrians — and the way things are going he’s going to get away with it. Just look up the “Caesar files,” photographs smuggled out of Syria by a military defector in 2013 that show the mutilated corpses of thousands of Syrians tortured to death in military prisons. I’d love to see Assad in the dock at the Hague, but I’m not holding my breath. — Peter

HORNS // People Who Didn’t Vote — You know soldiers died — continue to die — so you can vote, right? To the 45 percent of the U.S. voting population that stayed home on Nov. 8: I know the government doesn’t make it easy for you to vote, but you need to do it anyway. When you don’t vote, only the voices of the people who do vote are heard. And guess who the most likely people to vote are? College-educated white Republicans, over age 65, who make at least $50,000 a year, according to the Pew Research Center. When you stay home instead of hitting the polls you magnify the votes of old, rich, white people — and you get Donald Trump for president. — Kristin

Advocate Staff

Author: Advocate Staff

Editor of the Valley Advocate

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