You Can Make a Difference


On Monday evening, House Republicans voted to gut an independent ethics committee established in 2009 to oversee and investigate ethics issues with a certain level of transparency. Can’t imagine why anyone would have a problem with that existing, but apparently the Republicans did.

Well, the visuals on this were just horrible. Even Trump decried it, though to be fair, that  was mostly because he thought they should focus on other things first. Anyway, people were urged to call their members of Congress, did so, and lo and behold, that was the end of the efforts to kill ethical oversight. Well, for now, anyhow.

So, yes, please remember that you can indeed make a difference. You can stand up and fight, and that will help protect the causes you believe in. Yes, you have to actually do something and not just bitch and moan on Facebook. This is what the GOP has done for the last 25 years or so. Now it’s our turn.

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Wherein I Say “Eh”


So the Dakota pipeline protest. I really should have an opinion about this. Well…

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That pretty accurately sums it up.

I’m not overly-impressed by the tactics being used against the protesters, but I’m also not overly-impressed by the protests themselves.

See, I’m a pragmatic person at my core. I’m also an idealist, but that idealism is bolstered by my pragmatic tendencies. I recognize that a pipeline is probably the best, safest, most affordable way to get oil from point A to point B. Pipelines are safe, and generally problem-free when run properly, and what’s the alternative? Moving billions of gallons of oil by truck? Trucks have accidents; accidents where oil spills.

So I’m not really against the idea of the pipeline itself, and I don’t really care about the location of it. But I’m also generally not pleased with the way that the protesters are being treated. The whole “militarization of the police” is a very, very bad thing, and this is a great example of that.

But really…I don’t much care. The pipeline will probably be built, and probably should, and I’d much, much rather the protesters save their energy for the fights to come against the Trump regime.

Low Standards Indeed


So Mother Teresa is now St. Teresa. Bah.

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Pictured: Not a decent person.

For those not in the know, who believe all the propaganda about Mother/St. Teresa, take a moment to read this bit by Christopher Hitchens; a man who has probably done more good for the world than she ever did. You can also read over this, which is short and fascinating.

I don’t doubt that Mother Teresa meant well, but that only gets you so far. As near as I can tell, this woman did absolutely nothing what so ever to improve the lives of the poor of India, much less anywhere else in the world. She was a rather low character of questionable morals.

Though, really, that whole above paragraph pretty much also applies to the Catholic Church in general, so I guess she is worthy of being one of their most notable representatives on Earth.

#weretherealvictims


There’s a woman out there that I hadn’t heard of until today. Her name is Kim Rhode, and she’s an Olympic shooter. She’s done extremely well in the Olympics, beginning in 1996, and going on to the current Olympics, where she’s won a bronze medal.

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Congrats!

This really is an impressive achievement, which makes it all the more surprising that the media isn’t covering her at all!

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Gasp!

Shocking! I mean, if it were true. Which isn’t. Because NBC, NPRThe Daily MailUSA Today,  Fox Sports, among others, have, in fact, covered her wins. Other outlets have chosen to cover her from the perspective of gun control laws, her opinions of them, and mass shootings.

So she is being covered. She is not being “ignored”. This meme is inaccurate and a lie that’s written for purely political purposes because #weretherealvictims. Yes, the people represented by what is probably the most powerful political lobby in all of American history are the ones who are really under threat.

Fuck that.

To be fair, sponsors do seem to be keeping their distance, but I doubt that’s because of anything she’s said about the Second Amendment. I’m pretty sure it’s much more because guns are controversial, and sponsors prefer to avoid that.

Now, what are some more rational, likely reasons why she hasn’t received the media coverage that, say, Michael Phelps has?

Basically, it’s the sport itself. It’s not as TV-friendly as some other Olympic sports. I can guarantee you that there also wouldn’t be that much coverage if someone got medals in six consecutive Olympic games in badminton, yachting, equestrian events, or judo. It’s just not a sport that most people pay attention to.

It is true that people didn’t pay too much attention to swimming until Michael Phelps came along (though Mark Spitz would disagree), but there was some attention paid. Also, not to take anything away from Rhode, but getting medals in six consecutive games isn’t on the same level as getting 28 medals across four games. It’s impressive as hell, but pales in comparison.

Also, this displays a serious problem with the way the right wing addresses various issues. Rhode’s achievement was indeed covered in the mainstream media. A few seconds of Google proved that. It wasn’t shouted from the rooftops, but it was indeed covered.

When you (the generic you, not you specifically), share things like this without checking to see if they’re accurate, it makes you look like a fool. This meme is simply wrong, and exists, as I said, to further a political agenda and paint the picture of the right wing being victimized by the media. It’s dishonest at best, and an outright lie.

Finally,  I find it rather insulting to take the very real achievement of Rhode and twist it for political purposes. Shame on the people who do this sort of thing.

And So it Begins


The Olympics are underway in Brazil. Hooray! It’s the first time the Olympics have been in South America, and I’m sure they’re going to be fine.

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Of course there has been much hand-wringing and concern by the media. Would there be too much pollution in the rivers? What about protests? Security? Poverty? And, oh, god, Zika!

But…those of us who have some perspective can remember…

In 2014, all the buildings were falling apart, and unlivable…except they seemed to work out ok in the end.

In 2012, people were concerned when, only months before the games, venues were still under construction….except that they were all done by the time the games happened.

In 2010, there wasn’t enough snow…until there was.

In 2008, pollution and human rights violations would make the games horrible…except that they were very well-received.

In 2006, 2004, 2002, 2000, and 1998, the worry was cost overruns, bribes, and security, security, security! The games would never survive…

Except that they did, and they even managed to survive the most recent terrorist attack at a games event, when white Christian terrorist Eric Rudolph detonated a bomb during the Atlanta games in 1996.

I’m sure in the end, the Rio games will be just fine, and will go down as a success, just as much as all the other games have. I’m also sure that we’ll have more worry and hand-wringing in 2018, 2020, 2022, 2024, 2026, 2028, 2030, 2032, etc, etc…

Live-Blogging the Clinton Acceptance Speech


Here we go! Press F5 to update occasionally. Enjoy!

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7:05pm MST – As we begin, Chelsea is giving a speech introducing her mother. She still looks quite a bit younger than I think she should.

7:07 – Hillary used to leave notes for young Chelsea detailing her plans for improving childcare in Arkansas. Cute, but…I mean, c’mon.

7:10 – We’re getting a good framing of “Hillary as caring mom”, which is nice. She’s always handled mothering well.

7:12 – The image of “Hillary as a fighter for you”, is also a good one.

7:16 – The speech is over, and now we go to the obligatory candidate video, narrated by Morgan Freeman, because of course it is.

7:19 – We’re getting repeats of a lot of the bits we heard the other night when Bill spoke. It’s a bit eh. The watermelon bit was amusing, though.

7:22 – Glad to see that the Democrats aren’t above exploiting 9/11. I really look forward to when this is no longer something viable for candidates to talk about.

7:24 – Ah, “the bin Laden situation”. Another thing I am kind of tired hearing about, and btw, we didn’t “bring him to justice”, as people like to say. That would have involved a trial, which we didn’t bother with.

7:25 – “There is more than enough of the American dream to go around…” Excellent.

7:27 – Finally done. It wasn’t terrible, but…eh. Now on to the main event!

7:28 – Whatever problems the Clintons might have had during their marriage, I still get the impression of two people who care deeply about each other. It’s nice to see.

7:29 – Ok, the video has been done for two minutes now. Can we stop with the song and get to the speech?

7:31 – She certainly seems quite choked-up, which is understandable!

7:33 – A few moments of self-deprecating humor. Always welcome!

7:35 – A thank-you out to Sanders. A smart idea, given the Sandernistas who continue to agitate.

7:38 – An emphasis on compromise by invoking the Founding Fathers. Quite wise, especially given the way the Republicans (and the extreme left), have viewed compromise as vice rather than virtue.

7:39 – “Rise together”. There’s a campaign motto for you.

7:42 – She’s taking Trump head-on. This is good.

7:43 – Now they’re chanting her name. Seems spontaneous, but my guess is that it’s an effort to drown-out some Bern Victims.

7:47 – “Love trumps hate” is also a great motto.

7:49 – She’s directly addressing her public perception and personality issues. That’s good.

7:54 – She’s never going to go down as a great public speaker, but she is making some excellent points about what really matters.

7:57 – Sanders looking dour. But to be fair, I suspect he’d look dour even if someone handed him a gold brick on a platinum plate.

7:58 – “When there are no ceilings, the sky’s the limit!” I do like some of these lines.

8:02 -Appointing the right kind of justices is a good first step. Second? Making the Senate give them hearings.

8:04 – “I believe in science!” It’s quite sad that that’s a campaign point.

8:06 – Interesting to see how many non-white faces are out there. From what I understand, only about 20 of the delegates at the RNC were black. 20. I also like that she’s calling it, “Donald Trump’s convention”.

8:09 – Now talking about student debt. A definite plus for the Sanders crowd. And a sop out to those who want to go to technical schools. An excellent idea.

8:13 – Now calling out Trump on his various shady and hypocritical business practices. A wise move. The idea of “Trump as successful businessman” needs to be stomped down hard.

8:15 – She’s right to tout the Iranian deal, even if it was done after she left office.

8:17 – I’ve seen others talk about it, now I will, too. It’s strange, fascinating, and a little neat to see the Democrats co-opting all the religious and patriotic imagery that the Republicans have relied on for the last 35 years. It wears better on the Democrats than it did on the Republicans.

8:18 – “A man you can bait with a Tweet is not a man we can trust with nuclear weapons.”

8:20 – “I’m not here to repeal the Second Amendment. I’m not here to take away your guns. I just don’t want you to get shot by someone who shouldn’t have a gun in the first place.”

8:26 – A reminder of how important it is to stand up to bullies. I like that.

And that’s that. I enjoyed it for the most part. Good, but not quite great. She said what needed to be said, and said it well enough, though. Even if she didn’t quite hit it out of the park, it was still a solid triple, and that’s fine.

So it Begins


The Republican convention is underway in Cleveland, which apparently resembles some dystonian nightmare. The convention itself has gotten off to a fairly chaotic start, and I think at this point we can assume that the #nevertrump movement is totally dead. They’ve shot their wad, and it’s time to go home.

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Make your own joke.

I won’t be blogging about the convention too much, not unless something really interesting happens. I might blog about Trump’s acceptance speech, but he’s started move his speeches into Castro territory, so maybe I won’t.

Either way, I’m much more looking forward to the Democratic convention.