Thursday, June 30, 2016

Your College Degree is Why America is Horrible Right Now




I am probably being ridiculous, but oh well:

Both geographically and demographically, the British referendum split the U.K. along lines familiar in America. An extensive election-day survey by Lord Michael Ashcroft, a British pollster, found that the leave campaign carried over three-fifths of those without four-year college degrees, a comparable number of seniors, and a narrow majority of all whites. Election results showed the leave campaign amassing big margins outside of major cities. The campaign to remain won over two-thirds of non-whites, about three-fifths of college graduates, and big majorities among younger and urban voters. In London, which recently elected one of the western world’s first Muslim mayors, 60 percent voted to stay.

All of this replicates American patterns. Democrats now rely on an urbanized coalition of Millennials, minorities, and socially liberal college-educated and single whites (especially women). Republicans thrive among older, non-college educated and religiously devout whites, especially outside of major cities. In 2012, President Obama carried less than one-fourth of America’s counties; he won fewer counties than any presidential winner since at least 1920. But because Obama so dominated the nation’s population centers, he triumphed by 5 million votes.

In a way, having a college degree means I can't join the racist, belching rabble and vote for Donald Trump. I have too much information--I'm a high information voter--and I can't just sit here and write stupid things all day long (since when has that ever stopped anyone, including me?).

What I think gets left out of the equation is that we are faced with choices that have not energized the populations of either Britain or America. President Obama was a once-in-a-lifetime bolt out of nowhere. He energized millions and he promised renewal. His legacy will be that of a largely successful president who could have done more with a reasonable opposition party. The fact that he accomplished anything at all was entirely in spite of the hate expressed towards him as the first black president. 

With Hillary being the first female president, we'll see some renewal of hope and we'll see more women participating in public life, I would imagine. What we'll also see is a mirror image of the racism expressed towards Obama in the misogyny that will be directed like a broadside at Hillary. 

Like Obama, she'll advance the movement towards a more equitable and fair United States of America. And she'll be denied any credit for doing her best to make people's lives better, just like Obama.












Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Quietly Ending the Death Penalty in America




In case you weren't aware of it, the death penalty is going away. Well, a better way to say it might be fading away:

Arizona prison officials told a federal court Friday they could no longer perform executions due to problems obtaining lethal-injection drugs, effectively ending capital punishment in the state for the foreseeable future.

The Arizona Department of Corrections said it amended its execution protocols to omit midazolam and that the state lacked supplies of either sodium thiopental or pentobarbital, according to a filing in a federal district court in Phoenix, Arizona. All three drugs are sedatives used to render inmates unconscious during a lethal injection.

The department’s “lack of the drugs and its current inability to obtain these drugs means that the Department is presently incapable of carrying out an execution,” the filing said. The state’s current supply of midazolam is also scheduled to expire before a lawsuit by five death-row inmates challenging the state’s use of the drug will be completed. 

One of the things that has always brought international condemnation and shame to the United States has been the uneven and unfair application of the death penalty. Many countries do not even have a death penalty. America is really more into revenge and applying the Biblical punishment of "an eye for an eye." This has become impossible in a day and age when companies become aware of the fact that the drugs they are manufacturing are perfect for putting people to death. 

Anyway, it's long overdue for the United States to join the civilized world in 2016. There will always be some asshole who calls for hanging, the guillotine, or the firing squad. Ignore them.












Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dennis Hastert to Share Cell With Jared Lee Loughner




I apologize for the click-bait-y nature of this post, but it is a fact that Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert will report to the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota. This is where Jared Lee Loughner, the man who killed six people and attempted to kill Gabby Giffords, among others, is currently incarcerated for treatment.

This is about as lenient as the Feds could get in terms of putting Hastert in prison, and, if there is some form of justice out there, then these two could end up sharing some space together. Really, this is what justice looks like in America today? Club Fed for mass murderers and child molesters?

Okay, then.












Monday, June 20, 2016

This is How to Tell the World You Are a Jackass




Write a card like this and send it to the Democratic National Committee, and you can claim jackass status for life.

First of all, these people were not really Democrats. They were independents or people that do not usually vote. How do we know this? Many of them never bothered to vote! If they had actually voted for Bernie Sanders, he probably would have won.

Second, the DNC does not care about your Goodbye Cruel World statements. They have hundreds of other races that have to be won against the Republican Party. If you don't care about working people, women's reproductive rights, veterans, the disabled, LGBTs, and minorities, you weren't going to vote for the Democratic candidate in the first place. Everyone who is an adult is already on board.

Third, this is not how elections and democracy actually works. In our system, you choose one of the two main parties and vote accordingly. Any other use of your vote is a waste because this is the system we use--a two party representative democracy gives you a chance to participate, and if you throw that chance away, that's on you.

We have to stop worrying about these people and their feelings. If they're not on board, they're never going to support Hillary or do the right thing. They will act like upset customers and take their votes elsewhere. Let them. They are irrelevant and they know it.












Thursday, June 16, 2016

Someone Burped Up a Pleasantry




Does that sound racist to you? Does he think I'm an African-American? I don't understand the whole reference to "your people" as having anything other than a patronizing tone. 

Sad, but so ridiculously unhinged as to not warrant further commentary.












Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Stop Covering Trump




I already know the answer--no, large media organizations are not going to stop covering Donald Trump--but that's exactly what they should do in order to show solidarity with The Washington Post:

Donald Trump said Monday that he is pulling The Washington Post’s credentials to cover his events because he is upset with the newspaper’s coverage of his campaign. The move puts the newspaper on a long list of media outlets that the presumptive Republican nominee has banned for reporting that displeased him.

“Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post,” read a post on Trump’s Facebook page.

There's a reason why coverage of Trump is being held hostage right now--he creates massive amounts of revenue for these media organizations by giving them access. The Washington Post will see a downturn in traffic to its website and maybe a few ramifications for its print edition because of this. Fewer flashy headlines and fewer impulse buys at what counts as newstands? I don't know.

Coverage of Donald Trump is driving traffic to the web properties that are not banned; this gives Trump some power over them. By denying them access, he is demonstrating control of the narrative around his dumpster fire of a campaign. This has a chilling effect because the media outlets that have not been banned have been shown clear examples of what will get them booted from the campaign. This, in turn, changes the coverage of Trump and places everything in a more favorable light.

All of the media outlets covering him should go dark, but they won't because of the business ramifications. It's just another sad and pathetic piece of a larger puzzle--how the hell did we get here? We are all fools because he's in control.












Thursday, June 9, 2016

Destroyed With One Tweet




If you want some indication as to what the campaign for the presidency will look like this year, here you go.













Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This Dainty Fellow




He was no snob. He would eat the meal of the masses. It would suffice.

He had someone on salary ensure that someone else being paid by the hour with no benefits would put rolled silverware into a napkin for him to consider. It would never be used. Form over function. Waste was a way of life. Napkins, oh God, yes.

He was taught to lay out a thick paper napkin and cover it with another. Each and everything before him had to be covered or adorned. He was told that his French fries needed to be laid out end to end and then consumed before his meal but only if the napkin sanitized it all. Ketchup was for morons and wastrels. It was probably rancid stuff but he had never tasted it. He was a rough man who could appear relatable if the media people asked. I'm relating to them, he muttered, but make sure I get something else later.

The world won't wait for a man to sample everything and proceed with his value meal from McDonald's. You can look at his untouched sandwich and know his disgust. He had a limit, and there was no way he was going to eat the grubby lettuce placed there by someone making minimum wages. It was a rebuke for you rubes and your desire to consume the flesh of animals and burp everything back up into a ridiculously small serving of Diet Coke, more so when considering the food was unacceptable on many levels.

But he was hungry, and he needed what Bukowski called fuel so he could create. A big sandwich consisting of produce picked by the brown people who bellowed at him from afar and the rest assembled by humble and underpaid peons was enough for him, for now.

The Apple Pie was missing from his meal, and so he withdrew a dainty hand and ordered an underling to retrieve him another.

He waited, munching and sad.

The apple pie arrived and this was not to be shared. It was jammed into filthy cardboard and overheated. The proletariat had risen against the bourgeois. He burned his mouth. Screams, that was what they heard when he finally tossed the meal aside. Damned thing. That's what apples taste like? Give them to the poor.

Fuckers.













Monday, June 6, 2016

What Are They Going to do With Roger Clinton?




I have to admit that I have not thought about Roger Clinton in what seems like twenty years. In terms of modern politics, that's forever and a day. His arrest on drunken driving charges mere days before the California primary is an indication of something, but who knows what? A cry for help? Dumb luck? A need to feed the right wing hate machine yet another piece of red meat?

He's the former President's half brother, and that former President's wife is about to conclude the race for the nomination for President of the United States. They couldn't get someone to babysit Roger for a few weeks? How about finding something for him to do until the year is out?





You can't ignore this story because it's going to be fodder for right wing news sites. This is basically what they served up throughout the 1990s--every embarrassing aspect of Bill Clinton's life is worthy of a front page write-up in the New York Times, up to and including the time they found a long-lost brother-in-law not named Roger. I expect Maureen Dowd to sympathize with poor Roger and talk about how his manhood has been sapped from him by that woman who will be president.









Friday, June 3, 2016

Free Lunch




This landed in my in-box today, and I had to kind of cringe to keep from laughing when I read it. I still don't understand why we're not just feeding kids for free in school--whatever system is currently in use where many people live is probably antiquated and based on a time when making a lunch for a kid was relatively inexpensive. Now, with rising food costs and shrinking wages, this issue becomes more and more difficult for people to solve.

I like what Hillary Clinton says here:






Contrast that with this:

When it comes to public schools providing meals for low-income children, congressional Republicans have built up a discouraging record in recent years. In 2014, for example, a GOP congressman from Georgia suggested struggling children should either pay more for school meals or tackle janitorial tasks in their schools in exchange for food.

Around the same time, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) delivered a speech suggesting kids who rely on school lunches aren’t cared for as much as kids who bring their own lunch to school. The far-right lawmaker, we later learned, was relying on an anecdote that turned out to be made-up.

That was the last Congress. In this Congress, Jared Bernstein and Ben Spielberg made the case in the Washington Post yesterday that Republican lawmakers are eyeing new restrictions on the federal program.

Under current law, changed by Democrats in 2010, schools don’t have to verify which individual students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Rather, if a school serves a community in which 40% of the kids are eligible for meal assistance – called the “Identified Student Percentage” – the schools can make food available to all of its students. It streamlines the bureaucracy and verification process, cuts down on paperwork, and helps ensure children receive the benefits to which they’re entitled under the law.

If you fed kids as part of the school curriculum, and normalized the idea that school means education plus food, it would definitely increase costs for the school districts. That would have to be offset by funding from elsewhere, and, given the many wingnut state legislatures out there, you can count on expressions of massive butt hurt. But, wherever that funding comes from, it would provide several benefits that would have a huge impact on families.

One, it would ensure that kids on the threshold of receiving a free lunch wouldn't be left out and could count on getting food at school. Two, it would ensure that everyone in school had a chance to eat something and not go hungry, thereby making it hard to learn in the first place. Why not eliminate the stigma and just feed all the kids the same thing and make it free (and healthier to boot)? Is the country really that broke or do we just not want to make some hard choices? The schools are already in the business of giving kids free or reduced lunches. Why not get completely into that business, negotiate for better rates and lower costs, and make it part of what makes school important in a community?

There's a lot to be said for the stability that a good school can bring to a neighborhood. It can definitely drive property values up and it can increase participation for parents and students in what happens. Yeah, I get that there will always be apathy. It's not like you have to eat what's put in front of you--kids should be allowed to bring their own food or opt out.