Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Don't Forget About the People in Louisiana




And don't forget their pets, either:

Between 20 and 30 parishes in southern Louisiana remain in a state of emergency on Wednesday, five days after severe flooding ravaged large portions of the region.

Six of the hardest hit areas last week recorded more than two feet of rainfall. Expertsestimate that from Aug. 12 to Aug. 14, the equivalent of 4 trillion gallons of water — enough to fill more than 6 million Olympic-size pools — fell on southern Louisiana.

Officials estimate the flooding damaged 40,000 homes and displaced more than 30,000 people. As of this writing, 11 people have died, though that number isexpected to rise as rescue efforts continue.

Several roadways were also affected by overflowing waterways. According to a New York Times report, “Parts of major roadways became islands, including a stretch of interstate where hundreds of drivers had been stranded for over 24 hours.”

As of Monday, the Weather Channel reported that 125 vehicles were “still stranded on Interstate 12 between Tangipahoa Parish and Baton Rouge, according to Maj. Doug Cain from the Louisiana State Police.”

President Obama on Sunday declared that “a major disaster exists” in four of the hardest hit parishes — East Baton Rouge, Livingston, St. Helena, and Tangipahoa — allocating federal funds to “grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.”

It is way too easy to ignore rural American in this country. Part of the problem is the infrastructure of modern news gathering. There used to be news bureaus all over America and now there are just people with their phones. This keeps people from really knowing what's going on because reporters are supposed to provide context and scale to their stories. That's not really happening right now.

One helpful thing, though--the presence of the Louisiana National Guard certainly helps. It's a good thing they're not sitting in Iraq right now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Leave People Alone




Erin Bailey is a fellow blogger on Squarespace, and she has written a powerful essay on what she faces on a day to day basis. As a woman and a fitness blogger, she runs up against some of the nastiest misogyny you can imagine. 

Honestly, just leave people alone. You can smile, you can wave, and you can appreciate how much better this world would be if people would stop acting like assholes. What you can't do is sexually harass someone just because they are exercising in public.

I blame hookup culture. There are some men who know that it is a numbers game. The more women they accost, the better their chances for being accosted right back. Never mind that 1,000 women have to endure endless amounts of sexist bullshit--it's all about getting lucky. There is something to be said for granting other people the space to live their lives in dignity.

Monday, August 8, 2016

There is Nothing Masculine About Hating People




Let's not overthink things here:

Political analysts have repeatedly made the case that Trump is a mirror; that he does not create but only stokes Americans’ deep-seated fears, xenophobia, and racism that surface by way of economic instability. The bitterness and primal scorn that Trump has tapped among white Americans in struggling areas is aimed not just at those of foreign extraction, as Alec MacGillis writes in our magazinethis month, but also the even more impoverished people whom homegrown “working-class” whites see as scavengers ripping a cut of many already meager paychecks.

Economically, Americans are much better off than they were eight years ago. But it was a black man who accomplished this, so Donald Trump is the natural rally point for white supremacy in America. You cannot make the case that Trump is a smart choice in any regard. He is explicitly the candidate who sticks it to minorities. He is home base for the kind of Americanism that has been hidden for decades. He gets away with saying and doing things that would have sunken a candidate in the 1980s and 1990s because he is a master manipulator of social media.

There is nothing "masculine" about hating people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trump Orders Mother With Screaming Baby to Leave




It's impossible to keep up with this asshole:

Donald Trump asked a woman with a crying baby to leave his rally in Ashburn, Virginia on Tuesday.

“Don’t worry about that baby. I love babies," Trump said after hearing the baby crying during an aside about the trade imbalance. "Don’t worry about it. I love babies. I hear that baby crying, I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around like—don’t worry about it, you know. It’s young and beautiful and healthy and that’s what we want.”

Trump then returned to his non-baby-related remarks, only to hear the baby make more noise.

“They have ripped us to shreds, ripped us absolutely to shreds," Trump said of China, before turning back to the woman with the child.

“Actually, I was only kidding, you can get the baby out of here," the Republican nominee said to laughter and applause. "That’s all right. Don’t worry. I, I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking. That’s OK. People don’t understand. That’s OK."

No word on whether or not Trump's thugs roughed up the mother or took any candy from the baby.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Nobody Has a Monopoly on Truth and Morals




Paul Manafort runs the Donald Trump campaign. He is the most ethically challenged member of Trump's team, and that's saying a whole hell of a lot:

It is far from certain that Mr. Manafort’s views have directly shaped Mr. Trump’s, since Mr. Trump spoke favorably of Mr. Putin’s leadership before Mr. Manafort joined the campaign. But it is clear that the two have a shared view of Russia and neighbors like Ukraine — an affection, even — that, in Mr. Manafort’s case, has been shaped by years of business dealings as much as by any policy or ideology.

“I wouldn’t put out any moral arguments about his work,” said Yevgeny E. Kopachko, a pollster with Mr. Yanukovych’s former party who cooperated with Mr. Manafort for years and called him a pragmatic and effective strategist. “Nobody has a monopoly on truth and morals.”

Mr. Manafort did not respond to requests for an interview. In television interviews on Sunday, though, he defended Mr. Trump’s views on Russia, saying that as president, Mr. Trump would be firm with Russia but would deal with it like any other country when doing so suited American interests.

“He views Russia as a foreign power that has its own interests at stake,” Mr. Manafort said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Until he joined Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign this year, Mr. Manafort’s work in Ukraine had been his most significant political campaign in recent years. He began his career in Republican politics in the 1970s and extended it overseas to advising authoritarian leaders, including Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire, Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and Mr. Yanukovych.

Manafort has been in bed with the Russian-aligned Ukrainians for years. He owes much of his livelihood to taking money from a foreign government. Would any government agency give him access to classified information? My guess is that they would not dream of granting him a clearance. And yet, he's running the campaign for the Republican nominee for president.