Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

Or maybe do both!

Brent Kavanaugh didn’t win his confirmation based on what happen last week or even last month. He won his nomination on November 8, 2016 when Trump won the Presidency while the GOP maintained control of Congress. The fact is this has mostly been a dog and pony show, as the bottom line is the GOP had the numbers all along. And truthfully whether Kavanaugh is personally fit to serve on the Supreme Court or not, we were always going to get an uber-conservative in that spot that will shift the court further right.

Obama often says something to the effect of ‘don’t boo, vote’. I don’t totally subscribe to that, we do have a right to voice our opinions all 365 days of every year, not just one day every couple of years or so. But you sure as heck need to be ready to boo AND vote, as otherwise people in office have proven time and again they are willing to tune out ‘booing’ so to say. Protests are definitely within your rights and often necessary to produce immediate results. But I do think they need the threat of voting behind them to be most effective.

So with that said, here’s what I think has to happen:

  • Vote. Even if you don’t think it will matter. The reddest of states, Alabama, has a Democratic Senator but only because 670,000 voters showed up to make that happen. If only 21,500 of those people had stayed home believing it would not matter, that would not have happened.
  • Down ballot elections matter. Much of what actually affects us is decided on the state and local level. This is why the Koch Brothers have spent millions on local down ballot elections. They understand that, for example, those who control the state houses control how state districts are drawn up, which helps them keep control of state houses. There’s a reason why the GOP controls 26 state governments to 8 for the Democrats (and 31 state legislatures compared to 14 for the Democrats), and that’s because the GOP knows those matter.Federally, the GOP can do things right now not because they have the President, but because they have the President AND Congress. Obama may have been President for 8 years, but the Democrats only had control of Congress for 2 of those years, limiting what he could actually affect. Call the GOP obstructionists, but they could only do that because they had the numbers.Finally, if you control the state and federal governments, you go a long way toward controlling the courts too ultimately.
  • Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Or perhaps even the good be the enemy of the fair. For one, numbers and majorities matter and even if your candidate doesn’t come close to passing a purity test, they could still help decide who has the majority. For another, it is important to determine if a candidate is truly “just as bad” as the opponent, or just not as good as you had hoped. Especially in the south, there are some things you may just have to give up on for the time being (for instance, in Alabama, you just aren’t going to have anyone that’s going to do much on gun control like I think should happen no matter what their party affiliation is…I just have to live with that for right now).
  • That said, don’t just blindly vote for party. Especially in states that may have a weak state party, particularly poor candidates, even pure crackpots, can end up representing a major party on the ballot (I would argue we have elected one such candidate to President, but I digress). You should do your homework and make sure your chosen candidates meet at least a minimal standard. (In Alabama, there’s an option to select “straight party voting” which means you fill in one bubble and you automatically record a vote for EVERY candidate that’s affiliated with that party. I HATE that this option is available, for the reason stated above. I think you should have to at least make the effort to individually fill in votes for every race. Unfortunately my understanding is neither party has any interest in removing this option from the ballots.)

Make no mistake, no single election is going to change everything. It’s going to take plugging away over the long haul. But part of plugging away is showing up on election days, even the one’s where the President is not being decided.

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Surely I am not the only person to think Spaceballs when hearing about Trump’s desire for a “Space Force”, right? I actually do imagine that a lot of White House meetings actually go exactly as the gif above. Clearly Trump is President Skroob. I mean, he IS President Skroob! (“You got to help me. Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated. I don’t know what to do. I can’t make decisions. I’m a president!” So pick out the parts of that which are Trump and which are Skroob!) But who is Dark Helmet? Stephen Miller? (“….evil will always triumph because good is dumb” could be the basis of his immigration policy…but on the other hand he sure seems also likely a member of the Asshole family) Would Colonel Sandurz be Mike Pence? Do I wish this whole thing was actually just a Mel Brooks movie? Probably!

Or maybe in light of this, we should just skip the discussion altogether.

There is only one explanation for this. Evil. Pure evil. (Like mythical evil. And we all know there’s nothing that can be done about evil. Except maybe…)

We need more spiritual God in our lives to battle the evil. (If we just prayed harder, this wouldn’t keep happening. Prayer is a like a force field. It stops the bullets. Why hasn’t that ever actually happened? You all aren’t praying hard enough! And making cakes for gay marriage. That has to stop too!)

Now is not the time to discuss the issue. (If only there was some extended amount of time where people did not die as a result of being shot with a gun. Then maybe we could finally address this important issue. But our hands are tied here.)

We must not politicize this tragedy. (This is nothing like 9/11. Or the NFL player in a deadly wreck with an undocumented worker. Or a shooting involving a radicalized Muslim. I mean we can’t politicize tragedies that might lead to legislation that might upset my money-giving lobbyist.)

Laws will do nothing to stop these kind of acts. If people want to do this, they will. (Er….how does this not apply to all laws? Um…er…I’m talking about gun laws…it’s best not to think about it too hard, just trust me!)

If anything, we need to so something about mental health. (Yeah, mental health is only a small part of the problem and besides,we ain’t going to do anything about that either. But it allows us to deflect and it sounds better to say that than to say we aren’t going to do nothing. You know, don’t want to be insensitive and all that.)

Or maybe we need not fewer guns, but MORE guns. We should arm the teachers! (I mean, really what do teachers do all day anyway? They should have plenty of time to train on gun usage, train for crisis situations, and then patrol the grounds against potential threats. Besides, I have watched enough television and movies to know that this kind of stuff is easy. Or maybe we could just have police officers be teachers! Have you ever seen Kindergarten Cop? Zany!)

But most importantly, all we can do is send our thoughts and prayers to (insert latest mass shooting location here) victims and their families. (I think that will keep the NRA happy and I pray they keep that campaign funding coming!)

 

In The Year 2018…

Posted: January 1, 2018 in Current Events
Tags:

In the year 2018…

  • Donald Trump will delete his Twitter account, drop all his petty feuds, fully cooperate with the Russian investigation, effectively explain and promote a coherent policy agenda and stand up to represent all Americans (whether they watch Fox News or not!). In a related story, the Pentagon will reopen their UFO program.

    The UFO program will conclude we are better off with the alien in charge.

  • Jesus Christ will return to the earth only to explain that this is not the official “second coming”, he really just needed to have a chat with Roy Moore who just wasn’t getting his Dad’s message. Also, his Dad doesn’t like what Roy does with His horses. At all.

    ‘There’s also a pastor I need a word with.’

  • The cable news networks will drop the pretense of covering “news” when they realize just plain ol’ news stories never go “viral” and will all shift to a full 24 hours of pundits bloviating at each other.

Arrrggghhh!!!!!! Ratings!

  • An evangelical hardcore conservative Republican will win a Senate seat in New York because balance must be restored after a Democrat won a Senate seat in Alabama as Last Jedi principles require.

    This isn’t going to end like you think it will.

  • After losing to Clemson, Alabama head coach Nick Saban will stun the press by stating ‘hey, no big deal, football is only a game, I really wasn’t even keeping up with the score, I just hope everyone had fun out there!’

“Ok y’all, I’ll be at the beach!”

Happy New Year!!!!

This is Doug Jones. Bet you didn’t even know what he looked like! He is the candidate without the vest, the cowboy hat, and the pea shooter.

At this point, there is story after story regarding Roy Moore, whether it comes to his political views or his alleged exploits at the local mall. There is not a whole lot out there regarding his opponent in Alabama’s special U.S. Senate election on December 12th, Doug Jones. Given the political makeup of Alabama, Doug Jones can’t win without getting a chunk of Republican voters on his side (though he would also benefit from Republicans staying home or voting write-in candidates). The question is can enough Republican voters bring themselves to actually vote for a Democrat?

To be clear, Doug Jones is a Democrat, so if voters only care about issues and disregard character, then the decision will be clear, they will vote for the Republican candidate. For some, being a Democrat automatically makes you an “evil” that must be stopped. I think that’s the nature of today’s politics that everything is within a framework of “good versus evil” and “our side” must prevail over “your side” as our very future is at stake!

Is Doug Jones evil? Well, he is a husband and a father. He was born and raised in Alabama. He has served as both a U.S. Attorney and private practice lawyer. He has been a member of the Canterbury United Methodist Church for more than 30 years. He has degrees from both the University of Alabama and Samford University’s. According to his campaign website, his number one priority is bringing back integrity to Washington, working for the betterment of all Alabamians without regard to partisan politics.

In my opinion, Doug Jones seems like a decent guy. I hope we haven’t reached the point where it doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, only which party you choose to represent. We will get some glimpse into that on December 12th.

See, I have the hat AND the pea shooter. Clearly I’m qualified for the position of U.S. Cowboy! Wait, I’m not running for cowboy? There’s no such thing as U.S. Cowboy?

Well, I have a feeling a lot more people have heard of Roy Moore now! Since I live in Alabama, perhaps I can give a perspective from inside the state.

Why are these allegations of sexual misconduct just now coming out?

Important things to note here…these women really didn’t “come forward”. This is the result of investigative journalism from the Washington Post. The reporters found them, not the other way around. Were it not for that, it’s probable that this story would have never come out. Frankly the local Alabama papers have never been bastions of investigative journalism anyway, and nowadays those papers are shells of their former selves. So it took a national paper to actually look into this and it took Roy Moore running for a national position rather than a state position for them to care. So yeah, the timing does kinda have to do with him running for U.S. Senate. But it really doesn’t matter, it’s either true or it’s not.

Because it has taken so long for the story to come out, that means it must not be true, right?

Well let’s look at Louis C.K. The accusations against Louis C.K. are from all the way back to at least 2002. Yet he admits now in 2017 that they are all true. We have to come to grips that women (and kids and even men) are reluctant to come forward for all kinds of reasons (fear of not being believed, embarrassment, having their own reputation ruined, facing repercussions, etc.). Just because someone doesn’t come forward immediately (or at all) doesn’t mean it didn’t happen and most definitely doesn’t make it okay.

Should we wait for more evidence?

Obviously that’s up to you. My feeling is that in these particular instances there’s not going to be any more evidence to be had, especially before the December 12th election. I suppose if there are more instances of sexual misconduct, those victims may feel embolden to now come forward. That said, as it stands it’s really going to be a situation of who you choose to believe. For what I consider the most damning accusation regarding the 14 year-old girl, family and friends back that it’s a story she told them years ago. For me, that adds credibility. On the other side, Roy Moore’s own self-defense has been less than credible in my opinion (he definitely is allowing for dating underage girls, which tells me he at least did that). But it is also true that I never had any like for Roy Moore. So your mileage may vary.

Will Roy Moore drop out?

No. Not a chance. That’s not who Roy Moore is. Roy Moore gets forcibly removed from office. He doesn’t resign, he doesn’t step aside.

The defense of Roy Moore?

Is just bizarre. I of course expected the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ type stuff that is fair enough. I also expected the “I know Roy Moore and he would never do such a thing” type of stuff which is also fair enough. What I didn’t expect was for defenders to actually say his actions were justifiable even if true. Did they even read the article? The worst accusation is most definitely NOT okay (the others probably are better defined as at least creepy). For an Alabama public official to actually invoke the Bible and Joseph and Mary and the birth of Jesus and say it’s all good? Good grief!

How has this changed your opinion of Roy Moore?

Me, I was never going to vote for Roy Moore. Ever, ever. This is a guy who was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court not once but twice for misconduct. This is a guy who believes that if you don’t fit a certain mold, you literally have no rights. This is a guy who thinks judges should be kicked out when they make decisions he doesn’t like. This is a guy who believes you should be banned from serving in public office based on your choice of religion. This is a guy who somehow decided that athletes exercising their free speech rights was against the law (after apparently just discovering the existence of the U.S. flag code and then badly misinterpreting it, this despite being a state Supreme Court justice). This is a guy who thinks preschool is a liberal attempt at Nazi-style indoctrination. This is a guy who thinks when this nation gets attacked and/or suffers tragedy, it’s God punishing the country. This is guy who claims to believe in the rule of law but then says only “God’s law” matters, which funny enough allows him justification to ignore the rule of law when he disagrees with it (God doesn’t seem to actually speak up so much publicly, so I suppose we just have to take Roy Moore’s word for it regarding His rulings). I already had plenty of reasons not to vote for Roy Moore. But it’s not my opinion that matters.

Can this change the outcome of this election?

Yes! Based on things I’ve been reading from people outside this state, there is some believe that all GOP candidates are equally and wildly popular in Alabama. This is not true. Roy Moore is not a particularly popular Republican, at least relatively speaking. When he won the Supreme Court chief justice position again in 2012, he did so while winning 52% of the vote while Presidential candidate Mitt Romney won 60% of the vote and other GOP state candidates won 60-65% of the vote. There are voters in Alabama who normally vote Republican who won’t vote Roy Moore. On the other side, Doug Jones is unusual in that he is an actual very solid Democratic candidate (GOP candidates in Alabama often run either unopposed or against token Democrat opposition who can sometimes be also complete crackpots). Polling even before this story showed Doug Jones within 6 points or so of Roy Moore, which for this state is a virtual tie! (usually GOP  candidates run 20 points ahead if anyone bothers to do polling at all, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 28 percentage points in Alabama) I had always thought Doug Jones had a chance to pull an upset even before this. I believe there’s a base of voters who are voting Roy Moore no matter what and there was already a group of voters who were never going to vote for Roy Moore. It’s just a matter of a) does this flip anyone in the middle and b) on the other side does this somehow cause a backlash of voters who are energized to oppose the Washington Post and the “liberal elites”?

I think now it’s going to be a very tight election that can go either way. We shall see on December 12th.

 

Focus People

Posted: September 24, 2017 in Current Events, Politics
Tags: ,

 

In fairness the resemblance is undeniable.

  • Important issues going on right now: The disasters in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, etc.; the current GOP healthcare bill; the situation with North Korea; not to mention long-term issues like racism and pay inequality….on and on. Not an issue: black athletes with opinions (a right that is Constitutionally guaranteed by the way, as long as we are discussing what is and what is not “American”).
  • If President Trump’s Twitter is any indication, we all know what the President has chosen to focus on. Shouldn’t this be beneath the office of the Presidency? Shouldn’t he have better things to do? Is there anything similar we can point to involving President Obama? (Or President George W.Bush? Or Clinton? Or Bush Sr.? Or Reagan?….)
  • The media should not be sidetracked by the stupid tweets. Leave the stories about the pissing battle by our celebrity President against our celebrity sport starts to TMZ. Instead, we need stories regarding how our response has been to the recent hurricanes. Has it been adequate? Are we doing a good job? We need stories on the impact of the GOP healthcare proposal. We need stories on the handling of North Korea (speaking of which, is school grade name calling of North Korea’s President supposed to be considered “tough”?) If the current thing between the President and sport athletes is to be covered, it should be within the larger societal context of free speech and racism, not in a ‘you won’t believe what LeBron James just tweeted and then what President Trump tweeted back???!!! Oh my!!!!!’ context.
  • We also shouldn’t be sidetracked by this. The President needs to be held accountable for what he does and how he performs, which goes far far far beyond his divisive tweets (honestly if somebody proposed a new Constitutional amendment that banned Presidents from having Twitter accounts, I would probably support it. Geez!)

For the most part I think the only purpose (beyond dividing this country) President Trump’s Twitter account serves as is being a squirrel. Let’s try not be the Up dogs! (Wait…this whole post…..SQUIRREL!!!!! Darn it!)