Days 286–299 of 1,461 (or 2,922)

It’s been two weeks since I last posted? Time flies. This is your reminder that you have one month to sign up for health insurance on the exchanges established by the ACA. Anyway, Justin Verlander is a World Series champion, and I am richer for it.

  • The story that made me happiest these last two weeks, other than the World Series, was the Democratic gains in New Jersey and Virginia. We had Ralph Northam defeat a Republican who shamelessly chased the racist vote. We had Ashley Bennett defeating a freeholder who made fun of the Women’s March. We had Danica Roem becoming Virginia’s first transgender elected official, taking out the state’s “chief homophobe” in the process. We had candidates in Edison win after being targeted by racist mailers. It was a great night and better morning.
  • Now attention shifts to Alabama’s special election for the Senate, where Roy Moore has been exposed as a child molester who saw nothing wrong with being 32 and dating 14-year-olds. He may still win. As a yellow dog Democrat, I find it self-evident that Democrats are always better than Republicans. But Moore is deeply, deeply horrible, and his victory would be a stain on all of us. Er, another stain. Donate to Doug Jones.
  • There are so many attacks these days that they just become part of the background chatter. It doesn’t have to be this way.
  • However, remember that shooters are almost always men, and they are men who abuse women.
  • Two Russia articles for you: one from the Associated Press showing just how deep the DNC phishing operation ran, to the extent that they tried to hack accounts that had been dead since 2008; another from The Atlantic revealing that Donald Trump, Jr. was in communication with Wikileaks about the election through the election. This isn’t remotely over. (Bonus: Carl Icahn is being investigated too.)
  • The GOP tax bill really sucks. And now they’ve added ACA repeal to it, because of course. It’s another “Call Your Elected Officials Day.” (BTW, screw Notre Dame.)
  • Speaking of the ACA, Trump hasn’t been doing the outreach he’s supposed to be doing, but enrollment seems to be higher than ever (sorry, no link). Any publicity is good publicity, I guess.
  • RIP, Uwe Reinhardt.
  • Meanwhile, it’s looking like the Democrats will be targeting monopoly when they are back in charge. It’s a serious problem. It could even mess up single-payer healthcare.
  • Vox did an excellent interactive feature on college scholarships and their problems. I had never thought of merit-based aid as a subsidy for the rich, but that is what it appears to be, in practice. I had a lot to think about after reading that.
  • Gerrymandering in Michigan is horrendous, but there may be hope.
  • Tom Brady is a fraud and a hack and a quack. So he’s the perfect choice to run the FDA under Trump.
  • Australia will be banning all climbing on Uluru.
  • The tale of Laika, space hero, never fails to get me. That poor dog.
  • I’m not sure what to think about Amazon producing a Lord of the Rings prequel series, but I hope they aren’t afraid to get weird. “Minas Anoir,” a gritty detective mystery set in the corrupt Tower of the Setting Sun. “The Adventures of Tom DaBombadil,” the tale of a young rapper’s rise through the Old Forest hip-hop scene. “The Peregrin Brief,” a legal drama concerning the dangers of secondhand pipeweed smoke. The possibilities are endless.
  • Shot:

A gorillagram is a gift message, similar to a singing telegram, but delivered by a performer dressed in a gorilla suit. “Gorilla-Gram” is an abandoned trademark of Gorilla Gram Inc., first used commercially on March 20, 1980.

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Days 284 and 285 of 1,461 (or 2,922)

I think recent news finally warrants the famous Simpsons clip:

  • Paul Manafort was expected, though still welcome. George Papadopoulos was not, and is probably the bigger development. Now we know that Team Trump was meeting with Russian officials during the election to get dirt stolen from Hillary. We know that Mueller can keep a guilty plea secret for three weeks. This is the biggest scandal in American history, there is more to follow and we’re not even 10 months in. Fasten your seatbelts.
  • Unfortunately, the Republicans show no interest in protecting Mueller from being fired. If you’re Trump, why WOULDN’T you fire Mueller? Congress won’t stop you.
  • In a similar vein, Facebook has increased its estimate of how many Americans were exposed to Russian propaganda on their platform. Old number: 10 million. New number: 126 million, more than the audience for the first Trump-Hillary debate. If you’re Russia, why WOULDN’T you continue to hack our elections? Congress won’t stop you. Mueller’s work may expose the crimes that have been committed against our democracy, but it won’t inoculate us.
  • Chris Christie is sitting at a 14% approval rating. My only regret is that it’s not 14 points lower.
  • Slate has a good summary of how chaotic scheduling is killing the American people. Organizing workers, some cities and the state of Oregon have passed laws against it. A national one would be a good next step.
  • Kevin Spacey chose to come out of the closet shortly after he was accused of sexually assaulting a minor, thus doing his part to conflate homosexuality and pedophilia, as well as deflecting from the allegation against him. It’s difficult to be sincere on this blog, but that is horrific of him and he appears to be a monstrous human being. I don’t think I can watch his movies anymore.
  • I had no idea that yesterday was the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses to the cathedral door. Insert Princeton joke or additional Simpsons reference here.
  • “Women Aren’t Ruining Food” has an explanation for why certain foods become cool and others become objects of derision. It ain’t about the food. I myself am guilty of this, and I am sorry. 😦
  • Finally, a cute little article on the origins of Cinnabon. Do not read while hungry.

Days 274, 275, 276, 277, 278, 279, 280, 281, 282 and 283 of 1,461 (or 2,922)

We’re closing in on the one-year anniversary of 11/9, and Facebook keeps reminding me of the optimistic posts I made during last election season. It’s not fun.

  • So, Mueller has started filing criminal charges. This, of course, explains why the Steele dossier reentered the news last week, and why opposition research has suddenly become equivalent to treason. If anything, we should thank Hillary Clinton for investigating such a threat to our democracy.
  • Imagine, if you will, that it’s all a horrible coincidence and Trump is entirely innocent when it comes to Russia. Even then, as Josh Marshall notes, he is doing nothing to protect our country from further attacks, and is instead actively assisting them. That alone warrants impeachment.
  • Twitter is doing more about Russian interference than the U.S. government.
  • On several levels, the need to assign all blame for the 2016 election to Hillary Clinton doesn’t make sense to me, but it’s not even good strategy beyond intraparty squabbling. If there were any factors other than Hillary that biased the election against the Democrats, wouldn’t you want to have a plan for dealing with those next time? This brings me to the non-Russia topline article of the week, about voter suppression efforts in Wisconsin. This is only going to get worse, so it’s imperative that we retake control of government as soon as possible:

On election night, Anthony was shocked to see Trump carry Wisconsin by nearly 23,000 votes. The state, which ranked second in the nation in voter participation in 2008 and 2012, saw its lowest turnout since 2000. More than half the state’s decline in turnout occurred in Milwaukee, which Clinton carried by a 77-18 margin, but where almost 41,000 fewer people voted in 2016 than in 2012. Turnout fell only slightly in white middle-class areas of the city but plunged in black ones. In Anthony’s old district, where aging houses on quiet tree-lined streets are interspersed with boarded-up buildings and vacant lots, turnout dropped by 23 percent from 2012. This is where Clinton lost the state and, with it, the larger narrative about the election.

  • Sabotaging the ACA will kill innocent Americans. Killing CHIP will kill innocent Americans. Innocent children, in fact. Already, the number of uninsured has increased after years of steady decline.
  • The Republican Party removes another yoke of oppression from our long-suffering banks.
  • I don’t see a problem, Lindsey.
  • Donald Trump is lying scum, but John Kelly is also lying scum. I agree that Trump taints everything he’s associated with, but it’s also that awful people are just attracted to him. Flies are still flies without the cesspit.
  • Some unhappy rumblings from the Virginia gubernatorial race. White working class voters are not the future of the Democratic Party, at least not for a very long time.
  • With Roy Moore, Alabama is looking to maintain its tradition of having the worst person in the entire Senate. Every decent human being should hope that Doug Jones pulls off the upset.
  • A small Montana firm with no clear qualifications other than its relationship with Ryan Zinke is in charge of restoring power to Puerto Rico. What is human disaster, if not a source of profit?
  • Neil Gorsuch seems to be an awful human being who has already started to feud with Elena Kagan after less than a year on the bench. I am positive that Hillary Clinton’s choice for the seat would have been just as bad.
  • “Why Harvey Weinstein is disgraced but Donald Trump is president.”
  • This story about Barstool Sports illustrates why I’ve lost a lot of faith in the power of highlighting hypocrisy. When your adversary has no principles, when caring is itself a sign of weakness, then your principle becomes a tool that can be wielded against you. I’m sad.
  • The implicit bias test, which I remember taking a while ago, has problems with reproducibility and predictive power. I appreciate the need to investigate how we arrive at our actions, but in my mind, racism is ultimately a deed and not a feeling. This may be related to why I’m not in academia.
  • You get me, Onion.

Days 267, 268, 269, 270, 271, 272 and 273 of 1,461 (or 2,922)

Keeping track of these days has given me a lot of practice at dividing by seven.

  • I don’t mean to exaggerate when I say that Trump is the worst human being in America. The carrion birds wouldn’t even touch his carcass.
  • Trump continues to sabotage his own country’s healthcare system because he wants to stick it to the black guy that came before him. And the Republicans are content to let CHIP die. People will suffer.
  • Facebook’s role in the election is becoming clearer. It’s important to correct their mistakes, not to absolve Trump voters, whose guilt will endure, but to safeguard the free flow of information that our democracy needs to live.
  • The statues are slowly coming down. Next come the names. Renaming a Jefferson Davis public school after Barack Obama is a good start. Fort Bragg is the prize I cherish.
  • Somalia experienced a horrific terror attack, killing over 230 people. It’s hard for the human mind to appreciate the scope of all that death.
  • It’s profoundly distasteful that cities have to grovel before Amazon. I know that the headquarters will bring jobs, but how many jobs have been lost as Amazon destroys industry after industry?
  • Eat doo doo, Jared Kushner.
  • In a better world, campaigns like #MeToo wouldn’t have to exist. But perhaps we can use such campaigns to build that better world. That’s my take, at least.
  • College students are nowhere near the threat to free speech that rich conservatives are.
  • The Straight Dope is a venerable question-and-answer column that I highly recommend reading. Now I know that in-person visits make a huge difference in reducing recidivism, but jails are replacing them with privatized video-conferencing. That is horrible.
  • New York will one day consist solely of Airbnbs. Detroit will consist solely of Krogers.
  • The Lions have looked awful for the last two games, but Caraun Reid is back! That makes me a bit happier.
  • Never change, Onion.

Days 242–266 of 1,461 (or 2,922)

More than three weeks without an update, yet I still have a few curious readers! Thank you for your love. A whole lot has happened. With the distance of time, in-the-moment commentary seems a little strange, so I’ll pull back the camera a bit. But every link will be preserved!

  • Aurora. Sandy Hook. Las Vegas. These are not places that we should speak of in somber tones. But we do, and we will continue to do so. There will be more massacres like the one that forever snuffed out the lives of 58 people. It won’t change until our government is forced to control guns. As always, The Onion said it best. I want the Second Amendment repealed.
  • So, once again, the Gop tried to kill us all with a terrible, horrible, no good very bad law. Thankfully, Susan Collins, Rand Paul (!) and John McCain broke rank. They’ll probably try again next year, but for now the ACA remains law.
  • Historians will have to explain how Jimmy Kimmel, who once released a song called “I’m Fucking Ben Affleck,” was key to the collapse of Obamacare repeal.
  • Unfortunately, Trump is still sabotaging the ACA as best he can. He’s taken away the birth control mandate. Congress let CHIP expire. The only good news is the failure of Graham-Cassidy and the (relatively mundane) downfall of Tom Price.
  • Oh yeah, the specter of nuclear annihilation is also with us.
  • It was revolting to see Sean Spicer trotted out at the Emmys like everything was fine. Between this stunt and Jimmy Kimmel’s heartfelt ACA advocacy, I may be readjusting my late night host rankings.
  • American journalism is still normalizing Trump. They haven’t learned a damn thing. How else could Jared’s EMAILS EMAILS EMAILS not be on front pages everywhere?
  • Harvey Weinstein is yet another powerful man who abuses women with that power. Unusually pointed commentary from The Onion on this.
  • “There Is No Free Speech Crisis on Campus.” Trump supporters are the bullies who cry to teacher as soon as you fight back. Being disliked is not the same as being oppressed.
  • In astronomy news, there was a sweet little story on the deorbiting of Cassini. A less sweet story concerns the damage caused to Arecibo among the ongoing devastation in Puerto Rico.
  • Here’s an interesting article from Waging Nonviolence about an action at the Natural History Museum’s Teddy Roosevelt statue. I feel like his reputation may decline like Wilson’s.
  • Gender reveals. Read about them.
  • Kazuo Ishiguro winning the Nobel Prize made me happier than any other story these past few weeks.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends reveals a disturbing, autocratic moral philosophy. Sounds like a joke, but it ain’t. I still loved that show.
  • I liked mother!, but it’s not the most pleasant movie. Be warned.
  • The “We Can Do It!” poster does not show Rosie the Riveter, but was in fact a Westinghouse-produced propaganda piece that one day Demotivators would parody. The more you know…
  • The headline to this piece about rats has some flair, but it could have gone much further.
  • And finally, some Wikipedia articles to boggle your mind and close out the post. The Duracell Bunny actually predates the Energizer Bunny! Pablo Fanque, more than just a name from a Beatles song, was the first non-white circus owner in England! The Volkswagen Tiguan has a pathetically awful etymology for its name. And finally, American fried rice is a real Thai dish that functions as a vicious parody of our cuisine, with ingredients like “fried chicken, ham, hot dogs, raisins, ketchup and croutons.” I must try it some day.

 

Days 231, 232, 233, 234, 235, 236, 237, 238, 239, 240 and 241 of 1,461 (or 2,922)

The world was not ready for an Ace of Base Bond theme.

  • I generally try to put breaking news/imminent doom stuff at the top, but Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a masterpiece about Trump and it deserves its due. Read “The First White President” now. Then read his interview with Morning Edition for good measure.
  • The Gop has one last chance to repeal the ACA, and it looks like it’s going to take it. All hands on deck!
  • This is how far we’ve come, and this is what we stand to gain. Losing the ACA will be devastating to our cause.
  • The Russia news keeps coming in. I hope the indictments aren’t far behind.
  • If were to compare Hillary to any TV character, I would compare her to Skyler White.
  • China fell for Nixon’s shit and has fallen for Jared and Ivanka’s shit. It’s hard to express how disappointed I am.
  • A lot of new right-wing assholes have come into being lately, but Rush Limbaugh still sucks just as much as before.
  • Rembert Browne wrote a magnificent article on Colin Kaepernick. Kaep is a brave, brave man, and he deserves better.
  • In other football news, Michael Bennett is good and the Patriots suck.
  • Cassini has ended its mission. It was a great space probe.
  • Abe Lincoln’s image management would probably have been a great scandal if he were alive today.
  • Pizza is one of Detroit’s great strengths and I miss it more than coneys.
  • The Onion goes for the deep cut again.
  • What’s better, a Wikipedia article on the “high five” or an article on “New Jersey v. New York”?

Days 223, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 229 and 230 of 1,461 (or 2,922)

“Laconicity” or “laconicism”?