Note: I didn’t write about the work the Senate made to begin the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week because, while it really does piss me off, it is also an extremely complex maneuver and I’m not sure any of us completely understand what is going on. Least of all the Senators who voted for it.
Let me just say before I proceed, however, that anyone who can, with good conscience, vote to re-establish a pre-existing condition clause, is a complete waste of a human being. It may well be true that they won’t end up re-establishing that clause. A vote still exists in which Senators are going on record supporting just that.
At least this is the claim made by anti vax proponent Robert Kennedy. We’ll see if it really happens.
Look, I know vaccinations are controversial. And I try to be sympathetic.
Then I remember I have two vaccinated children on the autism spectrum and that every single study about vaccines has concluded vaccines do not cause autism or any of the other things anti-vaxxers claim they cause. And I read quotes like this, which could be referring to my family:
I employed the term [holocaust] during an impromptu speech as I struggled to find an expression to convey the catastrophic tragedy of autism which has now destroyed the lives of over 20 million children and shattered their families
And I stop being sympathetic because this fucker is talking about my kids. My kids who have full lives and are wonderful human beings and whose existence has shattered my family not one single bit. Autism is a hurdle my kids have to jump over. Most of us have hurdles they need to get over. To suggest their hurdle has shattered my family is the sort of thing someone who doesn’t even have the basic understanding of the autism spectrum would suggest because they are an ignorant jackass.
Yeah – this kind of thing gets me pretty worked up.
It is bothersome enough that our President-Elect (fuuuuuuuuck) denies climate change. That he also seems to jump into bed with anti vaxxers suggests that the American People elected someone pretty much willing to believe any crazy conspiracy theory pops up so long as it doesn’t involve him.
You have to give him credit for being equal opportunity when it comes to denial of scientific data. Climate Change denial comes from the right and anti vaxxers typically come from the left. Donald, however, has a big tent and there is room for everyone who thinks scientists reach conclusions just to fuck with the rest of us.
Due to a lot of factors, my boys aren’t really involved in scouting any longer. I am supportive of scouting and even though I’m aware of the larger issues that surround the Scout’s continued public disapproval of LGBTQ kids (and atheist kids for that matter), I’ve seen some attempts by the organization to soften their stance.
The people my kids have worked with are good people and whatever the national chapter of the Scouts may choose to do, our troop is a good troop that, I think, would not engage in this kind of discrimination. If my kids were still engaged in Scouts, I don’t think I’d pull them over this because I’d be punishing my kids by taking away something they enjoy.
And that makes me kind of crazy. Because on the one hand, I wouldn’t want to punish my kids for being who they are. On the other hand, the Boy Scouts just punished a kid for being who they are.
As we move (slowly) towards acceptance of homosexuality in our society (even as some fight to be able to discriminate free from consequence), transgender rights has now become a new arena and I fear this fight will be harder because people don’t get it.
If you’ve spent your entire life being totally comfortable with your gender, you have no way of understanding someone who is identified as a boy because they were born with a penis but has spent their entire life playing the role of a boy.
As an actor, I get to stop being a character I don’t like when I’m done with the performance. Someone who is pretending to be a gender with which they do not identify never gets the chance to step off stage. They are constantly pretending. And it is exhausting.
Giving them the freedom to stop pretending ought to be something we all celebrate. It ought to be something that makes us happy because we ought to want other people to be happy.
I mean, aside from pedophile priests. You gotta draw the line somewhere.
But we don’t give a fuck about that because we are more concerned with who is peeing in the stall next to our kid. Our kid doesn’t care because they just want to get back to the playground. They probably didn’t even notice the person in the stall next to them.
Our own discomfort with the idea of gender identity is the problem. If we are cool with the gender identity we were assigned at birth, we can’t understand why anyone else isn’t.
The Boy Scouts should be a place where young men (and by that I mean people who identify as young men) can learn how to be responsible adult men. Part of that responsibility should be learning to accept that we aren’t all the same. Their rigidity is disheartening to say the least.
Most people who read my column are, like me, from Minnesota. If you aren’t from Minnesota, you probably know that the weather this last week was – in the language of the locals – “chilly.”
A couple of guys decided it would be extremely nice if US Bank Stadium would allow homeless people to take shelter there because football stadiums are huge and the weather was deadly.
And they were right. It would have been extremely nice.
So what they did was start a rumor that US Bank Stadium was going to do exactly that. They tweeted how the Vikings were totally willing to open up the stadium and the city just needed to approve it. Essentially, they wanted to force the city and the Vikings to do what they wanted by trying to make everyone look like assholes if it didn’t happen.
The city and the Vikings basically said “uh – no – that rumor is false and we can’t really do that” for all sorts of reasons including the fact there was a football game in the stadium at noon the next day and the stadium is not set up or staffed to be a homeless shelter.
Now it’s easy to say that they should have let folks in anyway but then you have to figure out how to get them out in the morning before the football fans started to show up at 10:00 AM. It just isn’t something that can be done without – you know – planning.
However, because this fake news story was picked up as being a real news story, some homeless people made their way to the stadium for shelter. Shelter the stadium was not equipped to provide.
And when the rumor mongers were called on their bullshit ploy, they basically said “why are you angry with us when the stadium was the one who didn’t provide shelter?”
Guess what assholes? Neither did you.
You were pissed about public funds paying for the stadium (I am too) and you decided that the Stadium should do something that was important to you. Not important enough to, you know, open your house to a homeless family or work at an existing shelter. No, it was just important enough for you to create a fake story and then act like a whiny toddler when it didn’t work.
For four days, US Army Veteran Larry Jefferson was the official Santa Claus at the Mall of America. He was also black. The result was a whole lot of black kids got to sit on the lap of a Santa who looked like them. Sounds awful.
It sure was to these racists who believe that white characters should stay white no matter how mythological those figures might be.
The racists spouting their hatred for the concept of a Santa that wasn’t pasty white got so out of hand, the Star Tribune had to shut down comments on the article.
Now I will admit that the legends that gave rise to Santa Claus would certainly suggest a white Santa Claus is more accurate than – say – a white Jesus. However, it would seem to me that if we can embrace the idea of Billy Bob Thornton as (a drunk) Santa Claus, the idea of a black Santa shouldn’t result in anyone – what’s the phrase I’m looking for – giving a shit.
So in the giving spirit of the season, let’s give ourselves some time to reflect that a black Santa Claus is a good thing. And remember that every time someone uses the term alt-right, what they really mean is “racist doucebag.”
Milo Yiannopoulos, whose name is a pain to spell and is so much of a creepy fuck that I’m not even going to try, was invited to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He’s well known as an outspoken racist and anti-GLBTQ crusader. As you might expect, a lot of students were upset he was coming.
Free speech is a tricky thing. I mean, does the guy have a right to say what he says?
Unfortunately, yes. Should he be given a paid platform to say these things?
I don’t think he should. I think he should be swept out the door with the other insects we don’t want to kill but also don’t want in our homes. But I understand that Universities have a responsibility to expose students to all perspectives.
Now I will argue that if they want to expose kids to thinking from the right, people like Condoleeza Rice might represent a better option than Milo Yo-yoasaurus. I don’t agree with her on a lot of things but she’s not a racist.
In any case, Milo Yog-Sothoth was given the platform to speak and he was a racist and homophobic fuck, which shouldn’t have surprised anyone. However, he went so far as to show a picture of a trans student and use her dead name.
That, my friends, is bordering on a violent act. The trans community already faces challenges that are unparalleled. What Yorkshire Puddingpolos did to this student is unconscionable.
Fortunately, Yip-yip dogapus doesn’t have a conscience. So he’ll keep saying this shit. And people will keep paying him to say it. In the name of “fairness.”
In an act that isn’t being labelled terrorism because the perpetrator was white and nobody ended up being killed, a dude walked into a pizzeria in Washington D.C. to “investigate” a bullshit conspiracy theory that the restaurant was a front for a child prostitution ring run by the Clintons.
That’s fucked up. Even more fucked up, the son of incoming National Security Advisor Lt. General Michel Flynn tweeted his support for the conspiracy theory (but just barely avoided tweeting support for the gunman). Essentially he said, “until you prove the theory is false, we will keep talking about it.”
The problem with conspiracy theories is you can’t prove them false. The people who believe them will constantly find new reasons to support the idea it is a conspiracy and all your proof to the contrary is just more evidence of a cover up.
In the meantime, it is doing real and demonstrable harm to actual human beings and to an actual business. If Donald Trump gave two shits about anyone but himself, he would use Twitter to debunk this kind of nonsense rather than using it to whine about how Saturday Night Live is making fun of him.
Carl and Angel Larson, who are “good Christians,” are concerned their wedding video business might be sullied should they be forced by anti-discrimination laws to video a same sex couple getting married.
So concerned are they that their religious right to discriminate might be infringed, they are suing the state of Minnesota to ensure they don’t find themselves in that situation. The lawsuit, in effect, says that anti-discrimination laws are unconstitutional.
Look, given that our President-elected by Russia is likely to appoint justices friendly to this kind of religious freedom bullshit, it is probably best for same-sex couples to stay away from businesses like this one because the resulting lawsuit might have extremely dubious consequences. But what do you do when the businesses pre-emptively go to court?
And I’m left to wonder, is this what Jesus meant when he said “turn the other cheek?” I mean, these people aren’t being asked to shoot pornography. They are being asked shoot video featuring a couple of guys (or girls) who love each other getting married while surrounded by their friends and family. Kinky.
Oh wait – they aren’t being asked to do that. Yet. They just don’t want anyone to ask them because if they say no, they are going to look like assholes.
Sore losers like the North Carolina Assembly are quite possibly worse than sore winners (Donald Trump). In this case, the NC Assembly is so upset the people of their state elected a Democrat to the Governor’s mansion, they called an emergency special session to limit his powers.
Of course, they claim they were going to do that anyway. They just feel they need to do it faster because of who the people elected.
The legislation was passed to limit appointments made by the Governor and to also create road blocks between plaintiffs and the State Supreme Court are so blatantly partisan, the lawmakers passing them should be embarrassed. Elections have consequences. Parties lose.
The Democrats are already well aware of this fact.
When a party loses, the worst thing they can do is this kind of scorched earth legislation. Their own constituents should be telling them to stop being assholes and accept that a Democratic governor should be able to do the same fucking stuff a Republican governor was able to do.
I try to convince myself that the Republican party wants what is best for people and they just disagree with me on ideology. When they engage in this kind of sore loser bullshit, however, it is hard for me to think of their party as anything but a party unwilling to share power with anyone.
President-Elect Trump (fuuuuuuuuck) tweeted this week that flag burners should go to jail for a year or lose their citizenship. Nothing about how burning the flag is a constitutionally protected right and he just doesn’t like it. No – he thinks people should lose their citizenship if they burn the flag.
While Trump fills his cabinet with individuals who will repeal or cripple the Affordable Care Act (which is sure as fuck going to affect me and my family), we talk about flag burning.
OK, so let’s talk about it. And let’s ditch the “flag burning is a reprehensible act but it is protected” part of the conversation. It’s as if we all need to hold up our hands and protest that we don’t like something because so many people are bothered by it.
And that is what pisses me off. Who gives an actual fuck? Has anyone ever been harmed by the burning of a flag? I mean besides the person burning the flag who might have, you know, gotten a burn because they were holding a burning piece of cloth?
Why have we, as Americans, decided that burning the flag is a despicable act? It’s a flag! A piece of cloth. It is not our country.
That the flag has become a sacred relic is embarrassing. So let me step up and say I don’t have an issue with anyone burning a flag. I’m reasonably certain that a country with enough nuclear capability to turn every other continent into a pile of atomic slag is strong enough to handle a few flags on fire.
I’m sick of the feeling that before we say something (flag burning, abortion, Hillary Clinton) is OK, we have to acknowledge how awful it is.
There is nothing awful about burning a flag. Our freedoms are not irreparably damaged when a flag is set on fire. In fact, our freedoms are enhanced. Burning a flag is an act of defiance but it is also an act of celebration.
It celebrates our right as citizens to openly criticize our government. Have we forgotten how many places on Earth that is not allowed? Is that really what we want here?
If it isn’t, then nobody should say “flag burning is a horrible act.” We should, instead, say “flag burning is a celebration of our constitution.”
And the thing is – this is all a distraction. Flags don’t get burned a lot. In fact, they hardly ever get burned at all. The fact we are talking about something that almost never happens is a ridiculous waste of time.
Our response should be “huh. Someone burned a flag. I wouldn’t even know about this if it weren’t for the 24 hour news cycle.”
Now who the fuck is in Trump’s cabinet again?
One Very Misleading Map
I’ll get to the map in a minute. First, I’m going to spend a few paragraphs being frustrated that it is going to be nearly fucking impossible to talk about Donald Trump for – well – at least four years. I thought this week I’d try to avoid talking about him. I wanted to find other news items to fill my blog.
Problem is, right now all the news is about Donald Trump. And that pisses me off in itself. I am definitely pissed that his cabinet and staff looks like it’ll be comprised almost entirely of old white dudes. Some of whom are racist. I’m not surprised, mind you. I’m just pissed.
I’m pissed that Trump still sends out late night tweet storms because he’s the same fucking asshole he was before he was elected. And now he feels like he’s been vindicated. He doesn’t have to change who he is at all.
But I’m going to try to avoid talking about Trump for the rest of this week. Let’s focus on this map, OK?
Let’s let this map sink in, as the meme encourages us to do.
I mean, this is all about the tyranny of those 57 bully counties. They are just forcing their will on everyone else and that is horribly unfair!
Never mind that population wise, a lot of people live in those blue counties. And if counties had to have equal populations we should split those 57 blue counties into a number that would, roughly, be the equivalent of those 3084 red ones. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so uneven any longer, does it?
Here’s the other problem – when you make a county all red or all blue, you ignore the fact that there were people who voted for Clinton in those red counties. And people voted for Trump in the blue counties. So anyone in a red county who voted Clinton is basically shit out of luck as their wants/needs/desires are considered to be “red” while the wants/needs/desires of Trump voters in the 57 blue counties are considered to be “blue.”
The reality, of course, is much more nuanced. By using counties as your measuring stick and turning them red if Trump won by even one vote, you turn the electoral map into something that completely ignores the differing needs of our population.
We’ve read endlessly about how rural and urban populations want and need different things from our government. And that’s true. We don’t talk a lot about how rural populations are a lot more socially conservative and a lot more religious, which probably has more to do with all those red counties than the economic policies of a particular party.
This map and the commentary on the map suggests that because there are more rural counties, their wants/needs/desires are more important that the urban counties.
Tyranny of the majority is a phrase people in America like to throw around all the time. Especially when they win. The electoral college is there to stop the tyranny of the majority. Hell, the person who posted this map talked about tyranny of the majority even though their own math suggests that the tyranny is actually coming from the 3084 counties that voted for Trump.
But tyranny of the majority can be determined in a lot of ways. For instance, the majority of Americans are Christians. Almost every elected official is a Christian. That could be interpreted as tyranny of the majority as well, couldn’t it? Because it actually is.
More people like Marvel Movies than DC movies. More people think the original Star Wars trilogy is better than the prequels.
The majority can be tyrannical. It can also be right. And right is typically measured by whatever we already believe to be true.
So this map is not meant to point out that 57 counties are pushing around the rest of the country. It is meant to point out that Donald Trump should have won because look how many counties wanted him to be President.
It is meant to tell everyone annoyed by electoral college math that the math was fair because counties.
The electoral college argument is a complex one that cannot be boiled down to a few simple bullet points. In my lifetime, the electoral college has picked a President over popular opinion twice. It is troubling, to be sure.
Those on the losing side will use a bunch of math to show why the electoral college is unfair. Those on the winning side will use a bunch of math (and misleading maps like this one) to argue that it is fair.
In the end, though, all of this is an effort to simplify something that is extremely complex.
I think the electoral college should be more representative of the popular vote. But this map doesn’t argue for that. It argues that whoever turns more counties a particular color should win. If that’s how we want to solve things, we should just provide both candidates with a whole lot of paint.
Todd Starnes writes opinion pieces for Fox News. I can understand if you don’t want to read this one.
He’s an asshole, by the way. He’s smug and self-satisfied and completely incapable of recognizing his own bias.
Someone says I’m the same way in 3…2..
Anyway…a radio station in Madison, Wisconsin recently dumped their liberal talk show format for something different. Christmas music.
It makes sense, actually. I mean they will probably get more listeners that way.
One of the shows dropped to make way for endless renditions of The Little Drummer Boy was a show called “Freethought Radio” by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The show is still out there, by the way, it just isn’t being carried by that station.
Starnes wrote an opinion piece that is basically making fun of atheists for losing their radio show in Madison and it is basically the tone of the piece that is infuriating. He says things like:
Let’s be honest – would you rather listen to Rush [Limbaugh] and Sean [Hannity] or a gaggle of man-hating feminists in Birkenstocks warbling about the virtues of organic gardening.
Can I ask what it is about Birkenstocks that is so fucking liberal? I mean, don’t conservatives like comfortable sandals? Help me out, here.
And I don’t think he understand atheists very well since most of us are skeptics who are, in fact, pro GMO.
Anyway…Starnes is smugly reveling in the victory of Christmas music over a one hour atheist talk show. I mean Rush and Sean are a lot more popular anyway and they have been for a long time. They will continue to be well into the future.
So who cares if one atheist show is pushed out of one market because a radio station wants to be more profitable?
Todd Starnes does.
His side won this year. And they have been winning for a while. So why not just keep kicking the other side to remind them who is on top? Talk about the tyranny of the majority.
President Elect Trump
Well yeah, I kind of had to lead with this, didn’t I?
For the last several weeks, I’d been hopeful that come election day, I wouldn’t have to write about Donald Trump any longer. Maybe one more column about how much of a sore loser he was, as we all expected. Instead, he is going to be our President for at least four years.
As a comedian, I should be happy. Hillary isn’t nearly as easy a target as Donald Trump and the parade of people he is going to include in his cabinet. They will say and do things worthy of ridicule on a nearly daily and certainly weekly basis.
I’m a little bit worried, though, that while I’m making jokes about Trump and his cabinet, they will be working on ways to take rights away from same-sex couples in the name of “religious freedom.” I’m a lot worried that they will be creating a country in which Hispanics and muslims are treated with mistrust and hostility simply because of their race and/or faith. I’m a lot worried that my transgender friends will face a supreme court openly hostile to their identity.
But let me tell you what has me super worried – that people who are upset with this outcome will throw up their hands and say they can do nothing because the DNC screwed them out of the candidate they wanted. They will blame others for the fact this happened.
We are all to blame. When almost 50% of eligible voters stay home rather than vote for anyone, we are to blame. When we allow people to say “they are both terrible” when one of those two people is President because he spouted a racist and xenophobic agenda, we are to blame. When we whine because our perfect candidate isn’t on the ballot instead of recognizing that 75% of what we want is far better than 10% (if that) of what we want, we are to blame.
When we angrily shake our fists at a system in which we refuse to take part because all we ever do is vote once every four years, we are to blame.
Donald Trump won because people who have never been excited about voting got off their asses and turned up. I don’t care why they turned up. The fact is they turned up.
If you read my blog, you probably voted. Odds are you didn’t vote for Trump. Some of your might have voted Stein or Johnson but you didn’t vote Trump. You are as upset as I am right now, I would imagine.
So once you stop being angry, you have to ask yourself, what am I going to do now?