Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Presidential Commencement Speech Worth Watching

As I type this, the 45th president of the United States is getting ready to give a commencement speech at Jerry Falwell's Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (established 1971), though he would have preferred to have given this address at Trump University if fraud charges hadn't brought it down.

As an antidote, here is the 44th president of the United States giving the address to Rutgers University's (established 1766) graduating seniors almost exactly one year ago, on May 15, 2016.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

"What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"

The headline about the new Quinnipiac Poll that was released yesterday was about the percentages of Americans who support (36%) or don't support (58%) Donald Trump. However, scrolling down below the demographic percentage breakdowns (which were all moving dramatically out of the president's favor even before his firing of James Comey), reveals this gem of a question that appeals more to those of us who love language more than numbers: "What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of Donald Trump?"

The only thing that surprises me is that 'asshole' only came in at eleventh place, but otherwise this is a list that you could hand to any American and they would know exactly who were describing.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

This could be the most effective healthcare speech in the current Trumpcare 2.0 debate

Normally I'm not a fan of the American television and celebrity culture that has given us our current resident of the White House, but maybe that culture is also the best weapon to help bring him down too, or at least help neutralize his power to take away health insurance from those who finally gained it under President Obama.

Although if I ever watched late night television, it might be hard to decide between Kimmel and Colbert.

Monday, May 01, 2017

Some of my favorite signs from Saturday's Climate March in D.C.

Continuing a tradition that began here at after the January 21st Women's March, here are a few of my favorite signs from the April 29th People's Climate March in D.C., for those of you who were in a different place in the long line of march ... or who avoided the 92°F temperatures and stayed at home ... or were marching in another city.

Waiting for the March to Begin.

One of many "There is no Planet B" signs.

Parachutes waiting to be deployed.

"Make Siberia Hot Again" (his Russian-accented pro-Trump spiel was  even
better than his sign and his uniform).

"Resist Hell & High Water"

"It's The Planet, Stupid!" and "There Is No Climate Change On This Flat Earth"

"Justice is what love looks like in public. -- Cornell West"

"Homeless. Thanks Trump."

"can't wait under 3 years & 265 days"
"Don't Trump On Me"

"Won't Somebody Please Think Of The Children? Stop Global Warming!"

"91° April 'Sad'!"
"Greenhouse gasbag"

"Sick & tired of greedy assholes destroying my home"

"Who Knew? (Everyone but you, Idiot!)"

"Enough Hot Air From Washington. Climate Change Is Real!"

Globe hats.

"Paid Protesters" as far as the eye could see up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

Lorax giving the finger and "I can't take this heat -- or another 100 days of this asshole!"

Trumpty Dumpty[?], a JFK quote, and "Ivanka Lives Here Too"

"Mother Earth Says: Keep Your Hands Off My Body!"
"I can't believe I'm protesting for reality!"

Puppets of Trump and a corporate lobbyist passing by the National Archives building.

"He Has A Small Mind Too!"
"Welcome to Mar-A-Lagone!" (with Trump's D.C. Hotel tower in the background)

Giant inflatable cow promoting veganism as it passes Trump's D.C. Hotel.

"Animal Agriculture Must End For Our Kids' Sake"
Birds taking flight at the corner of 14th and Pennsylvania.
"Lancaster Against Pipelines" and their quilt.
"Don't Worry
Jared Took
Earth Science
He's Got This"

Stilt walker turning from 15th St NW back onto Pennsylvania Avenue.
"The Only Toxic Waste We Should Be Dumping is Donald Trump"

Looking on the positive side of climate change, "At Least Mar-A-Lago Will Be Underwater!"
Red flags in front of the White House.
"Stop destroying our planet, it's where I keep all my stuff!"
"Keep the Earth Clean, it's not Uranus."
This guy.
Puppet and flags.
"people thinking the earth was flat never made it less round"
"3% of scientists say this march isn't happening"

Trees marching past the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

I was obviously only able to see a small percentage of the signs and marchers on Saturday; I hope some of the many other people with cameras are posting photos and videos too.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Dow Chemical or Exxon: Which is more evil & destructive?

There are so many polls on Twitter and elsewhere on the internet where the questions are skewed or the results are otherwise known before the first respondent drags a cursor to a radio button. However, in the battle to decide which of two companies in the news this week, Dow Chemical or Exxon, is more odious, my gut tells me that this should end up in a 50%/50% tie.

Vote and spread the word so we can harness the wisdom of crowds.

Tomorrow's Earth Day! Don't forget the March for Science tomorrow, and the People's Climate March next Saturday!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Today's Fine White Whine comes from Bill O'Reilly's lawyer.

It's amazing how the people who would have been supporters rather than targets of Tailgunner Joe in the 1950s are becoming fond of throwing around charges of McCARTHYISM! now whenever they find themselves under attack. The current right-wing occupant of the White House famously misused that label against the former occupant of the White House last month over fake wiretapping charges, and now the lawyer for another infamous right-wing sexual harasser, Bill O'Reilly, is pulling out the charge again in this legal whine:
"Bill O'Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America. This law firm has uncovered evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly for political and financial reasons.
“That evidence will be put forth shortly and it is irrefutable."
Wah. Wah. Wah.

In addition to playing the victim, it's also amazing how people on the right are always looking for financial motivations among those on the left. The current White House occupant is always asking about who is paying the millions who are demonstrating against him; I think it's actually hard for him to believe that so many people would act without monetary compensation, just as it might be hard for Bill O'Reilly to believe that many feel it's simply a public service to speak out against primetime television hosts who bully guests, sexually harass and demean women, and spread untruths that have played a role in lifting an unqualified kleptocrat into the White House.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Harnessing the judicial wisdom of crowds on the Trump-Russia scandal

Twitter should really provide more than four spaces in their polls, because the following list should have about ten names on it, but I'm starting with Paul Manafort, Mike Flynn, and Rudy Giuliani as my likeliest suspects for the earliest #TrumpRussia indictment. If your choice is Carter Page or Roger Stone or Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump or Jeff Sessions or... , then please reply to the tweet with your favorite Trumpster.
I'm leaving this up for seven days, so please spread the word to increase the size and wisdom of our crowd.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"It was the old old story of the sacrificial lamb."

Channel 13 in New York broadcast Judgment at Nuremberg on Saturday night. The following scene with Burt Lancaster as German judge Ernst Janning stuck out to me as having some contemporary significance, so I'll simply share it without further commentary.