Some Thoughts on the Democrats

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Why a picture of Joe Biden? Why not? It’s a pretty cool picture of him!

The Democratic National Convention was this week, so I’d like to share some miscellaneous musings.

On the Email Hack: So some are accusing the Russians of orchestrating this hack to manipulate our elections. None of these people are saying that the emails in question are fake, forged, false, or anything of the sort. So it sounds very suspiciously like they are mad they got caught. The FBI is investigating, but remember this: they are investigating the hack, not the fact that these emails seem to indicate that the Democratic primaries were rigged. And no, Trump did not invite the Russians to hack more. He made a joke about how maybe they have the missing emails. So shut up already about this “threat” to “security.” Remember which candidate had security features turned off on the private email server. This is the online equivalent of closing the store for the night and leaving the door unlocked.

And one more reminder: Read the last few lines. Now repeat after me: Never put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t proudly show to your mother, your boss, and a judge.

On Kaine: People keep saying he’s a Progressive. Ok, Hillary keeps saying he’s a progressive. I don’t see anything to justify that statement. He’s not just in favor of the TPP — at least he was until days ago — he voted to fast-track it. He’s pro-“life”. He’s “tough on crime.” Whoop-dee-doo he speaks Spanish. And did you know he used to be the DNC chair?

On Little Debbie: You know I don’t give political nicknames lightly. Little Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has achieved this dubious honor. She deserves the lawsuit she’s received from rigging the primaries, and more. Matt Taibi graciously calls it a “slanted campaign.” I am frustrated with Democrats who are willing to ignore this and say fuggedaboutit just because they find the opposing candidate scary.

On Bernie: Some people called him a sell-out, but what the hell else was he going to do? Change parties? The man played his role of The Grown Up In The Room and he did it with grace.

On Bernie Supporters: There is mounting evidence that they are getting a raw deal to follow up the non-binding pat on the head of “the most progressive Democratic party platform evar!” Interesting how many times it mentions Mr. Trump. I do not quite think that the Democratic party understands that they do in fact need those voters not just for Hillary, but for all the down-ticket races as well.

Yeah yeah yeah woman President: Michelle Obama said “And because of Hillary Clinton, my daughters and all our sons and daughters now take for granted that a woman can be president of the United States.” No, your daughters can be President, probably Chelsea and Dubya’s girls too. The rest of us, not so much. And no, it isn’t that America isn’t ready for a woman President. For pity sake, India, a nation with a less-than-stellar record on women’s rights, has had a female head of state. Whether any given American kid can become President boils down to money, and what college you went to, and who you know, and a bunch of things that boil down to the fact that most of us will get no closer to the White House than a tour.

And One Last Thing: Fact Checking Hillary and Donald respectively.

A year later, new stuff continues to trickle out

So here we are.

Edward Snowden has been in Russia long enough that his visa has been extended. You can actually buy t-shirts with his face on them. There are people who consider him a traitor and people who consider him a hero. He’s got a huge spread in the current issue of Wired. The list of things we know about the NSA and America’s electronic spy infrastructure thanks to Mr. Snowden just keeps getting longer! Just this week we learned that the NSA has cyberwarfare capabilities and is responsible for a country-wide internet blackout in Syria.

Yet, to paraphrase Yoda, There Is Another. Maybe more than just one other.

And since The Powers That Be can’t seem to stop the obvious violations of what most of us understand to be our rights under the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments, no wonder Millennials are not enthusiastic about politics.

How deep does the NSA Rabbit Hole go?

In Closing: Challenging civil forfeiture; yoga can be manly; cartel profits are going to pot; the economy; banks; I hate that he’s right; politics and you; the real consensus turns out to be further along the curve; math is a harsh reality; damned if you work, damned if you don’t; and the cat that rides the bus.

My First Book Review

Maybe you knew — and maybe you didn’t — but I like to read. The nice people over at BlogHer asked me to take part in their BlogHer Book Club review-cluster (somebody needs to think of a word to describe dozens of reviews of one book) on Jean Kwok’s semi-autobiographical novel, Girl in Translation. Just want to jump to my review? It’s called “Nobody in America Lives Like This,” Except They Do. I’ve already spawned a spoilers discussion!

There’s a new “Book Reviews” category. Don’t know if you’ll see more in it yet, but I’m leaving myself the option.

Update: per comment from P.D., they are now “Book Events.”

In Closing: yes, there are jobs making clean tech, in China!; on higher education; Judge realizes that you are not your IP address (just one fatal flaw in pretty much every online ID scheme proposed); I think there will be some mighty surprised people in a couple of weeks; UPS’s safest driver; disenfranchisement; you are not a storm-chaser, get your butt to cover!; screw austerity; Senator Dean Heller; looking forward to this book!; I [heart] Amazon; what do soap and school vouchers have in common? (heck, I talked about vouchers within my first 10 posts); on McJobs; must be nice to be that lucky every day (what? you don’t suppose they are manipulating the system, do you?); and the Black Hole.

Shorties in the Sky

Impressive: America needs roughly $2,200,000,000,000 in repairs to things like roads, tunnels, bridges and the like. You don’t suppose doing something like that might result in some kind of fiscal stimulus?

Stick to feeding the poor and preaching peace: young people increasingly turned off by the hateful political crap spewed by many churches.

Do Not Grope the Pilot: He would also like you to not take naked pictures of him, and moreover he would like you to assume he is not a terrorist.

Is it time to resign yet?: Senator John Ensign (the guy who isn’t Harry Reid) raised a whopping $18,000 last quarter. Unfortunately he had to shell out over a half million dollars in legal fees.

Color By Numbers: There are more black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850. You don’t really believe that’s because the overwhelming majority of crimes are committed by black people, do you? You don’t suppose that there could be just a wee tiny bit of racism going on?

I Dare you?: D.A.R.E., encouraging children to put their parents in prison and themselves in foster care, all for the unworthy goal of the long since lost “War On Drugs.” Heck, we couldn’t even win the “War On Drugs” by re-destroying the #1 opium producing nation in the world!

Go Ahead, Make the Case for Medicare For All: Some insurance companies are threatening to stop writing policies if they are forced to follow the law in 2011 instead of a largely theoretical future date of their choosing. Yeah, you just go on and do that, suckers. In the meantime, the Feds are taking on Michigan Blue Cross for stifling competition in a way that raises prices. Nice to see them the Feds actually giving a darn about normal people over corporations for a change.

Obligatory Items on the Economy: Reich’s Perfect Storm; donations down 11% at the top 400 American charities; the problem with the economy so that absolutely anybody can understand it.

No Woman Should Have to Put Up with This Crap:Some students and the Yale Women’s Center board complained after pledges were videotaped last week, chanting about necrophilia and a specific sexual act.” Pledge activities have been suspended, but as far as I am concerned, some wealthy young [insert offensive plural noun] needs to get suspended or expelled. Let them explain to their daddies and mommies what they did on videotape and why. “Boys will be boys” my ass!

Password protection for your internet connection is a good idea: “Deputies arrested Candice Miller only after they raided the wrong house. Investigators busted into the neighbors’ house suspecting they were sending child porn. Turns out Miller’s neighbors didn’t secure their wireless Internet connection.”

The Difference Between Theft and Piracy: boils down to what you’ve got afterward.

If Only: Myth Busted! Can we move on to where you were born?

Smart people drink more: Alcohol consumption correlates with intelligence.

I guess I know what I’m wearing tomorrow: purple. Relevant.

It’s less annoying than air travel: record number of riders on Amtrak.

No I don’t really need this: but a pizza cutter shaped like the Enterprise is still pretty cool.

I promise it’s the only thing I’ll say about it here: (But expect a post over at BridgetMagnus.com about foreclosures later) Ladies and gentlemen I present the dumbest thing anybody has said about a moratorium on foreclosures! “For instance, in Cleveland, where there are over 18,000 vacant homes, lives Millie Davis who recently earned her Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Cleveland State University and just bought her first home – one that had fallen into foreclosure and sat abandoned for years. Had a blanket moratorium been in place, that sale would have fallen through — not only deferring her dream of homeownership but leaving neighbors on the block to stand by and watch as their property values continue to plummet.” Now then first of all her Master’s degree couldn’t possibly have less to do with the situation. I’ve got one of those myself and a fat lot of good it’s done me. Second, I don’t think anybody is talking about going back and examining the paperwork on homes that “sat abandoned for years.” That is all water under the bridge. The priority right now is to make sure that the banks or other entities that are foreclosing on homes a) have the legal right to do so and b) follow all the applicable laws when they do it (and they probably don’t). Failing to find this out now could result in millions of homes that can’t be sold at all because nobody can prove who really owns them. Oh, and c) “vacant” and “foreclosed” are two different things, which is something I would have expected the Secretary of HOUSING and Urban Development to know.

And one last thing: great descriptions of things on TV.