Contributors

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Leave Them Behind

The presidential election of 2016 can really be summed up in one way: it's the last stand of the white non college educated male voter. 

Consider that in less than four years, white people in this country will be in the minority. For the white non college educated male voter, this is the fucking apocalypse. And it really explains the appeal of Donald Trump. His talk of walls and bans are a direct appeal to the fear that white males feel when they see the world changing around them. His anti-trade rhetoric and stated reluctance to help other countries fits perfectly into the mindset of this demographic. After all, these are the people who have lost jobs and are being left behind in the age of globalization.

In this election cycle, pundits have declared that the Democrats have to reach out to this voter and connect with them. They have to show the non college educated white male that Trump is a charlatan who would actually be worse for them. They've been hammering Trump on his failure to pay contractors and his fraud with outfits like Trump University. Hillary herself implored an audience just yesterday to talk to their friends and relatives about just how bad Trump would be for the middle class.

None of this will help. Why?

The Trump voter is a lost fucking cause. Consider that they are supporting a man who by all rational thought in reality is a total disaster of a person. Is there anything even redeeming about him at all? The simple fact that they are supporting him says to me that there is no hope of changing their minds. They are lost to all that anger, hate and fear.

So, leave them behind. History is filled with demographic groups that the march of time waved buh-bye too. I haven't seen any significant numbers in the Egyptian Gods demographic of late. Nor have I seen the Roman emperor followers clamoring for a return to that empire. In our own country, the Whigs and their supporters never made it out of the 19th century. Progress and new ways of thinking left all of these groups and their ultimate failures behind.

The attention should be focused on getting out the vote from all other demographic groups. This is where the election is going to be ultimately won or lost for the Democrats. White college educated voters (male and female) and minority voters need to make a statement this election.

It's their country now and we're not going back.

If Trump Can't Run an Elevator, How Can He Run a Country?

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump had to be rescued from an elevator that was stuck between the first and second floors of a resort Friday, the Colorado Springs Fire Department said.

In a statement released Saturday, the department says that it was called at 1:30 p.m. Friday to rescue about 10 people, including Trump, trapped inside the elevator at The Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel & Spa resort.

The department says the firefighters opened the top elevator hatch and lowered a ladder into the elevator. Trump and the others used the ladder to climb out of the elevator to the second floor. The department says no injuries were reported.
I'm impressed that Trump was able to waddle up a ladder and fit through the trap door of an elevator.

How did this happen?
“The parties that lease the hotel also wanted to control of the elevators and I assume that happens when you get to a certain level of security, and so they were given a key to actually control the elevators and the elevator apparently in the course of being controlled by somebody other than in the course of the normal operations, the elevator stopped and consequently Mr. Trump was, I understand rescued by the fire department from that within a matter of five minutes or less,” Sanders said.
Trump insisted that the hotel give him the key to the elevator, and he somehow managed to screw up pressing a button to go to another floor. After the fire department rescued Trump, the Republican cry baby blasted the fire marshal for trying to enforce crowd capacity limits at his rally. Because nothing could possibly go wrong at a Trump event, right?

And some people think Trump can be trusted with the codes to America's nuclear arsenal?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Examine the Parallels

The Hilz Brings It Home

The speech that Hillary Clinton gave on Thursday night was the finest one of her career. Let's remember that she's not a natural orator like Barack Obama or her husband. This is tough for her and the television audience sure noticed it in the first few minutes of the speech. She was a little overly cautious.

But then she got into the groove and never looked back. She outlined her plan and vision for our country in the next four years and it was magnificent...that is, of course, if you are someone who lives in the real world, not the made up one. Offering a stark contrast to the darkness dispatched a week ago at the GOP convention, the Hilz reminded us all that there isn't one person that can solve all of our nation's problems. This is especially true if that one person is a mentally deranged psychopath suffering from narcissistic personality disorder.

The systematic take down of Donald Trump was truly a beautiful thing to behold all week and Hillary put an exclamation point on all of it. Her best line was this...

A man you can bait with a tweet is not a man you can trust with nuclear weapons.

No shit. We're not electing a right wing blogger to run our country. We're electing a president.

Here is her full speech.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Do You Understand The Constitution?

Before I get to Hillary, I want to turn the spotlight on this guy. Mr. Khan represents what our country is all about. This was the ultimate mic drop moment to the people who are now running the GOP. Their hatred looks more ugly now than it ever has...

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

DNC Stars Shine Brightly

The first two days of the Democratic National Convention were pretty darn good. Michelle Obama was extraordinary. Bill Clinton was uncharacteristically humble. There also wasn't much mentioned about Donald Trump and his various problems. Clearly, they were saving that for last night.

Beginning with Joe Biden, then Michael Bloomberg, then Tim Kaine, and finally the president, the Democratic stars shined brilliantly last night. Joe Biden's speech spoke directly to white working class, non college educated voter and, man oh man, was he brilliant.


This was the beginning of the evisceration of Donald Trump. "He doesn't have a clue about anything." was most certainly the best line of Biden's speech. He went on detailing just how poorly qualified Donald Trump is to be president.

Michael Bloomberg spoke to the independent voter and described how Donald Trump was a fraud.


Unlike Donald Trump, Michael Bloomberg is an actual billionaire.

Next up was Tim Kaine, who was more or less ripped on Twitter for being that awkward dad that no one wants around. Being an awkward dad, I thought Kaine was fantastic and you can bet Hillary and her people did as well. They can use that boring and awkward whiteness to resonate with a voting demographic they need. And, yeah, his Trump impression was kinda bad but he completed the trifecta on the Trump take down. Trump is a liar.



The president the arrived for his prime time spot and reminded everyone just how fucking awesome he is and what a great job he has done as president.


I am really going to miss this guy.

Tonight, the attention turns to Hillary. It seems damn near impossible to top all of the speakers before her. This is especially true considering that she isn't as talented of an orator as all that have gone before her, self admittedly. But does it really matter? I think the USA needs to finally see President Grandma come out and talk about her life that has been dedicated to helping people. We've had far too much of the "made up" Hillary in the news these last few weeks. It's time to see the real one.

Russia's Hacking Department


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Trump Wants Russia's Help

Donald Trump just called on Russia to help out with Hillary's missing emails.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Mr. Trump said, staring directly into the cameras. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Wow...

Big Dog Nails It

Bill Clinton could have talked a lot about himself last night but he didn't. Pundits complained that he didn't mention any of the various #Clintonscandals in a sort of mea culpa. But that would have been the same thing as making the speech about himself.

Instead, he spent 42 minutes talking about why the Hilz is the right person for the job. He focused quite a bit on her early career which not many people know about. And he had the line of the convention in which he stated that there are two Hillary Clintons. "One is real, the other is made up."

Brilliant. Here is the full speech.


My United States of America




Compare this speech and its theme and content with what conservatives have said over the last couple of decades. What country do you want to live in?

Good Words

From Frank Foer at Slate....

The DNC dump may not have revealed a conspiracy that could end a candidacy, but it succeeded in casting a pall of anxiety over this election. We know that the Russians have a further stash of documents from the DNC and another set of document purloined from the Clinton Foundation. 

In other words, Vladimir Putin is now treating American democracy with the same respect he accords his own. The best retaliation isn’t a military one, or to respond in kind. It’s to defeat his pet candidate and to force him to watch the inauguration of the woman he so abhors.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Conservatives Heart Russia

Conservatives like to foam at the mouth when it comes to big government and how we are becoming like Russia. Right wing bloggers, especially the gun bloggers, are constantly referring to the liberals leading us into a Soviet style autocracy, still seeing that commie boogieman just around the corner. Remember this?
















Given all this, their rush to support Trump, even as a hold your nose candidate, deeply perplexes me. Because it's becoming quite clear that Vladimir Putin wants Donald Trump to be president.

Franklin Foer has been writing about their relationship for several months now. Trump's continued call to not necessarily back NATO allies  seems very suspicious indeed given this information. More interesting is the recent evidence that the release of DNC emails was perpetrated by Russian intelligence.

Given all of this, we can now develop a working theory and must proceed in gathering more evidence. Donald Trump is basically in league with Vladimir Putin, likely through various business dealings (hence the reason why he won't release his tax returns), and would like to model his presidency on the Russian leader's reign. He has continually praised Putin in various interviews, calling him "very bright" and a "strong leader."

In short, he wants to be the US Putin and conservatives are helping him achieve this goal. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that we see how incredibly hypocritical these dickehads are but this seems far more d baggy. They continually caterwaul and fear monger about our country becoming Russia and they are mindlessly flocking to the guy who is going to do just that.

Wow...

Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Most Powerful VP in History

Over the course of the last week or so there have been some seriously disturbing reports that Trump's vetting process for VP essentially boiled down to one question.

How would you like to be the most powerful VP in history?

Essentially, Mike Pence took the job knowing that he would run all foreign and domestic affairs while Trump's job would be to make America great again (see below for the meaning of this). This gibes with the larger story that has been gaining a great deal of traction in which Trump doesn't really want to be president. He just wants to win and then let someone else do all the work. He gets to be the authoritarian figure and spew edicts but not actually do any work.

Of course this raises another issue that has been bothering me for the last few weeks. Donald Trump has managed to become the candidate that has captured the dark heart of American nationalism. The people that support him want an authoritarian leader who is going to bring us back to the time when the blacks knew their place, the gays were in jail, and women had dinner ready on time. That's what "Make America Great Again" really means and it's surprising to me that the same people who fret over Nazi like takeovers of the government are cheering for this one to happen.

That's what I saw on display all last week at the GOP convention and this latest story about who will actually run the country pretty much nails what Trump is all about.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The National Enquirer?

Less than one day after delivering a fairly normal for Donald Trump speech accepting the GOP nomination, Trump reverted to his old ways with renewed comments about how Ted Cruz's dad was involved in the JFK assassination.

“I don't know his father. I met him once. I think he's a lovely guy,” Trump said at a morning-after rally in Cleveland. “All I did is point out the fact that on the cover of the National Enquirer there was a picture of him and crazy Lee Harvey Oswald having breakfast.”

But here's the kicker...

“This was a magazine that, in many respects, should be well respected,” Trump said. “I mean if that was The New York Times, they would have gotten Pulitzer Prizes for their reporting.” 

This explains so much, doesn't it? Think about the demographic that reads the National Enquirer and fucking believes it. That's the Trump voter to a tee! Zero facts, anger-hate-fear, innuendo, gossip, childish tittering, and bizarre conspiracies heard from "somebody."

In fact, now that I think about it, isn't that the right wing blogger to a tee as well? :)

The Safe Bet

As many political pundits predicted, Hillary Clinton chose Virginia Senator Tim Kaine as her running mate. A collective yawn went up around the country but the pick is a lot more exciting than people think. It tells me that she thinks she has the election in the bag.

If the Hilz were worried at all, she would have picked Sherrod Brown or Tom Vilsack to shore up support in two states that I currently rank as dead nut even. The choice of Kaine shows me that she thinks she has those states more or less locked up and wants to take Virginia off the board for Trump. It more or less already is but with Kaine now in the VP slot, Trump won't win there now given demographic reality. She has basically forced him into a path where he has to run the table in the Rust Belt. Kaine also helps her in Florida where their first event will be held today. Kaine is fluent in Spanish and that will go over very, very well in this Sunshine State.

The Times has a predictor model that shows that if Virginia is taken off the board for Trump, along with the likely Dem win of Nevada, he only has 5 ways to win and Hillary has 251 ways to win the presidency. If Hillary wins Florida, it's over and that's even if Trump wins Pennsylvania, Ohio, Iowa, and New Hampshire (along with the likely Trump wins now in Arizona and Georgia which were in play briefly).

The other big thing about the Kaine pick is that it shows how conscientious Hillary Clinton is. Tim Kaine is the best choice of all of them if she is incapacitated to be president. He has the most experience and the right temperament to serve as commander in chief.

So, I think Kaine is a great choice and will help her out tremendously going forward in this election.

Just Fun

Friday, July 22, 2016

It's Boring (And Dark) In America

Donald Trump's acceptance speech at the 2016 GOP convention somehow managed to be both boring and dark at the same time. It also completed the picture of a man who views himself as the one man solution to all the "problems" we face as a nation.

I put those quotation marks around the word problems because most of what he said last night in terms of the state of our country was just flat out lies. Of course, that doesn't really matter to the folks in the GOP. It's all about feelings right now and it's the same three we've seen for the last two decades: anger, hate, and fear. These feelings, combined with Trump's narcissism, make the perfect mix for fascism.

As Trump went on and on (and on and on) last night, his dark vision of our country. All the fear that was ginned about over the last four days struck me as terribly frightening. People out in our country actually think this stuff? Why? What kind of a place do US citizens have to be in to think any of this stuff is true? If the world is such a scary place for them, that would at least explain the need for guns, I guess.

Even with all of this, I found his speech to be way too long and quite dull. 70 minutes? I truly hope that Hillary Clinton doesn't go that long. 30-40 minutes is just fine. More importantly, the Hilz needs to take the lessons from this week and focus on getting the vote out in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and possibly Wisconsin. Florida is also of paramount importance. The white vote in the rust belt is going to decide this election. She is not going to change the feelings of these folks who are firmly buying into Trump's vision of a white and authoritarian America. She needs all the Obama voters to turn out as massively as they did in 2012.

Here's my map as of today given both Nate Silver's data and the Times' model.


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Note how her lead has softened or moved to pure tossup. She has to have a good convention and do more than present herself as a clear alternative to Trump. The key is the Rust Belt because that's the focal point of Trump's fear peddling.

Can she do it?

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Firing Squad

Al Baldasaro, a New Hampshire representative who serves on Trump's veterans' coalition and as a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, said in an interview with a Boston talk radio host that Clinton should pay for the 2012 Benghazi attack.

"She is a disgrace for any, the lies she told those mothers about their children that got killed over there in Benghazi," he said on the Jeff Kuhner Show Tuesday. "She dropped the ball on over 400 emails requesting back up security. Something's wrong there."

"Hillary Clinton should be put in the firing line and shot for treason," he continued.

As I have been saying all along, these people are an acute threat to our national security. They need to be put in jail now.

Profile in Courage: Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz stands for everything that I am against. He's truly a frightening man whose religious like devotion to conservative ideology borders on pure evil. He's such an asshole that most Republicans don't like him. In fact, they fucking hate him. But what he did last night at the GOP convention was a profile in courage and I have to admit it. He refused to endorse Donald Trump and rolled the dice for 2020.

Cruz is betting that Trump is going to lose and lose big. If this indeed comes to pass, Cruz will look like a conservative hero, a genius even, who stayed pure to conservative values (because Trump surely hasn't) and will have laid the groundwork perfectly for his next presidential bid. If not, however, his career may be over.

Suppose Trump loses but by a small margin. It's still Trump's party and his supporters will be running the party for years. Indeed, that may well be the case anyway because the people that support Donald Trump, like many conservatives, have no regard for reality.

Regardless, Cruz did something that the people want politicians to do all the time and often fail to do. Take a risk and stand your ground.

Arms up, laying down, no gun...still shot by police.



Oh, yeah...and he was trying to help an autistic patient from the home where HE WORKED HELPING PEOPLE.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Paul Ryan Only Hires White Interns?
















Why does House Speaker Paul Ryan only hire white interns? The above photo was taken by the Speaker of the House himself recently and left me wondering...where is America? Cuz this ain't it!

I'm sure it has nothing to do with racism and the anger over this is reverse racism and race baiting being perpetrated by the gun grabbers.

Two Days of Insanity

The first two days of the GOP convention in Cleveland have been completely insane. Monday we had a plagiarized speech.

 

Then we had chants of "Lock her up" regarding Hillary Clinton.





The plagiarism is illustrative of the massive incompetence in the Trump campaign. They don't really know what they are doing and have no real GOP operatives supporting their candidate. It's completely obvious now that the Trump family is running the campaign which speaks volumes on how they would run the country.

The "lock her up" chants initially reminded me of this...


As I watched these hypocritical assholes mouth foam about Hillary Clinton, I wondered where their due process beliefs went. I believe it was out the fucking window. These people claim to be Constitution supporters and want rule of law but their emotions betray them. They are little different than the totalitarians they claim to hate.

By nominating Donald Trump has their standard bearer, they show the whole country that they want an authoritarian leader not unlike those of the early 20th century...with all the xenophobia and racism that the world saw back then...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Saturday, July 16, 2016

OMG...the Polls!!!!!!

The massive freak out about the recent presidential polls has amused me immensely. Trump is even with Hillary! AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!! Look out!!! The reality is much more complex.

For those of you who are still pooping themselves, please make Nate Silver's 538 site a regular stop every day and take some time to examine the variety of polls as well as the "polls plus" predictors. Hillary is still the favorite to win despite having a terrible couple of weeks. Make it a point to focus on the state polls, in particular, Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. These are the most important states in this year's election. This is true for both candidates and each represents a microcasm of the 2016 presidential election overall.

Recent polling suggests that the electorate has shifted slightly since the 2012 presidential election. States like Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina are skewing bluer this election cycle than previous ones. This is largely due to shifting demographics in the state to a less white populace. Given Donald Trump’s comments about Mexicans and Muslims, its no wonder that he is polling so badly in these states. If Hillary Clinton wins 3 of these 4 states, and it looks like she will, Trump has to win Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania.

Trump has appeal to many voters in the whiter states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. Some traditional Democratic voters who feel like they are being left behind by the progression of our country are voting for Trump. This is making him competitive in these states. Florida has many voters like this as well but it also has many non white voters so what’s happening on a national level in terms of a battle between two demographic groups (older, white voters and non white voters).

So, it really comes down to these three states and the pressure is more on Trump, electorally, than Hillary. If she wins just one of the three, it’s over. In fact, if she wins Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina, along with Wisconsin and all the other states she is slated to win, she wins the election without Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. And, while Ohio and Florida have flip flopped back and forth over the last few election cycles, Pennsylvania has not gone red since 1988. Even with the shifting electoral demographic, it’s going to be tough for Trump to win the state as the Democratic voter machine is very well organized and funded there.

This is the time when it's going to be toughest for Hillary. The FBI report on her email mistake has taken its toll. The GOP convention is next week and Trump will likely get a bump, although that may end up not being true since so many high profile and well known GOPers are skipping the convention. Add in the not ready for prime time kids of Donald Trump and it could very well be a disaster. The contrast of the Democratic convention with all of its star power (President Obama, President Clinton, Vice President Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren etc) will be stunning. Look for the Hilz numbers to go up after the Democratic convention and likely return to her greater lead.

Personally, I'm glad the polls are more even. People need to get out there and be more motivated. I don't want a mere victory in November. I want an ass kicking. And that happens if people think that Trump could win.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Not Just The Same (Part One)

In this year's presidential election, a theme is emerging which is an out and out lie. The media is playing it up but its origins are sadly with American citizens. One need only look at social media for it and it won't take very long to find it. Somehow, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are being lumped together as being equally disliked and deeply flawed. I find this to be completely erroneous on a number of levels. Starting today, I'm going to be highlighting the stark differences between the two candidates and with each segment, I'll focus on a particular theme.

Let's begin with the issue of race. How does a guy who has the total support of white supremacists even get put in the same ballpark as Hillary Clinton?

“The discussion that white Americans never want to have is this question of identity — who are we?” said Richard Spencer, 38, a writer and activist whose Montana-based nonprofit is dedicated to “the heritage, identity and future of people of European descent” in the United States. “He is bringing identity politics for white people into the public sphere in a way no one has.” 

Mr. Spencer, a popular figure in the white nationalist world, said he did not believe that Mr. Trump subscribed to his entire worldview. But he was struck that Mr. Trump seemed to understand and echo many of his group’s ideas intuitively, and take them to a broader audience. “I don’t think he has thought through this issue in a way that I and a number of people have,” Mr. Spencer said. “I think he is reacting to the feeling that he has lost his country.”

And...

In June 2015, two weeks after Mr. Trump entered the presidential race, he received an endorsement that would end most campaigns: The Daily Stormer embraced his candidacy. Founded in 2013 by a 32-year-old neo-Nazi named Andrew Anglin, The Daily Stormer is among the most prominent online gathering places for white nationalists and anti-Semites, with sections devoted to “The Jewish Problem” and “Race War.” Mr. Anglin explained that although he had some disagreements with him, Mr. Trump was the only candidate willing to speak the truth about Mexicans. “Trump is willing to say what most Americans think: It’s time to deport these people,” Mr. Anglin wrote. “He is also willing to call them out as criminal rapists, murderers and drug dealers.”

And...

This year, for the first time in decades, overt white nationalism re-entered national politics. In Iowa, a new “super PAC” paid for pro-Trump robocalls featuring Jared Taylor, a self-described race realist, and William Johnson, a white nationalist and the chairman of the American Freedom Party. (“We don’t need Muslims,” Mr. Taylor urged recipients of the calls. “We need smart, well-educated white people who will assimilate to our culture. Vote Trump.”) David Duke, the Louisiana lawmaker turned anti-Semitic radio host, encouraged listeners to vote for Mr. Trump.

And...

Mr. Taylor, who has written that blacks “left entirely to their own devices” are incapable of civilization, and whose magazine, American Renaissance, once published an essay arguing that blacks were genetically more prone to crime, wrote on his blog that Mr. Trump had handled the attacks on him “in the nicest way.” Like others in his world, Mr. Taylor does not know if Mr. Trump agrees with him on everything. In an interview, he suggested that it did not really matter, and that Mr. Trump was expressing the discomfort many white people felt about other races. 

“Ordinary white people don’t want the neighborhood to turn Mexican,” Mr. Taylor said, adding, “They just realize that large numbers of Mexicans will change the neighborhood in ways they don’t like.”

Trump gets this sort of support because he calls Mexicans rapists, wants to ban Muslims from entering the US and likes to say things like this...



Contrast this with Hillary Clinton..



Given this clear distinction on race, Hillary Clinton is not "just the same" as Trump.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Another Dire Prediction That Did Not Come To Pass

Remember all that mouth foaming a year ago about how the Iran nuclear deal was a bad idea and that Iran wouldn't stick to the terms of the accord? Yeah, that never happened. They've given up 98 percent of their nuclear material, thousands of centrifuges and filled the core of a major plutonium reactor with cement. Inspectors roam freely around the country's various facilities. Even Israel's top military adviser is impressed.

“The deal has actually removed the most serious danger to Israel’s existence for the foreseeable future,” Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces, told a conference in Tel Aviv, “and greatly reduced the threat over the longer term.”

The article goes on to discuss how Iran is still a pain the ass in other ways but we always knew this would be the case. For this particular deal and threat, the Obama administration, specifically Secretary Kerry, did a superb job. Thus, the sound of crickets we hear coming from conservatives:)


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

No, I Won't Carry A Gun


Good Words (2016 Election Edition)

"Right now, the G.O.P. is not a healthy center-right party. It is a mishmash of religious conservatives; angry white males who fear they are becoming a minority in their own country and hate trade; gun-control opponents; pro-lifers; anti-regulation and free-market small-business owners; and pro- and anti-free trade entrepreneurs."

---Thomas Friedman, in his recent Op-Ed, "The (G.O.P) Party's Over."

I am completely with him in terms of the sentiment of the whole column. Hillary Clinton can't merely win. She has to crush him with the Democrats taking back both the Senate and the House. The latter will likely not happen given the reality of congressional districts but even a shift to put the Dems over 200 in the House would be symbolically significant.

The anger, hate filled mouth foamers that are afraid of their own shadow (aka the Trump voter) need to be sent a message. Fuck your guns, bigotry, racism, ignorance of science and economics, and desire to return to the Antebellum South.

We are moving on without you.


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Difficult At Best

The advent of open carrying a gun (see also: anger, hate, fear, paranoia, insecurity, inferiority, adolescent power fantasies) has caused a great number of problems for law enforcement. Two recent stories, one from the Times and one from AP, illustrate just how awful it is for them.

...city and county leaders said the presence of armed protesters openly carrying rifles on Thursday through downtown Dallas had created confusion for the police as the attack unfolded, and in its immediate aftermath made it more difficult for officers to distinguish between suspects and marchers. Two men who were armed and a woman who was with them were detained, fueling an early, errant theory by the police that there was more than one gunman.

Yep. Pretty much what I have been saying all along. It's very difficult to tell who is who when the bullets start flying. The idea that you can tell who the bad guys are because they are the ones shooting at everyone is complete nonsense. Even trained professionals couldn't tell and wouldn't have been very thorough as police officers if they didn't question anyone with a gun.

Dallas Police Chief David Brown estimated that 20 to 30 open-carry activists attended the rally. He said some wore gas masks, bulletproof vests and fatigues. They ran when the shots rang out, but the presence of so many armed individuals at the scene of a sniper attack caused instant confusion.

Gas masks and bulletproof vests? Really? Wonderful. These assholes want to play make believe like it's The Walking Dead while the adults are trying to figure out who is shooting people.

I've said this many times and will repeat it constantly until the problem is solved. These people are an absolute menace to society and need to be treated as a threat to national security.

Monday, July 11, 2016

"Guns Are This Era's Slavery"

I was recently asked to answer a question with prize money on Quora. There have been many interesting answers but the best one so far is from famed programmer, Ernest W. Adams. I am reprinting it here in its entirety.

The root cause (as opposed to the proximate cause) of the large quantity of gun violence¹ in the United States can be traced precisely to April 19, 1775.
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
And fired the shot heard round the world.
At the Battle of Lexington and Concord, the rebellious Massachusetts militia, composed of farmers and other local people, fired on British regulars who had come from Boston to search for weapons. The detachment was forced to retreat.
The opening battle of the American Revolution has been romanticized in story and song for nearly two and a half centuries. The story contains two elements that have directly influenced the culture of the United States from that day to this: first, the authority of the state (the British troops) being used to search for and confiscate guns; second, citizen ownership of firearms being used to oppose this action. Thus began the Great American Gun Myth—using myth in the sense of a body of cultural belief.
As the new nation spread westward, firearms were needed on the frontier to hunt, to protect people from wild animals, and to fight native Americans. They were also used in lawless regions by lawless people, which meant that peaceful people were obliged to keep them too. The idea began to grow up that the guns created the nation itself.
It did not take long for the Gun Myth to find expression in stories of adventure and daring. The Indian Wars were a particularly fertile source of excitement, and Buffalo Bill was adding to the legends in his Wild West show before the Indian Wars completely over, rather as we now make war movies before the war is even over. The mythologizing begins early. His shows often of featured sharpshooting skills of Annie Oakley and others.
The first Western novel, The Virginian, was written in 1901, and the first Western movie was made in 1903. There followed a flood of others. Gunsmoke began as a radio series in 1952 and ran continuously until 1975. Movies like Falling Down and God Bless Americapresent us with heroes who took up arms when “pushed too far.” Even if the film’s intention is satirical or fantasy-fulfillment, it nevertheless presents shooting people as appropriate, fun, and consequence-free. It’s impossible not to internalize some of this. People with poor judgment or intelligence want to actually make those fantasies come true.
We have now arrived at a point at which it is part of our national ethos that guns are a legitimate resort with which to solve a problem. They’re not even a last resort. Armed people don’t seek alternative resolutions to conflict; they just pull out their guns. The United States is no longer oppressed by Britain, nor is it the Wild West, but we continue to act as if it were.
The short answer to the question is this: Americans shoot people in disproportionate numbers compared to other populations because they have been taught ever since April 19, 1775 that it is an acceptable thing to do.
Many other nations—Canada, Finland—have a fairly high number of firearms in the population, but they aren’t used for homicide. Other former British colonies—Australia, India—achieved independence without warfare. They don’t have the Great American Gun Myth.
Nations that do treat gun ownership as an aspect of manhood and personal identity and a legitimate solution to problems (Pakistan, Afghanistan) have even greater rates of firearms abuse than the USA does.
The Myth has made it impossible to create a sensible firearms policy that restricts guns to the hands of those who are responsible users. The nation is awash in weapons and too many of those weapons are owned by people who should under no circumstances own them. But make the slightest effort to restrict them and the Gun Myth gets invoked: we need guns to make us free; we need them to fight tyranny; they are part of who we are as Americans and it is unpatriotic even to question this.
So many people now have a vested interest in guns that even without the cultural argument it is very difficult to reduce their numbers. The firearms manufacturing industry is worth $13.5 billion annually, and retail gun stores another $3.1 billion. There are four times as many federally licensed gun dealers as there are grocery stores in the United States, which gives you an idea of the absurdity of the situation.
Guns are this era’s slavery. They are America’s “peculiar institution.” The justifications for them are poor, yet a vociferous minority continues to announce that firearms are an inseparable part of their “way of life,” and threaten violence to anyone who would take them away.
I hope that it will not be necessary to fight a civil war over them, but ultimately I think the growing damage that firearms do in the wrong hands will lead to enough political support for controlling them properly that the gun control voters will outnumber the gun enthusiast voters. It will be solved, in answer to your final question, by political action.
Until that day, expect the deaths to continue.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What Bias Looks Like

Sunday Reflections

The racially charged violence that has taken place over the last week has me wondering about a few things. First, why hasn't the NRA and other gun rights leaders blown a bowel about the shooting of concealed carry permit holder, Philando Castile? Here was a guy who was merely exercising his 2nd amendment rights, even warning the police officer that he had a gun, and yet he still got shot. Where is all the mouth foaming about the state abusing the rights of freedom lovers everywhere?

I'll tell you exactly where it is. Castile was black and the NRA knows who butters their bread...angry old white men who love it when the police gun down niggers. Conservatives may be "rugged individuals" (I can barely type that without laughing) but they love themselfs white authority over the coloreds who are running all over the place asking for their damn rights. After all, recall how these folks profile from a psychological standpoint. They are hierarchical-individualists which more or less puts them at loggerheads with themselves.

So I call bullshit. The Gun Cult doesn't give two shits about the 2nd amendment. Once again we see how they really only want to make sure certain people are still able to cock ride their guns. That's why they are also silent on this steaming pile of bullshit.

Dallas Gunman Learned Tactics at Texas Self-Defense School

The gunman who killed five police officers at a protest march had practiced military-style drills in his yard and trained at a private self-defense school that teaches special tactics, including "shooting on the move," a maneuver in which an attacker fires and changes position before firing again.

Great...it's nice to know that gun cult hang outs are now officially training spree shooters to be able to kill people more effectively. These people are an absolute menace to civilized society. How many more people have to die before we act to stop them?

Friday, July 08, 2016

Peace


Star Trek's Sulu: Straight Arrow or Gay Blade?

Star Trek was a show ahead of its time. It portrayed a world in which human racism and sexism were long dead: the crew was made up of men, women, Americans, Russians, Britons, Africans, Japanese, who all got along without any racial friction. It featured the first interracial kiss on television (though it was coerced by a third party).

People were still people, however: racism persists in Star Trek. For example, in the episode "The Balance of Terror," a crewman suggests that Spock is not loyal to Star Fleet because his physical appearance is similar to the Romulans.

One thing that was never mentioned in the original series was homosexuality. Director Justin Lin and writer Simon Pegg have addressed this in Star Trek Beyond, the third installment of "new Trek," the alternate future version of the original series.

In the upcoming film, Hikaru Sulu is depicted raising a child with another man. Pegg and Lin made Sulu gay in part to honor George Takei, the actor who originally played Sulu.

But Takei is not pleased. He came out as gay more than a decade ago, but he thinks this artistic choice is unfortunate. He feels that Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek, wrote Sulu as a straight man and that this choice should be honored. I can buy that.

Simon Pegg respectfully disagrees. Homosexuality was never addressed on television in the Sixties. Even if Roddenberry had wanted a gay character, it would never have happened -- the network censors would have crushed it. But Pegg's Sulu is not Roddenberry's:
Our Trek is an alternate timeline with alternate details. Whatever magic ingredient determines our sexuality was different for Sulu in our timeline. I like this idea because it suggests that in a hypothetical multiverse, across an infinite matrix of alternate realities, we are all LGBT somewhere.
I can also buy that.

But I don't think you need to go there: the Sulu who appeared on the screen in the original series could easily have been gay, from a continuity point of view. I've seen all the episodes, and they're sufficiently ambiguous to argue that the original Sulu could be gay.

Sexuality was addressed for most of the main characters: Kirk and Spock had several entanglements with women. McCoy and Scotty had similar dalliances. Nurse Chapel was hung up on Spock and had an old boyfriend in "What Are Little Girls Made of?". Chekov fell for a girl in "Spectre of the Gun." In the new continuity, Uhura is Spock's lover.

Sulu never really had his own episode, so we never knew his orientation; he mostly set courses, fired weapons, did countdowns, shot revolvers or froze off his ass. However, with 2016 hindsight looking back at the aired episodes, you can make a reasonable argument that Sulu was intentionally written as gay.

There are no episodes where the real Sulu is romantically involved with a woman. In "Man Trap" Sulu and Yeoman Janice Rand are shown as friends. Sulu is in the arboretum and she brings him some food. The interaction is not romantic in any way. This could easily be interpreted as Rand doing a favor for her gay botanist friend.

In "The Naked Time," the crew's inhibitions are stripped when they are infected by some weird pathogen. Spock gets all teary, Kirk loses his cool, O'Riley shuts down the engines and starts singing. But Sulu takes off his shirt, picks up a rapier and runs flamboyantly around the ship like a French swashbuckler, a gay blade.

In "Mirror, Mirror," a transporter accident sends Kirk and Uhura to a universe where the crew are Bizarro opposite versions of their normal Enterprise selves. There, the Mirror Sulu does show some interest in Uhura.

However, since it's the Mirror universe, Mirror Sulu's attraction to Uhura could be viewed as diametrically opposed to the real Sulu's true feelings about women. Alternately, even if Mirror Sulu is gay, given the Mirror Universe's misogynistic treatment of women (they are underlings and mistresses), Mirror Sulu is merely following societal norms of the male-female power dynamic. He had to go after Uhura on the bridge to "prove" he was regular tough guy to the other misogynistic tough guys the inhabited the Mirror Enterprise. Just like all the gay football and basketball players who have to prove to team mates they're not gay...

Roddenberry's dead, so we can't ask him. But if you were to pick a character from the original series who could be gay, it would have to be Sulu. And is it just a coincidence that Roddenberry cast a gay man in that role? And you can see why Takei wouldn't want to think that Roddenberry picked him because he was gay: actors hate being pigeonholed -- they want to believe they can play anyone.

And even if Roddenberry did originally conceive of Sulu as straight, it's very common for writers to reconsider and change the direction of characters and plots years later when they think of something better: their fervent fans are frequently more enamored of the status quo than they are!

We Need Him Today


Thursday, July 07, 2016

Welcome to the NRA's World

3 Dallas Officers Killed at Protest Over Police Shootings

Three Dallas police officers were killed and seven others were wounded Thursday night during a demonstration protesting the police shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana this week, according to Chief David O. Brown of the Dallas police.
Aren't guns wonderful? Isn't it great how cops use them to shoot dozens of unarmed civilians a year and terrorists and assassins can buy them anywhere without background checks and then use them to murder cops and innocent people at protests and in nightclubs, schools, churches, movie theaters and malls?

I feel so much safer knowing that any moron can go to a gun show or the Internet and load up on tons of weapons and ammo.

Hillary Email A Go Go

Here's a great list which summarizes FBI director James Comey's fact based, unbiased and emotion free testimony today regarding Hillary Clinton's email server (currently more important to conservatives than police shooting black people on a regular basis, Americans shooting people at an annual rate of 30K a year, ISIL, education, climate change, poverty, college debt, racism and inequality)

Here are my conclusions based on these facts:
1. Hillary Clinton made a mistake using a home email server
2. She went against State Department policy
3. She was careless with government information some of which was sensitive or classified
4. The emails were not properly classified by the State Department indicating a much larger problem beyond Hillary Clinton.
5. There wasn't enough evidence of criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt to pursue this case. Previous cases that have been mentioned had obvious criminal intent.
6. Hillary Clinton did not lie to the FBI.

Anything beyond this moves out of the realm of facts and evidence and into the realm of politics. I honestly don't fault her that much for making this mistake. Clearly, she would have done things differently if she could go back but it makes sense to me that you'd want to keep as much of your dealings private when you have an army of assholes out there ready to give you a colonoscopy over any little thing they can find.

Obviously, this will never be over because Republicans, as usual, have nothing else to run on. They can't actually tackle the real problems we face today because their solutions (the ones they have to keep beating over our heads because of their angry and hateful base) haven't worked and never will. I'm betting the a majority of the US voters don't care either and the GOP's continued mouth foaming about this will end up hurting them in the fall...along with their nominee:)

The Black Man With A Gun

The shooting of Alton Rouge, an open carry permit holder in Louisiana, was bad enough. Now my own home state has gone and done the same thing. And, once again, to a licensed gun holder. The Gun Cult wants as many people as possible carrying guns, concealed or open. But have they stopped to consider the cultural stereotype of a black man with a gun?

Whether people want to admit it or not, we are still feeling profound effects from the institution of slavery. Black people in this country are still at a disadvantage in this country on every level. Our criminal justice system is the starkest example of this disadvantage in that people are being shot on a regular basis as a result.

I am so thoroughly disgusted and heartbroken that this happens to black people on a regular basis. In the year 2016, it seems that we have not made any progress.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Representing Whom, Exactly?


Livestream!

BREAKING NEWS: A group of gun violence survivors are in the Capitol Rotunda right now committing a new act of civil disobedience in an attempt to push House Speaker Paul Ryan to vote on meaningful gun legislation this week. Here is a livestream of their Sit-In. The survivors are Christian Heyne, Margaret Eaddy, Bob Weiss, Jeanette Richardson, Pat Maisch, Nardyne Jeffries, Eddie Weingart and Camiella Williams.

One of them just held up a photo of their dead daughter who had been shot with an AK-47. That's what I'm talking about...put it in their face!!!!


Which Door?


Monday, July 04, 2016

Good (Happy Birthday, United States) Words

For me, freedom means the ability to live free of fear, free of intimidation and free from gun violence. Freedom in America, as set out in the Declaration of Independence, is meant to be life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet, there is a vocal minority who believe these fundamental rights are pre-empted by the right to unrestricted access to deadly weapons.

---Jane Doughetry, sister of Sandy Hook victim

Sunday, July 03, 2016

The Republican Brain Part Seven: For God And Tribe

The last time we looked inside Chris Mooney's insightful and amazing book, The Republican Brain, we saw that conservatives are dogmatic, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, fear death, less open to new experiences, less "integrative complexity" in thinking and have more need for closure...all backed up by peer reviewed science. The next section in Mooney's book, "For God and Tribe," examines the moral system created by this type of political personality.

Consider the trolley dilemma. You are on a trolley that is about to have an accident. Everyone on board will be killed unless you push off one person in which case everyone will be saved. Do you do it? The cognitive processes of most people reason that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one so the sacrifice is made. But what if that person is named Jerome Williams and the other people on the trolley are all Nazis? Or the one person is named Chip Anderson and the rest of the people on the trolley are all Muslims? Or what if the person you are pushing off is fat?

In the next section of Mooney's book, he takes a look at motivated reasoning and the emotional impulses that drive it. A UC Irvine study showed that when liberals were presented with the either/or of saving a white guy or black guy, invariably they chose to save the black guy...even though they were explicitly told that race was not to be factored in to their answer. Liberals were intellectually more inconsistent conservatives. Perhaps race doesn't really matter to conservatives after all. At least it didn't in this scenario.

Yet when conservatives were presented with an alternate scenario...one that involved a military leader in Iraq trying to decide to kill opposition leaders...conservatives gave the thumbs up if Iraqi civilians were going to be killed but the thumbs down if American civilians were going to be killed. So. the same inconsistency was present. Further, they accepted either civilian casualty as being a part of war.

So, why does this happen? Recall that Mooney discussed how liberals and conservatives tend to have classification types in terms of their ideological bend. Liberals are more egalitarian-communitarian whereas conservatives are hierarchical-individualists. Thus, we see why conservatives and liberals fall into this cognitive trap. Liberals have an bias towards making sure that everyone is equal so they feel bad for Jerome who is about to get pushed off the trolley. Conservatives trust that authority figure of the military leader and tend to want to protect their tribe more than the other tribe.

Closely related to this study of cognition is the work of George Lakoff and how all of us tend to think in metaphors. We understand what it means for stock markets to rise and fall because we are familiar with those descriptors in everyday life. Yet the word "family" means something entirely different to a conservative than it does to a liberal. When conservatives think of family, they think of a strong father figure. Liberals tend to think of a more caring and nurturing parent that is gender neutral. So, the way each political ideology views authority is different and this extends to science. Conservatives have no problem with nuclear energy, for example, because it fits in with the strong father figure that goes out and provides for his family in the free market of energy. Liberals, conversely, have no problem with climate science because it show the necessity of nurturing one's planet. It's not surprising that the science is denied is the one that goes against neurological type.

I was pretty amused when I read this because I simply accept the science of both. The cool thing about science is that it's true whether you believe in it or not. Why try to buck reality? Besides, I don't have any emotion invested in nuclear energy or climate science. My rational mind accepts the science of both. They are what they are.

The takeaway from all of this is that the leaders of the conservative base know exactly what kind of authority their people respond to and they use that to manipulate them. If an authority on climate science comes out and talks about how it is settled science, they will throw a competing authority that matches conservatives' God and tribe out there and all is well. The need for this becomes more stark as Mooney notes in the closing pages of this chapter how science, and, indeed, academia in general has people that are more liberal in ideology. Why? As previously noted by Mooney, liberals tend to psychological be more open to new experiences, novel ideas and want to use science to improve society. In short, they are progressive whereas conservatives are not.

Mooney uses the example of Galileo and Darwin. Even though they were separated by hundreds of years, each man was confronted with the same problem: instransigent, conservative ideology rooted in emotion, not logic and rationality. Each man had to buck the powers that were deeply entrenched in God and tribe. At this point, Mooney interestingly notes that even conservative intellectuals are aware of this. Yuval Levin, conservative science and policy writer, notes that conservatives have a problem with science when it directly threatens the imperatives of their cultural continuity. Again, God and tribe...

Mooney concludes this section by noting that the ol' conservative meme of academia creates liberals no longer applies when considering the research in this section. More liberals are in academia because of how the brains work to begin with and they are naturally drawn to places where openness to new experiences are the order of the day. All of the information in this chapter reinforces the overall thrust of this book so far. The conservative brain is, by nature, far different from the liberal brain.


Saturday, July 02, 2016

Oblivious Truck Driver Kills Man Driving Tesla

My headline just doesn't have the zip of the New York Times headline: "Self-Driving Tesla Was Involved in Fatal Crash, U.S. Says." The news outlets are reporting this as, "A man died when his Tesla broadsided a semi while he was watching a Harry Potter movie."

As a programmer, I have been skeptical of self-driving cars since Google started talking about them a few years ago. The question of liability if someone is killed is a legal rats nest, as we are now seeing.

From the New York Times article:
The death is a blow to Tesla at a time when the company is pushing to expand its product lineup from expensive electric vehicles to more mainstream models. The company on Thursday declined to say whether the technology or the driver or either were at fault in the accident.
The thing is, it's not complicated at all: the driver of the truck is at fault!

The crash occurred at the intersection of Highway US-27A and NE 140th Court in Williston, Fla. Here's a diagram:

The truck (V01) was turning left in front of the oncoming Tesla (V02). If you look at the Google Street view of that intersection from the point of view of the truck that was turning, you'll notice that the truck even had a YIELD sign.

The driver of the Tesla clearly had the right of way: the truck turned left directly in front of him, causing the crash.

I'm not sure why all the news stories failed to note this, or why Tesla declined to say whether the driver or the car was at fault: the truck driver killed the Tesla driver by obliviously turning left in front of oncoming traffic.

Insurance companies deal with this kind of thing all the time. They assign some percentage of blame to each driver: to the truck driver for ignoring the YIELD sign, and the Tesla driver for not seeing the truck in the way. But since the truck driver violated the law by failing to yield, he is at fault.

Now, I'm not defending the Tesla driver's stupidity. Clearly he was an idiot for watching a movie while driving down the highway. But this kind of crash happens every day to people who are distracted for the briefest moment by eating a sandwich, drinking coffee, talking on their cellphones, flashing LCD billboards on the roadside, or glints of blinding light from the setting sun; you can't blame the victim when some idiot fails to yield the right of way and turns right into their path.

This is why I'm still of the opinion that there's too much crap going on on regular streets for computers to drive cars autonomously in traffic. The infrastructure is completely inadequate: road markings aren't clearly defined. Maps can never keep up with detours and construction. Delivery trucks stop in the middle of the street and double park. Drivers make sudden turns without signaling. Morons fail to properly secure cargo, which falls off and causes accidents. Pedestrians dart out from between cars and bikes whiz through intersections.

Computers are good at doing things that their programmers have anticipated. I'm sure they'd do fine in a controlled system where the vehicles run on tracks closed to human traffic, are programmed with all the speed limits and rules, and can communicate with each other to avoid collisions (something like Personal Rapid Transit).

But when you introduce stupid, impatient, irrational, oblivious humans into the mix, and put them in control of 40-ton vehicles of mass destruction, the computer will never be able to make the "right choice."

Our Mice Are Alive, Your's Are Dead



California is now the 6th largest economy in the world? All while being run by those tax and spend Democrats? GDP at 4 percent? Surplus at $11 billion? Compare this to Kansas and Louisiana.

I know it's hard to let go of something so personal as an economic ideology but the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Supply side economics doesn't work. It never did. Conversely, raising taxes on the wealthy and increasing government spending improves economies. It ALWAYS has.

Friday, July 01, 2016

The World is Ending Because Expensive New Cars Are Expensive!

The headline sounds so dire: "New Cars Are Too Expensive for the Typical Family, Study Finds:"
AS prices for new vehicles continue to rise, the cost of an average new car may be a stretch for typical households.

A new analysis from Bankrate.com found that a median-income household could not afford the average price of a new vehicle in any of the 50 largest cities in the country, though cars are more affordable in some cities than others.

“The new reality is that cars are becoming more expensive,” said Steve Pounds, a personal finance analyst for Bankrate. “People are having to make tough decisions about financing.”
You'd think our entire economy is on the verge of collapse.

But the basis for this alarmist article is completely false. The problem isn't that new cars are too expensive. It's that people are spending too damn much money on cars they can't afford. No one needs to spend the "average" $30,000 on a car.

Checking the current price of the class of cars that I have bought brand new over my entire 40-year new-car-buying lifetime, they range from about $13,000 (Chevrolet Spark) to about $26,000 (Subaru Forester).

And that's first-time new cars -- if you're buying a replacement, you can sell your old car for a decent chunk of change.

And since when are new cars a necessity? When I was a kid, in a family with six kids, my dad always bought used cars (he still does). You can get perfectly serviceable used cars for half the price of a new car.

That puts the cost of a car completely within the economic grasp of the average family, which has 2.54 people in it. The average family does not need a car that holds eight passengers or tows four tons. A five-passenger sedan or hatchback will fill the needs of the vast majority of American families.

And don't feel sorry for people with a ton of kids, who "need" a gigantic SUV: they made their bed, now they can sleep in it -- or maybe not, since that's what got them into trouble in the first place. They can just buy a used station wagon or van, like my dad did. If their kids won't be caught dead catching a ride to school in a junker, they can take the bus or walk.

The reason the average price of a car is "out of the reach of the average family" is that a relatively small number of really expensive cars dramatically raise the average price. No one needs to buy an expensive car. Too many people treat their cars as a measure of their manhood or social standing, so they have to buy the flashiest or fastest car.

Cars are just a way of getting to point A to point B reliably. Thankfully, many millennials have seen the light and are not stuck in the car rut: they don't even want drivers licenses.

The main reason for the financial meltdown of 2008 was that banks encouraged people to take out loans on houses that they simply could not afford, which drove up the price of housing even more, which exacerbated the problem.

This is the same mistake that's driving the "I have to buy an expensive car" mentality. Most expensive cars get you coming and going: pricey Cadillacs, BMWs, Mercedes, and big honking SUVs get terrible mileage. For example, the $151,000 Porsche 911 Turbo gets 17 mpg city, while the $24,000 Toyota Prius gets 58 mpg. The Porsche costs 6 times as much and gets about a quarter the mileage.

Oh, yeah. I forgot. The Porsche can go 205 mph. As if someone stupid enough to drop that much money on a car is actually competent to drive that fast...

The End of Reverse Racism and Race Baiting

Conservatives love to foam at the mouth about race baiting and reverse racism. Somehow, all racism is very minimal in the US today and anyone who cries racism is a (gasp!) race baiter!!! All of this caterwauling amounts to (yet another) responsibility dodge.

Turing to a much larger audience than this blog, I posted the following question on Quora.

In the United States, what is more prevalent: racism or reverse racism?

This was a question based on the poll results that I posted yesterday. Here are my favorite answers.

I feel like the headline could be more accurately written “half of all Americans don't understand racism” To more accurately answer the question, racism is a bigger problem. A more prevalent problem is ignorance of racism. I think the biggest problem is bystanders not condemning racism when it's taking place because they don't see it, or are afraid to speak out or don't know what to say.

That was the top answer so that means it was the most accurate. I think that most of the people who cry race baiter are largely ignorant of what racism is and are too lazy to take the responsibility to find out.

Do people of color sell their houses when a second or third white family move onto their street? How often do you hear about black police officers shooting unarmed white males? Has the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences ever had a year when no white actors were nomimated for a major award? Do people of color get a six month prison sentence for a rape conviction? Of course there are instances where a qualified non-white student or applicant is selected over a qualified white applicant. It does happen. Other times it goes the other way. There is always the question, “Did race enter into the equation?” Things are much better than they used to be, but in my humble opinion, reverse racism is not as prevelent or as harmful as its conterpart.

Great answer and very illustrative of what actual racism looks like as opposed to the fictional oppression of white people. And now my favorite...

Racism. The people who talk about reverse racism haven’t suffered anything more than the refusal of other people to feel sorry for their racist ideas. There really isn’t any reverse racism of any sort in this nation. White people, particularly white men, are still in the driver’s seat. The problem in America is that the there are a lot of working class whites who think that they should be treated better than people of color in similar position just because they are white. It’s something they have been buying into ever since the days of Jim Crow.

Exactly. And these are the folks who support Donald Trump. For some extra fun, check out Richard White's brilliant answer and the ensuing comments.

So, that's pretty much it, folks. We can finally put an end to all this nonsense about reverse racism and race baiting. It doesn't exist.

And it never did.