Monday, July 25, 2016

Some People Say Peyton Manning is Still A Corporate Tool

An NFL investigation found no credible evidence that Peyton Manning violated the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

Debate rages on as to whether Mr. Manning is a corporate tool

About Those Transcripts, Ms. Clinton

Dear Hillary Clinton:

Can we see the transcripts of the speeches you gave to Goldman Sachs?


Another Mass Shooting

Tragically, the term "mass shooting" is a regular part of our vocabulary now. It hurts to follow the news of yet another mass shooting. News is developing about a shooting at a club in Fort Myers, Florida, claiming the lives of two victims and injuring several more. Is there any reason to believe politicians will work together to formulate a solution? I have no confidence there. Nor do I have confidence that our media will exert pressure on politicians to work together to do anything that might change the course of gun violence.

There are mass shooting trackers and databases now, such as Gun Violence Archive. Mother Jones has a database of shootings from 1982-2016. As I write this, it has not yet been updated to include the Fort Myers shooting.

As Kieran Healy wrote in July 2012, America is a violent country. Healy's follow-up post in December 2012 is definitely worth revisiting

Saturday, July 23, 2016

This Has Become Normal

I think media outlets have grown tired or bored of calling Trump out for his behavior. And even if people continue to say "Look at him!", I don't think he'll ever stop with his brand of shenanigans.

I'm reminded of this hall of shame tweet from 2012.
Yes, I know, two tweets that I selected, but I would say they actually represent his body of work on Twitter. Point is, if this is the social media game that helps you win your party's nomination, what do future candidates have to do to get attention and win?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Mr. Trump, You Forgot To Mention Global Warming

Donald Trump gave his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention last night. In reading the transcript of the speech, I do not see the phrases "global warming" or "climate change."

As this brief article in The Atlantic details, we just experienced the hottest June ever recorded.

Mr. Trump wanted us to know he is the law and order candidate. He talked of crime, violence, and terrorism. He talked about illegal immigration. He talked about trade agreements. He gave a shout out to the 2nd Amendment. He talked up the military and talked down Obamacare.

The closest he got to the environment is when he said this: "Then we are going to deal with the issue of regulation, one of the greatest job killers of them all. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end and it very quickly. We are going to lift the restrictions on the production of American energy. This will produce more than $20 trillion in job-creating economic activity over the next four decades. My opponent, on the other hand, wants to put the great miners and steelworkers of our country out of work and out of business."

Energy production. But nothing about the crisis of climate change. It's an omission I wanted to note.

I'll be looking for comprehensive analyses of the speech as the day progresses. One analysis I've read so far that I like is David Frum's take on the speech. I also like this Washington Post op-ed.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Post-Fact Society

We have unlimited facts at our disposal. Politifact has been on the scene for years. AP Fact Check is doing their thing. Facts are wonderful. The problem is that PEOPLE HATE FACTS. The era of Big Data is upon us with fancy data scientists heaping facts onto us. I still believe in facts. I believe the facts are our future. The Facts of Life was an underrated sitcom. I like facts, and you, my dear readers, might like facts. But facts are more optional than ever and I think this is problem number 4,080 with Trumpism--accuracy is way out the window. Post-fact society rule number 4,080: Donald J. Trump is shady.

My fear and loathing for Trumpism is not an endorsement for Hillary Clinton, by the way. I do not trust the Clintons to tell the truth on a regular basis, either. I just think rampant disregard of facts would thrive more so during a Trump presidency than a Clinton presidency. That said, Trump is not going to win.

But this is not entirely about politics.

This is also about the "Whose side are you on?" mentality, as if there are only two sides from which to choose or that you have to always and immediately pick a side. Find your side, stay on your side, watch the media outlets that electrify your side. It's enough to make me go to KFC and pick a side. Mashed potatoes, probably.

Seriously, though, people choose the set of facts or half-truths that bolster their opinion and then it's go time. I do not possess all of the facts. I have many moments of ignorance. I often get it wrong. But I do the best I can with facts that I gather carefully. Someone asks me what I think about a current event and before I utter four words they cut me off with their opinion.

Like Colbert said, truthiness. This has been the way for a while and it's getting worse.

Frustrated, I am.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

When Trump Loses

What happens when Trump loses? What happens with the hate that already exists for Hillary Clinton? We live in a time when "Trump That Bitch" is an acceptable slogan. Chants of "Lock her up!" occur at the Republican National Convention. We have lived through eight years of people saying President Obama wasn't born in this country. One ringleader of that circus was none other than Donald J. Trump. Dislike for politicians is nothing new, and I certainly understand the frustration with politicians, and I definitely understand there is a case to be made against electing Hillary Clinton. But I am disturbed by the apparent loss of boundaries when it comes to what people will do to express their contempt for politicians they don't like. People claimed Obama was born in Kenya to delegitimize him. Despite the fact that FBI Director James Comey stated that no charges are appropriate in Hillary Clinton's use of her personal e-mail system, people will delegitimize her by continuing to say she belongs in jail. People are entitled to their opinions, of course, but I worry about where all the supercharged hatred will go when this election is over.