Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Life or Death

When you look at the countries who were able to stop CoronaVirus from wiping out thousands of their citizens, there comes a definitive decision point, either early in the virus' campaign or later, after bodies started to pile up.  The choice was simple:  Are the lives of the citizens more important than the country's economy?

Countries who locked down, dramatically limiting human interaction, also seem to be the countries where the government started early mass testing, something we're still woefully behind here in the US.  By taking this disease seriously, they were able to limit the spread of the disease.  South Korea, who had their first case the same day the US had theirs, have managed to keep their total case count down to around 10,300, and their total deaths at 186. (all numbers were attained from the Johns Hopkins CoronaVirus tracking website as of Noon on Monday, April 6th, 2020) https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html?fbclid=IwAR1ZuNoi-VNjQSoKflZhpQmpjX5cWqUFe2IopxvSHfgNBE4mpF3XDgiqc8s#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

China, where the CoronaVirus started, eventually made the decision people mattered more than the economy, and through extreme measures, they were able to keep their total infection rate from exploding.  They have a little more than 82,600 infections and 3,335 deaths (numbers which might be underreported due to it being China).  They have recently reopened up parts of their country, a decision which might be wrong, but only time will tell.  They announced Tuesday they had their first day without a new case, three months after they started extreme measures.

Italy, a county where international travel brought the virus to them, eventually instituted a dramatic quarantine shut down, limiting all people to a near house arrest status.  This after the country clearly did not take the CoronaVirus seriously to begin with, opting to keep tourist areas open, initially placing money over human lives. They ended up with 132,547 cases of the virus and are the current leader in deaths with 16,523.

The United State already has near tripled the amount of cases Italy has, and by the end of this week the US should lead the rest of the world in number of people killed by CoronaVirus.  The current tally in the US is near 350,000 cases with 10,335 dead.  It also should be mentioned that due to a lack in testing, the case numbers are dramatically undercounted.

A 'human life verses profit margins' decision should be an easy one, but (not surprisingly) it's exposed the fraudulent nature of the Republican Party.  They insist they value human life (pro-Life) and constantly remind us of their affiliation with Christianity, a religion based on caring for our fellow man, including the meekest of us all.  If they are who they claim to be, they should heed the evidence of other countries, lock down the US for at least two months, and stem the tide of this disease before the death count gets into the 6 figure level.

Instead, many Republicans have doubled down on the belief that rescinding all 'stay at home' orders and reopening the country for business will somehow yield a different result than everywhere else it's been attempted.  When you point this out this strategy has failed repeatedly, many 'Christian, pro-Life' Republicans argue 'maybe it's best to have CoronaVirus kill off a few hundred thousand people, as profit margins are more important than saving grandma.'


Let's be honest.  Republicans calling for a massive 'culling of the herd' aren't thinking about their loved ones dying.  It's everyone else's families who need to sacrifice for THEM.  Their family will stay protected.  Others, primarily Democrats and liberals, can preform THEIR penance.

To be fair, there are many Republicans who've done a good job at caring for everyone.  The Governor of Ohio was one of the first to see the danger of COVID-19 and shut down his state early.  Many Republicans in Minnesota have been advocates for Democratic Governor Walz' 'stay at home' order, with heartfelt pleas about how rural Minnesota's aging population and subpar medical facilities would spell doom for many elderly residents.  Their pleas are sincere and sobering.

But for every Republican trying to save lives, there seems to be another Righto trying to make the "I'm all for saving people's lives, BUT..." argument.  Republicans have demanded tourist locations reopen, they've implied all businesses should ignore the legitimate CoronaVirus threat, and they've even placed such auxiliary actives, such as dance studios and public beaches, at a far higher standard than they should, demanding they be allowed to reopen.  These Republicans try to cover their demands by insisting "with precautions" and "and only if people feel safe," but their intent and purpose is clear; for them, money is more important than human life.

You can't be pro-Life while at the same time endorsing tens of thousands of people being sent to die.  You can't be Christian while at the same insisting it's pious and righteous to create more sick and dead.

Until we get this under control, where we have a three day stretch with single digit new CoronaVirus cases, then we need to stay shut down.  If someone starts screaming "we need to reopen business," here's how that should be interpreted.


  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than some stranger being able to eat a footlong sub inside the restaurant?
  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than allowing tourists to go to a local tourist attraction?
  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than the profit margins at some massive corporation?
  • Is my wife, husband, child, parent, sibling, friend's life less important than some wealthy person's money?


If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then you're not Pro-Life, you're not Christian, and you're not a human being who I'd ever want anywhere near me.  In the fight between Life or death, make no mistake.  I'll fight for Life every time.




Friday, April 3, 2020

The Friday Link for 4/3/20

The blog has been light this week because I've been buried in the news of the Corona Virus.  How about we go with three wildly different video clips to inspire you as we head into the weekend.

The first is Ryan Reynolds.  The actor most known for Deadpool was a guest of the revised Late Show.  I found hope with Ryan, and his incredibly talented wife Blake Lively, as they've both become the model for compassion in the age of Corona Virus.  Seriously, watch the video and listen to how much these two have done by themselves.  I know they didn't do this for accolades, but I will be their lead cheerleader.  They are hope in a time of crisis.

Plus he's freaking hilarious.



The second video is a guy makes good story, only the guy is not in this video.  Imagine the guy who has all his geeky 'toys;' the action figures, the trading cards, the posters, the things which are still in the box, never to be opened.  Now imagine the wife of this guy calling his bluff, taking his so called 'investment' to the Antiques Roadshow.  Then imagine as the truly excited appraiser tells her that not only is her husband's collection valuable, it's staggeringly valuable.

This woman's reaction runs the gamut from stunned wife, to disbelief,  to "oh my God, what else was I wrong about."



The next video is actually quite amazing.  The end of Washington's Army was 1783.  Portrait photography was really not common before 1840 (and that's being generous.  The first photo of a President was John Quincy Adams, after he left office, in 1843).  That means, going with a bare minimum age of 14 years old in 1783, and going with these pictures being taken in 1840 (which I guarantee most of them weren't) the youngest one of these guys could've been was 71.

Take a look at the old photos of the veterans of the Revolutionary War.  I know one has to be a painting, but still.  This is remarkable we have these photos at all.  The only photo with a label was one for Daniel Frederick Bakeman, who is listed as the last Revolutionary soldier alive in 1868; a spry 109.

Why do I find inspiration here?  These men grew up in a country where the average life expectancy in 1776 was 35.  They survived fighting the Revolutionary War, survived multiple other wars, multiple disease outbreaks, multiple lean years, multiple hardships and, in the case of Bakeman, the Civil War!

We can get through this pandemic.  We'll do it together.



And why not, I'll throw in Little Mix's latest song Wasabi.  This will be a huge hit.

I am eclectic!



Try to have a great weekend everyone.






Friday, March 27, 2020

The Friday Link for 3/27/20

Howdy everyone.  We in Minnesota are about to go under the Governor's 'Stay at Home' executive order.  It doesn't mean we're confined to the house, but it does mean we need to dramatically limit the amount of interaction we are doing.

These last few weeks have been downright depressing but if we ignore this problem it will only get far worse.

For this week's link, let's first go to Townsends.  They have branched out a lot from historical cooking and are now more of a historical channel.  They still cook a lot, but this episode is specifically about being quarantined in the 1770's.  The entire story sounds bizarre, and it will put having to stay inside with streaming services and our phones in the proper place; we really aren't sacrificing too much.



Also tonight, considering we are having to deal with fools who think Trump is always right, let's enjoy a little interaction with the best of Jordan Klepper from The Daily Show.  These are his interactions with Trump fans at his rallies.  Enjoy!



Stay sane everyone.  Go for a walk.  It's a lovely way to spend the time.



The captain

The captain had seen the iceberg warnings.  To be fair, it's not like the captain went out and created the iceberg, climbing onto a glacier or ice shelf to chisel away the berg.  The berg was its own thing, but it could not be denied.  Hence the iceberg warning had been put out.  Intelligent people prepare for the unseen, taking precautions so they can avoid the icebergs coming their way.

The captain ignored the warnings, insisting 'this is the safest, classiest, nicest ship of all time! Only losers are suggesting we should slow it down for icebergs.'  The captain spends most of his day mingling with certain passengers he's trying to impress, or the the ones who kiss his caboose.  That evening, he's not on the bridge but has given specific orders;  'no one is to deviate in course or speed!'

When they see the iceberg, the ship's speed makes it impossible to avoid a collision.  The crew on the bridge did their best but the ship strikes, leaving a massive hole in the side.  Water pours in, the ship stalls, but so far, to most passengers and crew, the real damage isn't apparent. The captain storms onto the bridge and demands everyone salute him, as he repeatedly screams 'I'm in charge!!!' He never once asks about what just happened.


The engines of this ship begin to cool as the water starts flowing into their compartment.  The engine crew see the water, they know what's coming, but a loud barking from the captain on the bridge echoes over the speakers. 'WHY ARE WE STOPPED?!? Get those engines going again! We need to keep moving.  I need to be able to brag about the speed of the ship, and those engines being off is denying me my main bragging point.  GET THEM GOING AGAIN!'

The engineers try to tell him we aren't going to be able to fire up the engines again because there's water in them.  The captain bellows 'LOSERS!'  The captain, instead of inspecting the damage or caring for the ship, heads off to a gathering of his biggest supporters in one of the ballrooms, where he calls the iceberg 'a hoax' and mocks the people showing concern for the ship.

It's at this point the ship begins to noticeably tilt.  Regardless of what the captain wants people to believe, reality is starting to sink in.  With the crew and passengers turning to him, the captain brays 'it's nothing,' how 'the ship will be back to normal soon,' and how 'everyone should just ignore their own eyes.' 'You should also ignore your internal balance if it tells you the ship's starting to tilt worse.'

The captain, realizing the passengers and the crew are starting to question him, puts his second in command in charge to be 'the face of the crisis.'  This allows the captain to make it look like he's taking the problem seriously, but it also creates an individual to blame if the ship does indeed sink.  The second in command starts gathering the information, realizes the ship is indeed sinking, but he knows the truth could upset the captain, a captain who's goal is to get back to bragging about the ship's speed.

The second in command meets with all the passengers and crew on the deck, to reassure everyone the boat is sinking, but slowly enough that the captain has it completely handled (an exaggeration at best).  The captain sees his second in command getting all the ship's attention.  His immediate jealousy at not being the center of attention overrides commonsense and he storms down to the deck.  He takes over the second in command's briefings, painting a false story about how the boat is fine.  He lies.

Many people seem fine with the captain's lie about a tilting further and further ship being perfectly fine, but some of the crew and passengers start noticing people drowning.  They tell the captain, "Look people are drowning!"  The captain calls the people drowning 'losers! It's their own fault.' He adds 'my response to the ship filling up with water has been perfect.'  He also reiterates the passengers and crew need to ignore their eyes and ears if they see or hear people drowning. 'Eyes and ears sensing people drowning are the real problem on the ship!'

With the ship now tilting at an obscene level, individual department heads and passengers, realizing they can't depend on the captain, start taking matters into their own hands.  They start trying to launch the lifeboats.  Grasping there aren't enough lifeboats for the amount of people on board, they now recognize the captain's claim of the ship 'being the safest of all time' was a lie.  They start getting as many people into lifeboats as they can.  It won't be enough.  There are materials on board which could be made into lifeboats, but they need the captain's approval to build them.  The captain refuses, insisting there isn't a need.

It's at this point the captain announces the best place for him to coordinate the disaster, a disaster he claims 1) isn't happening, while at the same time 2) says he's not responsible for, is from his own personal life boat, away from the ship.

The captain still barks at the ship from the safety of his own lifeboat.  In a brief bit of positivity, the tilting of the ship has meant one of the engines is out of the water.  It's restarted.  The second in command and his deputies hoot and howl about their short term success.  When they're informed that over 3 million pieces of coal have tumbled underwater, they insist that's only temporary.  'You see, when we get he ship back to even, all that coal will tumble back towards us.  Problem solved!'

The captain discerns the crew and passengers have decided to stop waiting for him to lead, and in turn are being perceived positively for their efforts to save the people.  The captain can't stand anyone else getting credit, so he starts ordering the people in the life boats to get back onto the ship.  He tries to entice them by promising the popular all you can eat Easter buffet will be open again in 17 hours  'Won't everyone be happy when the ship is righted in 17 hours, and we're all enjoying the delicious Easter buffet.'

Toward the front of the ship, the side that's desperately underwater, one of the crew members screams for the captain to throw them flotation devices so they can have a chance! The captain, not liking the leadership of the crew member, refuses.  He adds 'you really don't need flotation devices, and the people drowning are all your fault.'

The captain then turns to the entire ship, screaming how anyone who's not doing exactly what he orders, and anyone who doesn't think he's the greatest captain in the history of shipping, is personally responsible for the people drowning;  not him.

The body count continues to climb, but the captain hollers, restating how the passengers and crew must ignore their eyes and ears due to bias.  He then introduces everyone to his buddy.  'Only listen to the eyes and ears of this passenger in first class who tells it like it is.'  The first class passenger insists water is a myth, cold water is refreshing and only anti-captain people don't like a midnight swim.  'You know who else hates swimming?  Commies!'

The passengers and crew are overwhelmed.  It's too little too late, as most of them are stuck on the ship.  Even stranger, some of the life boats indeed did return to the sinking ship at the behest of the captain.  The people who were on those lifeboats swear 'anyone who doesn't worship the captain is an anti-captain loser who's ALWAYS hated the captain.  Ignore the haters!  Worship the captain's leadership!  That dampness you feel is just the tears of anti-captain zealots!'

The last engine fails, the lights go out and the now near perpendicular ship starts to dip below the waters.

Most of the people are terrified and scared, dreading the fate they're about to meet.  The captain's fans applaud and raucously cheer.  They scream 'this is the best boat ride we've ever been on' as they sink below the waves.

The captain, looking at the few people around him who managed to survive, starts to scream 'this was not my fault.  It was the best boat ride of all time before the haters got involved.'  He then ignorantly brags how much better everyone is because the was in charge.  'It's good the other captain wasn't in charge for this cruise.  This would've been SO MUCH WORSE!'

His words echo as lifeless corpses float by, thudding noisily against the side of his lifeboat.







Sunday, March 22, 2020

An Explanation about Consistency

Yesterday I posted this meme on social media:


I posted this because I'm terrified about what will happen in the US with CoronaVirus, mainly due to the ham handed response of our ham handed 'leader' (Trump).  If you read this, it's factually accurate.  

I had a very dear friend respond to me with this:


I can completely understand her response and I think I do owe people an explanation.  Let me start by stating this meme, and many others I post, are about consistency.

I spent 8 years in this country hearing infuriated vein popping red faced Republicans screaming about how President Barack Obama needed to be removed from his position because he had disgraced the office of the President.  What violations made these Republicans scream for impeachment and resignation letters?  Such outrages as dijon mustard on a hamburger, selfie sticks, latte salutes, mom jeans, bowing too deeply, umbrella-gate, hip hop in the Oval Office, chewing gum, basketball brackets and many other "offenses."  They even called for Obama to be removed because his wife, First Lady Michelle Obama, had planted a garden at the White House, had and advocated for healthier school lunches.

And they did indeed demand Obama resign for such trivial things!

Meanwhile, we've seen a nightmare presidency unfold in front of us with Trump's near hourly missteps and mistakes.  The Republicans remain silent; not a peep.  As I've written, the only people who are happy with him are people who are wealthy (because he gives them tons of taxpayer dollars for just being wealthy), racists (because he validates them), and the Republican voters who've placed hating Democrats as their primary motivation.  They love Trump because they feel he "owns the Libs." 

Even the one legit issue they complained about under President Obama, the deficit, is FAR WORSE under Trump.  The same people who would send out DAILY outrage posts about how 'Obama was bankrupting the economy' haven't even mentioned that issue.

In the end, most of them hated Obama 1) because of the color of his skin and 2) because they were told to hate him by the right wing news media. 

How I wish Barack Obama was in charge right now...

Today, we're facing a crisis not seen since the Great Depression and World War II.  We have a virus spreading across this country at an alarming rate.  On top of that, we have an economy which is collapsing around us.  Trump's not responsible for COVID-19, but his insanely stupid response to the disease in January and February, and his undecipherable response to the pleas for help from our medical community today, are UNDOUBTEDLY going to get more people killed.  

That's the point of the meme.  Where are the people who screamed 'resign' when dijon mustard was put on a hamburger?  Where are the demands for Trump to leave after the hundreds of scandals BY FAR more outrageous than anything Obama did?  Where's the consistency from the so called earnest, salt of the earth, high moral fiber Republicans?

These memes are also me calling out Republican racism towards President Obama, something I will not let them ever forget.

I'm scared by this virus, and I do want to see everyone safe.  I pray this CoronaVirus won't be as bad as people think.  But my hope doesn't prevent me from seeing the cause of what's making this problem worse, or the silence of those who screamed the sky is falling for eight years, but whom haven't said a dang thing as the world crashes all around us.  

Thanks for holding me accountable. I appreciate it.




Friday, March 20, 2020

The Friday Link for 3/20/20

I'm exhausted.

This week has felt like a month. I am going to try to end this week with some positivity, so here is me dancing to Bob Marley.



From Funny or Die, Zach Morris is Trash! In this bit they look at an old episode of Saved By The Bell and make you realize that Zach Morris was really a horrible person who should never have any friends, should be expelled and probably should be in jail.  Indeed, He is trash!



Finally MST3K! and Warrior of the Lost World.  Mega-Weapon, Mega-Weapon!



Have a safe weekend!  We'll get through this.  It might not be easy, but we will.

Peace!




Thursday, March 19, 2020

Exposed

A strange thing happened last week.  On the same day, within about two hours of each other, 5 of my conservative friends posted the same exact picture.  This one:


That is Vice President Mike Pence with his CoronaVirus response team, praying.  It's clearly a staged photo, but that aside, let me state the obvious.  Its nice you have a relationship with your version of God and Jesus, but (and trust me when I say this) both God and Jesus would want you to stop with the photo ops and start trying to save the people who are sick! 

The conservative mass posting of this 'performance art' was on Saturday morning, after a week where the truth settled in about COVID-19; this was going to change America greatly, with many Americans getting sick and dying.  And an undeniable truth is the damage done by this virus has been multiplied by weeks of the Trump Administration doing NOTHING to stop this pandemic.  The release of this photo seemed to be Conservatives deflecting; "yes things are bad, but look! JESUS!"  I said Jesus too.

This is the absolute worst crisis to have with the current Republican Party in control.  A pandemic requires people to think about others more than one's self, especially the weak, the poor and the needy.  This requires compassion and empathy, and in case you've not been paying attention, compassion and empathy are two traits the Republican Party weened out of their politicians 20 years ago.

Let's start with Trump himself.  We know when people started getting sick he specifically said he didn't want people tested because he was concerned a high diagnosis rate would hurt his reelection campaign.  He called it a hoax, called it a Democratic Conspiracy, and repeatedly insisted the virus was under control, all lies.  And his primary concerns this entire time has been 1) making sure the stock market got back up to a high level so he could brag about it all being because of him, and 2) making sure he could continue to host his Trump rallies, so thousands of dupes could praise him as their messiah. 

What did anyone expect from the biggest narcissist this planet has ever produced?  This selfish, in it for himself, greedy, dirty, crooked fool was never prepared to deal with a crisis like this.  We saw it with the hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the wildfires in the west.  It's almost like God himself has ramped up the crisis after his delusional followers failed to see their mistake after Puerto Rico was scoured clean. "He did nothing for Puerto Rico, accused them of doing this to themselves and then threw around a few rolls of paper towel and they still love him? Okay, phase 2!"

The Republican Party Politicians?  Please.  We've had Senate Majority Leader Galapagos refuse to work on a bill over the last weekend because he had a fundraiser to attend, multiple Republicans vote to hold up the stimulus bills, multiple Republicans imply millions of people dying is 'no big deal'(!), and it sounds like top Republicans lawmakers were aware of the seriousness of the CoronaVirus weeks ago, but only told wealthy donors, not their less than millionaire constituents.  

They insist they want to help every day Americans but they have to be 'fiscally responsible,' while the SAME EXACT PEOPLE demand a blank check from the Treasury to hand out trillions in tax payer dollars to major corporations and the wealthiest Americans.  On top of it, their most urgent matter for the Republicans seems to be relabeling COVID-19/CoronaVirus as 'China Flu,' because their desire to be racist overrules their self proclaimed Christian compassion.

The American Medical Sector was also not ready for this disaster.  American medicine is fantastic, but it has two problems.  The first is it's great if you have money.  The US' health care is sensational if you have a very serious disease that's expensive to treat, or if you need non-urgent medical services (boob job, face lift, hair implants).  Where it currently fails is the quality of medical care for the poor and needy.  I've had insurance (gratefully), but I've been in urgent care facilities where I've seen people told they need to produce a medical card or a credit card to be seen.  Many people refuse to even go to the hospital unless it's dire, due to cost.

The other problem is our current medical system is set up to deal with the patient in front of them, right now at that moment.  It is not set up to deal with a large scale outbreak where resources are needing to be maximized,  My guess is few hospitals prior to this outbreak had a workable emergency plan to deal with this contingency.

But the real danger with this pandemic can be highlighted by the Trump voters directly.  These are the idiots who screamed this wasn't real, a Democratic ploy pushed by the liberal media.  It was only when Conservative leaders, including Trump, did a U-turn on their rhetoric for them to take it seriously.  These are the fools who now insist 'Obama was MUCH MUCH worse with Swine Flu,' a preposterous statement not even close to being correct.  I never remember grocery stores being half empty under Obama.

This refusal to see reality is incredibly dangerous.  This is how diseases wipe out entire families and towns.  

To understand the Republican voters, focus on their true motivation.  They love Trump for one of three reasons:
  1.  They're wealthy and Trump gives them money
  2.  They're racist and Trump legitimizes them
  3.  They're people who love Trump because they feel like Trump owns the Liberals with his insults and ignorant policies.  
That last one is by far the largest group of Trump voters.  They love Trump acting like he's the cock of the walk, acting like he just burned a Democrat so bad they're crying in the fetal position.  For this, they love Trump more than they love their family, their house, their job, their religion, their country and their health.

But they also know really weak horrible people would sacrifice their lives and country for such pettiness, so they're always looking for something they can hang their twisted adoration on as legitimate.  They need the slightest bit of cover to allow them to believe they're righteous in their Trump love. Hence...


If you're Christian, the INSANE amount of violations of Jesus' DIRECT teaching to welcome strangers in from strange lands alone should make you realize you're on the wrong path with these guys (and I would love to elaborate on the feeding the hungry and sheltering the homeless parables too.  We're getting a real world example of how taking care of the sick is failing with Trump).

That's how the Trump Administration plays these fools.  Don't ask about why our CoronaVirus testing is lagging so far behind.  Don't ask about how the bailouts seem to benefit Trump and his allies most of all.  Don't ask why the American public was kept in the dark of the dangers of COVID-19.  Don't ask why Trump and his Administration lied repeatedly, over and over and over and over and over again, before finally admitting CoronaVirus was dangerous.  Instead:  Look, JESUS!!!

If we don't get a President, politicians, a medical industry and the Republican voters to take this emergency seriously, a lot of people will be saying Jesus too, only they'll be saying it at funerals and memorials.

May God help us all.









Friday, March 13, 2020

The Friday Link for 3/13/20

Howdy everyone.  This evening the family headed over to Park Tavern for some bowling with friends.  I want to make sure people understand you can still go out in the age of CoronaVirus (as long as you're not sick).  I understand people can be a little skittish, but a place like Park Tavern is being very careful to sanitize regularly, and if you wash your hands like you're supposed to, don't touch your face, and respect personal space, you'll be fine.  And Park Tavern has the best patty melt I've ever had!

Seriously, don't be afraid to go out and have a meal.  It might just save these businesses.

Speaking of CoronaVirus, how about a trip back down memory lane.  In 2014, there was a mighty Ebola scare in the US, even though it was relatively unwarranted.  It was clearly a story being hyped up to scare people during election season.  How can I say that?  The day after the election, Ebola completely disappeared from the news landscape.  I'm dead serious!  Ebola one day was 20 minutes of a 30 minute news cast, and the next it was no where to be seen.

For more proof, let's go back and watch the difference in coverage by the right wing media between Ebola and CoronaVirus.  See if you can notice the SLIGHT difference, courtesy of Media Matters.



The biggest difference between Ebola and CoronaVirus?  The level of competency of Obama compared to the petty narcissism of Trump.  We are far less safe with Trump in office.

The other video tonight is another Jelle's Marble League marble sporting event.  This might be all the sports you get for the next month, so drink it up.  This time, it's the complete Winter Marble League competition!



Keep your wits about you.  We'll get through this CoronaVirus crisis together.



Wednesday, March 11, 2020

How Bernie Lost

Last night, the idea of Joe Biden being the Democratic nominee came close to fruition as a series of results from the March 10th Primaries have virtually sealed Bernie Sanders fate.  First, just like with 2016's previous South Eastern US Primaries, Sanders got walloped in Mississippi.  It was a bad loss with Bernie finishing below 15%, meaning pretty much all 41 delegates will go to Biden, a massive haul from such a small state.  Missouri was next with a 25 point win for Biden, but the night (and likely the overall nomination process) were determined by Michigan, where Biden's 18 point victory wiped out most of the hope for the Sander's campaign.

North Dakota went for Sanders, Idaho went to Biden and we are still waiting on Washington, but putting together the returns from the 10th, along with the results from last Super Tuesday and the path for Sanders becomes clear; he HAS TO win pretty much every remaining state by 10 to 15 points in order to catch up.  Looking at next Tuesday and the four major primaries on the table (Ohio, Florida, Illinois, and Arizona) the best Bernie chance is Ohio, where he is polling at a 1 in 12 chance to win.  That's his BEST chance for a win next Tuesday.  He has less than a 1% chance of winning Florida.  It's not impossible but there's no hint of how he's planning on turning around these numbers.

The question can now be asked, how did Bernie's campaign sputter after being so strong in 2016?  Are elements of the Democratic Party against him?  Undeniably, but no one is claiming the votes were illegitimate (well no one who isn't a rabid Sanders fan).  It's too easy to say the fix was in, so I'm going to look at the other problems in the Bernie campaign.  Bernie, once again, hurt himself.  Here's my perspective:


1) 2016 was a different election. A lot of rural and blue collar Democrats were uneasy with Hillary Clinton as the candidate in 2016.  With the Primary/Caucus process, they could vote against her while still supporting the eventual nominee.  Bernie was the only candidate running against her, so him being the other option at the buffet helped.  Last time, he won Michigan, plus a lot of other states, and took the nomination process into June.

This time around, he was one of four candidates initially appealing to the far left of the party.  He initially fought through that clutter, while the bulk of the remaining candidates all inhabited the middle and moderate side of the Democratic party.  He won New Hampshire and Nevada, but the other shoe was eventually going to drop.  When Biden won in South Carolina and on Super Tuesday, the rest of the moderate field left, and the majority of the party coalesced around Biden.  Sanders was definitely hurt by not having one polarizing candidate to campaign against, and from the large candidate field not giving him a cleaner path to the nomination.

(Good time to remind everyone, Hillary Clinton won three million more votes than Trump.)

2) The Bernie campaign encouraging Hillary Hatred in 2020.  On January 31st, at a rally for Bernie Sanders in Iowa, Rep. Rashida Tlaib encouraged the crowd to boo Hillary Clinton.  Clinton, WHO IS NOT RUNNING IN 2020(!), had been offering her personal, less than flattering, opinion on Sanders.  When the moderator at the Sanders rally brought up her comments, the crowd started to boo.  The moderator tried to stop the booing, but then Tlaib stepped in.  "No, no.  I'll boo.  BOOOOOOOO! You all know, I can't be quiet.  No, we're going to boo."

The booing was followed by an influx of social media posts from Bernie supporters trying to validate the booing.  This was not the first time Hillary's name had come up with Bernie supporters, as their platform's first pitch this election cycle boiled down to "You idiots were fools for supporting Hillary in 2016, and we're going to insult you until you submit to Bernie in 2020!"

This was bad.  It did not matter that Hillary Clinton commented first.  Here were Bernie supporters booing the still liked candidate from 2016.  I made the comment you attract more bees with honey than with vinegar, only to get shouted down myself.  When the moderate Democratic field started to thin, Clinton supporters EAGERLY looked for a non-Bernie candidate to solidify behind.  Biden was the easy choice for Hillary supporters, leaving the angry Bernie base to ask "why isn't everyone excited for Bernie's coronation?"

Bernie supporters, ask yourself this question:  "Did Hillary play you?  Did she know someone from the campaign would lash out at her after her comments, knowing it would drive her supporters away from Sanders?" She set the trap and you walked into it.

3) The stunning repeat of 2016 in the South Eastern US for Bernie.  I've said it a few thousand times; Bernie lost in 2016 because he got beaten BADLY in the South Eastern US primaries.  HE DID!  His poor showing in the South Eastern US in 2016 was the difference in winning, NOT the super delegates.

One would think after 2016, Sander's would've immediately increased his presence in the South East, opening offices and outreach programs throughout the south.  You'd think his entire campaign would be to focus on South Carolina, using that to help him on Super Tuesday, placing him in the drivers seat for the 2020 nomination.

NOPE!  He seems to have, inexplicably, overlooked the South Eastern US again! After Nevada, I thought maybe Bernie would pull this out, but after South Carolina, I went over the numbers and was in disbelief.  How did he do so badly again?  I didn't think Super Tuesday would go as well as it did for Biden, but I knew after SC it wasn't going to go well for Sanders. That was an tactical error Bernie committed TWICE!

4) Bernie did a REALLY bad job at convincing African Americans he was a good choice for them.  I really think many of Sanders' positions would make life better for all Americans, including the black population, so it was stunning to see how few votes Bernie got on the 10th from African Americans. He had spent some time in the South over the last few years at commemorations of major events of significance to the African American community, but it did not translate to African American votes this election cycle.  Over the last few weeks, there's been criticism of Bernie skipping events of importance to the African American population, like the Bloody Sunday March in Selma.  He also cancelled a rally in Jackson after he got beaten in South Carolina.  That didn't rest well.

Research from Sacramento State's Black Voter Project has shown African Americans prioritize their racial identity, so 'an even tide raises all boats' message, with a clear implication that did include African Americans as well, failed to resonate.  And many political experts feel as if Reverend Jesse Jackson's endorsement came too late to help his numbers in the African American community.  Regardless, the African American vote did not go for Bernie, again.

5) Bernie should not have touted Joe Rogan.  Another reason Sanders might not have captured the Black vote was his embracing of Joe Rogan, a popular talk show host with a history of racist, homophobic and transphobic comments.  In January, Bernie bragged about an endorsement from Rogan, leading to many people on the left questioning why he would do so.  It alienated the minority vote, the gay vote, the transgender vote and the votes of people who support all of those individual groups.

Plus it gave the vague term 'Bernie Bros.' a tangible visual which was toxic to his campaign. Almost immediately after Bernie bragged about Rogan's endorsement, Biden tweeted out "there is no room for compromise when it comes to basic human rights." Sander's camp tried to distance themselves from Rogan's bad elements while still insisting they "shared a big tent." Good luck with balancing on that beam.

6) He praised Fidel Castro.  In case you missed it, Sanders on 60 Minutes said he opposed the Castro regime's "authoritarian nature."  GREAT and say nothing else and we're good to...uh oh...

"But you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad. When Fidel Castro came to office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program.  Is that a bad thing even though Castro did it?"

W T F!!!  I don't care if he gave everyone ice cream on Friday.  He's still a horrible authoritarian whose regime has political dissidents imprisoned.  Southern Florida has a lot of Cubans who have been exiled from Cuba because of Castro, many of whom are Republicans, many of whom immediately destroyed the easy to destroy Castro comments.  That was just DUMB!

I heard from Bernie fans immediately "You have to put what Bernie said in context."  There is an old adage in politics; if you have to put things "into context" to explain them, you've already lost.  I understood what he was trying to say, but it sure doesn't excuse what he did say.  Don't praise Castro!

This one line from one interview would've been Trump's entire campaign against Bernie in 2020, AND IT WOULD'VE WORKED!

Sanders makes a lot of Democrats uneasy.  Not only is there real concern by Democrats about whether Bernie would do what it takes to help ALL Democrats win US House seats, US Senate seats and state legislative races, but he makes a lot of Democrats uncomfortable because he embraces a much more Socialist platform than many Democrats are comfortable with.  Having him openly praise Communist dictators was the final straw for a lot of Democrats.  I had Democrats in the MN-02 and 03 districts tell me they were convinced Bernie as the Presidential candidate would cost them Angie Craig and Dean Phillips, and I can't argue with them.  Not only would a lot of Democrats have an incredibly hard time endorsing a Castro praising Bernie in their moderate districts, but I just can't see Bernie campaigning for moderate Democrats.  "I've called this person part of the problem, but now I need them, so I guess they're not all that bad, so maybe, unless there's a far more progressive candidate in the race, you should think about possibly voting for them."

7) Young voters don't vote.  Bernie Sanders is a God with young voters, but they didn't show up to the polls.  Outside of Iowa, young voters showed up in fewer numbers than in 2016.  Young voters work great when it's something like Sunday Liquor Sales.  They go protest, yell at politicians, make creative signs and are fantastic at starting social media memes.  They were able to convince politicians to change Minnesota's puritan liquor laws in a relatively short amount of time.  But would they have changed the rules if they were required to go vote to change the rules?  Probably not.  Young voters are great for photo shoots and visuals, and they can chant and protest with the best of them, but requiring them to go to a ballot box is a bridge too far.

Young voters think a Tik Tok video or a Twitter post is doing something.  That's why they're content at not voting.

There you go; a complete rundown of why Bernie Sanders is getting beat that doesn't include a Star Chamber conspiracy theory.  Then again, it's not over.  Bernie could pull off the massive upset and go onto the Presidential race.  If he does, his supporters need to find solutions to all of these points, because he will not beat Trump with this much baggage.




















Friday, March 6, 2020

The Friday Link for 3/6/20

For this weeks Friday Link(s) I will start off with Jessie Diggins.  The Olympic Cross Country skier was a guest on my radio show today (https://soundcloud.com/user-587903571/jessie-diggins-matt-mcneil-show-03062020) as she has a book, 'Brave Enough,' coming out next week.  The book is great, but not as great as this run at the 2018 Olympics.

She goes to the outside TWICE, cuts between the two racers and then wins the sprint to the finish.  In 100 years, people will remember that moment.  Here's the call:



For the other video's this week, let me first make a point about the male dominated sports industry.  When you hear the play call on the Diggins win, it's great.  It's not just a great moment for women's skiing, it's a great sports moment, period!  It's a far cry from the days (20 plus years ago) when sports networks would rather go with Australian Rules Football than show any women's sports.

This is why the next video is pretty funny.  It plays off the 1990's sports networks taking their third level sports play by play team and making them cover a women's sport neither of the testosteroned announcers had ever seen.  It was insulting to women, but also insulting to the networks who didn't even care enough to get people who knew the sports to announce them.

That's why this is one of the more underrated bits they did on Saturday Night Live.  It's Pete Twinkle and Greg Stink on ESPN Classic, covering women's sports.  The promotional ads are what make this bit work, but it was also its downfall.  Going to the well too many times beat this bit into submission.  When it did work, it was great.



Finally this week, Any Dem Will Do!  Thanks Randy Rainbow!



Have a great weekend everyone!







All Hail MST3K!

Sadly, Netflix has decided to not renew Mystery Science Theater 3000, and I'm sad.  I liked the Jonah version, and Patton Oswalt's TV's Son of TV's Frank was perfect!


I've loved how the show has changed in it's different incarnations.  The Joel years when they just started out, the early Mike years with Dr. Forrester are full of classic gems, the Pearl years were edgier, matching their style with horrifically bad movies, and then there is the new Netflix cast.  It some ways this was a return to the early Joel years with more basic riffing, but you could not deny the more Hollywood quality of the show.


There are magnificent episodes from every season fo the show, but I wanted to review the Season 11 and Season 12 Netflix episodes to pick the ones which are truly the best of their run.  Catch these episodes when you get the chance:

#5 - 1104/Avalanche - 1970's disaster film are always God awful, and this one didn't disappoint.  In what is a shockingly star studded bomb, there's a joke with Rock Hudson which is all time great.

#4 - 1112/Carnival Magic - A talking ape and lots of carnies...the only way a person could watch this film is with MST3K

#3 - 1201/Mac and Me - I'm actually shocked this movie hadn't been made into a MST3K prior to the shows 12th season.  It's a late 80's garbage remake of ET, five years too late and with zero money for special effects.  The explosion scene is one of the worst scenes ever filmed in movies.

#2 - 1110/Wizards of the Lost Kingdom - There's so much wrong with this film, but let me tell you about two of the supporting characters.  First there's an ape/vampire bat 'Ape-ula'.  And then there's Gulfax.  I will just post a picture of Gulfax.  You'll get my point.


Yep, it's THAT bad!

#1 - 11002/Cry Wilderness - Holy God!  They might have found the worst movie ever made. It's Manos Hands of Fate bad.  Everyone making the film must have been snorting a pound of cocaine a day.  There is nothing good here!  The riff of this movie is pure delight!

I'm not sure what viewing options will be available for these MST3K riffs in the future but take the time, with the kids, and enjoy.  A great concept like Mystery Science Theater 3000 never gets old.



Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Winning the Unwinable Game

Has this ever happened to you?

You know a Republican. They insists they vote GOP because they feel it's the party of decency and high moral fiber.  You immediately point out some Republican saying something incredibly indecent and lacking any moral fiber whatsoever, something you can find A LOT of examples of today, and ask your Republican friend "if you're so decent and high moral fiber, how come you aren't condemning that?" Their response is to not answer why they haven't condemned the easily condemnable, but to point out some Democrat saying something bad, demanding YOU have to apologize first.

Welcome to Republican Deflection 101!

THIS is how Republicans who claim to be Jesus incarnate on earth can still justify supporting politicians like Trump, Steve King and other incredibly LOW moral fiber humans.  They've created this 'out' which prevents them from ever having to acknowledge the true ugliness of the Republican Party.  "When EVERY Democrat in the country apologizes in writing, in triplicate, for this anonymous poster from an online website, who said this horrible thing, then, AND ONLY THEN, will I even begin to look at the behavior of my own party!"

They create an unattainable standard to prevent themselves from ever focusing on the cesspool the Republican Party has become.  Even if you were able to get every Democrat to apologize, in writing, in triplicate, for the comments of one guy online, instead of surveying the GOP, they'd focus on another anonymous 'left' comment, insisting "now all Democrats need to apologize for that one!"

The Republican Party exudes an insane amount of inflammatory and degrading rhetoric aimed at the Democrats, FAR more than the occasional idiot Democrat produces.  This is because they worship one of the biggest suppliers of ugly behavior, Trump.  They constantly mock and insult the left and when someone points out their indecent and non-moral fiber behavior, they'll insist they were only offering a simple critique.  Then, knowing they need to immediately go on the offensive, they'll 'clutch their pearls' about 'this one guy, in this one town, who said that one thing about a Republican.'

This deflection strategy applies to actions as well as words.  When you point out Trump has concentration camps on the border, Republicans first scream "no he doesn't," followed by "but Obama did it FAR worse!" (they don't even notice their contradiction)  When you prove Obama did nothing of the sort, they ignore the proof, and create a faux compromise, demanding "when every Democrat apologizes for Obama's FAR WORSE concentration camps, then, AND ONLY THEN, will I look at what exactly Trump is going."

Republicans love to scream about their righteousness but then insist everyone else has to be righteous before them.  Rightos, your supposed integrity is YOUR standard, not mine, yet you apply it to everyone else, as you insist Democrats never display the high moral fiber you yourself NEVER display. You scream about your righteousness without ever having to show how righteous you are!

It's a great way to never have to admit you're wrong, even when you're astronomically and horrifically wrong.  And Republicans down deep KNOW they're wrong about Trump and most Republican policies.  This is about them hiding in plain sight as opposed to living up to their own demands for civility.

Don't play their game, and here's how.  When they say or do something ghastly, then ask "do you think Jesus would be for concentration camps?"  Why they try to deflect, drive them back and say "we'll get to your other points in a moment, but answer my question.  Would Jesus be for concentration camps?"  Republicans HATE having to validate their actions against a Bible, especially when you quote from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  They might try to push some secondary Bible passage as a defense but most of the time, they'll run away.

If you are not a fan of the Bible, then maybe quote Reagan.  Like I said, they know they are wrong, so when faced with a 'fight or flight' scenario, they run away!  It's delicious!  Try it at home!




Saturday, February 29, 2020

There's No 'There' There

Why will this stock market slide be really bad?  The entire rest of the economy is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

Name an economic indicator that's not the Stock market.

Deficit - Worse
Inflation - Worse
Consumer Prices - Worse
Wage growth - Worse
Personal debt - Worse
Housing market - Worse
Treasury bonds - Worse
Energy Sector - Worse
Retail Sales - Worse
GDP - Worse
Manufacturing - Worse
Consumer Spending - Worse
Retirement - Worse
Trade - Worse
Currency - Worse
Employment - Even, but it can only get worse and the jobs being created for the last two years are almost all low wage/low skill


There's no 'there' there!  Behind the stock markets is a red herring.  The record levels for stocks were achieved by a fraudulent Trump tax bill, in reality a massive handout of US Taxpayer dollars to wealthy people and corporations.  They used a lot of this money not to create jobs and expand businesses, but to buy back their own stock.  They saw the rest of the economic indicators, so to give themselves a buffer they bought back their own stocks, adding value, in turn driving up the markets.

Corporate America was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Something would eventually scare Americans away from the stock market.  Enter the CoronaVirus.  CoronaVirus is deadly, but the real danger to America is what this disease could do to our economy, an economy driven by consumerism.  People not shopping.  People not eating out.  People not traveling.  This is not 1950's America with a strong backbone of manufacturing.  Those manufacturing jobs were eagerly shipped off to China so the executive class could make millions instead of hundreds of thousands.  Today, we're an economy driven by personality.  The hottest style, latest fashions, desired restaurants and coolest gadgets; if people stop buying the US brand, we're doomed.

CoronaVirus also has another economy crippling effect.  Eighty percent of the people infected with CoronaVirus get a mild version of the virus, but it still takes 2 to 6 weeks to recover.  Two to Six weeks!!!  This country can't survive 10% of its workforce being sidelined for a month.  Most Americans live check to check so a non-paid month will drain ever bit of charity America has, and quickly!

We are definitely headed for a recession, but there's a clear potential for a major economic depression.  Why?  The Ag Sector is in shambles due to Trump's unnecessary trade war.

The Great Depression didn't start off as a depression.  It was a recession, but then something extraordinary happened.  There were major crop failures in 1930, and then again in 31, 32, 33, 34.  There was an extended nationwide drought (the Dust Bowl), something no one thought could happen.  The Ag Sector before the Dust Bowl was economically stronger then it is today, but no one had even though of doing a model of what would happen if the entire sector went down for multiple years.  With no faith in corporate investments, and the Ag suffering the worse crisis in its history, the country entered a depression.

The entire Ag sector today is a mess.  Trump's trade war killed off markets, with some damaged for decades.  Farm Bankruptcies are near record highs.  Farm foreclosures are up.  Crop prices are stalled.  And with the added weather problems we've had for the last few years (a weather pattern forecast to continue for the near future), there's limited hope the Ag Sector can brace Wall Streets fall.

The financial experts at CNBC and Fox Business were screaming Buy Buy Buy at the beginning of the week.  By the end of the week, they were lashing out against "wussy" investors afraid of a few down stocks.  They see where this is going and they're trying to bully investors back into the markets.

CoronaVirus in America is getting worse by the second and patient zero is the US economy.  It's currently in a hospital bed listening to its vital signs get worse. And as of right now, there doesn't seem to be anything which can cure the patient.






Friday, February 28, 2020

The Friday Link for 2/28/20

Leap Year Fever!  Catch it!...well technically we probably can describe Coronavirus as 'Leap Year Fever' and you probably shouldn't catch that...

Why Leap year? Watch Mojo has a nice little breakdown for you:



For the rest of this week, a few unrelated clips, starting with My Cartoon President continuing their brilliant takedown of the Democratic Debates.



A SHOCKING end to an Antiques Roadshow segment with an official set mock up of the Ark of the Covenant from the "Raiders of the Lost Ark."  Remember, it's made of picture frames, trophies, glue guns decoration and spray paint.



And finally this week, Jim Gaffigan, the funniest man in America today, talking about drinking and bars.



Have a great Leap Day February 29th!  And have a great weekend.






Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Blue State Ball 2020

It's time for my annual recap of the fun we had at my radio station's (AM950 KTNF) annual big get together, The Blue State Ball!

This year we were in NE Minneapolis at Bauhaus Brew Labs.  I do not drink, but I did hear from many people that the beer was amazing!  Check them out!





Our national host this year was a crowd favorite.  Thom Hartmann flew in from the west coast!


By the way, that grinning idiot on the left is me.  We had the station staff there including all the producers and front office people.







That last guy is the owner of the station, Chad.  Our main speaker was the US House Representative from the MN-05, Ilhan Omar.  






She was so amazing.  Such a kind caring person.  She talked about Minnesota joy!  
After her we had an outstanding showing of Minnesota politicians.  

State Auditor Julie Blaha




Minnesota Senate Minority Leader Susan Kent





Hennepin County Sheriff Hutch! 



Plus two of my favorite soon to be Minnesota state Senators, Lindsey Port and Mary Kunesh-Podein!



Thom tore it up on stage! 





The surrogates for the Presidential candidates, including the Speaker of the Minnesota House Melissa Hortman and State Senator John Marty! 








It wouldn't be a Blue State Ball without the station founders, Janet Robert and Bill Luther!



They let this idiot on the stage.




I love how that last photo makes me look like a money noticing something in the crowd that scares me.  We had a lot of the weekend shows and great music as well! 







And of course the listeners. 






It was very cool to have it on a Sunday afternoon this year.  
The recurring theme was how this year, 2020, was going to be a huge year!  Get ready to work people!  We have so much to do!