Friday, February 23, 2018

The Friday Link for 2/23/18

Some funny stuff for you tonight!

John Oliver is back with a new season of Last Week Tonight!  He was missed.  The first breakdown he did this season was how Trump is being received outside of the United States.  Reminder, ALL of Trump's supporters insisted Trump would be FAR more loved than Obama ever was when it came to our allies and the rest of the world.  How is that going?

I'll let Mr. Oliver take it from here:

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Clearly Lesson Not Learned

Idiot NRA gun kooks are now pushing to arm teachers and education professionals in response to gun violence in schools, violence which can only be addressed by limiting access to guns.  Let's just run their scenario, shall we!  Here are a few 'ifs' you need to address before your master plan comes to fruition, morons:

Meet your new Geometry teacher!

IF you are willing to overlook the reality, that most people do not like guns, nor do they want to own them, nor do they want to own them and have them around young children (you will not be able to force mandatory gun ownership for teachers)...

IF you can come up with the billions in dollars it would take for teachers to be able to afford the guns (you will not be able force teachers to pay for the guns out of their own money)...

IF you can figure out a way to quell the fears of parents who HAVE THE RIGHT to NOT HAVE guns waived in their kid's faces 24/7/365...

IF you can come up with the money for the gun training classes teachers will need, which is more than a three hour lecture in a community center; something more like a ten to twelve week course, similar to the military and police, so they can safely have the weapon in a school environment around kids...

IF you can get the additional money the teachers will need for additional training, such as 'weapons combat in an urban environment, under a high stress situation'; training which is an additional ten to twelve weeks (training which will help the teacher not only figure out best shooting angles and circumstances, but will teach the teacher, who won't be wearing body armor, how to attempt to avoid being shot, while potentially taking a kill shot on an individual wearing full body armor)...

IF all teachers who are willing to be armed in a school are willing to have the weapon on their hip, with live rounds in the chamber, and safety off at all times (it would be useless to have these weapons in their desks, as a gunman entering their room would immediately shoot first.  These guns would have to be on their hip, ready to fire)...

IF these teachers just happen to be teaching in the classroom where the assailant attacks, and are able to keep their wits about them, get into a shooting position, draw the weapon, take aim, and fire while the children around them are getting torn to pieces in front of their eyes at an alarming rate...

And IF the teacher isn't the first one shot in the carnage...

Then maybe, MAYBE, the teacher might be able to save some of the kids.  It's incredibly unlikely they'd be able to get the lucky shot before the bullets started to fly.  The only way this would happen is if the gun wielding maniac is similar to a comic book villain, announcing what he's planning to do before he does it.

And who would be liable if a gunman did kill a few kids in a classroom where a teacher had a gun?  Even if a teacher stopped a gunman before the majority of their students were killed, would the teacher be blamed for the deaths of the one or two kids who died because they didn't react instantaneously?  My guess is right wing pundits and gun kooks would blame the teacher, not the crazed individual shooting the place up.

If not every teacher is armed, let me point out some other flaws with this plan.

Would an armed teacher actually leave a classroom of terrified children to fend for themselves, as the teacher attempted to run across a school campus to where an attack was occurring?  It seems to me the better option would be to have that teacher stay with their kids in their classroom, to keep them safe.  Imagine if the teacher left and a second assailant killed the kids in their classroom.

I know gun kook; "we'll just install $100K bullet proof doors in every classroom in America, and then put $50K bullet proof glass on every window in every school in America!"  Who's going to pay the trillions for that, fools?

And for the teacher desperately trying to get to the shooting, unless you're one or two doors down from the incident, your response time would be inadequate.  How many kids would be dead before the teacher even got there?  In many of these mass shootings, the carnage is done in two minutes or less.

Let's remember we've already tested this scenario.  A few years back, a Texas pro-gun group, The Truth About Guns, attempted to show that if one of the writers at Charlie Hebdo was armed during the terror attack on their offices, the terrorists would've been stopped.  They ran the attack over and over again.  They KNEW the attack was going to happen.  They HAD GUNS ready to use.  Everything was in their favor, and they failed to stop the attack, EVERY TIME.  As a matter of fact, in every scenario they all died, outside of one person.  The only one who survived was the one who left the building the minute the shooting began.

Tell the NRA to stop with the worthless plans we already know WILL NOT WORK!  It's time for gun  restrictions, gun rules and gun limitations, NOW!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Axe Fight

Imagine at the time the Constitution was written, instead of guns being mentioned in the 2nd Amendment, it was axes.  Say, for some reason, New York and Vermont boys were terrified of losing their axes, so to ensure their right to axes was preserved, they actually had the Founding Fathers preserve the right to bear axes in the 2nd Amendment instead.

For 184 years, no one paid too much fuss about axes.  For the most part, people respected others personal space when it came to axes.  They didn't hatchet random strangers in the streets, or wave their axes in grocery shopper's faces.  All the sudden, in the 1960's, racist white Americas who had always had their axes noticed African Americans had access to axes as well, and this scared white America.  They started to pass anti-axe laws, many of them introduced by Republicans who understood people were concerned about too many axes on the streets.

The axe industry didn't like this, but they also understood they had a role to play in axe safety.  Axes are dangerous, and so they quietly went along with the legislation.  At the same time, they started developing newer axes, more powerful axes, axes with bigger heads, and multiple blades.  They even created an automatic axe which had six circling heads and could cut through anything pretty quickly with its razor sharp blades.

In the 1980's, a crazed man attacked the President with an axe, and did some serious damage to not only the president, but to others who were surrounding him.  People noticed in the last decade more axe violence seemed to be prevalent, matching the timeline the axe manufacturers started successfully marketing their modern axes to people who felt the axe would get them the respect they felt they deserved.  Laws were passed restricting axes, as common sense ruled the land.  People were realizing axes everywhere was a bad idea.

The axe industry stewed.  They had started making real money off of the non-lumberjack market and wanted more.  They converted their axe safety organization, the NAA, to an advocacy group, promoting axes and axe owner rights.  They started to spread money around to the politicians, especially the Republicans who always like to 'make believe,' wanting to look like tough guys to the dim witted.  The NAA started to challenge anti-axe laws which were put into place with popular votes, laws which made a tremendous amount of common sense.  With their bankrolled politicians, the NAA started having success.  They put out a list of which politicians were friendly to the axe industry and which politicians were the enemies of the NAA.  They related axe ownership with rural values.  "Didn't your ma and pa have an axe?  We're just carrying on the great American axe tradition!"

Then in the 90's, as the axe industry developed more and more powerful axes, politicians who had NAA endorsement started giving the axe industry back their money, ten fold.  They removed axe laws.  Anyone could carry an axe, anywhere, no background checks for axe purchases, EVER, no government research on the dangers of axes, no inspections of axe dealers records.  The goal of the axe industry was no longer advocacy, but forced axe ownership.  No one should be allowed to be axe-less, and if you dared speak out about the dangers of axes, you were anti American.  They rescinded the common sense restrictions, with the promise, "with many axes on the streets, everyone will be safe, crime will cease, and the world would be a better place."

Far from it.  Late in the first decade of the 2000's, we started to see the rise of axe slaughters.  Schools, offices, movie theaters, concerts, airports, churches; all of them were being targeted.  The common theme was the murderers had been able to get access to axes, even when they CLEARLY shouldn't have had any axes at all.  The NAA, terrified of their narrative being shouted down, got their mouthpieces and politicians to start talking about anything else but what the problem really was. Video games! Gangs! Mental illness! Terrorism! Anything to take the focus off the real problem, axes.  They then would scream how "it's too soon to talk about axe violence,' knowing they were only trying to silence the negative coverage, never intending on revisiting the mess they had created.

And the cycle of axe violence continues over and over and over and over and over and...

In early America, at the time the Constitution was written, the axe was a much more useful than the gun.  A muzzle loading weapon was somewhat useless if confronted by multiple enemies at once.  Many of the early settlers used guns for hunting only.  The idea of preserving them in the 2nd Amendment was far more about trying to make white plantation slave owners in the south happy.  Disgusting.

The axe was a more lethal weapon back then.  If you did get attacked, you could use it to defend yourself against one or more people, you could use it hand to hand combat or throw it, and it was a mandatory tool in regions where settlers depended on wood for heat.

When the founding fathers wrote guns into the Constitution, they had no idea what the future would bring, and if they could see what the 2nd Amendment has become, they'd rip it out of the final draft in a heartbeat.

Stop trying to make AR-15's into some sort of manifest destiny laid down by the founding fathers.  They weren't.  To imply that is to suggest they knew a ten headed motorized axe would come to life one day, and that's insane.

If axes today were one tenth as deadly as guns are, we'd regulate them tighter than a whales butt.  We already do regulate them more than guns.  Once my son took an axe to a hardware store cash register as I continued to shop for other things, and I was approached by a store manager who asked if it was okay.  He said the store had a policy;  no axes being sold to certain people, as they'd deemed axes "too dangerous too be sold to just anyone." His words, not mine.

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Friday Link for 2/16/18

Hi all, with it being President's Day weekend, I'm off to get my Chester A. Arthur shined! Tis the season!

YouTube is full of absolute crap videos, but it does offer a platform where the occasional do it yourself guy can eventually work their way up the YouTube system, and develop their hobby and passion into something bigger.

Meet The Hacksmith.  This is a channel which tries to take the cool things you see in the movies and make them real.  Sure these guys look somewhat aimless, but in truth, they're incredibly science smart, and you can't deny their success.

In this video, the jet engine they bought is quite expensive and dangerous, yet it does not stop them from exploring the possibility using it to create an Iron Man type of flying rig.  Let's face it, we all want one, and The Hacksmith is trying to make it happen!!!

Fun for the whole family!  I'm going continually check back on these guys to see if they actually can pull this off.

Have a great weekend and be safe!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A Ray of Promise

I'm a little frustrated at the reaction from Democrats in regards to the two special election race outcomes we had on Monday.  I'd love to have won both seats by 80%, but it's foolish to think this would've been the outcome.  FOR GOD'S SAKE PEOPLE, Republicans and Evangelical Christians voted for Trump AFTER he mocked a disabled man, refused to release his tax returns, and had the Access Hollywood tape come to light.  It should be no surprise these fools, even if they're furious at the right for the disaster this country is becoming, would 'lemming' their way back to the polls to keep them in power.

The truth is Monday's outcomes in Minnesota should give Democrats a ray of promise to what is coming.  Let me explain.

Minnesota House seat 23B:

This was Tony Cornish's seat, a seat he relinquished after tales of alleged sexual misconduct came to light.  In 2012 and 2014, Cornish ran unopposed.  In 2016, only 15 months ago, he won the seat by 34.  Melissa Wagner did an outstanding job, campaigning her caboose off.  It was an uphill climb, but in the end, the Republican carried the day handily.  I know some might be down about the loss, but look at the margin.  The Dolt Republican only won by 19%.  That's not small change.  A 4-5% change would be very understandable, but 15%, in only 15 months?  That's a big deal, and mind you, this is with TONS of GOP special interest money pouring into that race, a district which the MNGOP has usually taken for granted.

Minnesota Senate seat 54:

Congratulations to Democrat Karla Bigham for winning the seat, and setting up an epic battle for whom controls the MN Senate.  This was a four point win, in a seat which went for the Democrats by 6 points 15 months ago.  One might be discouraged by this outcome, considering the point I made about 23B, but in truth, this was a far more impressive showing.

As opposed to Republicans, who seem content on labeling any sex pervert actually or allegedly found violating any woman, man, corpse or animal as displaying wholesome Christian values, Democrats have standards.  The former Democratic Senator was found to have engaged in a series of unacceptable harassing behaviors, and resigned in disgrace.  This undeniably made some voters question whether a Democrat deserved another crack at the seat.  Add in the MNGOP convincing one of the more popular Republicans in the state, 'Screaming Mad' Denny McNamara, to come out of retirement for the race, and add the undeniable 'heaps of special interest cash' advantage from the right's coffers pouring into the southeastern Twin Cities suburbs, and add the fact this is truly a Jeckle/Hyde district, split almost 50/50; it should've been the rare Republican win in the age of Trump.

Not the case.  Even with all of those disadvantages, the Democrats won.  Not only that, they kept alive a chance for the Democrats to share control of the Minnesota Senate.  Republican Senator Michelle Fischbach had to become Lt. Governor when Tina Smith was appointed US Senator to fill Al Franken's seat.  The Minnesota Constitution is pretty clear on this; the MN Senate President, even if they're from the opposing party, HAS TO become the acting Lt. Gov., and CAN'T HOLD ONTO THEIR SENATE SEAT. A judge just threw out a Democratic lawsuit challenging Fischbach holding both, but before Republicans high five, the reason he did so was because Fischbach hadn't been officially sworn in as a Senator for this session, hence the case will be reintroduced when the session begins. Fischbach will have to surrender her seat.

Did I mention with Bigham's win, the Senate has only a one seat Republican majority with Fischbach?  If she has to vacate her seat, the Senate becomes a tied body, meaning joint leadership, meaning the MNGOP Republicans won't be able to jam their bills through.

What do these two races tell us about November 2018?

First, Trump is having a downward effect on Republican enthusiasm. This tangible downward trend isn't going to correct itself because Trump is an idiot, incapable of running the country with the nuance and dignity required of the office.  On the same day as the special election, Trump announced an embracing of private businesses (toll roads) as the new way to fix all roads in the country, announced major cuts to Medicaid, a halting of Medicare expansion, and 1.7 trillion of cuts to government services to pay for the 1.5 trillion he just gave to the wealthiest Americans.  He also said the Administration plans on replacing food stamps with a box of food to be dropped off once a month to poor people.  And did I mention porn star payoffs, the Administration protecting spousal abusers, and the Russians?  Trust me, his popularity amongst Trump supporters will continue to decline, albeit not by the numbers you'd think.

Secondly, there's no way on the planet the Republicans can spend like they did in 23B and 54 in November.  In Minnesota, they have a Governors race, all statewide offices, TWO Senate races, all the US House seats, and the Minnesota House up for grabs.  The Republicans NEED to have races where there's no need to spend money, like when Cornish was running in 23B.  If they have to spend big money in every district in the state, they're screwed.  They already seem to be conceding Klobuchar's Senate seat, and so far have not been able to get together stellar candidates for any of the other races, namely because you have to become a belligerent Trump supporter to win the MNGOP Primaries, something most Republicans don't want to do, knowing it will poison the voting pool.

By the way Minnesota DFL, shame on you for not having a major candidate running against EVERY Republican this election cycle!

Lastly, the Democrats did something truly amazing.  They showed up!  WOW!  Was that too hard?  Of course not, and you made a difference.  The call needs to be made, a major campaign to ensure everyone is registered to vote, everyone knows how to vote, how to take advantage of early voting, and where their polling place is.  The last one is especially important as Republican dirty tricksters, realizing they needed to discourage Americans from their right to vote, purposely sent out mailers informing people of wrong polling places in 54 (this story relayed to me by a listener call).

A ray of sunshine, of hope, of promise, has started to burn away the cold of Winter.  Democrats, be happy, but realize we have a lot of work to do if we're going to save the country.  Remember, #2018IsEverything!!!

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Friday Link for 2/9/18

The minute I saw this interview, I knew I was going to have to make it the Friday Link.

There's a reason many people get (some of) their news from late night talk show hosts.  They're not held to a foolish self imposed standard which says they always have to take a neutral stance in regards to people who are clearly in the wrong.  News is being ruined by the news itself; lost in their post 1990's and 2000's GOP beat down, acting as if they call Trump a fool, even when he is doing the most foolish things possible, they're wrong.

This isn't about demanding a bias media.  I want neutrality in my journalism, but I don't think intelligent media people should purposely dumb themselves down.  If the sky is blue, and someone insists it's green, you DO NOT have to give green sky guy weight.  Too many times (immigration, environment, climate change, racial injustice) the media fails, lost in their quest to give the minuscule the same clout as what 99.99999% of the world KNOWS is fact.

But this is why late night hosts are a special.  Not only can they call the fool the fool, they're actually exposing the news media's failure to do the same.  That's why people look at them as a news source.

What follows is the greatest analysis of Trump I have seen to date.  Stephen Colbert and John Oliver explain Trump better than anyone else has.  Watch and see.

And Part 2:

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Thoughts on the Super Bowl

It's been an interesting last few weeks in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  It started with the epic deflation of Viking fans, as the team lost the NFC Championship game at Philadelphia, and culminated in a showcase where, quite frankly, the city ended up being the star of the Super Bowl evening.  Beautiful shots of the Minneapolis skyline, and the surrounding area, peppered the broadcast, with a great salute to Prince during the halftime show making the single digit temperature city look like the hottest place on the planet.

A huge salute to the local organizers of the event.  I know people who are at these things every year and they all said this was one of the best organized and friendliest experiences they ever had.  The volunteers were amazing, making 'Minnesota Nice' the first image anyone took away.  It was as if the city was overrun by greeters from the Disney store.  The Winter Carnival was a great addition to the events, bringing in St. Paul nicely.  The Mall of America was a sensation media center for the entire event, and downtown Minneapolis never shied away from the fact this is a northern city in a colder climate.  The embracing of the cold made everything downtown click.

The only complaints I heard were from whiners, primarily sports reporters, who look at the Super Bowl as a way to get a freebie vacation in a warm, sunny destination.  Their bellyaching got old really fast.  Goodbye and let the door hit you in the caboose on the way out.

As far as the game, it was a hoot!  I did have two problems with the officiating, problems which would've likely changed the outcome of the game.  This is NOT about raining on the Philadelphia Eagles' parade, but more of a scratching of my head at what exactly the NFL's rules are.  It comes down to two of the touchdowns the Eagles got.

In the third quarter, Corey Clement caught a 22 yard pass from Nick Foles which he pulled down in the end zone, scoring a touchdown.  Replays showed two problems which should've negated the score.  Clement didn't seem to have control of the football, as the ball slightly juggled around in his hands.  At best, the ball was jostling, but giving him the benefit of the doubt on what the definition of 'control' is, he clearly didn't have control with two feet firmly inbounds, hence the touchdown should've be negated.  The TV hosts were stunned AFTER the officials looked at replay and ruled it a touchdown.

Here's my problem, something Chris Collinsworth of the broadcast echoed.  The league seems to have a WILDLY different ruling on this type of play during the regular season and the playoffs.  AT LEAST 30 catches and AT LEAST 10 touchdowns during the regular season, plays which had FAR more legitimacy than Clement's catch, were overturned.  These overturned touchdowns cost teams games and playoff standings.  If you're going to allow that touchdown to stand in the Super Bowl, then someone needs to explain to me why they're not letting these other touchdowns stand during the regular season.

The other play of question was the 4th quarter touchdown which Nick Foles threw to Zach Ertz, who clearly seemed to have control of the ball and lunged into the end zone.  An immediate review tried to determine where exactly Ertz stopped being a receiver and became a 'runner with the ball.'  If he was a receiver, then technically, since the ball was bobbling around before he went to the ground, it was not a catch.  If he had secured the ball and then dove into the end zone, the second the ball broke the plane of the end zone, it was a touchdown.

I'll side with Philly on this one.  It was a legit touchdown, which does lead to the question of how the league could use such a flimsy excuse earlier in the year to negate a clear touchdown by the Pittsburgh Steelers in a crucial game.  Once again, I just want consistency.  If you're not going to throw out the touchdown in the Super Bowl, why then, when the Steelers clearly had a far better case for their touchdown, don't you allow that one to stand as well?

Then again, there were at least seven mysterious 7-figure bets placed on the Eagles in the days leading up to the game, something so unusual even ethically challenged gambling mecca Las Vegas called it out.  Make your own conclusions...

My final Super Bowl comment has to do with Philadelphia fans and the failure the team and the league to reign in CLEARLY unacceptable behavior.  I never realized how cordial the Green Bay/Minnesota rivalry was until I saw Eagles fan.  It was bad enough the litany of completely unacceptable behavior at the NFC Championship game in Philadelphia, but I've heard reports from Minneapolis of assault, unacceptable verbal abuse and outright threats, ranging from "we'll kick your ass" to improper sexual comments made to families leaving the game.

NFL, YOU have to fix this.  Beer sales at the stadium can not be the deciding factor on what is tolerated.  If the fans are out of line, they should be escorted out of the stadium and their tickets should be revoked.  Breathalyzers should be stationed at every entrance, making sure drunken idiots are not allowed to threaten and assault people, and beer sales should be further limited in the stadium.  The Eagles organization has allowed this to get so far out of control they'll need to activate the National Guard for game security in order to clean this mess up.

On the good side Philly, you now have a ticket people will pay top dollar for.  Look at that as a way to offset the smaller beer sales.

I will be consistent;  the cost of the stadium was still not worth it.  It just wasn't.  That aside, it was a good party.  Here's hoping the short term revenues are good, because no one will remember Minneapolis/St. Paul hosted it in three years.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Friday Link for 2/2/18

For this week, let's go with the utter incompetence of the Republicans Party, and their leader, Trump.

I just finished reading what was supposed to be the smoking gun invalidating any need for an investigation into the Trump/Russia affair, the Nunes Memo.  To say it doesn't deliver DOES NOT give it justice.  The Nunes Memo actually does more damage to the defenders of Trump than it helps.

The very abridged version, all of which is validated within the Nunes' memo:
  • The FBI DID NOT begin their investigation into Trump/Russia, specifically Carter Page, because of the Steele Dossier.  They began the investigation into him because of Trump Campaign Aide George Papdopoulos getting drunk in London and bragging to Australian diplomats the Russians had the Clinton/DNC emails, and the Trump campaign was very interested in them.  The Australians contacted US authorities. The FBI decided on looking further into Carter Page because of his questionable contacts with the Russians dating back to 2013.
  • The Steele Dossier only added to the FBI's case
  • Nunes, Trump and the GOP's argument is that because the writer of the Steele Dossier, Michael Steele, was not a fan of Trump's, he should've been discounted.  Their argument is due to Steele's personal dislike, nothing he said can be trusted.  An informant's personal feelings on a person they're informing on are irrelevant to the legal standing of the case.  If the evidence was there, which it was, the warrant would be issued
  • The Nunes Memo actually points out Michael Steele's track record is so good, and so admired, his intelligence information is long trusted by the US government.
  • Even without the Steele Dossier, the FBI would've EASILY justified a warrant against Carter Page
This was the Republican's memo!!!  THEY wrote it.  THEY edited it.  THEY released it.  They've actually done far more damage against Trump than one can imagine.  The Hill pointed to this and said it proves the Republicans are not built to lead, only to campaign. 

I call it 'they're idiots.'

Further proof.  Earlier this week, Jimmy Kimmel hosted the porn star Stormy Daniels.  Stormy was paid off, allegedly, by Trump in the weeks before the 2016 election to keep quiet about an alleged affair Trump had with her, and possibly other porn stars, in the weeks and months after First Lady Melania had given birth to Baron.  Remarkably, everything seemed to be dismissed just prior to the State of the Union speech, when an alleged denial letter came to light, supposedly from Stormy, which denied Trump and her had ever had an affair.

When Kimmel gets her on the show, he immediately points out the signature from the denial on Tuesday is not her signature, which opens up a can of worms.  Seriously, someone, quite possibly someone in the White House, thought this would go unchecked.  They're idiots.

Here is Kimmel's interview with Stormy Daniels for your Friday Link.  

Patriots win is my guess.  Have a great weekend everyone.