Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Defrocked Saints

I like sports.  It's part of the American culture, and at various times in my career, I've worked at a radio station in a sports capacity.

I know people don't usually follow me for sports takes, but I have been taking a lot of grief lately about my thoughts on a specific football story, and I just need to vent.

In the NFC Championship game, the LA Rams beat the New Orleans Saints 26-23 in overtime to advance to the Super Bowl.  It was a hard hitting entertaining game, but the game is only known for one play, the non-pass interference call on the LA Rams which the Saints are convinced was the difference maker in them going to the Super Bowl verses where they are now, staying at home.

It was a blown call.  Pass interference did indeed happen, but my point after the game was it wasn't the blown call which cost the Saints, rather New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton being one of the WORST coaches I've ever seen.  Since then, I've been attacked by rabid Saints fans.  I'm still 100% convinced Payton's stupidity and bravado is what defrocked the Saints.

Let me get three things out of the way.  First off, Sean Payton shouldn't even be a coach in the league, not after the insane Bounty Scandal.  Payton pooled together a slush fund to reward Saints players who injured opponents, hence fulfilling a 'bounty' on the opposing player.  The NFL had irrefutable evidence of this, and even after the league had informed the Saints organization they were being investigating, Payton continued with his on the field head hunting.  In the end, he was suspended for an entire season, but frankly, he should've never been allowed to coach at the pro levels again.

Second, the New Orleans Saints, led by one of the all time greatest quarterbacks in Drew Brees, should have at least three Super Bowl trophies, if not more.  Payton is such a bad coach he's wasted one of the all time great's careers, a guy in Brees who deserves so much more than what he's received with Payton.

Finally, Payton is a grade 'A' jackass.  He just is.  He loves being it.

Let me set the stage for why the Saints should've won against the Rams.  Late in the 4th quarter, the score was 20-20.  Drew Brees threw a 43 yard pass to get the Saints to the LA 13 yard line as the game hit the two minute warning (1:58 to be exact).

LA had only two timeouts, so if the Saints simply ran the ball three times, they would've burned off at least a minute of the remaining time, had a chip shot field goal to give them the lead, and then kicked the ball deep into Rams territory, giving them a minute and no timeouts to get down the field for a field goal to tie the game.

Running the ball three times at this point is not some bizarre strategy.  This is pretty much what EVERY other coach would've done.  That's not what Payton did.

The first down play was an ill advised incomplete pass which stopped the clock after only three seconds had expired (1:55), to which the Saints then took a timeout.  Second down was a run play for no gain, taking another 6 seconds off the clock (1:49).  LA had to burn a timeout at this point. Third down was the pass with the blown pass interference call.  A few things about this pass.  I originally felt the PI call wasn't made because the pass was not really catchable.  Even after watching the review I still think it was likely going to be an incomplete pass, OR the receiver Lewis would've had to step out of bounds to catch it, negating the pass and stopping the clock.  Even if he had caught it without pass interference, it was still a borderline first down, likely short, meaning they'd have to kick the field goal anyway.  Regardless, this 'incomplete pass' stopped the clock again, leaving 1:41 on the clock as the Saints kicked the field goal to take the lead.

Seventeen seconds.  That's all Sean Payton managed to burn off the clock, and even more egregious was him leaving the Rams with one of their timeouts.  That's mind boggling.  A decent coach would've left the Rams in a far tougher situation, but not Payton.

Then Saints fans want to forget how the Rams marched down the field, kicking a 48 yard field goal to tie the game with 15 seconds left.  They want you to forget the Saints won the coin toss for the ball in overtime and four plays later, the Saints offensive line allowed penetration which tipped a Brees pass into the hands of a Rams defender. Five plays later, the Rams kicked their way into the Super Bowl, a final drive the Saints failed to stop.

Sean Payton cost the Saints the Super Bowl, plain and simple.  He screwed up the series after the two minute warning, and then he allowed the Rams to tie the game, and then he watched as his team failed in OT.  The reason the Saints fans are focusing on the blown PI call is because it's easier to blame the officials as opposed to your own head coach for the loss.

To be fair, let me point out an even more boneheaded mistake from the NFL, albeit a team's single mistake as opposed to Payton's career of failure. The Chicago Bears could've rested their starters in week 17 of the regular season, allowing the Vikings to make the playoffs.  They would've destroyed the Vikings at home in the first round of the playoffs, instead of losing to the Philadelphia Eagles.  They then would've destroyed the Rams in the 2nd round, and would've likely beat either the Saints or Cowboys to get to the Super Bowl.  Instead, it was FAR more important for the Bears to make a regular season statement against the Vikings, as opposed to making a far more important statement in the playoffs.

Would've, could've, should've, but I will state (without a doubt) the Saints would be in the Super Bowl if not for the incredible ineptitude of Sean Payton.

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Friday Link for 1/25/19

For this week, I want to go to Cheers.

I was thinking about this show as I was down visiting my dad.  He's having some health issues, so I visited him and my mom in South Carolina.

You start to remember things about your parents when you look back at their lives, especially how you interacted with them.  Back in the 70's and 80's, most nights were my dad coming home, getting a few drinks in him (he had seven kids.  I'd have a few too), reading the evening edition of the Providence Journal, and then starting a slow meal making process as they watched the evening news.  Afterwards they'd put on one of their favorite TV shows.  They loved This Old House, and The Muppet Show.  They also would follow which movies would be airing on the networks, making sure to catch the comedies.

I will never forget my parents laughing hysterically at Cheers.  They loved that show.

For my dad and mom, here are two compilations.

What I loved about Cheers wasn't the show, but how I got to hear my parents laugh.

Have great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The Brilliance of Clint Watts

Clint Watts is a man who's been setting off alarm bells about Trump for two years.  The former FBI investigator and current distinguished research fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute has been trying to warn us all Trump is compromised, a puppet of the Russians, and unless we do something about it, our democracy might not survive.

This is a reposting of an insanely epic Twitter thread from Watts, where he basically breaks down all the connections between Trump and the Russians.  He did this off the top if his head (admitting he's probably missed more than a few), displaying a litany of evidence proving Trump's compromised status.

Show these to everyone, especially the Trump apologists.  At any other time in this country's history, Trump would be in jail by now.  Instead, he's surrounded by a legion of zealots ready to fall upon swords.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Face to Face

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, here's an interview he did on the BBC show Face to Face, from 1961.

Truly one of the greatest men the Lord ever blessed us with.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Friday Link for 1/18/19

Hi all!

For this Friday, I want to revisit something we talked about on the radio show, Bird Box, the new Sandra Bullock movie on Netflix.  We were talking about it because of the stupidity of some people who are trying to mimic the blind driving scene from the movie.  Driving without watching the road apparently leads people to have accidents.  I KNOW!

Bird Box itself is not the focus of the Link this week, but I will say it's not a bad film.  I liked Sandra Bullock and John Malkovich, and Trevante Rhodes really shines, but the film feels somewhat warmed over.  Multiple other movies have done similar end of times like plots.  A good example of this would be A Quiet Place, a very solid film.  A bad example would be The Happening.

The Happening was kind of the final straw in the previous downfall of M. Night Shymalan, the director who exploded onto the scene with three of the best movies from the turn of the centruy, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable and Signs.  He got known as the guy who put a last second twist in a movie full of jump scares, and those three movies deliver.  He then did The Village (not a bad film but you kind of see the 'twist' coming from a mile away) followed by Lady in the Water (an outright dud).  The Happening was his chance at trying to come back, albeit with one major mistake.

If you have not seen The Happening, I recommend you do for one reason.  They made the horrible decision to cast Mark Wahlberg as the lead.  I like Wahlberg, and he can act, but this was NOT the role for him.  Half of his facial expressions seem to be him wondering if he's in the movie or if it's the real world.  It's the facial expression of a guy who's the dumbest guy in math class being asked to answer the toughest problem on the test.  Think I'm lying?  CinemaSins will set you straight!

By the way, it should be mentioned M. Night Shymalan is bouncing back with the third movie from the Unbreakable series, Glass.  It was a smart move for him to go back to an old friend.

For another video, I'm going off to deep pace again, and the 'Nova' program's excellent episode on the New Horizons space craft, the one that went past Pluto, and the challenge for them to see what they could find further out.  I love the frantic look to see if they could find something further past Pluto to focus New Horizons on, and when they finally do find a faint tiny body way out there, how the Earth based telescopes actually got a decent idea of what it looked like from Earth.  Science is amazingly cool.

Have a great weekend everyone, and have a wonderful MLK Day!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The New Confederate Flag

I'm so happy people have finally started to realize the Confederate flag is NOT something which should be displayed in the United States, at least not in a formal capacity.  Part of historical display?  Absolutely, but it's the flag of the ENEMY of the United States, an insurgency funded and fueled by twisted, hate filled men who wanted to keep the ownership of minorities legal.  The Confederacy killed hundreds of thousands of US citizens (beyond their own ranks) and were looking to destroy America.  They felt slavery was more important than preserving this country. The Confederate flag is no better than a Nazi or ISIS flag.

Racists would feebly attempt to hide their true motivations as they chuckled about "southern pride and heritage," as the flag, a symbol of hate, was flown in town squares, on government buildings, and in schools. In the last ten years, we've finally started to wake up from the lie that flag represented.

But now we've been presented with the Confederate flag's replacement, the Trump flag.

There's nothing wrong with a person who wants to fly Trump paraphernalia at their home or on their car because they like the guy.  More power to you! That's Freedom of Speech and that's protected, but like the Confederate flag, racists, bigots and the uneducated are trying to use Freedom of Speech to justify them to rubbing the Trump flag into anti-Trump people's faces, especially the faces of minorities.  That's racist.

The latest example of Trump supporters pushing their Trump love too far took place in the mostly white rural school district of Jordan, Minnesota.  Tuesday night, Jordan hosted Minneapolis Roosevelt, a school from the inner city who has a far larger minority population than Jordan.  At the game, Jordan students were displaying a Trump 2020 flag, clearly aimed at the predominantly minority Minneapolis Roosevelt team, coaching staff and fans.

(photo from Star Tribune)

Let's not mix words; Trump is a racist.  Everything he's done in office has been with a racist skew.  He's embraced racists and bigots, validating their ignorant thought processes, and in return, they've pledged their undying support.  Trump has validated them.  This is why we have an insane amount of racists verbally and physically attacking minorities across the country.  Trump has allowed the cockroaches to feel that it's safe to come out of the shadows.

I've been going to high school sporting events with my family for five years.  In all of the times I've been at a field, arena, ice rink, court, or pool, not once have I seen ANY political flag, sign, or poster.  All the sudden Jordan does it when Minneapolis Roosevelt comes to their town, and we're supposed to take it as harmless fun.

There's a weak out for the flag kids.  If Jordan, for some strange reason, allowed their kids to always bring political banners, signs and flags to all sporting events, then what these kids did isn't necessarily with an ulterior motive.  It does open up to the question of why Jordan Public schools, a tax payer funded institution, would allow such blatant political favoritism to be displayed at official school events, but hey, they want to get sued, bon appetite!

That's not what happened here.  The Jordan kids seem to have brought the flag specifically to the Minneapolis Roosevelt game.  They knew the racial makeup of the opponent, and seemingly displayed the flag as a "you may be from a racial diverse community, BUT YOU'RE IN WHITE TRUMP COUNTRY NOW" pseudo threat to the African American players.  The coach of Roosevelt's team was right to post the photo of the kids and express outrage at what clearly seems to be an attempt at racial intimidation.

Some Jordan parents are insisting the people upset have it all wrong, that this was only a planned theme night, a "USA blackout" night.  The term "blackout" for a sports team's themed night is in reference to the crowd wearing all black, not red, white and blue.  That would be a 'Red, White and Blue night' or a 'USA night.'  The community referring to the evening as a 'blackout' night seems to be a telling omen.

Some people are saying it's just a political flag, and 'shouldn't we be happy the kids are politically active?'  Once again, this was an official event at a taxpayer funded institution.  You can tell us all day how the school didn't coordinate the attire, but they hosted the event.  This wasn't a hat or t-shirt, but rather a flag.  There weren't any Clinton or Obama flags/signs/posters being displayed, hence the argument the kids were only partaking in a glorified 'political experiment' is very reminiscent to the Confederate flag supporters "Southern pride and heritage" argument to justify their intimidation.

Many Jordan residents are saying "these are just kids, without a racist bone in their body."  Yet many of them don't want to acknowledge quite a few people are bothered by these kids actions.  They're ignoring the implied racism and are only screaming about how their little Billy or Susie is innocent.  They've upset a lot of African Americans, and dismissing their frustration is a racially condescending attempt to make a feeble excuse for the kids.

One parent in particular, Bridget Kahn, not only takes the blame for the flag, she also inadvertently seems to admit the truth.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune story quotes her as waving away any criticism the Trump flag is racist, but then Kahn, without provocation, and quite inexplicably, pointed out the Minneapolis Roosevelt team stayed in the locker room during the National Anthem.

Okay...the story was about Jordan kids displaying the Trump flag, not what the Minneapolis Roosevelt kids did in private during the National Anthem, but let's go down Bridget's rabbit hole...

The reason they're in the locker room is because lily white snowflake conservatives are so upset at African American athletes taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest racial inequities and discrimination in America today.  The Minneapolis Roosevelt team was protesting, but they did so in private, out of sight.   Kahn seems to be bringing up this as a way to vilify the Minneapolis Roosevelt team, when all they were doing was engaging in their right to protest in a non-offensive manner.

Kahn seems to be implying the Trump flag was justified because Minneapolis Roosevelt didn't stand at attention, on the court, during the National Anthem.  For Trump supporters, they feel as if the African American protest of the National Anthem is more of a protest against Trump and the USA.  Why do they think this?  Because Trump told them, in numerous racially tinged tirades.  She might feel as if the flag is an equal counter protest.  This would be flying the Trump flag out of ignorance, but ignorance doesn't erase or validate the racism of the flag.  If the flag was a counter protest against African Americans protesting racial inequity, then it was a racist counter-protest, regardless of what the fools though they were doing.

Kahn seems to have, unintentionally, let the cat out of the bag in regards to the real reason that flag was at the game.  Considering the Jordan High School Athletic Program was aware Minneapolis Roosevelt was going to protest during the National Anthem, the question should be whether the Trump flag counter protest was coordinated and/or organized by the Jordan school or athletic department in any capacity.

The sad truth is the fools who allowed this to happen have now placed a target on the players and coaches for Jordan.  These guys will have to venture out into more racial diverse communities for games.  Because the Jordan parents and teachers failed to educate the kids of Jordan, the boys basketball team is going to bear some unfortunate consequences.  Don't be surprised when they experience jam packed gyms on the road; fans eager to have their home team play 'the racist team from Jordan.'  This stupid stunt will have much bigger ripples than just a Trump themed swipe against the African American kids from Minneapolis Roosevelt.  Let's hope it causes the parents and kids of Jordan to rethink their actions too.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Non-Existent Popularity

Popularity is an odd duck.  Our concepts of what is popular are usually omitting facts which can change a person's perception of what we consider culturally significant.

We consider a movie a huge success if it's the #1 movie in the country, but how popular is that?  For a movie like The Upside, this week's #1 movie, that can mean only 30-40 people are (on average) in any given showing of the film, with a total of around 2.25 million people catching the film on it's opening weekend, in a country of 325,700,000.  That translates to .6% of the population, less than 1%, not exactly overwhelming.  But we still label it a huge success.

Meanwhile the viewer totals for a YouTube channel or for a streaming service can deliver far more viewers.  As I type this, YouTube video 'Is Organic Really Better?' has 1.4 million views, in 12 hours.  Granted people are not paying for a ticket to see it, but regardless it's still wildly popular.   Kurt Russell had the biggest movie of his career on Netflix this Holiday season.  The Christmas Chronicles was watched by 20 million people, IN ONE WEEK! That would translate to around a little less than a 200 million dollar opening week, ranking it as nearly a top 20 opening week of all time (if it had been released in theaters).  6.1% of the US population watched that holiday film, and that IS with a subscription service price attached.

Same thing goes for top TV shows.  Have you heard about the hot new show 'The Masked Singer'? Nearly 9 1/2 million people watched it the week of Dec. 31 to January 6th, only 2.8% of the population, but the way it was talked about in media, both traditional and social, made you think FAR more people caught the show. And even though the music industry doesn't have anything close to the album sales of the past, digital downloads and online streaming service playlists can produce huge audiences.

The main reason I'm pointing all of this out is to make you question what is popular, particularly when it comes to entities whose popularity anoints them with misguided and dangerous false influence and success.

Trump LOVES Fox news and right wing radio hosts.  He loves them so much he takes their advice on many issues.  We're currently in the longest government shutdown in US history because Trump was brow beaten into it by these right wing media celebrities, and Trump is terrified of being labeled a loser by the same entities, meaning he's determined to hold the US government hostage to get what he wants, namely 5 billion in US tax payer dollars to pay for an foolish border wall.

We think many right wing TV and radio hosts are extremely popular, and (when comparing them to others in their industries) they are.  But in reality these people only appeal to a small portion of the population, as a whole. For December 2018 (Talkers Magazine), the number one radio show was Rush Limbaugh, a host Trump regularly listens to for advice on running the country.  Rush had a very impressive 14 million listeners on average in December, a massive number for a radio show, but comparing it to the total population of the US, he's only talking to 4.2% of the nation in any given day, FOUR POINT TWO!  That's it!  That means 95.8% of the US doesn't listen to Rush Limbaugh!  Sean Hannity's radio show is heard by 4.1% of the population, mainly the same people listening to Rush.  Same can be said for Michael Savage (3.3%), Mark Levin (3.0%) and Laura Ingraham (2.4%); small percentages of the population as a whole, and most of the listeners are the same exact group of people, show after show.  This means right wing radio only appeals to 5 to 6 percent of the population, AT BEST.

Yet these people have one very important listener listening to everything they have to say on any given day; Trump.

It's even more stark on Television. Fox News average audience is usually around 1.5 to 1.6 million people, making it a ratings success on cable news, but an arid desert when it comes to appealing to the US population.  Fox News' reach (on average) in any given day is half of 1% of the US population; HALF of 1%!!!  The number one cable News TV show is Hannity with (according to Adweek) 3.3 million viewers, 1% of the total US population.  Tucker Carlson reaches .8%, The Ingraham Angle, .7% and Trump's favorite morning show, Fox & Friends, with their 1.5 million viewers, .4% of the US population. Trump's favorite Fox News Weekend show, and a woman he has actually considered to be Attorney General of the United States, Judge Jeanine Pirro, has 1.3 million viewers for her Saturday show.  Once again, that's great when comparing it to other weekend cable news shows, but should a woman who only appeals to .3% of the population have a direct line to the President?

And the numbers get even lower when you talk about the guests these shows have, the Ann Coulter's, the Newt Gingrich's, the Robert Jeffress'.  They're appealing to a minuscule portion of the US population, yet have an insane amount of control over the policies which effect every single American.

Here's where Trump's right wing media worship becomes a real big problem.  Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the rest of them are not trying to appeal to a majority of the US.  They could care less about most people.  They are all quite happy with only appealing to the same 14 to 20 million people.  These are the absolute worst people to have consulting and influencing Trump!  They do not have the best interest of the American citizen at heart, only their best interest, a self fueling narcissism which is only getting worse as the marginal talents from the fringe (when compared to the population as a whole) are intoxicated by the knowledge they have the loyal ear of the most powerful office on the planet.

And before right wing troll calls me out and says, "far bigger audience than you have, MATT!," you're absolutely correct.  Like I said, when looking at the reach of these media personalities from the industry side, they're very impressive.  My point is should we tolerate people who only have to appeal to 5% or less of the population with being the primary decision makers for all of us?  Most politicians have to appeal to a much larger percentage of their local population to win their seat, usually 45% or higher of the votes cast, and at least 30% of their local population as a whole. Heck, Trump himself (while losing to Hillary Clinton's 48.2%) still garnered 46.1% of the popular votes cast. When factoring all US eligible voters, many of whom did not vote in 2016, he still managed around 27% of the population supporting him, 6.75 times as many people as who listen to Rush Limbaugh.  We should not tolerate Trump turning his focus more myopic, to a small subset of his followers to get most of his input.

Trump is basically Chance the gardener, Peter Seller's great character from the movie Being There. Addicted to television he can't seem to figure out where the TV world ends and the real world begins.  Trump's putting his decision making ability in the hands of people who are perfectly content on only appealing to a small portion of us, people who are trying to use their media celebrity to propel themselves into a real position of power.  Considering this exact same thing (marginal media talents appealing to their country's leaders) is something we've seen happen in the worst regimes the planet has ever produced, it might be a good time to take the remote control away from Trump, or at least change the channel to 'The Masked Singer'.  That way, if Trump appoints one of the masked people to be the Attorney General, or the Director of the FBI, or to run the World Bank, we'll at least see it for the pathetic joke it really is.

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Friday Link for 1/11/19

Happy Friday everyone!

For this Friday Link, I delve into science, astronomy to be precise.

I have two videos which might freak you out.  Seriously, these videos involve such massive expanses of time and massive expanses of space, you might get a little uneasy.  Viewer be warned!

First up is time, and to say time is a long trip is an understatement.  What happens when the stars all burn out?  Well, according to Crash Course Astronomy, technically, that point would only be a beginning.  This is dealing with concepts beyond me, and a timeline beyond comprehension.  Enjoy!

The next video is one of the coolest things the Hubble Space Telescope has done. They pointed it into what they thought was an empty part of space and left it there, absorbing any light coming out of the 'empty space.' What they discovered was an insane amount of new galaxies, but the real neat element of these photos is how the viewer looking at the resulting photos is quite literally looking backwards in time.  The folks at Vox explain it pretty well in the video.

Isn't learning fun! I hope you don't feel too small.  Your individual universe is pretty big.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

A Message to All Men Who are Thinking of Sharing a Photo of Their Privates


No seriously, don't do it.

We are living in strange times when people have to tell others that graphic photos of their crotches are not appropriate for dissemination, but here we are.  Let me explain to all the burgeoning at-home models why this is a bad idea.

I've been wanting to write about this for a year, after a friend of mine who's in his 40's asked me to grab a cup of coffee.  I could tell he was bothered by something, but was fairly floored when he asked if I'd ever sent a image of my nether-regions to anyone.  "No...(staring at him)...(he squirms in his seat a little)...(I take a sip of coffee)...(back to looking at the top of his head as he stares down at his cup)...have you?"  

He had.  He was dating a woman and for whatever reason, he sent her a naughty image. I asked if she had asked for one.  He said no, but felt she was hinting at it.  Regardless of what her intent was, the image was not well received, and she promptly broke up with him.  She was now hinting at blackmail, telling my friend she'd go to his job and tell them what he did.  He'd learned his lesson the hard way; some images are not meant to be shared.

I know there are some who will read this and ask 'Matt, what about serious couples, or for those who are married?' Obviously you're somewhat safer in a well established relationship, but two points for those wanting to 'Feel the Adventure.'  First, everything you send via electronic means is out there, regardless of whether you actually hit 'reply all' or not.  Expect others to see the images you are sending.  Keep that in mind if you want to add some digital spice to your relationship.  Also, I'm convinced (eventually) the generations which follow us will be able to access EVERYTHING we've ever done online, kind of a personal, family, internet based, archeological dig.  Every website you visit, every comment section you post on, and every image you share will eventually be part of one large personal database.  "Hey kids, who wants to see a picture of your great grandfather's tackle box?!"  Keep that in mind.

I feel safe in the belief that women (and some men) just don't want to see amateur pictures of men's privates.  Sure there might be a percentage of those who don't mind viewing such images, but considering the copious amounts of pornographic images online, you need to be honest with yourself about how your artistic and modeling ability match up.  Are you in the gym 3 to 4 hours a day, doing extensive exercise and cardio, eating only greens and healthy grains, manicuring your body like a French king's garden, and are blessed with an anatomy women would like to see.  Probably not.  Put it in perspective; the stuttering guy isn't going to win the singing competition, and the best he can hope for is a atta boy sympathetic "thanks for stopping by."

Do any of these adjectives apply to your body? Roll-y, scarred, pudgy, hairy, fold-y, growth-y, bulgy, fat, uneven, furry, blotchy, paste-y, pimply, and (let's be honest) less than impressive?  If any one of these can be applied to your body, leave your clothes on.

Also, stop watching so much freaking porn!  I'm dead serious.  Men who send these images are almost always getting the idea from watching porn.  Porn is not real.  Those women are paid to be fantasy.  For goodness sake, the Fast and Furious movies are more realistic than a porn film.  I get you might think you have an intimate relationship with a porn star, but you shouldn't look at porn as a guidebook on relationships.  Consider this an intervention.

And in case I've buried the lead, it's sexual harassment to send a woman a sexually explicit photo they haven't asked for.  Imagine if it was your mother, sister or spouse (!) getting the image.  Jokes aside, it's disgusting and you need to freaking stop.

I told my friend to delete his ex's number and block her.  I then told him to talk to his boss and HR Department about what had happened.  It worked.  He was embarrassed, but in the end his embarrassment was minimal compared to what it could've been, he kept his job, and learned a valuable lesson. 

Let this be a fair warning.  Don't do it!

Friday, January 4, 2019

The Friday Link for 1/4/19

Happy New Year everyone!

As you probably noticed, I've changed the color of the blog to an indigo blue.  Why?  I heard from multiple people the red background with white lettering was difficult to read for some, and even was triggering migraine symptoms for others.  It's easy enough to fix, so I did.  Enjoy!

Short and sweet this week.  I give it to Bill Corbett and the MST3K crew with a very underrated episode, Boggy Creek II!

Have a great weekend everyone!

How Dumb Are You?

Today on my show, I was talking about how dumb Trump's border wall with Mexico really is.

1)  25 billion will not even come close to covering the cost of building a 2000 mile wall, regardless of what it's made with.
2)  We need to build a road which will run the entirety of the wall, a road whose cost has not been included.
3)  The Trump budget doesn't factor in most of the concrete pilings we'll need to build this wall.
4)  Trump has not factored one dime for the manpower needed to effectively staff this wall.
5)  And Mexico is supposed to pay for it.

AND IT WILL NOT STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION! Most illegal immigrants FLEW to the US and overstayed their legal visas.  Also, even at the border, you can go around a wall.  And unless you place guards at regular intervals (1000 yards or so) at an additional annual cost of AT LEAST a billion dollars PER YEAR, all you'll need to do to thwart this wall is get a tall enough ladder and an equally long piece of rope.

This is racist policy, written with the intent of appealing to racists, being pushed with racist gusto.  It will not work, and it will cost us TRILLIONS in taxpayer money.

Truly this is one of the dumbest ideas we've ever had suggested for America, but yet Republicans not only stand by it, they're willing to shut the government down for as long as it takes to get the 25 Billion.  It was mentioned by regular listener Lisa, the same Republicans in Minnesota who scream and bellyache about Minnesota raising the gas tax, money specifically dedicated to improve roads, bridges, transportation infrastructure and mass transit, money you can at least see at work when you point to the improvements, are in full endorsement of this massive waste of taxpayer dollars.

That didn't stop Republican Richard from Brooklyn Center from calling in, and attempting to stand up for the GOP.  He did so in one of the most bizarre ways possible.  He implied the Democrats were only trying to raise the gas tax to give massive taxpayer handouts to the people who were at the homeless encampment off of Hwy. 55 in Minneapolis. A few problems with his stupidity:

1) The gas tax money is dedicated to transit improvements, ONLY.
2) The homeless encampment was actually closed down and moved to temporary shelters a few weeks back.
3) No one has suggested Richard's delusional plan, nor has any right wing media stated the Democrats were for this.

This was an attempt by Richard to challenge me by implying the Republicans are not for wasting taxpayer dollars like the Democrats, albeit in an incredibly weird and dumb way.

He actually made this statement after I spent 20 minutes talking about the MASSIVE tax dollar waste of the Trump wall, a wall the Republicans are intent on wasting massive amounts of taxpayer money on.

Republicans, let me attempt to talk to you in a manner which you might be able to follow.  You know how you label Democrats as 'tax and spend?'  FINE, call us that, but realize when Democrats get taxpayer dollars, you end up getting things like safe roads and bridges, quality schools, affordable health care, clean water, parks; things you can actually benefit from!  When Republicans take your taxpayer dollars, I know you think they just return it to you with an additional $25 thank you, but they don't.  Since the 1980's, the Republicans have been taking YOUR tax dollars and giving them to millionaires and billionaires.  They tell you this will benefit you because they are the 'job creators,' but most of that tax payer money is placed into long term investments, meaning you, the Republican voter, are paying for some billionaires great, great, great, great, great, great grand kid to NEVER have to work a day in their life. The Republicans are so committed to giving the wealthy all of the taxpayer dollars, they've been running up massive deficits, almost exclusively caused by their billionaire welfare.  They'll NEVER give you any money.  Even if they did finally wake up to their senses, they'd still take your taxpayer dollars to pay down the deficit, while NOT raising the tax rate on the wealthiest.

So Republican voters, your options are:

1) Let the Democrats take charge, get taxed at a reasonable, but fair level, and reap the benefits of having a government which creates services you can need and use, making your community better for everyone, or
2) Keep following the Republicans as they take your tax dollars, and give you NOTHING in return.

Phrasing this question a different way, how dumb are you?

I think we already know the answer to that...

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2018 Proved How Broken Republicans Are

I was at a holiday party on Sunday and ran into a retired hog lot owner from Iowa.  He was displaying his "you really don't know anything, do you" Iowa charm.

The best way to describe "you really don't know anything, do you" people from Iowa (not all Iowans, just some of them, mostly rural) is how they constantly feel they have to prove they're right and everyone else is wrong, usually with a condescending and demeaning tone, no matter how minuscule and petty the subject. When I worked in Iowa radio, I'd always hear from them every time we got bad weather.  I'd announce "we got 3 inches of snow," and I'd get the call "I don't know what you're looking at, but MY snow gauge has 15 inches in it!"  We'd get 20 mile per hour winds: "I have no idea where you're getting your numbers from, but I have 45 to 50 mile gusts at MY place." It rained 2 inches over two days: " We had 40 inches at MY place!"  Their bragging about living on the precipice of a meteorological hell pit aside, weather issues were not their only jackass inducer.  Politics, day to day life, sports, parenting, and especially city life verses country life were all in their repartee.  Their 'I know EVERYTHING and you know nothing' attitude was unwavering, even when you presented them with irrefutable evidence to prove they were wrong.

After exchanging some polite chit chat, he mentioned how bad the Iowa hog business has been hurt with the trade standoff.  I mentioned the Minnesota soybean producers were also getting hit hard, an ominous sign for the Ag sector.  But then he quickly followed up my comment with this, "the good news is Trump will double our markets eventually, when he get's done with his brilliant trade negotiations."

I spit my eggnog about 20 feet.

Knowing facts, and also knowing exactly how to talk to "you really don't know anything, do you" Iowa guy, I went about systemically destroy every single point he was making about Trump and trade.  He brought up how the Chinese Market will come back, and I pointed out China is signing new Ag contracts with Argentina and Brazil, meaning they'll likely never come back like they once were.  He said Trump completely re-wrote NAFTA, making it a better deal which dramatically opened up Canada to American farmers, and I pointed out that not only was the new NAFTA deal pretty much the same as the last one, the only farmers who got a better deal were dairy farmers, and that was a minimal increase on certain dairy imports, AND to get that single concession, Trump had to allow the Canadians to import a million more Canadian made cars, so we really got screwed over on that deal in the long run.

You get the point.  He made an easy refutable pro-Trump statement, and I immediately destroyed him with facts.

He then said, "Brazil imports a ton of our ethanol."  There was nothing which explained why he said this.  It was a total stand alone statement.  With a puzzled look on my face, I said "okay..." He then made for the door.  It was the retired Iowa hog farmer version of a Batman smoke bomb.  He threw it down, and made his escape!

The remarkable thing about this entire conversation is his own self admission at the very beginning; Trump's unnecessary trade war had already cost him, and many other farmers, their margins, but he eagerly overlooked the red on his own ledger just so he could still believe Trump was right.  That's some Grade A hog $**t.

What I have learned in 2018 is that no matter how bad things get for Republicans, troubles they can directly trace back to Trump himself, they'll always insist Trump was right, and righteous!  They gleefully applaud Trump using themselves and their families as cobblestones for a new Trump highway, ignoring the pain of Trump's heels driving into their backs.  As long as they're convinced Trump's walk is a pleasant one, they'll steadfastly avoid admitting they were wrong.  For them to admit so would be (in their mind) a Democratic victory.  They hate Democrats more than they love their quality of life, health, religion, kids and their country, so they'll take Trump's heels driving into their backsides as long as they can imagine the air up by Trump's nostrils is sweet, and that it might eventually waft down to their noses.

In the last few days, since the Republicans buried the Hillary Clinton and the FBI investigation report which proved neither had done anything wrong, a report released late on the Friday night before the New Year's holiday, delusional Trump fan is coming at me hard on the social media pages. The Republicans, who desperately want to charge Hillary Clinton with anything they can legally justify, found Hillary innocent of all the crimes they've accused her of in their latest report.  They also determined the FBI doesn't seem to have a fundamental bias against Trump, and they stood by the Robert Mueller investigation.  They released this report when no one was watching, not to keep the information away from the Democrats, but rather to hide their findings from their Republican followers.  The GOP wants their voters to continue to think Hillary is guilty of something, that the FBI is all in for the Democrats, and the Robert Mueller investigation is fraudulent, even though they know the complete opposite is true.

I'm not obliging the right.  I have posted the findings of their latest investigation.  The Republicans failed to dig up anything on Hillary this time, just like every other Benghazi, Clinton Foundation, Uranium and E-mail investigation.  Even though the Right has yet to find anything, Trump fans aren't allowing the truth to get in their way.  They've found solace by returning to the classics, namely Vince Foster allegations and...(wait for it)...Pizzagate (you remember, the alleged pizza parlor which housed a child sex ring in it's basement, a sex ring overseen by Hillary and others, a crime so outrageous that a regular citizen came into the pizza place and fired off a gun, demanding the children being held in the basement be released, only to be told there was no basement to the building, leading to numerous pundits who had gleefully pushed that fake scandal to frantically distance themselves from any potential lawsuit by insisting they never said it was true, that they'd only heard about it from a friend?  Yeah, THAT pizza-gate).

The fact the Republicans are running back to ancient scandals as a way to keep their fires of Hillary hatred stoked just proves how incurable they are.  They will forgo proof of Hillary's innocence, and wait for the next Clinton investigation, all while wagging their fingers about how everyone KNOWS she's guilty.

Republicans are truly broken people. The facts don't matter.  Reality doesn't matter.  Their own well being doesn't matter.  I personally think they're a lost cause.  What we learned in Minnesota in 2018 is that you can win without them.  Let the Right stew in their cesspool of delusion they've convinced themselves is a hot tub.  We're better off by letting them wallow int he mud by themselves.