14 November 2017

Meme catch-up

22 August 2017

If you're boycotting the NFL because they haven't fired kneeling players, you're the problem

Hey, if you don't like football, don't watch. I understand.

But if you are boycotting the NFL because you are mad at a handful of pampered athletes kneeling during the National Anthem, your ire is grossly misdirected.

Those kneeling players aren't following NFL orders. They are just expressing their (unpopular) political viewpoint. What do you want the NFL to do? Fire them? The way Google fired James Damore? You were all in favor of that firing, right?

Sorry, it's hard for me to keep track of whose ox is being gored, because I try to concern myself with principles. Remember those?

And the reality is that in 99% of regular season games, the National Anthem is not part of the broadcast, so the only reason you know about that silly, obscure protest is that the anti-footbal liberal media wants you to know about it. You know, the ones who have lied for years about domestic abuse spiking on Super Bowl Sunday.

So you go ahead and be a sucker. Get played like a fiddle by the anti-football forces.

See you at the Super Bowl.

05 August 2017

I understand you can read. You just don't. #RTFA

We just keep getting dumber and dumber.

On Friday, the Washington Post published, the tweeted, and article titled "Rural towns in the eclipse’s path are bracing for a flood of smartphone-toting visitors"

Ha ha! How out of touch are those east coast, cosmopolitan elites! Don't they know even us rubes have smartphones?!

The mockery was hilarious and fun!

And utterly stupid and misdirected.

The article had nothing to do with small town flyover folk being puzzled by them smartphones. The key word in the headline was not "smartphone," it was "flood."

You see, the article was about how the towns, planning for an influx of visitors, had the foresight to coordinate with cellular providers to set up surge capacity to accommodate all the tweeting, Instagramming boobs from the surrounding countryside.

Is WaPo out of touch? Yeah, probably. But this article wasn't. Not even a little bit. Not remotely. Not at all.

Let me hashtag it, oh ye of short attention spans: #RTFA*

I understand you can read. You just don't. Everything is stupid.

That's how Trump got you.

*Read the F***ing Article

18 July 2017

You can't repeal Obamacare without 60 Senate votes. Go back and read that again.

They promised to repeal it! Let's vote them out!
I won't cut them any slack for their promises, but any Republican who promised they could repeal Obamacare with less than 60 Senate votes was lying to you. Before you get too mad at them, consider this: anybody who believed that lie is willfully ignorant. Because you can't repeal Obamacare without 60 Senate votes.

But they passed a repeal in December 2015 and Obama vetoed it! Why don't they just pass that same bill now?!
Great! Let's do that! And I will be first in line with you to call out the hypocrisy of Senators Portman, Murkowski, and Capito, who voted "yes" back then but say they will vote "no" this time. But just so we're on the same page here: that bill didn't repeal Obamacare. I know that's what they said it did, but it didn't. It was a partial repeal of parts of Obamacare. And if we are not on the same page, it can only be because you are wrong. It isn't an opinion, it's a fact. You can't repeal Obamacare without 60 Senate votes.

But they snuck Obamacare through reconciliation, why can't the GOP do the same thing?!
No, they didn't. They passed it on Christmas Eve 2009 with 60 Senate votes, including Paul Kirk, who had been appointed by Governor Deval Patrick to fill the seat left vacant by Ted Kennedy's death. The Senate passed the unamended House version, because they could see it was increasingly likely that Scott Brown would take away their 60th vote in the upcoming special election. That law was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka, Obamacare. Few Democrats liked the bill, but that was all they could vote into law. They used that sneaky reconciliation trick for a second, smaller bill that modified a bunch of "revenue-related" items. That law was called the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. (Fun fact: this second bill also repealed the "Cornhusker Kickback.") Was the process all above-board and in keeping with the spirit of the Byrd Rule and history of the Senate? No. But Obamacare passed with 60 votes, and that's the only way it is getting repealed.

Okay, so why don't we just rip the rulebook up even more? Or eliminate the filibuster?
That's an option. It's the neutron bomb option, and you better be prepared to live with the consequences when Democrats have the majority again, because here comes single payer. (Also worth noting - the GOP just failed to get 50 votes, so 60 isn't really the issue right now anyway.)

Why does stupid Mitch McConnell keep negotiating with liberals like Collins and Murkowski!?
You can't repeal Obamacare without 60 senate votes. Republicans only have 52 senate votes. That means you can't even pass an incremental step without almost all of them on board. Got that? Lee, Cruz, Murkowski, and Capito all have to vote for the same thing. Let's just assume we won't get Paul or Collins on board. And that thing they might all vote on? It won't be repeal. Here is another hard truth: if Scott Brown had taken office in time to filibuster Obamacare back in 2009, Democrats would have negotiated with Collins, because they wanted a win.

But I'm tired of incremental steps! Democrats don't do that!
That's exactly what Democrats do. We didn't get here overnight. We haven't had a "free market" in health care in generations. Obamacare was an incremental step. It was a big increment, but it was not even close to what the left wing wanted. And if we leave it untouched, they'll add to it next time they have majorities. Incrementally. So we can incrementally move the other way, and at least make it harder for them, or sit on the porch swing watching the sun set on America. That's what the purists want.

But THE PEOPLE voted for Trump because they want Obamacare repealed!
I hate to break this to you, but they didn't vote for that at all. Trump, in the course of his campaign, came out in favor of single payer, in favor of repeal, in favor of "covering everybody," and God knows what else. Hell, in the last 24 hours he has staked out at least three different positions! It is literally impossible to disappoint Donald Trump with any kind of health care bill you might pass. He just wants to declare a "win," and when he does, his "base" will be fine with it.

And if we are just looking at the political fallout, he's right. Because it so happens that the majority of "the people" approve of Obamacare. Also, a majority of "the people" want to either repeal it completely or change it "big league." How can you satisfy or disappoint them?

You see, what "the people" want is not a free market. Most of them want Unicorn-care. They want free, cheap, and abundant coverage for everything, and they don't want to feel guilty that somebody, somewhere doesn't have the same thing. Neither party is ever going to pass that, because it's a fantasy. Your base just wants a win, not a repeal.

So what are we going to do?

  • Leave Obamacare in place, because it's all or nothing? Then you failed. You lost. 
  • Pass something incremental that nobody is crazy about but it maybe takes a step in the right direction? Because it's good for the country? Because you might actually gain seats if you go out and say you "repealed and replaced?" And then maybe next session you take another step?

I heard a lot last year about how Republicans don't "fight." They don't understand you just need to win! Well, an incremental, soup sandwich of a health care bill is the only win on the table right now. Not repeal, not free markets, and certainly not unicorns.

And that's because without 60 senate votes, you can't repeal Obamacare, you won't repeal Obamacare, and you never could have repealed Obamacare. Period. Paragraph.


04 July 2017

Liberty and Mystic Chords

America has had two civil wars; today marks the official beginning of its first - though the Declaration of Independence followed the "shot heard 'round the world" by more than a year. We are a nation forged by war, and as a percentage of our population killed, the Revolution was the bloodiest of our conflicts.

From our earliest days, our founders and leaders were torn by the conflicts between our most sacred ideals and the reality of the world in which we lived. The history of liberty is a history of expanding the definition of who is included as one of those "created equal [and] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…"

The beauty of those timeless words is that they need not be rewritten to account for our expanding definition of who is included.

President Lincoln, in an Independence Day address in 1858, argued forcefully that "the negro race" was very much a part of our heritage. Freedom, our American birthright, he said, could be traced by blood to the founders for many of us, but not for recent immigrants. Yet liberty, our "father of all moral principle," is "the electric cord in that Declaration that links the hearts of patriotic and liberty-loving men together, that will link those patriotic hearts as long as the love of freedom exists in the minds of men throughout the world."

It is a feature, not a bug, that Frenchmen, Germans, Irish…all those who came here shared equally in our birthright, just as if it had been passed down by blood. We stand unique among peoples in that founding principle. America is an ideal, not just a place.

Against those who argued that slaves must be considered unworthy of that birthright, Lincoln asserted that if one argues that a man, by virtue of race, is unworthy of freedom, what’s to stop him from declaring others unworthy, also? It’s "the same old serpent," he said.

And so we entered a second Civil War, in which those who wished to form a new nation, founded on the principle that some people deserve to be enslaved, ultimately surrendered, but not until "every drop of blood drawn with the lash" was repaid "by another drawn with the sword…"

In the end, the circle of humanity, those endowed with the rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" was expanded, and America was stronger.

I have read recently some people describing our current time as a "Civil Cold War." They argue that we are divided culturally, socially, economically, politically, and irreconcilably. There are many on both sides of all those divides who believe this to be true. We have certainly seen outbreaks of actual violence - rocks thrown, fires set, and assassination attempts against Congressmen.

Many are angry. Because Trump! Because Pelosi! Because things are different now!

But is it really the times? St. Augustine taught that "we make our own times. Such as we are, such are the times."

Vote, by all means. Petition the government for redress of grievances. But please stop criminalizing disagreements; stop dehumanizing political opponents; please stop excusing the ugliness.

If you don’t, I am quite sure there are enough weapons held by angry and determined people to sort it out another way, to fight a third civil war. We got lucky twice, but history does not guarantee the "right side" will win. Our Constitution, that brilliant document, quite cleverly limits the amount of damage any temporary officeholder can cause.

May we remember today the admonition of that great 19th century observer of America, Alexis de Tocqueville, who said that “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”

Be good, my friends, my fellow Americans. And on this greatest civic holiday, maybe also follow the words of President Lincoln, speaking to time-traveling Bill & Ted:

"Be excellent to each other....and....PARTY ON, DUDES!"

29 March 2015

Tell me the difference between these two statutes; this is important for the future of Indiana and America

Below, I have copied and pasted the operative paragraphs of two separate statutes. Please review and tell me which one is anti-gay, so that I know who to boycott:

Statute #1
Sec. 8. (a) Except as provided in subsection (b), a governmental entity may not substantially burden a person's exercise of religion, even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.
             (b) A governmental entity may substantially burden a person's exercise of religion only if the governmental entity demonstrates that application of the burden to the person:
                   (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and 
                 (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. 

Sec. 9. A person whose exercise of religion has been substantially burdened, or is likely to be substantially burdened, by a violation of this chapter may assert the violation or impending violation as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding, regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding. If the relevant governmental entity is not a party to the proceeding, the governmental entity has an unconditional right to intervene in order to respond to the person's invocation of this chapter.

Statute #2
(a) In general. Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section. 
(b) Exception Government may substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion only if it demonstrates that application of the burden to the person— 
     (1) is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest; and 
     (2) is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest. 
(c) Judicial relief. A person whose religious exercise has been burdened in violation of this section may assert that violation as a claim or defense in a judicial proceeding and obtain appropriate relief against a government. Standing to assert a claim or defense under this section shall be governed by the general rules of standing under article III of the Constitution.

One of these is Indiana's new "anti-gay" law. The other is the 22-year-old Federal RFRA, introduced by Chuck Schumer to protect peyote smoking for religious purposes.

Please let me know as soon as possible, because with all the #BoycottIndiana stuff I've been reading, I am certain that people will be getting sent off to the camps soon in that state. Since none of the predicted dire consequences ever came to pass in the 22 years that the Federal law has been in place, I really need to know exactly what Indiana added or removed to make that state law so uniquely terrible. I didn't want to make this post too long, or I would have included the other 19 state laws for comparison, too.

Hurry! I need to know who to boycott!

28 March 2015

Did Angie's List or SalesForce.com really make some big anti-Indiana economic decisions? Nope.

With all the hoopla surrounding Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a thoroughly uncontroversial law that mirrors almost word for word laws already on the books in nineteen other states and the Federal government, we've seen several companies jump on the #BoycottIndiana bandwagon.

Or have we?

Here's a quick look at two of them: Angie's List and SalesForce.com.

After some negative comments about RFRA by SalesForce CEO Marc Benioff, several outlets have falsely reported that the company cancelled it's annual conference in Indiana due to RFRA.

Here's the problem with those reports: SalesForce announced the conference's move from Indianapolis to New York in September of last year - six months before the passage of RFRA.

You see, in 2013, SalesForce acquired Indianapolis-based ExactTarget, which had held the event in their home town for years. They were already committed to holding the 2014 conference in Indianapolis again, but immediately began negotiations for the following year.

SalesForce is a large, San Francisco-based corporation that has little interest in small midwestern cities as hosts for their events. This move was happening, and did happen, with or without the RFRA.

The company may allow people to draw other conclusions as long as they think the press is positive, but they didn't "Boycott Indiana."

Angie's List is a more interesting story. Much has been made of their announcement that they are now "considering other options" for their ongoing plan to expand their headquarters and add some 1000 new jobs in Indianapolis due to the RFRA.

Here's the thing, though: Angie's List has been actively lobbying to an $18.5 million package of subsidies from the City-County Council for that project. It has gone back and forth between council and committee and is up for a final vote on Monday, March 30th.

Angie's List had better be considering other options, because they can't afford to expand without the subsidies. They are not a profitable company.

How often do we hear about professional sports teams threatening to move if they don't get a subsidized stadium? This is no different. And again, Angie's List is clearly hoping that the press they get by tying this to RFRA will be positive. But if that proposal passes Monday, smart money says they'll go right ahead with the project.

Update: since I originally posted this, Angie's List announced that they are formally withdrawing their application for tax abatement. Sorry, I remain convinced it has 100% to do with economics. Maybe they just figured Monday's vote wouldn't go their way, or maybe they just realized that they need to start turning a profit before embarking on a project like that. After all, they have actually reduced their workforce in the last year, and the subsidy proposal was very unpopular.

The fact is, 90% of the people who want to boycott Indiana have not read (or do not understand) the new law, and most of them have never been to Indiana. Just like Angie's List and SalesForce.com, they are simply chiming in on a trending topic on social media.

Businesses do things for their own reasons, so don't believe the fake momentum from the "boycott" crowd.