Shenanigans


Can’t swing the proverbial dead cat without hitting some.

-The President Elect didn’t save jobs from Carrier. The state bribed them with tax breaks to not take them all. This is a strategy that worked out really well for Carrier in New York State where the only thing still functioning with the name Carrier on it is the dome.

-Saying you are “Draining the swamp” doesn’t preclude from the fact that you might just fool around and refill it.

-Coal jobs aren’t coming back. With wind and solar getting to be cheaper, it’s one of those industries that won’t dominate as it once did and for somebody to magically promise, without substantiation that the jobs are coming back is both exploitive and sad. But then again, so is believing that somebody.

-Did anybody ever take a more pained dinnertime photo than Mitt Romney? Whoever lit that table was editorializing in their own way. You can almost watch his soul leave.

-New York Times contributor Paul Krugman noted on Twitter that “Another metric: Trump would have to do one Carrier-sized deal a week for 30 years to save as many jobs as Obama’s auto bailout.”

-So the NFL decided to bust the Bills’ Offensive Lineman Seantrel Henderson for using medical marijuana…to treat Crohn’s Disease. First, just legalize it already. Look at the revenue that Colorado is reaping. Second, NFL? Really? Seriously? It’s not a performance enhancing drug, it’s a medical regimen. Good thing he isn’t beating anybody up. Oh, wait, you’re cool with that.

-The Affordable Care Act is a noble idea, but a flawed law. I think Congress wasted all those votes on repeal because they didn’t have to actually deal with the consequences of “what’s next?” Well, guess what, time to shine, obstructionists!

-Cutting Social Security and Medicaid, this confuses me a little, as they are things that we pay into, why would payouts need reduced? Oh yeah, because that pot of money keeps getting borrowed for other things.

-I’m not certain that Bernie Sanders would have won, but I’m glad the grumpy old man isn’t going gently into the good night.

-The recount efforts won’t change anything, but there is no harm in letting the process play out. I mean, unless you think it might not go your way, then panic on twitter.

-Nobody, and I mean, nobody ever gets everything they want or promise done once they get into office. That said, despite not being the most natural campaigner, Secretary Clinton was a pretty capable Senator.

-It would be good for our current President to take some action on Standing Rock, any action. And place his nominee on the court as a recess appointment. The court would be fully stocked for a year, while the obstructionists in congress publicly obfuscate, squirm and talking point their way around a nominee who actually meets their criteria.

-Steven Colbert was right, we are overpoliticked with the election. One of the worst mediums ever is the public comment sections of newspaper and tv websites. Laden with digital ninjas whose sole human contact is their moms yelling from upstairs to come up for breakfast, that style of uninformed, meme-posting, if you don’t agree with me, you must be a moron discourse is all over social media. I suppose this essay falls into that category, but it’s okay to disagree with me and I don’t live with mom.

-That said, everybody’s history has some poison in it. Every race, creed, color has a list of do-overs and we haven’t always come to grips with that. The naysayers who have issues with Black Lives Matter miss the point. All lives do matter and should matter, but the central point to me is that some lives haven’t mattered as much and correcting that takes time, time and recognition that a lengthy history of abuses, misconceptions and prejudice affects all involved and doesn’t magically go away. So, standing up for that is a good thing and that reminder very good.

So, another transition.

-The Buffalo Bills have me concerned. They had trouble with the 2-8 Jaguars at home and are going to play the Raiders, in Oakland, and the Raiders are pretty good again.

-It’s great that Jack is back, but should one guy….

It’s that time of the year where we act, mostly, like we should all year long. Let’s strive for less idiocy and realize that differing views don’t make the opposing parties morons. We can learn beyond facebook bickering.

 

 

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“Long Walk Home”


“I believe in hope, not fear.” “I’m a leader, not a politician.” “It’s time for an American leader.” “America’s earned a change.” “I before ‘E’ except after ‘C’!” It’s the fortune-cookie candidacy! These are important thinkers, and understanding them can be very useful and it’s not ever going to happen at a four-hour seminar. When the President’s got an embassy surrounded in Haiti, or a keyhole photograph of a heavy water reactor, or any of the fifty life-and-death matters that walk across his desk every day, I don’t know if he’s thinking about Immanuel Kant or not. I doubt it, but if he does, I am comforted at least in my certainty that he is doing his best to reach for all of it and not just the McNuggets. Is it possible we would be willing to require any less of the person sitting in that chair? The low road? I don’t think it is..” — The West Wing

I was a little hooked on that program, but first step to recovery is admitting you have an issue, but that quote keeps coming back to me.

So, you found your candidate. Congrats! Not for nothing, now hush. Go read. I’ve been avoiding the bulk of the “discussions” on Facebook as they pretty much all are really stupid. People are forgetting everything but the most current zinger. Reading social media about the presidential election is a dizzying and nauseating idea. Everybody seems to be in the spirit of crapping all over the ideas they don’t immediately agree with, it’s like the whole campaign has come down to clever memes and easily forgotten double standards. It gave me pause reading through some of this stuff as my oldest friend and I probably don’t agree on much of this, but he’s still the best drinking bud I’m ever going to have. He’s never derided me nor I him. It’s a crazy notion, I know, respecting principles and all. Hell, having principles is tough enough. I say this because he is a smart fellow and informed and doesn’t browbeat anybody for their choices. I try to return the favor.

Everybody seems to be out to scare and frighten, paranoid of ideas that aren’t in lockstep with their own, clinging to words that barely make a meme as a position, intolerant of any facts, you know, those pesky things we studied before facebook status updates. I started writing this some time ago, and I was worried about focus. And then came the “no fact checking” headlines for the presidential debate and the quote about appeared in my head. We’re arguing over stupid things and not paying attention to what truly matters. “You can’t trust her” some wag posts on facebook. “He’s gone backrupt 4 times” posts another. “Her husband’s fooled around” “He’s on his third marriage.” Hey, guess what?

None of it or other non issues matter. Congressional leaders came out in 2008 and stated that their number one priority was to make sure the Obama administration failed. There have been email server issues since there has been email. There were 8 different Benghazi like incidents during the Bush administration and nary an investigation or question for that matter. One candidate has insulted gold star families, actual war heroes, handicapped reporters, advocated violence, shortchanging social security, wants to change freedom of speech so he can sue the media that doesn’t agree with him. He lost a billion dollars one year and got twenty years off from tax payments. That last part is legal, so I’m a little concerned about the losing a billion dollars in a year. That sounds like something out of Brewster’s Millions. She made Obamacare look good in the early 90s, promised New York state 200,000 jobs that never materialized, screwed up on NAFTA and was less the reverent with classified material. I mean now that Johnson and Johnson has said their insulin pumps are prey to hackers, perhaps we should let that go, but in light of all the mansplaining that has been going on, I miss Tim Russert. He wouldn’t take any guff from either side. The debates aren’t changing anything for anybody unless you are a meme-designer

Fact of the matter is that I’m with her if for no other reason that I prefer public service, to self service. There is nobility in the failure. The futility is in not trying. I’m under no illusion. Neither candidate gives a rat’s behind about my fortunes. That I spend part of 2015 unemployed isn’t an issue either candidate is going to address for me. You don’t get to profit from a system and complain it was rigged at the same time. That level of hypocrisy doesn’t work for me. You can’t have it both ways.  George Carlin was right. It’s a big club, but they don’t want us in it. You do have to play the cards dealt to you. I know I’m working through lunch on the day of my funeral, but I want a grown up at the wheel, not somebody prone to twitter rants at 4am. I  am making my choice based on the candidate who will reach for the whole thing and not just “Settle for the McNuggets.”

You don’t a President to bring us together. Officeholders don’t embue you with your humanity. If you post hateful things online or in newspaper columns, that’s on you. My folks put a premium on just being informed, knowing what is actually going on. That can be sometimes tough as every outlet seemingly has an angle and the supposed tough questions aren’t always getting asked, but I’m glad to see my kids are reading and digesting information from multiple sources. because these are complex times. It’s a strange thing where a white billionaire can say “America isn’t great” and have masses blindly cheer, and a black millionaire athlete can say the same thing and get a decidedly different reaction. We seem to be for freedom of speech until somebody actually uses it. It’s like we are looking to complain. While the candidates continue to bicker, I continue to hope they, like anybody running, would focus on what they would do on the job. Until that happens, debates are meaningless and skits like the Saturday Night Live debate parody contribute more to the conversation and raise the “Level of Debate”

In the meantime, the country we carry in our hearts is waiting.

 

 

 

 

 

The Things We Choose to Care about


Wow, the world would be better if, if we weren’t so full of crap.

Is the decor of your $5 coffee cup really a problem and not for nothing, who is telling you you can’t say Merry Christmas? “Happy Holidays” isn’t anything new and I think most folks say it because there is more than one holiday going on and perhaps there isn’t a need to spend foreever checking off a never ending list of platitudes when your biggest goal is to escape the conversation. It seems to me that we are for freedom of religion until somebody actually exercises that. War on Christmas – an invented sentiment by those who aren’t paying attention to the problem of the real casualty – Thanksgiving. Donald Trump says that if he gets elected we can say Merry Christmas once more. I am sort of at a loss as to what might prevent me from saying it now…..oh, right, nothing.

I wonder at what point retailers will realize that they aren’t making any more money, it’s just coming in at different times, that midnight madness allure of shopping on Thanksgiving isn’t doing much for bottom lines and that folks see that the deals aren’t the greatest.

The things we choose to care about….

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With events unfolding in Paris, the world turns into the “forums” of every news paper page. U2 had a concert set for Saturday night to be broadcast on HBO. This was understandably cancelled as security personnel have more pressing concerns, but that didn’t stop people from posting on Facebook and Twitter griping about Bono should go on and not “ask us to give while he sits on billions.” I can understand Bono rubbing you the wrong way and all, but that is complaining for the sake of complaining. Whether you like the band or not, they are prominent enough that their picture will get taken when they lay flowers at one of the memorials, but I suppose if they hadn’t gone to do that, that would inspire digital grousing as well.

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The other thing I saw was a number of folks appointing themselves to be “social media” coaches, telling scrollers that they aren’t achieving anything by changing their profile picture with the french colors. I disagree. There is a bit of “everybody’s doing it” that goes into movements like that and I don’t believe that is necessarily a bad thing. If nothing else, it does get folks more involved. Perhaps it is in a purely passive way, but that is something. And anything that gets folks to lift a finger to being more informed even by a little is a good thing.

Anybody notice Beirut was attacked too?

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Nope, we were too concerned that Friday, the President said ISIS is contained and by Saturday morning, that wasn’t the case. Okay, he missed that putt, but what does it matter? The sound bite or lack of wouldn’t change a thing, just like nothing the candidates had to say since would raised the level of debate.

The digital age has presented us with many tools. We just shouldn’t be among them

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ranting


George Carlin used to do a bit called the complaint department. It popped into my mind as I went into battle against the software I use to construct an enewsletter for my office.

I could almost hear Brother George say “and here’s another group of people who should be smacked up with a bag of hammers.” In this case, it could apply to the software geniuses who put this albatross of a site together. But I’ll win when we resume the battle. I always do.

But as long as we are tossing the deserving kicking and screaming from helicopters…

Campaign ad designers and the folks approving their work. If Congress doesn’t act soon, milk prices will double and our payroll taxes are going up and that’s the stuff I’m can name most immediately. I don’t give a crap about how many gyms one guy has, or what can’t be reversed at a given company. Talk about what you are going to do, I get that you don’t like the person you are running against.

The NHL, players & owners and the commish. You all knew your agreement was coming to a close and waited until the 11th hour to do something about it. It’s hard to feel sympathy for an argument over how to split millions while the event staff, from concession folks to game staff to ushers like myself lose out on the nice supplemental income that made us take SECOND jobs first place. Go into a board room and don’t come out till you have it fixed and don’t spray paint anything patronizing like “Thank You Fans” on the ice when the games resume. It’s insulting. How about “We’re Sorry, Fans, We screwed up.”

Anybody who covers any of the above until the situation is fixed…

Anybody concerned with what Donald Trump and his millions aren’t buying in the presidental race.

The guy who thought disbanding FEMA was a good campaign talking point. We have to let Big Bird drown now too? Go find a real talking point. It astounds me that there are potential voters that this resonates with, that these folks were fine the meaningless color coded nonsense waste of time pantone charts for the considerable more expensive homeland security (a department which didn’t exist 15 years ago). I mean, isn’t this the kind of thing where government can help instead of sweating about who’s zoomin who.

oh, yeah, almost forgot, Shut Up, Ann