First Impressions Post RNC

I watched about, oh 50% of the speech. it was all i could take. The impression i came away with was that despite Donald Trump's obvious derpiness, despite the absurdity of it all and the awfulness of the delivery, from an objective point of view, this was well crafted, powerful oratory, aimed at a goal we have never before seen in this country. The purpose of this speech was not to present Donald Trump as a candidate for president, because that is absolutely a losing cause. Not only is Donald Trump plainly not qualified to be President, it is also clear that he does not want that job.

The purpose of that speech was to portray an environment of fear and chaos, of death, destruction, and crime, of an America not just in decline, but in utter lawless turmoil.  The fact that this portrayal flies in the face of reality is irrelevant.  Once the speech establishes a hellish environment, it presents Donald Trump as the classic illiberal strongman, who will come in and restore order and fix all the problems, seemingly overnight, with magic powers.  It was designed not just to make Americans afraid, but to welcome tyranny with open arms.  For all the fun it is to call Donald Trump "Cheeto Jesus", what he really is is a low rent, badly coiffed Mussolini with a teleprompter.  


Listen UP!

You know what? I've fucking had it. No, Bernie Sanders supporters, I am not going to "reach out to you". No, I am not going to "speak to your issues." No, I am not going to "make you feel welcome." This is not fucking summer camp. There are no participation trophies. This is real. Fucking. Life. And that means there are consequences to elections. I'm going to shout this next part at you in hopes that you get it through you thick dipshit skulls:


There are no third parties, there are no independents, Jill Stine has the same chance of being president as my left testicle does.  It is Trump, or it is Clinton.  Period.  Point.  Fucking.  Blank.

And that means that there is a real choice to be made here?  Are you a white, middle class "progressive" who thinks there is no difference between Trump and Clinton?  Do everyone a favor and try this:  ask a person of color if there's a difference.  Ask an immigrant.  Ask a Muslim.  Ask an LGBTQ person.  Ask a poor person.  Ask a person who has access to health care because of the ACA.  Ask someone trying to get out from under a mountain of student debt.  Ask someone, anyone, whose rights and freedoms stand to be diminished or destroyed by a Trump presidency, and then come back.  Then try to argue that that "Trump and Clinton are the same" is not some serious white, middle class privilege bullshit.  There are two and only two choices, and one of them is an existential threat to millions of Americans, the American way of life, and the rule of law itself.  If you can't figure out which one it is and vote accordingly, you are a human garbage fire and have no business voting or making decisions of any kind.  Get your dumb ass back on your couch and don't vote, just like you always have.  No reaching out.  No participation trophy.  Fuck you, get with the program.

The Greatest

I've been thinking about Muhammad Ali for the last twenty hours or so, reflecting on his legacy, his legend, his presence in my life and in American life.  Last night, I posted that I couldn't think of anything to say, other than rest in piece.  I've come to the conclusion that I cannot think of anything to say because I do not have anything to say.  Ali stopped boxing before I was born, and long before I became a fight fan.  His issues were never "my" issues, per se, as its hard to imagine lives in the same country as different as mine and Muhammad Ali's.  I never "knew" Ali the way those older than me, and not even all that much older than me, did.  As a young boxing fan, he was more a living legend, almost a myth, more than The Greatest, The King.  My experiences with Ali were always second hand, at best.  I had stories from boxing writers, documentaries, you tube clips, old fights on ESPN Classic, his occasional appearances at event where it was obvious even thousands of miles away on TV that he owned the room, the building, perhaps the entire city, no matter where he was, but they weren't my stories, my recollections about seeing him box or seeing him fight for justice.  How do you eulogize someone you never really knew?  Never experienced?

As far as i'm concerned, you don't.  You can't.  There is nothing that I could say about Muhammad Ali that has not been said by someone smarter or more experienced than I.  And so i'm left with the words of others.  To that end, I encourage you to drop by The Ringer and read Keith Olbermann's reflections on the times he met Ali over the years.  It isn't my story, it isn't my words, but it is the right story, the right words.  Rest in peace, Champ.

Oh For Fuck's Sake...

Since joining the Tulsa Young Democrats and taking a leadership position in that group, I have tried very hard to stay out of the Democratic presidential primary and avoid commenting for or against either candidate.  It doesn't seem appropriate, given that i'm part of a group that represents both sides that i should take a personal stake in the matter.

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Lukewarm Take

At the risk of this take coming back to bite me in the ass... The Warriors' regular season was incredible, of that there is no doubt. They are the second greatest team ever, behind the 72 win Bulls. But that season came at a cost. Every single game this season was the biggest game of the season of the opponent's season. They took everyone's best shot night after night, and while they won an incredible 73 times, i think they did so at the expense of their legs and stamina. Simply put, they can't keep up the pace anymore.

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With tonight's hard fought Game 5 win, the Thunder have an opportunity to do what most thought unlikely, if not impossible:  make the conference finals.  Can they beat a healthy Golden State in the conference finals?  I don't know, but I know if they get there they will have a shot.  But before then, they must win Game 6.  The odds of winning a deciding Game 7 in San Antonio are, to put it mildly, not good.  Tonight, the Thunder did something they have failed to do far, FAR too often this season, they closed the game in the fourth quarter.  With that and Game 6 in mind, I present the greatest motivational speech ever put on film.  

Coffee is for closers, Thunder.  Coffee is for closers.

quick analysis of tonight's election results

1.  Oklahoma City:  wow, ya'll done fucked up.  You elected a guy to be County Court Clerk who wasn't apparently aware that he was running for that particular office until after he won the republican primary.  He has no legal experience, and by all accounts is a schmuck.

2.  Tulsa:  Vision passed, which is good, but Vic Regalado is Glanz pt. 2.  Expect the same kind of bullshit shenanigans that happened under Glanz to continue under Regalado.

3.  Sanders wins Wisconsin by about 13 points.  Bigger than i thought it would be, but not hugely surprising, due to the combination of two factors:  1.  low black voter population.  Clinton won minority voters by 40% as she has in most states.  However, in Wisconsin, those voters only make up about 10% of the primary voters.  That number will be closer to 15-20% in NY, CA, and MD, all big states.  2.  Sanders' anti-trade message. Wisconsin has a lot of the same economic drivers that Michigan does.  That opens the door for Sanders to use the same anti-trade message in Wisconsin.  That message may play decently well in PA, but i'm not sold that it's enough to turn the tide.  The two big days for Sanders are April 19th and April 26th, the NY primary and the PA and MD primaries respectively.  If Sanders can show these kinds of results in those three contests (though he'd probably have to win by even larger margins to make up the gap), he could ride the momentum to the nomination.  If he can't, its effectively over.

4.  Cruz wins Wisconsin comfortably, bearing out the theory i've had about the GOP race since early fall.  Once this race narrowed down sufficiently, Trump would have problems exceeding a certain percentage of the vote.  mid 30's are sufficient percentages to win in a crowded field, but it isn't enough to beat Cruz one on one (Kasich is effectively done).  Tonight hurt Trump badly, it likely indicates that he can't get enough delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention, though he will probably still have a sizable lead over Cruz.  the GOP will then move heaven and earth to prevent Trump from getting the nomination, and all hell will subsequently break loose.  Good times.  

A Quick Thought on Arizona and Properly Placed Anger

Its a very busy day here in bankruptcy world, but I want to lay out a couple of quick thoughts regarding the Arizona primary.  Yesterday, a public hearing was held in the Arizona State Legislature concerning irregularities and problems with the recent primary election.  A whole bunch of very pissed off voters put the GOP members of the Legislature and especially the Arizona Secretary of State (who is ultimately in charge of elections) on blast for the ridiculous delays and problems with voting in the primary.  The Arizona legislature, with the Secretary of State, reduced the number of polling places from 250+ statewide in 2008 to 60 for the recent primary election (and presumably for the general).  This is, without question, bullshit.  It is at best, negligence in the aim of saving the State some minor budgetary expenses related to conducting elections, and more likely (and much worse) active malfeasance on the part of statewide GOP lawmakers to suppress the vote by making it extremely difficult and time consuming to vote.  The actions taken by legislators and the Secretary of State absolutely should be decried and investigated, and if found to be intentional to suppress the vote, should be rejected for the undemocratic, reprehensible bullshit they are.

What, however, is not appropriate, is intra-party fighting among Democrats.  After Bernie Sanders lost the Arizona primary by a significant margin (Clinton won by 72,297), there were suggestions both veiled and open by his supporters that the problems with the voting process were a direct result of meddling, tampering, chicanery, or outright fraud by the Clinton campaign and the DNC.  These suggestions are scurrilous and ugly.  They are an outright attack on the integrity of the party and the process, and they should be rejected wherever they pop up.  They also illustrate the absolute worst aspect of the Sanders supporter base's willingness to believe GOP lies and propaganda about Hillary Clinton.  I understand that people have policy differences, that people may disagree with her performance as a Senator, as Secretary of State, or would simply prefer a candidate that is farther to the left of her.  That's all fine and perfectly reasonable.  What isn't reasonable, and what, frankly, is a terrible look for Sanders supporters is parroting the same smears about dishonesty and self promotion that the GOP has been running for 25 years, even though none of Clinton's opponents have ever been able to produce concrete evidence backing those claims.  Policy disagreements are one thing, baseless, un-evidenced smears are quite another, especially when they so frequently come wrapped up in misogyny.

If Sanders supporters and Arizona democrats of all stripes want to be mad about the way the Arizona primary was conducted, good.  They should be, we all should be.  Democracy was clearly damaged that day.  But direct your anger at the party responsible, the Arizona GOP.

Berned Out

One of the ongoing arguments from supporters of Senator Sanders is that the delegate race between him and Secretary Clinton is much closer than the media has been reporting, because the super-delegates shouldn't count.  According to Bloomberg's delegate tracker, with the super-delegates, Clinton leads 1712 to 1004, a lead of 708 with a target number of 2383.  Removing the super-delegates, Clinton leads 1243 to 975, a lead of 268.  There are plenty of reasons why the super-delegate count should be included, which I'll get to at the end.  Let's assume, for the purpose of this post, that the super delegate count doesn't matter for the purpose of winning the nomination.

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A couple of quick thoughts and updates

One of the things I'm learning about myself and my depression, or lack thereof, is that some of my issues and faults I had previously attributed to depression may not be quite so simple.  This is most evident in my eating habits.  As regular readers know, I have been giving myself diet rules every four weeks or so that are building me to going back to a full slow carb diet (far and away the most success i've ever had with eating/weight loss was slow carb).

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Best Civic Duty Ever!

Apparently, this video is from a few years ago in South Korea.  This is police training for a riot situation.  Somehow, I doubt things in Cleveland will be this well organized.  But seriously, how great would it be to see an ad in the paper like, "Volunteers wanted to stage a practice riot.  No experience necessary.  Bats and Molotov cocktails will be provided.  Free box lunch."

Health Update #2

Its been four weeks since my last health update, so its time for a check in and to add some diet rules.  First, my health is generally good.  My blood pressure was down in the normal range at my last doctor's appointment two weeks ago, so the blood pressure medication seems to be working.  My doctor would like for me to purchase a blood pressure monitor and measure daily for a few weeks and inform him of the results to check progress and adjust the medication as necessary.

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My New Favorite Major League Baseball Player

ESPN The Magazine's Tim Keown released a fantastic profile of Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper today.  The piece is extraordinarily well written and full of interesting stories and details, but the biggest and best detail is that Bryce Harper does.  not.  give.  a.  fuck.  He doesn't care what people think about him, he doesn't care about baseball's moronic code, he doesn't care the way things have always been done.  He cares about playing hard, and being a badass.

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The man, the myth, the legend Keith Olbermann is back!  Not back on TV, where he belongs, but at least back in the Op/Ed pages of the Washington Post, where he flat out eviscerates Donald Drumpf.  I have zero qualms about proudly displaying my KO fandom.  He was brilliant on sportscenter back in the day, his MSNBC and Current show was fantastic, and his return to ESPN was the smartest, funniest, best thing they had on their air until they unceremoniously dropped him around the same time they dropped Bill Simmons and Grantland.  Here's the money quote from the piece, which is worth reading in full:

This is the campaign of a PG-rated cartoon character running for president, interrupting a string of insults the rest of us abandoned in the seventh grade only long enough to resume a concurrent string of half-crazed boasts: We’re gonna start winning again! We’re gonna build an eleventy-billion-foot-high wall! We’re not gonna pay a lot for this muffler!

Set phasers to kill, Keith, set them to kill.  And get a new TV show, damnit!