Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
October 10, 2018
Y Kant Trump Read
Category: Current Events … Serious

So, today Trump has an editorial up on the USA Today website. It's worth reading -- if only because it's a thing the President "wrote" and highlights the divided nature of politics today -- and especially clicking through to the articles linked to support his assertions. I imagine that the links were provided by USA Today staff; I can't imagine that Trump or (loyal) WH staffers would have included them.

Frex, Trump asserts that health insurance premiums are decreasing, and there's a UPI.com article linked to that statement. But while the article does begin with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar's assertion that premium costs will fall 2% in 2019, it also includes compelling statements from two other authorities that premiums would have decreased even further -- and would not have risen this year -- if not for Trump's policies. So the article really doesn't really help Trump's case at all.

I only found out about the USA Today editorial because Trump tweeted a link to it, but I'm skeptical that he actually read it (despite supposedly having written it) and it's clear he didn't read the linked articles. That's kinda... sad.

-posted by Wes | 6:24 pm | Comments (0)
September 27, 2018
Less brief thoughts on the Kavanaugh sitch
Category: Current Events … Serious

So. Here are my general (and less abbreviated than in the previous entry) thoughts about the Kavanaugh sitch:

I think if I had been Trump or even Kavanaugh, I would have withdrawn or declined the nomination early into this drama -- and had I been a Republican senator, I would have voiced my intent to vote against Kavanaugh's nomination in order to force one of those outcomes. This is not to say that I would have admitted to any certainty of Kavanaugh's guilt, and I would have said as much in voicing my intentions. My action would not have been about "punishing" Kavanaugh. But I do believe members of the highest court in the country should have (as best we can manage in this hyper-partisan environment) the confidence of the American people, and I'd argue that Kavanaugh -- perhaps especially now, given today's events -- has been irrevocably tarnished in that respect. A friend linked a great piece in The Atlantic that includes (and goes far beyond and explores in greater depth) the rationale I'd use to justify my decision. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 7:13 pm | Comments (0)
Brief thoughts on the Kavanaugh sitch
Category: Current Events … Linkage … Serious

So I'm following the Kavanaugh drama, and I'm seeing Dr. Ford's testimony heralded as a turning point in the national conversation about sexual misconduct/harassment/assault against women... and I wish I were as optimistic about that. I mean, certainly Ford's experience has inspired a lot of women to share their own stories, and I'm glad these women feel empowered to do so and hope they get the support they deserve. But I'm also hearing the familiar dismissals of those accounts (and from high-profile elected officials like the President of the United States) and I don't expect Ford's testimony to prevent Kavanaugh from ascending to the Supreme Court. I hope I'm wrong on that. We'll see.

In other related news, re: this Daily Show segment about Kavanaugh's supposed virginity -- can someone explain to me what makes it (particularly the latter bit with Dulcé Sloan) funny? It's clearly going over my head. I mean, I get the "lol virgins are lame" joke, to the extent that that's the entirety of the joke -- but sometimes it's possible for an audience to interpret a joke in a different way, or at least to find it funny for reasons not necessarily reducible to mean-spiritedness and/or prejudice. (Frex, I think some of the cartoons about a Trump/Putin romantic relationship work on an absurdist level, even though I acknowledge that homophobia -- or misogyny, to the extent that those cartoons feminize Trump -- might explain the amusement of some audiences, and therefore I understand why gay people might find those cartoons offensive.) I'm just curious about the possibility of an alternative explanation for the humor here.

-posted by Wes | 3:13 pm | Comments (0)
May 15, 2018
RIP Tom Wolfe
Category: Ancient … Current Events … Serious

With the news of author Tom Wolfe's death, my first thought was, "Hey, didn't I do a comic about him way back when? I think I did!" And then I looked the comic up and... holy crap, lol. But I think that was a pretty common humor template back then: point out a potentially ludicrous thing, explain why it's potentially ludicrous, and punctuate the discussion with a desire for the perpetrator of the potential ludicrousness to die horribly. I still remember a bit on Garfield and Friends -- yes, Garfield the orange cat -- that ended with Garfield muttering, "People who sing like that should be dragged out into the street and shot." Again, this was on Garfield and Friends. Rating: TV-G. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 3:28 pm | Comments (0)
January 14, 2018
Trump’s Ambiguity Assault
Category: Current Events … Serious

So I admit that I've probably been less horrified by Trump's antics than most of the folks in my orbit. I mean, yeah, he consistently shows himself to be a ridiculous buffoon who's in no way up to the task of running the country -- but he's also often hilarious. I often talk about how I read Trump's Twitter feed because I want to see his comments unfiltered, from the source; I also read it because it frequently sends me into peals of laughter. Not a lot of things have that effect on me.

But his current freakout about whether he said "I" or "I'd" isn't even funny -- it's just sad and stupid, and I can't even bring myself to giggle about it.

For those of you who missed it, Trump tweeted an accusation that the Wall Street Journal deliberately misquoted him, writing that he said "I probably have a good relationship with Kim Jong Un" instead of that same statement with "I'd" instead of "I". The extra consonant sound does indeed change the meaning of the statement -- arguably significantly -- but this really shouldn't be a big deal. It's an easy thing to mishear and an easy thing to misspeak -- especially since, quite naturally, we often drop trailing consonant sounds. (It's also worth noting that this president isn't the most careful when it comes to enunciation; remember the confusion over whether he was saying "bigly" versus "big league"? Not that that's necessarily a criticism; in America we don't require every citizen to sound like a British royal.) All Trump had to do was clarify what he meant, without assigning blame to anyone, and that would have been that. (more...)

-posted by Wes | 8:06 pm | Comments (0)
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