Friday, September 30, 2016

Braggadocious! - Randy Rainbow Takes on Donald Trump

This has really made the rounds, but in case you haven't yet seen it, give it a twirl. It' quite inventive, especially when you consider how quickly it was produced after last Monday's debate. It's a wonderfully clever take on Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins, and skewers The Donald in many great and huge ways. It's tremendous. Believe me.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Trump Supporters Rig Online Polls Post-Debate

This was obvious to anyone with a functional, working brain, eyes and ears. Donald Trump didn't merely lose the first 2016 Presidential Debate to Hillary Clinton, he lost badly. He was a sniffling, incoherent mess. But immediately after (in fact, before it was even over), online polls started to show Trump to be the winner. In some cases, as in The Drudge Report's poll, the skew was so lopsided as to be preposterously obvious.

I'm familiar with the "FReeping" of polls. Named for the practice honed by the denizens of, members are given links to open online polls they wish to skew. And thousands of "flying monkeys" descend upon the polls, making the FReepers' wishes seem more represented than they really are. The practice is widespread, and goes beyond Right Wing World these days. That's why online polls are generally regarded (except by low-info voters) as interesting but worthless. But the problem is, while the practice can be merely a prank, more often it is done to influence public opinion. In this case, to make it seem as though Trump won the debate, in order to cement that idea into the public consciousness. In effect, to rewrite history.

Ironically, conservatives--who are supposed to be "law and order" good guys, moral and just, and all about fairness--think nothing of getting a lie cast as the truth if it benefits them. They really don't care how they win, whether it involves cheating, disenfranchising voters, whatever the means, if the end is: they win. So, even though I know I've let this blog run fallow lately, I see it as my duty to expose this sort of thing whenever I run across it. Please read.


4chan and Reddit bombarded debate polls to declare Trump the winner

You may be getting trolled right now without even knowing it.Donald Trump supporters artificially manipulated the results of online polls to create a false narrative that the Republican nominee won the first presidential debate on Monday night. The efforts originated from users of the pro-Trump Reddit community r/The_Donald and 4chan messaged boards, which bombarded around 70 polls, including those launched by Time, Fortune, and CNBC. . .

Read more at: The Daily Dot

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Deplorables are Also the Unreachables

Sunbury, Ohio Trump Shop
It's becoming ever more apparent that there is a segment of our population--a depressingly large segment--that is unreachable. Unreasonable. Unconvincable. The base, core support for Donald Trump is possibly most of them, and possibly 40% or more of the electorate, and it doesn't matter what Trump says, does, doesn't say or doesn't do to shake them. No amount of proof that he's unqualified, racist, wrong or dangerous will matter: THEY. DO. NOT. CARE. Nothing will shake them, no matter how deeply it goes against their so-called bedrock issues. Not lack of religiosity. Not immorality. Not lying. Not cheating. Not lawbreaking. Not hypocrisy. Nothing. Nothing will shake them, period.

So, it's time to stop trying. It's time to stop trying to convince your Uncle Joe, your Gramma Irene, and even your stubbornly conservative parents. They're on the Trump Train to its destination, whether it be the presidency or an embarrassing loss.  And a loss is one of the only things that will shake them off, and probably get about half to disown the notion that they ever supported him. The other, of course, would be the nearly certain disastrous presidency that would ensue should he manage the feat of election. In that case, he'll likely also lose half of his original base, who will deny ownership of that vote, and hold on to the tenacious 20% that seems to always cling to the GOP regardless.

So, who are the persuadables? Well, we can already count on Hillary Clinton having her own unshakable 20% or so, one would presume. And possibly a further 20% that just can't see a rational alternative. That leaves about 20% in the middle, but they're comprised of so many factions, using a single strategy might not be possible. They're made up of soft supporters from either side, independents who like neither candidate, Jill Stein supporters, Gary Johnson supporters, #BernieOrBust-ers (who may be as unreachable as Trumpers), and those who are late to tune in, but usually vote. And even though we've accounted for 100% of the voting electorate, there is a large number out there, people who are unreliable voters, people who just don't feel moved to cast a ballot.

I recommend The Rude Pundit, if you're barely holding
on to your sanity this political season.
The primary job of the DNC, and of truly anyone not on the Trump bandwagon, is to turn out the vote. To make some noise, and to make it a duty to make sure that Trump doesn't get elected. All stops should be pulled out to this end. Yes, sell people on Hillary if they're receptive. Give good reasons why she'd be a good candidate. Positive reasons for Democratic leadership, and warnings of what happens otherwise is good for the middle 20% and the unkknown extras out there. And dire warnings could cement them.

So, I'm not saying we don't continue to point out Trump's foibles, far from it. In fact they should be more pointed, louder and clearer. We should demand the media not give him a pass, and not let up one iota. But added to this challenge should probably be trying to shun the trolls, ignore the taunts, and try to stop wasting time fighting the actual solid Trumpers. That's difficult. They taunt, they jab, they bray, and they love to do it. It's so very tempting. But it's also a waste of time. They're gone, done, locked in to a cult of personality, and morally welded to this vile candidate. Forget 'em if you can. Lock in the rest. And vote, vote, vote.


The Post-Factual Election: Trump, Lies, and More Lies 

"There's something you don't fucking understand," my friend from western Virginia told me. Cal and I had been catching up. When he told me that he was thinking of taking a job back up north "just to escape all these Trump fuckers down here," we couldn't avoid discussing this goddamned election. "You keep thinking that if you can show that Trump is lying, that they'll abandon him. That's not gonna happen. They don't give a fuck if Trump's lying or not. They just don't care. In fact, they'll believe Trump and say that CNN is lying because it's just the liberal media. Trump voters don't give a shit about truth. They don't give a shit about facts. All they care about is that they hate Obama, they hate Hillary, and they want to elect someone who isn't either of them." That made sense: these are people who value faith above reason. . .

Read more at: The Rude Pundit

Thursday, September 15, 2016

September Update: Everyone is in Great Health!

Well, I've done it again, I've let the blog just sit here for days on end, no updates, no nuffin'.

Sorry about that. I have more excuse for that than usual. Long-time friends, in fact surrogate family members from my two decades in Las Vegas have moved across the country, back to Ohio, and in with us. That has been a tremendous reunion, extended celebration, and little time or room for much else. The Other Half is highly irritated with all things political, and has nearly banned it from discussion. . .leaving the spare time for me to actually read and consume news and info on what's going on, rather than to write about it.

The big news this week, of course, is the health of the presidential candidates. Particularly after the health scare Hillary Clinton had on Sunday. Initially, the explanation of dehydration, exhaustion and pneumonia was iffy, sounding to some like convenient cover before finding out what was "really" wrong. But mostly that's because Right Wing World has spent weeks and months creating a fictional world where Clinton is a reanimated corpse or something. In the days since, Clinton has seemingly recuperated, her doctor has released a completely credible health assessment, and all but the kooky fringe (a disturbingly large contingent of people, I will concede) should be satisfied on at least that issue.

Meanwhile, Trump--who uncharacteristically wished Clinton well on her recovery--made a spectacle of his own health, having a very showy appearance on Dr. Oz, using a second health assessment by the same quack doctor, and pretty much erasing whatever credibility gap may have existed between he and Clinton on the issue. He also seemed to fudge on his own weight, trying to pass himself off as a bit overweight when he's likely clinically obese, and trying to convince people that campaign gesticulations count as physical activity.

It's all rather tedious in total, but you know what isn't? Listening to Rachel Maddow describe it in detail. She manages to make it quite entertaining, actually! Enjoy.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

My Remembrance of September 11, 2001 [Revisited]

The following is my annual repost of my personal remembrance of September 11, 2001, with slight revisions and additions. . .

Today is the day when we look at the calendar, and nearly flinch. September 11, 2001 is distant to us in many ways, but now--amazingly--for the 15th time, we've all looked at that calendar page and have been taken back to where we were that morning.

I'm republishing my personal account of what happened to me that day, written in the early days of my blog. My story is no more special than yours, I know. But on a day when the date is sure to be used by many for political purposes, I wanted to have one post up that just remembers the day.

Photo of United Airlines Las Vegas-based Flight Attendants'
memorial service at Sunset Park, September 2001
(Originally published in the Las Vegas Review-Journal)*

Posts I've made today, and earlier in this blog's short history, have discussed or are related to 9/11. I'd rather not let the day go by without giving you the reader--and me the blogger--a little more, minus the political rhetoric.

I've become a deeply cynical person, you might say, at least as it regards politics. This is particularly true lately. But on Tuesday, September 11th, 2001 I wasn't thinking about any of that. Everyone who witnessed that day has their own story. Mine is no more relevant than yours, and is surely less traumatic than many.

I awoke that morning at my usual time, somewhere between 6:30 and 6:45 am. I had finished my morning ritual, and was just buttoning up my clothes when the phone rang. It was our friend, Larry, an American Airlines flight attendant, and he was crying. "Two planes have just hit the World Trade Center," he managed between sobs. This was startling news, but not yet sufficiently alarming for me to change my routine.

I passed the phone to The Other Half, and turned on the bedroom TV. There it was, and the slight alarm turned to a sinking feeling. This was big. We quickly learned that it was both United's and American Airlines' planes that hit the buildings, causing high alarm in the room, and on the other end of the phone. The Other Half, and our next-door neighbor/friend, were [and still are] both United flight attendants. And the neighbor was on a trip at an unknown location. My heart sank, and I nearly sobbed myself--with relief--that my partner was right there in the room with me, accounted for.

Not fully realizing the impact of what had happened, I began my journey to work. I switched on the radio, and was very shortly informed that the Pentagon was on fire. They did not yet know the cause. When I pulled into the parking lot at work, the radio announcer said that a plane was believed to have crashed in Pennsylvania. There was an erroneous report about an explosion somewhere else (maybe the White House?).  I said out loud, "the sky is falling." I fully expected at that point that a wave of attacks would continue throughout the morning. Thankfully, that did not come to pass.

Shortly after my arrival at work, The Other Half called, and told me one of the towers had fallen. Not long after, we heard the same about the other. We imagined the worst, that the buildings had fallen over, smashing all below. Thankfully, again, as bad as it was, it could have been worse.

We didn't get much work done that day. Someone went home and got a TV, and we spent much of our time in front of that fuzzy little picture. Later that day, we found that most of our friends, and their colleagues were accounted for. Our neighbor was stranded in New Orleans for over a week. We had quite the celebration upon his return.

The following days were surreal. I'd never seen Las Vegas without planes in the sky, and believe me, you notice. We watched hours upon hours of TV News, of course, like everyone else. And the casinos around town knee-jerk fired lots of people. We feared for our town.

Several days later, The Other Half went to a memorial service at Sunset Park, due east of McCarran Airport, with the Las Vegas United Airlines base crew. During the service, the first plane in days landed, flying right over the park. There was a swelling of spontaneous applause, as you'd imagine.

We were very lucky. We knew people who had friends-of-friends-of-friends who died that day, but fortunately (for our little world), were spared personal losses. One friend was quite well acquainted with one of the [United 93] pilots, and we had his wife to our house, but that was the extent of our direct contact. United, of course, had a very rocky ride of it, as did American. Many of the flight attendants left town, or left aviation. Las Vegas, predictably bounced back.


Las Vegas isn't feeling very bouncy this September 11th. Tourism is down, layoffs are widespread, hours (mine included) have been cut at many jobs. United Airlines and American Airlines are seemingly always under threat of going out of business. The neighbor moved to Florida not long after September 11th. The Other Half and I were married this year, and are doing well despite job worries. Whatever happens on November fourth, I think it will bookend 9/11/2001, and hopefully all of this will seem like a bygone era.

Things in Las Vegas haven't perked up much in the last year. We have, of course, moved from the Bush Era on into the Obama Era. It remains to be seen how that will play out. I'm not a lock-step liberal by any stretch, but I'm willing to give the President time and space.


Still waiting for the economy to pick up in Las Vegas, personally and city-wide. We lead the pack for foreclosures, unemployment and several other "worst of" lists. We did place first in a "best roads" in the US story, so that's something. All of these woes are put at the feet of: a) Barack Obama, if you are a partisan conservative, b) George W. Bush, if you're a partisan liberal, c) Harry Reid, if you're Sharron Angle, or d) the snowball effect of many factors, with blame to be shared by both political parties. I'm going with the last one. But I do have to wonder what the state of the economy and the United States in general might have been like if that clear blue skied Tuesday in September 2001 had been just an ordinary day.

Wow, 10 years. There are parts of that day that seem eerily recent. And then you remember everything that has happened since. Our two (main) wars--started in the immediate aftermath of 9/11--are still going on in one form or other. The economy noted in the updates above, hasn't improved much. Las Vegas is hanging in there, but a bit beaten and battered. And as I noted in 2010, this economic pickle might have been a bit different were it not for that one day. Maybe we still would have had a housing bubble, maybe the bankers and corporate fat cats would've still been crooks. But the whole deficit/debt sideshow might've been in  much, much better shape. Ugh. I wish things were a bit rosier for the 10-year anniversary of that rotten day. Maybe the 20? Or dare I wish it, the 11th or 12th?


In my yearly updates, I see I've gotten away from "not being political." Sorry about that, but what can you do? Everything is political these days. In 2012, our household actually is better off than we were four years ago, with everything except housing values looking up. Everyone is looking toward November's election, but very little has been made this year about 9/11, other than that this year is the first (oops) second time it's happened on a Tuesday since that fateful day. Though American Airlines is in bankruptcy this year, but United seems to be doing well with its Continental merger. In good news, the Iraq War is over. Still don't know what that had to do with 9/11. And sadly, Captain Dahl's widow died this year, oddly enough at the house of a friend of ours. So, at eleven years and counting, it's kind of a mixed bag. Here's to the day when we have to think about it to remember how many years it's been.


President Obama spoke last night, on the matter of what to do about Syria. The proximity to September 11, and our botched response to it weighs heavy over the whole thing. Then again, it also informs us about overheated, foolish reactions. Also, we have to keep in mind that last year, we were attacked in Benghazi,. Hopefully this year's anniversary will go by without anything like that. This year makes a dozen years, which means we're getting well into a time where high school kids probably don't remember much about the day as it happened. Their entire worldviews are of the "post-9/11" variety.


Again, President Obama spoke last night on the matter of what to do about ISIS/ISIL in Iraq and Syria. We're not able to get out of that region it would seem, even 13 years later. And think about this: every school-aged child, and most college freshmen have spent their entire academic careers in  "post-9/11" world.


Since last year, The Other Half (who has since left United) and I have moved across the country. This is something we'd have been unable to afford to do at any other point in these updates. Which says that there has been economic improvement, at least in our household. The stock market has been rather shaky in recent weeks, but after an extended upswing, that seems inevitable. We're most of the way through the "Obama Era" now, and despite the FOX "News" doom and gloom, we seem to be better off in most ways.


Here we sit, on the 15th anniversary, with the added worry: if something happened today, how would it affect the election? Conventional wisdom says--though it's counter-intuitive--that an attack would favor Donald Trump. I have no idea why people would react that way, but it seems to be the general consensus. If find that worry almost as troublesome as the worry of an actual attack. I really think that Trump as president would be a calamity, a terrifying situation, one that puts us in danger of other attacks. So, I sit here in the Eastern time zone hoping that we slide into afternoon with no events. And then through the day. Fingers crossed. And toes, and other parts. . .

* Full disclosure: photo contains an image of my husband, our friends and his co-workers.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly Has Died. Finally.

They say evil never dies. And so, I'm forced to raise my previous opinion of the late Phyllis Schlafly. Slightly.


Phyllis Schlafly, towering social conservative figure, dies at 92

Phyllis Schlafly, a prominent anti-feminist and early leader of the social conservative movement, died Monday at the age of 92 at her home in St. Louis. . .

Read more at: CNN
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