Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Picks of the Year: 2018

Two dates hang over us separated by a hyphen. Our year of birth and our year of death. It is on the hyphen is where all the fun happens. Congratulations to everyone reading this. The date after the hyphen will at least be 2019, hopefully much higher.

2018 was a pretty shitty year in regards to history. The stock market has been a roller coaster ride, our president has been as bad as ever, school shootings are still plentiful and our environmental problems are escalating, but it is was still a pretty good year for me and my immediate family.

In March, we celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary and had a group of friends and family over for a bonfire. In October, we took a trip to Boston to see the Red Sox play the first playoff game of the season and they not only won the game we attended, but they won the World Series, fourth time in the 21st century.

We lost our electricity for three days in November and we are currently without a fridge (for two weeks now). A new one is delivered on Thursday morning. 

Favorite Trip:
We had our first tropical vacation this year with a week in the Dominican Republic. A resort vacations are not our style, but it was incredibly relaxing. I'm not sure if I will ever go to resort again, but I enjoyed it. Staying one place during a vacation and not exploring isn't exactly what I am used to nor to my liking. 

We also had road trips to Kansas City to see the Red Sox with a stop in Chicago to see my wife's family and the Cubs. We went to Clearwater, Florida for a week with visits to Virginia and Baltimore to see friends. I had a business trip to Vegas which I hate and we went into Boston to see the Sox a couple of times. 

Media:
Best New Podcast:

I discovered a handful of new pod casts this year: 

  • Retropod - a short history podcast by Washington Post
  • The Indicator by Planet Money - a short economic podcast where they dissect a number                                                      from the economy
  • This Song - a radio station out of Austin TX, KUTX, talks to musicians about a song that                                                     inspired them. 
  • By the Book - these two woman read a self help book and for a month live by it. It is very                                                     funny. 
  • Pod Dylan - One Bob Dylan song is dissected
  • The Great Albums - One great rock album is dissected. 
  • Everything Is Alive - an interview with an inanimate object. 
Everything Is Alive is my favorite new podcast. It is put out by producers of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. It is hysterical. They usually have comedians playing the objects. They interview a lamppost, a subway seat, a grain of sand, an elevator etc. 


Best Book I read this year:

I read the following books this year:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nahisi Coates (audio book)
Lamb: The Gospel According to BIff, Christ's Childhood Pal - Christopher Moore
Because They Wanted To - Mary Gaitskill
A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Bachman
Grunt by Mary Roach
The Rising Plague by Brad Spellberg
A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving (reread)
Var the Stick by Piers Anthony
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman (currently reading)

I didn't meet my goal of twelve books. Lamb was probably my favorite. Not often does a book make me laugh out loud. His writing reminded me of Tom Robbins. 

Favorite Movie I Saw in a Theater: 

I saw the following movies in the theater this year

Vice, Boy Erased, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Crazy Rich Asians, Won't You Be My Neighbor, Sorry to Bother You, RBG, Deadpool II, Avengers: Infinity War, The Post and BlackKKlansman. 

The Avengers movie might be my favorite in that I don't think I've ever been as shocked as I was by the ending. Overall, it was not a great year for movies.

Favorite new TV show: 
My wife and I just started rewatching ER from the very beginning on Hulu. We are pleasantly surprised how much the show holds up. We tried to watch St. Elsewhere and it didn't hold up at all. We are on season 2 of ER now and plan on bingeing all the way to the end. Maybe we'll finish by the end of 2019. 

In the meantime, I discovered a lot of new shows in 2018.  

Among them are:  Big Mouth, Star Trek: Discovery, The Marvelous Mrs Maizel, Homecoming, Jack Ryan, The Haunting of Hill House, Goliath, Humans, American Gods, The Rain, Safe, Disenchantment, Bodyguard, Ken Burns' Vietnam, Maniac, The Sinner, The Secret City, Collateral, Lost in Space, Requiem, Seven Seconds, The End of the Fucking World, Philip K Dick's Electric Dreams, Absentia, Victoria and Fleabag. 

Hands down, my favorite is The Marvelous Mrs. Maizel on Amazon. A Jewish housewife in 1950's NYC delves into stand up comedy. It is a treat for fans of comedy, history and drama. Big Mouth on Netflix is probably my second favorite, cringe-worthy, but fantastic comedy.

Favorite Albums:

I bought seven albums/CDs from 2018. I went fairly mellow this year. My favorite has to be John Prine's "The Tree of Forgiveness."  Yes, John Prine is still alive and putting out some of his best music. His lyrics are as witty and poignant as ever. 

Here are the albums:
"Secularia" by Eliza Gilkyson
"Free Yourself Up" by Lake Street Dive
"Everyday Life, Everyday People" by Slightly Stoopid
"The Deconstruction" by Eels
"By the Way, I Forgive You" by Brandi Carlile 
"All the Things That I Did, All the Things I Didn't Do" by Milk Carton Kids
"The Tree of Forgiveness" by John Prine

Favorite Songs:

I have 247 MP3 songs from 2018. Below is a list of some of my favorites. If I have to pick a favorite, which is difficult, I have to pick "Fire Drills" by Dessa. I don't often pick a hip-hop songs as the best but this one is truly great. I might have to go back to 2005 when I last picked a hip-hop song with Mood Ruff's "Rocketship."  

Favorite new songs of the year.
"Bloodless" Andrew Bird
"The Mother" Brandi Carlile
"Under the Wheels" Calexico
"My Old Man" Chuck Auerbach
"Crack the Case" Dawes
"On and On" Dead Horses
"Fire Drills" Dessa
"The Deconstruction" and "Rusty Pipes" The Eels
"Egg & Daughter Nite, Lincoln Nebraska, 1967 (Crazy Bone)" John Prine
"Summer's End" John Prine
"Beverly" Low Cut Connie
"Hey Mama" Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
"Baby Don't Leave Me Alone With My Thoughts" Lake Street Dive
"Hell-on" Neko Case
"Desire" Ought
"One More Night" Slightly Stoopid
"Choosing Sides" Benjamin Lazar Davis
"Wild" Molly Burch
"Things I Learned" Motel Mirrors
"Glass Jar" Tristen
"Your Dog" Soccer Mommy
"Lay Low" Gretchen Peters

Enjoy 2019. I'll be here. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Lame Duck Session Needs To Go Away

The Lame Duck Session of a legislative body is the period after the election but before the new members are sworn in. This year's lame duck period is from November 6th 2018 and to January 3rd 2019. Almost two months will go by where Congress people, who were not re-elected, will get to vote. Congress does meet during this period and has done so since 1940.

The original reason we have a lame duck period is because our Constitution was written a long time ago. It took people a long time to come from Georgia or New Hampshire to arrive in DC or Philadelphia. Now that we have airplanes etc., the time period is no longer needed. As soon as a candidate has been certified, they could be sworn. Maybe the next day or the next week, if we want them to be present in DC.

Lame Duck Sessions, particularly, makes no sense on the state level. Clearly, newly elected officials don't need two months to get to their state capital to be sworn in.  Some states do it immediately (like Florida) and twelve others do it within the same year as the election (Alabama, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia). What is going on in Wisconsin and Michigan is unconscionable. If they did away with the Lame Duck, this wouldn't be happening.

Wisconsin voted for a Democratic Governor, Tony Evers, over incumbent Republican Scott Walker. Thanks to the magic of gerrymandering, they have had a unified Republican government since 2010 even though there are more registered Democrats who voted in that time. Now that they lost the state house, the Lame Duck Session in that state is voting on limiting the power of the governor. The new Democratic governor will have stricter limits on whom he can appoint to his administration and he will have stricter controls over his negotiation powers with the Federal government. They are also preventing him from pulling out of the lawsuit against the ACA (aka ObamaCare) which is a campaign promise he made. Republicans: circumventing the will of the voters across America.

Michigan is similar with a new Democratic Governor, Gretchen Whitmer. The lame duck state legislature has been fast cutting her power making it difficult for her to appoint officials and for her to shutdown the controversial Line 5 Pipeline which she campaigned so hard against. The state senate is also putting up barriers for the new Democratic Secretary of State to enforce campaign finance reform. They are also gutting the minimum wage and required family leave act that they themselves enacted. Republicans: we wrap ourselves in the American flag when you are looking but wipe our asses with it when you are not.

Some good has come out of Lame Duck Sessions.This is probably because people have nothing to lose. They are leaving office so they can go out on the limb to vote for something that they may not if they were staying in office.  The Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 was passed by the 111th Congress in one of these sessions. But overall, the Lame Duck Sessions are bad and really should be eliminated on state and federal level. 

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Health Care and How to Win an Election in 2018

I agree with Conservatives on at least one thing, that the US has some of the greatest hospitals in the world. One of those great hospitals employees me. Wealthy people come from around the world to be treated at American hospitals. The problem with our health care system lies with not in the quality of our health care, but in its accessibility and its affordability. We are the only industrialized nation that doesn't have some sort of comprehensive socialized health care. Medicare is not comprehensive in that it only covers a small group of people: the elderly, government employees, Amtrak employees and the military (aka Tricare).

Medicare is great, not perfect, but for the most part very well run. In my twenty years as a Health Care IT professional, in dealing with health care payers, I rarely have problems with them or with commercial insurances like Aetna, Cigna and US Healthcare among many others. In contrast Medicaid is a nightmare. Each time I have to call them, while I sit on hold, for usually a very long time, I feel like I am falling into an abyss of red tape. They are understaffed, underfunded and not taken very seriously. When I do get someone on the phone, they often contradict the last person I talked to there. It is my impression that they are saying whatever they need to get me off the phone. This is very frustrating when you are just trying to get the health care providers the money they have coming to them. It is a wonder that the poor's health care bills ever get paid.

One of the problems is that people confuse Medicaid with Medicare because their names are so similar. Medicaid used to be called Welfare, but it was rebranded because of the negative connotations that Welfare elicits. It is government assistance for the extreme poor among us. This is probably why they are a mess. America doesn't prioritize the poor very highly and the poor doesn't have strong lobbyists fighting for them like the elderly do.

Those who follow the numbers have noticed that our health care system is getting worst, from a financial standpoint for the last few decades. It is untenable and will crash eventually. My wife said to me recently, in frustration, "Our health insurance sucks!" My response was "Everyone's health insurance sucks now. That is the problem." Costs are spiraling and health care payers are struggling to stay afloat. This isn't new. We've known about this as a society for quite some time. A few brave politicians have tried to tackle it. President Richard Nixon did, but then came Watergate and survival became his priority. President Clinton tried but that was a complete failure, but he did pass HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Privacy Act) which was tremendous success at least from my viewpoint. Obama passed the ACA (Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare) and it was, by no means perfect, but it was a step in the right direction.

What HIPAA did for me, as an IT professional, is standardize things. Before HIPAA, insurance companies could demand you send them electronic files and/or paper for claims in any format they wanted. Each payer had a different requirement and the providers had to jump through hoops to get their money from them. After HIPAA, there are standards that everyone (payer, provider, government, commercial) have to follow. We have what are called 837 files for insurance claims. After they are approved, the payments come in 835 files. When there is a problem with one of these files, it is deemed HIPAA non-compliant and most of the time the errors you deal with are benign and common. Life is a lot easier now. This is why whenever I hear someone say that government isn't the answer to our health care woes, I reject it completely. Government can and does often make things better. Not perfect, but better.

How did our health care system get so bad? I blame Baylor University.  I kid about this really. I've worked with people at Baylor and they are some of the nicest and capable people I've ever worked with. In the early 20th century, health care was not a big deal. Americans didn't spend a lot of money on it and only went to see a doctor until they were dying or very hurt. Baylor hospital had empty beds that they wanted to fill so they had an idea to offer a low cost payment plan that would allow people to come to the hospital for non-deathly matters. The first plan offered teachers 21 days of a hospital bed for $6 a year (equivalent to about $120.00 in today's cash). Other hospitals in the Dallas, Texas area came on board. Once the Great Depression hit, no one was going to the hospital because they didn't have the money even for cheap health care, so other hospitals came on board. This plan was called Blue Cross. In a short time, every state had a Blue Cross plan available. During World World II, President Roosevelt sign Executive Order 9250 as a means to control inflation. Wages were frozen. So employers found a way around this by offering benefits to attract hard to find employees. Health insurance being tied to your employment was born.  When WW II ended, the American economy boomed with the rest of the industrialized world in tatters. Competition for good employees was high. By then, you could not compete without have an insurance plan for your employees. In 1943, the IRS deemed that health plans were tax exempt. This created a boom for anyone who wanted to start their own health insurance plan.

Nothing about this is set in stone. It is just an accident of history. This fee for service plan only drives up the cost of health care. Providers have financial incentive to provide more care in quantity, not quality. It has gotten to the point where the system is unsustainable. When the ACA was passed and your good plan was cancelled, it was going to be cancelled anyway. Insurance companies just timed the cancellation of these to coincide with the ACA's passing so they could scapegoat the government, rather than explain the hard realities to their customers. The American health care system is on the verge of collapse.

The 2018 mid-term election just took place on Tuesday this week. I am in amazement by two things: 1) Trump's ability to drive people to the polls. Both voters that hate him and love him, showed up in droves. We had the highest turn-out for a mid-term election in recent years. 2) Democrats were able to stay on message. It is not a simple thing, for a politician, particularly one leaning toward the left. I have never seen this before. They could have easily ran against Trump, but they didn't. They let him be his own worst enemy. They ran on health care. The Republicans tried to claim that they were the health care party but it is obvious to anyone paying attention that they are not. Many of them lied during their rallies and commercials that they supported protecting pre-existing conditions coverage. In regards to health care they had nothing to run on. They couldn't bring up their bullshit tax plan that no one other than billionaires liked. Americans are finally figuring out that something needs to be done with our health care woes and there is only one party that is doing anything.


Lets hope that the Democrats continue to stay on message and run this wave into the 2020 election. I don't know how to get to a Medicare For All. It seems to an insurmountable problem. But I know, the first thing we need is the political will. The Democrats will need your support to do this.  Stay with them. Your life could depend on it.


Sunday, November 4, 2018

Trump Log # 68: Please Remember To Vote

Regardless how bad Trump is doing as President people will still support him, because the economy is doing well. It is great irony because the economy is still one of those things that the American president has little control over. That is the beauty of free enterprise. Unlike most of our allies in Europe and especially Asia, our economy, for the most part, is truly free.  Yet, you will still hear people say that they are going to support the president's agenda, because the economy is doing well.

Economies are cyclical. Our Federal Executive branch can pick winners and losers, overall the economy is on its own unencumbered by government. If you are one of the winners in the Trump economy please remember that it comes with a cost. Cost to our environment, to the education system, our health care and to our poor and disenfranchised. One should be voting not only for one's self-interest but for the interest of the nation and the planet as a whole, especially if you are doing well.

Please remember to vote this Tuesday. This President needs some checks in place to keep him under control. We need the improvements in our health care system protected. For this to happen, we need a Democratic congress.

I am taking a break from the Trump Log for a while. Perhaps I will publish one of these monthly instead of weekly. There is some other stuff I'd like to get done.

Trump Log:

Monday 10/29/18 - Trump is corrupt through and through, from his family to his cabinet. The New York Times has compiled a definitive list.

Tuesday 10/30/18 - Trump plans to end birthright citizenship. (Source: Washington Post)

Wednesday 10/31/18 - Trump was asked by Pittsburgh's leadership to wait a while before he visits. He visits anyway. (Source: Washington Post)

Thursday 11/1/18 - Trump wants to send 15,000 US troops to the Mexican border to greet the refugee caravan. This is about the same number of troops that we have in Afghanistan. (Source: Washington Post)

Friday 11/2/18 - Trump's average rate of lies per day has gone up to 30, leading up the election. Fear mongering is obvious in many of them. (Source: Washington Post)

Saturday 11/3/18 - US reimposes sanctions on Iran but gives exemptions to many countries including China, but not the European Union. Trump once again favors tyranny over of our allies of free nations. (Source: New York Times).

Sunday 11/4/18 -  In a speech, Trump advocates the use of firearms against rock throwers at the border. The Nigerian Army uses Trump's words as a justification to fire upon protesters leaving at least 40 dead. (Source New York Times)

rior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017
Issue #32 - posted June 20, 2017
Issue #33 - posted June 27, 2017
Issue #34 - posted March 12, 2018
Issue #35 - posted March 19, 2018
Issue #36 - posted March 26, 2018
Issue #37 - posted April 1, 2018
Issue #38 - posted April 8, 2018
Issue #39 - posted April 15, 2018
Issue #40 - posted April 22, 2018
Issue #41 - posted April 29, 2018
Issue #42 - posted May 6, 2018
Issue #43 - posted May 13, 2018
Issue #44 - posted May 20, 2018
Issue #45 - posted May 27, 2018
Issue #46 - posted June 3, 2018
Issue #47 - posted June 10, 2018
Issue #48 - posted June 17, 2018
Issue #49 - posted June 24, 2018
Issue #50 - posted July 1, 2018
Issue #51 - posted July 8, 2018
Issue #52 - posted July 15, 2018
Issue #53 - posted July 22, 2018
Issue #54 - posted July 29, 2018
Issue #55 - posted August 5, 2018
Issue #56 - posted August 12, 2018
Issue #57 - posted August 19, 2018
Issue #58 - posted August 26, 2018
Issue #59 - posted September 2, 2018
Issue #60 - posted September 9, 2018
Issue #61 - posted September 16, 2018
Issue #62 - posted September 23, 2018
Issue #63 - posted September 30, 2018
Issue #64 - posted October 7, 2018
Issue #65 - posted October 14, 2018
Issue #66 - posted October 21, 2018
Issue #67 - posted October 28, 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018

Trump Log #67: This Week in Hate

This week 11 people were killed in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, two black people were killed in a Kroger Grocery Store by a white supremacist in Kentucky and 14 Democrats were sent bombs in the mail by a man who thought of Trump as his father figure. Just another week in America? Maybe. The new normal? Perhaps.It doesn't have to be that way.

You cannot draw a direct line between Trump and these heinous acts, but the country's leader sets a tone so, perhaps a dotted line is more appropriate. He has advocated violence against his opposition a number of times at his rallies. He refers to a group of refugees as "America's greatest threat" and lies about there being Middle Easterners hiding among them ... as if being a Middle Easterner, itself, is a bad thing. He called white supremacist marchers "good people" in Charlottesville. His dog-whisper hate ridden rhetoric is a call to arms to every nutbag across the country.

You can help to stop this.  Please remember to vote next week. 

Trump Log:

Monday 10/22/18 - Trump threatens to cut off all aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. (Source: New York Times)

Tuesday 10/23/18 - Under Trump, everything is politicized. Now judges, who make rulings on the veterans disability claims, will be grilled about their political leanings before they are appointed. (Source: Washington Post)

Wednesday 10/24/18 - When Trump lies, often his staff have to scramble, attempting to reverse engineer the truth. (Source: Washington Post)

Thursday 10/25/18 - Do you remember Trump complaining about Hillary's unsecure email server and his supporters chanting "Lock her up!" He still hasn't given up his personal unsecure iPhone that is being hacked by the Chinese and Russians. (Source: New York Times)

Friday 10/26/18 - According to a Pew Research Center survey, more than half of Hispanics in the US feel that life has gotten worse for them under Trump. (Source: Washington Post)

Saturday 10/27/18 - There is no crisis on US's southern border, yet Trump is doubling down with his hateful narrative. (Source: Washington Post)

Sunday 10/28/18 - We can differ in our opinions on whether Trump should cancel a rally on the day of a synagogue shooting. But we can all agree that the president shouldn't lie when he justifies having it. No, the NYSE didn't open on 9/12/01. He lies about facts you can easily verify and yet his supporters don't seem to care. (Source: Slate)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017
Issue #32 - posted June 20, 2017
Issue #33 - posted June 27, 2017
Issue #34 - posted March 12, 2018
Issue #35 - posted March 19, 2018
Issue #36 - posted March 26, 2018
Issue #37 - posted April 1, 2018
Issue #38 - posted April 8, 2018
Issue #39 - posted April 15, 2018
Issue #40 - posted April 22, 2018
Issue #41 - posted April 29, 2018
Issue #42 - posted May 6, 2018
Issue #43 - posted May 13, 2018
Issue #44 - posted May 20, 2018
Issue #45 - posted May 27, 2018
Issue #46 - posted June 3, 2018
Issue #47 - posted June 10, 2018
Issue #48 - posted June 17, 2018
Issue #49 - posted June 24, 2018
Issue #50 - posted July 1, 2018
Issue #51 - posted July 8, 2018
Issue #52 - posted July 15, 2018
Issue #53 - posted July 22, 2018
Issue #54 - posted July 29, 2018
Issue #55 - posted August 5, 2018
Issue #56 - posted August 12, 2018
Issue #57 - posted August 19, 2018
Issue #58 - posted August 26, 2018
Issue #59 - posted September 2, 2018
Issue #60 - posted September 9, 2018
Issue #61 - posted September 16, 2018
Issue #62 - posted September 23, 2018
Issue #63 - posted September 30, 2018
Issue #64 - posted October 7, 2018
Issue #65 - posted October 14, 2018
Issue #66 - posted October 21, 2018

Monday, October 22, 2018

Trump Log #66: Take The No-Republican Pledge #BlueWaveIsComing

It has been a long time since I have voted for a Republican. The last Republican I voted for was Vermont US Senator Jim Jeffords who eventually left the party. That was in 2002. That was back when there were still some moderate voices in the party. That is no more. Since then I have taken the No Republican Pledge where I will not vote for a Republican until their party becomes reasonable again.

Here are my two biggest reasons why:

Voter Suppression: For a party that claims to love democracies so much, they really don't act like it. The US population is getting browner. Within the next 35 years, we will be a minority majority country. This is not double talk; this basically means that we will have more minorities than non-minorities in our country . Next year, 2019, there will be more minorities children in the US than Caucasian children. They will be voting age within the next two decades. Most minorities tend to vote Democrats.  So Republicans has two choices, the high road, change their ways and appeal to minority voters. Or, the low road, suppress minority voters. They have chosen the low road. What's going on in the Georgia Governor's race is a perfect example. Stacey Abrams (D) is running against Brian Kemp (R) for Governor. Brian Kemp is the Secretary of State. Who is in charge of voter rolls in Georgia? You got it, the Secretary of State. GA's "exact match" law has removed 52,000 voters from the rolls, a vast majority of which are African Americans. The GOP justification for this nonsense is voter fraud which is a non-existent problem. We know what is going on here and it is going on all over the country.

Global Warming: The greatest problem facing humanity this century is global climate change. Only one party on this planet denies that it is happening: the American Republican party. Overwhelming scientific consensus says that not only does it exist, but it is being caused by humans. Even Al Qaeda acknowledges global warming is real, but not the GOP. You heard it here first: Al Qaeda is more liberal than the GOP. It affects our economy, our health, our children, our weather, national security and our existence in general, yet they ignore it.

The No Republican Pledge means that you will not vote for a Republican on any level whatsoever. Not for dog catcher, not for probate judge. Nothing. They want my vote: Change parties.

Trump Log:

Monday 10/15/18 - Trump claims that it may be "rogue killers" that killed Jamal Khashoggi even though there is zero evidence for this. (Source: Slate)

Tuesday 10/16/18 - Once again, the idea that Republicans are the fiscally responsible party is proven a myth. Trump's budget deficit increases nearly 17% mostly due to corporate tax cuts. (Source: New York Times)

Wednesday 10/17/18 -We've heard a lot about Russia owning Trump, but what about Saudi Arabia? (Source: The Intercept)

Thursday 10/18/18 - The US received a payment of $100 million from the Saudi Arabia on the same day that Secretary of State Pompeo arrives in Riyadh to discuss Kashoggi's disappearance. (Source: Washington Post)

Friday 10/19/18 - At a rally in Montana on Thursday, Trump praises a Congressman for committing violence against a reporter: “Any guy that can do a body slam, he’s my kind of — he’s my guy." (Source: Washington Post)

Saturday 10/20/18 - I remember when the US and Russia signed the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty). I was a great sigh of relief. Now Trump wants to pull out of it.  (Source: New York Times)

Sunday 10/21/18 - In a rally in Nevada, Trump claims he is planning a new middle income tax cut before November, even though both houses of Congress will not be meeting until mid-November.  (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017
Issue #32 - posted June 20, 2017
Issue #33 - posted June 27, 2017
Issue #34 - posted March 12, 2018
Issue #35 - posted March 19, 2018
Issue #36 - posted March 26, 2018
Issue #37 - posted April 1, 2018
Issue #38 - posted April 8, 2018
Issue #39 - posted April 15, 2018
Issue #40 - posted April 22, 2018
Issue #41 - posted April 29, 2018
Issue #42 - posted May 6, 2018
Issue #43 - posted May 13, 2018
Issue #44 - posted May 20, 2018
Issue #45 - posted May 27, 2018
Issue #46 - posted June 3, 2018
Issue #47 - posted June 10, 2018
Issue #48 - posted June 17, 2018
Issue #49 - posted June 24, 2018
Issue #50 - posted July 1, 2018
Issue #51 - posted July 8, 2018
Issue #52 - posted July 15, 2018
Issue #53 - posted July 22, 2018
Issue #54 - posted July 29, 2018
Issue #55 - posted August 5, 2018
Issue #56 - posted August 12, 2018
Issue #57 - posted August 19, 2018
Issue #58 - posted August 26, 2018
Issue #59 - posted September 2, 2018
Issue #60 - posted September 9, 2018
Issue #61 - posted September 16, 2018
Issue #62 - posted September 23, 2018
Issue #63 - posted September 30, 2018
Issue #64 - posted October 7, 2018
Issue #65 - posted October 14, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

Trump Log #65: No Common Ground

Facts are our common ground. If Fact A plus Fact B therefore Fact C.  C is where the debate happens. We used to agree on the A's and B's and had fine discourse over the C. C is where the fun happens. But if we don't agree on what the facts are then there is no common ground. In a post-fact world there is no common ground. There is no A or B, there is no equation whatsoever. Democracy's foundation is the solid ground of consensus, not the muddy haze of dissension.

Some fear the next Trump. The damage that he does in office may be to the office itself. Each breach of decorum and each envelope he pushes, sets a precedence for future presidents. When discord becomes acceptable and the norm, Democracy itself is in trouble.

Trump Log:
Monday 10/8/18 - The environmental state of the planet is worst than we thought. Trump doubts the validity of the report from the IPCC (the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Source: Washington Post)

Tuesday 10/9/18 - Nikki Haley resigns as Trump's U.N. Ambassador. She is one of that last moderate voices in his administration. (Source: Washington Post)

Wednesday 10/10/18 - Trump still has not filled 22 leadership roles in FEMA ... as Hurricane Michael starts to barrel down on the Southeast coast of America. (Source: Bloomberg)

Thursday 10/11/18 - Trump still has no problem doing business with Saudi Arabia as they bomb the shit out of Yemen causing a massive famine and assassinate one of our journalists. (Source: Washington Post)

Friday 10/12/18 - Trump write an Op-Ed in USA Today in which almost every lie contains a lie. (Source: Washington Post)

Saturday 10/13/18 -In a secret deal between and Catholic colleges, 74 Catholic institutions are denying students access to birth control. (Source: The Intercept)

Sunday 10/14/18 - In a speech in Ohio, Trump says that black people should "honor" Republicans with votes and then praises Confederate generals. (Source: Washington Post)

Prior Trump Logs:
Issue # 1 - posted November 15th, 2016
Issue # 2 - posted November 22nd, 2016
Issue # 3 - posted November 29th, 2016
Issue # 4 - posted December 6, 2016
Issue # 5 - posted December 12, 2016
Issue # 6 - posted December 19, 2016
Issue # 7 - posted December 26, 2016
Issue # 8 - posted January 3, 2017
Issue # 9 - posted January 10, 2017
Issue #10 - posted January 17, 2017
Issue #11 - posted January 24, 2017
Issue #12 - posted January 31, 2017
Issue #13 - posted February 7, 2017
Issue #14 - posted February 14, 2017
Issue #15 - posted February 21, 2017
Issue #16 - posted February 28, 2017
Issue #17 - posted March 7, 2017
Issue #18 - posted March 14, 2017
Issue #19 - posted March 21, 2017
Issue #20 - posted March 28, 2017
Issue #21 - posted April 5, 2017
Issue #22 - posted April 11, 2017
Issue #23 - posted April 18, 2017
Issue #24 - posted April 25, 2017
Issue #25 - posted May 2, 2017
Issue #26 - posted May 9, 2017
Issue #27 - posted May 16, 2017
Issue #28 - posted May 23, 2017
Issue #29 - posted May 30, 2017
Issue #30 - posted June 6, 2017
Issue #31 - posted June 13, 2017
Issue #32 - posted June 20, 2017
Issue #33 - posted June 27, 2017
Issue #34 - posted March 12, 2018
Issue #35 - posted March 19, 2018
Issue #36 - posted March 26, 2018
Issue #37 - posted April 1, 2018
Issue #38 - posted April 8, 2018
Issue #39 - posted April 15, 2018
Issue #40 - posted April 22, 2018
Issue #41 - posted April 29, 2018
Issue #42 - posted May 6, 2018
Issue #43 - posted May 13, 2018
Issue #44 - posted May 20, 2018
Issue #45 - posted May 27, 2018
Issue #46 - posted June 3, 2018
Issue #47 - posted June 10, 2018
Issue #48 - posted June 17, 2018
Issue #49 - posted June 24, 2018
Issue #50 - posted July 1, 2018
Issue #51 - posted July 8, 2018
Issue #52 - posted July 15, 2018
Issue #53 - posted July 22, 2018
Issue #54 - posted July 29, 2018
Issue #55 - posted August 5, 2018
Issue #56 - posted August 12, 2018
Issue #57 - posted August 19, 2018
Issue #58 - posted August 26, 2018
Issue #59 - posted September 2, 2018
Issue #60 - posted September 9, 2018
Issue #61 - posted September 16, 2018
Issue #62 - posted September 23, 2018
Issue #63 - posted September 30, 2018
Issue #64 - posted October 7, 2018