UF/UF 135: TRUMP! and Synchronized Swimming

The Republican circus finally has their monkey. The question is can they keep his feces tossing under control till November. God this is going to be fun.

Also, were you aware synchronized swimmers at the Lympics suffer head trauma akin to NFL and NHL athletes? Me neither. We do a deep dive on that tonight. (See what I did there) Click the link you crazy monkeys and get an up close and personal of your new overlord.

UF/UF 135: TRUMP! and Synchronized Swimming

Synchro Swimmers Lives Matter. (SSLM)

Synchro Swimmers Lives Matter. (SSLM)

The Night Before Trump-mas

For your entertainment, my annual defiling of

“The Night Before Christmas”

‘Twas the year before the election, and all through the land,

Politicians were stirring, and starting to glad-hand,

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that special interest groups would fill them there;

The candidates were nestled all snug with their pacs,

With visions of donors filling up their sacks;

And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,

We were settling down in front of the tv for a long winter’s nap,

When on all the media there arose such a clatter,

I flipped on my big screen to see what was the matter.

Through all the channels I flipped as fast as I could,

Such a commotion, I thought, this can’t be good.

The high-def picture on my new 72-inch screen

Gave the lustre of the bizarre to the political scene,

When, to what to my wondering eyes should await,

But an election season, and too many candidates,

And then one candidate, with his hair piled in a lump,

I knew in a moment it must be Donald J. Trump,

More rapid than eagles his challengers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

“Now, Bush! now Rubio! now, Fiorina and Christie!

On, Huckabee! on Carson, on Cruz and Paul,

To the top of the polls! I will not fall,

Now dash away, losers! I’ll build a wall!”

As illegal immigrants before the border patrol fly,

I’ll build a wall, it’ll reach to the sky,

So up to the top of the polls he flew,

With a sack full of money, and a big ego, too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard him exclaim,

If the Republicans don’t like me, I may change the game,

He was dressed in his clothing line, from his head to his toe,

And his buildings were all glittery gold, you know,

With bombastic statements he flung here and there,

He said I don’t need anyone’s money, I’m a billionaire,

His eyes — how they twinkled as he went state to state,

“I’m leading all the polls, I’ll make America great!”

With his great big mouth as wide as a bow,

There was almost nothing he wouldn’t say, you know.

With a broad proclamation he stated so strong,

I’ll stop Muslims at the border, cause what the hell’s going on?

These politicians all have a yellow belly,

Somebodies got to do something, but they just shake like jelly.

His campaign was like reality tv, a giant comb-over elf,

And I laughed as I watched it, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon let me to know there was plenty to dread;

He spoke many words, mostly lacking tact,

And filled all the space; without using much fact,

And when he was challenged he threw insults to foes,

Giving a thumbs up, up the polls he rose;

He sprang place to place,

to Iowa gave a whistle,

And away he flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he flew to the next state,

HAPPY TRUMP-MASS TO ALL, I’LL MAKE AMERICA GREAT

trump-santa

All this over little Britt?

Britt

Go get em, Britt-britt

If you’ve not seen the video by now, ESPN reporter Britt McHenry is seen saying some nasty, personally demeaning things to the employee of a tow truck company. I watch ESPN regularly, but I don’t specifically remember Britt McHenry.

I’m not feeling outraged like most Americans seem to be. Here’s just a few of my thoughts.

The video is edited. We don’t know all that was being said to her, or what had happened previously.  I’d like to know the other side of the story. Would that justify what she said? I don’t know, maybe. So, you’ve never been screwed and told anyone off?

Mary Katherine Ham started her own twitter stream by tweeting the following:

MKH

Apparently this towing company has had quite a  few better business bureau complaints, with many of them specifically concerning the lady McHenry was talking to.  They reportedly have even towed cars that were not in no parking zones. For more information, read the article linked from the Post.

My son had his car towed once. He parked downtown in a “no parking” zone that was specifically designated that so the cops could write tickets and the contracted towing company could tow cars. Do I have any evidence of that? No, but if you saw it, a no parking sign on what’s essentially a deserted street, you’d agree. This was probably 12 years ago. When I went to get the car, the towing fee was 90 dollars. It was four blocks away from where the car was parked. It was legalized robbery sanctioned by the city. The people were rude and nasty. What I said to them would make Britt McHenry look like a pre-schooler.

You’ve never had someone take your car and then screw with you?

I’ve had some epic rants. There was the guy from the water utility, the roofer who worked on our house after the hail-storm, but I’m actually most proud of chewing out the cop that incorrectly filled out an accident report. After going bombastic on him for several minutes, I demanded he change it to accurately reflect the incident (It was an insurance thing). He did. I have just realized, however, that based on current public sentiment, I would have lost at least four jobs in the last 10 years. (At least if I was a low level sideline reporter for ESPN).

What amazes me most is how everyone is the judge and jury of Britt McHenry based on about 40 seconds of video tape. People are calling for her job? Really? Congratulations, you’re all better than her. Which means you think you’re better than someone else, which is what Britt McHenry thinks. But you’ve never said those kinds of nasty things, right? So, yea, you’re better than her. Which is what she thinks. Don’t think about this too long unless you’re smoking weed, in which case, get some Doritos first.

If that doesn’t send you in a circle, try this. People are also calling her the dreaded “B” word, “bully.” But, what if she was being bullied by the tow truck company? Huh, who’s the victim now?

It wasn’t nice, but it’s not a crime. You’ve never told anyone off? Never? You ever say anything that you’re glad wasn’t recorded and put out for the general public? Maybe you’re just pissed that Britt McHenry has more balls than you.

I mean, I’m on social media, and 75% of the people routinely post the nastiest, personally demeaning comments to anyone whose politics differ from theirs. I hear people, men and women, swear without thinking about it in the grocery store. You can’t get away from the F-word these days. But let a pretty little sideline reporter show her mean side and suddenly, everyone’s a Sunday School teacher.

The whole thing was a minute long, for goodness sake. Buck up a little. Does everyone live in gilded cages these days?

To quote President Obama, “Maybe you should get off your high horse.”

McHenry looks exactly like the kind of person who’s probably stuck up and has an attitude. Young, pretty, college graduate, on tv, and not afraid to tell some uneducated, fat women with bad teeth working in a nasty trailer that she’s an uneducated fat women with bad teeth working in a nasty trailer.

Sometimes people need an ass-chewing. I’m not going to critique her style. I thought she was rather calm, but a little more personal than I would have been. She was all down with that sort of “mean girls” act. (Which everyone loves when it’s in a movie). I prefer to go more loud and bombastic. Dude stuff. Launch those swear words like mortar rounds.

This is a lot of nonsense over nothing.

Yes, we should all be better people. I wish people would remember that other than when something like this happens and people can express their outrage and feel better about themselves. Maybe Britt McHenry’s not a nice person. I know some people who are not nice. Some of them are even my friends.  As for the rest of you, as we say in East Tennessee, “bless your heart.”

 

 

The night before a mid-term Christmas

santa-sleigh_1780995c

‘Twas the night before mid-terms, when all through the Senate,

The Democrats were stirring, wondering, “can we win it?”

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

Hoping that lobbyists would fill them up there.

The representatives were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of voters danced in their heads,

And Michelle in her nightgown and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I thought another intruder had jumped the fence, for that matter.

Away to the window I flew in a blur,

Yelled for the secret service, and wondered where they were.

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;

When, to what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a republican sleigh, they’re going to get me, oh dear!

With a little old driver, curly hair and not tall,

I knew in a moment it must be Rand Paul.

More rapid than filibusters the politicians they came,

And he whistled, and pontificated, and called them by name:

now Christie, now Bush, now Jindal and Perry

On Rubio, on Ryan, of your gaffes be wary,

“To the top of the house, to the top of the Senate!

Now campaign, campaign, we’ll be there in a minute!”

As dry chad before the Florida winds fly,

We’re running for president, we’ll make the dems cry

So to the top of the mid-terms the republicans flew,

With the sleigh full of victories – and some minorities, too.

And then MSNBC I heard on the news

They cried and they cried, “What next? Ted Cruz?”

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

McConnell took Kentucky, new sheriff in town,

A victory speech he gave, with his wife looking fancy,

“Take a seat, Harry Reed, go visit with Nancy”

A bundle of issues was flung on his back,

And he looked like an old white dude, coal dust on his back,

His eyes – how they twinkled! his dimples how merry,

“Just wait till I take over the Senate, young Barry”

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

“You’ve had it your own way too long, you know”

With the reigns of the senate held tight in his teeth,

“We’ll change your climate, commander-in-chief”

Now you want to sit down, have a bourbon with Mitch?

The times have changed, no more bait and switch,

Your term is corrupt, a crooked administration,

Hope and change is gone, it’s left the station.

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head

Soon let me know, I’m a lame duck with dread.

And gathering the Senate, he went straight to his work,

Filled my stockings with issues, probably called me a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose.

He said, “You’ve got a pen and a phone, we’ll see how that goes.”

He sprung to the senate, to his colleagues gave a shout,

“I’m not sure what we can do, but we’ll see the man out,”

But I heard him exclaim, not allaying my fears,

Happy Christmas to all, except these last two years.

untitled (2)

Soccer Moms really don’t heart firemen

firemen

 

Everybody loves firemen. That’s what they say, anyway. I see the bumper stickers all the time. I’m not really sure I believe it, though. Or, at least I think there’s a certain time when some people don’t love firemen. It’s when the firemen are in their truck with the sirens on going to a fire. Lots of people don’t like to pull over anymore.

I’m driving down one of our main roads here in Knoxville the other day, yes, actually our main, main road, which any Knoxvillian would tell you is Kingston Pike, and coming from the opposite direction I hear the siren and see the fire truck. So, I do what I always have done, start to pull over. I always have this idea that fire trucks with their sirens on could be going someplace they need to get to fast, like a fire.

Now, the fire truck is fairly close at this point, it’s not a couple blocks away, it’s bearing down in front of us. Behind me, I notice a vehicle actually trying to get around me. I know people don’t pull over for fire trucks anymore. But, the vehicle behind me is actually angling to get around. Then I notice that it’s my vehicular nemesis, a soccer mom with a cell phone in a mini-van.

Hey, I know getting little Trevor to soccer practice is important, or if little Nichole is late to her dance lesson there will be hell to pay. I understand you’re doing the most important thing in the world, suburban soccer-mom shit, and you will not be denied. But it could be someone’s house burning down.

I’ll tell you, I’d rather be in a jail cell with Hannibal Lecter than see a soccer mom with a cell phone in a mini-van. I’ve nearly been run over, run into, pulled over on, I’ve waited through lights just to find out I’m behind a soccer mom not paying attention talking on the phone. Always with that damn cell phone pasted to their face. And they are mean.

This particular one must have been the Dick Cheney of soccer moms. People are slowing down or stopping in the left lane, I’m blocking her path to acceleration in the right lane. When she realized she couldn’t get around me because of cars in the other lane, she turned her hateful gaze my way. We locked eyes in the mirror, at which point I put up my hands and mouthed “Hey, it’s a FIRE TRUCK.” I wish I would have just avoided the confrontation. She, looking back at me, holding that cell phone tightly to her face, never broke a word in her conversation, never missed a beat, but I saw her eyes squint manically behind her gold-rimmed amber-lensed suburban mom frames, and sneer at me in such a way that gave me a chill of fear down my spine. If I’d have seen that door open, I’d have bolted like a frightened antelope in the Serengeti, because I know I’d be no match for her in a bitchy slap-fight.

So, how many oatmeal-raisin recipes can you swap before you run out of things to say? How much can you talk about little Caleb’s problems in first grade (that are the teachers fault) before there’s nothing left to say? How big of a hurry do you have to be in to not pull over the suburban “Millennium Falcon” when you hear a siren?

Well, we just don’t pull over for fire trucks anymore. Soccer moms may be the worst offenders, but they’re certainly not the only ones. It seems no one wants to stop. Sure, I know we are all busy with our first world problems. I guess it’s only an emergency if it’s you.

You don’t really heart firemen after all, do you?

condoms_prevent_minivans_bumper_sticker-r9f1c8c1a2eb846dcbea6a70365404507_v9wht_8byvr_324

Damn you Hobby Lobby, see what you could’ve done

Body image and our American work ethic

fat doll

I don’t think this will help

 

Well, I heard it again. On a slow news day, I’ll see the whole ‘body image’ subject in the news. Heard it again this morning, some news blip about dolls or models. You know, dolls are too skinny and present an unrealistic and unhealthy image for young ladies. Emaciated models are presenting a bad image for those young ladies in our society today and present an image that’s unachievable.

Well, I got some bad news. It isn’t working. That whole ‘you’re going to negatively impact our girl’s self-image’ thing isn’t taking hold. Either that or they’re not paying attention. If you follow any of the news stories, obesity and morbid obesity is at an all-time high. Worse, diabetes is nearly an epidemic. They kind of go hand in hand.  You really can’t miss it. I’ve been looking, and I haven’t seen many anorexics lately. And yea, you can tell. Fat little twelve year olds are not anorexic. And there are a lot of them. Maybe there are some anorexics underneath all that body weight screaming to get out, but they’re a long way off.

Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2—19 years are obese. (CDC)

And fat kids grow up to be fat adults.

Don’t get me wrong, eating disorders are terrible. I don’t particularly care for too skinny. I got a few extra pounds myself. I had a crush on Queen Latifa. But the weight of our country is out of hand, about one-third of us are seriously overweight, and our desire to do something about seems non-existent.

So, actually, I’m going to take up for the super-models. I think maybe we should start looking up to them. They are working hard for a living, achieving a goal through discipline, sacrifice and perseverance. When did that become bad?

I’ll tell you when. When we decided as a society that we accepted that “you’re ok just the way you are” bullshit. That’s just nonsense. We all need some work. Since when did we decide that fat and lazy was “ok?” What’s wrong with striving for something and trying to improve yourself? I grew up with that ethic. My dad was a math guy. Great at math. I wasn’t. He didn’t coddle me. He said things like “Hey, sit down and figure the damn thing out, I’ve showed you twice already!” He also said things like “If you don’t get it, maybe you need to sit there and think it through.” Let me tell you something, take it or leave it; it didn’t take a village, it just took my Mom and Dad telling me the way things were going to be. What happened to parenting?

When did “Hey, just sit on the couch and forget about it, the world owes you something, have a donut” become our ethic?

Sure, call me callous. Call me a prick. But since so many of us are blowing the trumpet of socialized medicine, I don’t want to pay for your diabetes, heart disease or bad knees. According to the CDC:

Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.

The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion in 2008 U.S. dollars; the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.

More than one-third of U.S. adults (34.9%) are obese. (CDC)

 

So I don’t think the poisonous, skinny, super-model is such a problem, because she doesn’t seem to have much of an effect. I want dear old dad tell his 200 pound 12-year old, “See that girl on the screen? She eats a handful of rice and a piece of lettuce a day, and throws up anything else she eats. And she earns a million dollars a year for standing around being snooty. Now get in that bathroom and chuck up that box of Krispy Kremes you just ate.”

Hey, let’s all lose a couple of pounds. And leave the super-models alone.

 

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html

http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html

If the Poor Earn More Money, We’ll Reduce Income Inequality

monopoly

How can we reduce income inequality? Well, poor people could make more money. Sure, I know you lampoon that answer, but it’s true. It’s just the opposite side of the equation. No, it’s not the answer you’re looking for. I have those coming up later.

If you read this blog or listen to the Unfiltered Unfettered podcast, you know I’m a frequent and long-term media basher. Media is biased. Mainstream media has had a liberal bias for as long as I know. It’s not always obvious, and sometimes I believe it’s even unintentional. But it’s there, and a key question might be, does it matter? I believe it does, and this post relates to that question in addition to income inequality.

A recent Pew research poll about income inequality revealed some of the following answers.

More than a quarter (26%) of self-identified Democrats and those who lean Democratic cited the tax system as a main reason for the gap. Just 14% of self-identified Republicans and those who lean Republican said the same. Among self-identified liberal Democrats, roughly a third (32%) cited taxes. By contrast, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were more likely (14%) to mention Congress or government policies than Democrats (8%).  (ref)

Taxes were the highest percentage answer. Somehow, the majority answer for solving income inequality has become the tax system. Sorry, but that just doesn’t make sense as a solution. It’s thinking of the situation backwards. Think of it this way, you’re getting your little girl dressed, and she wants to know why you can’t take her to Disney World. “Well, honey,” you might answer “Because rich people don’t pay more taxes.” No, that’s not really the answer, is it? Yet, that’s a political platform that’s become a stalwart of the Democrats. Democrats have advanced, as a political agenda in order to get votes, that taxing the rich will solve income inequality, and the media report it as if it’s a fact. As the media have reported it, people believe it. That’s the circle.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich (Clinton administration 93-97) wrote an article for Salon titled “The four biggest right-wing lies about income inequality,” and then went on to talk about some of the biggest left-wing lies about income inequality. His concluding paragraph restates most of the Democratic platform:

The truth is, America’s lurch toward widening inequality can be reversed. But doing so will require bold political steps.

At the least, the rich must pay higher taxes in order to pay for better-quality education for kids from poor and middle-class families. Labor unions must be strengthened, especially in lower-wage occupations, in order to give workers the bargaining power they need to get better pay. And the minimum wage must be raised.

Don’t listen to the right-wing lies about inequality. Know the truth, and act on it. (ref)

All flawed thinking. First, you’d have to prove that more money automatically equals better education. Second, you’d have to prove that the increased tax money will go to the right places. Third, you’d have to prove that the increased tax money would actually go to the education system in a way that would result in a higher educational quality. Then, you have to make an argument that the burden falls strictly to the rich. And, finally, you’d have to prove that all of this would eventually result in reducing income inequality. You can make an argument, but at this point that’s all it is, and it’s a house of cards. I’m certainly not as smart as most that talk about this subject, but I know weak arguments when I hear them. And what I know is this, no one really knows how to reduce it, because no one has yet. Sure, Robert, the government’s going to fix it, right?

See, it’s not just about “the rich” paying more money. What about involved parents? What about parents working with their children? Is education simply up to the government? If you answered yes, just stop reading right now. Well, what’s the truth? As with most things, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle, and a combination of many factors. One of those factors is something you may not have read about in the mainstream media.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal titled “Ignoring an Inequality Culprit: Single-Parent Families: Intellectuals fretting about income disparity are oddly silent regarding the decline of the two-parent family.”

The article addresses what the authors call “The strongest statistical correlate of inequality in the United States: the rise of single-parent families during the past half century.” They make the argument with the following figures:

The two-parent familiar had declined rapidly in recent decades. In 1960, more the 76% of African-Americans and nearly 90% of whites were born to married couples. Today the percentage is 30% for blacks and 70% for whites. The out-wedlock birthrate for Hispanics surpassed 50% in 2006. The trend, coupled with high divorce rates, means that roughly 25% of American children now live in single-parent homes, twice in the percentage in Europe (12%). Roughly a third of American children live apart from their fathers.

Further;

Abuse, behavioral problems and psychological issues of all kinds, such as developmental behavior problems or concentration issues, are less common for children of married couples that for cohabitating or single parents, according to a 2003 Centers for Disease Control study of children’s health.

Finally;

More the 20% of children in single-parent families live in poverty long-term, compared with 2% of those raised in two-parent families, according to education policy analyst Mitch Pearlstein’s 2011 book “for Family Collapse to America’s Decline.” The poverty rate would be 25% lower if today’s family structure resembled that of 1970, according to the 2009 report “Creating an Opportunity Society” from Brookings Institute analysts Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill. A 2006 article in the journal Demographic by Penn State sociologist Molly Martin estimates that 41%of the inequality created between 1976-2000 was the result of changed family structure.

 

Pretty heavy stuff, yea? Did you read that? “The strongest statistical correlate of inequality in the United States.” But, when’s the last time you heard anyone talk about this in politics or popular media? Outside of an occasional rant by Bill Cosby, you probably haven’t. What you hear is “tax the rich, bring back unions” and other such political nonsense.

Because talking about single-parent families is not going to get people to vote for you. This is one of the many places where politics and truth part company. It’s easy to demonize people with money, stir class warfare, say how they need to pay more, it will make things better, how you’ll make them, and get votes.

Because the media’s job is to get viewers. A politician’s job is to get elected. The truth gets lost there.

 

 

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303603904579493612156024266

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/28/americans-agree-inequality-has-grown-but-dont-agree-on-why/

http://www.reuters.com/subjects/income-inequality

http://www.salon.com/2014/05/06/robert_reich_the_4_biggest_right_wing_lies_about_income_inequality_partner/