Tuesday, July 28, 2015

An updated Obama chain email continues to be filled with BS

It really amazes me the kind of BS people will believe simply because they want to believe it. Case and point - a political chain email. If you're received one concerning President Obama, there's approximately a 90% chance that it's at least partially false (around a 70% chance that it's completely false). That trend continued with the latest such email I came across. It's been updated over the years, but I was fortunately able to come across a detailed analysis of all the email's claims so I didn't have to do the job myself. The fact-checker is Matthew at Barnson.org, who I will be using as my reference to keep a running tally of the accurate and inaccurate claims (his full analysis can be found at this link - http://barnson.org/node/1880).

Without further ado, here's the chain email:

"QUIT BASHING OBAMA - by COL. ROBERT F. CUNNINGHAM and PATRICK RISHOR, The Gilmer Mirror

Quit trashing Obama's accomplishments. He has done more than any other President before him. Here is a list of his impressive accomplishments:

1. First President to be photographed smoking a joint. (No grade) (0 True/0 False/0 Mixed/1 No grade

2. First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner. (False) (0 True/1 False/0 Mixed/1 No grade)

3. First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in. (False) (0 True/2 False/0 Mixed/1 No grade)

4. First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States. (True, but doesn't tell the whole story) (1 True/2 False/0 Mixed/1 No grade)

5. First President to violate the War Powers Act. (False) (1 True/3 False/0 Mixed/1 No grade)

6. First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.  (False) (1 True/4 False/0 Mixed/1 No grade)

7. First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party. (True, but doesn't tell the whole story) (2 True/4 False/0 Mixed/1 No grade)

8. First President to spend a trillion dollars on 'shovel-ready' jobs when there was no such thing as 'shovel-ready' jobs. (No grade) (2 True/4 False/0 Mixed/2 No grade)

9. First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters. (Mixed) (2 True/4 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

10. First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat. (False) (2 True/5 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

11. First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S., including those with criminal convictions. (False) (2 True/6 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

12. First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees. (False) (2 True/7 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

13. First President to tell a CEO of a major corporation (Chrysler) to resign. (False) (2 True/8 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

14. First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space. (False) (2 True/9 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

15. First President to cancel the National Day of Prayer and to say that America is no longer a Christian nation. (False) (2 True/10 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

16. First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present. (Truth, but the author's intent isn't) (3 True/10 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

17. First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.  (False) (3 True/11 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

18. First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases. (False) (3 True/12 False/1 Mixed/2 No grade)

19. First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory. (Mixed) (3 True/12 False/2 Mixed/2 No grade)

20. First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN). (False) (3 True/13 False/2 Mixed/2 No grade)

21. First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago. (Misleading) (3 True/14 False/2 Mixed/2 No grade)

22. First President to actively try to bankrupt an American industry (coal). (False) (3 True/15 False/2 Mixed/2 No grade)

23. First President to fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case. (False) (3 True/16 False/2 Mixed/2 No grade

24. First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. (False) (3 True/17 False/2 Mixed/2 No grade)

25. First President to surround himself with radical left wing anarchists. (Unknown, but presumed false, since the claim is purely subjective) (3 True/18 False/2 Mixed/2 No grade)

26. First President to golf more than 150 separate times in his five years in office. (True, but misleading) (3 True/18 False/3 Mixed/2 No grade)

27. First President to hide his birth, medical, educational and travel records. (False on all three counts) (3 True/19 False (21 False if we include all three)/3 Mixed/2 No grade)

28. First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it. (False) (3 True/20 False (22 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/2 No grade)

29. First President to go on multiple 'global apology tours' and concurrent 'insult our friends' tours. (False) (3 True/21 False (23 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/2 No grade)

30. First President to go on over 17 lavish vacations, in addition to date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends paid for by the taxpayers. (False) (3 True/22 False (24 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/2 No grade)

31. First President to have personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife. (False) (3 True/23 False (25 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/2 No grade)

32. First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense. (False) (3 True/24 False (26 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/2 No grade)

33. First President to fly in a personal trainer from Chicago at least once a week at taxpayer expense. (No grade) (3 True/24 False (26 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/3 No grade)

34. First President to repeat the Quran and tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is the most beautiful sound on earth. (True) (4 True/24 False (26 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/3 No grade)

35. First President to side with a foreign nation over one of the American 50 states (Mexico vs Arizona). (False) (4 True/25 False (27 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/3 No grade)

36. First President to tell the military men and women that they should pay for their own private insurance because they 'volunteered to go to war and knew the consequences.' (False) (4 True/26 False (28 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/3 No grade)

37. Then he was the First President to tell the members of the military that THEY were UNPATRIOTIC for balking at the last suggestion. (False) (4 True/27 False (29 False if we include all three from #27)/3 Mixed/3 No grade)

I feel much better now. I had been under the impression he hadn't been doing ANYTHING... Such an accomplished individual... in the eyes of the ignorant maybe.!."

Final breakdown:

Total claims: 37 (the three from #27 being seen as one)

True: 4 (10.8%)

False: 27 (73.0%)

Mixed: 3 (8.1%)

No grade: 3 (8.1%)

So, there we have it; at least 81.1% of all 37 of these claims are at least somewhat false, with 73.0% of them being completely false. Thanks to fact-checker Matthew for all of his research and effort. Hopefully such fact-checking will finally smack people in the face one of these days, to where they think to themselves, "Golly gee, you know, now that I think about it, I guess that email was pretty ridiculous. Maybe I should actually use 2% of my brain to figure that out next time, or even take a couple minutes out of my day to look it up and see if it's true for myself. La-di-da-la-di-da. Dur dur dur dur dur dur."

http://www.reddit.com/r/conspiracy/comments/3e2p5f/quit_trashing_obamas_accomplishments_he_has_done/

16 Crazies and Counting

I can't remember a time when we had so many candidates lined up to run for president as we do in the Republican Party leading up to the 2016 election. It seems almost once a day I read a headline which states that yet another Republican candidate will either be running or is thinking about running for next year's election. To this point, sixteen such candidates have officially announced their run for the presidency. If many more get added to the list, we may start seeing tournament brackets being filled out much like they are during March Madness season. While I may not label myself as conservative nor Republican, I've paid close attention to the stories surrounding all of the before-mentioned announcements and thought I'd rank the candidates as I see them.

16) Donald Trump - There are times I can't tell if his run for the Oval Office is a big joke, part of a bet he made with someone, or if he's 100% serious about it. In any case, he's currently leading in the polls and has threatened to run as a third-party candidate if other members of the GOP don't start treating him better. Yes, it's comedy at its finest, and while I sincerely hope he stays in the race for the continued laughs, I also sincerely hope he doesn't become our next president.

15) Ted Cruz - Yes, the Texas senator who was the main architect of the government shutdown wants to become president. Yes, that thought frightens me too...

14) Rick Santorum - If there's one person who's worse about separation of church and state matters than Mike Huckabee, it's this guy. Fortunately, as poll numbers would suggest, Rick Santorum has less chance of winning the Republican nomination than Elvis Presley has of winning the lottery next week.

13) Scott Walker - I'm frankly shocked that Donald Trump and Scott Walker are two of the three current leaders in GOP polls at the moment. I already discussed why I feel this way about Trump, but Walker, the Wisconsin governor, won on a recall vote, and his in-state approval rating was, at last check, just 41%. Heck, his wife and kids have even voiced their displeasure over his stance on gay marriage rights. If Walker can't win a majority vote in his own home, how in the world would he be able to win a majority vote in a general election?

12) Ben Carson - It amazes me how smart this guy is, being a neurosurgeon and all, yet how dumb he makes himself sound at times. What's the worst thing to happen in this country since slavery? Just ask Ben Carson, the neurosurgeon and Fox News commentator - it's "Obamacare." Perhaps the transformation occurred while he worked at Fox News. Instead of showing the before-and-after brain photos with regard to drug usage, maybe we should start showing such comparisons with regard to watching or being a part of Fox News...

11) Rick Perry - Once in a great while, Perry says something that actually makes sense. However, these occurrences are few and far between. No matter how much smarter the former Texas Governor wants to make himself look with those fancy new glasses, they can't effectively counter the ridiculous words he so often spouts. Either he needs to try on an even fancier pair of glasses or be a man of fewer words. For all our sake, hopefully he chooses the latter.

10) Mike Huckabee - Speaking of a guy who should be talking less... I swear, the more this guy talks, the further he'll fall on this list. Things have gotten so bad, Huckabee actually made Jon Stewart speechless last night with his recent Holocaust comment. Before his campaign is finished, the former Arkansas Governor should just make it official and alter his name from Mike Huckabee to Mike Hyperbole.

9) Bobby Jindal - Close to as crazy as Huckabee as far as his beliefs go, but with the less crazy rhetoric. So, way to go, or something!

8) Carly Fiorina - I know less about her than I do about any other Republican candidate, and sadly, this results in me ranking her in the top half!

7) Lindsey Graham - Graham isn't quite as extremist as some others when it comes to social issues, but his two favorite words appear to be "bomb" and "war," which, as crazy as it may sound, gives me some pause...

6) George Pataki - If Donald Trump is the name everyone knows of the 16 candidates to this point, George Pataki is the name only his closest friends and family members seem to know. ...and yes, sadly, he almost made my top 5...

5) Marco Rubio - Rubio is young, attractive, a Florida representative, Latino, and could be the most problematic nominee for the Democratic Party in the general election. However, for whatever reason, he's still polling behind Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and yes, even Donald Trump.

4) Chris Christie - Before word broke about Christie's highly controversial decisions as New Jersey Governor and his approval ratings dropped as a result (down to 30% in the state), he was my favorite potential GOP nominee. Sadly, even after those revelations became known, I still have him ranked behind only three other candidates for the party's nomination.

3) Jeb Bush - I would much rather have had him as our president from 2000-2008 than his brother, Dubya. However, with 12 Bush years already under our belt, do we really need any more? As I still have a difficult time seeing Donald Trump winning the party's nomination, I think it will eventually come down to Bush and Rubio, with Walker and Paul being the next two in line.

2) Rand Paul - Paul often times comes across as a bit loony, but I can't say I disagree with him in all areas. When it comes to the Patriot Act, marijuana legalization, and prison reform, as difficult as it is for me to say, I do actually "stand with Rand."

1) John Kasich - As a resident of the state Kasich governs, I can honestly say I have never voted for the guy. I don't care for his anti-union stance, his typical corporations-over-people position, or how he feels about women's reproductive rights. However, of all the candidates who have announced they're running thus far, Kasich comes across as the most willing to work with the other side to get things done. He's done this a number of times as governor of Ohio and has angered many in his base as a result. Chances are very slim I'd vote for him if he were the Republican nominee in the 2016 presidential election; however, of all 16 GOP candidates, I'd be the most comfortable with him in the Oval Office.

My hopeful 2016 presidential election: Democrat Bernie Sanders vs. Republican John Kasich

My predicted 2016 presidential election: Democrat Hillary Clinton vs. Republican Jeb Bush

Religious freedom: Personal vs. Professional

I'm frankly getting tired of writing about "religious freedom" laws and arguments, yet it seems that at least once a day, I read a new headline and story regarding the matter. The latest such case involves Linda Summers, a former deputy clerk at the county clerk's office in Harrison County, Indiana, who was fired from her job for refusing to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple due to her religious beliefs. In light of this, Summers has decided to fight back against her employer's decision and take the matter to court, as she's filed a lawsuit, contending that employers whom force employees to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses are the bigoted ones in this scenario.

I'm going to try and condense this response as much as possible, because, as I just stated, I'm getting quite tired of reading and writing about this topic. Freedoms are not absolute. While we may be freer than most people in the world on a fairly regular basis, those freedoms are still limited depending on the situation and setting. The workplace is such an example. Linda Summers can believe whatever she so chooses inside or outside of the workplace with regard to religion, an afterlife, the Super Bowl, alien life, gay marriage, or whatever. However, if such a belief prevents her from fully doing her job and serving people equally as according to the law, then that's when she's going to run into problems and potentially get herself fired.

Bigot is defined as, "A person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion."

It wasn't an act of bigotry for Linda Summers' employer to fire her because she wasn't willing to do her job for each and every person under the law. It was an act of bigotry for Linda Summers to refuse service required by law to a certain group of people based on their sexual orientation. If a person, like Linda Summers, is unwilling to do their job and serve everyone equally, even those they may disagree with on one level or another, they shouldn't be working that job.

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/07/27/3684515/religious-rights-last-best-chance-create-legal-right-discriminate/

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/bigot?s=t

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCraigRozniecki?ref=hl


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 25,222 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:

https://twitter.com/CraigRozniecki


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/rozzy81

Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=craig+rozniecki&x=7&y=5&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=

The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_22?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=craig%20rozniecki%20kindle&sprefix=craig+rozniecki+kindle%2Caps%2C228&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acraig%20rozniecki%20kindle

Monday, July 27, 2015

TMI on FB about LOVE

Approximately two out of three times I write about technology and trends, I start to feel like a grumpy old man. It's even reached a point where, after writing such a blog, I look in the mirror to make sure I haven't transformed into Jack Lemmon or Walter Matthau. The latest such case is with regard to Facebook and people whom feel the need to share everything, and I mean EVERYTHING about their love lives.

I can understand wanting to share certain events with close friends and family, such as a wedding or baby announcement, but there is such a thing as too much in my opinion. I don't need to be taken on every date of a couple's journey, like it's some sort of reality series. As a matter of fact, that's what it often feels like to me - a phony reality series. Why does there seem to be a need for people to crave others' acceptance of their romantic lives, even those they may not have seen for 10-20 years? Are Facebook "likes" and comments really of much importance? If so, why? Wouldn't that be a sign of insecurity more than a sign of strength?

It seems like the concept of privacy is becoming progressively less important in our culture and I'm a bit more old-fashioned on the matter when it come to my love life. Why does it seem to be more "normal" for a husband to post a status about how much he loves his wife on their anniversary than to write and share her a poem that only she knows about? Why tell hundreds of acquaintances how lucky one got with their partner instead of looking this partner in the eyes and telling him or her? Why not ignore the phone, Internet, and all outside opinions of a relationship and romantic getaway, and instead just love and cherish every moment one has with their significant other during that special time?

Part of me continues to love technological expansions. It's really quite amazing to think how easily we can keep in touch with friends and family in other states or countries, even halfway across the world. On the other side of things, however, I also wish more people could set their phones down and enjoy life's finer moments without feeling the need to show the world these very moments. Why feel the need to show the world one is truly happy if they actually are? Why not focus on making a significant other feel genuinely loved and special, instead of attempting to prove this to others? A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but there are times when no picture nor words can accurately detail the worth of a special moment one shares with a person they love. While a woman may make me feel flattered by singing my praises in a Facebook status, that would be nothing compared to how she'd make me feel by looking me directly in the eyes and uttering those very same words. I don't need the outside world to believe a woman loves me; I simply need to believe she loves me.

Wyatt Cenac reports breaking news: Jon Stewart isn't perfect...

I read a strange article the other day concerning long-time Daily Show host Jon Stewart and former Daily Show contributor Wyatt Cenac. In less than two weeks, Stewart will be ending his 16/17-year reign as host of The Daily Show, and seemingly everyone from President Barack Obama to businessman Donald Trump have weighed in on the matter, complimenting Stewart and his show, saying he'll be greatly missed. So it came as a bit of a surprise to read the following headline over the weekend: "Wyatt Cenac: Jon Stewart told me to 'f*ck off' after I challenged him on racially charged impression."

While I've never met Jon Stewart face-to-face and don't know the man personally, I have greatly enjoyed his show for a majority of the 16+ years he's been the host and would be lying if I said he hasn't been one of my biggest comedic and literary inspirations. It should also be noted that I largely enjoyed Wyatt Cenac's appearances on the show when he was a contributor as well.

Given that, this report came courtesy of an appearance Cenac made on Marc Maron's podcast, WTF. In the summer of 2011, Stewart was engaged in one of his classic back-and-forths with Fox News - this one concerning an impression he gave of former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain. Fox News responded by contending that Stewart was mocking Cain because he's black. While Stewart basically laughed off this accusation, letting Fox know he's attempted a number of awful impressions, and providing video evidence of them at the following link, Cenac seemed to side with Fox on the matter - http://www.salon.com/2015/07/23/wyatt_cenac_jon_stewart_told_me_to_%E2%80%9Cfck_off%E2%80%9D_after_i_challenged_him_on_racially_charged_impression/.

Wyatt Cenac then reportedly confronted Jon Stewart in front of the rest of The Daily Show crew, and as reported on the WTF podcast, this is what then ensued:

"[Stewart] got incredibly defensive. I remember he was like, What are you trying to say? There's a tone in your voice. I was like, 'There's no tone. It bothered me. It sounded like Kingfish.' And then he got upset. And he stood up and he was just like, 'F*ck off. I'm done with you.' And he just started screaming that to me. And he screamed it a few times. 'F*ck off! I'm done with you.' And he stormed out. And I didn't know if I had been fired."

After the incident, Cenac, who has admitted to looking for a father-figure and mentor in Stewart, was shaken, saying:

"I was shaking, and I just sat there by myself on the bleachers and f*cking cried. And it's a sad thing. That's how I feel. That's how I feel in this job. I feel alone."

At the time, Cenac was the only African-American writer on the staff. He did say that Stewart apologized afterward, but that it was too little, too late.

First off, both men should have handled the confrontation better. Wyatt Cenac shouldn't have confronted the host of The Daily Show in front of the rest of the crew. He should have asked Stewart to talk to him privately about the matter. On the other end of things, Stewart should have acted in a more calm and mature manner.

When it comes to the heart of the story and Wyatt Cenac's (and Fox News') accusation that Jon Stewart was mocking Herman Caine because he's black, though, I think I'll have to defend the long-time Daily Show host. Watch the video clip. Stewart wasn't providing a stereotypical impression of the black community; he was simply providing an impression of one man - Herman Caine, who happens to be black. Like his singing, impressions aren't Stewart's strong suit. Stewart has given impressions of President Barack Obama, New York Representative Charlie Rangel, and other African-Americans without much complaint from Fox News (and other conservatives). Not only that, he's given impressions of: George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and countless other people. When Cenac approached Stewart about the matter, Stewart allegedly said, "You never had a problem with my Chuck Schumer." That's the thing. As the only black writer on The Daily Show staff, Wyatt Cenac felt he was the only voice of the black community and it was his duty to stand up for them and let his views be known about a segment he felt was racially insensitive. While I can understand his perspective on the matter, I think he missed the fact that Jon Stewart was poking fun of Herman Cain, the politician, and not Herman Cain, the black man. Jon Stewart should have reacted more appropriately to Wyatt Cenac's confrontation and probably shouldn't do impressions for a living after leaving The Daily Show, but I honestly don't think he was being racist with his Herman Cain impression. If Cenac wants to hear something truly offensive, he should listen to Stewart sing sometime. My dog started howling just thinking about it...

Why must music critics review what they obviously hate?

I think it'd be nice if music reviewers were designated with material they either enjoyed or were at least curious about and didn't despise. With increasing frequency it seems, I'm reading album and concert reviews from critics whom obviously despise the band and/or genre they're working with, and the final result comes across like a Fox News segment on President Obama. Once in a while, the authors despise the music or concert experience so much, it makes for a somewhat humorous review. However, even a blind person can see the critic's biases, that he or she likely had a migraine from the first to final track of the album or concert, and it'd probably be in everyone's best interests (including the bands themselves) if they didn't have to write the review in the first place. That's all. This is probably the shortest blog I've ever written, yet I still felt the need to write it for whatever reason. Go me!

How dependent is the Bible's story on the presence of Satan?

When it comes to religion, I don't pretend to have all the answers. However, regardless if the answers are impossible to fully deduce while alive on this earth, I find it fascinating to ponder about such matters, because I'm a creative nerd whose mind likes to constantly be in overdrive. I grew up in a Christian household, have studied multiple religions throughout my life out of pure curiosity, and would today label myself as a humanist and/or an agnostic. While I believe many of these sacred texts provide interesting story material, which can help teach us many of life's important lessons, I'm hard-pressed to take them all literally, and have reached a point where I feel that, while I can't fully disprove the presence of a higher power, I can't fully prove it either. Due to this, I simply try to stand by the Golden Rule, acknowledge my mistakes and flaws, and continually try to improve upon them to better myself as a person, regardless of the potential reward or punishment in an unknown afterlife. I don't judge people whom are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, or worship a pet squirrel by the name of chipmunk; I just simply haven't found a religion that's right for me yet.

Given all of that, though, as I was brought up in a Christian environment, it's the religion I've been most exposed to through my years and perhaps due to that, the one I contemplate about more than any other. Just this morning, a thought occurred to me. In an odd way, doesn't it seem like the Bible mentions two gods: God and Satan? Granted, in the story, God is the creator, the one who created Satan. However, Satan is also said to be the originator of sin, was kicked out of heaven for his wicked ways (Lucifer at the time), and helped create the black-and-white/good-and-evil system the story requires to produce a savior (Jesus) and a reward-and-punishment system in the afterlife (heaven and hell). If Satan didn't sin, wasn't kicked out of heaven, and didn't constantly tempt man to stray away from the good (Godly) path, with the threat of eternal punishment for doing so, what need would there have been for Jesus to die for our sins and for people to worship Jesus to free themselves of sin and be rewarded in the afterlife? To me, the story seems incomplete and to lose its power without the presence of Satan. What would the story of Batman have been without the Joker? Of Superman without Lex Luthor? Of He-Man without Skeletor? In almost all such stories, there's a good presence and an evil one. This is exactly the case in the Bible, which doesn't shy away from being obvious about it, with the good presence being referred to as God (one more "o" and we have "good") and the evil one being referred to as the devil (yes, the word "evil" resides in "devil"). So the question is, how dependent is the Bible's story on the presence of Satan? Due to this level of dependency, does this then suggest that Satan, along with God, is a god himself? Also, does it potentially negate the essence of the story, for without the presence and sin of Satan, what use would there have been for Jesus to have sacrificed himself on the cross to eradicate sin? Does it also showcase that God is not omnipotent, as his ultimate luring tool to the masses of potential followers is dependent on another's deeds? No, I don't have the answers to any of those questions, but I find them to be fascinating nonetheless. Well, I best be off to allow my wacky mind to wander yet again. Yes, this may be why I drink on the weekends...

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Final Thoughts" on Tomi Lahren's rant

The Internet is apparently abuzz about a rant unleashed by 22-year-old conservative news anchor Tomi Lahren of the independent One American News Network. During the "Final Thoughts" segment of her show, Lahren laid into President Obama, as she said the following:

"President Obama, if you won't say it, I will - radical Islam. This is not workplace violence; this is not a criminal act with motives unknown - this is terrorism. Was he linked to ISIS or al-Qaida or Hamas, or any of the other 15-plus offshoot terrorist groups? Does it matter? I'm sorry, but radical Islam is becoming the rule, not the exception. Yesterday's moderate is today's terrorist. I care that this S.O.B. killed four of our United States Marines. And I care that our commander-in-chief is more concerned with Muslim sensitivity than the honor and sacrifice made by these Marines."

This was of course in reference to the recent tragic shooting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where 24-year-old Mohammad Abdulazeez, a Muslim, shot and killed four U.S. Marines and one Navy reservist. Lahren then continued with this:

"They, the radical Islamists have brought the fight right here to the red, white, and blue, and it's about time we bring it to them. Full force. Let's show them what the United States of America looks like up close and personal. Show them what a B1 Bomber looks like flying overhead. Show them what they're messing with. Put the fear of God in their desert, because clearly our lack of strategy isn't working."

At this point, Ms. Lahren's rant has been viewed over 1.9 million times. While my post won't be read nearly as many times, I have a few "Final Thoughts" of my own on Ms. Lahren's rant.

The first thought which sprung to mind as I read Tomi Lahren's rant was, "Thank God she's not president, and thank God she's not eligible to become president for another 13 years." My second thought was, "Why in the world has this generated such a buzz? I've been hearing rants like this once a day for the past 14 years." She may be young, attractive, and act like she wants to go to Hollywood and become the female version of Chuck Norris, but her words sound like that of a 22-year-old Fox News anchor: Empty, immature, angry, prejudiced, and short-sighted.

Look, we're all angry about what happened in Chattanooga last week, just like we're still angry about what happened in Charleston, South Carolina last month. But just as it would have been wrong to deduce that all Southern whites in this country are violent racists based off Dylan Roof's act of shooting and killing nine African-Americans at a church in Charleston last month, it's wrong to deduce that radical Muslims in this country are becoming the rule and not the exception, as Ms. Lahren states. There are between 5 and 12 million Muslims in this country. Since the 9/11 attacks, 48 people have been killed by white supremacists and anti-governmental fanatics in this country, compared to 26 whom have been killed by radical Muslims. A recent study was published where police officers from around the country listed what they felt were the three biggest threats of violent extremism in their jurisdiction. While approximately 74% of them said anti-government violence was the biggest threat, 39% said "Al Qaeda-inspired" violence was. In other words, since 9/11, white supremacists have been more of a threat in this country than Muslims.

As for her closing bit, I suppose Ms. Lahren was only 8-years-old when the 9/11 attacks occurred, but even so, where's she been for the past 14 years since the attacks? How well did that bomb-and-kill-them-all mentality work for us after invading Iraq and Afghanistan? The wars were going to be a breeze, remember? What'd that cost us? Over 6,800 U.S. soldiers have died as a result, as well as over 43,000 of our coalition partners. The wars have cost us over $2 trillion, which may wind up being $4-$6 trillion when all is said and done. It's incredibly sad what happened to five of our loyal and courageous service members last week when they were shot and killed by an angry, depressed, drug-addicted man, yet that pales in comparison to the pain, anger, and sadness we should feel about 6,800 of our servicemen and women being killed overseas in wars which weren't necessary, one of which was based on a false pretense. Tomi Lahren can criticize President Obama's "lack of strategy" in the Middle East all she'd like, he's not the one who thoughtlessly sent thousands of our men and women off to die in that region with no end vision in sight, all the while speaking to the country with a "Mission Accomplished" banner behind him and 4,500 U.S. soldiers yet to realize their tragic fate.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/trending-now/conservative-news-anchor-s-message-to-obama-goes-viral-190856095.html

http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/20/us/tennessee-naval-reserve-shooting/

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/muslims/etc/faqs.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/25/us/tally-of-attacks-in-us-challenges-perceptions-of-top-terror-threat.html

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/14/us-iraq-war-anniversary-idUSBRE92D0PG20130314

http://watson.brown.edu/costsofwar/costs/human/military/killed

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/study-iraq-afghan-war-costs-to-top-4-trillion/2013/03/28/b82a5dce-97ed-11e2-814b-063623d80a60_story.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/01/mission-accomplished-bush_n_3194240.html

The award for the Most Ridiculous Article of the Year (maybe of all-time) goes to the National Review's Victor Davis Hanson

At least once a week, I stumble upon an article so atrocious, I have to double-check to make certain it wasn't written by someone at the satirical site, The Onion. Today, I may have stumbled upon the most ridiculous article I've read this year, if not my entire life. The article was written by Victor Davis Hanson at the far right-wing site, National Review, and entitled, "Obama and Trump: Two of a Kind." Yes, you read that correctly.

Not being the biggest fan of National Review and having not been too familiar with Victor Davis Hanson's previous work, I thought I'd research a few of his other articles. Judging by some of his other work, perhaps I shouldn't have been so surprised by how ridiculous this article was. Here's a snippet of Mr. Hanson's other articles:

- "Progressive Elites Ignore Human Nature at Everyone Else's Expense" (yes, he's subtle)

- "The Four Horsemen of a Looming Apocalypse" (subtlety, take two)

- "Progressive Mass Hysteria" (projection, anyone?)

- "Sexism and Racism Are Leftism" (yes, progressives fight for women's reproductive rights and equal pay because we're obviously sexist, and we fight for police reform (against police brutality), prison reform (discriminatory drug laws), and equal opportunity because we're obviously racist)

- "Let's Talk about Obama's Blatantly Anti-Semitic Associates" (may we borrow a Linda Blair eye-rolling stunt double during this discussion?)

- "Tom Cotton, Tragic Hero" (treason now equals heroism, eh?)

- "At the White House, There's Nobody Home" (he never lets his biases show, does he?)

- "The Audacity of Weakness" (more like the audacity of thinking first before sending 4,500 soldiers to die and spending trillions of dollars in the process based on a false pretense, right?)

- "The Party of Snobbish Elites" (I'm going to need to borrow that Linda Blair stunt double again)

- "Meet the Snobocrats" (Meet the Republi-cons. See?!? I can do that too! Go me!)

So, going back to the article we'll be taking a more in-depth look at, "Obama and Trump: Two of a Kind," Victor Davis Hanson starts with this:

"Outwardly they couldn't be more different. But take a closer look."

:: zooms in on the side-by-side picture of the two of them :: Sorry, I'm still not seeing any similarities, but I'll play along. Please continue...

"President Obama is said to feel liberated, in the sense that he can finally say what, and do as, he pleases - without much worry any more over political ramifications, including presidential and congressional elections. Obama's lame-duck presidency has now devolved into the progressive bully pulpit that his base always longed for. Of course, his editorializing and executive orders may worry Hillary Clinton - much as Donald Trump's pronouncements do his more circumspect Republican rivals."

Let me try to understand Mr. Hanson's thinking here... The Supreme Court ruling in favor of keeping the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in tact, of expanding gay marriage rights nationwide, and of President Obama applauding those decisions, this somehow means his presidency has "devolved into a progressive bully pulpit"? Give me a break... Oh, and about those executive orders, President Obama has averaged 33.6 per year in office, fewer than the following Republican presidents: George W. Bush (36.4 per year), George H.W. Bush (41.5 per year), and Ronald Reagan (47.6 per year). So, nice try... What else do you have?

"Trump is a celebrity who tweets and phones his praise of and insults to comedians, athletes, and media kingpins. But so does Obama love the celebrity world. He is comfortable with Jay Z and Beyonce, picks the Sweet Sixteen on live television, and has reminded us that he's the LeBron of the Teleprompter, who won't choke under the spotlights. Both see pop culture and the presidency as a fitting together perfectly."

This "celebrity" criticism by conservatives cracks me up (as well as the teleprompter remarks). As the saying goes, times, they are a-changing. Not only are there local news networks, there are 24-hour cable "news" networks, talk radio shows, and more politically-oriented "news" sites than Sesame Street's Count von Count would even care to tally. It'd be virtually impossible for a modern-day president to not be labeled as a celebrity. Heck, even before all of this expanded technology, try to tell me with a straight face that a president wasn't a "celebrity." What's the definition of a celebrity? "A famous or well-known person." The time this country's president isn't well-known inside this county is the time we should start to worry. Oh, and speaking of celebrities and teleprompters, the so-called God of the Republican Party, Ronald Reagan, was an actor! With Mr. Hanson's logic, Obama would have been just like Trump if he were to befriend Reagan back in the day while he was acting. Okay, next...

"Would the Chicago community-organizing cadre be that much different from the Trump Manhattan clique? Isn't big-city know-how key to 'fundamentally transforming' the country? Is there that much difference between Trump's golden name tags and Obama' faux Greek columns, vero possumus, 'We are the ones we have been waiting for,' and cooling the planet and lowering the seas?"

Notice how he begins this paragraph: "Would the Chicago community-organizing cadre be that much different from the Trump Manhattan clique?" In other words, he doesn't know, so let's skip past the unknowable BS from this paragraph and move on to the next one, shall we?

"Would not Trump perhaps agree with this Obama assertion from 2008: 'I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director.' Both men seem to believe that the presidency is dependent on ratings, something like The Apprentice: 'If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."

I don't know. Why don't you just ask him, instead of speculating on what you obviously have no idea about? Once again, Mr. Hanson begins his sentence showcasing this very fact: "Would not Trump perhaps agree with this Obama assertion from 2008..."? "Would he...perhaps...maybe...sort of...you know...kind of...like...yeah...?" Yes, that's persuasion at its finest right there! Moving on...

"In his current unbridled commentary and without worry over party politics, Obama has perhaps gone the full Trump - though in the opposite fashion of tossing out politically correct themes of the progressive Left, which lead to little concrete action. So Obama is Trump's doppelganger. The two see the world in similarly materialist - though, again, opposite - terms: Trump wants net worth to be the litmus test of political preparation ('The point is that you can't be too greedy'), even as Obama professes that big money is a Romney-like 1 percent disqualification. Obama's infamous communalistic quotes to the effect that you didn't build that, at some point you've made enough money, and this is no time to profit are just bookends to Trump's money-is-everything ideas that he built everything, he's never going to make enough money, and it is always time to profit."

This has to be one of the most ridiculous things I've read in a while. Let's define doppelganger: "A ghostly double or counterpart of a living being." What Mr. Hanson essentially said was, "President Obama and Donald Trump are doppelgangers, like twins, just opposites." Imagine if I tried setting up a blind date with that kind of thinking? "So, I really think you'd like this guy. The two of you are like twins in what you believe and what you like to do, but are opposites in your beliefs and hobbies too, you know? You're the same but opposite." My friend would probably then either start looking around for a hidden camera or send me off to loony bin. Okay, carrying on...

"On matters of race, liberals seem to like the fact that Obama no longer lectures so much about pathologies endemic in black communities, but now focuses on institutionalized bias, as if he is tired of scripted talk about the preservation of the family, the need for education, and the avoidance of illegitimacy and drug use. It is far easier to reduce all that down to institutional racism and legacy unfairness, much as Trump waves his hands about the next complex issue - trade, China, immigration, veterans' affairs - and tells his audiences that a distant 'they' and 'them' are the problem. The respective bases both love the message that someone else did it to us."

Seriously, you want to compare Donald Trump, who has recently come under fire for racist commentary at the expense of Latinos, on the issue of race, to the first African-American president in our country's history, who has had more racist jokes, rumors (myths), and chain emails spread about him than all our other presidents combined, as racists wanted more to see the president as an "other" (you know, "they" or "them")? I'll pretend you didn't write this asinine paragraph and move on to the next one. You're welcome...

"The media rightly notice Trump's first-person - I, me, my, mine - overload, but that too is Obama's favorite kind of pronoun. The president often refers to his 'team' in narcissistic terms, as if the West Wing were a sort of Trump Tower. It is said that Trump is tasteless and gets into tit-for-tat squabbles or tosses out gross quips that are unpresidential. One wonders when Trump will make jokes about the Special Olympics, or about siccing lethal drones one the world-be suitors of his daughters. In any case, Trump handled NBC's Katy Tur in the same manner in which Obama dispensed with CBS's Major Garrett." 

Ooh! Busted! Do Obama and Trump have the same favorite adjectives? Prepositions? Conjunctions? Actually, John Templon of BuzzFeed News conducted a study on presidents' usage of first-person singular pronouns (over 2,000 presidential news conferences since 1929 were observed), and shocking to say, President Obama only used these terms 2.5% of the time. This ranks him third from the bottom on the list, ahead of only Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover, while behind all of the following: John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Dwight Eisenhower, George H. W. Bush, and Harry Truman. Have anything else for me to debunk, Mr. Hanson?

"Trump was blasted for editorializing on the tragedy of Kate Steinle's murder at the hands of a seven-time felon and five-time-deported illegal alien. But that habit of seeking political resonance in individual tragedies bears the Obama imprimatur. Although the Steinle tragedy did not offer Obama the correct political calculus, he has sought to channel Ferguson, Baltimore, and mass school shootings as fuel for his own political agenda. So far Trump has not quite descended to the level of the president's use of a racial affinity with Trayvon Martin, although his quip about prisoners of war like John McCain being less than heroic comes close."

So, let me get this straight, President Obama, in trying to find the rationale behind police officers' controversial actions, the protests and riots that followed, and why certain individuals would (or could) commit mass shootings, and attempting to find solutions to make such occurrences less frequent in the future is equivalent to Donald Trump referring to an entire demographic as drug dealers and rapists and claiming that a POW isn't a real war hero? Yeah, okay, so when we're attacked by terrorists and try to find the reasoning behind it and ways to decrease the odds of it happening again in the future, that would be the same as Donald Trump labeling African-Americans as "lazy," "thuggish," and "druggies"? Apples and oranges, buddy... Apples and oranges... Next...

"More importantly, like Trump, Obama does not worry over inconsistency or bombast, and has no hesitation about insisting on things that not only are not, but perhaps could not be, true. Obamacare would, Obama assured the nation, lower premiums and deductibles, reduce the deficit, and allow Americans to keep their current doctors and plans, but in fact it did no such things. Obama repeatedly warned his supporters that our immigration law was unquestioned settled law, duly enacted by Congress, and that no president could unilaterally override it - a strange Freudian foretelling of exactly what the president would soon do. Reset with Russia was the proper corrective to George W. Bush's alienation of Vladimir Putin - only it was not, and instead ensured new levels of Russian-American alienation. The post-Saddam Iraq was a great achievement; the country was now secure and self-reliant enough for American troops to leave - and then it just wasn't, after we skedaddled. How exactly did the 'jayvee' ISIS team punch above its weight as the varsity? 'Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now,' That was six years ago, and Guantanamo is still in business."

What was the name of this article? "Obama and Trump: Two of a Kind"? Then how can Mr. Hanson make a fair comparison in this paragraph when Trump's name is mentioned once in the span of 193 words (at the very beginning) and the rest appears to be a Rush Limbaugh-like hit-piece on the president? Mr. Hanson may want to go back to school to take a beginner's course on comparisons. Please tell me this sad excuse for an article is almost finished, Mr. Hanson...

"Talks with Iran were originally supposed to have been predicated on anywhere, anytime inspections, no enrichment within Iran, real-time snap-back sanctions, and tough protocols about weapons purchases and subsidies for terrorists - until they really were not. Red lines were game changers, only they weren't - and they weren't even Obama's own red lines, but the U.N.'s Chlorine gas did not count as a WMD: it wasn't really a weaponized chemical agent at all. Trump's inconsistencies so far are no more dramatic."

At this point, it sounds to me like the alcohol is finally catching up to Mr. Hanson and he's officially in mumbling-mode. After reading this article, I may need a drink myself. Moving on...

"Trump understandably envisions world leaders and foreign policy itself as World Presidents' Organization meetings of business pros like himself, who horse-trade to win their own constituents the better deal. Wheeler-dealers like Trump, we are to believe, are thus the most successful occupants of the Oval Office, especially when energized by savvy and innate charisma. The problem supposedly with our foreign policy is that bureaucrats and diplomats were never negotiators and dealers, and so got taken to the cleaners by far more clever and conniving foreign operators."

...and the mumbling mumbo jumbo continues. I may need that drink now...

"But again, is Obama so different a spirit? He feels that his own winning charm and community-organizing skills can succeed with revolutionary leaders, in a way the political skills of a George W. Bush never could. Relations with Turkey hinged on a 'special friendship' with Erdogan. Apparently, Obama felt that neo-Ottomanism, anti-Israel rhetoric, and increasing Islamization were mere proof of inevitable revolutionary turmoil, a good thing, but one that could be capitalized on only by someone like himself, who long ago was properly ideologically prepped. Ditto Obama's mythography of the Cairo speech before an audience that, on the White House's insistence, included members of the Muslim Brotherhood, or his outreach to Cuba and Iran (note his past silence about the 2009 green demonstrations in Iran). So if Obama has won over the world's one-time pariahs, maybe Trump can try the same first-person methodologies to coax the more business-minded prime ministers to our side. The self-absorbed idea of Trump outfoxing a Chinese kleptocrat is similar to that of Obama hypnotizing an Iranian theocrat."

So the comparison here is how Mr. Hanson interprets President Obama's behavior to how he could potentially see Donald Trump's behavior in similar situations if he's elected? Like the rest of this article, he's stretching things just a bit much, isn't he? I'm starting to wonder if this article was the result of some kind of bet. Continuing on...

"Donald Trump believes he can oversell America abroad in the manner of Chamber of Commerce boosterism; isn't that the twin to Obama underselling the country in the fashion of a wrinkled-browned academic? Both are stern moralists: America is too often shorted, and so Trump is angry over the sins of omission. For Obama, past genocide, racism, and imperialism vie as sins of U.S. commission."

Here's the opposite doppelganger logic again...

Person A: "You're poor just like me!"

Person B: "But you're rich!"

Person A: "I know, so we're the same!"

Alright, next...

"Would a Trump bragging tour be all that much different from an Obama apology tour? If, in politically incorrect style, it is implied that all immigrants are likely to be criminals, is that any sloppier or more politically motivated than the politically correct assumption that all are dreamers? Threatening to charge Mexico per illegal immigrant seems about as sensible as leaving the border wide open and nullifying existing immigration law."

This is black-and-white thinking right here, with the false dilemma informal fallacy written all over it. Also, Mr. Hanson really needs to let go of his opposite-doppelgangers point. It makes absolutely no sense. "Is bragging different than apologizing?" Um,  yes. "Is assuming immigrants are all criminals any different than believing they're all dreamers?" Again, yes.

Scenario #1: A classroom discussion

Professor Jezebel Holowitz: "Okay, who here can give me an example of bragging?"

Tony Ravioli: "I am the best! I am the greatest! I can beat everyone at everything!"

Professor Holowitz: "Thank you, Tony. I believe I've heard you say that before. Now, would someone please stand up and give me an example of apologizing?"

Angela Fillmore: "I'm like so so so sorry. I was wrong; you were right. Please forgive me..."

Professor Holowitz: "That was very good as well, Angela. Thank you. Now, raise your hand if you think that what Tony and Angela just did was the same thing..."


Scenario #2: Questioning at a police station

Officer Joseph Rough: "I'm going to be honest, I don't think you're guilty. I don't think you're here illegally. I believe you're a dreamer and deserve to be in this country. Please help convince me I'm right..."

Officer Jorge Sensitivo: "Don't listen to that guy! He's full of crap! You know what you are to me? You're an illegal! You don't belong here! Not only that, but you're a drug dealer, a rapist, and should be behind bars for the rest of your days! What do you have to say about that?"


No, there's no difference at all... Here's how Victor Davis Hanson closed out his "piece":

"There is no need to elect Donald Trump; we've already had six years of him."

That's right, because as Victor Davis Hanson so eloquently states, "Barack Obama and Donald Trump are like doppelgangers, twins, only the opposite of that." Well, I best be going. I'm now on a mission to find my opposite doppelganger, Meryl Streep. We both have at least one "r" and one "e" in our last names. There are five letters in both of our first names. She's an actress; I'm a writer. I'm a male last I checked; she's a female. We're separated by over 30 years. When I see her, it's just like looking into a mirror, well, I mean, the opposite of that.

Yeah, it's like I said, this has to be the most ridiculous article I've read this year, if not my entire life. So, congratulations for the honor, Victor Davis Hanson! Maybe you can attempt to outdo yourself on the ridiculous scale by writing this next article in the coming days or weeks: "Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger Actually Are Identical Twins." Best of luck on that! Now get to work!

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/421403/obamas-inner-trump

http://www.nationalreview.com/author/victor-davis-hanson

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/every-presidents-executive-actions-in-one-chart/

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/celebrity?s=t

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/doppelganger?s=t

http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=15355

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCraigRozniecki?ref=hl


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 25,001 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:

https://twitter.com/CraigRozniecki


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/rozzy81

Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=craig+rozniecki&x=7&y=5&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=

The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_22?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=craig%20rozniecki%20kindle&sprefix=craig+rozniecki+kindle%2Caps%2C228&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acraig%20rozniecki%20kindle

Monday, July 20, 2015

Donald Trump recites poems on open mic night

Businessman, wannabe politician, and future president of Rat Hair Club For Men - Donald Trump - has always been loved by those with short-attention spans and small vocabularies, due to how condensed and limited his seem to be, and loathed by English and Critical Thinking professors for this very same reason. Even activist mimes are often times so flabbergasted by the billionaire's commentary, after hearing Trump speak, they typically blurt out, "You've got to be f**king kidding me!" Well, Trump's linguistic eloquence was on full display this past Friday night, as he stood up front and center on open mic night at the Manhattan poetry club, "Like So Poetic and Sh*t."

For the night, Donald Trump recited three poems. The first appeared to be an ode to both himself and the band the Divinyls, as the billionaire uttered these romantic words:

"I don't want anybody else,
When I think about me I touch myself,
I don't want anybody else,
Besides my three wives."

After receiving minimal applause for his first effort, Trump decided to turn things up a notch by decreasing the modesty and increasing the politics with his second poem, saying:

"I wrote this next one while I was on the toilet in my own private jet. I had just read crap about the Confederate flag and the homo flag and this is what I came up with...

Why'd the chicken cross the road?
To get a couple beers,
Raise the flag of Southern American hero people who lost the war,
And not that of the queers."

Not only were the cheers scarce for Trump following this poem, the boos were so loud, an activist mime even grabbed a mic and shouted, "Everyone quiet the f**k down!"

For his closing act, Trump decided to put his own little twist on an old poem, saying:

"Roses are red,
Violets are blue,
You're fired."

This poem generated the loudest applause, mostly in the sarcastic form, but Trump never caught on to that. He smiled, blew kisses to people in every which direction, and then stepped back up to the mic and said, "If you want to make America great again, vote Trump 2016! I'm the best, the toughest, the greatest, and poetic as sh*t!"

Following his performance, Fox News' Brian Kilmeade had nothing but praise for Trump, saying, "Those poems were absolutely groundbreaking and breathtaking! He's like another one of those Ethan Allen Poe guys!"

Manhattan's own 6-year-old poet Timmy Kawasaki felt differently about Trump's performance, however, saying, "Was that guy for real? He should be fired or something."

Bryce Harper's facepalm-worthy comments

I personally have nothing against Washington Nationals' right fielder Bryce Harper. He's one of the game's most exciting and promising young stars. Harper's having a breakout year at the plate, is improving defensively, and is on his way to leading his Nationals to another playoff appearance. However, every now and again, Harper makes me shake my head when listening to a post-game comment of his. Such was the case yesterday, after the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Nationals by the count of 5-0, as Dodgers ace Zack Greinke extended his scoreless innings streak to 43 2/3, lowering his ERA to a major league best 1.30 in the process.

After the game, Harper said, "For me, I don't think he (Greinke) was very tough."

He also said, "...when you're getting 6 inches off the plate, it's tough to face him."

Lastly, Harper added, "I don't want to give him too much credit because I gotta face him again."

For the game, Greinke allowed 3 hits (all singles), no runs, and struck out 11 while walking 1 in eight innings of work. For the year, he's allowed just 87 hits in 131.1 innings, 19 earned runs, and has struck out 117, compared to walking just 21 (5.57 K : BB ratio). His ERA is at 1.30, WHIP is at 0.82, and his batting average against is at .187. Greinke is 9-2 overall and 4-1 in his last eight starts. In that span, here are his stats: 58.1 innings pitched, 33 hits, 3 earned runs, 57 strikeouts, 6 walks (9.5 K : BB ratio), 0.46 ERA,  and 0.67 WHIP.

Bryce Harper may be a great young talent and (rightly) think of himself as such, but the guy needs to learn how to handle losing a bit better and how to give opponents their due respect. Zack Greinke is pitching better than anyone in baseball at the moment and could be well on his way to a Cy Young award. It's understandable for Harper to be frustrated after his team got shut down by two of the game's best, in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, but the last thing he wants to do is make enemies of the team that just handled his, especially if they should meet in the playoffs. Now whenever the Dodgers face the Nationals, especially if Greinke is on the mound, the rest of the team will circle that (those) game(s) on the calendar and say, "Harper said Greinke isn't very tough; let's show them that Harper isn't very tough himself!" The next time, instead of making excuses for both his and his team's poor performance at the plate, Harper needs to simply stand up and say, "He (Greinke) got the best of me and us today, but we'll watch tape, make some adjustments, and try to get the better of him next time."

http://espn.go.com/mlb/story/_/id/13285990/bryce-harper-says-zack-greinke-got-umpire-help-not-very-tough

http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/5883/zack-greinke

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/g/greinza01.shtml

A highly misleading Columbus Dispatch headline

This morning, I clicked on a Columbus Dispatch letter-to-the-editor, entitled, "Statistics don't support view of immigrants." I figured the piece dealt with Donald Trump's controversial comments regarding immigrants and were highly supportive of them. Since widely regarded fact-checkers ruled Trump's statements as "false," I was curious just what "statistics" the author was going to cite. Well, to my surprise, as soon as I began to read the letter-to-the-editor, I could see the headline was quite misleading, as it omitted one key word: "Trump's," so that it would read, "Statistics don't support Trump's view of immigrants."

Here was the writing in its entirety, authored by Tom Baillieul of Columbus:

"A Monday letter to the editor made the claim that billionaire Donald Trump’s 'statements about disporportionate crime committed by illegal immigrants is factually correct' (' Trump’s critics deny truth in order to be PC').

The reality is very different.

In a recent op-ed piece in The New York Times, Timothy Egan notes, 'The Congressional Research Service found that the vast majority of unauthorized immigrants do not fit in the category that fits Trump’s description: aggravated felons, whose crimes include murder, drug trafficking or illegal trafficking of firearms.'

The Washington Post reports, 'CRS also found that noncitizens make up a smaller percentage of the inmate population in state prisons and jails, compared to their percentage in the total U.S. population.'

Based on an analysis of data from the FBI, the U.S. Census Bureau and other agencies, the American Immigration Council reports: 'A variety of different studies using different methodologies have found that immigrants are less likely than the native-born to engage in either violent or nonviolent ‘antisocial’ behaviors; that immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be repeat offenders among ‘high risk’ adolescents; and that immigrant youth who were students in U.S. middle and high schools in the mid-1990s and are now young adults have among the lowest delinquency rates of all young people.'

In addition, the Pew Research Center reports that 'the net migration flow from Mexico to the United States has stopped and may have reversed.'

This is apparently the result of several factors, including the weakened U.S. job and housing construction markets, heightened border enforcement, a rise in deportations, the growing dangers associated with illegal border crossings, the long-term decline in Mexico’s birth rates and improved economic conditions in Mexico.

Trump appears to have no problem fabricating facts; unfortunately, a lot of his followers seem willing to accept what he says without question.

During campaign seasons, it should be every voter’s responsibility to fact-check the statements of all politicians.

If that happens, maybe we’ll start to get more honesty from the podium."

Amen. ...and maybe if newspapers started actually reading letters-to-the-editor before providing them headlines, we'd be better off for it as well.

The only possible defense I could provide the Columbus Dispatch is that they have a psychic working for them and the headline was based off the comments the letter-to-the-editor was bound to generate, which included the following:

- "Be sure to tell thst to the parents of Hilliard who's son was killed by a drunk illegal that was released and fled back to Mexico while they bury their son. Illegals are criminals Period. They broke our law by coming here and should be trated as the driminals they are. And no amount of spin will change that."

If only poor spelling, punctuation, and grammar were "driminal" offenses as well...


- "Deport them! The life you save may be your child's. Stupido Americanos"

You're talking about guns, right? No? Even though studies show guns in this country kill more than illegal immigrants? Fascinating...


- "Why do so many support Illegal Aliens over true citizens?"

I don't know. Why don't you ask Native Americans that same question?


- "http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/07/illegal_aliens_murder_at_a_much_higher_rate_than_us_citizens_do.html"

A link to a far right-wing website fact-checking actual fact-checkers? Hold on a moment while I "fact-check" astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson by listening to The Rush Limbaugh Show...

On that note, I retract my earlier potential psychic-defense for the Dispatch. Next time, read the letters you're going to publish a little more closely before providing them with headlines which showcase you didn't do as much. Thanks.

http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2015/07/20/1-baillieul-g5r12k6ld-1.html

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cultural Appropriation

No, I wasn't sure what it was either until just recently. That was before reading a Huffington Post article by Dementria Lucas D'Oyley, entitled, "Cultural Appropriation Isn't Okay, Neither is Attacking Kids."

This article was reference to 17-year-old Kylie Jenner posting a photo on Instagram of herself sporting cornrows, which is typically associated with black culture. In response to that, 16-year-old actress and Hunger Games star, Amandla Stenberg, harshly criticized Jenner, claiming she was guilty of cultural appropriation. Then on the Bravo show Watch What Happens Live, host Andy Cohen referred to Ms. Stenberg as his "Jackhole of the Day" for her criticism of Ms. Jenner.

I'm in complete agreement with the author of this article that Mr. Cohen shouldn't have gone after the 16-year-old Amandla Stenberg like he did, for which he later apologized. However, I was still a bit puzzled by the whole "cultural appropriation" side of the article after reading it, so I decided to read some follow-up comments to hopefully garner a better understanding of what the concept is and why some are so offended by it. Fortunately, I stumbled upon one comment which helped answer these very questions. It was written by Rodney Patterson, an African-American, out of Grand Rapids. His comment goes as follows:

"First - The problem started when HE conflates a fake issue called 'culture appropriation' with a real issue like 'police brutality or racism'. I couldn't care less what a Kardashian girl wears on her head, I do care, however, how my fellow Black Americans are treated by those sworn to protect and serve. How did wearing a cornrow wig require her to become another Rosa Parks, a new paragon of Civil Rights? WTF kind of logic is that?

Second - Culture appropriation is a phantom issue, it's nonsense. Let's break it down:

Culture - a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

Appropriation - the action of taking something for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission.

So, to appropriate Black culture without permission means that there's an owner or guardian of Black culture...who might that be? 

Culture is the sea we all swim in, there are no owners, there is no guardian. If we were smart we would spread our culture and allow everyone to see how rich, vibrant, diverse and wonderful it is, instead we attack those WHO APPRECIATE our culture the most and seek to immerse themselves in it...HOW STUPID IS THAT???

Once again, we (Black Americans) have our signals crossed...

'Cultural appropriation is a larger discussion that absolutely should be discussed on wide platforms...'

No, no it shouldn't, Ms. D'Oyley. We shouldn't waste our time on something we can't control. Why should musicians practice thousands of hours to make music for people that can't 'appropriate' what they are hearing, why should soul food shops sell to anyone other than Blacks since a white person may like what they are eating and want to 'appropriate' the recipe.

Stop spreading this nonsense...this is foolishness at the highest level. There are REAL issues of rights and equality out there...with all due respect, go find some of it."

I thought this was a very well thought out and powerful post, which provided some much needed perspective on the matter. Mr. Patterson illustrated that when we focus on cases such as the one involving Kylie Jenner and cornrows, we divert our attention away from more critical issues, and with that, the bigger picture. It's like he said:

"I couldn't care less what a Kardashian girl wears on her head, I do care, however, how my fellow Black Americans are treated by those sworn to protect and serve. ... There are REAL issues of rights and equality out there...with all due respect, go find some of it."

Amen.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/demetria-lucas-doyley-/cultural-appropriation-is_b_7805192.html

The importance of Caitlyn Jenner's ESPY's speech

There was a great deal of controversy and debate surrounding the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at last night's annual ESPY awards ceremony, as former Olympic champion Bruce Jenner was presented this award for coming out as a woman, Caitlyn Jenner. Regardless of whether a person believes someone other than the former decathlon champion should have received the award or questions her true intent of coming out as Caitlyn Jenner, there can be no denying that Ms. Jenner's speech was a very important, timely, and powerful one.

Caitlyn Jenner's speech largely centered around her struggles in coming forward as her true self, fearful of her family's reaction, and building off that to illustrate the larger problem in the transgender community. In a very emotional end to the speech, she thanked those closest to her for their love and support, said some transgender individuals aren't so fortunate, and wind up being beaten, killed, or killing themselves due to their identity, before declaring that they're people too and deserve our respect. (You can go to this link to see the entire speech - http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/caitlyn-jenner-preaches-acceptance-emotional-espys-award-speech/story?id=32479971)

While the LGBT community has made significant strides in attaining equal rights in this country over the past few years, the T (transgender) in that community appears to lag behind the L, G, and B more times than not when it comes to equal rights, protections,  understanding, and respect. In fact, John Oliver spoke about just this on his show, Last Week Tonight, not long ago, which can be viewed here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmoAX9f6MOc. I think the main reason for this is a lack of knowledge, understanding, and emotional ties for many Americans with regard to the transgender community (of which they're aware...), similar to how things were with the LGB communities 15-20+ years ago. It was far easier for people to adamantly oppose homosexuality when they weren't cognizant that someone close to them was in fact gay. It was far easier for people to adamantly oppose gay marriage before science started showing trends that homosexuality was inborn and before an increasing number of theologians began to alter their views on the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, from that of homosexuality to inhospitality. The more people came out, the more those around them had to reflect on their beliefs and ultimately decide whether it was more important to be stubborn about their past beliefs and push their friend or family member away, or to push those old beliefs to the side and love the person just as much as they always did. While this wasn't always the case, more appeared to go with the latter as opposed to the former option. After these trends started taking place, amazingly, the public began to reverse its viewpoints on homosexuality, to the point where the Supreme Court has made it legal for gay and lesbian couples to marry nationwide, and approximately 60% of the public (and growing) agree with the ruling.

Unfortunately, these significant strides in the LGB communities haven't been felt to quite such a great extent in the transgender community, which is why I think Caitlyn Jenner's speech was so important last night. While most everyone in this country seems to now know at least one gay or lesbian individual, that isn't the case when it comes to transgenders, which has resulted in many of us, myself included to a certain extent, being rather ignorant on the subject. So, while most of us may not know Caitlyn Jenner personally, I think her journey and her words are an important first step to help many people start to understand and accept transgenders as people, and to fight for their rights. Slowly but surely, an increasing number of transgenders will come forward, and like with the LGB communities, acceptance of them will start increasing as a result. Like I said regarding homosexuals, it's a whole lot easier for a person to adamantly oppose transgenders when they're not aware that someone close to them is in fact transgender. It's easy to despise a seemingly fictional character, and much more difficult to do so when that invisible being comes to life, is directly in front of you, has known you for years, and is asking for acceptance.

In closing, I was very fortunate 15 years ago when one of my best friends came out to me. I really hadn't thought much about the LGBT community until that time. I was just getting out of high school, and simply focusing on college life, as well as my health struggles. Right after my friend came out to me, he asked, "Do you have any questions?" I was hesitant, as I didn't want to make him uncomfortable, yet since he was the first person to come out to me and being the thinker (over-analyzer) that I am, I definitely had some questions. I didn't have many, but he reassured me I need not be tentative, answered my questions, and then we just went on talking about other things like it was just a regular old conversation. Understandably so, many in the LGBT community don't like to constantly be asked questions about their orientation or identity. I admit, if I were gay or transgender, I'd probably get fed up with it too after a short while. However, in being a curious and progressive straight man (who studied psychology in college no less), I enjoy talking to and trying to understand people the best I can. It's one reason why I'm so fascinated with other cultures, philosophies, and religions. I just enjoy expanding my horizons and attempting to garner a better understanding of people whom may have grown up in a different country or culture than I did, have far different religious views than I, etc. After my friend came out to me 15 years ago, I can't tell you how many others have done the same, and I never feel any need to ask them questions, such as, "When did you know?" or anything like that. Fifteen years ago, my friend was incredibly open and honest with me, and from that point forward, I went from fairly indifferent with regard to LGBT rights (politics in general) to an ardent fighter for them attaining equal rights. I've only met one transgender individual to this point, however, so like I was at first when my friend came out to me over a decade ago, I may be tentative at first when speaking to such a person about touchy topics like their identity, as I won't want to offend them any. Fortunately, for myself and any other individuals who may feel similarly, I stumbled across a site which provides excellent advice on the matter. It's entitled, "How To Ask A Trans Person Questions Without Being Insensitive About It," and can be viewed here -
http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/02/03/how-to-ask-a-trans-person-questions-without-being-insensitive-about-it/

Our fight may have resulted in gay and lesbian couples being legally allowed to marry nationwide, but we still have a long way to go until they have fully equal rights across this nation, and transgenders have an even longer way to go. So, now's not the time to put our gloves down. As Caitlyn Jenner contended, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgenders are all human beings, deserve equal rights, and deserve our respect. Until that's achieved, the fight's not over.

When closet racists come out and then deny they were ever in to begin with...

When a person attempts to begin a conversation by saying, "I'm not racist, but...," there's roughly a 98.257% chance he or she is about to say something which could be construed as racist to almost every person with even a half-functioning brain. For some reason, such individuals can't seem to admit they're racists, and wrongly feel they're fooling all those around them when they make such prejudiced remarks. Blatant racists are frustrating as it is, yet closet racists whom deny they're such, even after making racists statements, may be even more frustrating.

Such is the case with Airway Heights (Washington) Mayor Patrick Rushing, who recently posted the following message on his Facebook page:

"Gorilla face Michelle (Obama), can't disagree with that. The woman is not attractive except to monkey man Barack. Check out them ears. LOL."

After receiving some criticism for the remarks, Rushing said that it was "just playful back and forth banter that my friends and I do."

That wasn't enough for the Airway Heights City Council, who asked for Mayor Rushing to resign.

In response to this, Rushing said, "I made a mistake. I owned up to my mistake. If I do resign that's admitting I'm a racist and I'm not."

Say what? A racist isn't determined by whether or not a person admits to being one, buddy. It's not like members of the Ku Klux Klan could burn African-American families' houses down, get called out on committing a racist act, and then their lead spokesperson then said, "Yes, we did burn that black family's house down, but never will I tell the public that I'm a racist, because I'm not!" Sorry, but a person's denial of being racist can't undermine his or actions which showcase otherwise.

Given Mayor Rushing's odd denial of racism in this case, expect the following events and statements to occur at some point in the future:

Scenario #1: Sexism

Mayor Patrick Rushing: "Broads really aren't good for anything but cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, and giving me a hole to stick my junk in for a few seconds at a time."

Airway Heights City Council: "Mayor Rushing's comments were incredibly sexist and we'd like for him to resign immediately."

Mayor Rushing: "I was just having a playful back and forth with my friends. I'm not going to resign. If I resign, that would be me admitting I'm a sexist, and I'm not - far from it!"


Scenario #2: Xenophobia

Mayor Patrick Rushing: "Muslims and terrorists are so synonymous with each other, we should just combine the two words into something like Muslorists or Terrorlims, right? I mean, there's a reason Islam rhymes with bomb and you can't spell 'Allah' without "Osama bin Laden'!"

Airway Heights City Council: "Mayor Rushing's comments illustrated a high degree of xenophobia toward the Muslim community and we'd like for him to resign immediately."

Mayor Rushing: "Look, I was just having some playful banter with a friend. I'm not going to resign. If I resign, I'd be admitting that I'm xeroxophobic or whatever in the heck that word is, and I'm definitely not!"


Scenario #3: Homophobia

Mayor Patrick Rushing: "You know who I hate more than anyone else? Fags. They look funny, talk funny, dress funny, and gross me out so much, I feel like I have to wash myself every time I so much as hear about one on the news. You know who's kind of hot, though? Ryan Goosling or whatever that queer's name is. Am I right?"

Airway Heights City Council: "Mayor Rushing displayed a great deal of homophobia with his recent statements and we feel he should resign as soon as possible."

Mayor Rushing: "My buddy and I were just having a friend chat. I'm not resigning over that! If I resigned over that, I'd be admitting that I'm a fagophobe, and if anything, I'm an anti-fagophobe!"


Hopefully Patrick Rushing never gets found guilty in a court of law, because like his denial with the Facebook post, his denial in a courtroom won't convince anybody, the judge in particular:

Judge Roberto Badass: "I hereby find you guilty and you shall spend 30 days in jail."

Patrick Rushing: "But, your honor, I never admitted to doing it, so that means I didn't do it and you can't convict me!"

Yeah, best of luck with that strategy...

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/07/mayor-wont-resign-over-gorilla-face-michelle-obama-rant-because-thats-admitting-im-racist/

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Trump: "Hispanics love me!" No, actually, they don't...

It's quite the coincidence that, earlier today, I posted a blog regarding Republican candidate and businessman Donald Trump, how he's a much louder reflection of the current state of the GOP than the party is accustomed to, and that the longer he stays in the race, the more potential he has to damage the image of the Republican Party, and a poll was released not long afterward which echoed those very sentiments.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll that was released today regarding the two current leaders in both the Democrat and Republican Parties in the run up to the 2016 presidential election, here's how the four candidates fared as far as favorables and unfavorables go:

Hillary Clinton: 52% Favorable/45% Unfavorable/4% No opinion (net +7%)

Jeb Bush: 38% Favorable/47% Unfavorable/14% No opinion (net -9%)

Donald Trump: 33% Favorable/61% Unfavorable/6% No opinion (net -28%)

Bernie Sanders: 27% Favorable/28% Unfavorable/45% No opinion (net -1%)


That's right, the current Republican leader in polls is at a net favorability rating of -28%, and the numbers just get better from there.

Here is a more in-depth look at Trump's favorable/unfavorable numbers (33/61 overall):

Democrats: 19% Favorable/77% Unfavorable (net -58%)

Republicans: 57% Favorable/40% Unfavorable (net +17%)

Independents: 35% Favorable/58% Unfavorable (net -23%)

Liberals: 17% Favorable/81% Unfavorable (net -64%)

Moderates: 33% Favorable/60% Unfavorable (net -27%)

(Somewhat) Conservatives: 40% Favorable/51% Unfavorable (net -11%)

(Very) Conservatives: 55% Favorable/37% Unfavorable (net +18%)

Men: 38% Favorable/56% Unfavorable (net -18%)

Women: 28% Favorable/65% Unfavorable (net -37%)

Whites: 42% Favorable/53% Unfavorable (net -11%)

Blacks: 23% Favorable/65% Unfavorable (net -42%)

Hispanics: 13% Favorable/81% Unfavorable (net -68%)

18-29: 28% Favorable/58% Unfavorable (net -30%)

65-plus: 38% Favorable/59% Unfavorable (net -21%)

Out of the fourteen before-mentioned groups, Trump is thought of positively by only two of them: Republicans (+17%) and hard-core conservatives (+18%). Moderates and Independents can't stand him (-27% and -23%). Women can stand him even less (-37%). Not only that, while Trump has been quoted as saying that Hispanics love him, the numbers show otherwise, as he has an incredible 81% unfavorable rating among them (net -68%). No, Donald Trump has little to no shot at winning the Republican Primary, let alone the presidential election, but he has the money, name recognition, and enough support from the extreme end of the party to stay in this race for a long time, which could very well paint the Republican Party in an increasingly bad light, turn away moderates and Independents, and help to further the gap between the two parties when it comes to women and minority voters. Close to two-thirds of the country can't stand Donald Trump, yet his name is currently at the top of Republican polls. If this continues much longer and increasingly threatens the GOP's chances come election day, many members of the Republican Party are going to want to scream the following two words at Trump: "You're fired!"

http://www.langerresearch.com/wp-content/uploads/1144a50CandidateFavorables.pdf

You can't spell "epitome of the Republican Party" without "Trump"

This just in: Donald Trump's name has been mentioned more in the news these past few weeks than the word and has appeared in news articles in that same time-span. While most in the media have agreed that Trump is loud, oddly entertaining, and good for sound bites, not many seem to be in agreement on just how seriously we should take the businessman's presidential run and how serious of a contender he is for the 2016 election.

Late-night talk show hosts have loved every minute of Trump's presidential run to this point. His big announcement even brought David Letterman out of retirement for a single night to read off a Top Ten List at the Republican candidate's expense, and had The Daily Show's Jon Stewart pondering whether it was the right decision to leave the show just yet. To such personalities, Trump is comedy gold, nothing more, nothing less, and they'll milk his often times comical campaign for as long as time will allow. However, I've heard more serious liberal commentators write articles entitled, "Quit Laughing at Trump! His Campaign Is Not a Joke!" and "Trump Could Win This Thing!" The less paranoid progressive media personalities have released articles entitled, "Trump may be full of crap, but he sparks interesting debate" and "What Trump's poll numbers really say about the modern-day Republican Party." On the other side of the aisle, I've read conservative commentators write articles entitled, "Donald Trump is bad for the GOP," "Trump won't win the Republican Primary," and "Trump's statements not reflective of the party as a whole." Like I said, it doesn't seem like many media personalities know exactly what's going to come of Donald Trump's campaign, what his actual odds are of winning the Republican Primary, and if he does happen to win, if he has a legitimate chance of winning the presidential election.

Just today, I read an article written by conservative columnist Edward Morrissey of The Week. The article is entitled, "Donald Trump is a crazy loudmouth. But he won't wreck 2016 for the GOP."

In the article, Morrissey talks about how many Republicans don't care for Trump's antics and are worried he could hurt their party's chances of retaining control of the White House after an 8-year absence. He then goes more in depth on the matter, touching on Trump's controversial immigration commentary and how some are worried this could hinder the GOP's much needed outreach toward Latino voters, as he wrote the following:

"...For one thing, the GOP wants to reach out to Latino voters, and has a legitimate opening after six-plus years of Latinos being largely overlooked by Barack Obama. Republicans have begun reminding Latino voters that Obama could have addressed immigration reform in the first two years of his presidency - as Obama in fact promised to do in the 2008 campaign - but instead shunted them aside in favor of other priorities."

Yes, this is very much a biased article, but it doesn't read as angrily as one written by Bill O'Reilly or Sean Hannity, so there are times these biases make me chuckle a bit harder than if the anger and exaggerations were constant throughout the article's duration. This quote in particular made me laugh quite heartily. Mr. Morrissey and the Republican Party feel they can make some inroads with Latino voters because President Obama failed to pass immigration reform in his first two years when Democrats had a non-filibuster-proof majority in Congress. Nevermind the next four years when Republicans slowly took over control of Congress, right? How dumb do they think Latino voters are? This appears to be their mindset:

"Republicans proudly filibustered any attempts Obama and other Democrats had of passing immigration reform during the president's first two years in the Oval Office. After we started gaining control of Congress over the next four years, Obama knew there was no chance of passing immigration reform, so he pretty much gave up on the matter. In other words, it's all President Obama's fault he didn't get immigration reform passed, and this will lead Latino voters to vote for more Republican politicians, which will continue decreasing the likelihood of immigration reform being passed!"

Morrissey and company seem to forget that the Affordable Care Act has largely aided Latinos in this country. There's been an 8% drop in the uninsured rate for Latinos following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (2.6 million have gained coverage). The president then signed an executive order to benefit the Latino community. In light of President Obama's announcement on the matter, Latinos were polled nationwide by being asked the following question:

"President Obama has said that Congress had many chances to pass an immigration bill and they failed. Now Obama has enacted executive action to provide relief from deportation for any undocumented immigrant who has not committed a crime, has lived here 5 or more years and is a parent of a U.S. citizen or legal resident child here in the U.S., and providing them with temporary work permits to they have legal status. Do you support or oppose President Obama taking this executive action?"

Survey says, 89% of Latinos supported the president's action.

So what can Edward Morrissey and other Republicans really tell Latino voters when they try convincing them they should vote for their party in 2016? If they were being honest, they'd say something like this: "No matter how hard we tried to prevent the president from getting anything done to improve your lives at all, he still did so, and his party should be punished as a result! If President Obama had full authority to pass immigration reform himself, he would have done so a long time ago, but our fellow Republican brothers and sisters prevented that from happening. So if you really want to see immigration reform passed, you'll pass on the party that actually tried improving the lives of those in your community and was able to do so a time or two, and vote for the party which shut down any other such efforts throughout the president's tenure!"

Another quote I liked from the article was this one:

"Trump rallied the disappointed and disgruntled in the Republican rank and file, especially those who had hoped for a more significant change in direction after the GOP's 2014 midterm victory. Unlike the Tea Party, which coalesced around a coherent agenda in reaction to expansion of government intrusion into private marketplaces (think the TARP bailouts and ObamaCare), Trump taps into an inchoate, ill-defined disillusionment."

Does Mr. Morrissey really want to claim Trump and him tapping into the "disillusionment" of voters is the polar opposite of the Tea Party, which has featured the likes of: Steve King, Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann? Who has been more disillusioned in the world of politics than those five (okay, there may be one or two others)?

Morrissey then closes his article with this:

"Having Trump playing the reckless loudmouth might actually work in the GOP's favor. Trump allows all of the other candidates to appear more statesmanlike by comparison, even if the specific policies they favor closely mirror Trump's. It could, if handled deftly enough, show people that Republicans who have actual track records in the party provide rational leadership. It may not inspire the same voters that Trump does, but the contrast may well help the GOP make gains among independents and centrists in a general election. If nothing else, this will give the more serious candidates a good crucible for handling the media in a general election.

Trump may grate on Republican nerves, but he's in no position to damage anyone but himself..."

This sounds like denial and wishful thinking to the extreme. Current polling has Donald Trump ahead of the large pack of Republican candidates. In a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll, Trump leads GOP candidates at 17%, with Jeb Bush placing 2nd at 14%. These are the only two candidates currently in double-figures. However, in a hypothetical match-up with Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, Trump gets trounced by the count of 51% to 34%. We're still very early in the seemingly never-ending campaign and election season, however, with Trump placing 1st or 2nd amongst Republicans in most all major polls, the chances are slim that he'll be leaving the campaign trail anytime soon. This will result in Trump continuing to constantly be given air-time, which will continue to place the Republican Party in a bad, yet realistic light. While Edward Morrissey may be seriously in denial about his belief that Donald Trump's antics could work in the GOP's favor come election day, he's right about one thing: "Trump allows all of the other candidates to appear more statesmanlike by comparison, even if the specific policies they favor closely mirror Trumps." Exactly... While the Republican Party has been able to be somewhat subtle with some of their more controversial policy positions through the past few election cycles (with there being exceptions, of course), especially with regard to race relations, Donald Trump has made the party's views known loud and clear - which a large percentage of people (like those coveted independents and centrists) don't much like. It's even reached the point where Florida Representative Carlos Curbelo (a Republican) said he believes Trump could very well be a secret Democratic operative trying to cast the GOP in a negative light, one which they won't be able to recover from come election day.

The main reason many conservatives aren't enjoying Donald Trump's antics is the fact he's a reflection of the modern-day Republican Party, and a very loud one at that. He possesses a very black-and-white mentality, logic and reason are foreign to him, he showcases very little empathy to others, and according to him, bigger and badder is always better. No, I don't see Donald Trump winning the presidential election next year, or even winning the Republican Primary, but so long as he's in the race, I see him being a handy weapon progressives and Democrats alike can use against the GOP. The Republican Party has long been able to slyly mask some of their more controversial viewpoints from the public, but now Donald Trump has brought them front and center, and instead of allowing other Republican candidates to suggest that Trump significantly differs from the rest of them, it's time to show the country that Donald Trump isn't some kind of aberration to modern-day Republican politics. He's a direct reflection of it: Full of fallacies and bumper-sticker talking points, short on logic and facts, little empathy for others outside certain demographics (theirs), with a vision set not on the health and happiness of the people in the short- and long-term, but on the increasing profits of major corporations and the increased income inequality as a result of that. While the Democratic Party is aptly named, Donald Trump continues to loudly illustrate that the GOP should change its party name from the Republican Party to the Oligarch Party.

http://theweek.com/articles/566218/donald-trump-crazy-loudmouth-but-wont-wreck-2016-gop

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/race/news/2015/01/13/104283/5-key-facts-about-the-affordable-care-act-for-latinos/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/11/24/just-how-high-is-latino-support-for-obamas-executive-actions/

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/elections/2015/07/14/usa-today-suffolk-poll-republicans-donald-trump/30102255/

http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/rep-carlos-curbelo-thinks-donald-trump-is-a-secret-democratic-operative-7753345