Proposal: Alternate acceptable way to sing the National Anthem

America’s National Anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, is hard to sing for most Americans, which makes it not a good choice for National Anthem. Hardly anyone can hit the highs and lows right and those who can are too often compelled to butcher it with by showing off their range in the up and down points.

There is a solution though, and it doesnt involve scrapping the Spangled Banner for a different song: Just sing it differently. I have been in favor of this since kindergarden but in 2015 when Stephen Colbert opened up his new gig as host of the Late Show with exactly this type of re-tuning rendition, all my years of think-singing it differently in my head was confirmed.

In the cold-open to his first show, titled Play Ball, Colbert sings, via multi-location montage from various places and with various people, the Anthem in a way that is goofy for comedic affect, but has a real life implication of accommodating a non-singers vocal range. Throughout the song he is accompanied by singers with talent at singing the anthem in its traditional inflections and the 2 together harmonize wonderfully.

Colberts joke should be the nations reality…

Can you not imagine this being a for-real thing? Each individual in the crowd being able to choose the gifted-singer’s version or the common-mans version and either way – or both together – sounding just wonderful? This should be a thing. I think this should be a legitimate option introduced by official government decree that there are 2 acceptable ways to sing the anthem: the traditional way, and this altered inflection way.

Hanson live performing MMMBop in 1997 and 2017


Above, a live version on MTV’s Oddville because I remember watching it at home.
Below: Celebrating the songs 25th anniversary on Good Morning America.

I like this report from NewsOK focusing on the bands Oklahoma origin just because it has an old timey “big hollywood from hometown” newspaper feel to it:

Oklahoma band of brothers Hanson celebrated their 25th anniversary making music with a performance of their breakout hit “MMMBop” today on “Good Morning America.”

The Tulsa trio – Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson – still have those great sibling harmonies going for them.

As previously reported, the band also showed off those harmonies Wednesday night at a star-studded Carnegie Hall concert honoring fellow Oklahoman Jimmy Webb. Surprisingly, Hanson performed the legendary songwriter’s “Highwayman,” known as the inspiration for the name of the country supergroup featuring Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.

Founded in 1992, the trio of brothers began performing classic rock ‘n roll and soul music, and writing original material, crafting a distinctive blend of harmonies and organic soulful pop-rock. Besides Hanson’s 25th anniversary, 2017 also marks the 20th anniversary of the band’s debut release “Middle Of Nowhere,” led by the iconic single “MMMBop,” which introduced the group to the world.

Why the United States just bombed Syria

I’ve noticed that the typical sources that are normally all too excited to “explain the news” to you are doing reporting on this issue that requires more back-story to make any sense. I suspect that this is the case because the details behind this story don’t fit a sensationalist narrative or partisan agenda. Whatever the case – Since I happen to have been following at least the base components at play, here is my Rich-plaination for y’all on the key points of what just happened and why…

Since 2011 there has been a Star Wars style “Rebels vs The Empire” war going on in Syria.

President Obama announced to the world that if that if the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons against the rebels there (really dirty painful internationally illegal cruel way of killing opponents) then that would be a “red line”, implying a line that, if crossed would come with severe consequences.

Assad used the weapons and Obama did nothing, exposing the empty threat and embarrassing the United States to a degree to where even The Obama Administrations Secretary of State John Kerry had to later admit was a costly disaster.

Thanks to this Obama failure, ISIS now has chemical weapons.

Fast forward to 2017: Assad used chemical weapons on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun, which, at the time of this writing is reported to have killed at least 85 civilians, 23 of whom were children.

As a direct response to this, the new Trump Administration launched missiles at a Syrian airbase. President Trump explained:

Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched. It is in the vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread of chemical weapons.

That announcement was made Thursday night from Trumps Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Many are scared about what this means for international policy while others (read: this guy) find it refreshingly badass to have a president working out of his Florida luxury resort where he pauses meetings with foreign leaders to announce that it didn’t take more than a day for the country he leads to follow up with a punishing military response to a country killing children and civilians with chemical weapons. More:

The U.S. fired 59 Tomahawk missiles from the USS Porter and USS Ross destroyers in the Eastern Mediterranean against the Shayrat air base, where the U.S. says the planes that carried out a chemical weapons attack originated. The missiles targeted aircraft and aircraft shelters, ammunition, air defense systems and radars.

U.S. officials said planners did everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and are still doing battle damage assessment to determine the exact results of the raid.

Whether you too find this response refreshingly badass or not, you shouldn’t be scared about too much further foreign war entanglements. Trumps stated intentions are to curtail the spread of chemical weapons, so if Assad stops using them, there is no reason to believe there will be further strikes against Syria by the United States. That appears to be the deal.

Trump ran a non-interventionist campaign that was backed with promises to also not allow “red line” moments to happen under his watch. At the time of this writing, this test on those claims appears to have been passed.

For more info, this link at The Guardian has some helpful maps and video on the subject.

“Fearless Girl” statue is an excellent monument to how stupid Feminism is

In lower Manhattan there is a famous bronze statue of a charging bull that symbolizes economic strength and courage during hard times. Seizing on the popularity of Victim Mentality, an opposing statue of a girl staring down the bull with her hands on her hips as her hair and skirt blows in the wind stands across from it was placed across from it to protest Wall Street not having enough women in it or something .

The statue was a Hedge Fund sponsored publicity play (specifically, it was released right before International Women’s Day to call for “more representation of women in corporate boardrooms” – presumably by the boardrooms who are supposedly denying qualified brilliant women to sit on their boards in favor of inferior males because I guess the thesis is that Wall Street dislikes females more than it loves money?), but that hasn’t stopped it from being lauded as a Social Justice icon for the marginalized…or something. I keep saying “or something” only because the purpose and message is so incoherent. A little girl isn’t afraid of economic strength? Why would she be? Or are its supporters praising it because they’re taking it more literally and seeing it as “girls don’t need to be afraid of giant menacing things that are about to kill them”? It just doesn’t make any sense.

But that vague incoherence is a key factor on why it’s receiving praise of course – the more minimalist the canvas, the easier it is for the audience to fill in the gaps with their own confirmation bias and ideology. It’s only the suckers like me who actually apply objective logic to the constant themes among the differing interpretations that ruin any chance of appreciating this publicity stunt as any kind of meaningful art.

The history of the bulls presence is a lot more interesting than the story of the Fearless Girl. Sculptor Arturo Di Modica, an Italian immigrant, just made the thing without direction or permit with $350,000 of his own money used to cast the 7,100 lb bronze bull and just dropped it off in front of the New York Stock Exchange in December 1989 as a gesture to lift the spirits of American traders after the stock crash of a few years earlier. That’s a uniquely American story of positivity, where as the addition of this girl staring down the bull is multi-levels of nonsense victim propaganda.

Nicole Gelinas points out that the support by the mayor of the city only sets a dangerous precedent:

That’s because the mayor has set an arbitrary precedent — this statue can stay because I like its politics — that’ll be used against the city in court. What if Black Lives Matter protesters want a statue of police brutalizing a black man in front of One Police Plaza?

But the bigger problem with Fearless Girl is that it casts stereotypes in bronze: Men do important things, and women get in the way.

The bull is the primary actor: He is charging. The girl’s job is to impede him. This is how Wall Street has long worked — and it’s changing, but slowly.

Take the management committee of State Street’s parent company. Of its 14 members, two are women. One, the chief administrative officer, is a top regulatory official. The other is the human-resources chief and “citizenship officer.”

On Goldman Sachs’ 33-member management committee, five of our women — at least four of whom are in similar, growth-restraining positions.

Yes, growth-restraining: These are great jobs and require deep skill. But they’re bureaucratic rather than entrepreneurial. If a department head — a man — wants to start up a new unit, it’s the regulatory experts who will say, no, you can’t.

Similarly, a trading head may want to hire someone — but the human-resources chief nixes it.

Indeed, the area of “compliance” — which sounds like an S&M activity but has to do with ensuring that the bank and its employees don’t launder money, steal or do other bad things — is where women have done well.

Di Modica is rightfully annoyed by the addition of the girl to his art piece, and while he is being mocked for noting that it violates his rights as an artist – he’s obviously correct. The addition of the girl is akin to that SNL skin where then Mayor Rudy Guiliani says that he will stop graffiti not by removing it from the city but by adding the word “sucks” after peoples nicknames. That’s all this dumb girl statue is: piggybacking on someone else’s art (a MANS art, no less – real feminist message there…) to flip the original message into a new and negative one. That’s a jerk move.

Slate’s Christina Cauterucci elaborates:

Before Fearless Girl came on the scene, the bull was an encouraging representation of a booming economy. Now, charging toward a tiny human, it’s a stand-in for the gendered forces that work against women’s success in the workplace. This isn’t the same kind of contextual shift that might result from a curator’s juxtaposition of two works; the girl is derivative. Di Modica meant his bull to stand alone—now, it’s as if Visbal and New York City have made a solo piece a diptych without his consent.

diptych is a a painting on two hinged wooden panels that may be closed like a book, and that’s exactly what has happened.

So much for Artists’ rights though: Mayor Bill de Blasio has already extended the permit to allow Fearless Girl to remain on display until next year. Last week he tweeted a link to a Newsweek story about Di Modica’s complaints with a message suggesting any rejection of Fearless Girl was misogynist:

This idiotic strawman of course feeds exactly into the Victim Propaganda message that looks past any examination of logic about the message and boils it down to the most basic of false premise’s: that women are oppressed and hated and persecuted for “taking up space”. At the time of this writing, 42 thousand people Liked that Tweet and over 20 thousand retweeted it – presumably non-ironically. That makes tens of thousands of people who sincerely believe this insane premise.

In the New York Times, Ginia Bellafante points out the elitism at play via the False Feminism of Fearless Girl

Corporate feminism operates with the singular goal of aiding and abetting a universe of mothers who tuck their daughters in at night whispering, “Someday, honey, you can lead the emerging markets and sovereign debt team at Citigroup, and then become a director at Yahoo.” The point of “Fearless Girl” was to advertise a State Street initiative pushing companies to include more women on their boards. Although the firm has said it is working to improve the number of female executives in its own ranks, it hasn’t been close to exemplary in this regard: Of its 28-person leadership team, only five are women, according to the company website.

Gavin McInnes puts it’s more bluntly: The statue only proves that feminists are dumb…

There’s no reason to FEAR Trumps victory

So Hillary Rodham Clinton, lifelong politician, just lost the presidency to Donald J Trump, reality tv star (and billionaire businessman, but the first one is funnier).

U mad?

Okay. I’m being flippant while you’re sensitive. I apologize. But seriously though:

What are Hillary supporters upset about right now, exactly?…

That the pro-war Wall Street crony tax-raising lifelong crook who takes money from countries who murder gays lost an election to the anti-war small government lifelong successful businessman who is the most consistently pro-gay candidate to run for office?

Why, again?… Because those policies are all Left Wing and Liberal (see the difference here), so you must simply fear and abhor the man personally rather than professionally.

IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK HE’S “RACIST”?
Why? Because he accurately noted what the Fusion network reported  about 80% of women illegally trafficked from Mexico being raped and/or that he unhappily commented on crime by illegal immigrants and you believed the lie that he claimed “Mexicans” were rapists and murders?
Cuz if so, the solution is simple: just be less racist and don’t equate all illegal immigrants with Mexican nationals. Then you won’t be prone to believe such a goofy smear of a claim that opposition to criminals from Mexico means you hate non-criminal Mexicans.

IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK HE’S A MISOGYNIST? 
Why? He has such a great relationship with his daughters and surrounds himself with strong and powerful women who guide and manage him and keep him in check. Where is the evidence he has anything against women? Is it because of the 11 year old “hot mic” audio that was uncovered in where Trumps “locker room talk” included the observation that his power, wealth, and stature gave him amazing prowess with women who would let him do “whatever” to him, in where he used as an example “grab em by the pussy”? Because how would women letting you manhandle them because they are impressed with you be a sign that you hate them? Or is it because you bought into the Democrat attack line that that private comment constituted “assault” on women, even though the audio is publicly available to be heard and verified that no assault was mentioned and in fact the very nature of the premise was precisely the astonishment that this kind of crude contact was allowed and desired – not unwanted and resisted? If so I have another easy fix to brighten your day: don’t believe every summary of everything you hear and instead actually listen to what happened. If you got the wrong impression and, say, at a Presidential debate (lets use “the second one” as an example) the person in question says that no mention of an assault was stated and that the person stating that it did must not have understood what was said – maybe go ahead and fact check which person is telling the truth instead of just blindly believing the ugly charge.

IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK HE’S HOMOPHOBIC? 
This is the weirdest one, that I’m both happy to report but also sorry to say that it is 100% invented out of wholecloth with no merit or even basis whatsoever. Donald Trump is the most pro-gay candidate to have run in… ever. Even if he wasn’t, though, as his Vice President Mike Pence isn’t (Pence isn’t personally opposed to the legality of counseling people on sexual attractions that they may deem unwanted, which fearmongerers equate to supporting some kind of government led forcing of gays into so called “conversion therapy” to un-gay them en masse), there is nothing Constitutional law can do to persecute gays. People claiming that Trump would overturn the Republican issued ruling making same sex marriage a national right (a ruling made by the Log Cabin Republicans and argued by Republican and former Bush cabinet member Ted Olson in where Republican appointed Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the winning ruling on), know nothing about the law or are intentionally lying to you about it in addition to lying about Trumps position and policy on the issue. Not only is overturning that ruling not possible and not wanted by the President-Elect – he lacks a single negative stance on gay issues.
If you are still terrified of a Trump led gay persecution, just open your eyes to reality and remember that issue by issue, Gays will receive the most benefits from a Trump presidency.
Gays earn more income and thus will be disproportionate beneficiaries of Trump tax cuts.
Gays are disproportionate beneficiaries of a more stringent vetting process on immigrants from countries that support Islamic terror, the likes of which was responsible for the slaughter at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

PayPal co-founder and tech billionaire Peter Thiel was the first openly gay person to speak at a Republican convention and will almost surely have at minimal an advisory role in a Trump administration, and perhaps more (the rumors are Supreme Court, but I think he is more likely to just be close to the administration as an advisor) and as Caitlyn Jenner noted: Donald Trump is a Champion for Women and LGBT people – suggesting that a lifestyle perspective isn’t what pigments a person to these smears, but rather a victim mentality and willingness to see oppression and hate everywhere, whether it exists as a valid source or not.

 

You may notice a theme here: All your concerns are fear-propaganda based and originated from specific sources who duped you. That is – they are smears invented to play on your existing concerns and leverage your confirmation-bias into feeling terror over a non-threat.

That’s pretty disgusting. Thus your scorn and contempt should be reserved for the perpetrator of the smears, not the target of those smears.

Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t support Trump in the primary, didn’t think he ran a good campaign, and only reluctantly supported him against his crooked counterpart. He’s inarticulate and often careless with his speech, crass, rude, and imprecise and i’m not looking forward to having gaffes and easily-taken-out-of-context moments run around by opportunistic parties to sensationalize and profit from.
But the charge of racism is stupid. 30 years on the public stage and the man is never accused of such a slander and then all of a sudden when he threatens a political establishments corrupt power structure, we’re supposed to believe he is a KKK supporter? Please. Be real.
The charges of being anti-woman are wholly silly and unserious at every level for the same reasons as above.
The charges of being homophobic are just invented entirely out of wholecloth with no basis in truth whatsoever.

You’re being used by people fomenting fear to gain political power and you ought to fight back, not let yourself be victimized by this shameful tactic.

A brief hall of shame:

& then of course the appropriate response to this melodrama:

Yes, spreading terror is effective in mobilizing Useful Idiots into a panic that motivates them into supporting your thirst for power, but that’s also pretty evil.

Even if your pet issue on why you find Trump terrifying isn’t listed in this post: keep in mind that Trump needs Congress to pass anything and that he faces 100% Democrat opposition and a sizable chunk of “NeverTrump” members in his own party.

Again: It’s understandable to be bummed out right now if you were really looking forward to paying more taxes, getting into more wars, and having tons of new rules of engagement to have to go through in operating your business or securing healthcare under a Clinton Administration – but if that isn’t the source of your anxiety right now and instead you are terrified for women, racial minorities, or gay people – you have been scammed.

Get a grip and focus on the things that actually matter. Like the things that actually exist.

2016 Election Voter Guide

Obviously you should vote the way I am and I am casting my ballot under the following strategy: Vote for Trump, but with understanding of all his shortcomings and even if you desperately don’t want him to be President – vote for him anyway and just hope that Clinton wins (which I predict she obviously will).
*UPDATE: I thought she would be a shoe-in given her smear campaign with endless personal attacks that usually work well with an electorate but if I won’t just be ding dang damned – it failed like it should have. Way to go for that America. Even though President Trump isn’t a dream-sounding proposition for anyone outside of his immediate family, there are lots of reasons to have optimism and zero reasons to panic or be depressed, no matter what side you’re on.

 

PERSONAL TOLERANCE

Both candidates are awful public speakers with obnoxious mannerisms in their speech patterns and who are prone to saying weird things of different natures (Trump being insensitive, Hillary being calculated and cold in robotic gaffes). Neither will be an honor to serve the nations highest office. It comes down to what they will do for the country and TO the country…

Trump would be annoying but completely harmless because the president needs Congress (the house and senate) to support any laws they pass except military actions (which he doesn’t advocate) meaning he wouldn’t do shit unless the country was completely behind it since he would have 100% of the democrats against everything he wants to do and half of his own damn party opposing him too. Hillary on the other hand would have 100% Democrat zombie support and then peel off a decent percentage of republican pussies to support her shit and be able to do whatever she wants.

POLICIES

CLINTON: higher taxes, more regulations that stifle small businesses like mine, big government favoring big business and more control over individuals lives, pro-war and foreign intervention but soft on Islamic terror pursuit and immigration from Islamic nations, soft on illegal immigration.

TRUMP: lower taxes, less regulation to allow small businesses to compete with big corporations, small government favoring the individual (“the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen”), anti-war and anti foreign intervention unless americas interests are directly threatened, would dramatically reduce illegal immigration and vet immigrants from nations that are known to support and produce terrorist organizations.

TONE OF THE NATION

CLINTON: uses victimization propaganda to make people feel weak and needy so her policies of big government control can rescue them. Clintons staff has been caught on film bragging about instigating violence at Trump rallies.

TRUMP: has a victim mentality about himself but doesn’t spread it as a philosophy uses motivation of self reliance and hard work with help from the government that doesn’t make you dependent on it.

PERSONAL LIFE

CLINTON: Is personally and professionally corrupt with a history of scandals, most recently including making hundreds of millions in shady political dealings. Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton have ever had had a job outside of politics. Hillary Clinton is being investigated by the FBI and if elected would be put in control over the very institution investigating her for corruption.

TRUMP: Is personally a douche and professionally successful despite a fair share of business ventures that also didn’t work out (in other words: his business record is excellent, but not without flaw or failure) with no black eyes as far as scandal or corruption in his business record over 3 decades of being in the public eye. Successful manager – never been a politician.

Laugh line from Apple 7 announcement: Courage

Last Apple event the laugh line was when the new stylus for the iPad pro was going to be called “Apple Pencil”. This year, the eyerolling lol moment was when the removal of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7 was due to Apples “courage”. Specifically, Phil Schiller said “It comes down to one word… Courage. The courage to move on and do something better for all of us.”

The phrasing of the statement was goofy but the sentiment is not incorrect: It *does* take courage to eliminate a standard in technology and be the one company pushing forward a new format. It could be a disaster. It’s hard to lead and leading, yes, takes courage. The memes teasing Apple imply that unless you’re risking your life, there is no such thing as being courageous – which would be a re-defining of the word away from its standard understanding to mean “that which may be difficult or risky but is done anyway”. Sorry Internet, but that applies to this decision.

Here is Jobs commenting on progress and getting rid of old technology (in 2007 commenting on the iPhone not supporting flash): “Sometimes you just have to pick the things that look like they’re gonna be the right horses going forward”. If it isn’t something that is part of making a great product “we’re gonna leave it out” and “instead focus on *these* technologies”.