I endorsed destroying everything that made America great today

“I voted for Bernie Sanders today” was not something I expected to ever be guilty of saying but I desperately wanted that “I voted” sticker and the polling place had free donuts (I’m only human, after all).

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If you’re excited at my ideological conversion from Liberal to Leftist-Marxist (i.e: away from thinking “individual liberty” is a superior value to “equality of outcome”), then don’t be.

Democratic Socialism remains such a bad idea that people regularly flee from, not to it (a subject a little too Real for the Bernie buddies), but Bernie was the only choice in the race since Trump is a waste and Hillary is horrible + horrible policies, meaning I throw in with the guy who has a savvier campaign and isn’t horrible (for a Politician) but has horrible (really horrible, illogical, not even half as good as claimed, vapid) policies.

While math will ultimately be the force that crushes the Sanders campaign today – Let it be known that the Bern was felt in 2016 across Richardland.

Asus announces terrible house robot

This might be the worst futurist thing I’ve ever seen. I like the idea, but…wtf does it DO? This seems to me to be no more of a step-up from late 1980s “robots” that did nothing but walk and perform one rube-golberg-ish task yet were marketed as being virtually autonomous living friends.

Now comes the JIBO… For $600 ($599), you get a rolling updated version of the iMac from 2001 (an iPad at the end of a Pixar lamp on wheels).

Am I missing something awesome here? Watch this terrible 8 hour video promoting it and tell me i’m wrong:

Why you probably shouldn’t crowdsource the naming of something

Alternate headline: Why you definitely should…

If you’re open to having the public potentially knee you in the groin over it, then fine, but if it’s something you actually care about, a public vote may not be the best idea.

“A British government agency” (vague and ominous, because “Natural Environment Research Council” sounds too boring), decided to let the prestigious Internet suggest a name for a $300 million polar research ship and, God bless this beautiful planet – the winning name was Boaty McBoatface.

In 2014 Mountain Dew asked the internet to name a new flavor via a “Dub The Dew” campaign and the leading candidate was “Hitler did nothing wrong”. Others in the top 10 included “Moist Nugget”, “Diabeetus” and 4 different spellings of the phrase “Gushing Granny”.

Now, an Austin Texas elementary school, caving to pressure to change its name from Robert E. Lee Elementary falls into the same trap. Among the glorious suggestions? Schoolie McSchoolface.

Unfortunately though, unlike Boatie – the board members of the school districts governing body will have the last say, so it will probably be named something stupid.

UPDATE: The new name is Pacific View Leadership Elementary School.

5 American Crime Stories from the 90s that should be dramatized

I don’t care if they’re in mini-series or movies but as I’ve become unexpectedly enthralled in this dopey “American Crime Stories” first season covering The People vs O.J. Simpson, it has made me hungry for more dramatizations of 1990s real life crime dramas. I choose the 90s not just because I lived through them and desire a similar “look at new angles” depiction of the stories I remember seeing in bits and pieces as a kid but also because of the historical significance of the time for such cases. The advent of more extensive nightly news segments, news talk shows, investigative news shows, talk radio, and cable news channels all popped in the 90s like never before and the stories that captured the attention of all these outlets, feeding on each other as those stories among all the other crazy crap going on in the world retained the tv box-office leaderboard status is a story in itself.

These are my top 5 picks I want to see done anywhere, anyhow, in a similar approach to the American Crime Story series, which stupidly is wasting their 2nd season on “Hurricane Katrina”… Maybe it will shock me and be not-garbage, but doing a season about American Crime Stories on bad weather (and presumably the alleged “criminal” malpractice of poor evacuation and aid by the inept local government) sounds like a massively squandered opportunity. These would have been infinitely better choices. I will include the Wikipedia entries for each case afterward but won’t be reading any of them beforehand and instead will be presenting my list from memory only, since that is what is fueling my desire to see them dramatized.

1- JonBenét Ramsey

What I remember about the story: A 6 year old beauty pageant contestant no one had ever heard of before is mentioned in a bizarre ransom letter and while the parents seemingly arrange to pay it, police are involved but find no evidence of a break-in or kidnapping. Then the girls body turns out to be in the friggin basement of the house, covered but not exactly hidden, and the physical trauma suggested horrors from sexual abuse to brutal beating in the poor child’s last hours. Speculation was on one of the parents but I forget which one while I got the impression that the other parent was oblivious. The crazy extent of the sexualizing of a 5 and 6 year old that took place in the doll dressing that went into these pageants (that evidently isn’t uncommon for such pageants) creeped everyone out, adding fuel to the weird details of the story. What I can’t decide if I’m weirded out by or if I glowingly approve of is the girls name… It sounds like perhaps its an homage to a French aunt or something but its her parents names: John Bennet Ramsey marries a woman named Patricia and they name their daughter = JonBenét Patricia Ramsey. lol.
What I want to see in a dramatization: What in the eff was going on with these parents? And who the hell did it? Does the evidence suggest it was one of them or was it really a random hit by a wandering psychopath that they were just oblivious to?

Wikipedia entry.

2- The Menendez Brothers

What I remember about the story: Adult brothers conspire to shotgun murder their parents, do it, and then have a lengthy trial for some reason. To my knowledge, the parents were wealthy, but not famous, so I didn’t and don’t know why this was such a big story that lasted so long in the news cycles. I remember allegations of abuse from the parents being used to unconvincing degrees on why they deserved to get surprise-murdered (it wasn’t even over a dispute or argument or any crime of passion from what I remember) in their living room. The boys tried to make it look like a home invasion or something and then went to go see a movie as an alibi. The movie they saw? The James Bond film License to Kill (because Batman was sold out).
What I want to see in a dramatization: Why did they hate their parents so much? Even if it was a money grab, I remember the reporting of the murders sounding very personal and not the kind of “just doing business mumzy and dadzy. nothing personal” coldness you might expect.
Wikipedia entry

3- Amy Fisher & Joey Buttafuoco

What I remember about the story: Dubbed “the Long Island Lolita” after the book and films about a 12 year old nymphomaniac who successfully seduces a 40something year old man, Amy Fisher had an affair with a central-casting style Long Island Italian male stereotype named Joey Buttafuoco when when she was 17. She became obsessive and attempted to murder his wife by ringing the doorbell in broad daylight and just shooting her right in the face when she answered, giving rise to the knock-knock joke we told at the time whose punchline to the “who’s there?” question was “AMY FISHER – BOOM” as you finger-gun the joke recipient in the face. Mary Joe Buttafuoco survived, now with limited facial mobility, and stayed with Joey for at least a decade afterward before coming to her senses in a series of crazy details that kept cycling. 

What I want to see in a dramatization: The sleeziness from Fisher and Joey under the nose of the oblivious Mary Jo. Evidently Fisher was fame-whoring for awhile and that contributed to the reasoning for the attempted murder in such a way. She pursued getting her name in the headlines at the time and when she got out of jail, doing tv specials and a few porn films afterward. Seeing the start of this lost soul going all wrong mentally and using her sexuality to “make it” would be fascinating to see unfold.

Wikipedia entry for AmyFor Joey.

4- Michael Jackson’s Molestation Allegations

What I remember about the story: In the early 90s Michael Jackson was at the peak of his sensation levels as a rockstar personality and everyone loved his weirdness in a David Bowie style way where his androgyny was considered cool. Then in 1993 he was accused of diddling a kid and that androgyny turned into “proof that he’s a fag” and the tide of public opinion turned from a weird mixture of everyone still liking him as a performer and weirdo tv figure but now no longer respecting his eccentricities the way they used to.
What I want to see in a dramatization: Michaels story. Which is that he was railroaded and witch-hunted for being bizarre and effeminate but was innocent of the crimes he was accused of. I maintain that the truth is that Jackson suffered from arrested development and saw himself as a child, which led to potentially inappropriate conduct an adult might have with children – but not molestation, not sexual abuse, and not the predatory arrangements accused. I wanna see the fake “see how adult and heterosexual he is??” publicity stunt marriage to Lisa Marie Presley, his interactions with Macaulay Culkin (who always denied any harm or inappropriate activity to him or in his presence) and the media circus around the whole ordeal (which is the secondary character in all these stories).

Wikipedia entry

5- Tanya Harding & Nancy Karigan

What I remember about the story: I’m afraid to search this story and find out that details I had grown up with where somehow not true. This is my original “too good to check” news item that just seemed so crazy that it not only actually happened in real life but in such a public way. As far as I know: Figure skater Tanya Harding and her boyfriend or husband or something, hired some dude to break the leg of her main competitor Nancy Kerrigan and it actually went down. Meaning, some guy stalked a figure skater and hit her in the leg intending to break it so she couldn’t compete. He failed and only bruised her thigh or something but Kerrigan didn’t go on to the Olympic heights she was on track to anyway because of it and Harding finished in poor placing anyway.
What I want to see in a dramatization: The white trash conspiracies involved in this hit, the execution of it, the aftermath and the cultural spike in figure skating interest that ensued is all ripe for interesting characters and situations to be acted out.

Wikipedia entry

Prediction: Mitt Romney will vanquish Trump and save America

Don’t shoot the messenger, Trumpeters but: no, my Loves, Donald J Trump will neither be the Republican nominee for President in 2016, nor will he be elected to the office. He will be defeated by a cooler head and saner mind, but not that which by the name of Carson, Kasich, Cruz or Rubio (also the order of which those candidates will drop out).

No, children. The savior of this nation who will gallop to our aid on a glowing white horse will be one Willard “Mitt” Romney, the Republican nominee from the 2012 election who tragically lost to President Obama despite being right about absolutely everything.

I’ve been promoting and predicting a Romney 2016 Presidential nomination since 2012, halfway out of wishful thinking but half serious-prediction as a review of my commentary on each shoe dropping throughout the past few years shows will show, but I have a bit of an addendum as of February 2016: Romney will not run in the Primary as I was even until recently holding out hope that he might do (California, New Jersey and a few others allow for such a late filing) but rather will unite the party in strategic opposition to the looming Trump-disaster and remind the country that it can do better. His play won’t be conspiratorial or for his own gain (that’s MY plan, not his) but will set the dominos up for the possibility that he be considered for the position. Again: I see no evidence that he is pulling any strings to con his way into the position despite my wish that that was what is going on. More likely, he is pushing for his VP pick and current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan to be the nominee at a brokered convention (Ryan/Romney 2016 would be great even though I don’t like Ryan as much and think he was a mistake to be chosen for the 2012 ticket). Regardless of those details though, my prediction is merely that Romney will save the day. My wet dream *hope* is that his day-savery results in these idiot elephants coming to their senses and brokering a Romney coalition in where Attorney General Chris Christie, Surgeon General Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing[orsomesh*t] John Kasich, and Antonin Scalia replacement Supreme Court nominee Ted Cruz, (while Rubio is dispatched to run for Florida Governor next go-around or something) all unite in a Romney/Latino 2016 ticket that eventually even Trump supports in a rousing speech at the convention where everyone is friends and truly Makes America Great Again.

*UPDATE* WEDNESDAY MARCH 2 2016: Mitt Romney has announced he will hold a press conference on “the state of the 2016 race” tomorrow… dude…

Prediction: No, it’s not an announcement of candidacy but no he is not endorsing another candidate.  I know both because 1- the location of Utah is not the place to make an endorsement of one of the remaining candidates and 2- the absence of any leaked info whatsoever + what *is* being buzzed about it does not at all sound like an announcement that he is jumping in the race.

Instead I suspect he will calmly and rationally tell the party why Trump is not the candidate that can bring victory, add anecdotes on his own loss, and say nice things about the remaining 3 candidates in the race (Carson dropped out finally, today).

Update [March 3rd]: Still not having watched the speech yet, I was asked the effect a thing like this could possibly have, considering the source does not exactly enjoy Trump-level enthusiasm. In other words: how many supporters does Mitt Romney actually have at this point in order to make an impact? I would say there are at least 13… I think I should count double so maybe 14? but yes – the truth that for this to have an effect he needs “fans”, not just “supporters” and besides me and 4 other people in the fanboy department, the supporters are dwindling.

Meanwhile on the other side, another establishment figure being anti-Trump will only make the pro-Trump crowd more enthused for him. I hope Romney’s play is less “converting the faithful” and more “showing that the false-god bleeds and an uprising against him is possible” and for that I think there’s merit to it. I say “hope” instead of “think” because so far in this primary cycle, every Trump critic has foolishly thought they were going to win an emotional argument with logic (same mistake Romney made against Obama in 2012 and that Republicans do every time because they’re autistic nerds and out-of-the-pop-culture-loop populists).

I see it as having an effect on Trump getting nominated – just not in the obvious way in where everyone wakes up because the Mitt-siah revealed the truth from the mountain to them and now they flock to him instead (like they should). Rather I think this is less supposed to be an earth-shatter move as it is a long play as it may be a necessary event in the timeline that lends credibility to the Trump fracturing at delegate-count time so the argument that the nomination is being stolen from Trump doesn’t fly (because the record can easily show that key factions of the party had been increasingly against Trump + his lack of number-needed delegates means the remaining ones should pool against, not for him, and a stunt like this by Mitt aids in that future process).

That’s at best. At worst, then it’s just a less embarrassing version of when Rick Perry tried to do this same thing 5 months ago and Mitt can at least be in the “we tried…” camp.

5 Stupid Moments from the Oscars 2016

Let the countdown begin for when Chris Rock will win the award for “most eyeroll worthy comment” when he inevitably makes the most obvious joke of the night about being “the only black person you’ll see on stage tonight”.

I will be watching it later in the night or tomorrow or never. Will update this post accordingly with the reactions you desperately crave from me.

UPDATE: I still haven’t watched the whole thing and doubt I will, given the snippets I viewed in order to comment on. Here are those highlights…

Jokes on the Blackout (black activists calling for boycotts of the Award ceremony)

Leonardo DiCaprio’s Stupid “Acceptance Speech”
Nothing says “out of touch millionaire elitist” quite like calling warm weather the “most urgent” problem humans currently face.

Stacy Dash
Poor Stacy Dash lets herself be the butt of a joke at the Oscars and then the reactions to it bash her anyway because they’re too dumb to understand the joke or whose fault it was that it didn’t land.

-Here’s the background: She recently said that segregation is bad and that the Black Entertainment Television network (BET) and Black History Month should not exist.

-Here’s how the bit was supposed to work: She walks out and everyone laughs at her presence because they know of her comment.

-Here’s what happened: The crowd didn’t know who she was, the ones who did didn’t know her recent comments to get the joke, and the small percentage that knew her and her comments don’t have a sense of humor about the topic so it was a guaranteed no-laugh-moment.

Joe Biden’s Very Special Rape Message…
Let’s have the Vice President come out to give a Special PSA about not having sex with drunk people. WTF? The actual sitting Vice President of the United States walked onto the Oscars stage and asked everyone to take a pledge that says they will intervene “when consent has not or can not be given”, adding “let’s change the culture”… What culture?

Watch the Real Videos reenacted on The People vs OJ Simpson

On account of me being an American, I am following my patriotic duty to closely follow the FX series American Crime Story and its maiden voyage: The People vs O.J. Simpson. The drama and pacing as a piece of media is surprisingly not bad at all (I originally tuned in to see a shitshow of bad soap-opera ridiculousness but was shocked to actually enjoy it) but my real interest is in seeing how real-life events from the not-too-distant-past are being re-created. Aside from David Schwimmer taking me out of all suspension of disbelief, I have enjoyed the casting and comparing each actors portrayal to their real life counterpart. Cuba Gooding Jr actually captures OJ’s mannerisms and expressions pretty well a lot of the time but unfortunately his much smaller stature than the football player constantly brings it down.

If you too are doing your duty as a patriot, or interested foreign-national, you may find these news clips that were re-enacted on the show of interest.
I will do my duty to the nation like the unflappable hero that I am and update this post accordingly as new episodes come out and new clips are found.

Here’s what I’ve gotz so farz:

1- “He’s back again”…the 911 call
Nicole Brown calls for help as an enraged OJ Simpson is heard screaming threats in the background. Takeaway quote: (When the operator asks her to stay on the line) “I don’t wanna stay on the line, he’s gonna beat the shit out of me”…

2- The Awkward Attorney Press Conference
Here is John Travolta (played in real-life by Robert Shapiro) and Ross-from-Friends (played in real-life by Robert Kardashian) on the afternoon of Friday, 17 June 1994 giving a press conference in response to O.J. Simpson vanishing from his house and failing to show up at Parker Center to be charged with murder. Shapiro explains to the press and Robert Kardashian reads a letter O.J. wrote that day before disappearing, commonly interpreted as a suicide note.

3- Bronco Chase
A little under 2 minutes into the clip you hear A.C. (driving the Bronco) on the phone with police delivering the “you know who I am goddammit!” line along with other details shown in the show about the chase:

[Episode 4]:

4- O.J. pleads “Absolutely 100% Not Guilty”.

But not the way the show showed it… Unlike the show depicted: it wasn’t Judge Ito presiding, O.J. had to be tapped to stand after he is addressed by name (he didn’t just pop up with his attorneys following), and he delivers his plea in a defensive manner instead of the smug way Cuba Gooding Jr says it in the show…

5- Bailey vs Shapiro…
Attorney F. Lee Bailey on Larry King, passive-aggressively smack talking Robert Shapiro: This may not exist but I’m still looking… Instead I found this:
Not depicted in the series (yet?), Robert Shapiro in a Larry King interview responding to a recording from F. Lee Bailey 11 minutes and talks about the rift between them as well as denies that he made the suggestion for a man-slaughter plea depicted in Episode 4:

6- Faye Resnick Tell-All Book Interview

Nicole Browns friend Faye Resnick talks about her tell-all book with Larry King, covering Faye’s cocaine rehab 3 days before the murder and other tidbits mentioned in the mini-series…

In real life, Faye was on a tv and Larry’s set was not the iconic map pointillism that is more recognizable to his shows history but the show changed the set and made the backdrop the more familiar one. & Larry King plays his 1995 self in the show.

For lots more bits, this 20/20 episode covers all the main beats excellently:

DAMN DANIEL is the best thing to happen to the internet in ages…

Zero percent irony. I like it and approve of it and am happy for these dudes.

If you’re late to the party: this string of snapchats of a dude commenting on his friend Daniels style (twice with white Vans) somehow caught fire and is now millions of views strong, half a million likes and re-tweets and it’s all beautifully wonderous. Here it is:

Enjoy the remixes…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6GN46_gjI8

Explaining the Obvious Logical Rules on Replacing a Dead Justice

Alternate title: The correct yet totally hypocritical party stance of replacing Scalia.


Photo Credit: Creative Commons/Shawn Calhoun

Justice Antonin Scalia died in his sleep on a hunting trip, leaving a vacancy on the Supreme Court which now raises a bunch of questions regarding which party gets to nominate someone to fill that vacancy.

The rules on replacing a retiring or life-retired (read: dead) Justice are: The President nominates a person for the vacancy and the Senate Judiciary Committee (Senators who are part of a kind of “judge pickers club”) publicly interviews them with questions and then the Senate votes on whether or not to confirm the nominee as a Judge on the Supreme Court. Right now the White House is filled by a Leftist Democrat and the Senate (and its judiciary committee) is controlled by center-Right Republicans. So who gets to fill this seat?

In an interesting plot twist: both Republicans and Democrats are factually correct (in different areas) and yet total hypocrites on the issue.

Specifically, Democrats claim President Obama should obviously be appointing the new judge for a speedy confirmation by the Senate and Republicans say since President Obama has less than 1 year left as President, the new one that takes office in January 2017 should be the one to make the nomination (which they hope will be a Republican).

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) may be a total partisan hack who peddles easily debunked talking points from her hippie base on the regular, but she’s right in her comments on this subject…

“Senator McConnell is right that the American people should have a voice in the selection of the next Supreme Court justice. In fact, they did — when President Obama won the 2012 election by five million votes,” Ms. Warren, a former Harvard Law School professor, said in a statement.

“Article II Section 2 of the Constitution says the President of the United States nominates justices to the Supreme Court, with the advice and consent of the Senate,” she wrote. “I can’t find a clause that says ‘…except when there’s a year left in the term of a Democratic President.’”

She added: “Senate Republicans took an oath just like Senate Democrats did. Abandoning the duties they swore to uphold would threaten both the Constitution and our democracy itself. It would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the Constitution is just that — empty talk.”

That’s all true in the most “duh” of fashions. Unfortunately for Warren though, the same Constitution they all took an oath to uphold, applies to the other party as well, and the unmistakable fact of the matter at hand is that of course Congress can deny Obama this appointment.

Consent means the Senate is under no obligation whatsoever even to hold a vote on any presidential appointment. The Senate’s obligation is to do what the Senate wants, and only what the Senate wants. Those are the rules. To try to hold senators to a different rule is to try to change the rules on them–and people tend to resent that. Everyone is free to disagree with the positions individual senators or the Senate as a whole take on individual nominations or prospective nominations. But there is no question that senators individually or collectively can deny their consent to any actual or prospective nomination for any reason–just as the American people can vote for whomever they want, for whatever reason they want.

Indeed, President Obama isn’t even entitled to nominate a replacement for Justice Scalia–or at least, Congress can deny him that right. The Constitution gives Congress the power to decide how many seats there are on the Supreme Court. In 1789, there were only six. Given sufficient congressional support (i.e., veto-proof majorities in both chambers), Congress could reduce the number of Supreme Court justices from the current nine to eight. McConnell, Cruz, and Rubio could propose doing so right now. It seems strange to criticize senators who are merely expressing in what circumstances they will withhold their consent when Congress has the power to deny the president the ability to fill this vacancy entirely by itself eliminating this vacancy.

At the same time Democrats turn a blind eye to President Obama repeatedly ignoring constitutional limits on his power, they claim Republicans would dishonor the Constitution if they use powers the Constitution clearly grants them. That is unlikely to dissuade Senate Republicans from delaying a vote on Scalia’s successor until 2017. Nor should it.

So now that it is established that it is both an easily verifiable “duh” that yes, the President can go forward with this process as usual but yes, the Senate can halt this process as usual – the real question is what *should* happen logically, morally, and reasonably.

Here’s where the derpiness starts…

Seems to me that the timing of an election should play no role in judicial appointments and claiming otherwise is just playing politics in the kind of loophole bullcrap ways everyone hates about politics.

As a historical precedent, however…

There is ample precedent for rejecting lame duck Supreme Court nominees.

[T]he Senate does have an obligation to fulfill its “advice and consent” obligation. Says the Constitution, the president “shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court…” A preemptive rejection of any possible Supreme Court appointment is self-evidently in conflict with that obligation. The phrase “do not let it become about whoever Obama names” makes that explicit.

A man as versed in the Constitution as Senator Cruz should be embarrassed to posit that the nation could owe a debt to Scalia, that a “debt” to a dead man should play any role in a process governed by the Constitution, or that a sitting president’s nominee should be preemptively rejected before his or her identity is known. There is no agreed upon standard of what legitimate advice and consent entails. But any standard that rejects a nomination before it is even made fails the laugh test.

James Madison’s Constitution is not a living, breathing document that changes in meaning as an election approaches. A president is no less legitimate as a lame duck. The Framers intended for the Senate to give up-or-down votes based on a nominee’s merit, however it’s defined. The timing of an election should play no role.

The precedent of the Senate halting a nomination process was upheld by some pretty key Senators in pretty recent history, however. Mainly: New York Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer. And former Senator Joseph Biden. And former Senator Barack Obama. – i.e. – the current sitting President and Vice President who are now arguing the opposite position on account of being total hypocrites in regards to Senate rules applying to a Presidency.

In Bidens case, it’s especially egregious because his argument was made in the absence of a vacancy. He was just pre-emptively making the case that “in case this happens, the president should be advised that this is the normal way of doing things and it would be wrong to do it any different way”… Oops…