President for Hate

Just when I think the juvenile delinquent at 166 Pennsylvania Ave cannot stoop lower he surprises me. I had very low expectations that he’d rise to the occasion and condemn the senseless violence in Charlottesville. He did not disappoint.

I’m very pleased to find corporate America sticking to belief in principles of decency. Kenneth Frazier a prominent CEO was the first to respond publicly. He, very publicly resigned from the President’s American Manufacturing Council. Apparently it took Trump only minutes to launch the standard ad hominem attack against Frazier and begin dissembling, again. Trump tweeted out:

Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President’s Manufacturing Council, he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!

Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour and Brian Krzanich, the Intel chief executive followed suit. Plank and Krzanich were spared the Trump tantrum experience.

Care to guess which one is Frazier? Maybe Trump was slow to condemn the “alt right” because the “alt right” can also pick out Frazier.

Trumps behavior is simply reprehensible. His beliefs an anachronism of modern American values. I applaud Frazier, Plank, and Krzanich for taking a stand. They’ll get my money.

Mississippi Sucks

I had to smile at a recent article by  over at the Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, MS. Jimmie’s headline:

‘Mississippi sucks’ rankings don’t tell the whole story about our state

Is so very true. In addition to the poignant stories Jimmie tells about the kind hearts of the “common folk” of Mississippi. Unfortunately, Jimmie’s Mississippi isn’t the state that really matters. The state is first in everything bad and last (or nearly so) in everything good. The reason is crucial. An the emblem is perhaps no more graphic than Dickie Scruggs. Mississippi is home to some truly wonderful people. It’s also the home of some of the most pervasive, invidious, cronyism, nepotism, and openly self-serving legislators, regulators and general despots on the planet.

Mississippi is a great place to visit, then get the hell out asap.

Get Out!

The_Negro_Motorist_Green_Book

The Negro Motorist Green-Book was, according to wikipedia, published from 1936-66. Its goal was to help black travelers safely navigate the roads of America. Particularly in the south (the same areas Trump carried handily) travel in the first half of the 20th century was extraordinarily difficult for anyone driving while black (“DWB”). In some instances DWB could get you killed. It was hard to get gas, food, and lodging- the basics of travel taken for granted by literally everyone else in America. The Green-Book is available digitally from the New York Public Library and PDF can be found here. Hard copies of the actual book can be found used online fairly readily.

It seems that the book may find a resurgence in popularity. Missouri, best know recently for Ferguson and the shooting of Michael Brown, has the distinction of have a formal warning to black people from the NAACP.

each individual should pay special attention while in the state of Missouri and certainly if contemplating spending time in Missouri.

The warning specifically cites such high profile Missouri intellectuals as Republican Sen. Gary Romine– who sponsored a bill that makes it harder for folks to file discrimination suits.

The warning also cites Representative Richard Ray “Rick” Brattin Jr., who drew a distinction between homosexuals and human beings- but at least he invoke religion.

When you look at the tenets of religion, of the Bible, of the Qur’an, of other religions, there is a distinction between homosexuality and just being a human being.

Thanks Ricky, for that bit of enlightenment.

Missouri has again made history. And it might be the cause for the return of the “Green Book.” All I can say is WTF Missouri?

 

Honest isn’t how I would phrase it.

 over at OZY asks the question, “Is Trump too honest to be an effective diplomat?” It’s actually an intriguing question. But, I’m not altogether sure that it’s his honesty that hinders him.

First, let’s be blunt, he’s fundamentally not an honest guy. His team might say he just “spins.” But he’s frequently so far into the world of alternate truth that spin itself is a fiction. It’s more like he dissembles or perhaps obfuscates or maybe misdirects or redirects.

Let’s look at a recent faux pas (yes I chose French intentionally- you know what’s coming). Trump, a guest of the French government for a Bastille Day celebration comments about Brigitte Macron “You’re in such good shape. She’s in such good physical shape. Beautiful.” In this country we simply accept that Trump is a philandering, misogynistic Neanderthal (see here, here, or here). But now he’s on the international stage so the whole world gets to see this stunted adolescent behavior. Was this honesty? Sure Ms. Macron is attractive. But it’s irrelevant isn’t it? He’s not honest- he’s a tactless boor.

Let’s look specifically at his lies, half-truths, mis-speaks. It’s a field day over at the NY Times where recently an Op-Ed compiled all of the ones that are known. Earlier this year Maria Konnikova at Politico noted the impressive ease with which Trump lies and went on to say:

A whopping 70 percent of Trump’s statements that PolitiFact checked during the campaign were false, while only 4 percent were completely true, and 11 percent mostly true. (Compare that to the politician Trump dubbed “crooked,” Hillary Clinton: Just 26 percent of her statements were deemed false.)

Those who have followed Trump’s career say his lying isn’t just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and ’90s found him categorically different from the other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them.

This just scratches the surface. So I think I have to conclude that Trump isn’t too honest to be a good diplomat. He’s blunt and crude. Not honest. He’s inappropriate. Not honest. He lies with greater ease than the remainder of the American population breathes- and he likes it.

He’s a lot of things but honest is not on the list.

Guess we should’ve seen this coming

The President convened something called “The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.” I’ll skip the obvious counterintuitive nature of Trump associated with the word integrity and move on the the real issue.

The “Commission” requested voter information from all 50 secretaries of the individual states. Most secretaries simply refused to provide information beyond that which is currently public information. In almost all cases the states indicated privacy concerns.

You’d think that a president who still refuses to release his tax returns would understand the concept of privacy. Yet, in a massive betrayal the administration has released unredacted voter information– exactly the kind of privacy violation with which states were concerned.

Just when you’re thinking someone should file suit– the ACLU has. The complaint can be found here.

 

“Preservation of a Natural childhood”

Yes that’s really the name (also known as Initiative # 29) of an innocuous sounding, yet insanely stupid idea from Colorado legislators.

The initiative states, in relevant part:

Beginning January 1, 2019, Initiative 29 prohibits retailers from selling or permitting the sale of a smartphone to a person under the age of 13, or to any person who indicates that the smartphone will be wholly or partially owned by a person under the age of 13. Retailers must verbally inquire about the age of the intended primary owner of the smartphone prior to the sale, document the response, and file a monthly report to the Department of Revenue (DOR) that lists the type of phone sold (smartphone or cellular) and the age of the intended primary owner at the time of purchase.

Seriously? The Initiative prompted Greg Pulscher over at FEE.org to comment and his words are insightful and spot on.

Again, seriously? Is there nothing more threatening to the health safety, and welfare of Colorado children than cell phones?

How about obesity? Colorado doesn’t seem to be sure whether it’s children are really getting fatter. One state website notes:

According to the Colorado Child Health Survey, the state’s childhood obesity rate was 14.8 percent in 2004 and 14.6 percent in 2014.
“If Colorado wants to remain the leanest state in the nation and become the healthiest, we need to start with our youngest residents,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, chief medical officer and executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “Fortunately, we have dedicated parents and partners across Colorado who are working with us to make sure Colorado kids can get the nutritious food and physical activity they need.”
But, as usual, when we dive into the data we see why Colorado might be getting concerned:
Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 5.26.34 PM
As is the usual case- governments begin to care when a disease threatens white people. Here we can see the number of overweight/obese white, non-hispanic children at 22.7%. If this number grows then this will be a “state calamity.”
Similarly, rich people don’t see this as a problem, yet:
Screen Shot 2017-07-16 at 5.31.25 PM
As we might guess, all of the markers for economic success show a negative correlation with weight.
Yet, another state website seems to indicate Colorado children are getting fatter.
Obesity is a complex, serious and costly public health problem that’s on the rise everywhere in the United States, and Colorado is no exception. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
Yes, there are far more important things Colorado could do. But it won’t, not yet.