Category: Politics

Trump Trading cards – a breakdown

By now, you are likely aware that Donald Trump, in a move that brings a new dignity to the man and will cement his place in history as a serious leader, made a “big announcement” that he sold a series of not-cringy “digital trading cards.”

The official site states there were 45 thousand cards for sale and showcases about a dozen of them. Curious as to what 45K images of Donald Trump would do to my brain, I took a look at the NFT resale marketplace OpenSea.io. The first thing you notice is that while there were 45K cards sold, in order to create scarcity there are definitely not 45K unique cards available (even tho, as we’ll see later, there could be). Secondly, the quality of these really was as bad as was reported – “lazy Photoshop of stock images” and “haphazardly edited” was very aproppo. This whole production essentially breaks down to a modern day version of paper dolls. All Trump had to do was contribute a handful of head shots and photoshop did the rest.

I am sure that the plummeting price of these is clearly a blip and these will assume their place in the pantheon of truly valuable collector’s items and good long term investment. As such, to help you find the Trump card that reflects your favorite incarnation of our former dear leader, I have prepared an overview of what is available. In 4 easy steps, presenting…

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The grammar police (me) visit an abortion rally

Like 61% of Americans, I was appalled at the massive curtailment of abortion rights that the Supreme Court recently handed down with the reversal on Roe vs. Wade and went to the capitol to protest. The turnout was impressive and the passion was palpable. However, the rhetorical fire was counterbalanced with some just god-awful grammar. The speeches were bad, but the signs were worse. They were all grammatically deficient – confusing at best, almost always had multiple contradictory meanings and at worst, made no sense at all. A sampling of the biggest offenders follows…

Keep your rosaries off my ovaries
The grammatically correct way to say this is “Keep your rosaries off of my ovaries.”

Hot people are pro choice
Looking at that crowd, this one was an obvious lie as there wasn’t a single good looking person around. Unless they were being literal, in which case it was 100% accurate as it was pushing 100 degrees in the shade.

Fuck the patriarchy
Is this a command to have sex with the patriarchy or a request for the patriarchy to fuck off?

Repo rights are human rights
While I do believe that both the repossession of products where payments are not being made and the sale and repurchase of assets are both important functions in society, I am not sure that they rise to the level of human rights.

stop fucking republicans
My favorite sign of all… a complete lack of capitalization and punctuation combined with the power of the English language and the amazing flexibility of the word “fuck” leads to the most incomprehensible sign there. There are 4 separate (very different) ways to interpret this…

  • Fuck as a verb, a command for everyone to stop having sex with republicans (you can fuck anyone else tho)
  • Fuck as an adjective, a command to stop just the republicans who fuck (but the republicans who don’t fuck are ok)
  • Fucking republicans as a noun phrase, a command to stop just the republicans who fuck other republicans (but the republicans who fuck others are ok)
  • Or if you just don’t like republicans, it’s a general statement to stop them all (tho “stop the fucking republicans” would have been clearer, IMHO)

The addition of a comma is another way to change the meaning entirely…
stop fucking, republicans

  • This is a nicer request to the republicans to stop fornicating (but everyone else is still free to fuck)

The addition of a period, completely changes this again…
stop. fucking republicans
becomes…

  • a request to stop followed by an observation of more than one copulating republican
  • a request to stop followed by an observation of disgust regarding of a group of republicans

Look, all I’m saying is that if you can’t trust 60’s era Batman, who can you trust… good grammar is essential!

Upcoming Democratic Party debates, who’s in (and a recap of my predictions)

The field for the next debate this Thursday on Sept 12th is baked. Following is my original prediction with the actual results color coded – names in green made the next debates, red did not, red strikethrough didn’t make the cut and dropped out of the running.

  1. Folks who will move on to the next round and totally deserve it (i.e. no duh)
    • Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Marianne Williamson
  2. Folks that will move on but really don’t need to be there (i.e. wasted spot)
    • Andrew Yang, Cory Booker
  3. Folks that deserve to move on but probably won’t (i.e. damn shame)
    • Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet
  4. Folks on the cusp (i.e. hmmmmm)
    • Pete Buttigieg, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan, Kirsten Gillibrand
  5. Folks who won’t make it, and who won’t be missed (i.e. good riddance!)
    • Bill de Blasio, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard

Frankly, I am pretty surprised this thing largely went the way I thought it would. The biggest surprised to me is that Beto made the cut. And while I am surprised that Marianne Williamson didn’t make it, I am also a little heartened. Seeing sanity prevail and logically cutting people with no prior governing experience and crackpot ideas is wonderful. She added to the conversation, so glad she was there, but it is her time.

There are 3 other intrepid souls running not listed above. Joe Sestak and Tom Steyer took advantage of everyone being distracted by summer vacations to do a stealth entrance to the race. Because that is the best way to run a presidential campaign, on stealth. The third, of course, is my man Wayne Messam. I think at this point he is investing nothing in the race so there is really no cost to staying in or dropping out.

Democratic Debate 2 (or rounds 3 and 4, depending on how you are doing your math) recap

2 debates in and it is still damn early in this process. The best way I have heard this described is that the fist primary election (the Iowa caucus) is after the Superbowl and the NFL pre-season hasn’t even started. And the convention is almost 6 months after Iowa!

However, I tried to make the point earlier, but it well made here as well… we just don’t know how this is going to play out…

Regarding John Delaney, Steve Bullock, John Hickenlooper, and some others who are still a far cry from double digits in polls, remember this: In January 1972, South Dakota Senator George McGovern’s support was around 3 percent, which means he was within the margin of error of zero. Six months later he clinched the nomination.

This election is one of the most consequential I have ever taken part in and it is important to stay engaged in the process.

TL;DR – Looking at the results of 20 people brawling (debating??) for 6 hours, I have bucketized the debate candidates into 5 categories:

  1. Folks who will move on to the next round and totally deserve it (i.e. no duh)
    • Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Julian Castro, Kamala Harris, Marianne Williamson

  2. Folks that will move on but really don’t need to be there (i.e. wasted spot)
    • Andrew Yang, Cory Booker

  3. Folks that deserve to move on but probably won’t (i.e. damn shame)
    • Amy Klobuchar, John Hickenlooper, John Delaney, Steve Bullock, Michael Bennet

  4. Folks on the cusp (i.e. hmmmmm)
    • Pete Buttigieg, Jay Inslee, Tim Ryan, Kirsten Gillibrand

  5. Folks who won’t make it, and who won’t be missed (i.e. good riddance!)
    • Bill de Blasio, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard

Anyways, some thoughts…
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The democratic candidates, how full of shit are they? Debate 2 initial roundup

Ugh, 6 hours of debates took some time to digest.

Firstly I do like the time rules that CNN placed – they were very stingy with time and as soon as any candidate started pontificating or bloviating, they were cut off. It was great!!

Each of the 2 debates had very different dynamics based on their participants. The first featured the 2 far lefties Bernie and Elizabeth Warren and while they usually do a better job of controlling the conversation and driving a cohesive vision, the centrists came out SWINGING. They did a much better job of showing that they too can be passionate AND get stuff done. The second was “beat up on Joe Biden” night. Joe was prepared and came out fighting, showed he can take it tho, mostly.

The first debates last month annoyed me to no end because the candidates weren’t offered a chance to give an opening statement so each person just took their first chance (or two) to speak, ignored the question and just gave their opening statements then. Moreover, it generally encouraged them to say whatever talking point they wanted to and not ever try to stick to answering the actual asked question throughout.

I wanted to be prepared with a way to score them this time around. I came up with the following scale:

If the candidate had more than 1 chance to speak on a topic (like Biden, who was constantly being attacked so constantly got a chance to respond) their ratings were averaged for that topic. This was based on the quality of their answers, not necessarily if I agreed with it or not. The opening and closing statements were just graded on a flat 1-5 scale for how good they were.

The resulting table was stack ranked as an average of all of their answers (rightmost blue column):

Some quick thoughts from this:

  • John Delany was the unexpected standout in this exercise. He was on topic, direct and made a great case for the moderates. I was really impressed, especially for someone who came out of nowhere
  • Steve Bullock had a solid night too… as the other guy who came out of nowhere (and being his first time on stage, he didn’t qualify for the first debates), he spent more more time introducing himself which made for some off topic responses, but overall made a strong impact on me
  • Bernie tends to goes off on a rant and then doesn’t answer the question
  • Kamala Harris lost points by similarly not answering attacks against her, just saying “that’s not true” and not offering up any counter narrative why we should believe her
  • Kirsten Gillibrand had a relatively solid performance marred by a rather lame open and close
  • Bill di Blasio spent more time lobbing attacks and not actually answering any question
  • Marianne Williamson didn’t answer a lot of the questions, she spent a lot of time trying to steer the discussion back on to her spaceship with mixed results

Will have a more comprehensive recap tomorrow…

Presidential candidate 404 pages, round 3 of 3

Continued from rounds 1 and 2 of my review of the 404 pages for the candidates for president (you know, the aspects of this race that really matter)… here is the rest of the bunch.


Marianne Williamson
https://www.marianne2020.com/hateistheanswer
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I am Spartacus… I mean Wayne Messam

All of this makes me wonder… since Wayne Messam clearly hasn’t spent a bit of effort getting his campaign for president website indexed properly in Google, is it possible for me to stuff my site with content and keywords and get listed higher on the search result for people looking for him?

I’ll be honest, my knowledge of SEO is basic. I have never spent any more effort than utilizing the rudimentary tools that WordPress provides. As little as this is, it is still clearly more than what Wayne Messam is utilizing, so being the internet renegade that I am, I am going to give it a try.

The search for Wayne Messam’s campaign for president website

Pop quiz: Can anyone identify the black bald candidate for president who isn’t Cory Booker? If you can, you are likely a resident of Miramar, FL, the town which Wayne Messam is mayor of (not to be confused with Miramar Naval Air Station, the setting for the movie Top Gun in Southern California).

Quiz #2:

Can you name the other 2 current Mayors running for president?

Pete Buttigieg, South Bend, IN
Bill de Blasio, New York, NY

How about the 3 former mayors?

Cory Booker, former mayor of Newark
Julián Castro, former mayor of San Antonio
John Hickenlooper, former mayor of Denver

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As I discussed in the previous post, while Wayne Messam does have a presence on the internet (via various social media and news outlets), he has invested very little in search engine optimization (SEO) leaving his actual campaign website almost completely unfindable.

Googling “Wayne Messam“, “Wayne Messam for President“, “Wayne Messam for President website” all did not turn up his campaign website. It did turn up his “Wayne Messam 2020 presidential campaign” Wikipedia page, which did (finally!) have a link to his official website, WayneForAmerica.com… whiiich is a broken link.
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Presidential candidate 404 pages, round 2 of 3 – folks who don’t have much of a chance

Continuing from my previous post, I pulled the 404 pages for 4 more of the Democratic nominees. This lot is challenged – they are polling so poorly and raised so little money that they didn’t make the first debate. However, “down” does not mean “out.” For those of you who have already written off (say) Steve Bullock, remember that history has shown us that there are MANY examples of upsets that could never have been predicted this early on…

  • Despite facing much higher profile adversaries than himself, getting stomped in Iowa then having his affair with Gennifer Flowers exposed, Bill Clinton he still went on to win in 1992
    • As an aside, just like Stormy Daniels is such a great pornstar name, Gennifer Flower is definitely a great “mistress name”
  • In 2008 Barack Obama stumbled in his early debate and didn’t seem capable of knocking Hillary Clinton off her status as the presumptive nominee and yet still ended up winning
  • And really… 3 years ago, Donald Trump riding down his gold escalator was the biggest joke of all – to think that he could knock off Jeb Bush was craziness at the time

Don’t get me wrong, these guys’ chances aren’t good, but it’s not zero. In any case, roughly in order their likeliness (IMHO), here are the 404 pages for the 4 candidates least likely to get the nomination:


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