Saturday, July 28, 2018

Scott Pruitt's Resignation Letter And Career As Signs of Non-Normality

Scott Pruitt's resignation letter from the Trump administration was published several weeks ago, but it's preposterous enough to analyze even later.

It's an adoring love letter, one that an abject and fearful underling would send to a dictator who has the power of life and death over that underling.

Here are some snippets:

Truly, your confidence in me has blessed me personally

Your courage, steadfastness and resolute commitment  

I count it a blessing to be serving you in any capacity

 I believe you are serving as President today because of God’s providence. 

Your Faithful Friend,
Scott Pruitt

This, of course, was written by a guy who was looting the EPA while pretending to administer to it.  It's not customary practice to appoint looters to run the government, and it's not normal practice to write resignation letters of the above type.  We should all remember what was normal in the past, because if we forget that, democracy will wither away.

Under a normal administration Pruitt would have been a major scandal.  Under this administration he is just the scandal of one day, and another scandal will turn up the following day.  But do remember that this should not be normal.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Greetings From Your Average Opportunist Parasite

That opportunistic parasite, my dear readers, would be me, and probably quite a few of you.

The international Men's Rights conference was held this year in London, England, with some two hundred participants from twenty-four countries.  Paul Elam, the founder of the website Voice for Men, greeted the conference via a video link:

After a speech in which he described women as “opportunistic parasites in the lives of men”, he was greeted to rapturous applause.
“Society piles complete and total responsibility on men for its existence” he said. “Almost all the sacrifice, of blood and sweat and of life that is required to keep the world turning, to keep us living in relative comfort and safety, is male sacrifice. Women won’t do it. Women can’t do it.”

This would be so utterly hilarious* if Elam's woman-hating words weren't aimed at half the humanity, that half which actually reproduces the society, with a lot of sacrifice, blood and sweat, and then also plays as many other roles as it is allowed in keeping that world turning.

But it's not hilarious.  Here is a man spouting an extreme form of misogyny, and the overarching reaction from others is a yawn, a shoulder shrug, or someone muttering that this is just a small group of weirdos so better ignore them. 

No other form of bigotry gets such an out, and no article describing other forms of bigotry would then branch into asking if those forms of bigotry might actually be justified by some unfairness done to the bigots.**

*  I'm seeing myself as a large snake-like leech, swimming in the societal waters, ready to attach my suction cups to any male who happens to pass by.  Then I'm set for life and no longer need to work for money or beg for pittances by blogging.  And when I have sucked one guy dry I will just move to the next one, with bank accounts full of alimony money and my chocolate reserves high.  

** I don't mean that men wouldn't have any just causes they should work for (though, in fact, feminism works for many of those, too).

I mean that no other group claiming to work for social justice is treated the way these particular men's rights activists are in writing:  The mainstream (first wrote mainsteam) articles usually begin by describing  the activists' red-hot hatred of women but then segue into trying to understand that rage as maybe just a little justified.  An article on, say, anti-semitism would never ever do that. 

Thursday, July 26, 2018

On Evidence and US Politics. The M&M Theory

My many flaws do not include irrationality.  If anything, I'm too boringly granola-conscious, brain-addicted and robotic in my writing, and too conscientious not to double-check sources when I write about something*.

So it has been a hard lesson for me to finally understand that rational arguments and proper interpretation of evidence have almost no role to play in American politics which is as tribal as the rooting for a football, basketball or baseball team.

1.  Here's a parable of what I found yesterday while surfing some Trump supporters' Facebook pages:

Think of opening a bag of M&Ms (or Smarties, for some of you) and spreading them out on a saucer.  This is what you would see:

Monday, July 23, 2018

What Is Happening to the Newspapers? The New York Daily News As The Story

The New York Daily News will axe half of its editorial staff.  The basic reason:

Like so many other print publications, the Daily News has battled faltering advertising revenue amid a transition to a digitally centric media landscape. The paper reportedly lost $90.4 million over the last three years.
 The killer of newspapers is the Internet because of two distinct problems it causes for traditional and even digital newspapers: