WHY CAN'T THE GOVERNMENT JUST USE LANGUAGE WE CAN ALL UNDERSTAND? I believe it is to make it more difficult to understand the laws we must live under. Today at 3 I'll talk with Chip Crane from the Center for Plain Language about their 2017 Federal Plain Language Report Card and why it matters how the feds talk and write. Read the whole report, written in plain language, here.
TERROR HAS STRUCK NEW YORK CITY AGAIN This time in the form of an Uzbekistan immigrant who has lived a rather uneventful life until he decided to rent a Home Depot truck and mow people on a bike path down for ISIS. Eight people are dead and 11 have been injured, including some children on the school bus he slammed into. The perp, whose name I will not bother learning, is in custody in the hospital recovering from the wound inflicted by a 28 year old cop who happened to be in the area. The questions remaining are how and when this dude got radicalized, and what if any support system he had that knew about his intentions. These are the facts as I understand them so far.
BUT THE RESPONSE SO FAR IS ENTIRELY PREDICTABLE I dipped my toe into the punditry on this so you don't have to. Those on the right are making hay about this guy being part of the Diversity Visa program and demanding changes to immigration. Here is some info on the Diversity Visa program. People on the left are making the argument that NO amount of extreme vetting could have stopped THIS guy. And guess what? Both sides are right. If we dropped the Diversity Visa Lottery today, it wouldn't change that this guy and probably at least a few others are already in the country. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't ditch this program immediately anyway because it's stupid. And the left is also correct when they say programs of "extreme vetting" would do little to stop a low tech attack like this one. The only upside of today is that the terrorist had guns of no consequence (meaning a bb gun and a paintball gun) so we don't have to have the gun control debate today. But isn't it interesting that across all the media outlet homepages, NO ONE seems to willing to point the finger at the ideology that inspired this attack. Islam has and has had a serious problem that no one wants to discuss anymore. It's the modern day Voldemort, because if you talk about the ideology which inspires murder, you're Islamophobic, or worse yet, a true believer will try to kill you. When a horrible white supremacist ran over a woman in Charlottesville, we had no trouble calling out the ideology that inspired him. But when it's an Army major shooting up an Army base, it's work place violence. And I do believe this guy is a lone wolf, just like that major was a lone wolf, and the guy who lopped off a woman's head was a lone wolf, and the couple who shot up a work luncheon was a lone wolf, and the guy who shot up a gay bar was a lone wolf, but they shared ONE thing in common. They believed they were fighting for Allah. Unless and until we have a conversation about why that ideology is wrong and awful and impossibly incompatible with our free nation this is the new normal. And we can politicize it all we want, but more people are going to die.
I'M STARTING TO THINK WE GOT PWNED BY THE RUSSIANS. Did you happen to see the story in Politico last night about the testimony given by reps of Facebook and Twitter yesterday? They were testifying about ads and stories placed before and after the election on their platforms by what they now think were Russian botfarms placing fake news. Before the election, they were placing stories trying to harm Hillary Clinton, but the DAY after the election, they began to place stories to undermine the legitimacy of Trump's election. The DAY AFTER. From the Politico story:
Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch told a Senate Judiciary panel that content generated by a Russian troll farm known as the Internet Research Agency after Nov. 8 centered on “fomenting discord about the validity of [Trump’s] election.” That's a change from Russia's pre-election activity, which was largely centered on trying to denigrate Hillary Clinton, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a January report.
“During the election, they were trying to create discord between Americans, most of it directed against Clinton. After the election you saw Russian-tied groups and organizations trying to undermine President Trump’s legitimacy. Is that what you saw on Facebook?” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) asked at the hearing.
Stretch and his Twitter counterpart, Sean Edgett, called that an "accurate" statement.
That's kind of a big deal. If you believe the Russians were trying to "help" Trump, it may be wise to reconsider if they were simply trying to undermine the likely victor before she could even take office. Which undermines the collusion narrative considerably. I think BOTH campaigns and by default the American people, got sucked into a Russian directed narrative designed to undermine our entire system of government. They won. Big time. Because look at where we are now!
WE SHOULD ALL BE ASHAMED OF OUR DISREGARD FOR THE FIRST AMENDMENT If you've ever started a sentence with the following:
"I believe in free speech, but...
You don't believe in free speech. Free speech is not merely speech we disagree with, it also includes speech which we may find reprehensible. But reprehensible speech must be protected. But that's not what a new survey found. You may have seen the headlines on right leaning websites screaming, "Liberals want a law to force you to use proper pronouns for Transgendered people!" but what they left out in their stories was that Conservatives want NFL players to GET FIRED for kneeling in protest. We have lost sight of what "free speech" actually is and we do so at our peril.
AN NPR EDITOR RESIGNS AFTER SEXUAL HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS SURFACE
DUSTIN HOFFMAN IS ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY HARASSING A 17 YEAR OLD
JEREMY PIVEN IS BEING INVESTIGATE FOR GROPING AN ACTRESS
MORE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST KEVIN SPACEY ARE MADE
AND SO ON, AND SO ON, AND SO ON. I'm not even linking to the above stories because I'm really just trying to make a point. Hollywood has opened the floodgates and I'm not sure it's going to stop anytime soon. And I can't say I'm the least bit sorry about it. I also can't help but wonder when the floodgates will open on the politicians. It's going to happen because POWER.
HUMANS LOVE DOGS MORE THAN OTHER HUMANS In the least surprising study of all time, we find that people like dogs more than we like other people. This study is actually really fascinating and proves we have more compassion for pooches than we do grown men. Mostly because pooches are awesome and some grown men are...not.
I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE WORRIED THAT WE ARE AT THE END OF CIVILIZATION! I'm not saying I'm happy finding out that 63% of Americans lie in bed awake at night worried about the future of the nation. I say this is an opportunity! We should all be taking a look back at our history, the good and the bad, and more importantly the principles behind our founding. We should vow to do better, but realize our experiment in a free society has been so distorted over time the founders would hardly recognize it.
A TEXAS RESTAURANT FOUND A CREATIVE WAY TO NOTE BATHROOM GENDERS And the humorless transgender community is all kinds of mad about it. Dodie's Place in Allen, Texas put some large pictures on each restroom to denote who uses which bathroom. The pictures are before and after of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. I have to admit, I laughed pretty hard.
BEWARE THE FILET O FISH AT MCDONALDS At least according to some former employees on Reddit. They recommend that you ask for your filet to be "cooked to order" to avoid getting a filet that has been sitting in a warming drawer for hours. You're welcome.
BABY FRANKENSTEIN IS DOING JUST FINE AFTER BEING BORN ON HALLOWEEN Thank goodness little Oscar's LAST name is Frankenstein. He was born four days past his due date on Halloween in Orlando.
THE PRESIDENT OF A BROOKLYN COLLEGE PRO PALESTINIAN GROUP FINALLY TELLS THE TRUTH She was listing ten things she hats, and Jews and White People both made the list! I'm sure nothing will happen to her even though she also hates "being fat" because hating Jews isn't a biggie on most college campuses these days.
I'M MAD AT DAVE FOR MAKING ME READ THIS REVIEW OF GRAY HOODIES. And I'm not kidding, it's full review at the Wall Street Journal of zip up or non zip hoodies in a variety of price ranges. I know what Dave is getting for Christmas now.
AND IT'S NOW TIME TO REVISIT BABY GOATS HAVING A PAJAMA PARTY. Because why not?