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Are You Still Following News of the Russia Probe?

Russia probe, Donald Trump, James Comey
Did this guy somehow collude with Russia? I don’t know, but something’s off …

On April 24, I started a two-post series in which I discussed my overall view of the Russia probe that is currently dominating headlines in the United States. While I said I felt that the probe was a distraction (in terms of its focus), I felt there needed to be an investigation in order to finish vetting Donald Trump and some of his cohorts.

Now, while I might disagree with this probe’s focus, it has turned up some interesting events I could not ignore or refrain from sharing. Also, there have been some recent developments in regards to how this entire probe and suspicions are being reported.

Let this post serve as a type of time capsule so anyone can look back at this with an enhanced perspective (and possible laugh at some of the events, like Sean Spicer hiding behind the bushes so he couldn’t talk to the press after Comey’s firing). This post will be updated with current developments and to fill out everything I missed.

Continue reading “Are You Still Following News of the Russia Probe?”

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Famous Sayings: #97 — ‘You Can Lead a Horse to Water…’

January 21, 2018

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink, English proverb, famous sayings, full employment
Image by jjsala via Flickr. Some rights reserved.

This one will be relatively quick.

I can’t quite remember when I first heard this phrase, but it was likely when I was watching television. I have heard quite a bit of proverbs in which horses were mentioned (also from television shows), but this is perhaps my favorite.


What Does the Phrase Mean?

When someone says, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink,” that person means that “you can give someone an opportunity but not force them to take it” (BBC). You can’t and shouldn’t do everything for a person, but there’s nothing wrong with giving people an opportunity to do something worthwhile.


Who First Said, ‘You Can Lead a Horse to Water, But You Can’t Make It Drink’?

According to Gary Martin the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink” was the oldest English proverb still in use today. The phrase was first found in Old English Homilies, which dates back 1175.

Here’s the phrase as it appeared in the book:

Hwa is thet mei thet hors wettrien the him self nule drinken.

That translates to, “Who can give water to the horse that will not drink of its own accord?”

The phrase was listed in John Heywood’s glossary entitled, A Dialogue Conteinyng the Nomber in Effect of all the Prouerbes in the Englishe Tongue:

A man maie well bring a horse to the water,
But he cannot make him drinke without he will.

I was able to find these versions of the phrase on the Internet Archive, in a book from 1910 that cited other books of proverbs.

The phrase also appeared in the 1602 play entitled, Naricissus, A Twelfe Night merriment, played by youths of the parish at the College of Saint John the Baptist in Oxford. In this part of the play, Tyresius entered the scene where Cephisus, Lyriope, and Narcissus were already talking.

Here are the lines of Tyresius around line 242:

Tyr. Then sith to thee, my sonne, I doe pronounce ill,
It shall behove thee for to take good counsell,
And that eft soone; wisdoome they say is good,
Your parents ambo have done what they coode,
They can but bringe horse to the water brinke,
But horse may choose whether that horse will drinke.


What Made Me Think of This Proverb?

Funnily enough, I thought of this phrase while engaged in a debate with someone this past week. While things got testy at times (I assure you I was not the cause of it), I was calm for the most part and did my best to present evidence to support my points, often to no avail. It was clear that the person I was debating would rather double down and make ad hominems in order to save face.

When I debate someone or present any type of argument, I want to do all that I reasonable can to make my case. Although I might not be able to persuade everyone, I want my argument to be solid so my opponents have no valid excuse to ignore it. But there will be some people who refuse to acknowledge valid counterarguments and evidence that contradicts certain narratives.

Now, I don’t believe the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water …” doesn’t quite fit here, unless we’re talking about giving people the opportunity to accept a counterargument, accept evidence, or to quit while they’re ahead. But there might be something else I care about which might.

Full Employment, Anyone?

To put it bluntly, I hate the state of the U.S. job market. While there is no excuse for people who don’t try to look for work, there is an underrated uncertainty in it and the official unemployment numbers belie that problems prospective workers face. For one thing, people have to sift through employment opportunities that are really scams and/or offered by people who want to violate or otherwise skirt employment laws. In other cases, there are unnecessary or unreasonable barriers to entry for those just entering the job market.

While I understand that businesses have certain restrictions to weed out applicants, why should an “entry-level” job require 5 years’ experience? Why should an internship require 1-2 years’ experience? People have to get their start somewhere, but this is proof that “the market” doesn’t offer as many solutions as advertised.

One solution would be for the U.S. government to help establish a full employment system. Everyone who is 18 years of age or older and able to work would be able to work in government jobs and there could be grants to small businesses in order to help people find work in the private sector. We could also get qualified prisoners work so they could earn money and help bring down the recidivism rate.

Of course, we would have to start small. Such a program would need to be researched and we can pilot the program in states or municipalities, but it’s worth the effort.

Of course, not everyone will take these opportunities. Alas, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. At the very least, those, I want for there to be a fair amount of opportunities so that no one has an excuse for failure.


Works Cited

Lee, Margaret L. “The Project Gutenberg eBook of Narcissus, A Twelfe Night merriment by Margaret L. Lee.” Project Gutenberg. eBook. Access via the web. Retrieved 21 Jan 2018. <http://www.gutenberg.org/files/41726/41726-h/41726-h.htm>.

Martin, Gary. “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.” The Phrase Finder. Web. Retrieved 21 Jan 2017. <https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/you-can-lead-a-horse-to-water.html>.

Skeat, Walter. William. Early English proverbs, chiefly of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, with illustrative quotations. Oxford Clarendon Press. 1910. Print (but Viewed via Internet Archive). Retrieved 21 Jan 2018. <https://archive.org/stream/earlyenglishprov00skeauoft#page/n27/mode/2up/search/horse>.

“You can lead a horse to water…” Learning English. British Broadcasting Company (BBC); Last Updated 24 Sept 2012. Archived Webpage. Retrieved 21 Jan 2018. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/language/2012/09/120924_todays_phrase_horse_to_water.shtml>.

Some More Reading for Martin Luther King Day

Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King Day, democratic socialist, anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist, some more reading

Today, I planned on looking at Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, but in terms of the civil rights leader’s views as an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. However, it turns out that many others had the same idea. What more could I add?

At the very least, I would like to share a number of the articles I found, as most were published today. Then I would like to talk about why this underrated aspect of MLK is so important in this day and age.

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Famous Sayings: #96 — ‘The More Things Change…’

January 14, 2018

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

the more things change, the more they stay the same, famous sayings, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, Les Guepes, 1849, French
When Snoop Dogg first crashed the scene, he was a gansta rapper who would occasionally rap about smoking marijuana. Since then, he has developed into a family man and a mainstream celebrity. He still won’t give up the weed, though. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

This is a phrase I first heard as a child. My mother used it a few times when talking about one certain aspect of human nature. Perhaps you can guess where I’m going with this, especially given the upcoming U.S. holiday …

Now, before I delve into the aspect of this topic, I want to discuss the origins of the phrase as well as its meaning.

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What Is He Doing? Trump’s Agenda and Our Despair

Donald Trump, Trumps agenda, Republican Party, American politics, what is he doing, yet another series
Donald Trump was at the CPAC in 2011. Seven years later, he’s our president. Yuck. (Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

This week, news about Friday Donald Trump’s comments about certain countries made the rounds. He referred to Haiti, and African nations as “Sh*thole countries.” Now I was planning on talking about this is a News Roundup, but I felt it needed to be part of a larger discussion about Trump’s agenda.

That is what we should be focusing on: the far right-wing agenda. While the criticism is of what Trump just said is of course justified and it is proof of his prejudicial attitudes, those are just words. What is worse than what Trump says is what he does.

Continue reading “What Is He Doing? Trump’s Agenda and Our Despair”

The Rift on the Left: An Afterword

the rift on the left, afterword, Democratic Party, liberals, progressives, third party, Tom Perez
Tom Perez is a terrible DNC Chairman. There, I said it. Photo by Mobilus In Mobili (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons.
When I started this series, I had hoped to get to the bottom of what ailed American liberals and try to find a path forward, but I soon realized that the rift on the left could not just be examined in one or two posts. I outline my thoughts, but outlines had to be updated and reexamined as I became aware of new information and looked into older developments. My thoughts thus grew into a series and this series became my version of the autopsy for the Democratic Party.1

If you had hoped this post would provide an answer for uniting liberals and progressives, you may be disappointed because the rift on the left is deeper than I thought it was. At first, you might have thought that the problems on the left all stemmed from the 2016 presidential election. Yet those problems were always there and they were fully exposed during that race.

The truth is, a bunch of conversations have been ignored and put off for far too long. It was only a matter of time before things bubbled up and gave rise to a demagogue like Donald Trump.

As I researched this topic, what I found made me more knowledgeable, but angrier than I was when I started this series. In particular, I became angrier at the leadership of the Democratic Party, although there were a few bright spots. And I was angry at the Democratic Party because I realized the national leadership was the problem.

Donna Brazile said that she “found the cancer” when she investigated a joint fundraising agreement the DNC had with the Hillary Victory Fund, but the party is dealing with numerous cancers, mostly tied to money.

Continue reading “The Rift on the Left: An Afterword”

Democrats: Clinton, Feinstein, and the ‘Process’

Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Dianne Feinstein, Alison Hartson, 2020, 2022, DCCC, memo
The guy on the right is Ben Ray Lujan, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Committee. I don’t really discuss him in this post, but his DCCC is responsible for giving new candidates a questionable memo.

In the previous posts in this series, I talked about current congressional candidates who are running as Democrats (with or without the party’s backing) and some possible presidential candidates. And in each post, I hinted at my displeasure of the party’s process (with regards to promoting and supporting candidates).

The party is still crowing about taking a seat in a red state which last elected a Democratic U.S. senator 25 years ago, but there is still much to learn. Sure, Black voters in Alabama were rightfully praised for showing up and largely supporting Jones, but there were several lessons that race the party needs to take to heart.

Instead, the Democrats are taking all of the wrong lessons from Doug Jones’ victory. Doug Jones himself is taking the wrong lessons from his victory. In particular, some people screamed from the rooftops to tell everyone that centrism worked. They felt that they found a recipe for winning in the age of Trump. But they conveniently ignored other factors in the race.

The truth is Jones barely beat a child predator who refused to be part of a debate. And Jones didn’t even earn a majority of the vote at that.

If the allegations against Roy Moore had never surfaced during the race, Jones would have lost by at least 20 points. Think about that for a minute.

Could Jones have pulled off a more convincing victory under the same circumstances? I honestly don’t know, but the Democrats will need to have stronger showings across the country, but Democrats are doing a lot to mess that up.


What Does This Have to Do with Hillary Clinton and Dianne Feinstein?

There is a connection to Jones, Clinton, Feinstein, and its name is centrism. The party’s leadership and donors prefer centrists, repeating the “consensus” belief that centrists won’t alienate conservatives.

Continue reading “Democrats: Clinton, Feinstein, and the ‘Process’”

SaM Blog Update (January 7, 2018)

blog update, News Roundup, famous sayings, January, 2018

It’s still Sunday where I am and I have gone months without posting a proper News Roundup. I wanted to rectify that somewhat, but not tonight, unfortunately. So this blog update will be used to share my plans for this month (and the next).

In 2016, I created two featured posts for this blog: Famous Sayings and the weekly News Roundup. The former was (and still is) relatively easy to do and the latter took a lot of work. Somehow, I was able to keep up. I regularly put out those two posts each week. Then, it got much harder, especially after I decided to move around my featured posts.

At first, it made sense to move around the posts. In order to look back at a full week, it made sense to start on a Sunday and Fridays were a good place to put a post looking at famous sayings. Yet that somehow made things harder.

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Famous Sayings: #95 — ‘Familiarity Breeds Contempt’

January 6, 2018

I like to keep most of my co-workers at arm’s length because, as they say, familiarity breeds contempt.

familiarity breeds contempt, famous sayings

Today, I thought I’d go with a phrase that is itself very familiar (although very cynical). On some level, this theme is connected to the posts I made this week on the subject of hype (I’ll explain). Yet for the most part, it’s a comment on human nature and interpersonal relationships.

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Enough, Already! Why I Really Don’t Care for Circle Jerks (Part 3)

circle jerks, Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, quarterback, NFL

In my last post, I discussed one of the two quarterbacks that are the focus of a number of NFL circle jerks. Jimmy Garoppolo is one and Patrick Mahomes is the other. Both had made NFL starts, but Garoppolo has made a bigger impact so far.

With Garoppolo, the amount of hype that’s building is understandable yet relatively tame, but the discussion about Mahomes has been acrimonious at points. Mahomes is not the problem, but he has been weaponized in various Internet fights this season.

Continue reading “Enough, Already! Why I Really Don’t Care for Circle Jerks (Part 3)”

Enough, Already! Why I Really Don’t Care for Circle Jerks (Part 2)

circle jerks, Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers, NFL
Jimmy G is a handsome man, and he’s gone 7-0 as a starter. But let’s not go overboard with it, folks.

Originally, when I started writing about the topic of circle jerks, I had two people in mind. One of them is Jimmy Garoppolo. I have nothing against him personally (in fact, he is on one of two of my favorite NFL teams), but I have been picking up on some disturbing trends involving his fans.

As many NFL fans know, the quarterback position receives the most focus. For the most part, it’s understandable, because the QB touches the ball on offenses on almost every play. They are facilitators and they are responsible for conveying the plays, making adjustments, and getting their unit in position to execute those plays.

I acknowledge how tough it is for quarterbacks. The amount of football knowledge and preparation it takes is insane and they often receive much of the blame when their team loses. In that respect, I feel for these players. But I refuse to play along and heap all types of praise on just one player.

Continue reading “Enough, Already! Why I Really Don’t Care for Circle Jerks (Part 2)”