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These 2018 Midterms Are Tests Because They Will Be Hard

2018 midterms, Senate, House of Representatives, primaries, Democrats, Republicans
Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) is a Democratic hoping to unseat a Republican Senator this year. Specifically, he’s running against Sen. Ted Cruz in the general election. Here, O’Rourke can be seen at an event held for the 2016 President’s Leadership Council hosted by Inter-American Dialogue. Image via Flickr by Inter-American Dialogue. Some Rights Reserved.

The 2018 midterm elections are already underway, so I’d thought I’d keep a record of what has happened so far. I’d been thinking about doing something like this before, but my schedule was out of whack and I already passed up a chance to do something similar for 2016. Anyhoo, let’s take a look at the midterms from state to state and see how things are shaping up.

Note: I will need some time to catch up, but there have only been primaries in 10 states held so far. This post will be updated.

Continue reading “These 2018 Midterms Are Tests Because They Will Be Hard”

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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.

That said, let’s discuss what this probe is about and how I plan to cover it.

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Reading, Viewing, and Listening for Martin Luther King Day 2019

Martin Luther King, Martin Luther King Day, Reading, Listening, Viewing, Quotesk Civil Rights Movement

Martin Luther King Day 2019 is almost over where I am, but before it ends, I wanted to share some more links that I found today. Since this has become somewhat of a tradition (started on MLK Day in 2017), why not? This time, I found links to a few speeches made by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as links to videos and audio. Let’s look them over, shall we?

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Famous Sayings #133 — ‘Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction’

January 21, 2019

Sometimes, the truth is stranger than fiction.

truth is stranger than fiction, famous sayings
Image via Pixabay by Engin_Akyurt

Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I was pre-occupied by Championship Sunday in the NFL. This post was also delayed because I decided close to Sunday to choose this expression to examine this week.

That said, “truth is stranger than fiction” is one expression I kind of like. Not only is it easy to understand, but it contains a bit of sardonic humor. In a way, it allows those who use it to “break the fourth wall,” so to speak.

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Famous Sayings #132 — ‘To Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth …’

January 13, 2019

Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?

 

to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, judicial oath, witness testimony, court
Witnesses in court are customarily sworn in while holding their hands on a holy book or plain black book. They must promise to “tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth …” under the threat of perjury. The image was taken via a screenshot. (Video)

 

While brainstorming for this year, I decided to investigate the words “to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but …” because those words are so familiar. If you’re an American, you might have heard the above sentence in certain legal situations, but there are different versions on it in various states and in different countries. For this post, though, I will be looking more closely at the terms in an American context.

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Let’s Talk About Identity Politics

identity politics, Combahee River Collective, Civil Rights Movement, black feminists, progressives

I was arguing about identity politics a few days ago because it became clear that many people, including lefties, are averse to the topic. I argued my point, but I don’t feel that I convinced anyone to take a deeper look into what Identity politics is.

A couple of days later, I also saw a video made by the much-maligned “Factual Feminist,” Christine Hoff Sommers:

I felt that the video’s arguments were so off-base that I responded to Hoff-Sommers’ tweet with a thread of my own (via my personal Twitter account).

The arguments surrounding identity politics bother me because they are fallacious. I feel that identity politics movement arose with good intentions and that there is a place for it, but others don’t want to see it that way. Hence, why I’m making this post. Not everyone who comes across this post wants to look at identity politics from a different angle, but I will make my case anyway.

Identity politics is a subject that I’m still trying to grapple with. The first time I heard of it was in 2016 and I leaned toward the negative view of it.

Why was I wrong about identity politics? I was wrong because, for one thing, I failed to do my own research about the topic. (I am still learning to withhold judgment for a lot of things until I can do my own research because often, people who make certain claims have an agenda. That’s true of this topic.)

What did I find? There’s too much to parse right now, but let’s begin with some basic information.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk About Identity Politics”

Famous Sayings #131 — ‘Turn the Page’

January 6, 2019

That last project may have been difficult for many of us, but it is time to turn the page.

turn the page, new year, 2019, Bob Seger, famous sayings
Image from Pexels

Since it’s a new year, I wanted to start it off right by publishing the first Famous Sayings post on the first Sunday of 2019. (It wasn’t easy, given the projects I’m working on, my problems with procrastination, and my preoccupation with the NFL playoffs). That said, let’s look at a phrase that has some connection to a new year (if not by its origin).

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Before We Can Look Ahead to 2020, We Must Process These Midterms

2018 midterms, Stacey Abrams, recap, U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, Democratic Party, Republican Party, highlights, disappointments
Stacey Abrams was the first black female gubernatorial candidate in American history. She should have won in Georgia, but her opponent’s blatant use of voter suppression tactics allowed him to steal the election. In this screenshot, Abrams can be seen giving a TED talk. There, she talked about how people can respond to setbacks. (Video)

It’s almost 2019 where I am, and we’re already gearing up for the 2020 presidential elections. But before we even talk about those elections in depth, we must first look back to the 2018 midterms and process what just happened.

This post is late, although I gave myself a month to finish the last one. (It was tedious work, with the coding and amount of research for races that aren’t entirely settled.) Anyway, I wanted to get this done before New Year’s Day, so this will be my last post of 2018.

That said, what do I think about what transpired? Let’s first do a recap of the 2018 midterm primaries.

Note: This post will, of course, have a left-leaning focus for much of it.

Continue reading “Before We Can Look Ahead to 2020, We Must Process These Midterms”

We Have Until the End of the Year to Save Net Neutrality

 

net neutrality, Congress, save net neutrality

 

To be honest, net neutrality won’t necessarily end until we stop fighting, but getting the Congressional Review Act Discharge Petition signed in the U.S. House of Representatives is our latest battle. And it is a battle worth fighting.

As I discussed in May, the Senate started its own discharge petition. That was process was started by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and it eventually passed the chamber one week after it was formally introduced. In the end, Senate Democrats received the help of three Republicans: Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), the now-disgraced Susan Collins, and John Kennedy (Louisiana) in a surprising move.

The passage of the petition was crucial because Congress had a 60-work-day window to act after Ajit Pai rolled out his plan to end net neutrality, which took effect on June 11. Since the process in the Senate was started in May, Democrats in the Senate got a head start. However, the House needed to pass its own petition by the end of the year and that process was always going to be harder.

In the Senate, Democrats needed only 30 signatures to force a vote on the CRA petition. They also needed to vote together and get 2 extra votes to pass the legislation. In the House, 218 signatures were required to even get a vote, so Democrats needed far more help from Republicans in that chamber.

Currently, there are only 197 seats held by Democrats in the House. In order to get a vote on CRA legislation, Democrats need to band together, but receive the help of 21 Republicans. If those weren’t difficult enough, there is now another complication: at least 17 Democrats have failed to sign the petition thus far.


Who Are Those Democrats?

As reported by Motherboard, there were 18 Democrats who failed to sign the petition at the beginning of this month. Two of those Democrats, Joseph Morelle (from New York’s 25th Congressional District) and Mary Kay Scanlon (from Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District) won special elections this year and Scanlon was recently sworn in. However, only Morelle indicated that he would sign the petition and the other Democrats, including Scanlon, had received generous donations from the telecom industry.

Below is a list of Democrats who have failed to sign the petition thus far (minus Morelle). The screenshot was taken from Motherboard’s article:

Democrats, Congress, net neutrality, Congressional Review Act, discharge petition

Since then, Morelle made good on his promise. Also, Rep. Wilson signed on. Thus, here is a revised list:

Democrats, Congress, net neutrality, Congressional Review Act, discharge petition


What Can We Do to Save Net Neutrality?

We need to contact the lawmakers who aren’t already on board, and that will include some Republicans. I really hate talking on the phone, but that’s one thing I can do.


How Much Time Do We Have?

We don’t have a lot of time, but we were recently given a reprieve by Trump himself because he started pushing hard for the stupid border wall — yet again. (Today, he held a meeting with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the oval office to discuss the wall and threatened to shut down the government if there wasn’t $5 billion for that wall in the next spending bill.) We had until December 10 for the House to sign the petition and get a vote, but because of the upcoming budget fight, the legislative session in Congress has been extended. We might have until the 21st to get that vote, but that is much better than we had.


Can We Do This?

Now, even if the CRA legislation is passed by the House, it still has to be signed by Trump. That seems like a longshot, to say the least, but if we play it right, we might be able to put enough pressure on Trump to sign it. (It would depend on the Republicans who vote in favor of the legislation, too, but public opinion is well in favor of net neutrality.)

Even if Trump vetoes the legislation, we will make a powerful statement by getting both house of Congress on board before the new Democratic majority in the House. And it will mean that we will need to remove Republicans from the Senate in order to restore net neutrality. We will see in the coming weeks and months if this is a hill Republicans want to die on. Ultimately, Democrats need to make net neutrality one of their signature platform items because the more people know what net neutrality is and how important it is, the more they like it.

Open Letter to Barack Obama: Why Didn’t You Protect the Vote?

Barack Obama, open letter, protect the vote

Dear Barack Obama,

I know that you will likely never read this, but I have a few questions for you.


Why I Am Writing This Letter

I was inspired to write this letter in large part because of your words about voting since 2016, namely the comments you made in October of this year. For instance, I watched the video you made for ATTN: in which you shot down 7 mostly-valid reasons for people choosing not to vote.

Josh Fox also inspired me to write this letter. Shortly after he saw your ATTN: video, he asked you a question about your tenure as president:

This gave me an idea. I also wanted to ask you a series of questions, but indirectly, and I wanted to stay on topic and talk about the electoral process. However, I realized that would require a series of tweets and I had far more to say, hence this letter.

Continue reading “Open Letter to Barack Obama: Why Didn’t You Protect the Vote?”

When Are People Going to Learn? Voter-Shaming Does Not Work.

voter-shaming, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Farron Cousins, Democrats, 2018 midterms, absolving the powerful, voting
Unfortunately, former President Barack Obama has engaged in some voter-shaming. That’s why I felt compelled to say that I disagree with his line of attack. I also want to point out that voter-shaming absolves the powerful.

I believe that voter-shaming is a futile exercise and you cannot change my mind.

The 2018 midterms are largely over, but not all races have been decided yet. For example, there is at a runoff in Mississippi today for the last undecided U.S. Senate seat. In the meantime, I’m making a few extra posts this year about voting and this is the second.

If you’ve been following this blog for over a year or looked through my archives, you may have read the posts I made about the general disdain Americans Democrats have for non-voters and third-party voters. In general, Democrats usually blame non-voters and third-party voters for their losses because it is assumed that people from both groups would otherwise for Democrats. Third parties are mocked as being spoilers, jokers, and dreamers. Non-voters are also told that they have no right to complain if they don’t vote.

As I’ve said before, I generally disagree with these assessments, although something must be said about first-past-the-post voting. In such a system, it would behoove one party (usually the Democrats) to only have two choices on the ballot. However, I believe that people should be able to vote the way they want without being guilted.

That said, this post is generally pointed at things said by some people aligned with Democrats (at least in this election, for one person): former President Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Farron Cousins. The former president supported a plethora of Democrats running in this year’s midterms. Oprah once supported the former (in 2008) and Stacey Abrams (this year). Cousins prefers Democrats, but he went off the handle (again) and went after other lefties because of two results in his state (Florida).

Continue reading “When Are People Going to Learn? Voter-Shaming Does Not Work.”

One Hit Away: The Cruel Reality of Contact Sports

NFL, Alex Smith, Joe Theismann, Lawrence Taylor, American football, injury
Joe Theismann (center) and Lawrence Taylor (left) enjoy each other’s company, but in 1985, the two were involved in a play that ended Theismann’s NFL career. The type of injury Theismann suffered then draws some eerie parallels to an injury suffered by Alex Smith in mid-November 2018. Image taken via screenshot. (Video)

Players in contact sports are one hit away ­— from a lost season or the end of their career. Fans of particular sports, especially American football, are reminded of this every year. My reminder came twice this year. One came earlier this year as San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an ACL tear (albeit it was a non-contact injury). The other reminded came week ago yesterday.

On Sunday, November 18, 2018, Alex Smith, the quarterback for the Washington Redskins, suffered a catastrophic injury during his team’s loss to the Houston Texans. Although this post is a little late, I wanted to talk about the injury and how I feel about it and the 2018 season overall.

Continue reading “One Hit Away: The Cruel Reality of Contact Sports”