Monday, February 25, 2019

My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys

According to The Los Angeles Times, John Wayne said, "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility," in 1971.  As a result, people want Orange County's John Wayne Airport to be renamed.

Photo Courtesy of Amazon's Affiliate Program.
Don't get me wrong, racism is down right ugly.  For thousands of years it has been used as an excuse for one group to oppress another group.  That being said, I'm not sure that racism is at the heart of this issue.

We all have heroes, people who are larger than life, who we look up to.  These people have done something which has inspired others on some level.  In September of 2014, I wrote a blog about meeting one of my childhood heroes, Dirk Benedict.

Mr. Benedict, played the part of two action heroes on television when I was growing up.  I was excited to meet him.  When I did meet him he turned out to be a right wing nut job.  I felt betrayed until I realized he didn't owe me anything.  He played a role on TV and made a little boy happy, and that's all he was suppose to do.

We idealize our heroes.  We assume that because they inspire us that they have no flaws.  One could argue that FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton were three of the best presidents of the twentieth century.   Yet all three men cheated on their wives while in office.  Does this flaw mean that they should not be honored for their contributions?  Should we take their names off grade schools?

Heros are people and people have flaws.  Yes, John Wayne made a stupid racist comment.  I, for one, am glad he never ran for public office.  However, his job was not to make laws or serve as a moral compass.  His job was to make movies, and he did that.  His body of work has entertained and inspired generations of Americans.  The airport is named after the inspirational figure not the flawed man.

If we insist our heros be perfect before we honor them, we won't have any heros to look up to.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Too Many Cooks May Spoil The Soup

No, I haven't mistakenly posted one of my food blogs here. The title refers to the horde of Democrats who have announced their intention to run for President in 2020. To date, these are the candidates running, or threatening to run, for the Democratic nomination.

Table found at
Name Age State of candidacy
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts 69 Running for president
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii 37 Running for president
Ex-HUD chief Julian Castro 44 Running for president
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York 52 Running for president
Former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland 55 Running for president
Andrew Yang, founder of Venture for America 44 Running for president
Sen. Kamala Harris 54 Running for president
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota 58 Running for president
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey 49 Running for president
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg 37 Running for president
Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio 66 Said he’ll decide in March
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont 77 Expected to announce in February
Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg 76 Has said he would decide by end of February
Former Vice President Joe Biden 76 Has said he’s leaning toward running
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas 46 Said he would decide by the end of February
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper 66 Said he’s considering a run
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado 54 Said he’s seriously thinking about running
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee 67 Considering a bid
Rep. Eric Swalwell of California 38 Said Feb. 11 he expects to make a decision “soon”
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe 61 Said he would decide by March 31
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon 62 Said he’ll decide by end of March
Former Attorney General Eric Holder 68 Has expressed interest
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock 52 May wait until May before making decision
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio 57 Said he hasn’t ruled out a run and is planning trip to New Hampshire on Feb. 15, fueling speculation that he will run.
Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts 40 Says he’s taking a “serious look” at running

Subject: Democratic Donkey | Artist: TheHoosierState89 at en.wikipedia | This work has been released into the public domain by its author.
Many pundits see this as a windfall of talent looking to oust President Trump from office, as if they're working together for a common goal.  This perception isn't quite accurate.

It’s true that each person on the list wants to replace Donald Trump as resident of the White House.   Yet, people seem to be forgetting the fact they'll initially be opposing each other for the Democratic nomination.  During primaries, things can be said which may hurt a nominee in the general election.

During 2008’s Democratic race, then Congressman Barack Obama said he had been working in the slums of Chicago while Clinton "was a corporate lawyer sitting on the board of Walmart". Clinton retaliated that Obama had represented a slum landlord.

In 2016, billionaire candidate Donald Trump smeared Cruz’s father, Rafael, touting a conspiracy theory that he was involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said.

There are multiple other examples of nasty comments spewed during primary races, which weren’t easily forgotten afterwards.  My point is, with so many competitors entering the Democratic race, the odds of someone saying something which could potentially damage the Democratic ticket in the general election goes way up.

I‘d much rather see the party rally behind one strong candidate, rather than dividing the party.   Otherwise, they may very well trip over each other and hand the White House back to Donald Trump.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Mindlessly Obeying Blogs May Have Contributed To Measles Outbreak

According to KPTV News, On Friday, February 1st, the Clark County Public Health Department confirmed 42 cases of measles. Seven other suspected cases are under investigation as the outbreak continues to grow.

Subject: This child shows a classic day-4 rash with measles. | Photographer: CDC/NIP/Barbara Rice |As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Measles first cropped up about 800 A.D..  Back then it killed by the thousands.  It wasn't until 1963 that mankind developed an inoculation for the virus.  By the year 2000 measles had been wiped out in America, or so we thought.

Model and actress Jenny McCarthy advocates for the benignly named Generation Rescue.  This group is dedicated to helping children with autism.  If they merely raised money to help children with autism, that would be fine.  However, once you read their literature it becomes clear that one of their goals is to discourage the parents from vaccinating their children.

Jenny McCarthy had a child who developed autism.  Because the autism manifested shortly after her child had been vaccinated, she linked the two events in her mind.  Now, she writes blogs and gives public speeches against childhood vaccinations.

It's her right to talk about whatever she wants.  The scary part is that people are listening.  As a result of the anti-vaccine movement, measles is back in America.  Like I said, anyone has a right to blog about whatever they want, but it's up to the public to know whose blog they're reading.  McCarthy has no medical education whatsoever.  She saw a correlation and assumed a cause and effect relationship.  Any college student, who has taken statistics, can tell you a correlation never implies cause and effect.  It's the number one rule of statistical analysis

If she had any scientific background at all, she would know this.  There are people out there taking health advice from an actress!  Anyone who takes advice about the health of their child from a blogger is a special kind of stupid.  Seriously, anybody can write a blog about anything.  I write four blogs myself.  As prolific as I am, you should never take life altering advice from me either.  If you want advice about the health of your child, you should be getting it from a licensed medical professional.

The first amendment gives us the right to say whatever we want.  However, we also have the right, and the responsibility, to choose who we listen to.  We don't have to obey the guy with the loudest blow horn.  We need to use common sense and listen to those who actually know what they're talking about.  

Monday, January 28, 2019

America Is Open For Business - For Now

On Friday morning, January 25th, President Trump announced that a deal had been reached to open the government until February 15th.   The deal does not include a $5.7 billion down payment on a border wall, making it the same deal the president rejected back on December 19th.

Subject: President Trump at White House garden podium | Photographer: White House Photographic Office |As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain.

Whether we wanted to, or not, we have all just watched the world's longest poker hand. Nancy Pelosi held four aces, while Trump kept betting with a busted flush. Eventually he had to fold.  The question is ,why did he fold, seemingly out of the blue, when he did?

It could have something to do with the fact that  LaGuardia Airport, where Trump keeps his private jet, was mere hours away from chaos. Unpaid air traffic controllers had called in "sick" for the upcoming shift and flights were being cancelled as a result.

It is also possible that Trump was trying to take control of the news cycle. That morning the FBI raided the home of Roger Stone. Stone had been a close friend and advisor to Donald Trump for decades. The arrest may bring Mueller's investigation that much closer to Trump's doorstep. He may have been trying to distract America by announcing the end of the shutdown.

Whatever the reason one thing is clear, after 35 days of chaos Trump got nothing accomplished. He needs to give up on the idea of a wall or we will have another shut down in three weeks.

Of course, in two years whoever runs against Trump will be able to point to the 35 day debacle as proof that Donald Trump is willing to hurt Americans to further his own racist agenda. If nothing else, he has ensured that a democrat will win the White House in 2020.