Golden Globes 2019: Nine talking points from the ceremony

From the opening monologue to Emma Stone’s (very loud) apology.
BBC News – Entertainment & Arts

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KD joins elite Warriors list with another 49 points

Kevin Durant became just the seventh player in Warriors history to score at 40 in two straight games joining a group that includes, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Wilt Chamberlain and Rick Barry.
www.espn.com – NBA

Derrick Rose scored 50 points and NBA players loved it

The former MVP put up a career high in the Wolves’ win over the Jazz and NBA players were quick to shower him with praise on Twitter.
www.espn.com – NBA

Personal Journeys: 7 Hours of Travel, 2 Hours on the Ground: Worth It for the Rewards Points

She was a woman on a mission. An inane, pathetic mission, but a mission nonetheless: Get enough points to qualify for the ‘A’ List.
NYT > Books

BOOK SALE UPDATE!

NHL Century Club: Which teams will get to 100 points?

No team with 100 points has ever missed the playoffs. We break down the path for every club — and their chances of actually getting there.
www.espn.com – NHL

Nul points: Eurovision’s history of political voting

Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Harden first to net 60 points in triple-double

Rockets guard James Harden made NBA history in Tuesday’s home victory over the Magic by becoming the first player to score 60 points as part of a triple-double performance.
www.espn.com – NBA

Melo limited to 4 points in win, fewest since ’12

Carmelo Anthony has repeatedly talked this season about “sacrifice” as he adjusts to playing in a complementary offensive role with the Thunder. On Monday night, the time came.
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Draymond gets triple-double with just 4 points (Yahoo Sports)

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Friday Talking Points — Every Sulfurous Belch

OK, I fully admit I stole that title. Well, maybe not “stole,” since I’m about to give it proper credit, but it certainly wasn’t my own original idea. The line comes from George Will, and (of course) refers to Donald Trump. Part of the fun for Democrats this summer has been watching the angst of serious-minded conservative columnists as they realize how large a portion of the Republican base doesn’t really care what serious-minded conservatives inside the Beltway think about much of anything. Will was the best (but by no means only) example of this last week, as he started his column off with a real humdinger of an opening paragraph:

Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.

Ah, c’mon George… tell us how you really feel about Trump! Heh.

The entire Trump phenomenon reminds me of a basic rule from the world of magical/fantasy fiction. It’s not quite Asimov’s “three laws of robotics,” but it’s still been used my many authors who write about wizards casting dangerous spells. The rule of thumb among wizards? “Do not call up that which you cannot put down.” Don’t summon demons or otherworldly forces if you’re not strong enough to defeat them, in other words.

You can probably see where I’m going with this, in relation to Donald Trump. The Republican Party has called up a force of nature that it is, quite obviously, completely incapable of controlling or defeating. Hey, couldn’t have happened to a nicer political party! All those decades of dog-whistle language, coded references, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge that the Republican Party has benefited from are now coming home to roost.

George Will isn’t the only one freaking out by this new reality. Bill Kristol, who is famously always wrong about pretty much everything, wrote a column this week proposing eight or nine new candidates for the Republican presidential race (the most absurd: Samuel Alito). Because, obviously, seventeen is not enough. Frank Luntz, famous Republican pollster and spin doctor, held a focus group of Trump supporters which left him (according to his own statement) weak in the knees, with his legs all a-tremble.

Of course, not everyone is horrified at Trump’s success. He just picked up the endorsement of David Duke, for whatever that’s worth. Trump also tossed out Jorge Ramos from a press conference, and called two of his supporters “passionate” after they beat a homeless man with metal pipes, in support of Trump’s position on immigrants. All the while, Trump’s numbers continue to improve in the polls, where he’s now edging towards 30 percent of all Republican primary voters. If he manages to top 35 percent, then he may become absolutely unstoppable (much to serious-minded conservatives’ collective dismay).

Some Republicans are now even contemplating rigging the primary so Trump’s name doesn’t appear on their state’s ballots. As usual, when Republicans can’t win at the polls, their fallback position is to cheat. State-level party bigwigs in Virginia and North Carolina are considering taking this route, and South Carolina already has the rule the others are contemplating — every Republican candidate must sign a “loyalty oath” to support the party’s eventual nominee and not run as an independent in the general election, or their name doesn’t appear on the primary election ballot. Obviously, these sorts of pledges are utterly unenforceable, so it’ll be interesting to see how Trump plays it. But the mere fact that the state-level party honchos are even considering this sort of thing is an accurate measure of the desperation which exists among establishment Republicans right now.

Trump continues to roil the Republican waters on the immigration issue. The other GOP candidates are being exposed as complete cowards when it comes to reacting to Trump’s grand “ship them all home” plan. Scott Walker probably stumbled the worst, as he floundered around for days trying to figure out his stance on the Fourteenth Amendment. He was for changing it, against changing it, and tried to brush the entire question off; none of which made him seem even one tiny iota presidential.

Jeb! Bush thought he might tap into some of the Trump anger by tossing around the term “anchor babies,” which was almost as spectacular a failure as Walker’s vacillation. Jeb! then tried to explain that anchor babies were really more of an Asian problem, thereby offending two minority demographics at once. Boy, it’s fun to watch the Republican “minority outreach” effort in action, isn’t it? As George Will so accurately predicted (most especially on Latino and Asian vote percentages), Republicans “face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.” Jeb! also (you just cannot make this stuff up, folks!) marked the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina by releasing a new ad this week showing Jeb! standing right next to Mike “Heckuva Job” Brown, the disgraced former head of FEMA who fiddled while New Orleans drowned. As the image is shown, Bush intones: “We have the best emergency response team on the ground, in the country, and in the world.” Heckuva job, Brownie!

Over on the Democratic side of the race, there was an explosion of interest in a new candidate that might be labeled “Bidenpalooza.” Joe’s obviously seriously considering a run, and the Wall Street Journal even reported he is currently leaning towards throwing his hat in the ring. Don’t expect an announcement any time soon, though, as Biden says he’ll make a decision by the end of next month.

Bernie Sanders got a front-page story in the New York Times this week. Of course, being the mainstream media and all, it was a total hit piece full of the snarkiest language possible. It absolutely ignored Bernie’s entire message and platform (of course), and absolutely refused to analyze why so many people are flocking to support him. Cornel West just endorsed Bernie’s candidacy this week, but very few political reporters noticed, since it doesn’t fit in with their “only white liberals support Sanders” go-to storyline.

That’s enough from the campaign trail for one week. In other fun news, the oldest message-in-a-bottle ever was returned to its sender recently, after a journey of more than a century. A British scientific group sent out a thousand postcards in bottles from 1904 through 1906, to study the currents in the North Sea. A couple just found one on a German island, and sent the postcard back to the group (which still exists). The Marine Biological Association made good on the century-old promise on the card, and sent a reward of one old shilling to the couple for returning the postcard. I don’t really have any reason for including this story, but it did make me smile, in an otherwise Trump-filled week. Maybe Sting or The Police can write a song about it, or something!

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We’re changing the title of this award this week, because they’re not technically Democrats. So we’re handing out the Most Impressive Activist Group Of The Week to Neighborhood Legislature, for their amusing and entirely appropriate political theater in California. From the story:

A group of protesters in California took a stand against the influence of money in politics Wednesday by imagining what it would look like if lawmakers had to publicly advertise their campaign donors on their clothes à la professional stock car drivers.

The protesters placed cardboard cutouts of all 120 California state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) in front of the state capitol in Sacramento. Each legislator wore the logos of the corporations that back them in the style of NASCAR drivers’ brand-filled uniforms.

The photos alone are worth clicking that link to see.

We’ve long been an advocate of this idea, although we certainly can’t claim to have thought it up ourselves. As far back as FTP [189] (scroll down to Talking Point 7), we’ve been big fans of plastering donor logos on congresscritters and other politicians. If America is going to be run by bribery, the least we should be able to do is see who is forking over all that money to buy the politicians!

For taking this idea and running with it, and for an absolute brilliant piece of political theater, the Neighborhood Legislature is hereby awarded the Most Impressive Activist Group Of The Week. This is one of those ideas we truly wish would go viral, on a national level.

[Congratulate Neighborhood Legislature on their official webpage, to let them know you appreciate their excellent stunt.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Before we get to the main award, we do have one (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week, for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, for waging a silly war on boobies. Laws banning topless women from appearing in public were changed a while back in New York, and some enterprising women are using their newfound right to bare their breasts in Times Square. Among the people dressed in Elmo suits or dressed as Captain America, there are now women wearing nothing but a thong and body paint. All of these folks are there for the same reason: to separate the tourists from their money. Charging ten bucks (or whatever the traffic will bear) to appear in a photo has long been a tradition in Times Square, so this is really nothing new.

Now, Times Square does have an even older history of being a sex district with triple-X theaters and whatnot, which was all cleaned up (so as not to scare the tourists) a while back. In other words, Bill de Blasio wanting to ban topless women from Times Square isn’t happening in a vacuum. He doesn’t want a return to the “bad old days,” but at the same time he seems to be overreacting to the perceived problem. If Hizzoner truly does want to end this practice, there’s really only one acceptable way to do so: change the law back. Ban boobies everywhere. This, however, might be a political problem for him.

In fact, the whole fracas really nothing short of knee-jerk “Won’t someone think of the children!!!” overreach. You know what? I bet children who see a painted lady’s chest won’t actually be as traumatized as all the pearl-clutchers think. Bill de Blasio should have stayed out of this fight, which is why he earns a (Dis-)Honorable Mention this week.

But, for the second week in a row, Hillary Clinton is the recipient of our Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week this week. Clinton, like all presidential candidates these days, is struggling to be heard among the thousands of “Did you hear what Trump just said?” stories. So she apparently thought she’d use some shocking language of her own, and compared her political opponents to terrorists, because (by her logic) they both treat women badly.

Where to begin? First, there are hard lines in politics that should never be crossed. You don’t call someone a traitor, for instance, under any circumstances short of them being legally accused of actually selling the country out. Another of these rules is that you don’t call a political opponent a terrorist. Clinton crossed that line, almost flippantly.

Did Clinton have a point to make? Yes she did. Planned Parenthood and abortion are about to be the focus of an enormous political battle in Washington — one that might even result in another government shutdown. The battle has already been joined, and it is going to get fierce next month. Clinton was jumping in to this fray in an admirable fashion, rather than waiting on the sidelines and mouthing vague platitudes. She’s always been a champion for women’s rights, so it is entirely within her wheelhouse.

Even so, Clinton went too far. This is American politics, folks, and terrorist groups aren’t a part of it. The Taliban is not on any American ballot, to put it another way. While there are indeed many groups and countries around the world with horrendous records on women’s rights, it really has no bearing on domestic politics.

A final point: almost all American politicians are gigantic flaming hypocrites on the issue of women’s rights around the world, including not only Hillary Clinton but everyone else running for the presidency as well. If we really want to get up on our high horse about the way the Islamic State treats women, then it would require us (if we’re not going to be gigantic flaming hypocrites) to immediately suspend all ties with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis execute people by publicly beheading them, after all, and women in their country are not even allowed to do simple things like driving on their own. They’re about to have an election where — for the first time ever — women will be allowed to vote. If our gold standard for who America remains friends with is that women’s rights be respected, then our relationship with Saudi Arabia would be the first to go. If Hillary Clinton — or anyone else for that matter — speaks disparagingly about how terrorists treat women, then we would really like to hear someone ask her what her Saudi policy would be.

So for multiple reasons, Hillary linking her political opponents with terrorists was more than a little disappointing. Just because Trump is sucking all the oxygen out of the room right now does not mean Democrats should be stooping to his level (or even lower). Clinton can fight for women’s rights as fervently as possible without making such odious comparisons. She needs to back down on this one, but for now it has earned her another Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Hillary Clinton is a private citizen, and our longstanding policy is not to provide contact information for candidate websites, so you’ll have to search her contact info out yourself, sorry.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 359 (8/28/15)

It’s still the Silly Season in Washington, so we don’t have a whole lot of substantive political talking points this week. When Congress returns, we’re in for a number of high-profile fights, but until then we’re just making do with what we’ve got. Just to warn everyone in advance.

 

1
   Making America Grate

Every so often, we are so struck by a clever turn of phrase that we have to give it a standalone talking point. This is one of those times, as Jonathan Capehart of the Washington Post ran an article this week under the best headline we’ve yet seen to describe the Trump phenomenon — a play on Trump’s own campaign slogan. It’s a cheap pun, but that doesn’t make it any less funny:

How Donald Trump Makes America Grate

 

2
   From denial to anger

This framing of the Trump situation is likely going to appear again and again, but Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post gets credit for being the first to point it out.

“The Republican Party seems to be destined to go through the classic ‘five stages of grief’ as they come to grips with Donald Trump’s success. Most establishment Republicans are still in the first stage, denial. Some have already moved on to anger — the second stage. I mean, did you read George Will’s ‘every sulfurous belch’ column this week? The third stage is going to be problematic, since it is bargaining — and Trump is a notoriously tough bargainer. This will inevitably lead to depression, and sooner or later to the final stage, acceptance. You might call it the grief of watching the Republican Party die, right in front of their eyes.”

 

3
   Strong growth

This is one to hit Jeb! with, in particular.

“Jeb Bush is running on a promise to achieve four percent growth in America’s economy. I wonder if he saw the most recent numbers, which showed the economy grew 3.7 percent in the second quarter of this year? Seems like President Obama’s doing almost as well as what Bush is promising, which reminds me of Mitt Romney’s promise to get unemployment down to six percent before 2016. Remember that one? Obama managed to achieve that in about half the time Romney promised. Seems like Republicans can’t even promise they’ll handle the American economy as well as Democrats routinely do in the real world.”

 

4
   $ 200 million and counting

Data to use in other state-level legalization fights.

“Colorado and Washington have so far taken in over two hundred million dollars in marijuana tax revenue. We don’t yet have data for Alaska and Oregon, but you can bet they’re raking in millions as well. By legalizing recreational marijuana use, these states have turned a big drag on their state budgets — policing, prisons, clogged courtrooms, and all the rest of it — into a huge asset. I’m sure there are other state governments out there who are paying attention. The success of legalization continues to benefit the states which have implemented it. $ 200 million ain’t exactly pocket change.”

 

5
   President Barack Obama Highway

This is going to be lots of fun for Democrats, for years to come.

“I see that Riviera Beach, Florida just voted to change the name of a road from ‘Old Dixie Highway’ to ‘President Barack Obama Highway.’ Personally, I can’t think of a better way to get rid of institutionalized racist memorials than to rename them after the first African-American president. In fact, I would bet that after Obama’s term in office ends, there will be a lot more things named after him all across America. Call it the revenge of Democrats after the orgy of naming so many things after Ronald Reagan a few years back.”

 

6
   Maybe Amazon will step in

This one is pretty funny.

“Among the many creative uses of drone aircraft we can now add their use to deliver banned things inside prison walls. An attempt was made in Maryland recently to fly in some drugs and pornography aboard a drone. While this attempt was foiled, it seems such an obvious use of new technology that we’ll likely see more and more of these attempts in the near future. How exactly are the cops going to keep the skies over prisons clear of drones? Skeet shooting?”

 

7
   Jade Helm invasion a total flop

This qualifies as rubbing salt in the wound, really.

“I notice that the predicted invasion of Texas by the United States military seems not to have materialized. It wasn’t so long ago that the Texas governor was issuing dire warnings of the nefarious intent of America’s own military in carrying out an exercise called ‘Jade Helm 15,’ which did nothing but stoke paranoid delusions within the state. Well, the summer’s drawing to a close and I still haven’t seen one headline about the Army taking over Texas, or confiscating everyone’s guns, or rounding up its citizens for concentration camps, or any of the rest of the nonsense the rightwingers were spouting not so long ago. If Jade Helm really was a planned invasion of Texas, I have to say it’s been a total flop so far.”

 

Chris Weigant blogs at:
ChrisWeigant.com

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Friday Talking Points — Trump’s Immigration Roundup

Another week has gone by, and Donald Trump remains the Republican frontrunner in the presidential nomination race. We’ve noticed that all the inside-the-Beltway pundits who so confidently predicted Trump’s imminent and inevitable downfall are now slowly starting to revisit their predictions. This is making them extremely nervous, of course. Some are still finding solace in the “Trump’s going to say something any day now that will sink him like a stone” way of thinking, but their numbers are getting smaller as time goes by and Trump defies political gravity once again.

Last weekend, Trump released his very first policy paper. It was, naturally, on immigration (Trump’s signature issue). Reduced to tweet-length, this policy could be summed up as: “Build a big wall. Repeal birthright citizenship and 14th amendment. Round them all up and send them home.” Of course, it was immediately popular with all of Trump’s supporters.

The rest of the Republican presidential field, once again, was caught scrambling to respond. All of the other Republicans running for the highest office in the land routinely quake in their boots whenever Trump opens his mouth, because nobody’s yet come up with any great ideas as to how to respond. Take Trump on directly? That hasn’t worked out so well for the three notable candidates who have tried it (Rand Paul, Rick Perry, and Lindsey Graham), who are all polling below five percent. Agree with Trump no matter what comes out of his mouth (in the hopes of picking up all his supporters if he stumbles)? That’s working pretty well for Ted Cruz, which is why Scott Walker is now giving it a try. Ignore him completely? That’s what Jeb! Bush would really like to do, but again this hasn’t worked out so well for him (as he watched his own poll numbers sink into single digits).

So far, most of the candidates have at least tentatively supported parts of Trump’s immigration plan. More and more of them are just throwing up their hands and saying “OK, let’s build a giant wall, what the heck.” This week, at least half of the Republican field has expressed support for overturning birthright citizenship, which would require an amendment to the United States Constitution (since it’s expressly part of the Constitution, in the Fourteenth Amendment). This is now the default Republican position, in fact. I guess conservatives only revere certain parts of the Constitution, even though they all carry a copy around with them in their pocket, as a talisman.

Jeb! Bush once again proved he is just as clumsy at being a politician as his brother, in response to Trump. Jeb! was trying to distance himself from Trump’s position on birthright citizenship, but then he royally stepped in it by using the phrase “anchor babies.” When called on the offensiveness of the term, Bush doubled down and tried to defend it, while he tried to channel some sort of weak-tea version of Trump taking on political correctness. “Anchor babies,” Bush said, is a term Democrats use, to beat up on Republicans. He didn’t explain how Democrats can only do so after Republicans use the term, of course. But watching him flounder around answering all the questions must be painful for all those folks who have already tossed over $ 100 million into Bush’s campaign chest. This is really the guy who is going to vanquish Trump? Hey, good luck with that, Establishment Republicans!

Outside the presidential race, the rabid Republicans on the airwaves are pushing the issue even harder than Trump (hard as that is to even imagine). One radio host is essentially calling not just for repealing the Fourteenth Amendment, but also that pesky Thirteenth Amendment as well — you know, the one that outlaws slavery. Seriously. His position is to give all undocumented immigrants a 60-day warning, and then round them up and stick them in concentration camps. They would then “become property of the state,” after which the state would “start to extort or exploit or indenture” their labor. When a caller pointed out that it “sounds an awful lot like slavery,” the host responded: “Well, what’s wrong with slavery?”

Yes, this is the state of the Republican Party today, brought to you by none other than Donald Trump. Mitt Romney winning 27 percent of the Latino vote may turn out to be a high point for the party, which could put the White House out of Republicans’ reach for the foreseeable future, at least until they purge this sort of nativist nonsense from their ranks. Which doesn’t seem likely any time soon, of course. Things are probably going to get a lot worse before they get any better.

In other amusing news from the Republican campaign trail, Bobby Jindal has apparently been reduced to showing Planned Parenthood videos to crowds on his lawn (no, really), and Marco Rubio hit a kid in the face with a football (which was, of course, caught on camera for everyone’s amusement).

We’re going to skip over the Democratic campaign trail news for the moment, because we are going to address it all in the awards sections.

President Obama is spending his summer whipping (and counting) congressional votes for his Iran nuclear deal. When Congress returns from their excessive six-week summer vacation, they’ll be voting whether to disapprove the deal or not. If they put such a disapproval on Obama’s desk, he’ll need to defeat a veto override in at least one house of Congress for the deal to go through. Most Washington wonks think he’ll be able to clear this bar, but there is even one interesting possibility few have yet noticed: Obama may not even have to veto anything, because Republicans may not be able to pass it in the Senate. There are currently 54 Republicans in the Senate, plus two Democrats who have said they’ll vote their disapproval of the deal. But 60 votes will be needed, meaning Republicans still need four more Democrats. As of right now, there are 13 Democratic senators who have not indicated either their support for the deal or their disapproval. If 10 of them ultimately vote to support Obama, then the disapproval bill will die in the Senate, and no veto will even be necessary. It’s a fairly long shot at the moment, but the possibility does exist. As we get closer to the vote, we’ll be paying a lot more attention to the whip counts, pro and con.

And finally, in amusing marijuana news, Novak Djokovic — ranked number one in the world of tennis — had to complain to the umpire in not just one but two recent matches in Montreal. His problem? The clouds of pot smoke drifting over the court. From the story:

“Somebody’s getting high,” he says to a smiling umpire. “No, honestly… The whole stadium smells.”

Djokovic later makes a toking gesture as if he were holding a joint.

Who knew Canadian tennis fans were such stoners? C’mon, guys — bring a brownie to the match instead, eh?

 

Most Impressive Democrat of the Week

We’ve got two Honorable Mention awards to hand out before we get to the main event. Both of these go to Democratic presidential candidates, for different reasons.

First up, we have Martin O’Malley, who deserves credit for his plan to expand Social Security, rather than cut it or raise the retirement age. His plan might be called a timid version of the “scrap the cap” idea, since he would impose Social Security payroll taxes on incomes above $ 250,000 for the first time — which would go a long way towards ending the regressive nature of this tax (which I detailed, with charts, a few years ago). O’Malley is to be applauded for being so specific in his plan, and for beginning to address the problem of the income cap on the payroll tax. However, his plan leaves a “doughnut hole” between roughly $ 120,000 of income and $ 250,000. So someone making $ 10 million a year would pay roughly the same tax rate as a nurse or a firefighter, but someone making $ 250,000 a year would pay less than half that rate. There’s no real mathematical reason for this regressive doughnut hole, but there is a political one — the portion of Americans making between $ 100,000 and $ 250,000 a year is one of the biggest groups who donate money to politicians. That’s really the only reason for leaving such a hole in what by all rights should be — at the very least — a flat tax rate on all income. Still, O’Malley’s plan goes further than other candidates have committed to, so he does deserve some applause.

I wrote about this earlier in the week, but Hillary Clinton deserves at least an Honorable Mention for how she answered the Black Lives Matter protesters (the video of their meeting was publicly released this week). Clinton pretty much agrees with the group in principle and goes out of her way to validate their positions, but she also challenges them to come up with some solid policy proposals that Democratic politicians can get behind. Clinton did an excellent job being both respectful and pragmatic, at least in our opinion.

Which brings us to the winner of the Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week. We’re not entirely sure this is within the boundaries of our own rules (since they don’t exactly claim party membership), but rules are made to be bent at times. But the Black Lives Matter folks have finally come up with a very solid and reasonable policy platform (call it an “agenda” or a “list of demands” or whatever else, if you’d like).

The policy agenda is called Campaign Zero and includes such things as requiring body cameras on all police, better police training, and much stronger community oversight of all police. The list is an excellent one, and the policies should be embraced by all Democratic candidates for president as well as all progressive voters.

The Black Lives Matter movement has been controversial on the campaign trail, notably for disrupting Democratic presidential candidates by taking over speeches. They’ve always had a brilliant tactic, in the world of political theater. After all, they’re protesting police violence against black people, so what are Democrats supposed to do — call in the cops to physically remove Black Lives Matter from their speeches? That would reinforce the point the activists are making, and it would make the candidate look bad. It’s a “Catch-22” sort of tactic, because neither siccing the cops on them nor allowing them to completely hijack a campaign event is a very good outcome.

But what they’ve been missing, even with such a brilliant tactic, is any sort of overall strategy. Sure, you can grab the microphone and address the crowd, but if all you do after being given the microphone is to insult your audience and the candidate, then you’re not going to gain much support. Many people (I am one of them, for the record) have called on Black Lives Matter to come up with an agenda so that their natural allies — Democratic politicians and the Democratic base — can support the movement in a concrete way, instead of just being annoyed by their tactics.

This is precisely the point Hillary Clinton was making in the video, and we are glad to see Black Lives Matter respond in such a constructive and forward-looking fashion. This is part of what killed Occupy Wall Street — not being able to agree on much of any plan for change — and we firmly believe that the Black Lives Movement will find that their movement will in no way be limited by having a clear agenda, but in fact that it will grow as more and more people agree with and openly support the items listed by Campaign Zero.

So, whether they identify as Democrats or not, the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement who put together Campaign Zero are more than worthy of this week’s Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award.

[Contact the Campaign Zero website to show your support.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat of the Week

Hillary Clinton had a rough week. Perhaps we’re guilty of piling on, but we’re going to add a Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to her problems.

Much like Donald Trump, the Hillary Clinton email server scandal is not going away any time soon. We’ve still got months of drip, drip, drip, as each new group of emails is released to the media and each development with the server itself plays out. The F.B.I. now has Hillary’s server as well as the backup her lawyer had been holding onto for her. As many have pointed out, “F.B.I. investigation” is not something any political candidate wants to see in the headlines, while running for office.

Clinton, so far, hasn’t done a very good job of addressing the issue, either. She held a very brief presser, got into a spat with a Fox News reporter, tried a silly joke to brush the whole thing off, and then left after about five minutes. The Washington Post has a rundown of five mistakes Clinton made during this appearance, but they missed one big one. You might call it “orange is the new orange.”

Now, we realize (before we even explain that) that politicians shouldn’t really be criticized on how they look in the first place, and in the second place, female politicians especially shouldn’t be subject to snark about what they’re wearing. Hillary Clinton has faced this time and time again. Still, whose idea was it to have Hillary Clinton appear in front of the press to answer questions about an F.B.I. investigation wearing the same shade of orange as prison jumpsuits? That is just breathtaking sartorial stupidity.

Hillary Clinton needs to take a few days off from campaigning. She needs to go on a retreat with her husband, in fact. During this time, Bill should coach Hillary relentlessly on how to successfully brush a political issue aside. There’s a reason why Barack Obama joked at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that he should appoint Bill Clinton “Secretary of Explainin’ Stuff.” He is a master at it, in fact — the best America has seen since Ronald Reagan. And Hillary — obviously — needs a little coaching from Bill on how to handle these things.

Start by laying out your viewpoint of the situation, in as simple terms as you can manage. Explain the motivations of those making claims of scandal. Then end with a rhetorical flourish in an attempt to lay the issue to rest. Hillary tried to do so, with her “wipe it down with a cloth” joke, but it fell awfully flat. She needs a lot of practice with Bill, and her campaign should devote a few days to it. Lock them both in a cabin in the woods, and let Bill school Hillary on how to deal with scandal and crisis. At this point, it couldn’t hurt.

There are many Democrats — even some Bernie Sanders supporters — who feel deep down that Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and has a clear path to the White House next year. They just wish she was campaigning for it better, that’s all. Team Clinton has got to learn to shift gears smoother and how to respond quicker. Clinton proved she’s got a long way to go this week, which is why she’s getting the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award.

[Hillary Clinton is a private citizen, and we have a longstanding policy of not linking to campaign websites, so you’ll have to search her contact page on your own to let her know what you think, sorry.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 358 (8/21/15)

The talking points this week were influenced, once again, by Donald Trumps magical mystery campaign, which sooner or later we’re just going to stop apologizing for. Hey, he is the Republican frontrunner!

We’ve got a few others mixed in, and two hilarious ones at the end, because we thought everybody could use a laugh after the past week of presidential politics.

 

1
   I support Campaign Zero

This one’s easy, for both Democratic candidates and voters.

“I strongly support the positive and constructive agenda Black Lives Matter has laid out, which they’re calling Campaign Zero. Their list has many excellent policy ideas which should be enacted at both the state and federal level. All police should have body cameras, because seeing is believing when it comes to what actually happens in confrontations. Police should be required to get much better training for conflict resolution, so the most violent response at their disposal isn’t always their first choice. There are many such ideas contained in the Campaign Zero platform, and I call on all Democrats to not only endorse this agenda but also to immediately begin working as hard as possible on enacting these changes across the United States.”

 

2
   Anchor babies!

To her credit, Hillary Clinton led in pushing back against Bush’s slip of the tongue.

“I’m sorry, but Jeb Bush was supposed to be some sort of moderate guy on both immigration and Latino issues. He’s married to a Mexican-American, after all, and speaks fluent Spanish. Previously, he has called for Republicans to avoid being intentionally offensive and to speak of immigrants in non-inflammatory terms. He used to be a voice of reason in a crowd of extremists. I guess now that his poll numbers are sinking like a rock, he’s decided that offending Latinos is the way to go. If Jeb’s not sure whether the term ‘anchor babies’ is offensive or not, I would suggest he ask a few members of his own family what they think about it.”

 

3
   Selective constitutional worship

This, from politicians who swear up and down their fealty to the Constitution?

“In the entire history of the United States, we have only ever amended the Constitution to restrict rights a single time — and Prohibition eventually had to be repealed by another amendment. Now Donald Trump and most of the rest of the Republicans running for president have come out in favor of overturning the Fourteenth Amendment because they don’t like one phrase in it. This amendment was passed because racists were insisting that people born in the United States — ex-slaves — were not citizens and therefore could never vote. Republicans today want to make it impossible for undocumented immigrants ever to be eligible for citizenship for the exact same reason — they never want these people to ever have a vote. And now they’re attacking the Constitution itself to ensure that only those children born on American soil whom they deem acceptable can be citizens. To do so, we’d have to pass only the second amendment to the Constitution to ever deny rights rather than expand them. This is just a bad idea all around.”

 

4
   Round them up? Really?

Pro-big government rears its ugly head in Republicanland, once again.

“So I see that Donald Trump is in favor of the biggest expansion of federal power ever, because his ’round them up and ship them home’ plan to deal with undocumented immigrants would change American society forever. We’d have to create an enormous federal police force who would then go around knocking on every door in American and demand to see ‘your papers, please.’ Those without proof of citizenship would be forcibly rounded up and shipped out. Experts estimate this effort — should any Congress be stupid enough to enact it — would take hundreds of billions of dollars and have to last at least two decades. So Trump is in favor of spending an enormous amount of money to pay for jack-booted federal agents to round everyone up and ship them off, by knocking on every door in the country. Sounds like an explosion of ‘big government’ and creating an enormous federal army to be used for domestic purposes to me. Funny, I always thought Republicans were against those things, on ideological grounds.”

 

5
   Rapists’ baby support

At times, we are accused of creating talking points that are nothing short of hyperbole. Last week, we ran one that might have fit into that category (scroll down to talking point number five). We’re going to repeat this talking point this week, with the addition of Mike Huckabee’s name, since he has now openly admitted exactly the attitude the talking point was referring to.

“An 11-year-old girl just gave birth in Paraguay. She was 10 when she was raped by her stepfather, but the government denied her mother’s request she be allowed an abortion. These are the real-world consequences of the position taken by many Republican presidential candidates, including Mike Huckabee. They want to outlaw abortion even in the case of rape and incest. That leads directly to 11-year-olds having to bear their stepfather’s child after being raped. Mike Huckabee openly admitted that he wants to see that sort of thing here. He actually said: ‘Let nobody be misled, a 10-year-old girl being raped is horrible, but does it solve a problem by taking the life of an innocent child?’ Yes, 11-year-old mothers forced to deal with their rapist’s baby for the rest of their lives is exactly what we can expect if Huckabee ever got his way on outlawing all abortion. No rape victim should ever be forced to bear her rapist’s baby. No 10-year-old should have to carry a baby to term against her will. Yet that is exactly what happens when abortion is outlawed.”

 

6
   Deez Nuts for president!

We normally wrap these up with one amusing final talking point. This week, we’re going to do two instead, just because.

“Have you seen the recent polling? A fake candidate named ‘Deez Nuts’ is polling at a surprisingly high level among voters. For some unfathomable reason a few state-level polls included ‘Deez Nuts’ in a few of the questions they asked poll respondents about, and he’s now getting nine percent in North Carolina, eight percent in Minnesota, and seven percent in Iowa! As the candidate explains: ‘I am a 15-year-old who filled out a form, had the campaign catch on fire, and am now putting up the best third-party numbers since Ross Perot.’ Right now his poll numbers are better than most of the Republican field, in fact. In a year when Donald Trump is the frontrunner, somehow it seems entirely appropriate that ‘Deez Nuts’ should be approaching second place in the race, don’t you think?”

 

7
   Limberbutt McCubbins for president!

And finally, one from the Democratic side.

“Deez Nuts isn’t the only amusing candidate out there. A self-proclaimed ‘Demo-cat’ feline candidate has also thrown his furry hat into the ring. That’s right, Limberbutt McCubbins is running for president, on a platform that includes legalizing both catnip and gay cat marriages. His campaign website and Facebook page boast some catchy campaign slogans, including ‘Meow is the time’ and ‘Together we cat.’ His owner states the main reason Limberbutt entered the race: ‘Me and my friends have begun to realize how easy it is to run for office, and have learned about the way the F.E.C. and campaign finance work. Not that we don’t want anyone to run, but I personally don’t think that if I’m applying to run for the most important position in the U.S.A., that I should be able to do it in 20 minutes. Or less.’ I don’t know about that, but I do know that if it came down to Limberbutt McCubbins in the general election, I’d certainly vote for Limberbutt over a lot of the hairballs running on the other side.”

 

Chris Weigant blogs at:
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Party at the Sacred Mountain for 5 Points Gathering 2015

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For centuries, the mountain has been an important symbol to the spirituality of mankind. Often referred to as the Holy or Sacred Mountain, in many cultures its peaks were worshiped as Earth’s closest steeple to heaven and other celestial dimensions. In Greece, the mighty Mount Olympus was central to Greek mythology being home to the Gods and Goddesses and where Zeus defeated the Titans. According to the Torah and the Old Testament in the Bible, Mount Sinai in Egypt was where Moses received the Ten Commandments and Tibet’s Mount Kailash is believed by Buddhists to possess a mystical power that can absolve a lifetime of sins for any human.

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A portal into a sacred world, high above the miasma of city life, stands the tetrahedral Mount Baldy. With an elevation of 10,064 feet, it is the summit of the San Gabriel Mountains and the highest point in Los Angeles County. Sitting atop this majestic mountain is 5 Points Gathering, an intimate 3-stage transformational music festival that is family friendly and boasts yoga, healthy living, bass music, vendors, installations and live art.

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Taking place on the weekend of July 3rd-5th, 2015, amenities and attractions include tent bungalow camping upgrades, showers, Around the Tree live art installation, Yucca Roots Village, and Circuit Trees by Erica Halpern. One of the most unique aspects of this event is the Sugar Pine Chairlift which is the only way to access the gathering areas, assuring that attendees are truly peaking by being taken to the highest point of the mountain. Riding the chairlift up through the verdant forest to arrive at 5 Points Gathering is a sacred experience, like climbing a mountain to arrive at a holy temple of enlightenment.

Though one of the smaller, more intimate festivals, 5 Points still offers a lineup of stellar performers. The Friday house and bass lineup includes Christian Martin, Ruff Hauser, Cameron St. Denis, Worthy, Oscure, and many more. The Saturday future bass lineup includes Sugarpill, Goldrush, Jobot, Henry Pope, Kompozart, AfroQBen, Orphic, Lou E. Bagels, J-Mart, and Bass Tribe of San Diego, just to name a few. In addition to the announced lineup, rumors of surprise guests are yet to be announced.

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The 360-degree view of the breathtaking San Gabriel Mountains is a reminder that this is, as are all transformational music festivals, a leave-no-trace event. We are blessed with the gift of celebrating on this sacred landscape so it is our mission to bless the land back with our love, gratitude and respect.

In addition to offering the land our blessings, we must also offer each other these blessings as it is the kinship between people that makes this event special. Being so small, 5 Points Gathering is about creating a community where we are all connected and respected. So let us gather upon the sacred Mount Baldy where we will touch the cosmos and let the supernatural powers of music, art and human beings move and shake us.

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Website: http://5pointsgathering.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/5-Points-Gathering/788866244530696
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/666049566854914/
Tickets: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/5-points-gathering-2014-tickets-8255108251

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Sasheer Zamata Points Out The Lack Of Black Emojis On ‘Weekend Update’

We can all stop pretending that the emoji selection on our iPhones makes any sense. There are zero representations of black people but we need to have two different types of dragons to choose from? Come on.

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Sasheer Zamata did her first “Weekend Update” segment on Saturday’s Martin Freeman-hosted episode, in which she points out how irritating emojis can be for a person of color (who doesn’t identify as a new moon).

To that end, watch her explain to host Colin Jost how texting during a grand jury protest might go down.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Early Study Points to Diabetes Drug Controlled by Light

In lab, exposure to blue light activated medication, but experts stress that much more research is needed
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yurveda and Marma Therapy: Energy Points in Yogic Healing

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Xbox Live 2100 Microsoft Points Card

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Freely accessible to anyone with a broadband connection, Xbox LIVE Marketplace is a digital download centre providing free and premium content for games, as well as entertainment content such as movie trailers and music videos. Premium Xbox LIVE Marketplace content will be available for purchase with Microsoft Points. Microsoft Points is a new stored-value system that will let consumers purchase a number of points, and then redeem those points for content online, ranging from gamer pictures and themes to full game downloads on Xbox LIVE Arcade.

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Shift Points: One Hundred Ideas to Shift Your Organization Into Top Gear

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“Shift Points “provides an overview of the Seven Accelerators(TM) model, and is essentially a prequel to” Decide One Thing.” Written in the same fast-reading style as “Decide One Thing,” it features One Hundred innovative ideas, each of which is summarized in just One Page. Taken individually, each idea can be a catalyst for your organization. Taken holistically, they represent a comprehensive roadmap that will shift your performance into top gear. Decide One Thing. Align Everything. Win “SHIFTPOINTS helped us analyze every aspect of our business, both internally and externally, and helped us grow from M to M in four years.” – Jim Bognet, Bognet Construction “We routinely see record sales months because our message is crisp, our team is aligned, and we have a much better understanding of our market.” – Brad Hill, President, Site Organic “SHIFTPOINTS helped us decide on our One Thing, and then aligned everything in the organization around it. As a result, we have won the Best Places to Work award twice ” – MJ Wivell, Chief Executive Officer, BTI360 “Our rebranding effort, led by SHIFTPOINTS, has resulted in a remarkable makeover for every aspect of our company, from logo through performance metrics.” – Michael Tinsley, Chief Executive Officer, NeoSystems Corp. “FCA Golf is now aligned to our primary target, and is positioned to become truly great at One Thing.” – Jim Esary, Executive Director, Fellowship of Christian Athletes Golf Ministry

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Rigorous Reading: 5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts

Rigorous Reading: 5 Access Points for Comprehending Complex Texts


What it really means to “read closely.” What could Fern Arable, Jay Gatsby, and Winston Churchill possibly have in common? They all need masterful teachers to help students revel in their complexity. And Nancy Frey and Doug Fisher are just the two mentors to help you make that happen. Call it close reading, call it deep reading, call it analytic reading-call it what you like. The point is, it’s a level of understanding that students of any age can achieve with the right kind of instruction. In Rigorous Reading, Nancy and Doug articulate an instructional plan so clearly, and so squarely built on research, that teachers, schools, and districts need look no further. The 5 Access Points Toward Proficiency 1.Purpose & Modeling: Teachers think aloud to demonstrate critical thinking and how good readers always know why they are reading. 2.Close & Scaffolded Reading Instruction: Teachers engage students in repeated readings and discussions, with text- dependent questions, prompts, and cues to help students delve into an author’s ideas. 3.Collaborative Conversations: Teachers orchestrate collaborative learning to get students in the habit of exercising their analytical thinking in the presence of their peers. 4.An Independent Reading Staircase: Teachers artfully steer students to more challenging books, with strategic bursts of instruction and peer conferences to foster metacognitive awareness. 5.Performance: Teachers offer feedback and assessments that help students demonstrate understanding of text in authentic ways and plan instruction based on student understanding. There’s more . . . Also included are illustrative classroom video clips available via QR codes along with an online Facilitator’s Guide with PowerPoints–making Rigorous Reading the only resource a teacher, school, or district needs to seriously stretch students’ capacity to read and comprehend text.

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Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.s. Women’s Sport

Qualifying Times: Points of Change in U.s. Women’s Sport


This perceptive, lively study explores U.S. women’s sport through historical “points of change”: particular products or trends that dramatically influenced both women’s participation in sport and cultural responses to women athletes. Beginning with the seemingly innocent ponytail, the subject of the Introduction, scholar Jaime Schultz challenges the reader to look at the historical and sociological significance of now-common items such as sports bras and tampons and ideas such as sex testing and competitive cheerleading. Tennis wear, tampons, and sports bras all facilitated women’s participation in physical culture, while physical educators, the aesthetic fitness movement, and Title IX encouraged women to challenge (or confront) policy, financial, and cultural obstacles. While some of these points of change increased women’s physical freedom and sporting participation, they also posed challenges. Tampons encouraged menstrual shame, sex testing (a tool never used with male athletes) perpetuated narrowly-defined cultural norms of femininity, and the late-twentieth-century aesthetic fitness movement fed into an unrealistic beauty ideal. Ultimately, Schultz finds that U.S. women’s sport has progressed significantly but ambivalently. Although participation in sports is no longer uncommon for girls and women, Schultz argues that these “points of change” have contributed to a complex matrix of gender differentiation that marks the female athletic body as different than–as less than–the male body, despite the advantages it may confer.

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