Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Dear Senator: Fight the AHCA with Everything You Got

A template for anyone inclined to write a senator to oppose the Republican "health care" bill.

Dear Senator NAME:

I am writing to ask that you object to all "Unanimous Consent" requests until such time that the AHCA is fully and openly debated, with public hearings, impact statements, industry input, expert testimony, and CBO scoring. As I see it right now, there is nothing that Republicans can offer in exchange for your consent that justifies accommodating senate business for this horrible bill. I therefore urge you to use every parliamentary tool and procedure available to you, including withholding consent, in order to stave off this disaster for hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans, and millions of Americans.

This is not a difference in policy in which reasonable people may disagree; if this bill is made law, people will die. They will die for a morally repulsive reason: to pay for tax cuts for the wealthiest among us. And Republicans are pursing this objective in the most cynical way possible. It is up to you to stop them.

There are 23 million people counting on you.

Thank you for your work on behalf of all Minnesotans.

With my kind regards,

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Keep Calm and Carry On

When Barack Obama was president, one of the most amusing manifestations of cognitive dissonance in his critics was that they cast him simultaneously as both a bungling incompetent and a cunning, manipulative mastermind. But now I see partisans on the left giving Donald Trump similar treatment.

Don't fall for it!

What's happening is not complicated. Simply apply Occam's Razor (or perhaps Trump's Razor): Trump is a greedy, racist con-man with no interest in or aptitude for government or policy, except insofar as they can serve his pride and avarice. No one expected him to win, but due to the quirks of our system (and a massive assist from the FBI and the media), he did. And now he is bungling through, doing awful but contradictory things on behalf of his various advisers and constituents.

Yes, he has some true villains in his coalition, and they have been emboldened by his victory. And this will have real and horrific consequences for far too many people. Meanwhile, supposedly decent Congressional Republicans appear to be ignoring his aggressive yet fumbling attempts to take executive action. But there is a simple explanation for this as well: Trump is useful to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, not the other way around. They tolerate him because they need him to sign tax cut legislation and remove financial and environmental regulations. If Trump is unpopular, that focuses more attention on their activities too. This they do not want, because their policy goals are very unpopular. McConnell, Ryan, and other Republicans will distance themselves from Trump the moment it is clear that his unpopularity threatens their goals.

So keep fighting, because it is working. But keep calm and carry on. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Forever Fighting The Fight

Remember when we fought British Aristocracy?

Remember when we fought Confederate Slave Power?

Remember when we fought German Nazis?

Remember when we fought Russian Totalitarianism?

None of these villains were completely defeated. Though they may take different forms, now we are fighting all at once.

Maybe total victory against these regressive forces is impossible. Either way, the fight is a marathon, not a sprint.

Gear up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Ten Years

Maybe writing this blog will make me a better writer. Or maybe this space will become just another bit of litter on the garbage-laden information stupor highway. --Knight of Nothing, January 2007
Ten years ago this week, I hung out my shingle in the blogosphere, and the result lies somewhere between these two predictions. I've split the difference!

Here are the top ten posts as of 1/4/2017, by traffic:

The (Losing) Arguments Against Same-Sex Marriage
Sep 5, 2012; 40 comments; 5348 page views

Far and away the most popular post I ever wrote, this essay was posted on social media and subsequently widely shared and discussed. It was the closest I ever came to going viral. Still pretty proud of this post and what it represents. Hoping to prevent any backsliding now in 2017, and I'll be working to prevent it in the coming year.

Katniss Everdeen: Feminist Icon, or Yet Another Sexist Stereotype?
Nov 22, 2013; no comments; 1706 page views

A quote post. Most of the traffic for this piece is probably due to hot keywords ("Katniss" & "feminism") and a contrarian point of view.

Somewhere In My Soul There's Always Rock And Roll
May 14, 2007; 4 comments; 1300 page views

A snapshot of what was in rotation on my CD player in the Spring of 2007.

From The "Monkey Grabs Woman's Breast" Dept.
Jan 6, 2009; 1 comment; 775 page views

Here we see evidence that lowbrow humor is apparently popular on the internet. Who knew? Fun fact: after "knight of nothing," the top keyword search used to find my blog is "monkey grabs boob." I wish this wasn't in the top ten, but oh well.

Catholics and Gay Marriage
Jul 17, 2012; 10 comments; 748 page views

Another serious post from 2012. In some ways, this essay is better than my more popular post on the subject: it is more focused and personal.

'300' Minus 299
Nov 19, 2007; 7 comments; 698 page views

By the time I wrote this movie review, I was mostly going for humor. Early on, though, I entertained the possibility of evolving into a film reviewer. And why not? Blogging seemed so easy in that first year: after only two months of writing this blog, I was actually contacted by a marketing person from one of the films I reviewed. I thought I might just hit the big time as a writer. Ha ha! Oh, to be so young as that again. (P.S., I liked that film, but the review is a poorly written mess.)

Goodbye, Little Friend
Nov 7, 2013; 9 comments; 505 page views

A post about my love/hate relationship with my dog, who was hit by a car.

Hillary Clinton Is Trustworthy
Jul 26, 2016; no comments; 448 page views

A link post. Wish it had made a bigger impression in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

10,000 Burpees: Day One
Apr 1, 2011; 6 comments; 344 page views

Nuff said.

The Myth of the Self-Made Man, Debunked Again
Oct 21, 2013; 5 comments; 325 page views

Remember when Ted Cruz was everywhere in 2013? God, that guy was insufferable, and it turns out that the apple didn't fall far from the tree, because his dad is just as bad. It is small comfort that he's now on bended knee to President-elect Trump.

***

I was going to dig through the archives to round up a few of my favorite posts, but I'll save that for another day.