The Watering Hole, Monday, May 8, 2017: Preserve Net Neutrality

The new FCC Commissioner, whoever he is, doesn’t believe in protecting net neutrality. And why not? He used to be a lawyer for Verizon. (The president who appointed him doesn’t even understand the concept of net neutrality, so there’s no help there.) On last night’s “Last Week Tonight”, John Oliver explained why ISPs were now able to be governed by the FCC. In short, ISPs were re-classified as businesses that could be governed under Title II of the Communications Act, instead of under Title I where the Supreme Court said the FCC lacked that authority. This new commissioner doesn’t seem to understand why it was necessary to do that, and thinks it’s really bad and should be changed. You must tell them No. In addition to contacting your Members of Congress, you can leave a comment on the FCC’s Comments page, if you can find it. Since it was changed from the much simpler comment system from three years ago, one has a right to assume they deliberately want to make it harder for you to complain and then say later, “Well, nobody used the comment system to complain.” This was how Fox News Channel defended their star host, Bill O’Reilly, from claims of sexual harassment – that nobody used the internal complaint system to complain, so they have a hard time believing any of it happened. John Oliver explained the tedious process of what you would now have to go through just to get to the FCC’s comments page. He and his great staff wanted to make it easier for you to get there, so they created this website:

go fcc yourself dot com

It skips through the confusing pages and inconveniently located links to get to where you can leave a comment to tell them to preserve net neutrality and Title II. If it works. I tried it and it seemed to go to a mostly blank page except for a little blue circle with a person’s outline in it. Maybe he crashed the FCC’s commenting system just like he did three years ago. Well, his viewers did.

Now, please go there and tell them to what to do, and then enjoy today’s open thread.

Trumpcare Spurs Mass Exodus

In the wake of the House passage of Trumpcare, seniors by the thousands are packing up and leaving Florida, heading north to Canada. Beginning midday on Thursday, interstate highways 75 and 95 have seen a steady stream of Winnebagos, campers and pickups hauling 5th wheels heading north.

Low income seniors are fleeing to Canada en masse to avoid Trumpcare’s massive premium increases. For example, a low income senior making $27,000 per year could see her net premiums increase from $1,700 to $14,600 a year. And that’s just based on age. Since most senior citizens have one or more preexisting conditions, they will be forced into Trumpcare’s high-risk/high premium pools. Even moderate income seniors with preexisting conditions could see premiums exceeding their total income. For those with life-threatening conditions such as cancer, Trumpcare is seen as a death sentence.

Even though Trumpcare has yet to pass the Senate, a sampling of seniors at a rest stop along I-75 in Georgia indicates they are not willing to risk their lives on the Senate, especially since Trumpcare can get through the Senate with a bare majority. With 52 Republican Senators, and Vice President Pence’s tie-breaking vote, most seniors fear anything coming out of the Senate would be even more devastating than the House version.

Canada responded to the miles-long string of migrating seniors late Friday night by closing border crossings from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. As a result, traffic has backed up, causing gridlock in the Tri-State area. Canadian Mounties accompanied by trained grizzly bears are patrolling the woods and forests along the border to prevent illegal crossings.

Meanwhile housing prices in Florida have seen the bottom fall out of the market, as seniors fleeing to Canada flood the market with houses for sale.  The Florida housing market has already taken a major hit as rising sea levels put mortgages under water, along with an estimated 1 house in 8 being literally under water.

Seniors on the West Coast are more laid-back, as Washington, Oregon and California State Legislatures continue to work on leaving the Union.

 

The Watering Hole, Monday, April 24th, 2017: The Boob Tube Prez

In the same troubling vein as the recent Time Magazine interview with President trump, here’s a few disturbing articles about trump’s overriding fascination with all things TV.
A recent Raw Story article demonstrates the incompetence of both trump and his aides, and shows that trump’s is a presidency without anything resembling an “administration”:

“Some of President Donald Trump’s top aides worry that too much of his time is unsupervised, which — in the past — has led to serious unforced errors that undermine him and his administration.”

Yeah, not to mention the entire country, and world stability.

“And while some advisers support the president’s unconventional approach to the job, others worry that these holes in the president’s schedule are where he goes awry and “watches too much TV”, gets overexcited and posts inflammatory — frequently inaccurate — rants online or speaks by phone with people who encourage his worst instincts.”

What trump’s advisors SHOULD primarily be worrying about is the fact that there are so many “holes in the president’s schedule.” His aides should be scheduling tutors in remedial civics, the Constitution, presidential protocol, history, geography, oh, hell, EVERYTHING he doesn’t seem to have a clue about when it comes to the U.S. government. Maybe if they tried teaching him via videos on a big-screen TV – and kept referring to it as “Reality TV” – they might get him to learn something.

From a second Raw Story article:

“The Washington Post said Sunday that in addition to fretting over what the president will do if left alone too long, Trump’s aides and advisers struggle to keep the president from consuming too much TV or watching things that will upset him and cause him to erupt on Twitter.”

Yes, the President of the United States, the most powerful person in the world, needs a babysitter. I think it would be more helpful if they hired a boot camp drill instructor.

A few excerpts from the Washington Post article by Ashley Parker and Robert Costa:

““President Trump is someone who comes to the White House with a sophisticated understanding of how to communicate, the power of television, the power of imagery, the power of message, and how message, messenger and delivery all work together,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president.”

Although Kellyanne managed to actually string words together that made a somewhat coherent sentence, her seeming point that trump’s TV savvy makes him better qualified as a president is ridiculous. The crudeness and ignorance of the actual content of trump’s communications, messages and delivery overshadow any “sophisticated understanding” of the medium used.

“He is also a natural showman. During the campaign, he riveted viewers with his raucous rallies, where he often spoke for more than hour without any notes or teleprompters. And in TV interviews, he sometimes offers tips on matters including lighting and chair placement, with an intuitive sense of what makes for good TV.”

Being a “natural showman” is all well and good for magicians, game-show hosts, carnival barkers, and snake-oil salesman, but again, it is not the top qualification for running a working government. And trump’s speeches where he rambled for “more than [an] hour without notes or teleprompters” are infamous for their non-sequiturs, weird tangents, and outright made-up bullshit.

“During a small working lunch at the White House last month, the question of job security in President Trump’s tumultuous White House came up, and one of the attendees wondered whether press secretary Sean Spicer might be the first to go.

The president’s response was swift and unequivocal. “I’m not firing Sean Spicer,” he said, according to someone familiar with the encounter. “That guy gets great ratings. Everyone tunes in.”

Trump even likened Spicer’s daily news briefings to a daytime soap opera, noting proudly that his press secretary attracted nearly as many viewers.

For Trump — a reality TV star who parlayed his blustery-yet-knowing on-air persona into a winning political brand — television is often the guiding force of his day, both weapon and scalpel, megaphone and news feed.”

This is a president for whom “ratings” and appearance are more important than honesty and integrity. A president who is superficial, crass, and so limited in his ability to learn or mature that, at 70, he still bases decisions as president on what he sees on cable TV, particularly Fox, his favorite propaganda network. A frightening concept, right?

What I find almost as frightening is that the Washington Post article isn’t screaming “THIS PRESIDENT IS TOTALLY FUBAR”, or even “THIS PRESIDENT IS INCOMPETENT”, let alone “THIS IS NOT NORMAL!”

This is our Open Thread – say anything you want.

The Watering Hole, 4/19/17: Trump Creates New Cabinet Position

Trump signed a new executive order over the Easter weekend creating a new Cabinet-level position: Department of Linguistics.

The Department of Linguistics department will be tasked with removing foreign words from the English language. Over the past centuries too many foreign words have illegally immigrated into the English language, destroying its purity and greatness as the greatest of all languages. Removing these foreign words is a high priority for the Trump Administration as it continues its quest to Make America Great Again.

Insiders report Sarah Palin is highly favored to become the new Secretary of Linguistics.

OPEN THREAD

The Watering Hole: Sunday, April 16th, 2017: Easter Sunday Roast

The Tappan Zee Bridge, which crosses the Hudson not very far to the south of us, has just been equipped with a live-feed Peregrine Falcon camera. So now that April the giraffe has calved, one can switch gears and watch for a hatching and subsequent hatchlings.

Peregrine chicks are cute little balls of white fluff:

It’s hard to believe that those adorably ungainly hatchlings eventually turn into such impressively majestic birds of prey:

And for those who celebrate Easter, here’s the Easter Rat to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

This is our Open Thread – just go with it.