The Watering Hole, August 31, 2015: Chris Christie vs. Technology

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In order for Governor Chris Christie’s plan to round up people who overstay their visas to work, he would have to invent time travel technology. And even though it’s impossible to know if time travel really has been invented if you’re not the one using it (if history has changed, so have all your memories), looking at his poll numbers it would appear he hasn’t yet. After all, if you started out doing poorly in your effort to become President, and you had the ability to travel back in time, wouldn’t you go back in time and change things so that you had the humongous lead in Republican polls and not some billionaire with an oversize ego and even worse ideas than yours? Actually I shouldn’t say Trump’s ideas are worse since he hasn’t explained how any of them could work except to say “Management.” But I digress. Anyway, without time travel, Christie’s plan to call in FedEx Chairman and CEO Fred Smith to help teach the government how to track people who have overstayed their visas can’t work. At least, not if your plan involves finding any of the estimated eleven million people who are here illegally. Well, listen to him try to explain his plan this past Saturday. [Video via Think Progress.]

Christie’s campaign spokesperson (or “spox” as they’ve come to be called these days) is none other than FedEx CEO Fred Smith’s daughter, Samantha. It’s possible that’s a coincidence, and not at all related to Christie mentioning FedEx as part of his plan. It’s also possible that Ebola-infected monkeys will come flying out of Christie’s butt and nest in Donald Trump’s hair. One can dream, but one should probably seek professional counseling or be more diligent about taking one’s meds. But I digress. Christie said that “at any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane.” But they can’t actually tell you where that package is “at any moment”. In order to do that, each package would have to have something like an RFID tag, which transmits a low-level signal that can be tracked by satellite, and FedEx doesn’t do that for every package they deliver. What they can tell you is where the package was when the bar code label on it was last scanned. And they don’t get scanned all the time. FedEx drivers pick up and deliver hundreds and hundreds of packages each day, so scanning every single package at every stop would be impractical. You can find out when your package got put on the plane, but until it lands and the label is scanned again, all you can find out is that it is in transit. So it is not true that FedEx can tell you where a package is “at any moment.” Christie tried to explain to Chris Wallace that of course he knows people aren’t packages. [Video via Raw Story]

But to use this technology that can find the people who overstayed their visas, you would have to find the people who overstayed their visas and give them some kind of bar code that can be scanned, or a visa with an RFID chip in it. Then you would have to install scanners all over America that can detect these bar codes and RFID tags, and keep their current locations handy so that the microsecond their visas expire, you’ll know exactly where to go pick them up. Assuming that in addition to buying and using all this technology, you also came up with the money to have them picked up, housed while being processed, and transported to a waiting government official in Mexico. Whose taxes are you going to raise to pay for all that? I suggest Donald Trump’s, for starters. Followed by all those millionaires and billionaires who got ginormous taxes cut back in the Reagan days, heralding the beginning of the destruction of the Middle Class in America. The calls for balancing the budget (a completely unnecessary and self-defeating goal) were nothing more than the legalized transfer of wealth to the top 1%, and most of that to the top 0.1%. We were told that the rich people would use their tax cuts to create jobs and the wealth would trickle down to the rest of us. Yes, they actually told us that. And it was complete bullshit and they knew it. Because rich people do not create jobs. Consumer demand creates jobs. A need for a product or service develops, and someone starts up a business to meet the demand for that need. And it isn’t always a rich person doing it. How many times have you heard of the guy who had nothing and started a multi-million dollar business? What rich people often do is give that guy several hundred million for his business and take it over themselves. But no matter how big that business gets, it isn’t the owner that created the jobs, it’s the consumer demand of the Middle Class that created the vast majority of those jobs. Without that demand, there would be no reason for that business owner, either the guy starting out who hasn’t yet made his first million, or that guy with the hilarious Trumpadour hairstyle, to hire people in the first place. But I digress.

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to discuss Chris Christie, Donald Trump, roadkill you may have personally worn on your head, or anything else you wish to discuss.

Sunday Roast: Happy Zooniversary!!

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Freddie just owns that whole stadium, doesn’t he?  Absolutely fantastic.  :)

Anyhoo, I guess TheZoo has been a thing for a little over eight years — which is kinda nuts, actually — but in a good way!

Our Critters and Zoosters “met” about ten years ago on the ThinkProgress blog, when it was just a wee little thing with barely any comments.  Awwww, it was so cute.  Damn, look at it now!!  As good things tend to go on the interwebs, it eventually became overwhelmed with smelly ol’ trolls and several of us decided to just bug out — hence TheZoo!

We used to be a more serious blog, with lots of political posts, cartoons, and massive snark, which was linked on occasion by Crooks & Liars and ThinkProgress itself.  Srsly, cool, right?

These days we’re a comfy little online neighborhood pub, with daily open threads by the Critters containing wisdom, poetry, essays on politics/religion, photos, videos, the occasional bizarre rant (usually by that Zooey nutter), live-blogging political debatey-type things, and a multitude of insightful/snarky/sarcastic/snide/thoughtful/naughty comments by our loyal and well-loved Zoosters.

Thank you so much for hanging out, all y’all, and Happy Eight Years, everyone!

This is our daily open thread — Party on!

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 29th, 2015: Let’s Get Away From It All

This ought to take your minds off of the insanity of the Republican “presidential hopefuls”, if only for a little while.

The Weather Channel has posted the finalists for its 2015 “It’s Amazing Out There” photo contest. So enjoy some cool photos and forget about Teh Stupid.

Here’s one of last year’s photo finalists, a cool shot taken by Dwayne Kear:
2014 Its Amazing Out There photo submitted by Dwayne Kear

So go ahead, refresh your sense of wonder at something other than jaw-dropping idiocy.

This is our daily Open Thread – enjoy!

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 24, 2015: The Rebel Flag Is Not About ‘Patriotism’

So the Weekend Folks at Fox and Friends (say that three times backwards in front of a candle-lit mirror and it will summon them) are having a sad over the decline in acceptability of the Battle Flag of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia (hereafter conveniently, if technically inaccurately, known as the Confederate Flag, the Rebel Flag, the Traitor Flag, The Slavery Lover Flag, the Racist Flag, and the White Supremacist Flag II) because they wrongly believe it’s because Liberals are trying to ban all expressions of “patriotism.”

Before going on to hear what an actual documentarian on the Civil War has to say about what it, and the battles flags under which the South fought, represented, let’s clear up a couple of things. First Tucker “This is not about a school district in Tennessee” Carlson. it is about what’s happening in this one county school district in Tennessee. That would be the first thing an actual journalist would make clear to his audience, but I digress. Second, it wasn’t “Liberals” who were “banning the American flag.” it was the county officials in this one school district. Now, FTR, I think they went too far in banning all flags, especially the American Flag. It’s without question a violation of First Amendment rights, but so too is the banning of the Confederate Flag. Don’t misunderstand me. It may sound like I’m agreeing with Tucker Carlson, but I am not. In this instance, he happens to be right about it being wrong for them to ban all flags, but he’s right for entirely the wrong reasons. He wants to turn what is a simple violation of First Amendment rights into a baseless attack on Liberals and Liberalism, by using the tried and true Conservative tactic of the false framing, or straw man argument.

To continue with the Wrongness of Being Tucker, he tried to blame what’s happening in this on, well, you try to make sense of this:

“This is a about a long-term trend where the people who run everything — the elites in Washington, New York and L.A. — despise rural America and its culture, suspect anybody that doesn’t live in their cities of being a bigot, and they’re trying to crush that culture by banning its symbols.”

While it true that Dickson County is represented by a Democrat in the House, he had nothing whatsoever to do with this local policy change. Nor did anyone in New York. Nor did anyone in L.A. Nor do the people in Washington, New York and L.A. “despise rural America and its culture.” In this free society, people who live on the coasts have chosen to live a different lifestyle than those who live in the middle of the country. It’s not an either/or choice, Tucker. It’s not a matter of binary thinking – that if you like one thing you must hate the other. Liberals, whom you despise for the way we think, do not think the way you think we think. You are projecting, and it is showing us how YOU think about the situation. And we don’t think of anyone who doesn’t live in our cities of being a bigot. The explanation is similar to what John Stuart Mill said about Conservatives. “While it true that not all conservative people are stupid, it is most certainly true that most stupid people are conservative.” (Some 300 years later, scientific studies have confirmed this.) It’s not that people in the cities think of the people in rural America as bigots, it’s that bigots tend to prefer not to live in the multi-cultural cities on the coasts. It’s not that everybody in rural America is a bigot, it’s that most bigots prefer to live in rural America. What concerns people like me is how welcome they are to live there. But that’s a topic for another post, as my grandfather used to say before he died in 1959. (He was ahead of his time.)

I’ll get back to why what you said is bullshit, but first let’s make clear about what this “heritage,” this “culture,” you’re referring to really is. I won’t give it away by mentioning “Slavery.” Oops.

It’s not that we want to “crush” that culture (there you go projecting again, believing that we Liberals think of resolving differences of opinion through violent conflicts), it’s that we want people to understand the truth about what that flag represents. It represents a way of life that is no longer American. That heritage, that culture, you so lovingly defend even though you were born and raised in California, was founded on the premise of White Supremacy, and the simple proof of that is the way black people have been treated even 150 years after the war ended. That part of the country has never wanted to accept black people as equals. Not legally, not officially, not formally, but worst of all, not honestly. Tucker blathered on.

“Not just the Confederate flag, but the American flag,” he continued. “They hate expressions of patriotism. It makes them uncomfortable. Let’s be honest.”

If you’re equating a love of the Rebel Flag with patriotism, I’m going to have to ask you which dictionary you’re using because, by definition, the Rebel Flag (the one used by the Traitors) cannot be called a flag of Patriotism equal to that earned by the American Flag (the winning side, I might add.) Like most of the Conservatives we hear on public media (there, I didn’t generalize too much) and the people who think they’re right (no, still not too much), Tucker Carlson engages in too much binary thinking because it’s the easiest kind of low-effort thinking there is. It’s one thing or its opposite. If you don’t support the American Flag 100% and everything she stands for, then you must be a Traitor (like those Rebels who denounced the United States and formed their own country and started a war with us.) If you’re uncomfortable, it doesn’t mean you hate something. We are capable of nuance, of seeing shades of gray. What makes me uncomfortable about the public displays of patriotism I see are the bigoted, racist people doing it. I don’t like being associated with those people. The people who promote the symbols of Slavery are people whose values I do not share. And when you try to pass them off as good American citizens, I have to wonder from which dictionary you found your definition of “good.”

This is our daily open thread. Feel free to say horrible things about Tucker Carlson, or discuss anything else you wish.

Sunday Roast: Buh bye!

Hey kids, let’s join the Young Turks guys and take the argument to end birthright citizenship to its logical conclusion…oops.  Start packing, y’all.

This is our daily open thread — Rested and tan?  Wha…?

The Watering Hole, Saturday, August 22nd, 2015: (T)Rump Droppings

First, here’s several nut-filled nuggets from Trump’s interview with Chris Cuomo on CNN:

“Hillary’s record as secretary of state was a disaster…She was in favor, totally in favor, of the Iraq War, which is obviously not a good soundbite.”

Immigration word salad:

“You know, this country is so politically correct. Nobody wants to take a stance on anything…Now they like to use the word undocumented because it’s more political — I don’t use that word. They’re illegal immigrants. They came over illegally. Some are wonderful people, and they’ve been here for a while. They’ve got to go out. They’ve got to leave…These people — the really good ones, and we have some great ones — we’re going to try and expedite so they can come back.  But they’re going to come back legally.”  [According to the article, Trump “said he wouldn’t need to amend the Constitution to do it.”]

“No. 1, the 14th Amendment is very questionable as to whether or not somebody can come over, have a baby and immediately that baby is a citizen. OK?”

“Amending is too big a deal. It’s going to take — it’ll be two terms. I’d be in my second term or my eighth year by the time — assuming everything went smoothly. … I believe you can win it legally.”

According to the article, “He said people can’t be allowed to just “walk over” the border to give birth.”

“You have people on the border and in one day they walk over, have a baby. And now all of a sudden we’re supposed to pay the baby … medical, Social Security…”

“Trump defended his comments [on getting his military strategy by watching current and retired generals on TV]…saying it allows him to get a lot of advice quickly.”

“I watch your show. And I watch other shows. And you have the best generals, the best everything … frankly probably better than I could get,” Trump said. “What do I know? I’m a man that made a great fortune. I’m gonna make our country rich and I’m gonna make our country great.”

“I think that I would be a great sleeper on the military, because people wouldn’t think it’s my strength, but I think it would be one of my strengths…One of the things I noticed in your poll, I came out way, way ahead of everybody on the economy, and a lot of people weren’t surprised to see that, but I also came way out ahead on the military … and ISIS. I would build up our military so strong, so powerful that nobody will mess with us.”

Trump was asked “how he would respond if Pope Francis told him that capitalism can be toxic.”

“I’d say, ‘ISIS wants to get you. You know that ISIS wants to go in and take over the Vatican? You have heard that. You know, that’s a dream of theirs, to go into Italy.”

“I’m gonna have to scare the Pope because it’s the only thing…The Pope, I hope, can only be scared by God. But the truth is — you know, if you look at what’s going on — they better hope that capitalism works, because it’s the only thing we have right now. And it’s a great thing when it works properly.”

It gets worse, as seen in last evening’s thread on ThinkProgress about Trump’s rally in Alabama.

“Oreos. Oreos. I love Oreos, but I’ll never eat them again.”

“Women’s health issues. We’re gonna fix it.”

[According to the CNN article, Trump “said his wife and daughter both encouraged him to talk more about women’s issues after the (Jeb Bush “I’m not sure we need half a billion dollars for women’s health issues”) controversy.”

“They said, you know, ‘The one thing you should do is talk a little bit about women’s health issues, because you’re so good on it, [y]ou know about it. And you cherish women. You want to protect women’. … I will protect women more than anybody.”]

“I swear to you I will never ever ride a bicycle.”

Had enough Trump for one morning? Yeah, me too.

This is our daily Open Thread…so talk about anything you want.

The Watering Hole, Monday, August 17th, 2015: Grab Bag

Just a few odds and ends to get your Monday started.

(R) Presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson has already proven that he “don’t know much about biology” when it comes to homosexuality, women’s reproductive and overall health, and where the fetal brain tissue came from on which he used to experiment. He’s also shown that he “don’t know much about” #BlackLivesMatter, or about prisons. Now Carson shows that he “don’t know much about history” when it comes to foreign policy, the Middle East, or the meaning of “anti-semitism.” In particular, he shows in an op-ed piece in The Jerusalem Post that he “don’t know much about” the Iran Nuclear Deal either.

A few items from Daily Kos: one oldie that makes a nice palate-cleanser; and a recent one that ends with an eloquent message [some of the comments afterwards are excellent as well.]

And for the funny, ICYMI (as I did), John Oliver and friends teach Sex Education.

This is our daily Open Thread–pick a topic, any topic.