The president has just signed an executive order that will strike a blow to the ‘horrible‘ scourge of clean water that is currently plaguing the nation. Republicans are applauding this bold move, but I think it is only out of their reflexive delight in anything that promotes pollution. I read the order and I’m not sure what it actually does, other than ask the
“Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (Administrator) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (Assistant Secretary) (to) review the final rule entitled “Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘Waters of the United States,'” 80 Fed. Reg. 37054 (June 29, 2015)”
which you can find here (and here, in case it somehow disappears from there). I think they’re trying to figure out the definition of water, so that anything that doesn’t meet the strict definition, in a legal sense, can be polluted, thus creating billions of jobs.
Also, the president gave a speech today, which, according to reliable sources, was, by far, the best speech that yumanity has ever experienced. Ever. Believe me. Other sources disputed this claim, but were quickly dismissed by the reliable ones as FAKE NEWS.
The president has promised that those leaking unfavorable information to the media would “pay a big price,” but, really, this stuff is pretty common.
One thing seems sure–the the new U.S. president is stirring up a wave of patriotism not seen for a long time–in Mexico. ¡Viva Trump!
Ok, it’s another slow news day. So, let’s look at the news feed from whitehouse.gov. There was a press conference today and Sean Spicer seemed to be in a pretty good mood. Here’s some legislation the president has signed. Snore. Who knew this administration would become boring? Is anything on TV tonight? Some kind of apprentice show or…something?
I don’t remember where I saw this image first, but I thought of it when I wanted to add a header to my blog site. I think it works well. It was taken by photographer Ryan Heffernan. He said I could use it here, so I will. Whatever your political affiliation, I feel like you can probably read something into this image that reflects events of the last month in the United States. If not, maybe you’ll just dig it for being a cool shot. I do.
I have to admit, I’ve been looking forward to seeing Trump attend the white house correspondents’ dinner. Maybe I’ve been secretly hoping to see another Colbert/Bush-type smack down (by John Oliver maybe?) So, I was a bit disappointed, but none too surprised, to hear that Trump will not be going. What I was surprised by were two things, 1) the nasty comments following the announcement on Fox News (which seemed quite similar to the nasty comments after the announcement on the Washington Post), and 2) how classy Trump’s own twitter announcement was. I’ll quote it here for you:
“I will not be attending the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!”
That was classy! I would write that. Normal people would write that. It wasn’t offensive. It didn’t insult anyone. It just said, ‘No thanks–you folks go have a good time.’ Boom. Done. Classy. I would vote for someone who could consistently communicate like that.
But, since I’m a whiny liberal who has to complain about something, I’ll share what I’ve been wondering for a while, namely, Is Trump a genius or a nincompoop (or both)? More specifically, does one now have to resort to childish name calling to be elected president of America in order to fix a broken system? Does one have to make enemies of both parties, the media, the intelligence apparatus, and half the country in order to fix the whole country? Does one have to spout lies and nonsense in order to fight half-truths and disinformation? Does one have to be a jackass in order to set things right? Or, is someone who acts like a jackass, actually just a jackass? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
A Google off shoot called Jigsaw has created a program to evaluate the ‘toxicity’ of comments. Websites like Wikipedia and the New York Times are hoping it will cut down on the trolling that plague their sites. (There was an interesting sample website up yesterday but today my website advisor thinks it’s toxic. Bummer.) I think it would be great to filter out useless, toxic comments on the internet, though I’m not sure what would be left.
It seems the administration is fed up with some of the FAKE NEWS (I’m not sure if this is an acronym but it always seems to be capitalized) newspapers and has dis-invited them from the party. I wonder if this was Sean Spicer‘s idea.
What bothers me is this. There seems to be no one to trust, in the opinion of the administration, except the administration. As far as I can imagine, there are only two examples of leaders who maintain that no one can be trusted but themselves. One is a cult and the other is a dictatorship. Maybe my imagination is limited.
So, in case you’re wondering where the clearing house is for non-FAKE NEWS, I guess it must be here at Donald’s own website. (Today’s news is that the stock market is higher because of something Trump said recently.) Also featured on the site is a variety of promotional material. You can get a nice shirt for only $18. I don’t think they have this yet at whitehouse.gov, but it may be coming soon to a Nordstrom’s near you.
A couple of professors at the University of Washington are offering the class “Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data“. It starts soon but you can do the readings now if you want to. I loved reading the essay on this topic by Harry Frankfurt. The biggest takeaway from that article for me was his distinction between the liar and the bullshitter, namely, that the liar is concerned about the truth. The liar specifically wants you to believe the opposite of the truth, so he must know the truth and engage with it. The bullshitter, on the other hand, takes no interest in the truth at all. He just wants to distract you. He might even tell you the truth, or some truth, if it advances his agenda. He just won’t tell you the whole truth in context. It’s sort of like if everyone wants to talks about some kind of Russian scandal and you instead go on a tirade about fake news. Anyway, kudos to UDub. I think every university should teach some version of this class and make it mandatory. If you can graduate from college without being able to tell shit from Shinola, what’s the point?
Speaking of fake news, I finally found out where it’s coming from (at least some of it), and, it turns out, it’s from just up the road! I’m so proud. Watch out, The Onion!
It turns out that Mexico really is sending us their worst people. Or, at least, they’re sending us back our worst people. Maybe they shouldn’t be so worked up about that wall after all.
And, the world has just lost the only tolerable liberal. I fear the debate may have just ended.
The Dakota Pipeline protesters seem to have run out of luck. One lesson seems to be, Be very careful who you let into the country. At least, that seems to be the marching orders for the Secretary of Homeland Security. It looks like he’s ready to get started on that wall to the south. United States Customs and Border Patrol
“shall immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall, including the attendant lighting, technology (including sensors), as well as patrol and access roads, along the land border with Mexico…”
I haven’t seen the Request for Proposal yet, but I haven’t really looked for it, either. I hope they get the lighting right. It really makes all the difference.
Did you know there’s a map of hate groups in the United States? (There’s also a report, if that’s more your style.) Some are just armchair haters and others are a bit more nasty. Most of them would like the immigrants to go away. I didn’t see any Native American groups listed, though. Here’s the worst part for me. The state with the most hate groups? California! That’s right, California. Man, I hate that.