Category Archives: Politics

“Doing Good with My Money”

It’s quite hot, so I decided to go knocking on strangers’ doors to get them to sign ballot initiatives.

I talked to one voter who said to me, “I’ve been a Democrat my whole life, but now I went Republican because the Democrats are giving all my money away to the f*cking illegals. Do you have something that stops that?”

I said, “No, I’m sorry. I don’t have any antipsychotics with me at the moment that I can give to you.”

No, I didn’t actually say that.

In hindsight, though, I regret not asking why on earth she thinks this. We know that human beings who commit a misdemeanor — not a crime —* by entering the country illegally do contribute about $12 billion to the US economy annually without being eligible to, for example, vote or collect Social Security.*

So, yeah, I’ll probably never know why she believes that all of her money is going to “illegals.”


Hispanic Share of Population in Arizona, 1870-2012
Source

She follows this up by saying, “I love Trump ‘cause he’s stopping them. He’s doing good with my money.”

“I see,” I say. “Well, I have this Outlaw Dirty Money petition here.” I explain to her what it does. She’s not interested, though. I guess she can’t see how that one “does good with her money.” I walk away. She shouts down the street, “Do you have one on legalizing marijuana? I’ll sign that one!”

“Sorry, no!” I say.

Immigration’s interesting. We’ve had a border since the country started, and people have pretty much come and gone as they pleased. They’d fulfill seasonal manual labor needs in agriculture or construction and many would then return home. Meanwhile, those that stay commit crimes at much lower rates than the native born.*


Source

I wouldn’t say that any of this means that we need open borders. I do think that we need to stop believing untruths about immigrants, though. Somewhere back there, we all had an immigrant family member. Can you prove that all of your ancestors came here legally? I certainly can’t. Plus, for 99% of us, the only thing we’ve ever done to deserve to be in the country is pay taxes. (Though, some, like the president, don’t even do that.)

If somebody does commit a misdemeanor by entering the country via an unofficial channel, then pays taxes, doesn’t commit other crimes, and just works hard for years and years, why the hell are we trying to punish them? Yeah, I don’t know either. It seems dumb and probably villainous.

Anyway, another person opens his door. Looks to be around my age. Ornate mustache. He’s got the ends of the ‘stache curled up into kind of a spiral. I tell him I’m a precinct committeeperson in his legislative district collecting signatures for some ballot initiatives. He asks what I’ve got. I say that one of them is Invest in Education. He says, “I don’t know what more they want. They’re already getting a 20% pay raise.”

I say, “That just goes into the schools overall. It doesn’t necessarily go directly to teachers.” Last I checked, there also wasn’t a guaranteed funding source, so it’s uncertain that schools or teachers will see any extra money. Invest in Ed doesn’t necessarily go directly to teachers either. It at least gives a funding source, though.*

He’s unconvinced. I say, “Well, I also have Outlaw Dirty Money which makes it so different organizations and lobbyists have to be more transparent in their political contributions.”

He says, “I’ll have to look into that more.”

One thing that’s strange to me about school funding generally is why we make schools scrounge and beg for money. I’ve never heard of a school that was just too well-funded, where students just had too many people caring for them and too many people teaching them. I understand that we need to worry about wasted money, but maybe we could make sure that teachers actually have competitive pay and kids are able to be transported to school and be properly fed before we get too worried about that.

Another person signs all three petitions. We talk about how stupid coal is in terms of health and in terms of jobs. While signing Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona she says, “I sympathize with the people who work in coal, but we need to retrain them for jobs in clean energy. We need to stop living in the past.” (I always like it when people make my arguments for me.) She said she used to be a Reagan Republican but that her social views have come to supersede her economic views.

It’s an interesting sentiment, and I think it comes from the Republican Party doing a great job of convincing people that it’s better for the economy. In reality, blue states do the same economically overall. If you look at things like unemployment and personal wealth for all 50 states, you find that neither party can really be boastful on these issues. This is worse news for the Republicans, though, because they advertise themselves as the “business lubrication” party. If they’re actually no better for economic flourishing than the Democrats, though, what’s left? To me, mostly just misinformation and collective delusion.

Real Constitutionalists and Grumpy Spouses

Another fine day of canvassing for my local candidates.

One conversation:

“Hi, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats.” (That’s me speaking.)

“Democrats? Oh, no. I’m a constitutionalist. I believe in the Constitution.”

“Oh, great! Same here!”

“No, I’m a real constitutionalist.”

“Yeah? Me too.”

And we go back and forth like that for about 45 minutes.

Kidding! She just said, “Uh huh. Right. Bye.” and closed the door.



Legislative District 17


Another convo:

“Hi, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats.”

Roughly 50-year-old male answers the door:
“The Democrats?”

He literally thumbs his nose at me. Which I thought was pretty funny.

Thing is, I was looking for a female voter at that house. I can’t tell you how many times I get a grumpy spouse who doesn’t like Democrats or doesn’t like being bothered, but then I ask for their spouse and find their spouse extremely receptive.

I remember one of my first times canvassing this happened. The spouse answered and was like, “We don’t want any.”

His partner overhears and says, “Who is it?”

“The Democrats.”

“Get out of here!” she tells the spouse, literally pushing him out of the doorway. Then she signed whatever petitions I had and complained about ol’ President Pussygrab.


Another convo:

“Hi, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats. I’m out collecting signatures for two candidates who are running for the state Senate and House in our district.”

“The Democrats? Oh my god. Where do I sign?”

“Haha! Yeah, I talk to people all the time who are so happy to find that there are others of us out there.”

“Yeah, my friend said to me the other day, ‘You ever feel like the white speck in the potting soil?’ I was like, ‘Yeah!'”

I tell her that there are more white specks than she probably realizes. (Not my analogy, folks!) Actually, most people I speak to don’t realize that the state is almost equally split between people who lean Republican and people who lean Democratic.

Of course, that varies from district to district. I’m kinda lucky in that I’m in a purple district with great candidates who have a real shot at winning.

Sagan, 22, “Peddling Without a License”

The fall of 1956 temporarily separated Lynn and Carl. Sagan began work at the University of Chicago’s astronomy school in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. This is the home of the Yerkes Observatory. Completed in 1897, the forty-inch Yerkes refractor was housed in a brick-and-terra-cotta domed building. It was by then a storied relic.

Williams Bay had a population of barely 1,000. For city-bred Sagan, it presented a culture shock. For the first time in his life, Sagan encountered anti-Semitism. He also ran into trouble with the law. He attempted to raise funds for the Democratic Party, asking householders for a dollar each. As Sagan told it,

I spent all morning going door to door. And I got the most amazing responses: “The what party?” or “Shh! the master will hear!” or “Wait right here, young fellow, and I’ll get my shotgun.” Finally I was arrested by the sheriff, who had had innumerable complaints, on the grounds of peddling without a license. They figured I was peddling receipts at a dollar each. And I was remanded to the custody of the observatory director, who I don’t think understood anything about it, but just said to me, “Be a good boy.”

—From the bio Carl Sagan, 1999, by William Poundstone

“Everything’s gay, gay, gay now.”

More fun this evening chatting with Chandler voters.

The first person I talk to comes out guns blazing. I don’t even knock on his door. He just pops out with a “Hey there!”

“Hey, I’m Clif. I’m with the Democrats. I’m collecting signatures for some local candidates.”

“I used to be a Democrat,” he says, “back when they were conservative. Now they’re for the homosexuals and abortion, and they’re against God.”

I say, “Well, you know, I’m not a big fan of abortion, but I think the Democrats have it right. Number one, strangely enough, making more restrictive abortion laws doesn’t actually reduce the rate of abortion.* It’s like Barry Goldwater said: ‘It’s always been around, and it always will be.’* Things we know that help reduce the rate of abortion, though, like increased access to birth control and sex ed are things Democrats are generally for.”*

“Well, that’s true,” he says, “and that’s why I’m not strictly for one side or the other. But, I don’t know why everything has to be gay, gay, gay now. You can’t turn on the TV these days without homosexuals in everything. You know, I believe in the Bible, and the Bible makes it totally clear that homosexuality is wrong. Take Sodom and Gomorrah: God sends angels down to Lot, and the wicked men of the city try to have sex with them. Lot offers them his daughters — now that part’s terrible — but the men want the angels.”

I say, “Yeah, but I would point out that there are different ways to interpret these things. There are people out there who believe — I’m sure — just as strongly in God and the Bible who don’t think homosexuality is bad. In that verse you mentioned, for instance, they might say that God’s problem with the wicked men was not that they were homosexuals but that they wanted to rape strangers. Maybe God is just against people who want to rape other people.”*

He says, “Yeah, there are a lot of people out there who want to distort the truth. They try to call people like me an extremist just because I’ve been married to my wife for 52 years.”

I say, “Well, I wouldn’t call you that. I would just say that I have gay friends myself who I care for a lot. They’re people who I think suffered because they grew up around people who told them that they were bad. They couldn’t change this ‘bad’ thing about themselves, so it made them deeply unhappy. I think that’s terrible.”

He then tells me a bizarre story about a handsome nephew who he says was turned gay by his mom and sisters who would dress him up like a girl, in dresses and makeup. I let that one go. I liked that the guy called his nephew “a real head-turner,” though.

This was like a 20-minute conversation that I won’t recount all of here. It turns out that the guy doesn’t like Jeff Flake because Flake’s nephew apparently … neglected some dogs? The guy doesn’t like McCain because McCain is responsible for the shoddy condition of the VA apparently.

He talks about how you can’t have the Bible in schools anymore, but you can have the “yin yang.” I kinda regret not finding out what the “yin yang” is ….

Trump, though. There’s somethin’ about that Trump guy. He says, “Trump’s a guy who can’t be bought ’cause he’s already a billionaire.”

As I almost always do when I hear Trump’s name, I begin to vomit uncontrollably. No, I’m kidding. I just vomit in my mind. The mind vomit helps to cloud the mental image of Trump.

This ex-Democrat then says, “And the Mueller investigation — the Democrats are just dragging it out. It’s just a waste of taxpayer money.”

I start to say, “Well, the Republicans spent a lot of taxpayer money to investigate Hillary….”

He jumps in: “Well, it’s been good talking to you.”

Then, he kinda cocks an eye and says, “Good night and … God bless.”

“Thanks for talking to me!” I say. “Have a good one!”

One convert at a time.

Celebratory Gunfire – Where Do the Bullets Land?

From 1985 through 1992, 118 people were treated at King/Drew for such injuries on those holidays and 38 of them died, Dr. Gary J. Ordog and his colleagues reported recently in the Journal of Trauma. A full 75% of the survivors suffered severe long-term disabilities, the doctors reported, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, seizures and chronic pain.
[…] The mortality rate from such random shootings, about 32%, is much higher than the 2% to 6% normally associated with gunshot wounds, Ordog said. That is probably because 77% of the victims were hit in the head, which is especially vulnerable to gunshot wounds, he added.*

“Data show the 77% of reported celebratory firing results in injury to the head, 12% to the shoulder, 5% to the upper back, 2% to the posterior chest and neck, respectively, and 1% to the upper arm, leg, and foot each.”*



Mario Jovanovski (top of head)
7/4/2016 – Columbus, OH
“Mario Jovanovski, 21, and his girlfriend Amanda McGarran met at John Bishop Park Sunday evening right before the fireworks started. ‘The first fireworks went off and he grabbed his head and said babe, I’ve just been shot,’ said McGarran. She said the impact knocked him to his knees.”*


Diego Duran (top of head)
1/1/2012 – Ruskin, FL
Entry:

Termination (no exit):

“The bullet went into his left front parietal part of the cranium, the direction was diagonal. On it’s way, diagonally, it did fracture, I believe, two of the facial bones, one that’s behind the nose and one behind the eyeball. And, it was trapped behind the [right front cheekbone].”*

“ ‘It’s like I have to be cautious of my head. I have a shunt, it’s a tube that goes all the way down to my stomach and it drains fluids,’ he said as he traced the path through his body.”*


Joe Jaskolka (top of head)
1/1/1999 – Philadelphia, PA
“But police still don’t know the caliber of bullet that struck Jaskolka on the top of his head because the projectile is still lodged near the base of the boy’s brain.”*


Shannon Smith (top of head)
6/16/1999 – Phoenix, AZ
“A single bullet had struck Shannon on the top of her head. Police believe it was fired straight up within a mile of Shannon’s home. Several residents reported hearing gunfire the night Shannon was killed, but no suspects ever emerged.”*


Brendon Mackey (top of head)
7/4/2016 – Midlothian, VA
“A seven-year-old boy died Friday after being shot in the head by a stray bullet Thursday night while watching Fourth of July fireworks, police say.” […] “It wasn’t until the boy was taken to the hospital that doctors discovered a bullet wound in the top of his head, Badgerow says, according to the station.”*


Aaliyah Boyer (top of head)
1/1/2013 – Elkton, MD
“Aaliyah Boyer was killed when Cecil County Sheriff’s officials said a bullet fell from the sky and struck her on the top of her head.”*


Marquel Peters (top of head)
1/1/2010 – Decatur, GA
“The stray bullet came through the roof of the sanctuary of the Church of God of Prophecy and struck Marquel in the top of his head.”* “The boy, playing with a video game, and his mother were waiting for a 12:30 a.m. concert to begin at Church of God of Prophecy near Decatur when Marquel was shot in the head by a stray bullet. Marquel was on the floor, crying and bleeding, when medics arrived, but he died later at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.”*


Grant Pinkstaff (near top of head)
7/4/2016 – Tulsa, OK
“The bullet entered near the top of his head and traveled under the skin around his skull. It is now resting permanently near the back of his head.”*


Javier Suarez Rivera (top of head)
1/1/2015 – Houston, TX
“Friends and family gather in support of 16-year-old Keyla Rivera, whose father died about 1 a.m. Thursday in southeast Houston after being hit in the top of his head by a bullet.”*


Brandon Yam (top of head)
7/4/2014
“Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reports indicate that around 9:25 p.m., Yam was struck ‘in the top of the head by a stray bullet.’ ”*


Amy Silberman (top of head)
12/31/1994 – New Orleans, LA
“[O]n New Year’s Eve 1994, Boston tourist Amy Silberman was killed by a falling bullet while watching fireworks on the Moonwalk along the Mississippi river. One moment she was listening to music and talking to friends in the massive holiday crowd, the next she was falling to the ground, a bullet lodged in the top of her head.”*


Richard Smeraldo (bill of cap)
7/4/2012 – Safety Harbor, FL
“The bullet traveled through the bill of Smeraldo’s cap, into the bridge of his nose, out his right nostril, through the upper portion of his bottom lip and exited though his lower chin.”*


Roof of House
7/4/2016 – Hencrico, VA
“Police say the victim reported gunfire around 9:45 p.m., with one round flying through the roof of her home. Officers determined it wasn’t intentional; it was celebratory gunfire, shooting illegally into the air.”*


Roof of House
1/4/2016 – Northland, OH
“A Glenhaven Drive resident also reported that apparent celebratory gunfire damaged his house. In a report filed at 9 a.m. Jan. 1, the man said a .45-caliber round crashed through the roof sometime after 2 a.m.”*


Roof of House
1/1/2016 – Sacramento, CA
“ ‘We just heard the bullet go right through the ceiling,’ she said. In a panic, Jimenez jumped up only to find the bullet inches away from the couch where she and her three young children were sitting.’ “*


Hood of Car
1/1/2016 – Stockton, CA


Windshield of Car
1/1/2016


Branon Vaughan
7/4/2016 – Tulsa, OK
“The force of the impact made Branon Vaughan stumble left, then to the right, finally dropping to a knee with his arms on a wall to brace himself. The 35-year-old wondered if he had walked into a street sign. Seeing none in the area, he reasoned it might have been a beer can thrown at him.”*

Entry:

Termination (no exit):


Saul Bermudez
7/4/2016 – Kansas City, MO

“Police obtained the bullet that was pulled from the teen’s shoulder. They said they may have a difficult time tracking down where it came from, as bullets can travel over a mile and a half.”*


Amber Bartles
1/1/2016 – St. Petersburg, FL
“I was standing but leaning on a car. If I was standing up straight it would’ve gone right through my head.”*


Officer Travis Weber
1/1/2016 – Stockton, CA
” ‘I heard a loud pop and then felt a sting to my right leg. The loud pop was it (bullet) hitting the vehicle and then ricocheting toward me,’ Weber said.”*


Window of House
1/1/2006 – Stockton, CA


Shower
1/1/2016 – Snellville, GA
“About an hour later Adrian said he walked into their bathroom and found a bullet laying in his shower. ‘I opened my shower and stepped in and immediately saw the fragments of tile there,’ said Adrian. ‘The bullet hole entered right at the base of my shower.” The Hayes family believes it was celebratory gunfire.’ “*


Kaitlyn Jacobs
1/1/2015 – Tampa, FL
“Was sitting in the Gwazi Pavilion area just before midnight when she suddenly felt pain in her lower left leg.” […] ” ‘The biggest thing is we don’t understand how there are two holes and a bullet in my leg,’ said Jacobs.”*


Blair Shanahan Lane
7/12/11 – Kansas City, MO
“Five years ago, Blair was dancing with her cousins during a party. A stray bullet struck Blair in the neck and killed her; the bullet was shot from a distance more than three football fields away.”*


Man Hit in Stomach
7/4/2016 – Corpus Christi, TX
“Corpus Christi Police responded to the home, located in the 4200 block of Easy Street just before 9:30 PM, and when Officers arrived they were told that a bullet came through the kitchen window and hit the homeowner who was sitting inside in the stomach. Luckily, he was not injured by the bullet. Officers believe the shot came from an open field near the home, where gunfire had been heard earlier in the evening.”*

Discussion Concerning False Opinions Regarding Margaret Sanger

Christian 
Margaret gets cozy with her allies, the KKK.
Clifton 
Here’s the original:

[http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/09/27/article-2434992-185184C900000578-612_634x471.jpg]

Christian 
Point taken — I should be more critical of photos. But do you have anything to say about the address – which did happen? Or anything about her views?
Clifton 
I’ve meant to explore her views in more depth, but, not having done so, I can’t comment on those views generally. However, I can let her speak for herself of this encounter:

 

All the world over, in Penang and Skagway, in El Paso and Helsingfors, I have found women’s psychology in the matter of child-bearing essentially the same, no matter what the class, religion, or economic status. Always to me any aroused group was a good group, and therefore I accepted an invitation to talk to the women’s branch of the Ku Klux Klan at Silver Lake, New Jersey, one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing.

[…]

Never before had I looked into a sea of faces like these. I was sure that if I uttered one word, such as abortion, outside the usual vocabulary of these women they would go off into hysteria. And so my address that night had to be in the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.

In the end, through simple illustrations I believed I had accomplished my purpose. A dozen invitations to speak to similar groups were proffered. The conversation went on and on, and when we were finally through it was too late to return to New York. Under a curfew law everything in Silver Lake shut at nine o’clock. I could not even send a telegram to let my family know whether I had been thrown in the river or was being held incommunicado. It was nearly one before I reached Trenton, and I spent the night in a hotel.

Margaret Sanger: An Autobiography

Continue reading Discussion Concerning False Opinions Regarding Margaret Sanger

The Interview

Ryan 
Friendly reminder that responding with racism isn’t suddenly justified if the person is a bad person (even if they’re, say, a genocidal dictator). The Interview is probably racist as hell. Team America was racist as hell.
Get over it, nerds.

Armand 
“Probably”
Even if it was, it wouldn’t justify or excuse the bully or threats of violence to prevent it from being shown. The decision of pulling it makes sense but people have a problem with the use of threats from an outside group to try to force others in deciding what should or shouldn’t be released or seen. Even if it is a stupid movie.

There’s been other movies affected by the fear these threats have caused that you probably wouldn’t label as racist, so I don’t see how this movie being “probably” racist has anything to do with this.

Continue reading The Interview