A decade ago, the California National Guard gave thousands of soldiers enlistment bonuses that were larger than they should have been. After fighting for our country, those soldiers are now being ordered to repay the bonuses, with penalties if they don’t.
Tuesday, October 18th, 2016
We’re just three weeks away from the end of the horror show that is the 2016 American election season, and I for one can’t wait. But before then, it continues to be imperative to convince folks that voting for Donald Trump would be a huge mistake. Today, let’s talk about voter fraud, and voter intimidation.
In recent years, Republicans around the country have passed laws aimed at making it tougher to vote. The reason given for these laws is that we must crack down on voter fraud. The problem with these claims is that voter fraud is so rare as to be non-existent.
Meanwhile, after studying how various groups voted, North Carolina Republicans eliminated voting options favored by those who support opponents. For instance, after learning that voters of color disproportionally make use of early voting, its availability was greatly reduced. On the other hand, elderly voters who lean Republican use absentee voting more than most, and so it was left untouched. This is all simply shameful.
Now, Donald Trump has entered the fray. A spokesman for his campaign was quoted by Time saying they hope for low voter turnout, as it would favor Trump:
“We have no problems going deeper into the mud,” the adviser said. “A low-turnout election is better for us.”
If low turnout is good for you, you should re-think your whole campaign, and possibly your whole life. Democracy is about hearing from as many eligible voters as possible. Anyone who opposes that is headed right down the path toward tyranny.
More recently, Trump has repeatedly whined both broadly and non-specifically about the upcoming election being rigged. Is the election rigged? No! While there are justifiable concerns about things like paperless voting machines and the aforementioned legal changes which have made voting more difficult, America still has one of the most transparent election processes in the world. No one is going to steal the presidency from Donald Trump. He’s simply going to lose it on his own.
Of course, that only happens if all those who oppose Trump make it to the polls on November 8th. We must all refuse to be intimidated by Trump’s fear-mongering attempts at voter intimidation. His racist dog-whistle language must not be enough to swing the election in his favor. Make sure you’re registered to vote, then vote, and help others vote as well.
Register To Vote
Today (October 18th) is the last day to register in Oregon, Kansas, Minnesota, Florida (after multiple extensions, this is really last call), West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Maine. Tomorrow (October 19th) is the last day to register in Wisconsin, and my home state of Massachusetts. Get more information at https://www.usa.gov/register-to-vote.
Monday, October 17th, 2016
During this nightmare of an election season, I’ve found a bit of solace in tweets posted by an old man. Specifically, this old man:
This grandpa’s gibes have been cutting, to say the least. For example, see this tweet about draft dodger Donald Trump’s recent plan to “go to war” against the media:
As you can see, this tweet was quite well received. In fact, in terms of popular tweets from a geezer, it’s likely surpassed only by some of Dingell’s other gems. There’s something rather delightful about seeing an elderly man mix it up on Twitter. When Dingell was first retweeted into my feed, I clicked his profile to learn exactly who he was. This is his Twitter bio:
Former Congressman from Michigan’s 12th District. @RepDebDingell’s husband. Fan of @umich and all things Detroit.
That first line certainly caught my eye, as it showed this wasn’t just some anonymous old crank. A bit of research showed that Dingell was not just a former congressman, but the longest-serving congressman in US history. He served as a representative from Michigan for over 59 years, before finally retiring in 2014 at the age of 88. That’s pretty damned impressive.
Then I noticed the second line, which implied that his wife was now some sort of representative. Sure enough, John’s wife Debbie is now a congresswoman, having taken over his seat in the Michigan 12th. It made sense that John Dingell would retire near the end of his ninth decade on this planet. However, it was less obvious why his wife would take over. Bluntly speaking, why replace one individual near the end of their life with another?
A bit more digging unearthed the fact that Debbie is actually 28 years John’s junior. Yes, she’s a 62-year-old married to a 90-year-old. That’s certainly odd, but perhaps you’re thinking “Well, they’re both old people, so whatever!”. In that case, it should be noted that at the time of their wedding in 1981, Debbie was just 27, while John was 55. That’s a little off-putting.
Nevertheless, they seem to have made the marriage work. As such, Debbie’s victory in 2014 marked the first time a non-widowed wife has directly succeeded her husband for a congressional seat. It also means that parts of Michigan1 have now been represented for over 60 years by a couple of Dingells.
But wait! As crazy as that might seem, that’s not the end of it. While looking at John Dingell’s Wikipedia page, I noticed that he’s actually John D. Dingell, Jr. His father was thus John D. Dingell, Sr., of course. And wouldn’t you know it? The elder John D. Dingell served as a Michigan representative for 22 years himself! Our now-90-year-old Junior took over the seat after his father’s untimely passing way back in 1955. All of this means that Michigan has been sending a Dingell to Congress since all the way back in 1933. That’s 83 years worth of Dingell representation!
Debbie’s up for re-election this year, and she looks likely to win. At this rate, it won’t be long before the Michigan 12th is celebrating a century’s worth of Dingells working for them. You’ve got just nine more victories to go, Team Dingell. Godspeed!
It’s currently Michigan’s 12th district, but it was redistricted a few times over the years. John Dingell previously represented the 15th district, and before that the 16th district, and before that, the 15th district.↩︎
Thursday, October 13th, 2016
This past Monday was a holiday for most of America, one most commonly called Columbus Day. In recent years, it has come to be known by other names like “Indigenous People’s Day”. Columbus was pretty monstrous, so it’s not terribly surprising to see folks looking to adjust this holiday. This email from Living Social, however, confused me greatly:
I figured this was simply another attempt at renaming the holiday, albeit a clumsy one. The position of the apostrophe indicates this a day for one specific explorer. If so, the obvious one is Columbus, so it almost seems like an attempt to simply not utter Columbus’s name. However, a quick Google search led me to this (and almost exclusively this):
It appears that deals sites are no longer content with celebrating actual holidays (well, “holidays”) months early. They now want us to celebrate holidays from the world of video games.