Tag Archives: Pete Buttigieg

Oh Iowa, your democratic “process” disgraced itself again. A groundhog eats everything in a man’s lawn.But hey, results are coming any week now! Video. And some thoughts on the Australian Open, a few days late

Iowa, Iowa, Iowa. If you didn’t have the cornfield/baseball field of my all-time favorite movie, I’d just as soon throw you away completely.

So as I type this at 11 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday night, we still don’t know for certain who won the Iowa Caucuses. Which ended at 10 p.m. Eastern time MONDAY night!

I mean… I could have individually called several hundred thousand Iowans in the past 24 hours and gotten the results by now!

Well, it’s not like anyone thought the state of Iowa, a state with more than 90 percent white people, a state where they hold caucuses  where people must gather together in VFW Halls and school auditoriums and discuss who they’re voting for instead of just, I dunno, voting, was a model of democracy in the past.

But lo and behold, as much screaming as I normally do every four years about stupid and idiotic it is to let this state with its flawed process of choosing candidates, this year Iowa took the bait.

In case you haven’t heard by now, there was a major screw-up with reporting the results, something about a new app breaking down and having glitches (as many people on Twitter said, “never use an app for something you can do without an app”) and we’ve got only 62 percent of the votes in, as I type this.

It’s embarrassing, completely embarrassing, for this to happen. It leads to all sorts of suspicions of voter fraud, tampering, whatever else you want to say, to not know who won at this point. Maybe this will finally kill Iowa, and caucuses, as the outsized in importance, first in the nation, spot it has held for so long.

I hope so.

Anyway, because I’m a political animal and can’t help myself, a few conclusions to draw after Round 1:

— With all the time and money he spent in Iowa, Pete Buttigieg needed a good showing, and he got one. Whether he ends up winning or just very close to the top (he leads with 26.9 percent as of now), he’s taken the first step toward showing voters that a mayor of South Bend, Ind. could be a legit candidate for President. He’s not my choice (Elizabeth Warren is), but he’s definitely legit.

— I’m happy that it appears for now that Bernie didn’t win, or if he does win it’s not by much, because I see him and Warren competing to be the liberal “finalist” when this showdown for the nomination comes down to just two or three candidates.

Warren did fine, coming in third, but the big test now is she has to do well in New Hampshire. Both she and Sanders are New Englanders, and if voters in that region can get over the shock of the Mookie Betts trade by the Sox Tuesday night (thanks for weakening your team, Boston! Love, Yankees fans), it should be a fascinating primary next Tuesday.

— Biden has to bounce back strongly there, and if Pete plummets to 4th or 5th it’ll look like Iowa was the outlier, and the states coming up next (Nevada and South Carolina) have a much more diverse cast of Democratic voters, and Mayor Pete doesn’t do so well with non-whites.

— Oh yeah, apparently our dear leader led a Klan rally gave the State of the Union Tuesday night, too. This was the only visual of the night I needed, but when I read online that he gave Rush Limbaugh the Presidential Medal of Freedom, I had to go vomit for awhile. Dear God let’s hope this is his last SOTU, ever.

— OK, let’s go for a bit of a palatte cleanser. Here’s a man who found a groundhog eating a whole bunch of stuff from his garden, and filmed it, narrated it, and let the creature keep going. I was highly entertained to see what the little guy would eat next.

**And finally, we had a weird quirk in the sporting calendar this year that saw the Australian Open finish on the same day of the Super Bowl, which never happens, so I didn’t get to share my thoughts on tennis’ first Slam. It was, in a word, a weird Slam, overall, with lots of surprises.

Sonia Kenin, the 21-year-old American, surprised everyone by coming through the draw and emerging the champ. She was the 14th seed so it’s not like she was a total shock, but this is the first time she’s put it all together at a Slam. Kenin is hilarious to watch; she stalks around the court between points like an angry flea market vendor who just lost out on a big sale, but off the court she’s delightful. She has more Slams in her future, with her terrific and fearless play.

— Coco Gauff continued to show that she is the real deal, making the quarters at AGE 15. What an unbelievable talent, and a grounded kid at that.

— I feel badly for Dominic Thiem, the dynamic Austrian who broke through to the Finals but lost in five excruciating sets. He’s certainly getting closer to a Slam title.

— And finally, the one thing that was NOT surprising was Novak Djokovic. What an incredible run in Australia he’s had; he’s now won eight titles there, in eight trips to the finals (that’s good). He’s up to 17 Slams now, two behind Rafa, and three behind Roger, and yes it’s certainly true he’s got an excellent case to go down as the greatest of all time when all three careers are over.

He’s dominated Federer for years, is better than Nadal on all surfaces but clay, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Yes it’s crazy that the Big 3 have now won 13 straight Slams, and sure someone else breaking through would be nice. But we are living in a Golden Age of men’s tennis, with 3 all-time greats all still getting it done, and that is super special to watch.

 

An Ohio bill allows students to give scientifically wrong answers if they say it’s because of their religious beliefs. A reminder that LeBron James is still awesome. And thoughts on tonight’s Democratic debate, where once again way too many people will be on stage

OK, I told you the other day I was all fired up and hot and bothered by two stories I read last weekend; one was the ridiculous N.J. lawsuit involving a kid getting injured from a baseball slide and the parents suing the coach, that I wrote about Monday.

Now, let me rant for a few hundred words about an equally-ridiculous story, and this one actually did make it into law.

In the Ohio House of Representatives, which sadly has made it into this column a few times over the years for batshit-crazy legislation, a new law was passed last week.

It’s called the “Student Religious Liberties Act,” and it states that under the law, students can’t be penalized if their work is scientifically wrong as long as the reasoning is because of their religious beliefs.

Let me say that again: Ohio students CANNOT be penalized if their work is wrong, as long as their reason for giving the wrong answer is because of their religion.

HB 164 is real, folks. I’m not making this up. So as an ACLU director in Ohio, Gary Daniels, said in this story: “On the other hand, Daniels said that if a student submitted biology homework saying the earth is 10,000 years old, as some creationists believe, the teacher cannot dock points.

“Under HB 164, the answer is ‘no,’ as this legislation clearly states the instructor ‘shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work,” he said.”

This is insane. Absolutely, positively insane. There is science, pure, unadulterated, proven science, that children learn in schools every day of every school year.

The idea that creationism has crept back into schools in the past few decades is scary enough. But now the idea that students will be able to use religious doctrine to OVERRIDE science on exams is ridiculous and frightening.

Now, the sponsor of the bill, an Ohio Republican named Timothy Ginter, says that’s not how it will work, that a student who doesn’t accept science on evolution would get a lower grade in a biology class about the subject, and that the students have to give answers on exams that’s consistent with what’s taught.

Ginter says this “religious beliefs” part of the law only applies to kids doing book reports or term papers on religious figures like Moses.

Uh-huh. I’m not buying it. Not. At. All. This is one more attempt from the “Fake News” part of our country, the part of our country that wants to have its own opinions and also it’s own facts, to call into question accepted and irrefutable truths, because they don’t square with the Bible or another religious teaching.

Good God almighty, this is ridiculous and asinine.

Teacher: “Tommy you got 5 answers wrong on this science test.”
Tommy: “But I got 3 questions wrong because of my religious beliefs!”
Teacher: “Oh OK then, my bad, you only got 2 wrong. Good job.”

 

**Next up today, LeBron James is in his 17th NBA season and still doing things like this, he’s off to another amazing start and I once again get to laugh and people before the season who were saying he’s too old to be as effective as he used to be.

Watch that dunk I posted above, and tell me that. He’s the greatest basketball player of all time, folks. And he’s not stopping anytime soon.

**Finally today, there’s another group of Democratic Presidential candidates gathered on a stage tonight, with each one getting to speak for 35 seconds or so with no opportunity to really challenge each other.

Or, you know, as they call it, a debate. I don’t want to beat a dead horse by railing about the ridiculousness of having 10 people on stage at one time being antithetical to an actual, you know, DEBATE, so I won’t beat that dead horse.

Instead, since I’ll be watching (9 p.m. on MSNBC), a few things I’m looking for out of tonight’s debate:

— So help me God if they again spend the first 35 minutes arguing about the minutiae of health care, Medicare for All, and why this person’s lying about their plan. There are SO many issues that don’t get talked about in these debates (environmental issues, the rise in hate crimes and hate speech in the U.S., poverty, nuclear issues worldwide, just to name a few) that it kills me to see them ignored for yet another drone-a-thon about health care.

— So it’ll be interesting if Pete Buttigieg, fresh off a new poll showing him with a big lead in Iowa, becomes a target of others’ attacks for the first time. Last debate it was Elizabeth Warren who suddenly got the slings and arrows, and she handled them, only OK. Is 37-year-old boy wonder Mayor Pete prepared to deal with his new status as a serious threat?

— Can my two favorite candidates, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris, do anything to finally break the 5 percent polling ceiling they’re both at? I knew going into this campaign that Booker was a longshot, but I really and truly believed Harris had a legit great chance to win. It hasn’t happened for her, and I’m very puzzled as to why.

— Will impeachment be discussed in a meaningful way? Now that the hearings have been underway for a week and we’ve seen in plain sight just how many impeachable offenses the Man-Baby-in-Chief has committed, will the candidates talk specifically about the case?

— Finally, will someone remember to get Bernie Sanders some water on stage? Guy has sounded hoarse and ill in every debate so far. Can a brother get a lozenge?

The U.S. is now a “problematic” place to be a journalist, says world safety organization, and it’s getting worse and worse. Trevor Noah makes laugh, on the Democratic Town Halls. And the “Jeopardy” legend of James Holzhauer grows ever bigger

At 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, while most of us were either sleeping, getting ready for work, or getting off a graveyard shift somewhere (dudes working the 7-11 at that hour, I feel you), the President of the United States was wide awake and Tweeting.

I try really, really hard to ignore the ravings of this madman, because he’s just so awful, so psychologically damaged, but he’s so dangerous to the world.

So sometimes, I can’t ignore it, despite my best instincts. Sometimes, he says something so awful that if offends me as a human, and also as a journalist, which I still consider myself, even though I’m not a full-time journalist anymore.

This is what the President of the United States wrote on Twitter:

I wonder if the New York Times will apologize to me a second time, as they did after the 2016 Election. But this one will have to be a far bigger & better apology. On this one they will have to get down on their knees & beg for forgiveness-they are truly the Enemy of the People!

Yes, the President of our free democratic nation is saying the largest, most reputable and most legendary newspaper in America should get down on their knees and apologize to him, and that they, the New York Times, are the Enemy of the People.

The Enemy of the People.

A newspaper full of journalists, exposing wrongdoing all over the world, reporting on war and famine, afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted, is the enemy of the people.

Disgusting and outrageous doesn’t begin to express how I feel. He’s said this before, I know, and it’s disgusted me then, too. We are barely a year past the massacre at the Capital-Gazette newspaper in Maryland (the names of the deceased are in the above photo), and it has never been more dangerous to be a reporter in the U.S.

Trump’s Tweet came just a few days after this story caught my attention, that the international group Reporters Without Borders has dropped the U.S. to No. 48 out of 180 on its World Press Freedom Index, downgrading America to “problematic” for reporters in its rankings.

“Never before have US journalists been subjected to so many death threats or turned so often to private security firms for protection,” the report stated.

Ten journalists have been physically attacked this year, and 46 since 2017. In January, one reporter was punched in the face and her phone stolen, while interviewing voters in California.”

As you know, I take this shit VERY seriously. People in my beloved profession having to live in fear, and being treated like this, is unconscionable. And our fearless leader stoking the embers of this fire makes me want to vomit.

“The phrase “enemy of the people” is not just false, it’s dangerous. It has an ugly history of being wielded by dictators and tyrants who sought to control public information,” New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger said in response to Trump’s attacks on the paper in February.

He’s a dictator and a tyrant, and it’s enough.

Be safe out there, reporters, and keep doing the people’s work. You are far from the enemy.

**Next up today, I don’t watch Trevor Noah and “The Daily Show” as much as I should, and I say that because every time I take the time to watch one of his clips on Twitter, I laugh pretty hard.

Here’s Noah from Tuesday talking about the five CNN Town Halls Monday with Democratic Presidential candidates (I didn’t watch them all, but quickly, I still love Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren is brilliant and amazing, and I’m just not quite buying the hype over Mayor Pete yet, I think he may prove to be a flash in the pan).

Anyway, Noah is fabulous here, especially with the “white guy advantage” stuff at the end.

**Finally tonight, not sure if any of you are as big “Jeopardy” fans as we are in our house, but have you seen the last few weeks of utter and complete domination by James Holzhauer, a professional sports gambler? Dude hasn’t just been winning, he’s been obliterating the competition, making cartoonishly large bets on Daily Doubles, and just garnering obscene amounts of money.

He’s been breaking the one-day money record like it’s nothing, and Tuesday night he continued his tremendous winning streak, getting his 14th straight win, winning $118,816 total and now up to a grand total of $1,061, 554.

The guy is a machine, and we absolutely need to get him in the Tournament of Champions against weird-dude Austin and Ken Jennings immediately.

I am in awe of this dude. And he doesn’t seem like a jerk, either!