Weekend Assorted Links

1. Total badass.

2. The lessons of Washington State’s watered down ‘public option’.

3. How couples meet now versus earlier.

4. When did synchronized swimming turn so incredibly athletic?

5. These are just what I need to lively up myself. Don’t cha’ think? And don’t say no.

Avoiding The Pointless, Downward Negative Cycle

I’m in the Trump Trap. I doubt I’m alone.

It’s impossible to ignore the President, but paying attention to him only feeds his narcissism and seems to make matters worse. To ignore his lies and race baiting is to condone both. I argue with a friend when he says “Obama was worse,” but that doesn’t accomplish anything. How to escape this pointless, downward spiral of negativity?

My friend, while totally exasperating on things political, has redeeming qualities. Among others, he’s committed to his family, he’s funny, he cares about those he works with. Why don’t I just focus more exclusively on those attributes?

There’s a direct correlation between how people feel about themselves, more specifically how secure they are, and their propensity to see the best in others and affirm them. If you don’t feel very good about yourself, if your insecurities win the day, you’re unlikely to sing anyone else’s praises. You don’t send thank you cards. You don’t risk any awkwardness by directly and specifically telling others what you most appreciate about them.

As if life is a zero-sum game. That there’s only so much positivity or praise to go around.

We can focus on the good in others, and name it, without any cost to ourselves. At all. Focusing on the good in others, and naming it, creates positive momentum that makes political disagreements less consequential. My friend’s politics are whacked, but he is not the sum of his politics.

One can be a good teacher, nurse, or executive, and liberally celebrate other teachers’, nurses’, and executives’ excellence. One can be a decent human being and routinely celebrate decency in others. We’re apt to recognize and publicly declare the redeeming qualities in others to the degree to which we feel okay about ourselves, the degree to which we like ourselves.

A few weeks ago, I made eye contact with another driver as I pulled into the Trader Joe’s parking lot. She was an acquaintance from church who smiled at me. “Finally,” the introvert in me immediately thought, “I’m going to get a chance to tell her how much I enjoy her blog.” Sure enough, halfway through my appointed rounds, she walked straight up to me and asked if I’d eat some fancy shmancy blueberry desert that she was thinking of making for a party. “Yes.” I assured her, and then said, “Hey, I’ve been wanting to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I’ve been enjoying cooking more and I’m amazed at your creations. And you’re really funny.” For good measure I added, “You’re a very talented writer.” To say she was touched is an understatement.

Her blog deserves a wider audience. When that happens, I will celebrate her success. Because it will not detract from this humble blog.

With respect to the President and my friend, my inclination is to ignore the President. My vote will be my proof that I’m not condoning his calculating and inflammatory rhetoric which will only get worse once the campaign begins in earnest. As for my friend, I’m going to focus more on his redeeming qualities and our common humanity.

 

 

Monday Assorted Links

1. Deputy gangs in Los Angeles have survived decades of lawsuits and probes. Can the FBI stop them? Despite being from LA, granted West LA, I thought this read like fiction. Police gangs in the open for decades supported by chiefs despite continuous community opposition. Perception is reality. Reprehensible.

2. We’re entering the era of the Tiny Wedding. For $2,000 you get a short ceremony and a small cake.

“A Tiny Wedding is also incredibly easy to purchase: When I tried out the booking process, it took me 20 seconds to select a time and a kind of cake before I got to the credit card field.”

Guessing this is a tad more popular among grooms. What is it with me and marriage/weddings lately?

3. Three Things You Can Learn From Norwegian Packed Lunch About Minimalism.

“Norwegians follow a step-by-step guide ingrained in their DNA to prepare their lunches.”

Agreed, Norwegians are lunch role models extraordinaire. But where are the pistachios?

4. Cyclists are dying in New York City.

“Across the city, 14 cyclists have been killed in crashes this year, four more than all of last year, according to city officials. New York’s streets have seen an increase in bicycling while also becoming more perilous, in part because of surging truck traffic fueled by the booming e-commerce industry. The mayor himself acknowledged on Monday that the city was facing an ’emergency.'”

Saturday afternoon I was driving down 36th Street NE, which as you know, is one of the rare Olympia streets without a legit bike lane. There’s only a fog line and then six to twelve inches of pavement. Two of my cycling brethren were riding side-by-side as other drivers and I came upon them, unnecessarily requiring us to move into the oncoming lane. This is a rural setting, so not life threatening, but there’s no reason to be riding side-by-side without a legit bike lane. My window was down, I thought about doing some consciousness raising, but chickened out. I had my speech all planned out, “Dudes, single-file.”

5. Matthew Boling has gone viral.

“‘The biggest worry is we just don’t want his personality to change. He’s a great kid. He’s humble.'”

Weekend Assorted Links

1A. Quitting Mormonism, or more formally, resigning from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

“But if the internet is inherently threatening to the Church, or to any faith, it’s perhaps not because of the way it affirms doubts. Rather, it’s in the community it opens up — a community that can be just as close-knit and supportive as a ward. Where ChurchofJesusChrist.org offers scripture, the internet beyond the Church’s domain shines light into what has historically been a black box: the lives of the people who have left.”

1B. Mormon identities in flux.

2. Baseball prodigy. Like Mike Trout, but 16 and a switch hitter. Damn the Yankees.

3. The likely elimination of single-family zoning in large Oregon cities. Coming to a city near you?

4. Please stop telling me America is great. I was ahead of the curve.

5. Human dominoes. When brakes are useless.

Demo Debate 2

More middle school classroom. The talking over one another was distracting and disappointing. Props to Harris for reigning the class back in. The consensus is correct, Harris dominated at Biden’s expense. Other thoughts:

  • The party is listing too far left for the surviving candidate to win the general election. Of course there’s still a lot of time to correct for that.
  • The pundits said Biden should’ve apologized for his anti-busing stance. It would’ve been even more authentic for him to have said that busing was, and is, a subject upon which reasonable people disagree. He could’ve summarized his long standing commitment to civil rights, why he opposed forced busing, and what we can/should do to better integrate schools today. Or he could’ve gone egghead professor like I would’ve and asked how are we supposed to have integrated schools given intense residential racial segregation?
  • Improving schools is sometimes mentioned in passing, but no has talked in any detail at all about what that means. That is a huge opening for someone especially since Trump (fortunately) never says anything about schools, unless you count his arm teachers bullshit after school shootings. No candidate should be allowed to say schools are obsolete without explaining how they specifically intend to update them. Where is the national leadership on education reform?
  • Buttigieg’s owning of the police problems in South Bend was an unexpectedly refreshing break from the status quo of politician’s never admitting faults. “I couldn’t get it done,” he admitted when asked about diversifying the police force. When was the last time you heard a politician be as honest? The moderators should’ve asked everyone to share something they’ve failed to get done despite good intentions and hard work. If the President was asked that he’d deflect by blaming the media or Democrats or the media and Democrats.
  • Also, in contrast to Gabbard, a real life Danny Chung (VEEP), props to Buttigieg for not bringing up his military service unless asked directly about it. Impressive guy, but his last name is too damn hard to spell and there should be a step or two between South Bend and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (sorry Dano).
  • Sanders is hella grating. The guy you make sure to avoid at the party. Half of it is his nonstop haranguing. He’s channeling this guy.

  • The other half is his answer to the problems of growing inequality. “Guts”. Guts to challenge Wall Street, the insurance industry, the military industrial complex, the pharmaceutical industry, etc. And he’s the only one with sufficient guts. Fool me once. Obama promised to bridge the partisan divide. But it only deepened. One person’s guts, even the Presidents, is irrelevant compared to winning the Senate. Sanders hasn’t come close to convincing me he’s the best person to win the Presidency and help retake the Senate. Then again, I’ve started to tune him out.
  • Swalwell is the most opportunist politician going. Instead of empathizing with Buttigieg and the people of South Bend, he attacked him for not firing the Chief of Police as if that would solve everything. He does tons of media. I get the sense he’d run over his mom to raise his profile. Doubt he has any friends in Congress.
  • Does Biden think his resume is sufficient to get the nod? It is impressive, but he’s the Golden State Warriors whose window is fast closing. Last night, he tore his achilles. As Hillary proved, the Presidency is not a lifetime achievement award.
  • I want to see Warren, Castro, Harris, Buttigieg sitting at a round table with time to lay out their ideas and interact with one another. Debates are flawed in that it’s difficult to assess interpersonal skills. Of course that won’t happen. The much needed winnowing is still many moons away.
  • The Demos are absolutely right that the economy is not working for many people. Harris’s point about the limited number of people who own stocks was important. The walking wounded are always evident in our downtown. Yesterday, while running around Capital Lake, I was more aware than normal of people sleeping and living out of their cars. What’s left of the middle class is struggling with rising health care, higher education, and housing costs. The Republican base is deluded to think that their leadership cares about these issues. Just yesterday, their President proposed another tax cut for the wealthy, by indexing capital gains to inflation.
  • The Demos are wrong to paint all business with the same broad brush. People are smarter than that, knowing that businesses vary widely. Why not highlight positive examples of profitable businesses that are committed to living wages, the right to organize, and sustainability. I’d be perfectly happy in Scandinavia or Western Europe, but individualism is so deeply rooted in the US that most people have deep-seated, negative associations with socialism. The Demos need to talk more about a new capitalism, one more aligned with Adam Smith’s thinking about regulated markets, than socialism.

Demo Debate 1

Take-aways:

  • Grown ass adults with policy differences. What a refreshing contrast from the 2016 Republican circus of personal attacks all instigated by one particular buffoon.
  • The two smartest people in the room. . . Sanders and Klobuchar.
  • Best performances by third tier candidates—Castro and Booker.
  • Braggart Governor Award—Jay Inslee of Washington State. “I was the first Governor. . . ” Please, why don’t you give the state representatives, their staffers, and their constituents some credit. And you may want to reconsider bragging about championing reproductive rights.
  • Thank you for coming. Don’t call us, we’ll call you. . . Tulsi, John, Bill, Tim, Beto, Jay.
  • I should have paid A LOT more attention in Spanish 1 and 2.
  • First wave of moderators “A”, second “C+” [Maddow “A” + Todd “D”]. Not sure what was worse, Todd’s color commentating or his hair.
  • Technical difficulties, much ado about nothing. Probably can be traced back to an overweight Russian in his bedroom.

In related news, Klobuchar’s “all foam, no beer” quip has a Texan equivalent, “all hat, no cattle”. As a proud Pacific Northwesterner, I want in on that action. Which do you prefer?

  • all cup, no coffee
  • all river, no salmon
  • all clouds, no rain