I thought he was supposed to be the stable, normal one?

Mike Pence. Establishment politician. There to add a little gravitas — as much as a wingnut Republican can — to the chaos of the Trump ticket. So what’s the calm one saying?

GOP vice presidential nominee Mike Pence on Thursday predicted that Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion, would be overturned if Donald Trump is elected president.

I’m pro-life and I don’t apologize for it, he said during a town hall meeting here. We’ll see Roe vs. Wade consigned to the ash heap of history where it belongs.

OK, the Republicans were already the lunatic party, do they need to keep re-emphasizing it?

Meanwhile, Jill Stein is making vague anti-vaccination noises.

I think there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases — smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication, Stein said. Like any medication, they also should be — what shall we say? — approved by a regulatory board that people can trust. And I think right now, that is the problem. That people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.

You know, vaccines aren’t the big money cash crop for the pharmaceutical companies that the anti-vaxxers think — and Stein ought to know that — and accusing the FDA and CDC of being in the pocket of Big Pharma is a rather strong accusation. But then, she sees an opportunity to get out of the tenth of a percent bracket in the coming election, so she is pandering madly to the ignorant lefty vote right now.

Should I mention Gary Johnson, as long as I’m looking at the competition? Nah, not worth it. Libertarian, <hiss> <makes sign of the cross>

On the positive side, Amanda Marcotte makes a good case that Hillary Clinton has a winning strategy.

Donald Trump gave Clinton a huge gift with his ridiculous “I alone” line from his convention speech last week. It allowed her to portray herself as the opposite: A team player, a listener, a coalition-builder, and humble public servant. She literally said of being a public servant that “the service part has always come easier to me than the public part”.

“None of us can do it alone. That’s why we are stronger together,” Clinton added. It was a masterful stroke. By framing the presidency in terms of service and community, Clinton both contrasted her vision with Trump’s narcissistic one and fought back against stereotypes that hold that ambitious women are heartless shrews who don’t care about anyone else.

It’s also a good look next to Pence’s anti-woman stance.

OK, enough politics. My wife is taking me out to see Ghostbusters shortly, obviously because she wants to indoctrinate me in this silly idea that women can do the same things men can do. Like catching ghosts.

Could someone tell Bill O’Reilly the first rule of holes?

He’s doubling down on his slavery remarks.


He’s also freaking out with paranoia. He invited a couple of his odious pals — Geraldo Rivera and Eric Bolling — to whine at each other in their very own little safe space (on Fox News!) about how persecuted they are by liberals who want them dead.

I don’t want them dead. I’d be content if they were fired for incompetence and I never heard from them again.

What’s also annoying is that they keep patting O’Reilly on the back and telling him he’s a “historian”. He’s not. He’s a hack who has a ghost-writer churning out conspiracy theory books that he slaps his name on. I like this comment: “History isn’t just a word, it’s a discipline“. O’Reilly isn’t qualified to use it.

If he were a historian, he’d know that Abigail Adams wrote about the slaves building Washington DC.

it is true Republicanism that drive the Slaves half fed, and destitute of clothing…whilst the owner waches about Idle, tho his one Slave is all the property he can boast, Such is the case of many of the inhabitants of this place.

Not much has changed, I guess.

I also rather like this paraphrase of O’Reilly’s claim.

Never forget: they were slaves, with all the deserved horror that word evokes. Americans stole people’s freedom and dignity and used them for profit.

Which is also a nice summary of modern Republicanism.

Resign, Bill.

A numerical reminder

I just saw this, and it’s important to keep in mind.


I know some people are unhappy that they didn’t get the presidential candidate they wanted, and have declared that they will never vote for Hillary Clinton.



You aren’t going to get Bernie Sanders this time around. You aren’t going to get Jill Stein or Gary Johnson, either. But if you could work to shift the balance in those lower level offices, you can make a difference.

Is this hope I’m feeling?

After the Republican national convention, I was stuffed to the gills with cynicism and despair. It was a week-long orgy of America-hating yahoos ranting about the people who aren’t white American men destroying the world, and as one of them, it made me feel awful for my species.

Then I watched bits and pieces of the Democratic national convention. It started badly, with more people chanting “No! No! No!” and generally being irrational, but it got better, starting with Sarah Silverman.

To the Bernie or Bust people…you’re being ridiculous.

Yes. It is possible to favor Sanders’ ideas without being an ass about it, and to recognize reality. You know, even if Sanders had the nomination, it wouldn’t be as if you flicked a light switch and the world got better, right? That whether it’s Sanders or Clinton, we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us?

Bernie Sanders also demonstrated principled graciousness.

In these stressful times for our country, this election must be about bringing our people together, not dividing us up. While Donald Trump is busy insulting one group after another, Hillary Clinton understands that our diversity is one of our greatest strengths. Yes. We become stronger when black and white, Latino, Asian-American, Native American – all of us – stand together. Yes. We become stronger when men and women, young and old, gay and straight, native born and immigrant fight to create the kind of country we all know we can become.

It is no secret that Hillary Clinton and I disagree on a number of issues. That’s what this campaign has been about. That’s what democracy is about. But I am happy to tell you that at the Democratic Platform Committee there was a significant coming together between the two campaigns and we produced, by far, the most progressive platform in the history of the Democratic Party. Among many other strong provisions, the Democratic Party now calls for breaking up the major financial institutions on Wall Street and the passage of a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act. It also calls for strong opposition to job-killing free trade agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Our job now is to see that platform implemented by a Democratic Senate, a Democratic House and a Hillary Clinton presidency – and I am going to do everything I can to make that happen.

I have known Hillary Clinton for 25 years. I remember her as a great first lady who broke precedent in terms of the role that a first lady was supposed to play as she helped lead the fight for universal health care. I served with her in the United States Senate and know her as a fierce advocate for the rights of children.

Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president and I am proud to stand with her here tonight.

Now it’s time for all of us who voted for Sanders in the primary to follow his lead.

And Michelle Obama set the right tone.

It’s looking like we won’t be wallowing in a week of hate, and I’ll be coming out of this with a lot more optimism.

The calculus of Trump

Mano has the latest John Oliver video. Savor the “feelings”.

I’m baffled by the math in Trump’s latest ad, though. He is proud of the fact that his convention speech was 75 minutes long (yeah, I can talk for a long time, too, it doesn’t make me a hero) and that people applauded for 24 minutes (so? It’s the Republican convention), and then he calculates that 24/75, or 33% of the time was spent in applause, as if that were an accomplishment. Oliver points out that is actually 32% of the time, so he even got the simple math wrong…but shouldn’t it actually be 24/(75+24), or 24% of the hour and a half of the final speech?

Of course, if feelings are what matters, it was 24 minutes divided by an intolerable unendurable indefinitely long period of misery, so subjectively the period of applause was an infinitesimal fraction of the total pain.