Author Archive: Paul Epps

This is how it is now. I’m in another chapter of my life.

Posted by on 14 Jun 2017

They’re the Oppressors Now

10 Jun 2017 /

The Washington Post has an update on Brian Talbert, a gay man denied entry to the Charlotte Pride Parade because he voted for Donald Trump:

Talbert — a 47-year-old North Carolina native — said he was one of about 50 people who attended the first pride parade in Charlotte in 1994. He recalled that Christian demonstrators threw rocks and bottles at the marchers and that someone spit in his face. More than two decades later, he said, the discrimination continues — but this time it’s being directed at him by the gay community.

Talbert said he feels betrayed because it shouldn’t matter who you vote for.

“I want them to realize that they’re doing the exact same thing they say bigoted people are doing to them — they’re the oppressors now,” he said. “It’s disgusting, and every gay person in America should feel ashamed.”


Radical New Theory

8 Jun 2017 /


One Thing I Can’t Tolerate is Intolerance: Gays for Trump Edition

8 Jun 2017 /
http://www.fox5ny.com/news/259656209-story

Well, so much for acceptance and tolerance . . .

The banned group is called Gays for Trump. Brian Talbert, a member of the group, said, “It was going to be fun. We wanted to be energetic. We wanted to show that we weren’t the racist, bigot, misogynistic . . . We wanted to show that we are Americans, love our country and our president. We wanted to be there to celebrate gay pride. Everything fell into place except being able to celebrate who I am.”

Where that strategy fails is that showing Trump supporters are not anti-gay, racist, bigots, misogynists, etc., is not part of the mainstream gay agenda. Quite the opposite. The agenda is to keep that stereotype alive and keep those labels in play.

“For a group of people to claim to want tolerance, acceptance, and give it to every single person you can imagine to give it to, for them to sit back and judge me for exercising my right as an American to choose my leader without judgment is hypocritical,” Talbert said, stating the extremely obvious.

A spokesperson for the Charlotte Pride organization said in written statement:

“Charlotte Pride envisions a world in which LGBTQ people are affirmed, respected and included in the full social and civic life of their local communities, free from fear of any discrimination, rejection, and prejudice.”

Unless they happen to be Trump voters, in which case take a hike . . .


Regal Cinema is Alienating Me

28 May 2017 /
Regal Cinemas

Went to the movies yesterday and found that Regal Cinema has joined the ranks of Chevron and Walgreens as companies willing to hit up customers for a charitable donation as part of their regular purchase.

You’re part of an industry that burns up a billion dollars making pirate movies and Baywatch and special effects science fiction bullshit. Donate that money to whatever cause you’re passing the hat for, instead of hustling the customers for a donation over and above the price of a ticket and a 6-dollar soda and a 10-dollar sack of popcorn, and then tooting your own horn over your generosity and community involvement.


See You In Hell

28 May 2017 /
Satan

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

I just wanted to let everyone know that Joseph Mengele is down here kicking himself because he didn’t think of this first.

See you in Hell . . .


Denis Johnson, 1949-2017

28 May 2017 /

Three rules to write by:

Write naked. That means to write what you would never say.
Write in blood. As if ink is so precious you can’t waste it.
Write in exile, as if you are never going to get home again, and you have to call back every detail.

RIP Denis Johnson


I just don’t understand it . . . I just don’t understand it . . . I just don’t understand it . . . I must have got lost . . .

Posted by on 28 May 2017

Big Losers

27 May 2017 /

I saw this headline on an AP story today — Poor and disabled big losers in Trump budget.

The story includes a photo of the budget (see below), so I think it’s safe to say that the AP writer didn’t read the entire thing before announcing who the “big losers” are. He’s just flogging his own agenda. (See also Harvard Study Says Media Are Very Biased Against Donald Trump)

2018 budget

“Trump’s plan for the budget year beginning Oct. 1 makes deep cuts in safety net programs . . .” the story says.

What’s the difference between a “cut” and a “deep cut”? The latter sounds mean and scary. Why not just say something factual like “10 percent cut” or “50 percent cut” and let readers put their own characterization on it?

“Safety net programs” is also a loaded expression.

“Trump’s budget would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over the next decade.” OK, there’s a factual assertion. But the government doesn’t use zero-based budgeting, in which each year’s budget starts at zero and all expenses must be justified for each new period. Government budgeting calls for incremental increases over previous budgets.

For example, if the cost of Program X is budgeted to increase 10 percent per year, and we “cut” it by 5 percent, the cost still goes up 5 percent. We can have budget cuts and more spending at the same time.

So “Trump’s budget would cut the food stamp program by $191 billion over the next decade” actually means something like — I don’t know the actual numbers, but something like “The cost of the food stamp program would have gone up by $800 billion over the next decade but because of the $191 billion ‘cut,’ it will only go up by $609 billion.”

Also — numbers in a federal budget look really big because the US is a big country with a lot of people — 320 million. If you wanted to give every person in the country 5 dollars, you’d need to have more than $1.5 billion on hand to do it.

A small number — 5 bucks — becomes a big number — $1.5 billion — when you project it to a national scale.

Food stamp costs of $191 billion over a decade comes to $19 billion per year. How many people receive food stamps? About 45 million. So $191 billion is only about $400 per person per year.

I saw Elizabeth Warren on YouTube emoting about the budget: Blah blah blah Donald Trump blah blah blah Betsy DeVos blah blah blah …

I could be wrong but I don’t think Elizabeth Warren or fans of Elizabeth Warren really care about people on food stamps, at least not enough to help out of their own pockets. I think they care about having the power to deem things worthy and then make other people pay for them.

Elizabeth Warren didn’t say “I am personally contributing $400 per year and I want all of you who are as outraged about this as I am to contribute $400 per year to make up the difference in the food stamp budget.” What would happen if she did?


Harvard Study Says Media Are Very Biased Against Donald Trump

23 May 2017 /

According to a Harvard University study, the mainstream media are very biased against Donald Trump.

Here’s a chart from the study, showing that the tone of some news outlets is negative in as many as 98% of reports:

Tone of Trump news coverage

I’ve noticed that even our local news station is about 90-10 negative on Trump coverage.

We have to look at the way the media handled Trump before he was elected. How many newspapers in the entire country endorsed Trump for president? I don’t think the number is zero but it has to be very close to zero.

Some newspapers — The Washington Post and New York Times come to mind — were virulently anti-Trump on the editorial page, which bled over into the news coverage.

Every news network except Fox was anti-Trump, the only positive news being that he was most definitely not going to be elected. Well, actually it was that he was definitely not going to be the Republican nominee, and then that he was definitely not going to be president.

The Huffington Post refused to cover Trump at all as part of its political reporting. All Trump news was published in the entertainment section.

And then he was elected president!

So everyone in the media had to either a) recalibrate their self-image from “We are super smart people who knew in advance that Trump would never be president” to “We are the dumbest people in the universe,” or b) commit to spending the next four years (at least) finding ways to say “we told you so,” e.g. “We told you he was a monster,” “We told you he was a moron,” We told you he was crazy,” etc.

Here’s a chart showing the tone of Trump coverage compared to other recent presidents:

Tone of Trump coverage

The media are setting a new standard for unfavorable press coverage of a president. No president in recent history is even close. Note that the media were mostly cheerleaders for President Obama.


Anything Bothering You?

23 May 2017 /
Brushing teeth

“Anything new?” the dental hygienist asks. “Anything bothering you?”

“Oh my god yes,” I reply. “The media coverage of Trump, for one thing.”

“I meant with your teeth,” she says.

“Oh my teeth are fine.”


I’m a Winner!

23 May 2017 /

I’ve been doing the daily challenges at CodeFights for quite a while and yesterday’s challenge is the first time I got first place! (CodeFights ranks solutions by fewest number of characters, with solution time as the tiebreaker.)

Codefights leader board


Voltaire and Me

22 May 2017 /
Voltaire

According to LibraryThing, Voltaire’s library and my library have three books in common, even though Voltaire died almost 200 years before I was born.

The three books are:

I also have in my library one book — Candide — written by Voltaire.


Why Are Black Americans Against School Choice?

10 May 2017 /

Most or all of the people booing Betsy DeVos know little or nothing about her except that they’re expected to dislike her for reasons that they may know are related to her views on public schools and school choice.

But why are black Americans against school choice?

I don’t want to overgeneralize — my son went to public schools and got a good education — but it’s all on the kids and their families to make it happen. Without school choice, public schools don’t have the right incentives.

People running public schools aren’t paid by customers who voluntarily send their kids to those schools and who could choose to send their kids to another school if they wanted to.

Public schools are paid for by taxing citizens who may or may not have kids in the schools and regardless of how well the schools actually perform. The funding is independent of customer choice. Each child is assigned to a particular school.

So where is the incentive to provide good education?


Justice

10 May 2017 /


The Blindness and the Wretchedness of Man

8 May 2017 /
Blaise Pascal

When I see the blindness and the wretchedness of man, when I regard the whole silent universe, and man without light, left to himself, and, as it were, lost in this corner of the universe, without knowing who has put him there, what he has come to do, what will become of him at death, and incapable of all knowledge, I become terrified, like a man who should be carried in his sleep to a dreadful desert island, and should awake without knowing where he is, and without means of escape. And thereupon I wonder how people in a condition so wretched do not fall into despair. I see other persons around me in conditions of a like nature. I ask them if they are better informed than I am. They tell me that they are not. And thereupon these wretched and lost beings, having looked around them, and seen some pleasing objects, have given and attached themselves to them. For my own part, I have not been able to attach myself to them, and, considering how strongly it appears that there is something else than what I see, I have examined whether this God has not left some sign of Himself.

— Pascal, Pensées

The Myth of Fingerprints

8 May 2017 /
Fingerprint

Over the mountain
Down in the valley
Lives a former talk-show host
Everybody knows his name
He says, “There’s no doubt about it
It was the myth of fingerprints
I’ve seen them all and, man,
They’re all the same”

Paul Simon, “All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints”

Some Folks Lives Roll Easy

29 Apr 2017 /

Some folks’ lives roll easy as a breeze
Drifting through a summer night
Heading for a sunny day
But most folks’ lives
Oh, they stumble, Lord, they fall
Through no fault of their own
Most folks never catch their stars

And here I am, Lord
I’m knocking at your place of business
I know I ain’t got no business here
But you said if I ever got so low
I was busted
You could be trusted

Some folks’ lives roll easy
Some folks’ lives never roll at all
They just fall
They just fall,
Some folks’ lives

Paul Simon, “Some Folks Lives Roll Easy”

I wore the mask as long as I could . . . I wanted to take it off but everyone thought it was my face.

Posted by on 24 Apr 2017

Stop in the Name of Pug

17 Apr 2017 /

Stop In The Name Of Pug


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