Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Tamper, Tamper

Though they are mostly associated with the far right, the concept of conspiracy theories transcends any political affiliation. Any complex idea outside the norm or mainstream could qualify as a conspiracy theory, as long as there is some viable evidence to back up this notion. Missing or misconstrued information are often what leads to such wild speculation.

Case in point, Bill Barr. Whether the once and current attorney general is another Trump lapdog or just half-assing his job, arguments can be made for both. His presence in the completion and revealing of the Mueller report has left that perception ambiguous. His handling of said report was fishy, to say the least.

The Russia election meddling was a legitimate scandal, but even that was susceptible to far-flung speculation. Like so many conspiracy theories before, it was more sizzle than steak. Its a foregone conclusion that Russians meddled, and even though the Trump administration attempted to seek their help, they totally muffed it. No collusion, but no vindication either.

And what happens now? My assumption from two years ago has proved sadly prescient. A bunch of Trump loyalists were thrown under the bus, but the president still stands, mostly unscathed. Reelection is not a sure shot, and whatever energy that progressives were putting into impeachment should be redirected into preventing a second term.


Sunday, April 21, 2019

Look at the Flowers

This Saturday is the 20th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO.  Even though there were a handful of school shootings prior to Columbine, but this was arguably the shooting incident that turned heads. This became a cultural event that pointed fingers at everything from Marilyn Manson to violent video games to overprotective parents. And yet, no one scolded the two mentally ill teenagers that shot over a dozen of their peers before turning the guns on themselves. Our anger and astonishment was misdirected. It still is.

I was in eighth grade when the shooting occurred. The students that were slain weren't much older than I was; at least one was just a few months older than me. I had a sarcastic, facetious streak then, and my parents warned me repeatedly to not joke about Columbine. I had no intention of doing so; even I was speechless, too appalled to comment in any way.

A few weeks before, the Columbine flower was discussed in science class. For the unfamiliar, the Columbine a boldly colored perennial in the buttercup family. It is also the state flower of Colorado, which has a dense population of the Columbine genus. Like the poppies in Flanders Field 80 years before, this unassuming plant is now forever associated with unspeakable bloodshed.

What really disgusts me two decades on is that Columbine was a beginning, not an end; a root rather than a stem. Mass shootings are almost an everyday occurrence, to the extent that American society is nearly and totally desensitized. There has been multiple school shootings even deadlier than Columbine. Politicians on both sides of the aisle keep wringing their hands. Common sense gun control has proven oddly elusive. The vicious cycle keeps spinning.


Friday, April 5, 2019

Random Notes, April 2019

Spring has sprung, I guess:

+ After nearly three years of rumors and speculation, the Mueller Report was laid out like loose ends. Even though it didn't conclude that Trump colluded, it wasn't the complete exoneration that he (obviously) bragged about. Now there's speculation from Robert Mueller's staff that the original, 300-plus page report still had some damning evidence against the president. Unless something else comes up, or the Michael Cohen/Stormy Daniels thing takes a sudden and dramatic turn, impeachment is pretty much off the table.

+ If the Democratic primary becomes a litmus test of true progressive politics, then they're handing Trump reelection. I'll vote Beto or Bernie if I absolutely, positively have to. We cannot let what happened in 2016 repeat itself.

+ My 2019 travels have commenced! I just spent a week in Austin, Texas partially for vacation but also the first screening of "The Bob Zula." The movie was my friend Brandon's baby, a passion project that I'm glad came to fruition. Later in the year, I'm hitting up Omaha (improv festival), LA (visit some friends, maybe do some networking), and Scotland (long story, more later) with more to come.