Thursday, February 25, 2016

Time for a BREAK!

Early this morning, I checked into Facebook and found myself immediately starting to frown.  And I realized why:  I was reading about the latest exploits of some Republican lawmakers.  Then I realized that I have totally lost any semblance of impartiality when it comes to Republicans in office.  I simply cannot stand what is happening and my reaction is quite visceral.  

I despise what they are doing to my country. These people are against everything I value:  equality under the law, equality of opportunity, tolerance, inclusion rather than exclusion, separation of church and state.  I have come to believe that some of them are ... well ... intentionally destructive.

Here are just a few examples that I read today:
  • Republicans in several states continue to defund Planned Parenthood so that thousands of low and middle-income women do not have access to affordable cancer screenings and contraceptives.
  • Raphael Cruz, Republican presidential candidate, is holding up the passage of a federal aid bill for Flint, Michigan as residents continue to struggle with a lead poisoning crisis that was caused by their Republican leaders.
  • Two Republican legislators in Illinois want to punish single mothers.  They introduced a bill that says, if there is no father to sign a birth certificate, the state will not issue that child a birth certificate!
  • Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire says Pope Francis is the "anti-Christ" because he had the audacity to make comments about Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wanting to build walls instead of bridges.
  •  A Republican lawmaker in Virginia introduced a bill that would require schools to be certain that children are using the restroom that corresponds to their “correct anatomical sex" ... in order to enforce the measure if it becomes law, school officials will have to check children's genitals before they can go into a bathroom.
  • Republicans in several states waste taxpayer money by drug testing people on public assistance, even after every single state that's done it has shown that the number of those testing positive for drugs is way below national average.  WAY below.  
  • Republicans in the U.S. Senate are refusing to even consider a presidential nominee to fill the open seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  They say they think the "will of the people" should be honored.  I agree.  The will of the people put President Obama in office for eight years, not seven.
  • Republicans in the U.S. House have wasted millions and millions of dollars with the ever-popular vote to repeal the ACA - without having a plan to deal with the millions of people who would no longer have health insurance if the ACA is scrapped.
  • The Republican Party of Texas wrote in its platform: "We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs ..."  Of course not!  We wouldn't want students to THINK, now would we?
  • Kansas' Republican governor has run his state into the ground - even to the point where some schools last year had to shut down early because they ran out of money - and he's following the Republican playbook.
  • Arizona's Republican governor slashed public education from kindergarten through college - but he wanted more money to spend on for-profit prisons.  
I can lengthen this list, but the disgust I feel for these Republicans is just too powerful.  I need to take a break from them.   I need to refrain from reading about their asinine and malicious legislation and, in the case of the presidential candidates, I need to refrain from reading about the GOP plans to do even more harm to my country - and to me personally.

Yes, it's time for a break from Republicans.  Maybe if I see rational Republicans standing up against what's going on, I'll feel better.  But that sure as hell hasn't happened yet!  Maybe I'll just have to wait awhile to see if I can view them with a more forgiving eye.  I might be waiting a long time.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

News consumers are LAZY!

This is my second post about this topic, but the situation is getting worse ... much worse. 

The more stuff I see on Facebook, the more irritated I get.  And I am not as irritated with the original writer or creator as I am with the lazy, lazy people who just keep sharing garbage - without checking accuracy first.

The original creator has an agenda, usually political or religious in nature.  And many times, facts get in the way of a meme that blasts the president or Islam or whoever/whatever is the target of the day.  It's kinda like Carly Fiorina and her infamous videos - remember?  The videos that never existed, the videos that the creators finally admitted were fraudulent and edited with the purpose of misleading?  Well, Fiorina had an agenda and she stuck by her story to the bitter end.  What she counted on was lazy news consumers to spread those lies ... and they did.

It usually takes about thirty seconds to check a story or a set of statistics.  A Google search will usually give you what you need.  But most people won't take the time and that's because the meme or article fits the reader's agenda, too!  Simple, huh?  Hey ... if you hate the president, then you will be more than happy to share the "news story" about the president being part of a conspiracy to murder Justice Scalia!  Oh, yes ... that started making the rounds within a few hours of Scalia's death - and some of my "friends" are more than happy to keep it going even though there is nothing to it.  Nada. Zip. Zilch.  No evidence of any such thing.

Faking a news story is actually very easy.  I bet you that within three hours, I can buy a domain name, then put up a website with a newsy name and a logo.  I can make up some reporters, write a few stories, grab a couple pictures off the internet, and then share one of those stories.  Let's say I write about a child who was punished at school for saying grace before eating his lunch - he was spanked and made to sit outside in the cold while other children ate inside the warm cafeteria.  Well, you can bet that the "war on Christianity" soldiers would grab that story in a heartbeat and it would go viral in minutes.  They wouldn't check:
  •  Source of the story
  • Who is quoted in the story
  • Location of the story
  • Credibility of the publication or reporter
 But spreading that fictional story would fuel their agenda.  They WANT people to believe that there is a war on Christianity and my piece of creative writing would help them do that.

Just do some checking before you post.  And if you do post something that is proven false, then delete it.  That's the responsible thing to do.  When you leave a false story or meme on your Facebook wall - even after it's been proven false - then you let the rest of us know a lot about your character - or lack of one.