Saturday, October 03, 2015

Everybody's Linking for the Weekend

We actually haven't had a chance to do this in a few weeks, but don't think that I forgot about the link updates, and we'll see right now some of the articles that we haven't had a chance to look through in-depth this week and can share from around the web:

In Entertainment...

-Nathaniel over at the Film Experience summed up my opinions so perfectly about Matt Damon and his ridiculous comments about gay actors and gay celebrities that I didn't feel the need to write an article earlier this week, but you should feel the need to read his post as it's excellent.  I hate this sort of celebrity who wants to not just apologize, go on and try to explain that what they said was wrong and that they should have been more clear, but instead we get a further hole-digging from the straight and extraordinarily privileged actor and him trying to use Ellen Degeneres to vouch for him (I hate when straight celebrities do this-Jay Leno did the same thing with Wanda Sykes a few years back, and it makes me extraordinarily uncomfortable-it's the equivalent of saying "I have a black friend" to get out of the "I'm acting racist" argument).  Damon's gained huge star points throughout his career both for his marriage to wife Luciana and his relationships with famed actresses like Winona Ryder and Minnie Driver.  He can lecture all he wants about "hiding your sexuality," but he's never done that, and to expect gay people to do it when he hasn't is pretty much the definition of privileged hypocrisy.

-Speaking of actors I love who are having a bad week with feet-in-their-mouth, Meryl Streep said while promoting her new film Suffragette (where she plays legendary women's rights activist Emmeline Pankhurst) that she is not a feminist, and prefers to be called a humanist.  This is on the heels of actresses like Sarah Jessica Parker, Shailene Woodley, Susan Sarandon, and Marion Cotillard all stating that they don't consider themselves feminists.  On the opposite end of the spectrum this past week presidential candidate Hillary Clinton defended the term (and endorsed herself as a feminist) during an interview with Lena Dunham.  My problem with Streep's defense of humanism but not feminism is that, like Sec. Clinton said, feminism isn't about hating men or about not giving men rights, but it is about representing that women are the underrepresented gender and are disproportionately affected by discrimination, so why not empower them through the term.  Dismissing feminism in favor of humanism in many ways feels similar to people saying "All Lives Matter" when confronted with the "Black Lives Matter" movement.

In Politics...

-The New Yorker has a fascinating insight into Carly Fiorina, who has found herself battling Marco Rubio for third place in the polls.  The article is interesting not just for the comments about her tenure at HP (which I have written about quite at length here if you're interested), but also about how poorly she ran a campaign against Barbara Boxer and pulled out a lot of the comments about appearance and gender that Donald Trump has leveled at her (which she has taken offense to, but of course still utilized against her Democratic opponent).  I do want to point out that, since I do write about Ms. Fiorina frequently, it's not because I think she's a serious contender for the presidency (she's not-that's increasingly Marco Rubio, followed by Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump, in that order), but it's because she's getting special treatment in the race due to her gender and I feel like that's setting back the cause for women in politics.  It's not something you're supposed to say, but it's true.  Fiorina's standings in the polls are there now because of her campaign, but she got to where she was because the GOP and the national media didn't like having a field with all men, and you can see that in the way they virtually ignore Democrats like Jim Webb in the Democratic field.  If Fiorina was either a major national celebrity like Trump (say if Ann Coulter had run for the presidency) or if she was an established member of the political community (Susana Martinez, Mary Fallin, Kelly Ayotte, or Nikki Haley all come to mind), I would consider this a legitimate reaction to her campaign, but she's a failed CEO and failed Senate candidate; the only thing that initially distinguished her was her gender.

-Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), on the other hand, demanded the media pay attention and it was partially the fault of the frontrunner Hillary Clinton (we forget in the wake of the email controversy, but let's recall that part of her problems stem from freezing out the media in the months following her announcement creating a vacuum that Sanders was happy to fill) that he came to the strong position he is in today.  The media has been all over themselves talking about how Sanders almost out-raised Clinton, but not all money is considered equal, and Politico has an in-depth look at how most party insiders in the early four primary states think that Sanders needs to nail down more high-profile donors in order to compete.  While I know this is anathema to the kinds of people whom Sanders has on his side, it's true.  My biggest problem with Sanders has long been not that I disagree with him on issues (I don't-I have never liked Bernie's odd "independent" status as he was clearly a Democrat trying to pretend to have "independence" and I think he's way too conservative on gun control but he's always been a solid senator and congressman for the left), but that his campaign is predicated on winning in a way unfamiliar to modern politics.  I have watched politics long enough to know that upsets are rare and that people who want to campaign and get "new voters" either don't succeed, end up having the same coalition as usual, or are Barack Obama.  And Bernie Sanders is not Barack Obama.  Sanders needs to show that he can win in traditional areas in order for me to take him seriously as a general election contender, even if his poll positions and fundraising have made me stand up straight on his primary chances.

-Every four years pundits will trot out this old adage, that the most important political issue that you're voting upon isn't climate change or the economy or national security, but instead the composition of the Supreme Court.  It never actually works, though, because it's impossible to tell when it will be true.  Most people would argue that had John McCain won in 2008 the Supreme Court would have been lost to a generation of Democrats, and they could be right but likely not, as both John Paul Stephens and David Souter retired of their own volition and are still living.  Though they may have resigned for health reasons it's safer to assume they did so because they wanted their seats to stay liberal; the same could be said for Sandra Day O'Connor.  Therefore elections like 2008 and 2012 didn't really mean much in court composition, and instead it was years like 1988 and 2004 that were the last elections where the court composition really mattered (where wins by Michael Dukakis or John Kerry would have meant that the likes of Clarence Thomas or John Roberts would have been replaced with much more liberal justices).  It's hard to know if 2016 will be similar to 2008 or 2004 in that regard, but with four justices in their eighties or set to be in their eighties in the next four years, statistics state pretty clearly that it could be a game-changer election for the Court.  If Scalia/Kennedy leave the bench under a President Clinton, it will have mattered.  If Ginsburg/Breyer leave the bench under a President Rubio, it will have mattered.  If anything else happens, it won't have mattered, but these are not odds you necessarily want to risk, particularly if you're a Democrat who is already down by one.

Shameless Self-Promotion of the Week...

-I didn't write an article about President Obama's conversation about gun control and the shocking need for gun control because I did it a few months ago and every word seems to hold true and will continue to hold true until we do something about it, so if you haven't read that piece I recommend that you do.  I will say, however, that I am sick and tired of liberals on Twitter lumping both sides together on this issue, because literally every time that there is a push for gun control legislation, it's always the Democrats carrying the torch, so get off your high-horse and stop saying both sides are equal on this issue, because they're not.  That sort of dismissive attitude is why we don't get anywhere on this issue, because if you're not going to help out Democrats (or, to be fair, the occasional Republican) who actually do something about gun control, what's the incentive (I can always tell someone's political IQ is low when they say that both sides are the same on an issue)?  When the Toomey-Manchin bill was in the Senate (the last real push for a gun control legislation) Democrats got 90% of their caucus to vote for the bill, the Republicans got 9%.  If that sounds like they're the same, then you're a moron.

YouTube Video of the Week...

-This is a few weeks old, and admittedly I kind of wish Colleen had just skipped Miranda in this one (but she knows where the views are).  Either way, Colleen Ballinger's performance of "Wildest Dreams" is better than Taylor Swift's:

Just One More...

-John Sutter, one of my favorite columnists on the internet, has a fascinating (if frequently terrifying) look at the world of climate change and the ways that we are impacting our planet.  After a recent survey where readers got to pick where Sutter would go with his next column, the audience skipped out on things like coal and instead went with beef production.  While it's long been talked about how we need to shift off of coal/oil production and into renewable forms of energy, the impact that the livestock industry, but particularly cows have on the earth is staggering, to the point where I have slowly but steadily worked beef out of my diet to the point where it's maybe only a once a month sort of treat.  How about you-have you taken the vegetarian (or at least no beef/lamb) plunge?  Share in the comments!

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