Fuck Nazis

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Fuck Nazis. They have no place in our country, and their opinions are completely unworthy of consideration. Fuck them.

I am stating for the record - I am a white American of Northern European descent. And if I had my way, those vile, racist, morally reprehensible motherfuckers would be shipped to an island and dropped off, cast-away style. They can leverage their "White Culture" civilization building skills to build their White Aryan utopia, away from right-thinking folks.

These cockroaches have no place in my America. NO PLACE. They can either get their minds right or they can be prepared to have their ideas and themselves marginalized, outed, doxed, sneered at, disrespected, and made fun of. I can't believe I even have to say this, but there is no middle ground, no justification, no excuse, no quarter when it comes to Nazis. Because they're NAZIS. ACTUAL, FUCKING NAZIS. My family has served this country in uniform for every generation since the Civil War*, and did not do so this scum could crawl out of the swamp with impunity. I don't give a shit what that miserable fuck in the White House says. NAZIS.

NOT IN MY AMERICA.

________
*My great, great, great, grand-uncle was General William Tecumseh Sherman. Yes, that Sherman. So all you Nazi shits can just kiss my ass. We didn't serve to support the likes of you.

Taking the hit so you won't have to. Because I'm a giver like that.

Monday, August 7, 2017

I recently read (in full) the anti-diversity screed penned by a Google software engineer that has been making the rounds of late. You're welcome.

As most of you know, I am an engineer working in the tech field. I have worked in male-dominated organizations my entire adult life. I came of age in the Pre-Tailhook Navy. For the last ten years, I have been the only woman in my team. This guy's commentary speaks directly to my 34 years of professional experience.

And in all my time working in the middle of this sea change, never have I read a more pseudo-intellectual, MRA inspired poor me-pity party from a dude whose basic complaint is that he feels he shouldn't have to give up his unearned privilege in order to ensure a more egalitarian industry.

Consider his main points:
  • The company exhibits a left-leaning political position in terms of culture. He feels all political positions have equal merit. 
This is a dog whistle. "The Right" is code for "up with unearned privilege!" He's advocating a culture where it's perfectly fine to continue to marginalize under represented groups, because that's the way we've also done it.

With the caveat of freely admitting I don't personally know anything about Google's culture, I will say that with my tribe, we don't dislike or disrespect the conservative or liberal viewpoints per se. We dislike douchey, discriminatory behavior. If you're a conservative and you act like a douche, I'm not going to respect you. Just as I would not respect a liberal who was a douche. YMMV.
  • Women are underrepresented in tech and leadership basically because our Ladybrains are not well suited to these endeavors. I especially love how he slips in language about how women who really do the same quantity/quality of work as their male counterparts are paid equally. Wink, wink.
Bite me, you clueless Neanderthal. There's a reason girls are equally adept in STEM and leadership in a controlled environment. The change happens in Middle School, and the reason doesn't have much to do with testosterone.
  • Women have too many fee-fees to be as effective as men in a professional setting. 
The ridiculousness of this viewpoint is so extreme I can't even. Has this douche considered the idea that the ego driven nonsense most often attributed to men makes them less effective in the workplace? Bueller? Bueller?
  • Dudebro refers again and again to "illegal discrimination." 
Here's the thing, Mr. MRA - "illegal discrimination" can only occur if the person being "discriminated against" is in a protected class. Last time I checked, white dudes were not on that list. Also: "Reverse discrimination" is not a thing. It's an excuse MRAs use to cry about how not everything's about them.
  • Diversity is bad, even though he gives it lip service.
 This entire memo has flavors of "I love diversity, but..." and "I'm not sexist. Some of my best friends are women." Transparent much?
  •  We're all blind to his brilliant, transformative ideas because there's a liberal conspiracy...or something. 
Yeah. A liberal conspiracy. That's why 45 was elected to the highest office in the land, you know. Because liberals are secretly pulling the strings from behind the curtain.

The lack of logic, cherry picking, and self-serving whining about how tragic it is that not everything is about him now makes this laughable. And dudebro felt perfectly comfortable sharing this drivel with the company internally. Perfectly safe. Because apparently, this type of mindset is just A-OK in Google's culture.

And that's why Google is, in fact, evil. They give lip service to diversity and equal opportunity to the point where MRAs like this douchey author believe they're being "marginalized," while the company is simultaneously being investigated by the Federal government for egregious application of the gender wage gap. They can't find female or non-white employees to take jobs at Google, because regardless of their efforts, Google still has a reputation where women and non-white associates are paid less, marginalized more, and (obviously) make no impact on the culture.

Evil, indeed.

ETA: Turns out dudebro is one James Damore, and his particulars are so ironic I may sprain something. He's white. He's a Libertarian. He claims a Ph.D he did not earn (from Harvard, no less). And he's been job offered by no less than Julian Assange, ::sproing!::

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing you today to strongly encourage you to support bi-partisan efforts to shore up our nation's healthcare troubles and find a solution that works. 

The items in included in the solution proposed by the Problem Solvers Coalition seem to me to be a good start in making this happen. Permanently funding Cost-Sharing Discounts and allowing states greater flexibility to manage their marketplaces are just two of their ideas, and each solves a particular problem that each party cares about. It's the nature of compromise, and it's something that is sorely lacking in our Republic. 

In my view, EVERY member of Congress should be a "problem solver." Every. Single. One. If an individual's  aim is to be obstructionist, petty, unwilling to compromise, then they are unfit to serve our nation. We elect Congresspeople to find solutions, not to engage in endless partisan bickering. It's past time for Republicans and Democrats to stop this nonsense, ignore the unserious man-baby currently occupying the Oval Office, and make a concerted effort to save the Republic. 

Please - just do your jobs. It's not too much to ask.


Signed, 

Janiece

Keeping love alive

Monday, July 31, 2017

Today is the fourth anniversary of the death of my baby girl, Maureen.

It's been a strange four years. My grief journey has ranged from being unbearable to being grateful for my tribe. It's gone from nearly catatonic with grief to maintaining a stable, healthy life. It's gone from raging against the reality of the world to accepting - albeit with sadness - the new normal that is life-without-Moe. I still cry at triggering events, and I suspect I always will. But my life is stable now, by the grace of my people and my grief work.

One of the things I've learned about this journey is that while I will never look at my daughter's death as anything but tragic, I still have the opportunity to use her loss as an impetus to make the world a better place. For me, that means doing work that supports the things she cared about. It means donating money to causes she was passionate about. It means mentoring other young women as they move into adulthood and helping them discover the person they want to be. This work helps me keep the love and gratitude alive on my bad days, when I miss her more than usual, or I find I want to share something with her and then realize I cannot.

And this year, for the first time, it means I will participate in activism to support Suicide Prevention.I haven't felt up to it until now, and there's still a possibility that I may fall apart during the event. But I want to try, so I'll be participating and fundraising for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Walk.

This will be the fifth year the Maureen's Marchers team is hitting the road in my baby girl's name on the annual Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Walk. The money raised in this event will go to fighting suicide and supporting AFSP's goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

I can't bring my Moe-Moe back, but I can do what I can to ensure other families never have to walk this grief journey, and experience the devastation that is losing a child to suicide.

If you're a local, please feel free to join our team and come walk with us on September 23rd at Coors Field in honor of our baby girl.

If you wish to donate to the cause, my fundraising page may be found by clicking the icon below. This icon is also pinned to the right sidebar.




Every year on this date I reflect on how very cursed I am to have lost a child, and how very blessed I am to have my people around me when I need them most. Thank you for your support and love on this journey, and for supporting the work of an organization whose mission is to save the lives of people like Moe.

An Open Letter to my Senators

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, 

I am writing today to express my disbelief and disgust with the current plan to revoke the individual and business mandate in the Affordable Care Act. While it isn't working as well as analysts had hoped, removing it will do nothing but increase the number of uninsured Americans, and increase premiums for everyone. 

The numbers from the CBO don't really lie - 16 million Americans will lose their healthcare, and healthcare premiums will increase by 20% for the individual market. How is this "better?" How does this constitute "more Americans being covered?" The completely immoral remarks concerning the free market by the President of the Senate notwithstanding, this plan is clearly bad for Americans. 

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record - how about country before party for a change? How about voting in accordance with your constituents' desires and best interests? How about more bi-partisan work on this issue? 

Please come up with a COMPREHENSIVE plan for health care in this country. I know it's hard, but it's YOUR JOB. Please do it for a change.


Signed, 

Janiece

Link Me Up, Scotty - Mortality is our lot edition

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

An essay surrounding the language we use when discussing cancer, people who have cancer, and the occasions when cancer is terminal. I'm still working through my feelings about the idea of death positivity, but I agree with this author's comments. Dying of a disease is not a failure. You don't lose if available medical treatment does not cure you. Everyone has to die of something, and choosing our own path to death is the key factor - not that we die of cancer, or an accident, or whatever.
________

Why the media should be more thoughtful in covering cases of suicide. I think this applies to all writers, and I have to admit that when I hear someone use the phrase "committed suicide" my reaction can go from apoplectic with rage to a desire to educate. My baby girl did not "commit" suicide, like her struggle with mental illness resulted in her engaging in a criminal act. She died of suicide, with a proximate cause of mental illness. Language matters, and changing the narrative around mental illness and its sometimes devastating results will help our communities help those most in need.
________

And speaking of "apoplectic with rage," my favorite Christian Pastor takes on those who believe victims of suicide are "selfish" or "weak." Short answer: They're not, and assuming they are is the worst form of privilege. Instead of being a smug, self-righteous douchebag, perhaps the people who think this way should show some fucking gratitude that they themselves are not stricken by mental illness and have never had to deal with the ramifications of such a disease. Next they'll be blaming cancer patients for their condition.
________

Our charming President just kicked trans people out of our Armed Forces. A couple of things to note: 1. 45 keeps talking about he and "his generals" discussing the matter, but the Pentagon only learned about the new directive through....you guessed it, Twitter. So where were the Pentagon Generals in these discussions? I suspect they were a figment of 45's imagination. 2. Have you read those tweets? There's no way 45 wrote them, as they're coherent and well-written (if awful). This has Pence's fingerprints ALL OVER IT, the fuckstick. 3. Does anyone actually believe this is anything other than a disgusting attempt to engage in cultural warfare in order to deflect people from 45's legal problems? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
________

From the "Liar, liar, pants on fire" files, here are 29 lies told in 26 hours by the Liar in Chief. Can't somebody put a muzzle on this guy? Seriously. 
________

Today's sources as rated by Media Bias/Fact Check:
  • Confessions of a Funeral Director: The personal blog of Caleb Wilde, professional funeral director and writer. 
  • LA Times: Commonly referred to as the Times or LA Times, is a paid daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country. Well sourced with a left-center editorial bias.
  • Stuff that Needs to be Said: The personal blog of Pastor John Pavlovitz.
  • The Washington Post: The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper. It is the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C., and was founded on December 6, 1877.  The newspaper has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. This includes six separate Pulitzers awarded in 2008, the second-highest number ever awarded to a single newspaper in one year.  Post journalists have also received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association awards (Wikipedia). The Washington Post has a liberal bias in reporting choices, however they are typically well sourced to credible information.  Sometimes they rush stories to be the first to break them, which leads to poor sourcing. This has occurred on a few occasions in 2016.  When an error is made the Washington Post responsibly makes corrections.

An Open Letter to the Coward Cory Gardner


Yesterday you voted to open debate on your excretible bill on healthcare, in spite of rampant confusion about what it contains. You immediately followed that bit of Party-First hucksterism by voting "yea" on the actual bill in question. You know, the one that everyone is confused about, but surely will increase premiums, price people out of the market, and reduce funding for the least among us. 

I think the most obvious question here is WHY. Why would you vote for this bill, knowing that your constituents hate it? Why would you vote for this bill, knowing that your own approval ratings here in Colorado have dipped 30% as a direct result of your failure to listen to your constituents about what they want? Why would you vote for this bill knowing that your constituents will suffer (and yes, even die) due to your political actions? Why?

And I think I have the answers! I think it's because you're a hypocritical liar, liar, pants on fire. Let's consider the facts:

1. You voted to open debate on this mystery bill because (and I quote):
I voted to allow debate today because we can no longer subject Coloradans to a failing healthcare system without working toward solutions, and today’s vote will allow that debate to continue. We can now offer amendments in an open setting to fix our nation’s healthcare system and bring relief to the American people. 
Fair enough, if it was true. But - and here's the part where you're a big, fat, hypocrite - you immediately followed up by voting "yea" on a bill without the aforementioned amendments.

Hypocrite: 1. Credibility: 0.

2. You say that you want to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, health care legislation that enjoys a 55% approval raring, because (and I quote):
Under Obamacare, Coloradans have had to pay for double digit premium increases year after year and the 27 percent average increase for premiums on the individual market next year is only more of the same. While 500,000 Coloradans have had their plans cancelled, 145,000 Coloradans were forced to pay a penalty under Obamacare instead of purchasing insurance because their options have become so limited and unaffordable. In every healthcare meeting with Coloradans, we discuss the problems of Obamacare and how the status quo is simply unacceptable. 
Simply unacceptable, huh? But it's perfectly okay to defund Medicaid (in the future, of course, when you'll presumably be safe from the consequences of your ill-conceived vote) when you promised you wouldn't and leave those who can least afford a cut in their healthcare to suffer and die. It's perfectly acceptable to remove the employer and individual mandate, thus driving premiums even higher. It's perfectly acceptable to increase premiums on seniors with fixed incomes so you can suck up to your rich buddies. Uh, huh.

Hypocrite: 2. Credibility: 0.

3. You've made quite a show of supposedly "considering" the ramifications of revised healthcare law, meeting with Seema Verma for "wink, wink, nod, nod" assurances that Medicaid patients would be taken are of, at least until you can safely deflect the blame for cutting their benefits. But the simple fact of the matter is that you wrote this crappy legislation. You were on McConnell's super-secret committee to bring this steaming pile of immorality to the Senate, and you're responsible for it. You can act concerned all you want, but this is your dumpster fire. Quit trying to fool your constituents into thinking the buck doesn't stop with you, because it does. And this is one issue that people are going to remember in 2020. You can bet on it.

Hypocrite: 3. Credibility: 0.

4. Speaking of you being McConnell's butt-monkey, how are those plans coming for your fundraiser at the home of Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz next month? I think it's just swell that McConnell will also be in attendance so that you can lick his boots in full view of the .01%.

Pandering Hypocrite: 4. Credibility: 0.

You are simply unbelievable, the way you try to make out like you're all thoughtful and deliberative, when everyone knows you're going to vote the Republican party line regardless of the consequences to your constituents and the communities you supposedly represent. You put party before country, every single time, and I have to say I look forward to campaigning for your opposition in 2020. I'd even settle for a new Republican, provided they had a moral compass and kept their oath of office, since you obviously can't be included in either of those cases.

Signed,

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Twofer

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my continued desire for Congress to engage in a bi-partisan effort to improve America's healthcare system. 

With polls showing that Americans prefer the ACA to the Republican plan by a margin of 2 to 1, isn't it time for all of us to admit that the best plan of action is to work together to fix what's broken in the ACA instead of continuing to throw good money after bad in coming up with (or resurrecting) a new plan that everyone hates? 

THIS is what Americans want. Not the gridlock, not a Congress that is currently the least effective in history, not a self-sabotaging President who is forcing our current system to fail with his petulant power-plays. A REAL plan, researched and discussed, a REAL plan that represents the majority of the population's desires, a REAL plan that reflects compromise on both sides of the aisle. You know, a plan that reflects Congress actually doing their jobs. 

Needless to say, a straight repeal of the ACA is NOT a viable alternative. The grandstanding of the last 8 years aside, everyone knows such a act would hurt millions of people and throw the markets into chaos. 

We need a plan that will withstand the rest of time, including guarantees for funding of subsidies for states and individuals who need them, rather than leaving that decision up to a mentally disturbed man-child who understands nothing but his own ego. 

Since the best plan - single payer - seems like a pipe dream because of the pressures and campaigning of the insurance companies, will you please just do your damn job and come up with a compromise plan? Millions of Americans are depending on you. Stop letting them down.


Signed,

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople


Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to say, "Are you kidding me?" 

You lost two additional Senators on Trumpcare and your response is to try to repeal the ACA with no viable plan to replace it? What is wrong with the Republicans? Is it really so hard to imagine a world where Republicans and Democrats actually work together in the spirit of public service to find a solution that works for everyone? Your predecessors did it all the time. Why can't you? 

Is it so very difficult to accede to the wishes of your constituents and provide a bi-partisan solution? It's what AMERICA wants. We need an adult in the chambers of Congress. Please resist the urge to make things worse and actually serve the public with some level of humility and respect.


Signed, 

Janiece

Somewhere, in a smoke-filled room...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Senator McConnell: Okay, okay, settle down. We need to discuss what we're going to do about the Health Care Bill.

Senator Gardner: My constituents are flooding my office with faxes, phone calls, and e:mails. NO ONE likes this bill.

Senator Merkowski: Mine too!

Senator McConnell: Shut up, Gardner. You helped craft this bill, and everyone knows you're my butt-monkey. Stop grand-standing. And Merkowski, you know what the definition of an honest politician is? Someone who stays bought. So you can shut up, too.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You piss me off, Paul. Why can't you just GET ON BOARD.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell. Okay. Here's the deal. Gardner is right on one point. Everyone except us thinks this bill stinks to high heaven. I thought we'd reached a point in American history when the sheeple would just do what we told them was best for them. It's certainly worked up until now. But apparently they're not quite convinced that the GOP should be their Lords and Masters. I blame Elizabeth Warren.

Senator Cruz: It's always right to blame Elizabeth Warren. Just sayin'.

Senator McConnell: Word.

Senator Heller: We need to work something out. My state depends on Medicaid funding. I'll lose my seat if public opinion goes the wrong way.

Senator McConnell: Protecting our seats is always job #1. You're not special, Heller.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell: We need to find a way to tank the legislation without having to actually come right out and say that it's a piece of shit and no one wants it.

Senator Lee: Well, we've already made it so excretable that we can't really come out and say we think it sucks, too, without coming out with egg on our faces.

Senator Moran: I think that ship has sailed.

Senator McConnell: Does anyone have any HELPFUL suggestions?

Senator Strange: I think it's obvious that someone is going to have to fall on their sword.

Senator McConnell: Well, I'M not going to do it. I worked too hard to impose my personal vision of "Fuck you, I've got mine" on the American public to quit now.

Senator Gardner: It should be somebody whose seat is absolutely safe. Remember, job #1!

Senator McConnell: Or it could be someone whose standing will improve if they pretend like they care about their constituents.

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator McConnell: WILL YOU shut the fuck up? How about we draw straws?

Senators Lee and Moran: Crap. Short end of the stick again.

Senator McConnell: Thanks for taking one for the team, y'all.

Senator Johnson: Won't the President be pissed?

Senator McConnell: Who gives a fuck? We'll just tell him it was the Democrats fault. He doesn't understand how legislation works, anyway. Now, Lee and Moran, make sure you coordinate your announcements so I can then look disappointed in front of the press, and reluctantly agree to try another tack. That tack will probably be a "repeal and don't replace" bill, but hey! What do we care? We must have a legislative WIN, and simultaneously fool the public into thinking we have an actual plan. Who's with me?

Senator Paul: Free markets! Free markets!

Senator Collins: KMN

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople

Monday, July 17, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Garner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my disgust with the Republican health care bill. 

I don't understand how Republicans can continue to push this bill when it's so very apparent that NO ONE WANTS IT. Your constituents, Medical Doctors, Insurance Companies - everyone thinks the provisions of the bill are a terrible idea. It breaks the insurance model, it pushes people off instance who currently have it, it defunds help for those who can't make it on their own, it makes health care unaffordable for seniors - the list goes on and on and on. 

So why are Republicans still pursuing it? 

I can speculate on a thousand reasons, but the conclusion I keep coming back to is that Republicans have lost their moral compass. As a party, their cultural norms have deteriorated to the point  where they simply don't care that no one wants what they're peddling. They consider themselves above their constituents, without humility, and they believe there will be no consequences for their hubris. They believe this because of gerrymandering, of course. 

But people are getting fed up. You folks are PUBLIC SERVANTS. Start serving and scrap this bill. Work together in a bi-partisan effort to come up with a plan we can all live with. THAT is what the country wants. Do your job and SERVE with some humility and respect.


Signed, 

Janiece 

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Twofer Edition

Friday, July 14, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I just found out that the "revised" health care bill excludes members of Congress from certain provisions of the bill. 

Are you kidding me? You are public servants, and you serve your constituents. How dare you try and pass a health care initiative that gives you more choices, more coverage, than the people you serve? If your bill is so all-fired wonderful, then it should be good enough for EVERYONE, not just those without power. 

This is so incredibly tone-deaf and hypocritical I'm actually sputtering with outrage. Clearly the worst things people say about Republicans are actually true - your "screw you I've got mine" attitude, your assumption that you're above the rest of us, the belief that you can screw over your constituents without repercussion. 

I've been active in local politics for some time, but Republicans have shown during this healthcare debate that I need to redouble my efforts and my financial support to elect the opposition, even though I'm not a Democrat. 

Unbelievable. Remember: Decisions have consequences, including unintended ones. Beware the unintended consequence in 2018 and 2020. I won't forget, and I'll make sure other Coloradans don't forget, either.


Signed,

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople


Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing to today to implore you to vote NO on the Republican Health Care plan. It is simply immoral to refuse medical care to almost 15 million Americans who can least afford to lose the help. 

Putting weasel words around it by having the Seema Verma point out that the states can use their "stabilization fund" to offset the cuts is a red herring. Cutting the funding is cutting the funding, and people will still lose their coverage when the money runs out. 

How can any member of Congress purport to be public servants out of one side of their mouth while simultaneously supporting this bill out of the other? It's bad for your constituents, and shows everyone - foreign and domestic - exactly what the American government values. Please note I said American government, and not the American people. Because this bill, and Americans' reaction to it, shows that this bill does not reflect the people's wishes.

You have a real opportunity here to give Republicans (and Congress specifically, for that matter) some credibility. Right now Republicans are considered the party that tears things down and leaves rubble in its wake. Republicans have a realty TV star in the White House, an unserious, incurious dolt who doesn't understand even the rudiments of governance and what it means to be a leader in a representative democracy. But you don't have to follow his lead. Instead, you can govern. How about acceding to the public's wishes for once, and craft a bi-partisan health care plan that EVERYONE can live with? THIS is what America wants, not some hack-job of a Bill where no one's voices are heard but a select few. 

Please - do the right thing. People's lives literally depend on it.


Signed,

Janiece


An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Part Four

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

 I am writing today to express my continuing opposition the the Republican healthcare plan. 

I read in the paper that the revised plan will most likely retain the investment income tax authorized by the Affordable Care Act, but will likely retain the cut in funding to Medicaid. Senator McConnell's disingenuous comments aside, the bill would phase out Medicaid expansions under the ACA by reducing the federal match for newly eligible adults, place a cap on the federal reimbursements to states, and lead to fewer people being enrolled than under current law. Cutting funding = cutting programs and eligibility. To pretend otherwise is misleading at best, a big fat lie at worst. 

And you know what's truly ironic about this bill that no one wants? Republican states will suffer the most under the new rules. Clearly Republicans are not working for their constituents (who don't want the legislation) or in the best interest of their constituents (more people from Republican states losing healthcare). 

The majority of Americans believe this bill is a piece of crap, and that Congress needs to go back to the drawing board in a bi-partisan effort to fix it. 

That being the case, why can't you make that happen? It is a lack of will, or a lack of competence? History will judge, and harshly.


Signed, 

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Part Three

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my disappointment with the so-called "Consumer Freedom Amendment" proposed by Senator Cruz as a possible change to the Republican Healthcare plan. 

Such a plan would still put the sickest people in a position where they are pooled together as a risk group, while healthier people won't be required to share that burden. 

The sickest among us would be priced right out of the market, regardless of whether or not the government provided some level of subsidy. 

I don't know how else to say this: Any new healthcare plan must be BETTER than the ACA. It must provide MORE coverage, for MORE people, regardless of the Insurance Companies' preference. Their market is changing, and they must change with it or find something else to do. They don't get to continue to feed at the public trough at the expense of your constituents. 

Perhaps the Senator doesn't understand how "insurance" is supposed to work. Spreading the risk among a large pool means the system is working as designed. 

Please, put country before party for once in your careers and WORK TOGETHER to come up with a viable healthcare plan that is BETTER for most Americans, and not WORSE.


Signed, 

Janiece

An Open Letter to my Congresspeople, Part Two

Monday, July 10, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck,

I am writing today to express my expectation that my elected representatives find a way to craft a COMPREHENSIVE healthcare program. Such a program should not leave our seniors destitute. It should not require that parents have to choose between medical care and food for their children. It should not make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It should ensure that EVERY American has basic health care. It should be about what's best for your constituents, and not what's best for insurance companies. 

In short, it should be a piece of legislation that is morally defensible, does MORE than the Affordable Care Act, and crafted with Americans in mind. Americans, not to be confused with "American companies." 

I expect my elected officials to be competent enough to craft such a law, and to keep people's best interests in mind while they do it. Please - ignore the incompetent currently residing in the White House and DO YOUR JOB. It's not really that much to ask.


Signed, 

Janiece

PSA


Politics make me tired. Sometimes politics make me more tired than others.

So even though I do not intend to give up the fight, I'm taking a mental health break from the ridiculousness that is politics in the United States following the entirely unsurprising soup sandwich 45 made of the G20.

I'll continue to write my elected representatives, because that's not something that can wait, but for now - politics, ew.

An Open Letter to my Congress People, Part One

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dear Senators Bennet and Gardner, and Representative Buck, 

I am writing today to express my support for "Medicare for All" type health care initiative. 

The Republican plan to replace the ACA is a fiasco, skyrocketing premiums for many Americans, throwing others off the health insurance rolls, and offering less care for more money. Less than one fifth of Americans approve of this plan, and I think it's time for Congressional Republicans to admit it's time to go back to the drawing board. 

And the plan that should be drawn is a Medicare style single payer plan. When comparing other single payer plans to the United States, they spend less money for better care. From my point of view this pretty much torpedoes the complaint that it would cost too much. The only issue is WHO will pay. And the answer should be all of us, on a sliding scale. People who want and can afford supplemental plans should be able to buy them, but EVERYONE should get basic care, and pay the taxes to support it. 

I'm cognizant of what this would do to for profit health insurance companies in this country, so I suggest a phased approach, just like Republicans suggested for people on Medicaid. If it's fine for your constituents, then it should be fine for corporations, right? 

We're the only first world country in the world that doesn't offer a variation of this plan. What does that say about our values? I know many Republicans think it makes a statement about self-reliance and independence, but here in the real world, it makes a statement about priorities. As in, American politicians prioritize companies that contribute to their re-election campaigns over their constituents. History will not look kindly on these "priorities," and if a comprehensive health care plan isn't maintained, I'm really, really hoping that Coloradans look unkindly on our Congress people, too. 

Please, do what is right, not what is expedient or what the Party and the corporations tell you to do. Kill the Republican health care plan and work together to bring forth a plan that helps actual people. 


Signed,

Janiece

A Modest Proposal*


I think we've all had to work with that guy.*** You know the one - the one who loves the sound of his own voice, and can't shut up in meetings even though his comments add no value to the conversation. The one who thinks the rules don't apply to him, and thinks being called to task for breaking them indicates you have a problem, not him. The one who has no filter and no self-control, so in times of stress becomes rude, surly, and unable to constructively discuss the issue at hand. The one who is seemingly incapable of seeing the world as it is, only seeing what he wants to see and telling himself his stories often enough that he truly believes what he tells himself is true even in the light of demonstrable facts to the contrary. That guy.

I've had to deal with that guy in a number of different contexts - work, school, volunteer work, family. It's never fun, and never easy, but I've come up with some strategies for dealing with him.

But what if that guy is the de facto leader of the free world? Will the same strategies work when the stakes are so damnably high? Let's find out.

Strategy One: Remove that guy from the group. This is always my first choice. Whether that guy is a teammate, a classmate, or a "I can't believe I'm related to this putz" family member, getting rid of them will always yield the best possible result. Remember, that guy is incapable of looking at the world objectively or critically. No matter what you try to do, or how you approach their behavior, you are never going to convince them that they are anything other than tremendous and that everyone else is the problem. So if you give him the heave-ho, then this specific problem is resolved, permanently. AIRLOCK.

Unfortunately, this is not an option for dealing with 45. Our rank and file Republican Senate and House are not going to impeach this motherfucker even if he kills a sitting Senator in broad daylight and it's caught on film, nor will they invoke the 25th Amendment even if he's in a coma. Party loyalty and all that. So, moving on.

Strategy Two: Try to work around them. This strategy is sometimes necessary, and always sticks in my craw. It bugs me because in this context, "working around them" usually involves coddling their enormous egos, and "making nice" in order to keep the peace. Yeah, fuck that. Like the Dixie Chicks, I'm not ready to make nice, and doing so with this Administration would only be construed as an act of weakness, anyway.

Strategy Three: Marginalize their ass. I really consider this to be the only viable option when it comes to 45 and his Administration of stumbling bumpkies. We need to marginalize him, prevent him from harming the country on a long term basis, and try to encourage the other two branches of government to get in our corner.

What does this look like? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Let's start with the press. While I realize that 45's daily faux pas with his damnable Twitter account is like manna from heaven, can you please just ignore these half-baked rantings? He's clearly using them to distract from the other half-baked bullshit he's up to, and I think the press should concentrate on the shenanigans that have a real, lasting, negative impact on our country, using the "if I report it, is there a chance we can stop it/change it" yardstick. 45's an embarrassment, an unserious bully with no sense of decorum, class, human kindness, critical thinking, or morality. It doesn't matter how often he's called out on his boorish behavior - he's never going to change because he never thinks he does anything wrong. Please, allow the comedians, the psychologists, and the public to analyze and poke fun and lament about what a tool he is, and concentrate on what he and his administration are doing to destroy our institutions and our cultural norms. White House press briefings are a joke? Treat them as such and send cardboard cutouts to sit in your designated seats. The Administration lies their ass off as a matter of course? Fail to report their fantasies except in a "look what these liar, liar, pants on fire doofus' are saying now" kind of way, and invest your Twitter following time and money in more investigative journalism.

Next, let's concentrate on the legislative branch. From a "balance of power" perspective, Congress really is the only organization that can provide meaningful long term road blocks to 45's lunacy. Unconstitutional or immoral Executive Orders can be overturned by the Courts or rescinded by the next President, but shitty, immoral, bigoted laws are harder to shitcan once they're on the books. Our Senators and Representatives need to understand, really understand, that their jobs are at stake when they support initiatives like the Republican Health Care fiasco. Nothing changes a politician's mind faster than the real possibility of not getting re-elected. In politics as in sales, you get the behavior you pay for, and we need to make sure we're using currency these self-involved dipshits understand.

Lastly, let's take a good, long, hard look in the mirror. Don't like 45 or his complicit legislative branch? Well, so what? What are you doing personally to limit the damage these boot-licking, "fuck you I've got mine." horror show human beings are doing? Are you involved? Do you contact your elected representatives on the issues that matter to you? Do you protest when the government is trying to do something with which you vehemently disagree? Do you contribute money to organizations who fight the good fight as their core mission? Do you vote? If the answer to these questions is a sheepish "no," then you're part of the problem, and you need to either get off your ass and take some action, or admit that you're comfortable enough with the status quo that working to make things better isn't important to you. I'm not suggesting that every person is a position to do all these things - people's lives are complicated, and we all have many priorities that pull us in different directions. But you gotta do SOMETHING.

Don't normalize this bullshit. Don't fool yourself into believing that people from other countries aren't judging the shit out of us as a citizenry for this terrible choice we've made. Don't think that your actions (or inaction) don't have serious, long-term consequences for us and those who come after us. Take some responsibility for the direction of our country, and actively participate in our representative democracy by making sure your voice is heard and that you vote in every election, every time. It's never been easier to broadly communicate your opinions, ideals, and thoughts to those who make decisions for us all.

It's time to adult, y'all. The 2018 midterms are closer than you believe, and we should all think about it, and make a plan that will allow us to take control of our country's destiny.

It's a modest proposal, after all. 
________

*While it would be tempting to suggest our current political woes would be dealt with appropriately by eating 45 and his Administration, that is not what I'm proposing. Jonathan Swift notwithstanding, I suspect the fat and gristle content would preclude such a plan, even if it wasn't outside social norms to eat your elected officials.**

**Really, I'm not suggesting we eat the President or his Administration. I don't need the Secret Service knocking on my door. The Jonathan Swift reference is satire. Also: Ew.

***In my experience that guy is almost always a man. I'm quite sure there are numerous examples of that woman out there, but I've worked my entire adult life in male-dominated fields, and so have an excess of exposure to that guy. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - Just the Facts Ma'am

Thursday, July 6, 2017

GRAIN OF SALT WARNING: Slate is considered a left-bias media source. However, the piece featured below is an opinion column, and should be read as such.

Slate's erudite and highly intelligent Supreme Court correspondent Dahlia Lithwick has some advice for the White House Press Corps. The money quote:
"...if the White House doesn’t want to talk to the public anymore, maybe the public should stop covering the show; it’s long since been established that nothing that happens at a press briefing is either interesting or true. Instead, the press corps should redouble its efforts to cover the White House as an institution rather than a sorry accretion of unstable personalities. The best curative for fake news, it seems to me, is to avoid engaging with fake people."
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel no longer considers the United States a "friend" to Germany. Fellow Americans, this is what irrelevancy tastes like.
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Disembarking from Air Force One, 45 appears to have missed the Presidential Limo waiting for him at the bottom of the ramp and wondered away in search of his ride. No snark here. This isn't at all funny, it's just scary as shit with a side of compassion.
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Why both sides of the aisle are full of shit when it comes to political discourse and how CNN's doxing of that trolling jerkwad who made the "Trump vs CNN" video is a disproportional response.

Um, yes. As with dark magic, constant vigilance is required to avoid hypocrisy.
________

Today's sources as rated by Media Bias/Fact Check
  • Slate: An English-language online current affairs, politics and culture magazine in the United States that trends towards a liberal viewpoint through story choices and wording. Slate tends to source to credible information, but uses rather sensationalized headlines to increase clicks.
  • The Independent: A British online newspaper. Established in 1986 as an independent national morning newspaper published in London, it was controlled by Tony O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media from 1997 until it was sold to Russian oligarch Alexander Lebedev in 2010. Since March 2016, it is no longer printed, but is available for readers online. The Independent tends to take a classical liberal, pro-market stance on economic issues. Has a left of center editorial stance.
  • Washington Journal: An American television series on the C-SPAN network in the format of a political call-in and interview program. The program features elected officials, government administrators and journalists as guests, answering questions from the hosts and from members of the general public, who call into the studio or submit questions via e-mail and social media. The Washington Journal is very careful to screen calls to ensure that all sides of the political spectrum are being represented. Their panel also consists of journalists who represent both left and right. Overall, Washington Journal is low biased. In reviewing their website content it appears that there is a very slight left leaning bias toward stories that favor the left. This however, is not enough to move this source. Washington Journal is least biased. 
  • Popehat. A group blog about whatever its authors want. Often its authors want to talk about free speech, liberty, criminal justice, the legal system and its foibles, and related issues. But Popehat isn't a law blog, and what you read there isn't legal advice. 

Link Me Up, Scotty - Lies, More Lies, and Stupidity

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Speaking of lying liars of lies, here's a quick analysis about what the Republicans are trying to cover up with their shitty health care plan. They know they're going to hurt millions of people with this legislation, and they simply don't care. But they don't want you to know they don't care, so they continue to lie their lying asses off.
________

One climate scientist is determined not to let the ignorance of 45's administration become the norm.
________

You know what scares the shit out of me? This. Watching these two freeze-dried whackadoos get into some sort of nuclear pissing contest with millions of lives in the balance. Angels and ministers of grace, defend us.
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Caleb Wilde, funeral director and author, posts a lovely idea about how we treat the dead and honor them into our lives.
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I have to say, I found this more than a little funny. Reading is fundamental, trolls. Your should try it some time, along with a basic civics class.
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This mom is sick and tired of reading about how everything she does is bad for her kids and why that makes her a terrible parent. Sing it, sister.
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Republican supporters of ChumpCare are laying low during the recess because hardly anyone wants that piece of shit to pass, and the Republicans simply don't want to hear it. They've demonstrated again and again and again that the best interest of their constituents is not even in their top 10 concerns - why can't conservatives see this, and act accordingly? It truly is one of the great mysteries of our time.

ALSO: Be sure to communicate your opinion of ChumpCare to your Senators and Representatives DAILY until the decision is made one way or the other. Let's keep the pressure on!
________

Today's sources as rated by Media Bias/Fact Check
  • The Washington Post: Paper of record. An American daily newspaper. It is the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C., and was founded on December 6, 1877. The newspaper has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. This includes six separate Pulitzers awarded in 2008, the second-highest number ever awarded to a single newspaper in one year.  Post journalists have also received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association awards (Wikipedia). The Washington Post has a liberal bias in reporting choices, however they are typically well sourced to credible information.  Sometimes they rush stories to be the first to break them, which leads to poor sourcing. This has occurred on a few occasions in 2016.  When an error is made the Washington Post responsibly makes corrections.
  • Confessions of a Funeral Director: The personal blog of Caleb Wilde.
  • Yahoo News: Yahoo News curates news from a variety of sources and writers.  Some are not properly sourced.  Overall, Yahoo News tends to have a Left-center bias in reporting and wording.
  • New York Times: Paper of record. An American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by The New York Times Company. The New York Times has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. NYT is well sourced and factual in reporting.  The paper has a pretty strong left wing editorial bias, but is considered one of the most reliable sources for information.

An Open Letter to the Coward Cory Gardner, Part 6

Monday, July 3, 2017

Dear Senator Gardner,

Today's missive is in regards to the President's most recent uninformed suggestion, i.e., the idea that the best thing to do for healthcare in this country is to repeal the Affordable Care Act immediately, and then sorting it all out at some undefined later date.

The stupidity of this idea is only surpassed by its callousness.

Let's look at some of the issues surrounding such a plan, shall we?
  • It could cost more than 20 million Americans the coverage they've gained under the law and propel the individual insurance market into a spiral of increasingly higher premiums and insurer exits. But it's all good because you've repealed the black guy's signature legislation and that's what really matters, amirite?
  • This law touches 5.8% of the economy. Is there a plan to address the economic repercussions, or is it more a fly by the seat of your pants kind of deal?
  • Given that the far right is a-okay with throwing people off their health insurance willy-nilly, what assurances do we have that this TREMENDOUS new health care plan will be anything other than a shit show?
You people want the ACA to better serve your constituents (and by "constituents" I mean actual human beings who actually use health care, not "companies")? Then work within the existing structure to do right for PEOPLE. Not for companies, not for the egotist living in the White House. For us. The ones to whom you owe your duty.

Or better yet, join the civilized world in providing guaranteed basic health care in a single payer system. 

Signed,

Janiece

Link Me Up, Scotty - Vote Early, Vote Often Edition


Turns out the vice-chair of 45's "Voter Fraud Panel," Kris Kobach, has roots in White Supremacy and proudly calls himself as "the ACLU's worst nightmare." His work as the Secretary of State in Kansas has made that state #1 in the nation in terms of restricting ballot access, and Secretary Kobach has a pretty serious obsession with non-existent voter fraud, immigration policy, and a belief "that a rise in Latino immigration could lead to the “ethnic cleansing” of whites."

Because nothing fulfills the Oath of the Kansas Secretary of State like circumventing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, viewing the Equal Protection Clause as a mere suggestion, or a belief that broad-based participation in a democracy is not always a good thing. With narrow-based participation in a democracy being defined as CIS, white, conservative men getting to decide the future of our country without any interference from those pesky brown folk, of course.

What a douche.
________

But not everyone's cheering the "Marginalize the Browns" Crazy Train. Representing over 30% of the nation's population, over two dozen states have refused to comply with the Voter Fraud Panel's request to turn over their voter roles. More states are only "partially complying" with the request, providing only information that is required to be publicly available by law. And this is an equal opportunity resistance, as the states refusing to comply or only partially complying are both red and blue. So the invasion of privacy and resistance to the "widespread voter fraud" myth is a bipartisan effort, strangely enough.

IRONY ALERT: one of the states only partially complying is...Kansas. Where the current Secretary of State, the aforementioned Kris Kobach, was just fined by a Federal Judge for “presenting misleading arguments in a voting-related lawsuit.”
________

From the go science, go pooches files: A British naturalist is working to protect lions from villages who hunt them when the lions eat their livestock. One of the ways she does this is introducing Anatolian dogs to act as guardians for the livestock, and to help the villagers earn money by protecting the lions in the adjacent National Park in Tanzania. Mighty Girl! Mighty Pooches!
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My favorite Christian Pastor on the blindness and comfort of privilege, and how the America we thought we lost in recent years is still an idea worth fighting for.
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Local news: The Castle Rock Police Department has started wearing body cameras. Castle Rock doesn't have a lot of violent crime, but there's more than in our previous community (Parker). I approve of body cameras in principle, but recognize that in many cases, context is missing from the recording.
________

Video of the Week: Former President of Mexico Vincente Fox has another video message for 45. I love this fucking guy.



________

Today's Sources as evaluated by Media Bias/Fact Check:
  • The New York Times: Paper of record. The NYT is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by The New York Times Company. The New York Times has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. NYT is well sourced and factual in reporting.  The paper has a pretty strong left wing editorial bias, but is considered one of the most reliable sources for information. 
  • The Washington Post: Paper of record.  The Washington Post is an American daily newspaper. It is the most widely circulated newspaper published in Washington, D.C., and was founded on December 6, 1877.  The newspaper has won 47 Pulitzer Prizes. This includes six separate Pulitzers awarded in 2008, the second-highest number ever awarded to a single newspaper in one year.  Post journalists have also received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association awards (Wikipedia). The Washington Post has a liberal bias in reporting choices, however they are typically well sourced to credible information. Sometimes they rush stories to be the first to break them, which leads to poor sourcing. This has occurred on a few occasions in 2016.  When an error is made the Washington Post responsibly makes corrections.
  • BBC Magazine: The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster.  It is headquartered at Broadcasting House in London, and is the world’s oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. The BBC is an outstanding journalistic source.  They have just a slight left of center political bias in reporting coverage and they are always impeccably sourced.
  • Stuff That Needs to be Said: The personal blog of Pastor John Pavlovitz. 
  • Castle Rock Government: The official website of the Government of Castle Rock, Colorado.
  • Super Deluxe: An omni-platform entertainment company committed to amplifying unconventional creative voices. 

An Open Letter to the Coward Cory Gardner, Part 5

Friday, June 30, 2017

Dear Senator Gardner,

Today's issue comes to you courtesy of your Denver office, where yesterday your representative had the Denver Police Department physically remove protestors from your office. The group was from ADAPT, a disability rights group, and shockingly enough, they don't believe you when your representative claimed,
“The organization currently in the office has spoken to Sen. Gardner several times and are in constant contact with his healthcare policy staff regarding requested reforms to our healthcare system,” Contres said. “Sen. Gardner wants the constituents that are in his office to have quality healthcare. He has concerns that our current system is imploding and won’t be able to provide quality care if nothing is done to fix it.”
Yeah. That's it. You're concerned about quality healthcare and how our current system is imploding. 

Never mind the fact that the system is "imploding" because 45 spitefully decided to withhold promised funds for the ACA. Never mind that the revocation of the Medicaid expansion (in which Colorado participated) will leave tens of thousands of Coloradans without minimal health care. Never mind the 74% increase in out of pocket costs the average American will have to deal with. Your reaction is all about your deep concern for your constituents. It couldn't possibly be about, for example, your proven track record of voting the way your Party tells you to vote and your status as a bought-and-paid-for politician of the rich.  I'm sure that has nothing to do with it AT ALL.

I don't know how you sleep at night with such hypocrisy boiling around in your brain.

Once again, please vote NO on Trumpcare. It's not right for America, and it's not right for Colorado. Grow a backbone and do what is right, not what is expedient.

Signed,

Janiece

Link Me Up, Scotty - We Don't Need Your Business Edition


You know how sometimes firing a customer is just the right thing to do because they're just too damn much trouble? Well, Mika and Joe of Morning Joe have asked 45 to stop being their customer, because it's obvious to them that the President is mentally incapable of watching their show without risking a stroke or an aneurysm. I snorted my way through this opinion piece, while simultaneously becoming more and more sad. How fucked up is our president when what is essentially a morning talk show marginalizes the leader of the free world simply by shaking their heads pitifully and pointing out his juvenile behavior? Pretty fucked up, IMO.
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The Attenborugh and its unmanned submersible "Boaty McBoatface" have returned from their maiden voyage and have oodles of data to share with the scientific community. Our amazing world, and the wonders therein.
________

For those of you who keep felines, check out this Homicidal-Cat Detection Software brought to you by The Oatmeal. Don't say I didn't warn you about cats - secretly, they all want to eat your face.
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There's a new island off the coast of North Carolina, littered with whale bones and the ribs of old shipwrecks. Neat!
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Commentary on the First Amendment and 45's inability to act presidential, even for a red hot minute
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Today's sources as rated by Media Bias/Fact Check:
  • The Washington Post: Paper of record. A daily newspaper with a left-center bias and a high degree of factual reporting. 
  • CBS News: A mainstream USA media source.  CBS News has a left-center bias in reporting and is usually well sourced and factual.
  • The Oatmeal: The website of comic artist Matt Inman. 
  •  National Geographic: The official magazine of the National Geographic Society. A pro-science publication with a high degree of factual science reporting. 
  • Outside the Beltway: An online journal of politics and foreign affairs analysis with classically liberal views such as a strong belief in free trade, limited government, and respect for human rights.