A Strategy, Of Sorts

Friday, December 8, 2017

In 2016, Colorado passed Proposition 108*, which allows unaffiliated voters to vote in primary elections in our state.

I voted for this initiative, because in my opinion, the more crucial election in Federal races is the primary. With all the gerrymandering accomplished by the GOP over the years, having a say in who the major party candidates will be is the real choice in many districts.

My own district (Colorado District 4) is no different. We've had a Republican representative since 1971, with the exception of one term Democrat Betsy Markey in 2008. We're considered a "safe" district because of this history, so there's always a very good chance that the Republican candidate will win regardless of who the Democrats nominate.

So what's a token liberal to do? Well, nothing, until 2018, other than to vote my conscious and resign myself to being represented by a Libertarian leaning GOP purist.

But in 2018, I can participate in the Republican Primary without having to be a registered Republican, a state of affairs that would simply be intolerable. From where I sit, that means I can affect who the Republican candidate will be, albeit in a very minor way.

You know how the extremists on both the left and the right have pretty much taken over the Democratic and Republican parties with their outsize influence on who will run? Yeah. That shit is over here in Colorado, because the majority party here in Colorado is "unaffiliated." So now that unaffiliated voters have a say in who the opposing candidates will be, this marginalizes the extremists by including (presumably) moderates in the mix. And that influence is only likely to increase, as people choose to be unaffiliated rather than registering with a party only in order to caucus in the primaries (as I did).

So I, as an unaffiliated, liberal voter in District 4, may vote in the Republican primary and choose the least extreme candidate. If enough people do this (on both sides of the aisle), then eventually hyper-partisanship will slowly recede in our state. If the only way to get through the primaries is to move to the middle and not be such an extremist doucheweasel, then more politicians will embrace more moderate positions, something every corner of our nation could use.

Of course, I will continue to vote my conscious in the general election, and the most likely scenario is that I'll continue to be represented by a Republican. But by passing this measure, it's more likely that the Republican in question won't be so conservative, won't vote in such a fiscally irresponsible way, won't be so uninterested in the welfare of their constituents as opposed to donors and super rich people. At least, that's my hope.

It's a strategy of sorts. And I'll take all the hope I can get at this point.
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*As I recall, the main argument against Prop 108 was something about how unaffiliated voters shouldn't get a say in the primaries because they weren't a member of the political "team" and it would cost more money to have primaries in this fashion. My response to that is fuck you. While it will cost more money to administer the primaries, in a two party system, any legislation that increases voter choice is for the good. No political party should get to choose who the binary candidates are in something so important as representative government. I hope ALL states pass this type of legislation, and SOON.

A Few Thoughts on Family

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

1. The social dynamics of "family" are a strange, strange thing.

2. We can't choose our family. For some people this is a blessing, for others a curse. I, like most of us, sit somewhere in the middle.

3. But I can choose my family of the heart. I adore my two Sistahs from another Mister, and they adore me (and each other). Sharing deep friendship with these two women is one of the great joys and blessings of my life.

4. Character and kindness matter, especially if you're family. These are relationships that can last our entire lives, but if you choose to be a manipulative, cruel, petty douche, they're not likely to do so.

5. Each of us has the right to determine where duty ends when it comes to family. Sometimes people are worthy of both our love and our duty. Sometimes people aren't worthy of our love, but we choose duty for our own reasons. Sometimes people aren't worthy of our love or our duty. Deciding where people belong in that spectrum is a very personal and difficult choice, and we all have the right to make it based on our own circumstances. But I don't believe that you can claim to have love but not duty. For me, duty is one of the expressions of love, and an automatic ride-along when you actually love someone.

6. Some of the very best aspects of my life are because of family. And some of the very worst aspects of my life are also because of family. Managing this dichotomy is hard for me.

7. When Moe died, I quickly confirmed acts, not words, are what define my family. Never in my life have I needed a support system more than the year after Moe died, and there were folks, blood family and family of my heart, who stepped up. I owe these people my sanity and any life I might make for myself following Moe's death, and I won't forget it.

8. I don't have to tolerate intolerable behavior just because someone's "family."

9. I very rarely discuss politics with family. No good ever came of it.

10. Sometimes members of the family are going to choose to partner with someone who is wildly inappropriate for a variety of reasons. There's not a lot to be done about this - people have agency whether I agree with their decisions, or not. But I keep thought #8 in mind, just the same.

What are your thoughts about family?

Link Me Up, Scotty - We're Baa-aack Edition

Monday, December 4, 2017

My favorite Christian Pastor, John Pavlovitz, takes on the tendency of centrists and liberals to give Trump supporters a "pass" when it comes to supporting someone who engages in such egregiously bad behavior. I've been saying it from the beginning - those who voted for this man-baby own this mess. I don't care why they did it. At this point it makes no difference - their poor choice foisted this miserable fuck onto the rest of us and now we all have to pay the price for their inability to think critically.
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Facebook has decided to use AI technology to detect patterns of suicidal thoughts in its user base (where it's legal). I'm all for engaging in activism to prevent suicide, but Facebook does not have a good record of protecting its users' privacy. I'd like to think that no corporation, no matter how profit driven, would victimize people considering suicide for profit, but I'm not convinced that's true, especially when it comes to Facebook.
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Dictionary.com has selected "complicit" as its word of the year, "citing the term's renewed relevance in U.S. culture and politics — and noting that a refusal to be complicit has also been 'a grounding force of 2017.'" Man. How fucked up do you have to be before the dictionary pwns you?
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U.S. troops will now be carrying freeze-dried blood plasma for first aid in the field. I love living in the future.
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In case you live under a rock, it appears Mike Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. I can only hope this cretin has made a deal where he trades "no jail time" for ratting out 45's insane clown posse.
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A thoughtful essay by Brother Eric, attorney, fellow UCFer, and all around good egg on the topic of how the last year has shown us that our current political system is fundamentally flawed.
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So the GOP is on track to pass "major" legislation. Is it just me, or are members of the GOP just lazy-ass sons-of-bitches these days? These bastards didn't even pretend to care about their constituents, they just kow-towed to their donors as fast as they could to ensure "the donations didn't dry up." My own Republican Senator, the Coward Cory Gardner, did his usual side-step, pretending to consider the ramifications of this POS bill before taking his orders from his masters - his donors and the GOP, as is his usual practice. Since he's their butt-monkey this is entirely predictable behavior. Fun fact: Cory's net worth is less than mine, so I can only assume he voted "yes" for ambition's sake, since he has no moral center and didn't do it for his or his children's sake, either.

My Representative, Ken "I have no redeeming social value" Buck, always votes the party line with no consideration of his constituents, so it was no surprise that he also voted to betray his constituents in favor of big business. I hate both these fucking politicians (as well as 45), and for the first time in my life, I've actually started a savings account so that I can donate money to their opposition when they're up for reelection.
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McKinsey & Co. has released a report stating that approximately 1/3 of U.S. jobs will be eliminated due to automaton in the next 12 years. It's going to be a rough economic ride, kids.
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Video of the Week: Charles Durning demonstrates the correct political communication style in today's America. Here's Sidestep, from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.



Fun Fact: Charles Durning was a WWII hero, earning the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, and three Purple Hearts. He was also a professional ballroom dancer.

Post-Hiatus News

Friday, December 1, 2017

Since I've been on hiatus for the last four weeks, here are the exciting events you missed in my wild and woolly life. Try to contain your excitement.

1. I finally planted my Fall bulbs. It was too warm to do so earlier, and even now I'm hoping they don't come up during our unusually warm not-caused-by-imaginary-climate-change winter.

2. You know all of those sexual misconduct allegations that have been in the news for over a month? Yeah. I believe the victims. Not just the ones who have accused people I detest, but all of them. Victim blaming gives me hypertension, and I will not make excuses for Al Franken, Louis C.K., et al just because they share aspects of my world-view. Bad behavior is bad behavior, and whataboutism is a poor and ethically indefensible argument.

3. Why are decent bras so damned expensive? Asking for a friend.

4. More than a dozen people have reached out to me about the American Heart Association's Little Hats, Big Hearts campaign to raise awareness of heart disease in February. I'm on it, y'all. I'll be mailing my contribution to the Denver AHA office at the end of December.

5. I'm working on some really interesting projects at work lately involving artificial intelligence. I won't give the details because I don't discuss my employer's bidness here, but NEATO TORPEDO, BATMAN.

6. We had a really nice Thanksgiving. 24 people around the table at my cousin's place, and I made the usual huge batch of stuffing, and the Smart Man made Auntie Kris' sweet potato casserole. Kris passed the torch to the Smart Man last year, knowing she wouldn't live to see another Thanksgiving. The Smart Man takes his sweet potato responsibilities pretty seriously, which I find both incredibly sad and incredibly hopeful.

7. If Robert Mueller wasn't 20 years older than me and married since 1966, I would totally stalk him like some sort of creepy, crazy, platonic fan-girl.

8. We finally finished Punisher and Stranger Things 2. I was a little skeptical when Netflix first announced they would be producing original content, but now I'm a believer. Jon Burnthal is an incredible Frank Castle, and I love those Stranger Things kids.

9. Video of the Day: For an Atheist, I'm really fond of Christmas music, so here's Pentatonix with Jennifer Hudson singing How Great Thou Art. 


10th Anniversary

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Today is the 10th Anniversary of Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men. Ten long years. This is the 2,955th blog post since I started, although I think about 80% of them are crap, 15% are readable, and about 5% can be described as good.

Ten years is a long time for a single individual endeavor that isn't motivated by fame, fortune, or sex, and I've noticed that I've been half-assing it for the last year or so. Lots of political bitching and links to other people's content, not much original writing. That's why I needed a hiatus, I think. To calm my mind, re-evaluate what I wanted from this space, determine the type of culture I want to foster here. In many ways, this space has been a snapshot of my psyche over the last decade, from my political opinions to my personal values, from the joys of my life to my greatest sorrows. I've met some outstanding friends through this (and other) on-line venues, including Sistah Stacey and Brother J.R.

All of that has been to the good, but I needed to take a step back, to determine what kind of space I need and want at this point in my life.

It's unlikely I'll stop blogging about the asshattery of politics, especially in our current political climate, but I want this space to be more than bitching about 45 and his insane clown posse. I want it to be about the human condition, and my place in the world. I want it to be about the good in our species, and how we demonstrate that good. I want it to be about the things that make our lives meaningful, and the value of those things.

In other words, less snarky and sarcastic, and more thoughtful and grateful.

But not without humor and whimsy. Because humor is one of the things that makes this life worth living, and being whimsical relieves the tedium of life maintenance.

So I'm back, like the mold that grows in your drywall and never goes away. Here's to another ten years of life and love, joy and sorrow, self-examination and sarcasm. The nature of HCDSM has changed, with reader commentary and interaction moving to other social media streams, but this is where my on-line journey started, and this will always be my on-line home.*

Let the conversation resume.  
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*Suck it, Mark Zuckerberg.

On Hiatus

Saturday, November 4, 2017

I will going on hiatus for a while. I have some housekeeping chores to attend to, and I'm more than a little sick of hearing myself complain about 45 and his insane clown posse.

So it's break-time. I hope to see you again when Hot Chicks Dig Smart Men is back on line!

An Open Letter to Thoughtful, Serious, Reasonable Conservatives

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I feel so sorry for you guys. I really do. Here we are, in a two party system, and the only "conservative" choice available to you is moving farther and farther out into the weeds of megalomania, extremism, fear, fiscal irresponsibility, and bigotry. Your party leader is a world class douchebag; unserious, classless, unqualified, incurious, unthoughtful, and fit only for being the butt of jokes.

I miss the old Republican party. The one I belonged to when I believed in conservatism, and actually believed the GOP was the party of fiscal responsibility. These were serious people, and knew how to get things done.* Whether you agreed with it or not, they were effective in executing on their vision. They truly were the loyal opposition to the Democrats, and they deserved to participate in the marketplace of ideas. I miss them.

Because the current party isn't like that at all. Consider:
  • They would rather lie - demonstrably so - than admit they may not be the most popular group in politics, or that their proposed legislation is clearly hurtful to millions of Americans, or that they give a crap about the deficit, etc., etc., ad nauseum.
  • While riding on the coattails of populism, they simultaneously try to enact legislation the majority of Americans don't want - but that big business and the ultra-rich do.
  • They remain in power partly because they stoke the fears of the public, insinuating through speech and deed that we Americans are on the verge of losing our way, that our country's in the toilet. They've encouraged us to give in to fear and hate. 
  • They've used the Southern Strategy to enormous benefit. A strategy based on populism, fear, bigotry, and exceptionalism. 
  • They're completely incompetent. It's been nine months since they controlled every branch of the government, and what have they accomplished? Bupkis. They can't get their own ducks in a row long enough to address what color to paint the halls in the Capital Building, let alone actually display some governance. 
  • They have no fiduciary responsibility whatsoever. They go on and on and on about the national debt, but Republican administrations apparently can't balance their budget if their life depended on it. Reagan's record in this area is especially egregious, and when you do an honest comparison of National Debt in the last 50 years, the difference between the two parties is negligible, at best. The difference is that Republicans want to cut taxes (especially for the rich), thus reducing income while simultaneously cutting services to the poor, and the Democrats want to adopt more of a socialistic model, where services are increased, and taxes are increased accordingly to pay for the additional services. Quite frankly, the execution on both of these strategies has been piss poor, leaving the country with higher and higher national debt. So having the Republicans toot their own horn on how fiscally conservative they are is laughable. They're not (and neither are the Democrats).
  • Their hypocrisy when it comes to "small government" is beyond the pale. They may want fewer people on the payroll (doing the same amount of work), but when it comes to sticking their noses into other people's business, they are first in line.
Aren't you tired? Aren't you tired of the Republican Party relying on their strategy of catering to the lowest common denominator to get into power, assuming smart, reasonable, serious conservatives will do nothing as long as Republicans occupy the halls of power? Aren't you tired of having the Tea Party extremists claiming to represent you, while simultaneously trying to enact legislation that you totally disagree with?

I know I would be. I know I was, which is why I left the party.

But I understand why thoughtful, serious, reasonable, conservative citizens don't want to switch to the Democrats. They're as far away from your belief system as the extremists who have taken over your own party.

So if you can't bring the Republican party back on track from within, how about you form a new party? You could call it "The Reasonable Party," or "The Conservative Party," or "The Anyone but Trump Party."

The fact of the matter is that we really do need to "take our country back." We need to take it back from ultraconservative/fascist extremists who are warping the Republic to their own ends. And since the Republicans are currently in power, that means it's up to you, conservatives, to do what is necessary to fix it. Liberals cannot do so on our own - we don't speak the conservative language (and that's okay, it's really not our job to do so in this context). You're allowing this with your silence and lack of action. And that's not okay.


*Note that I'm aware they did so on the backs of the marginalized. There's a reason I'm no longer a Republican.