Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Random News: July 23, 2024



DISCLAIMER: Zak's Random News is very random and doesn't cover many things, and not everything may be accurate, because I'm just some guy. Go find a real news source.



Good morning. It’s July 23, 2024, and it’s a Tuesday. With no exaggeration, I feel like there’s been a week’s worth of news each day in recent times… especially over the past 44 hours since Joe Biden stepped aside for Kamala Harris to be the Democratic candidate. So much has happened, moment by moment, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with everything. I do want to document this stuff because we are definitely in a time period that will be studied for centuries.


  • On Sunday, I spent the first couple of hours after Joe stepped out of the race in a daze of sorts, followed by a massive adrenaline rush as the Democratic world rallied behind Kamala Harris.
  • We mentioned yesterday that the Harris campaign had raked in a lot of contributions, but the total amount and breadth of the support was staggering beyond belief.
  • On July 21, the day of her announcement of intention to run, Vice President Kamala Harris' presidential campaign raked in $66,972,690. Yesterday, the campaign received $67,221,729. As of the writing of this bullet, she’s brought in another $6.4 million this morning. That’s well over $140 million in two days. And it keeps going up.
  • It’s the largest amount of money raised in this short time span in presidential election history. 
  • But wait, it gets better: That money didn’t come from a few wealthy oligarchs. Instead, it came from more than 1.1 million grassroots donors, and for the majority of them, it was their first contribution of the 2024 election cycle.
  • Here’s a good example: a call hosted by the group "Win with Black Women" on Sunday evening brought in $1.6 million alone. A special note about that: the Zoom call last night was set up for up to 1,000 people to join and participate.
  • And then over 40,000 people joined, requiring the group to get ahold of Zoom CEO Eric Yuan to help accommodate them. They stayed on the call for four fucking hours.
  • And then, yesterday afternoon, Kamala Harris surpassed the 1,976 pledged delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination. She is now the official presumptive nominee (which will be finalized after the roll call vote of delegates, either in a virtual call or at the convention itself).
  • At this moment, Harris has 2,688 pledged delegates. Only 54 remain undecided.
  • She’d also secured the endorsement of 100% of Democratic Governors, 87% of Dem/Independent Senators, and 86% of Dem Representatives. That’s unheard of, especially in a one-day period.
  • When will Harris become the official nominee? Sooner than you think.
  • The Democratic Party plans to push forward with a virtual roll call in which delegates to its convention can choose a presidential nominee before they gather next month in Chicago.
  • The convention rules committee will meet tomorrow to approve how the virtual roll call will work. Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison said the process will be completed in two weeks by August 7 — a full 12 days before the party’s convention begins.
  • LET’S GO.
  • People are energized and excited… and unified behind Harris.
  • More than 28,000 new volunteers have registered to join Harris’ campaign since Biden chose to withdraw his candidacy. It’s a rate more than 100 times an average day from the previous Biden reelection campaign, which really points out the level of enthusiasm behind Harris.
  • Also, the AFL-CIO unanimously endorsed Harris for president yesterday, locking in a major Democratic constituency. The AFL-CIO is composed of 60 unions and 12.5 million workers.
  • Other unions endorsing Harris for President: AFSCME, ATU, AFT, CWA, Stage Employees, IBEW, IUPAT, SEIU, United Farm Workers, UFCW, and more.
  • Fuck yes.
  • And in an era where pop culture is so influential — especially to the youth vote — yesterday Kamala Harris was endorsed by music stars Ariana Grande, Demi Lovato, Charli XCX, Katy Perry, Cardi B, and Lizzo.
  • And some people are speculating that endorsements by Beyoncé and Taylor Swift might be forthcoming.
  • Yesterday, Vice President Harris rallied staffers at the Biden campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, which is now hers to inherit.
  • She had the crowd cheering when she said “I took on perpetrators of all kinds. I know Donald Trump’s type.”
  • President Biden called into the event, apologizing to his staff for not being there while he recovers from COVID, but affirming that he did the right thing by stepping aside for the 2024 campaign. He also said that he’ll be on the campaign trail with Kamala… that’s awesome.
  • Think about some of the things that will happen during a Harris presidency.
  • Harris will pick at least one if not more Supreme Court justices. Clarence Thomas is 76 and not in great health. Alito is 73. And for fairness’s sake, I’ll point out that Justice Sotomayor is 70 and Chief Justice Roberts is 69.
  • Harris will further the crucial agenda of the Biden administration, prioritizing the establishment of women’s reproductive rights on a national level. As vice president, she has been the administration’s biggest defender of abortion rights in the two years since the Dobbs ruling.
  • And of course, Harris will continue Biden’s successful record in health care, the environment, the economy, infrastructure, education, prescription drug prices, foreign policy, US defense, job creation, protecting Social Security and Medicare… it’s quite a list.
  • So on a related big topic…
  • Is it weird to have a female head of state?
  • In the past 100 years, it’s actually weird NOT to have had one. Super weird.
  • Look at just a few of them…
  • Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May (United Kingdom). Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Katrín Jakobsdóttir, and Halla Tómasdóttir (Iceland). Mary McAleese (Ireland). Gro Harlem Brundtland (Norway). Tarja Halonen, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, and Mari Kiviniemi (Finland). Magdalena Andersson (Sweden). Mette Frederiksen (Denmark). Angela Merkel (Germany). Kazimira Prunskienė (Lithuania). Ewa Kopacz (Poland). Giorgia Meloni (Italy). Katerina Sakellaropoulou (Greece). Vjosa Osmani (Kosovo). Yulia Tymoshenko (Ukraine). Golda Meir (Israel). Indira Ghandi (India). Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan). Aung San Suu Kyi (Myanmar).  Yingluck Shinawatra (Thailand). Corazon Aquino (Philippines). Julia Gillard (Australia). Helen Clark (New Zealand). Kim Campbell (Canada). Claudia Sheinbaum (Mexico). Laura Chinchilla (Cosa Rica). Violeta Chamorro (Nicaragua). Isabel Perón and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina).
  • There are many, many more.
  • And then look at some of the countries that haven’t had an official female head of state, like Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, a number of African nations… and the USA.
  • Less than a third of UN member states have never had a female head of state.
  • Women have long proven themselves capable of excellence in leadership. So yes, after 248 years as a nation, we’re long overdue to have a woman President. End of discussion.
  • Continuing on…
  • There’s been a ton of speculation already about who Harris will select for her vice president.
  • Traditionally, the science behind a VP choice is pretty simple: select someone whose views align well with the presidential candidate, but who represents people whom the candidate doesn’t easily reach as voters, often by regional separation but sometimes other factors (cultural, and in recent times, race and gender).
  • A good example: John F. Kennedy — a Senator from Massachusetts — chose Lyndon B. Johnson, a Senator from Texas. Kennedy was young, Johnson was older with more experience. Kennedy was from the Northeast, Johnson was from the South.
  • Another good one: Barack Obama’s choice of Joe Biden. A young and relatively inexperienced Black guy picked an older, deeply experienced, and well-known white guy. Smart.
  • So using that kind of criteria, let’s do a quick rundown of the most likely VP candidates are for Kamala Harris, and why they are under consideration.
  • Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear: Like Harris, he’s a pretty young guy at age 46. But more importantly, he’s a very popular Democrat in a deep-red state. When he won reelection to a second term last November, Dump had carried the state by about 25 points in 2020. Beshear made abortion a major issue in his campaign. And, yes, he’s male and white, which counterbalances the perception of Harris.
  • Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro: He was elected in a landslide victory in 2022, defeating a far-right election denier in a crucial swing state. Shapiro is a male, he’s 51, he’s white (though Jewish, which might be an issue for some bigoted voters), and he’s from the other side of the country as Harris (a Californian).
  • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper: Again, you have a situation where a Southern state that tends to lean red puts their trust in a Democratic leader. Cooper is very experienced. He was first elected to the NC House of Representatives in 1986, was the Democratic majority leader in the state Senate, and held the post of attorney general for four terms. And he’s a generic-looking, older white guy. And he’s term-limited in NC, meaning he’s soon out of that job regardless.
  • Arizona Senator Mark Kelly: He would definitely add the “macho man” push to the ticket, having been a naval aviator and combat pilot, and then a well-known astronaut before running for Senate. While being born and raised in New Jersey, the downside to Kelly is his connection to another western state. However, with Arizona having a Democratic governor, his replacement would be another Dem.
  • The rest of the pack? All very good people, but — in my opinion — less electable on a nationwide basis with a Harris ticket for various reasons. They include Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Maryland Governor Wes Moore, and a couple of others.
  • Another very capable person whose name was mentioned as a possible VP choice was Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. First, I do not think having an all-woman ticket would be the most advantageous plan to win in the current set of circumstances.
  • But it doesn’t matter what I think. Whitmer announced yesterday that she will be the co-chair of Harris’ presidential campaign, and that she is therefore not interested in the VP slot.
  • And then, late in the day yesterday, reports were going around about five people who had reportedly been asked to provide vetting materials to the Harris campaign to be considered as vice president candidates.
  • They allegedly were Kelly, Cooper, Shapiro, Whitmer, as well as Minnesota Governor Tim Walz. And I have know way of knowing if that’s based on anything real. That whole thing might be bullshit.
  • So basically, we really don’t know. And there’s no urgent need to rush that process. We have a long way to go.
  • I have a vision for January 20, 2025. Kamala Harris is being sworn in by Chief Justice John Roberts as President of the United States, with Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson administering President Harris’ Vice President’s oath of office.
  • One more tidbit…
  • Fact check: did Donald Trump really donate to Harris’s campaign when she was Attorney General of California?
  • Correct! Don the Con wrote a check to Kamala for $5,000, dated September 26, 2011. See, Dump used to donate to all the attorney generals, in case he’d eventually be put on trial in their respective areas, hoping for favored treatment.
  • Pffffffttttttt… douche.
  • My only other political note of the moment… George Lang, a Republican state senator from Ohio who spoke at J. D. Vance’s first solo rally yesterday, has apologized for saying on stage that it would “take a civil war” to save the country if Dump loses.
  • I thought the kinder, gentler MAGA world didn’t want to promote violence? Hmm.
  • Let’s do some other news. The world keeps going separately from our crazy politics.
  • Yesterday, Google announced they are reversing its plan to phase out the use of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser.
  • That’s nice. “Just kidding, everyone!” is something Google has been guilty of multiple times in the past.
  • Google first announced plans in 2020 to phase out third-party cookies — data stored in web browsers that allow companies to track users. Google used that feature to help promote Chrome.
  • Among other things, cookies help marketers target ads to specific groups of people. I know this well. It’s part of my job in marketing, and it was advertisers who forced this reversal.
  • When the question is, “Why?” the answer is nearly always, “Money.”
  • Moving on.
  • Our stories here for much of recent times have been dominated by women’s topics… reproductive rights, women’s sports, the possible election of our first female President in the USA, and more.
  • But here’s one you probably weren’t expecting: a Navy aviator has become the first woman U.S. pilot to engage and kill an air-to-air contact in combat.
  • The unnamed Navy pilot, a member of the strike fighter squadron known as the “Fighting Swordsmen,” recently notched the achievement against an attack drone deployed by Yemen’s Houthi rebels.
  • The squadron was deployed aboard the Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier, which was sent to the Middle East just weeks after the Hamas-led attack against Israel on October 7.
  • The Fighting Swordsmen squadron, which has been around since the 1940s, is presently flying the F/A-18F Super Hornet, a supersonic twin-engine, carrier-capable, multirole fighter jet. Badass!
  • This air-to-air victory by a female pilot comes 30 years after Lt. Kara Hultgreen became, in 1994, the first carrier-based female fighter pilot in the Navy.
  • And now, The Weather: “Image” by Magdalena Bay
  • Rest in peace to Duke Fakir, a founder and last surviving member of the classic Motown group the Four Tops. He was 88 years old.
  • The Four Tops had a bunch of hits, but their biggest ones were the number-ones “I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)" in 1965 and "Reach Out I'll Be There" in 1966. They also had huge songs in the ‘70s, like “Ain't No Woman.”
  • Duke was in that band from 1953 until his retirement literally this month. Most people never knew that Fakir was born in Detroit, but his father was a factory worker who came from what is now Bangladesh.
  • From the Sports Desk… there’s an actual fucking NFL football game next week.
  • Granted, it’s preseason and meaningless, but it is a football game. The Chicago Bears and Houston Texans will face off in the 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at 8PM ET on Thursday August 1.
  • The game kicks off Enshrinement Week in Canton, OH, where seven players will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame: Dwight Freeney (defensive end), Randy Gradishar (linebacker), Devin Hester (wide receiver/returner), Andre Johnson (wide receiver), Steve McMichael (defensive tackle), Julius Peppers (defensive end), and Patrick Willis (linebacker).
  • All worthy players.
  • OMG, I just wrote about NFL football. It’s… been so… long (sobs).
  • Today in history… William Austin Burt patents the typographer, a precursor to the typewriter (1829). Canada closes its doors to paupers and criminal immigrants (1900). The Ford Motor Company sells its first car (1903). The Chinese Communist Party is established (1921). Fox Film buys the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film (1926). The United States' Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles issues a declaration on the U.S. non-recognition policy of the Soviet annexation and incorporation of three Baltic states: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania (1940). Telstar relays the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite (1962). Jackie Robinson becomes the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame (1962). In Detroit, one of the worst riots in United States history begins on 12th Street in the predominantly African American inner city, ultimately killing 43 people, injuring 342 and burning about 1,400 buildings (1967). The United States launches Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite (1972). Actor Vic Morrow and two children are killed when a helicopter crashes onto them while shooting a scene from ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’ (1982). Comet Hale–Bopp is discovered; it becomes visible to the naked eye on Earth nearly a year later (1995). Space Shuttle Columbia launches on STS-93, with Eileen Collins becoming the first female space shuttle commander (1999). NASA announces discovery of Kepler-452b by Kepler (2015). 
  • July 23 is the birthday of philosopher Luís António Verney (1713), novelist Raymond Chandler (1888), Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie (1892), brothel owner Isabel Luberza Oppenheimer (1901), activist Chandra Shekhar Azad (1906), MLB player Pee Wee Reese (1918), WWII servicewoman Jenny Pike (1922), astronomer Vera Rubin (1928), actor Bert Convy (1933), MLB player Don Drysdale (1936), actor/singer-songwriter Ronny Cox (1938), murderer Charles Harrelson (1938), radio host Don Imus (1940), singer David Essex (1947), singer-songwriter/guitarist Martin Gore (1961), actor Woody Harrelson (1961), guitarist/songwriter Slash (1965), actor Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967), NBA player Gary Payton (1968), politician Raphael Warnock (1969), singer-songwriter Alison Krauss (1971), MLB player Nomar Garciaparra (1973), activist Monica Lewinsky (1973), and actor Daniel Radcliffe (1989).


Honestly, I could write three times as many bullet points and still not cover all the details happening in the political realm right now. I do want to point out something I wrote just over a week ago on July 14: “Many things that you’re not expecting can, and will, happen.” And that is still true today. But we’ll try and take it one day at a time. And along with many of you, I yearn for less exciting times. Enjoy your day.

Monday, July 22, 2024

Random News: July 22, 2024



DISCLAIMER: Zak's Random News is very random and doesn't cover many things, and not everything may be accurate, because I'm just some guy. Go find a real news source.



Good morning. It’s July 22, 2024, and it’s a Monday. As you may recall, I was sort of anticipating this weekend to go off the rails with big news, and yeah… that indeed happened. We gotta talk about that.


  • Where should I start to discuss this unprecedented moment in American history?
  • I guess I’ll start at the start.
  • Um. Lemme think.
  • Okay.
  • In 2020, things were really bad. To this day, I’m not sure that most of you understand how bad it actually was, or how much worse it could have gotten.
  • Donald Trump had been elected in 2016 and had been an abject failure to the country. He was so bad at the job that a consortium of political scholars — both liberal and conservative —  placed him in very last place in their recent ranking of all U.S. Presidents.
  • By 2020, America’s global standing had fallen dramatically. The economy was already starting to tank well before COVID hit. And then we had the pandemic itself. Mass deaths. Lockdowns. And then a summer of demonstrations and riots.
  • And then, in the first huge turnaround of fortune since the Obama era, we elected Joe Biden in November of that year.
  • I remember that moment. It was the Saturday after the election. November 7, 2020. I was chilling here at home and then it was actually Fox News that broke the story that Biden had won Arizona and thereby passed the 270 electoral mark to win the presidency.
  • The final count was Biden with 306 electoral votes to Dump’s 232. The popular vote was a wide margin of victory as well… Joe got 81,283,501, and Donnie got 74,223,975.
  • It was a glorious day.
  • We all know in retrospect about the crazy shit that transpired right after… the election deniers, the series of failed lawsuits, the fake electors, the insurrection at the Capitol… all of it.
  • Over the following three years, I’m going to say that Biden had one of the most challenging presidencies in US history, right up there with those of Washington, Lincoln, and FDR. He had to pull us back from the depths of COVID. He made brilliant moves to help the country get back on its feet and kickstart the economy, all with the MAGA world trying — and failing —to stop US progress at every turn.
  • That same set of scholars and historians who put Trump last placed Biden as the 14th best President of all time. He’s been considered by many as one of the most effective presidents in US history. I completely agree.
  • And remember… before the election, I was NOT a Joe Biden fanboy by any means. Joe proved me wrong in my perception of him as a boring centrist career politician. He used his experience to get shit done, and he stayed open to new ideas.
  • Joe Biden did more to help seniors and military vets than any other President. He was pro-union. Expanded health care. Forgave student debt. Boosted the rights of marginalized people, including the LGBTQ+ community.
  • So all that was good, and I was happy with Biden’s performance as President, and would have happily voted for him to serve a second term. I’ve noted that about a million times here.
  • And so, here I was yesterday, lazily scrolling down Facebook, when a new post popped up that I saw within seconds of posting at 11AM PDT. It was a letter. From Joe Biden. I scanned it quickly and got to the important part.
  • “It has been the greatest honor of my life to serve as your President. And while it has been my intention to seek reelection, I believe it is in the best interest of my party and the country for me to stand down and to focus solely on fulfilling my duties as President for the remainder of my term.”
  • Welp.
  • So lemme tell you: yesterday had specifically been rumored as they day Joe would drop out, if he was going to. It made sense… still a month out from the Democratic National Convention where the nominee is officially chosen and named.
  • And still 106 days until the election. Any more waiting would have been detrimental to whoever the replacement candidate would be.
  • Anyone who knows anything about Joe Biden knows that he was never going to be forced out. That it was his decision to make. If you trust him, you also trust that he made the right call for the country here based on the info he had available.
  • And if for one second he thought that he was only staying in the race for his own ego or his legacy, well… that’s not the kind of person Biden is.
  • His stepping aside tells me that he was provided proof that he didn’t have the best chance of beating Dump in November compared to someone else. I can guarantee the final decision was his and his alone.
  • So let’s talk about where we are and what happens now.
  • Immediately after his announcement that he was dropping out of contention, he endorsed Vice President Kamala Harris as the nominee.
  • It’s rumored that part of Joe’s agreement to step down was contingent on the plan for everyone to rally behind Kamala.
  • Does Harris automatically become the nominee? No, of course not. Harris will have to win a majority of the convention just like anyone else. 
  • And she will. I would say that on a 99% probability, Kamala is our candidate. See below for details.
  • The Democrats had been in the process of setting up a system to conduct their presidential nomination vote remotely in a “virtual roll call” before the party’s convention next month. 
  • It’s not yet clear whether the party will stick with the remote vote plan or scrap it and allow the formal vote to happen on the convention floor. 
  • Could other candidates get in the race? Yes, but I think the ship already sailed.
  • To do so, they’d have to gather hundreds of signatures from delegates from several states. But that’s not why they won’t get the nomination.
  • The endorsements from across the entire Democratic landscape started pouring in for Harris immediately. First (and most importantly) from Biden himself, as noted above. I think next up were Bill and Hillary Clinton.
  • Over the next few hours, endorsements flowed from everywhere.
  • The Senators… Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Laphonza Butler (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Chris Coons (D-DE), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Jackie Rosen (D-NV), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and more.
  • Harris also got immediate endorsements from Governors like Josh Shapiro (D-PA), Roy Cooper (D-NC), Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Kathy Hochul (D-DY), Phil Murphy (D-NJ), Janet Mills (D-ME), and others.
  • She also got them from influential US Reps like Jamie Raskin, Jim Clyburn, Adam Schiff, Pramila Jayapal, Nanette Barragán, Ruben Gallego, Annie Kuster, Ted Lieu, Ilhan Omar, Cori Bush, Jamaal Bowman, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
  • Over 150 Senate and House Democrats endorsed Harris before day’s end yesterday. As did the Congressional Black Caucus. And the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. All six Black attorneys general in the United States.
  • Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.  Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.
  • SEIU, the second largest labor union in the United States, is backing Harris. So is the Human Rights Campaign. The American Federation of Teachers.
  • All 50 Democratic party state chairs threw their support to Harris that same day. Tennessee was the first state to pledge all their delegates (77) to Kamala. Four more states of electors quickly joined them.
  • In the hours immediately following Kamala’s decision to run, she also raised about $47 million in small donations from ActBlue alone. And now that the uncertainty of Biden’s decision is out of the way, the big dollar donors will be coming in hot. Several well-known megadonors have already committed their financial support for Harris. And she also now officially has the Biden/Harris hard money war chest of $96 million.
  • The full numbers aren’t readily available, but it was postulated that yesterday was the single biggest fundraising day for Democrats... ever.
  • In a complete turnaround within a day, Democrats have closed ranks and seem full onboard, unified behind our candidate.
  • As of this morning, even some of the politicians who briefly made mention of challenging Harris for the nomination have stepped aside. No one is going to stop her momentum.
  • Overall, it’s been the fastest launch of a presidential campaign in history. Wow.
  • Stock markets opened higher this morning due to the boost of a possible Harris presidency that would continue the successful economic policies that Biden put in place.
  • I’ve heard plenty of fearful messaging since yesterday that all fall under, “We can’t win because the racists and bigots won’t vote for Kamala!”
  • Here’s a clue: the racists and bigots were never going to vote for anyone but Dump. Our new candidate being Kamala Harris changes nothing about that. Not a single vote has been lost.
  • And possibly many gained. LET’S FUCKING GO.
  • The 2024 election will pit an ex-prosecutor against a convicted felon. It will be a matchup with the most fierce defender of women’s rights versus the man who wants to remove those rights nationwide.
  • And since the MAGA world was so focused on Joe Biden’s age, despite him being just a couple of years older than Dump, I feel justified in pointing out that future President Harris is a youthful-seeming and energetic 59-year-old going up against the man who is now the oldest presidential candidate in history at 78.
  • Women, people of color, younger voters, every person who prioritizes compassion and empathy… they now all have a candidate who they don’t merely accept, but who they are completely excited to be supporting.
  • This is the greatest nightmare for Dump, the GOP, and the rest who thought they had an easy path to enact their draconian Project 2025 plan.
  • Before this announcement, polls that pitted a theoretical Harris/Trump battle had them at a statistical tie, with Harris doing slightly better than Biden in several states. But now it’s not a theory; now it’s real.
  • The MAGAs all assumed they were on a glide path to victory. No more. The election map is going to have a very different look after the next set of (mostly pointless) polls come out.
  • And I’d even say that some states that were considered absolute locks for Dump — Texas and Florida come to mind — are now possibly in play as swing states that could go to Harris.
  • Can you imagine Dump and the MAGA world being beaten in a landslide by a Black woman? Nothing would be better than that.
  • I’ll end this by quoting the end of Joe Biden’s letter…
  • “I believe today what I always have: that there is nothing America can't do - when we do it together. We just have to remember we are the United States of America.”
  • Thanks Joe, for your service to our country. Your legacy will be among the very best. God bless America. Now let’s elect President Harris.
  • And now, The Weather: “Here It Comes” by Oneida
  • From the Sports Desk… nah, fuck it. Unless Kamala Harris was in a game of pickleball last night, I’m not covering sports today.
  • Today in history… Godfrey of Bouillon is named the Defender of the Holy Sepulchre (1099). A second group of English settlers arrives on Roanoke Island off North Carolina to re-establish the deserted colony (1587). Albany, NY is chartered (1686). Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first recorded human to complete a transcontinental crossing of North America (1793). The Slavery Abolition Act passes in the British House of Commons, initiating the gradual abolition of slavery in most parts of the British Empire (1833). Outside Atlanta, Confederate General John Bell Hood leads an unsuccessful attack on Union troops under General William T. Sherman on Bald Hill (1864). Katherine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful” (1893). The United States Senate votes down President Franklin D. Roosevelt's proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court of the United States (1937). The USA begins compulsory civilian gas rationing for WWII (1942). The Mariner I spacecraft launches erratically and has to be destroyed (1962). Greg LeMond wins his third Tour de France (1990). US military attacks a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay along with others (2003). 
  • July 22 is the birthday of painter Edward Hopper (1882), philanthropist Rose Kennedy (1890), psychiatrist Karl Menninger (1893), politician Bob Dole (1923), actor Orson Bean (1928), fashion designer Oscar de la Renta (1932), novelist Tom Robbins (1932), actress Louise Fletcher (1934), TV host Alex Trebek (1940), singer-songwriter/producer George Clinton (1941), singer-songwriter/keyboardist Rick Davies (1944), actor Danny Glover (1946), actor/writer Albert Brooks (1947), singer-songwriter/drummer Don Henley (1947), author S. E. Hinton (1948), guitarist/composer Al Di Meola (1954), actor Willem Dafoe (1955), musician/music producer Steve Albini (1962), actor John Leguizamo (1964), actor David Spade (1964), NFL player Tim Brown (1966), NFL player Keyshawn Johnson (1972), singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright (1973), NFL player Steven Jackson (1983), singer/actress Selena Gomez (1992), and NFL player Ezekiel Elliott (1995).


It’s a new day in America. I was so filled with adrenaline after what transpired yesterday, it was hard to come down and focus on the mundane aspects of life. But we still have another 105 days until the election, so I’m going to try and take it one step at a time, and focus on the things that we can do together. We will definitely be discussing ways to help Kamala become the first president of the USA over the coming weeks. It’s exciting, and I think it will happen. And I want to add… thanks to the great Joe Biden for putting the country before himself. It took a big man to make that call, and not everyone would have had the class to do it. Joe did. Enjoy your day.

Sunday, July 21, 2024

Random News: July 21, 2024



DISCLAIMER: Zak's Random News is very random and doesn't cover many things, and not everything may be accurate, because I'm just some guy. Go find a real news source.



Good morning. It’s July 21, 2024, and it’s a Sunday. Looks like a beautiful day outside as I awaken and pour myself a cup of coffee. I think that in the midst of craziness, it’s all the more important to appreciate a blue sky and a cool breeze. Let’s see what’s happening.


  • A historical note that hopefully makes you stop and think…
  • Over the years, there have been contested elections, when the state primaries and caucuses don’t result in a single candidate earning a majority of delegate votes before the convention. And every time, the contested candidate loses.
  • I’m not just talking about close party nominations, like what happened between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders leading into the Dem convention in 2016, or in 1980 when Jimmy Carter narrowly edged out Ted Kennedy for the nomination, or in 1976 when Ronald Reagan made a surge — but eventually lost to — Gerald Ford, the incumbent president.
  • In 1860, with slavery dividing the nation, the Democratic National Convention had no clear winner. Southern Democrats nominated John C. Breckenridge, who believed in secession. Northern Democrats cast their votes for Illinois Senator Stephen Douglas. They split the votes when they faced Republican nominee — and election winner — Abraham Lincoln. 
  • In the most famous contested convention in U.S. history, and certainly the longest, West Virginia Congressman John W. Davis finally secured the party’s 1924 nomination after 103 ballots were cast over 17 days (and most of the pissed-off delegates ended up just leaving). Davis lost the general election resoundingly to Republican President Calvin Coolidge.
  • 1968 was a super weird one. Lyndon B. Johnson announced he would drop out of the presidential race and not seek reelection. The party assumed that former US attorney general and New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy would be the guy. But then he was assassinated that June. 
  • That left anti-war candidate Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota facing Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, who had entered the race following Johnson’s withdrawal. Humphrey didn’t participate in any primary races, but still clinched the nomination on the first ballot.
  • But the national focus was on the 10,000 anti-war protesters who took to the streets, clashing with 12,000 Chicago police officers, plus Army forces, members of the Illinois National Guard and Secret Service agents. Humphrey got annihilated by Nixon that fall.
  • It’s not only Democrats, I should note. Four years earlier in 1964, Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater fended off New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller in the Republican primaries. But Goldwater was still shy of the total delegates needed to clearly clinch the party’s nomination at the San Francisco-held convention on the first ballot.
  • And then, just a month before the convention, Goldwater was one of just six Republicans to vote against the Civil Rights Act. Massive anti-Goldwater protests took place outside the convention hall. The 40,000-person demonstration in San Francisco was the largest protest since the March on Washington.
  • Goldwater went on to lose the national election to Lyndon Johnson in one of the largest defeats in presidential history.
  • Political operatives are very much aware of all this shit, and use it as a predictably effective tool to create problems for their opposition. It’s a very old trick, sowing division amongst a group through propaganda.
  • So again, I’ll ask you that no matter what happens, you pledge to get behind whichever candidate we end up getting. By all rights, that should be Joe Biden, who’s been an absolutely excellent President for the past nearly four years.
  • But if not, that other person still gets my vote. The stakes are too high for me to be a giant baby and cry that my guy (or gal) didn’t make it.
  • Moving on to another big discussion, which is why your vote — while vitally important — will probably not determine the outcome of the election, unless you live in one of maybe six states.
  • What states? The ones that are fairly certain to be… uncertain. They are known as swing states, where — through voting habit patterns and polling and demographics and other criteria — don’t have a near-certain outcome.
  • In 2024, the most like states to fit this description are Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada, with potential swing state status also going to Colorado, Minnesota, Georgia, Maine, Florida, North Carolina, and New Hampshire.
  • None of those states are a sure thing for either candidate. Some tilt a little red (FL, GA, NC), some a little blue (CO, MN, AZ, NV, ME, NH). But states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania can be anyone’s guess.
  • Which is why the voters in those states will have an even greater responsibility to get out the vote in the biggest way possible.
  • And yes, due to our fucked up electoral system, the loser of the popular vote could once again win the election, as Dump did in 2016 when Hillary Clinton beat him by almost 3,000,000 votes.
  • But I have a feeling that the women of those states — whose rights are being subjugated more and more by the Republican party — and the youth — who innately understand how putting the USA in the hands of a fascist dictator — will come through in ways that the polls are not predicting.
  • And in a world that seems impossible to envision, there’s a scenario where even states like Texas and Ohio and Iowa aren’t nearly as red as the pundits think.
  • I’ve run the numbers. I have one scenario where Biden outperforms expectations based on protecting reproductive rights and democracy, and crushes Dump 406-132. I have a nail-biting result where Biden wins by the thinnest of margins, 272-266. And yes, if you want to be fully honest, there’s one where Dump takes all the swing states and wins 312-226.
  • All that matters is you and your vote. If you vote, we will win. There are more of us. All we have to do is keep calm and get our shit together.
  • Moving on.
  • Let’s talk about that candidate with the issues of senility showing its signs via a long series of verbal gaffes… Donald Trump.
  • Yesterday, Dump introduced his brand-new running mate, Senator J.D. Vance, as "J.D. Wentworth". The name “J.G. Wentworth” is a sketchy financial services company that does cash-for-structured-settlements.
  • Dump should step down immediately, amirite?
  • In more serious news, Dumples also promised at the same event that he will “rapidly reverse every single Biden-Harris [policy] on day one.”
  • So specifically, that means Dump is promising to rip away benefits for veterans, raise prescription drug costs across the board including insulin, cut funding for infrastructure, reinstate student loan debt on millions of Americans, and much more.
  • It’s going to take a lot of time and effort for Dump to tear down every single one of the benefits enacted by one of the most effective Presidents in US history. But he says he’ll do it on day one.
  • That’s something you could only do as a fascist dictator… not as a President.
  • Let’s move on.
  • Things remain ugly in the Israel region as conflicts with the Houthis add to their ongoing battles with Hamas.
  • The Israeli military said it intercepted a missile fired from Yemen early today, hours after Israeli warplanes struck several Houthi targets in the Arabian Peninsula country.
  • The Israeli airstrikes — in response to a deadly Houthi drone strike on Tel Aviv — were the first time Israel is known to have responded to repeated Houthi attacks throughout its nine-month war against Hamas.
  • You should be aware that the Houthi movement, officially known as Ansar Allah, is a Shia Islamist political and military organization that emerged from Yemen in the 1990s, and has the backing of Iran.
  • The world does not need a full-blown war involving Israel and Iran right now. Or anytime, but definitely not right now.
  • The Health Ministry in Yemen said the Israeli strikes killed six people and wounded 83 others, many with severe burns.
  • Sigh.
  • In other news…
  • Maybe avoid eating sliced deli meat for awhile.
  • U.S. health officials are investigating a fatal outbreak of listeria food poisoning. if you’re pregnant, elderly, or have a compromised immune system, you’re especially vulnerable.
  • It remains unclear what specific products have been contaminated with the bacteria now blamed for two deaths and 28 hospitalizations across 12 states. This means the contaminated food may still be in circulation, and consumers should consider their personal risk level when consuming deli meats.
  • The outbreak may have spread wider than the states where listeria infections have been reported, mostly in the Midwest and along the U.S. eastern coast.
  • Of the people investigators have been able to interview, 89% reported eating meats sliced at a deli, most commonly deli-sliced turkey, liverwurst, and ham. Meats were sliced at a variety of supermarket and grocery store delis, per the CDC.
  • So far there’s no sign that people are getting sick from prepackaged deli meats, but maybe put down that sandwich just in case.
  • Moving on.
  • It’s Sunday Gunday, the section where I take a quick look at just some of the incidents of gun violence in the USA over the past couple of days.
  • I skipped it last weekend because my typical search for “shootings” in news feeds was kind of predominated by one specific shooting incident.
  • Three dead and seven injured in a shooting at a block party in Philadelphia, PA. One dead, two injured in shooting near a Hindu temple in Lowell, MA. One dead, one injured in a shooting in midtown Sacramento, CA. One dead, one injured in a domestic violence incident in Orange County, FL. One dead in a shooting on Beale Street in Memphis, TN. One dead in a shooting in Central, SC. One guy accidentally shot dead by his girlfriend in Columbus, OH. A 14-year-old shot dead in Houston, TX. A 16-year-old shot dead in Myrtle Beach, SC. A man shot dead in a road rage incident in Indianapolis, IN. A man shot dead at a gas station in Birmingham, AL. A man shot dead at a gas station in Jackson, MS. A man shot dead in the Niles area of Fremont, CA. One shot dead near a rec center in Hartwell, OH. One shot and in critical condition in Las Vegas, NV. A 7-year-old shot on the Dan Ryan Expressway in Chicago, IL. A 17-year-old shot in a drive-by in Everett, WA. One shot by accident in Chandler, AZ. A man shot at a gas station in Knoxville, TN. One shot in Albany, NY.
  • That’s not nearly all of them but I can’t do this all day.
  • Guns are the number-one killer of all children in the United States. Over two-thirds of Americans are in favor of common-sense gun control measures. And yet we do nothing.
  • Why? Because the people in power enjoy this. That’s the only reason.
  • And now, The Weather: “Drummy” by J.R.C.G.
  • Let’s do a chart. It’s the top of the Billboard to 100 singles for this week in July 1965.
  • I wasn’t born yet. I do recall being told that “Satisfaction” was indeed #1 the week my parents got married.
  • 1. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction (The Rolling Stones). 2. I'm Henry VIII, I Am (Herman's Hermits). 3. I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch) (Four Tops) 4. What's New Pussycat? (Tom Jones). 5. Cara, Mia (Jay & The Americans). 6. Yes, I'm Ready (Barbara Mason). 7. What The World Needs Now Is Love (Jackie DeShannon). 8. Seventh Son (Johnny Rivers). 9. Mr. Tambourine Man (The Byrds). 10. You Turn Me On (Turn On Song) (Ian Whitcomb And Bluesville). 11. (Such An) Easy Question (Elvis Presley With The Jordanaires). 12. I Like It Like That (The Dave Clark Five). 13. Save Your Heart For Me (Gary Lewis And The Playboys). 14. Too Many Rivers (Brenda Lee). 15. Marie (The Bachelors). 16. A Little Bit Of Heaven (Ronnie Dove). 17. Wooly Bully (Sam The Sham and the Pharaohs). 18. I Want Candy (The Strangeloves). 19. Sunshine, Lollipops And Rainbows (Lesley Gore). 20. For Your Love (The Yardbirds).
  • From the Sports Desk… US Men’s Basketball better get their shit together and stop being overconfident.
  • South Sudan, the African nation that gained its independence just 13 years ago and is about to play in the Olympics for the first time, came into the exhibition game as 43.5-point underdogs.
  • And they nearly beat the USA’s ass. They led for more than half the game and had a chance to win at the end.
  • It took a layup from LeBron James with eight seconds left for the US to win 101-100. Keep in mind that the US team is made up completely of All-Stars or NBA champions or both. South Sudan has four players who have even appeared in a single NBA game.
  • Don’t get cocky, US. The two teams will meet in group play in the Paris Olympics on July 31.
  • Today in history… The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, is destroyed by arson (356 BC). The first landing of French troops on the coast of the Isle of Wight during the French invasion of the Isle of Wight (1545). Qing dynasty regent Dorgon issues an edict ordering all Han Chinese men to shave their forehead and braid the rest of their hair into a queue identical to those of the Manchus (1645). Napoleon's forces defeat an Ottoman-Mamluk army near Cairo in the Battle of the Pyramids (1798). In the market square of Springfield, MO, Wild Bill Hickok shoots and kills Davis Tutt in what is regarded as the first western showdown (1865). Louis Rigolly becomes the first person to drive over 100 mph (1904). In Dayton, TN, high school biology teacher John T. Scopes is found guilty of teaching human evolution in class and fined $100 (1925). Malcolm Campbell becomes the first man to exceed 150 mph on land (1925). The United States Senate ratifies the North Atlantic Treaty, leading to the formation of NATO (1949). Elijah Jerry "Pumpsie" Green becomes the first African-American to play for the Boston Red Sox, the last MLB team to integrate (1959). Astronaut Neil Armstrong becomes the first person to walk on the Moon, followed 19 minutes later by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin (1969). President Barack Obama signs the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010). NASA's Space Shuttle program ends with the landing of Space Shuttle Atlantis on mission STS-135 at NASA's Kennedy Space Center (2011). Two major motion pictures, Greta Gerwig's fantasy comedy ‘Barbie’ and Christopher Nolan's epic biographical thriller ‘Oppenheimer’, are released in theaters on the same day (2023).
  • July 21 is the birthday of Queen Jeonghyeon of Korea (1462), Austrian archduchess Anna de’ Medici (1616), astronomer Jean Picard (1620), journalist Paul Reuter (1816), singer-songwriter Sara Carter (1898), novelist Ernest Hemingway (1899), philosopher Marshall McLuhan (1911), violinist Isaac Stern (1920), actor Don Knotts (1924), US attorney general Janet Reno (1938), music manager Kim Fowley (1939), singer-songwriter Cat Stevens, aka Yusuf Islam (1948), cartoonist Garry Trudeau (1948), actor/comedian Robin Williams (1951), singer-songwriter Eric Bazilian (1953), bass player Howie Epstein (1955), singer Taco (1955), actor Jon Lovitz (1957), soccer player Brandi Chastain (1968), actor Josh Hartnett (1978), singer-songwriter Damian Marley (1978), MLB player CC Sabathia (1980), singer-songwriter Paloma Faith (1981), and NBA player DeAndre Jordan (1988).


Side note: I spent about a half day yesterday as a mass murderer… of ants. We did a huge clean-up of the entire downstairs area after the fucking ants decided to attack my kitchen. That was the final straw; along with Kat and my son, we moved appliances and got behind cabinets and cleaned up every square inch of the kitchen, living room, and dining room, wiping down, dusting, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and more. I will say, in addition to being free of insects, the place looked pretty spectacularly spotless when I awoke today. Kinda nice. Enjoy your day.

Saturday, July 20, 2024

Random News: July 20, 2024



DISCLAIMER: Zak's Random News is very random and doesn't cover many things, and not everything may be accurate, because I'm just some guy. Go find a real news source.



Good morning. It’s July 20, 2024, and it’s a Saturday. It being summertime, as much as I enjoy lounging in my robe, I had to swap it for some shorts and a t-shirt pretty soon after getting up. It’s not hot here, but it’s also not “drape one’s self in heavy terrycloth” weather either. Anyway, I do have coffee and I’m about awake enough to look at the news. Let’s do that together.


  • First, though…
  • There does seem to be a fascinating dynamic playing out regarding who is supporting Joe Biden as the nominee versus those who, at least allegedly, are not.
  • The most direct outspoken politicians who seem to be showing Joe unwavering support are in the progressive camp… Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Hakeem Jeffries, and the like.
  • Additionally, the people urging Joe to keep running also include all but one of the 60 members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • But who is reportedly in favor of Joe stepping down to allow a different, non-specific person run? Mostly establishment Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Sherrod Brown, and allegedly even Barack Obama.
  • Who else? Well, there’s a mysterious super PAC calling themselves “Pass the Torch” who are urging President Biden to drop out. It is allegedly being financed by a former FEC violator (though they are not responding to questions about where their money is coming from), and the comms work is being led by a cryptocurrency ad agency.
  • But the story behind this story is that if you assume that person replacing Joe would automatically be Kamala Harris, that might not be the case.
  • Rep Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) warned this week that the Democratic elites who are pushing for President Biden to stand down are also “not interested” in seeing Vice President Harris atop the ticket.
  • She said, “If you think that there is consensus among the people who want Joe Biden to leave that they will support Vice President Harris, you would be mistaken. They’re not going to be fully honest, but I’m going to be honest for them. I’m in these rooms. I see what they say in conversation. I’m here to tell you that a huge amount of the donor class and a huge amount of these elites and a huge amount of these folks in these rooms that I see that are pushing for President Biden to not be the nominee also are not interested in seeing Vice President being the nominee.”
  • That’s a huge problem, and assuming it’s accurate, the biggest enemy of the Democratic Party is — once again — the Democratic Party itself.
  • In as much as I detest polling, the most recent of them show that both Biden and a hypothetical Harris/Trump matchup would be a dead heat, with numbers within a single digit. Harris narrowly led Trump 50% to 49%, in another statistical tie in the latest national NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll.
  • Of note: that poll also found that none of the Democrats who have been mentioned as possible alternatives — including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — performed any better than Biden when compared to Trump.
  • Anyway, that continues to play out, and none of us can really do anything but sit and wait. And I’ll repeat this as long as it takes: I’m fine with Joe and will 100% vote for him. If he steps aside, I promise to vote for a different qualified Democratic candidate.
  • Nothing they do would cause me to consider voting for Dump (hahahahaha), but more importantly, I will commit to vote regardless of who the Dem candidate is. I will never sit this out on the sidelines.
  • I’m a player. I’m in this game. I’m a voter. End of story.
  • And my genuine analysis, as non-expert as it is, tells me that no other person has as good a shot at beating Dump than our current president. Not Kamala Harris, not anyone. Joe can do this, if we let him.
  • Let’s move on to some current news.
  • Judge Aileen M. Cannon is playing a very risky dice game in her decision to throw out the stolen classified documents case against Don the Con.
  • I know that seems like a million years ago. It was last Monday.
  • Nearly every legal expert says she is on track to be reversed on appeal and could even be removed from the case — an extraordinary, but not unheard of step.
  • She’s counting on Dump being elected in November. If that happens, his mishandling of classified national security records and obstruction of government efforts to retrieve the material won’t matter.
  • He will just force his own Justice Department to close the case. If he encounters resistance, he’ll just promote Cannon to the very appeals court that will soon examine her decision to toss the case.
  • Does that seem wrong to you? It is.
  • The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, where Jack Smith has filed notice of his plans to appeal, has already rebuked Cannon twice for her handling of other aspects of the classified documents case.
  • Of note in this case: in 1974, the Supreme Court unanimously required President Richard M. Nixon to hand over recordings to a special prosecutor as part of the Watergate investigation.
  • Lower-court judges are bound to follow the Supreme Court’s lead. But Cannon unilaterally decided her decision was more important than that of the Supreme Court. She claimed that U.S. v. Nixon did not directly address the validity of the office of special counsel.
  • But it did, specifically. She knows that (she can’t be that stupid). So she did this to buy time for Dump to get re-elected so he could throw out the case and promote her.
  • That’s another side effect of what you get with Dumples the Clown… a huge increase in unjust actions where certain people get to ignore the rule of law that others are forced to follow.
  • It’s no way to continue a democracy.
  • Moving on.
  • In our continuing coverage of the assholes who tried — and failed — to enact a coup against the USA on January 6, 2021, meet Tyler Bradley Dykes, 26, of Bluffton, SC.
  • He’s a Marine who gave a Nazi salute during the insurrection. Dykes has been sentenced to almost five years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot.
  • Dykes grabbed a riot shield from Capitol police officers during the coup attempt, which he then used to obstruct and intimidate officers at the scene. The FBI arrested Dykes in Virginia on July 17, 2023.
  • He pleaded guilty to two felony counts of assaulting, resisting, or impeding officers in April. Yesterday he was sentenced to four years and nine months in prison and was also ordered to pay $22,000 in fines and restitution.
  • Good. It’s my opinion that an active duty Marine who attacked his own country should have received more severe punishment than regular civilians. This guy took an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. Enough said.
  • Moving on.
  • We should probably give another mention to the irony of yesterday’s global disruption in IT services that grounded flights, knocked banks and media outlets offline, and disrupted hospitals, retailers, and other services.
  • CrowdStrike is a cybersecurity company whose software is used by thousands and thousands of airlines, banks, hospitals and other risk-averse organizations around the world. They protect computer systems from hackers and data breaches.
  • But it was a faulty update in the software meant to protect these entities that caused the Blue Screen of Death on Windows machines and interrupted crucial business services while it got resolved.
  • What’s been pointed out is that since the backbone of all of our IT infrastructure relies on very few companies like CrowdStrike, and everybody uses the same services, when there’s a glitch, everyone goes down at the same time.
  • Sounds like a “keeping all the eggs in one basket” kind of problem to me, and maybe there’s a reason to not allow one company to take over entire industries. Give that some thought.
  • Let’s move on.
  • I want to mention the passing of longtime Democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who dies of pancreatic cancer yesterday at 74. She had been an outspoken advocate for Black Americans for decades.
  • Jackson Lee was among the first women to graduate from Yale University, and served as a Houston municipal judge, and a city councilwoman before she was first elected to represent Texas’ 18th Congressional District in 1994.
  • She was one of the sponsors of legislation to establish Juneteenth as a national holiday, and frequently spoke out against police brutality. She was also widely admired among progressives for her opposition to the Iraq War and was a fierce critic of Dumpy.
  • She will be missed.
  • One aspect of Project 2025 that may be the most misleading is the plan to criminalize pornography. I want to talk about that a bit, because I don’t think this means what you think it means.
  • Let’s start on the surface: you may have feelings about pornography, whatever you consider that to be. That’s fine. We’re a nation of many opinions.
  • I know that a pretty good portion of you, admittedly or otherwise, do look at, watch, read, and otherwise experience various types of porn. How do I know? Because I can easily see lists of the most popular web sites in the world.
  • There is also tons of easily-accessible porn on mainstream sites like X, the app formerly known as Twitter, owned by Elon Musk.
  • The proposal stakes out an uncompromising position that porn should be banned, porn producers and distributors should be sent to prison, and tech companies that circulate it should be shut down.
  • However, that kind of porn is not what Project 2025’s outlook is about.
  • Project 2025’s definition of porn also includes topics like "transgender ideology" and "sexualization of children." A drag queen reading to kids would be considered porn. LGBTQ books in school libraries would be porn.
  • And they would be free to imprison anyone would they accused of not strictly following their anti-porn crusade. That could be every gay person (or any person merely accused of being LGBTQ, or someone having scrolled by a poem image on a web site, and so on). Do you see the problem here?
  • And now, The Weather: “Mary Jane” by Orion Sun
  • From the Sports Desk… the 2024 Olympic Games opens next Friday night in Paris, France. Fun fact: having previously hosted in 1900 and 1924, Paris is one of only two cities who will have held the Olympics three times, the other being London (1908, 1948, and 2012).
  • The program will feature 329 events in 32 sports. That’s a lot.
  • In addition to the 28 core Olympic sports that were part of the games as of 2016, there’s one brand new one — breaking — and skateboarding, sport climbing, and surfing will return from 2020.
  • Yes, breaking, as in break dancing. You don’t think it’s a sport? Fucking try doing it.
  • Today in history… Rollo — my 33rd great-grandfather — lays siege to Chartres (911). Japanese forces capture Pyongyang (1592). Nicéphore Niépce is awarded a patent by Napoleon for the Pyréolophore, the world's first internal combustion engine, after it successfully powered a boat upstream on the river Saône in France (1807). Citizens of Bogotá, New Granada declare independence from Spain (1810). Seneca and Shawnee people agree to relinquish their land in western Ohio for 60,000 acres west of the Mississippi River (1831). British Columbia joins the confederation of Canada (1871). The Ford Motor Company ships its first automobile (1903). In Finland, a new electoral law is ratified, guaranteeing the country the first and equal right to vote in the world, and Finnish women are the first in Europe to receive the right to vote (1906). Police in Minneapolis fire upon striking truck drivers, during the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934, killing two and wounding sixty-seven (1934). The United States Department of Justice files suit in New York City against the motion picture industry charging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in regards to the studio system, eventually result in a break-up of the industry (1938). California opens the first freeway, the Arroyo Seco Parkway, known today as the 110 between DTLA and Pasadena (1940). King Abdullah I of Jordan is assassinated by a Palestinian while attending Friday prayers in Jerusalem (1951). The first International Special Olympics Summer Games are held at Soldier Field in Chicago, with about 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities (1968). Apollo 11's crew successfully makes the first human landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility, and Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the Moon six and a half hours later (1969). The American Viking 1 lander successfully lands on Mars (1976). The Civil Marriage Act legalizes same-sex marriage in Canada (2005). The United States and Cuba resume full diplomatic relations after five decades (2015). O. J. Simpson is granted parole to be released from prison after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence after being convicted of armed robbery in Las Vegas (2017).
  • July 20 is the birthday of poet Petrarch (1304), paleontologist Richard Owen (1804), monk/geneticist Gregor Mendel (1822), painter Giorgio Morandi (1890), explorer Edmund Hillary (1919), NBA coach Chuck Daly (1930), actress Diana Rigg (1938), actress Natalie Wood (1938), singer-songwriter Kim Carnes (1945), guitarist/composer Carlos Santana (1947), singer-songwriter/guitarist Chris Cornell (1964), guitarist/composer Stone Gossard (1966), NHL player Jimmy Carson (1968), actor Omar Epps (1973), NHL player Peter Forsberg (1973), NBA player/actor Ray Allen (1975), NHL player Pavel Datsyuk (1978), model Gisele Bündchen (1980), NBA player Steven Adams (1993), and NBA player Ben Simmons (1996).


Again, I know you hate to wait. You hate uncertainty. You hate the bullshit of being in limbo. I do too. But the Democratic National Convention doesn’t happen for almost exactly a fucking month, from August 19–22, and it’s exceedingly difficult to say what will happen between now and then. I mean, Dumpy got his ear clipped just one week ago today, and like a thousand things have happened since then. My recommendation: keep on keeping on. Time will go by and shit will resolve one way or another, and we’ll all meet at the polls on November 5. Enjoy your day.

Friday, July 19, 2024

Random News: July 19, 2024



DISCLAIMER: Zak's Random News is very random and doesn't cover many things, and not everything may be accurate, because I'm just some guy. Go find a real news source.



Good morning. It’s July 19, 2024, and if you can believe it, it’s a Friday once again! As I humorously noted in a post yesterday, all I’m looking forward to this weekend is a relaxing couple of days without some kind of insane event hitting the news cycle. And yet, my senses tell me that may not be what’s in store.


  • I’m going to get started with a pointless and drawn-out analogy. I hear readers like those.
  • Let’s say you’re on a train. And the train will eventually arrive at a destination. It might be the one you expected, but there are also several other places within the realm of possibilities that could be promising destinations as well.
  • However, there’s also one possible direction where the train plunges off a cliff and everyone on it perishes horribly. So that’s not good.
  • But at this very moment, you’re riding along as a passenger. You’re not the conductor or the engineer. You don’t get to choose the track. You can express opinions on your referred destination, make guesses as to which one is least likely to end up in certain doom, and so on.
  • But none of that will, for the moment, affect the direction of the train.
  • So that’s some kinda nerve wracking shit there, but it’s also an exercise in Zen.
  • There are always elements of life and the universe and everything that are beyond your control. Every moment of every day. And the act of letting yourself acknowledge that the stress from trying to control the situation — that you cannot influence — is in some ways as bad as the situation itself.
  • So what the fuck am I talking about? The 2024 presidential election, of course.
  • At this very moment, we train passengers do not, with any high degree of certainty, know who our Democratic presidential nominee is going to be. It might be, and probably should be, and likely will be, Joe Biden.
  • But you’d have to have been living in a cave on a remote island for the past few weeks to not have heard chatter from all directions about Biden stepping aside to have another candidate run.
  • There’s nothing that you or I can do about that, because it’s all Joe’s decision at this point. No one is literally going to force him out, but if certain people publicly withhold or withdraw their support, it’s going to be even more problematic for Joe to win the election.
  • So we’re in limbo at this very moment. No one likes that.
  • But I feel we won’t be for long. And to reiterate, whomever that candidate ends up being, they have my full support. Joe or otherwise.
  • I will say this.
  • The more I look at what Joe Biden has accomplished between January 2021 and now, the more impressive it is.
  • And I was never prepared to get behind that guy. I didn’t even vote for him in the primaries in 2020, thinking he’d be too centrist for my tastes, and would cater too much to the status quo.
  • But no. Joe’s been terrific. Leading us through the pandemic, launching one of the biggest economic recoveries in the country’s history, terrific actions in foreign policy and more. I have to admit… I was wrong, and he’s exceeded all expectations.
  • One of the best presidents of my lifetime, no doubt.
  • When I saw that the big roundup of ratings by noted presidential historians had Biden at the 14th best POTUS in history, above US leaders like Ronald Reagan, Ulysses S. Grant, and dozens of others, I objectively had to agree.
  • I forget, who was dead last on that list? Oh yeah, Donald J. Trump.
  • So I’m more than happy to vote for Joe Biden. And if necessary, I’ll vote for a different Democratic candidate if the situation plays out that way.
  • Either way, the one thing we cannot do, though our own pettiness and infighting and childish desire to get exactly what we want all the time, is allow the train to plunge into the chasm.
  • Let’s do some breaking news.
  • A widespread technology outage grounded flights, knocked banks offline and media outlets off air this morning in a massive disruption that affected companies and services around the world and highlighted dependence on software from a handful of providers.
  • Microsoft has confirmed that “a CrowdStrike update was responsible for bringing down a number of Windows systems globally.”
  • CrowdStrike said that the issue believed to be behind the outage was not a security incident or cyberattack.
  • “This is easily the worst faux pas, technical faux pas or glitch of any security software provider ever,” said Richard Stiennon, a cybersecurity industry analyst, who has tracked the cybersecurity industry for 24 years.
  • This glitch, if you want to call it that, is impacting everything from General Motors to Universal Studios to news stations to hospitals and much, much more.
  • President Joe Biden has been briefed on the CrowdStrike outage and his team has been in touch with CrowdStrike and impacted entities.
  • The situation is still in flux. Moving on for now.
  • Journalist Evan Gershkovich has been found guilty of spying and sentenced to 16 years in prison by a Russian court, in a case that the US government, his newspaper and supporters have denounced as a sham.
  • I denounce it as well. This is some fucking bullshit.
  • The court heard closing arguments and Gershkovich, a Wall Street Journal reporter, delivered his closing remarks behind closed doors this morning.
  • The speed of the trial has raised questions over whether the Kremlin is intending to use him as part of a prisoner swap deal with the United States.
  • Gershkovich was arrested while reporting for the WSJ, during a trip to Yekaterinburg in March 2023, and later accused of spying for the CIA. Russian authorities have never offered any public evidence publicly to support their claims.
  • Assholes. My word of advice, as it it matters: never go to Russia or any other country where you’re in extreme danger simply because you’re an American (or whatever nationality you are).
  • Moving on.
  • After last night’s rambling and incoherent speech accepting his nomination at the RNC, I am calling for Donald J. Trump to step down and allow a competent candidate to lead their party.
  • What, you MAGA people don’t like that? Tough shit.
  • People were seen leaving during the speech, which clocked in at about two hours and was called, “One of the truly awful and self-indulgent performances of our time” by the New York Times.
  • Anyway, the RNC is over, and now it’s time for the Dems to step into the spotlight.
  • Before we get there, one fun fact I found out.
  • I feel like I’m late to the party in learning the vice presidential candidate J. D. Vance fucked a latex glove between two couch cushions.
  • At least that’s what he wrote in his New York Times bestseller “Hillbilly Elegy,” pages 179-181.
  • Alrighty. I don’t shame people for their sexual choices. I doubt Kamala Harris did anything like that particular move, but nothing about Republican dudes surprises me anymore.
  • Moving on.
  • Illinois sheriff’s Deputy Sean Grayson is being charged with murder after shooting a woman in the face in her own home after she called 911.
  • Sonya Massey, 36, called for help on July 6 because she thought an intruder was in her home in the Springfield, IL area.
  • Grayson and another deputy responded to the call. As the deputies were in Massey’s home to gather information and make sure the residence was safe, a dispute arose over a pot of hot water, and Grayson drew his gun and eventually fired three times toward her, striking her once in the face.
  • Grayson also instructed the other deputy not to bother getting a medical kit. The other deputy still rendered aid and stayed with Massey until medics arrived.
  • This week Grayson was indicted by a Sangamon County grand jury on three counts of first-degree murder and a count each of aggravated battery with a firearm and official misconduct. He’s been fired by the sheriff’s office, surprisingly.
  • Let’s move on. But while we’re on this topic, a follow-up from news I told you about a year ago.
  • Seattle police officer Daniel Auderer has finally been fired for making callous remarks about the death of a graduate student from India after she was struck last year by another officer's vehicle in a crosswalk.
  • Seattle interim police Chief Sue Rahr fired Auderer on Wednesday for his action in the hours after the January 2023 death of Jaahnavi Kandula.
  • Rahr wrote that Auderer's actions "have brought shame on the Seattle Police Department and our entire profession, making the job of every police officer more difficult."
  • Good point.
  • In the incident, Auderer is heard laughing after stating Kandula was dead, incorrectly saying she was "just 26," and reasoning her young life had "limited value" and that the city should just write a check for $11,000.
  • The prick didn’t know his body cam was on while talking about this grad student who was hit by a cop driving 74 mph in a 25 mph zone.
  • Let’s move on before I get angry about that again. Look, the comments we make, joking or otherwise, matter. Just ask Kyle Gass of Tenacious D.
  • Tip of the Day: don’t bite people.
  • New York City Councilwoman Susan Zhuang, 38, is accused of biting an NYPD chief on Wednesday during a protest against against a proposed men's shelter in the Bensonhurst neighborhood.
  • Zhuang is seen in photos and video pushing up against a police barricade, and then opening up her mouth to bite an officer — Chief of Patrol Frank DiGiacomo — and drawing blood.
  • Related Fun Fact: it is estimated that 250,000 human bites occur each year in the United States; up to 25 percent of these injuries become infected.
  • So first, ewwwwwww with our gross-ass mouths. Second, that means you’re over 5,000 times more likely to be seriously bitten by a human than a shark.
  • And yet, no “Human Week” on the Discovery Channel.
  • And now, The Weather: “Give It Time” by Ford Chastain
  • One of the hardest RIPs I’ve done in a good while goes out to a guy you’d hoped would live forever: Bob Newhart, who died yesterday at 94.
  • I know he did plenty of great stuff, but I will always associate him with the urbane and witty comedy of “The Bob Newhart Show” from the 1970s.
  • Before even getting into TV, Newhart was a master standup with a unique voice whose comedy albums were wildly popular for their at-the-time new approach of observational humor. 
  • Rest in peace.
  • Oh, also, conservative political commentator Lou Dobbs died. He was the guy who got Fox News sued for more than $787 million by Dominion Voting Systems by spreading bullshit about the 2020 election.
  • Let’s do a chart. Going back this time to this week in July 1975 on the top of the Billboard 200 albums chart. I’m six. I’m just about to move from Marblehead, MA to Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, a place where I’ll remain through my graduation from high school.
  • 1. One Of These Nights (Eagles). 2. Venus And Mars (Wings). 3. Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain & Tennille). 4. Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboy (Elton John). 5. Cut The Cake (Average White Band). 6. Made In The Shade (The Rolling Stones). 7. The Heat Is On (The Isley Brothers). 8. That's The Way Of The World (Soundtrack) (Earth, Wind & Fire). 9. Gorilla (James Taylor). 10. Metamorphosis (The Rolling Stones). 11. Diamonds & Rust (Joan Baez). 12. Disco Baby (Van Mccoy). 13. Horizon (Carpenters). 14. Between The Lines (Janis Ian). 15. Tommy (Soundtrack). 16. Cat Stevens Greatest Hits (Cat Stevens). 17. The Original Soundtrack (10cc). 18. Adventures In Paradise (Minnie Riperton). 19. Why Can't We Be Friends? (War). 20. Chocolate Chip (Isaac Hayes).
  • And not a chart, but Rolling Stone just ranked the 100 greatest album covers of all time. As with any list like this, it’s literally just a collection of other people’s opinions, but here’s their top 10 regardless.
  • 10. ‘Nevermind’ (Nirvana). 9. ‘She’s So Unusual’ (Cyndi Lauper). 8. ‘London Calling’ (The Clash). 7.‘Maggot Brain’ (Funkadelic). 6.’Horses’ (Patti Smith). 5. ‘Ready to Die’ (The Notorious B.I.G.). 4. ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ (Pink Floyd). 3. ‘There’s a Riot Goin’ On’ (Sly and the Family Stone). 2. ‘Abbey Road’ (The Beatles). 1. ‘Unknown Pleasures’ (Joy Division).
  • I can’t argue against any of those.
  • From the Sports Desk… two grown men are fighting over a number.
  • Reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson is challenging Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman's use of their shared No. 8 in a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office complaint.
  • Jackson, who owns or has applied for several trademarks using the number in various phrases, says Aikman's attempt to use "EIGHT" on apparel and bags would be "likely to cause confusion, or cause mistake, or to deceive" the purchasing public as to whether they're buying products from Jackson or Aikman's company, Jackson's attorney said in July 9 filings.
  • Hey guys, come here, let me tell you something.
  • YOU CAN’T OWN THE NUMBER EIGHT.
  • Dumbasses.
  • Today in history… The Great Fire of Rome causes widespread devastation and rages on for six days, destroying half of the city (64). The attempt to install Lady Jane Grey as Queen of England collapses after only nine days (1553). Representatives of the Iroquois Confederacy sign the Nanfan Treaty, ceding a large territory north of the Ohio River to England (1701). Coronation of George IV of the United Kingdom (1821). The last great fire to affect Manhattan kills four firefighters and 26 civilians and destroys 345 buildings (1845). A two-day Women's Rights Convention opens in Seneca Falls, NY (1848). Maurice Garin wins the first Tour de France (1903). Opening of the Summer Olympics in Helsinki, Finland (1952). Joe Walker flies an X-15 aircraft to 106,010 meters, qualifying as the first human spaceflight under international convention (1963). Ted Kennedy crashes his car at Chappaquiddick Island, MA, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne (1969). The world’s first GPS signal is transmitted and received (1977). Opening of the Summer Olympics in Moscow, Soviet Union (1980). French President François Mitterrand reveals to U.S. President Ronald Reagan the existence of the ‘Farewell Dossier’, a collection of documents showing the Soviet Union had been stealing American technological research and development (1981).
  • July 19 is the birthday of Egypt sultan Baibars (1223), painter/engraver John Martin (1789), businessman Samuel Colt (1814), painter Edgar Degas (1834), accused murderer Lizzie Borden (1860), surgeon Charles Mayo (1865), animator/producer Max Fleischer (1883), politician George McGovern (1922), animator/producer Arthur Rankin Jr. (1924), businessman/engineer Gaston Glock (1929), tennis player/politician Ilie Năstase (1946), guitarist/composer Bernie Leadon (1947), guitarist/astrophysicist Brian May (1947), keyboardist/composer Keith Godchaux (1948), guitarist/composer Allen Collins (1952), businessman Howard Schultz (1953), actor Anthony Edwards (1962), Scottish prime minister Nicola Sturgeon (1970), actor Benedict Cumberbatch (1976), soccer player Nené (1981), and NBA player Adam Morrison (1984).


As I’ve been saying… it’s hard to wait and see, but that’s exactly what we all have to do. It’s human nature to try and influence the results of things happening around you, but sometimes you don’t get that opportunity, and that causes stress and anxiety. Instead, you have to be okay with floating along down the river, allowing the current to carry you where it may. Pretty soon here, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to paddle your canoe like a motherfucker. I gotta stop with these analogies. Enjoy your day.

Thursday, July 18, 2024

Random News: July 18, 2024



DISCLAIMER: Zak's Random News is very random and doesn't cover many things, and not everything may be accurate, because I'm just some guy. Go find a real news source.



Good morning. It’s July 18, 2024, and it’s a Thursday for some reason. I saw someone write yesterday that we’re getting a week’s worth of news every day in recent times, and I definitely agree with them. It’s easy to have important shit slide by under the radar, often obscured by equally important shit. I’m just trying to tell you things that I think may be of importance to you, or that you’ll find amusing in some humorous or cynical way, or both.


  • Here’s a big one now.
  • Yesterday, special counsel Jack Smith filed an official notice of appeal of federal Judge Aileen Cannon's order dismissing El Dumpo's classified documents case. Smith indicated that he will appeal the decision to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
  • Get get ‘em, Jack.
  • Cannon had dismissed the case on the grounds that Smith's appointment as special counsel was unconstitutional because he was not appointed by the president or confirmed by Congress.
  • All previous courts — every single time this has been brought up as a defense — has considered the issue that the Attorney General is statutorily authorized to appoint a Special Counsel.
  • To keep you on track, Dump pleaded not guilty last year to 40 criminal counts related to his handling of classified materials after leaving the White House.
  • He repeatedly refused to return hundreds of documents containing classified information and took steps to thwart the government's efforts to get the documents back.
  • Moving on with some not good news.
  • President Biden has tested positive for COVID-19. He was poised to address a conference of the Latino civil rights and advocacy group UnidosUs, but he was not able to attend.
  • Joe is vaccinated and boosted, and is experiencing only mild symptoms. He’s being treated with Paxlovid.
  • Kinda funny how we know more about Biden’s mild COVID treatment than we do about Dump having been shot in the head last weekend.
  • I know that many of you from all political outlooks are super focused on whether or not Biden will — or should be — the Democratic candidate in this November’s presidential election.
  • My advice is very simple: this is a process that. You can’t control personally. However it plays out is how it will go.
  • That being said, I highly suggest you adopt my outlook on the matter, which is that if the candidate is Biden — and I genuinely think it will be — we continue to support Joe with all our might.
  • If someone else ends up being the candidate, we support that person with equal gusto.
  • Democrats don’t vote for a cult leader. We vote for a set of ideologies that encompass freedom, equality, empathy, justice, diversity, and more.
  • And that mindset can be delivered no matter who is at the top.
  • Let’s move on to discuss one of the highlights of the Dump campaign: a mass deportation program unlike anything the country has seen.
  • His party’s platform, which was ratified just this week at the Republican convention in Milwaukee, promises the “largest deportation effort in American history,” and immigration was the theme of Tuesday’s gathering.
  • There were 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States in 2022. More than eight out of 10 have been in the country for more than a decade.
  • As has been typical of Dump’s administrative style, he and the Republican platform have made broad declarations but thus far offered no details whatsoever about how they intend to do this mass deportation.
  • Or even how to pay for it. The costs would be astronomical.
  • The ICE budget for transportation and deportation in 2023 was $420 million, and in that year the agency deported 142,580 people. Removal of 10 million people could easily cost US taxpayers in the tens of billions.
  • But the millions of deportees would also have to be detained and housed prior to removal. Currently ICE manages 41,500 beds across 200 jail and detention centers at a cost of $57,378 per year… PER BED.
  • In the event of a mass deportation, the government would need to pay for far, far more beds.
  • Where will they get that cash? Easy. By stealing your Social Security and Medicare, and by raising taxes on the middle class.
  • Let’s move on but stay for a minute on aspects of Project 2025.
  • You already know they’re directly targeting abortion and contraceptives. But did you know they plan to transforming the Department of Health & Human Services into the "Department of Life?”
  • ”The Dobbs decision is just the beginning,” they say in the document.
  • In addition to passing nationwide abortion restrictions, it also calls for the FDA to reverse its approval of abortion pills and criminalize their distribution.
  • And you’re not going to be allowed to even discuss this soon.
  • In an effort to stop "woke culture warriors," Project 2025 demands that the terms abortion, reproductive health, and reproductive rights be deleted from "every federal rule, agency regulation, contract, grant, regulation, and piece of legislation that exists."
  • That’s what happens if Dump wins. You have the grave responsibility of making sure that does not happen — for yourself, your wives, your daughters, your friends. Use your vote. Encourage others to use theirs.
  • Okay, back to some good news. I promise, there’s always some good news.
  • Yesterday, a federal court swiftly tossed out a lawsuit from the Republican National Committee, Nevada Republican Party, and the Dump Campaign alleging that Nevada’s post-election ballot receipt deadline violates federal law and unconstitutionally dilutes Republican votes. 
  • The ruling simply held that the GOP plaintiffs lacked standing. 
  • Under Nevada law, mail-in ballots received up to four business days after Election Day are counted. Additionally, the state presumes that ballots received up to three days after Election Day were postmarked on Election Day.
  • Which seems fine to me, and certainly doesn’t harm either party over another.
  • Back to some bad news that literally anyone could have predicted? Sure.
  • A federal appeals court ruled this week that Minnesota’s ban preventing residents ages 18 to 20 from carrying handguns in public is unconstitutional.
  • Because of course they did.
  • The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit could soon allow Minnesota residents to apply to carry handguns in public once they turn 18, removing an age restriction the state imposed in 2003.
  • And everyone knows that 18-year-olds are exactly the type of calm, mature people who would never pull out a gun in anger due to a momentary annoyance.
  • Note: that was sarcasm. I just need to make sure you knew. So high school seniors in the North Star State will soon be able to pull out a Glock 9 to wave around next time someone cuts them off in traffic.
  • As you can probably guess, this is typical Second Amendment stuff. “Minnesota has not met its burden to proffer sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption that 18 to 20-year-olds seeking to carry handguns in public for self-defense are protected by the right to keep and bear arms,” the judges wrote.
  • Yup. Moving on.
  • Historical Note: in 1869, Congress set the number of Supreme Court Justices at nine, which made sense, because there were nine judicial circuits at the time.
  • Today, there are 13 circuits. Hmm. Seems to me like it’s high time to add another four Justices. Why not?
  • Here’s some cool news: this year’s crop of Kennedy Center Honors recipients includes, among other, the Grateful Dead.
  • Along with filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, blues legend Bonnie Raitt, and the legendary Harlem theater The Apollo, the Dead will be honored with an evening of tributes, testimonials and performances on December 8 at Washington’s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. The 47th Kennedy Center class ceremony will be broadcast on December 23.
  • Starting around my junior year of high school and continuing long after, I can genuinely call myself a Deadhead. Beginning around 1985, I attended some 30+ shows.
  • They are an iconic influence on American culture, and they deserve this honor as much as anyone.
  • Moving on.
  • Any news from the RNC? Well first, their TV ratings are far down from previous Republican conventions. I sure as fuck am not watching that shit.
  • Second item is Matt Gaetz’ face. I’m not even going to tell you why this is worth mentioning. You can find out on your own.
  • And finally — and this is unconfirmed but I choose to believe it anyway — the gay partner finding app Grindr is reporting all-time record use for the city of Milwaukee while the RNC goes on.
  • See, here’s the thing about Republicans: everything they rail against, they do. They get the most abortions. They have the larger percentage of gay sex. Even things like their hatred of immigration is based on the fact that many of their own ancestors were indeed “illegals.”
  • So fuck them and their hypocrisy.
  • And now, The Weather: “You Don't Know” by Clothesline From Hell
  • Let’s do a chart. Here’s the top of the Billboard Hot 100 singles for this week in July 1983. I’m between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, so obviously I’m well acquainted with every one of these songs.
  • What else was happening with me at this time? Definitely playing a lot of guitar, starting to write some of my own songs (which definitely sucked, since I was 14 and didn’t have shit to write about), went surfing a lot, had various short-term girlfriends. Normal shit.
  • 1. Every Breath You Take (The Police). 2. Electric Avenue (Eddy Grant). 3. Flashdance...What A Feeling (Irene Cara). 4. Never Gonna Let You Go (Sergio Mendes). 5. Too Shy (Kajagoogoo). 6. Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' (Michael Jackson). 7. Time (Clock Of The Heart) (Culture Club). 8. Come Dancing (The Kinks). 9. Don't Let It End (Styx). 10. Our House (Madness). 11. Family Man (Daryl Hall John Oates). 12. I'm Still Standing (Elton John). 13. Is There Something I Should Know (Duran Duran). 14. Stand Back (Stevie Nicks). 15. 1999 (Prince). 16. She's A Beauty (The Tubes). 17. All This Love (Debarge). 18. She Works Hard For The Money (Donna Summer). 19. Baby Jane (Rod Stewart). 20. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Eurythmics).
  • From the Sports Desk… time to start focusing on the Olympics.
  • Team USA Basketball continues its preparation for a run at a fifth straight Olympic gold medal with a series of exhibition games against other contending teams before arriving in Paris.
  • Yesterday, they defeated Serbia 105-79 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, behind stellar play from Stephen Curry, who finished with 24 points. Bam Adebayo contributed 17 points, including three 3-pointers.
  • It was Team USA's third straight exhibition win, after defeating Australia 98-92 on Monday at Emirates Arena and defeating Canada 86-72 in Las Vegas last week. The team now heads to London for two more exhibition games, against South Sudan and Germany.
  • USA! USA!
  • Frank admission: I’m more looking forward to things like the track and field events than things like basketball. I see basketball every year. I don’t see the 400m relay often at all.
  • Today in history… A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome (387 BC). King Edward I of England — my 23rd great-grandfather — issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews from England (1290). Johann Sebastian Bach leads the first performance of his cantata ‘Erforsche mich, Gott, und erfahre mein Herz’ in Leipzig (1723). The U.S. Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, giving official status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time (1914). Adolf Hitler publishes ‘Mein Kampf’ (1925). Germany test flies the Messerschmitt Me 262, the first jet-powered fighter plane (1942). Hideki Tojo resigns as Prime Minister of Japan due to war setbacks (1944). A racially charged incident in a bar sparks the six-day Hough riots in Cleveland, Ohio; 1,700 Ohio National Guard troops intervene to restore order (1966). Intel is founded in Mountain View, CA (1968). Nadia Comăneci becomes the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics (1976). A picture of parody pop group Les Horribles Cernettes was taken, which became the first ever photo posted to the World Wide Web (1992). The Government of Detroit, with up to $20 billion in debt, files for the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history (2013).
  • July 18 is the birthday of Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II (1552), marshal Virgil Earp (1843), gangster Machine Gun Kelly (1895), politician S. I. Hayakawa (1906), actor Hume Cronyn (1911), actor Red Skelton (1913), activist/politician Nelson Mandela (1918), astronaut/politician John Glenn (1921), singer-songwriter/musician Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (1929), journalist/writer Hunter S. Thompson (1937), pianist Ian Stewart (1938), film director Paul Verhoeven (1938), keyboardist Brian Auger (1939), actor James Brolin (1940), singer-songwriter/guitarist Lonnie Mack (1941), singer Martha Reeves (1941), publisher/politician Steve Forbes (1947), businessman Richard Branson (1950), actress Elizabeth McGovern (1961), actor Vin Diesel (1967), NBA player Penny Hardaway (1971), baseball player Torii Hunter (1975), guitarist/composer Daron Malakian (1975), rapper M.I.A. (1975), NFL player Deion Branch (1979), and actress Kristin Bell (1980).


Well, that was more than I intended to write this morning, but as I said up top… it’s an extraordinary time period, and I try not to miss the things that we may want to look back on later and wish we’d acted on when we could. Enjoy your day.