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Dave Hill
2,211 followers -
Mr. Nice Guy
Mr. Nice Guy

2,211 followers
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On Civil Discourse

I've recently seen an influx in my posts of commenters from the Angry Right and, in response (or in parallel), commenters from the Angry Left.

So I get the anger (well, I get it more from the side I have a not-secret bias toward, but I appreciate that there are angry people out there). But when a comment stream shifts from discussing the topics raised in the original post, or even evolutions of that original post, into shoutiness and insults and attacks at other commenters ("If you believe X, then you must believe Y, and only poopy-heads believe Y" "Nuh-uh!" "Uh-huh!"), it ceases to be constructive, interesting, or amusing.

A clever zinger, sure. Just shouting names at each other? Not so much.

I can't expect that everyone will engage in completely polite discussion. Emotions run high about some of this stuff, and with good reason. But I do draw lines, and if I'm a bit more biased on one direction than another, I've been both deleting post and blocking users from both ends of the Angry spectrum.

Catharsis is great. Go for it in your own posts. I don't necessarily need it here.

Using a racist, sexist, or ableist slur is a great way to be hit by the ban stick. As I mentioned elsewhere, any epithet that ends in "-tard" doesn't go over well.

Ostensibly amusing variants of folks names tend to make me think the commenter is doing more posturing than discussion and engagement. That's not necessarily ban-hammer bait, but I pretty much assume that anyone who uses "Killery" or "Shillery" isn't serious about talking about politics, and react accordingly. (And, yeah, I'm less sensitive to variants to Trump's name, but that's not a blank check, either.)

I don't want to discourage dissent or serious debate -- my concerns are more with tone and modality, not ideology here. But my mom reads this stuff, and she doesn't need four-letter rants from anyone. Neither, frankly, do I, unless there's some interesting thoughts in them. If just shouting at people you disagree with is how you get your posting jollies, I'm happy to say that there are plenty of other locations than in my comments for you to do so.
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"Where Are My Clients' Kids?"

So I've been taking project management classes. And I've run a lot of projects. And here's how you run a good project.

1. Understand the needs.
2. Figure out what you are going to do about it.
3. Build that solution, prepare for it, deploy the resources for it, test it, plan the deployment process.
4. Deploy it.
5. Monitor what's going on to make sure that the change took place well.
6. Declare victory and have a party.

The Trump Administration's execution of their "Zero Tolerance" immigration policy was do 2, do 4, do 6.

No really understanding of what's going on, certainly no planning or consideration of what it might mean, or what harm it might do, or even what the political fall-out would be.

Or, let me put it another way: If you are going to pursue a draconian policy that will clearly mean that kids will be torn away from their parents, then you must plan both for what is going to do with those kids and how you will reunite those kids and parents at the other end of that process.

(This assumes you have already done the moral calculus regarding this policy and decided that the existential threat to the nation outweighs the horror of ripping kids from their parents -- and are ready to stand up and defend that moral calculus.)

Instead, the Trump Administration just set up the policy, and then started scrambling to find enough chain link fencing and empty warehouse stores and tent city sites to build on military bases, and then realized that they had to duck answers, then lie, then make up stuff, then start planning, then still lie about how parents would be reunited with their children.

(This is making the huge assumption that the principles involved actually give a flying fuck about moral calculus or pain-and-suffering or trauma. That this is simply being a bunch of bumbling ideologues who had no idea of what they were doing, and so did it really badly, as opposed to these being evil people who actually revel in suffering, or psychopaths who simply cannot empathize with it. Which, given the number of high ranking government officials on record before the fact talking about how this would be a fabulous deterrent against illegal immigrants, is probably a poor assumption.)

This story is from a Assistant Federal Public Defender in El Paso, Texas, who is having to explain to parents why he can't tell them where their children are, and to Federal Prosecutors why that's a question that they should be able to answer. It's worth reading.
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Protecting the Administrator, not the Environment

Meanwhile, back in Scott Pruitt Land, we're building a private army, complete with "tactical polos," holsters, and bullet-proof vehicles and breaching kits. The security spending is approaching $5M.

I thought the Environmental Protection Agency was set up to, you know, protect the environment, not the business-friendly administrator.
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Clothes Make the Message

Melania Trump is not only the First Lady, she is a former fashion model. I do not, for one second, believe that she wears anything without being aware of the message it sends.

Thus, when she wears a jacket, on a trip to visit immigrant children who are being interned, and she wears a jacket that says on the back, "I REALLY DON'T CARE. DO U?" it's difficult to believe that, as her spokesperson said, "It's a jacket. There was no hidden message."

Or maybe it isn't difficult to believe, as the "message" doesn't seem particularly hidden.
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We're separating children and parents -- with no idea of how to reunite them

And, it seems, little intent to do so.

Kid and parents aren't being tracked together except during initial handling by CBP -- as they move forward, their cases are being handled by very different agencies, which don't seem to be following such tracking ... such that there are documented cases where the parents have been deported back home, and the kids are still somewhere in the US, difficult to track down even for immigration lawyers here, let alone for parents in impoverished villages in Central America.

The separation policy, especially give that it seems to be being done mostly for publicity and to give Trump leverage in immigration debates with the Democrats, is demonstrably inhumane. That it's being bungled, or handled in such a haphazard and neglectful fashion by intent, is unconscionable.

(Dear Readers Who Decide to Say, "Well, it's the parents' fault for crossing into the US illegally," you have both missed a number of points and are showing a lack of empathy that borders on psychopathy, and you will be booted to the door.)

(Dear Readers Who Decide to Say, "This is all the Democrats' fault for [fake historical reasons] / not giving in to Trump's demands," do some actual research [start with https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/was-law-separate-families-passed-1997/], and also consider what actions on the President's part you are justifying in his pursuit of his own political advantage.)
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Primary Season in Colorado

This is a set of podcasts interviewing each of the primary candidates (Democratic and Republican) running for governor this year. Independents (whic is the largest "party" in the state) can now vote in either primary (but not both), so it's a useful list. The interviews were held in April-May, so they are both a bit dated and also allow for a bit of pre-primary clarity.

I've listened to all the Dems (since that's how I swing), and it's interesting. None of them have me in transports of rapture, but there are some I liked better than others -- some that came across as more pragmatic, more idealistic, more evasive, more political. They're worth a listen more than looking at self-serving checklists of positions (and opponents' positions) put out by the candidates.

Highly recommended for Colorado voters, of whatever party (or lack thereof).
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Movie Trailers before "Incredibles 2"

So here's what various companies thought were the movies that would appeal to Incredibles 2 movie-goers.

Smallfoot -- Humorous romp about when a human (a "smallfoot") ends up amongst a tribe of Yeti, from their perspective. Looks amusing, but not enough to get me to a movie theater.

Hotel Transylvania 3 -- Every one of these movies has had me rolling my eyes in the trailers, and I've always found them damned funny in the actual watching. So ... probably not a theater experience, but I expect I'll watch this (with +James Hill) sooner or later.

Dog Days -- The Heart-Warming / Feel-Good Movie of whenever it comes out. Doggers! A big glurgey for my taste.

Bumblebee -- Okay, at long last, a Transformers movie that doesn't make me want to punch someone in the throat. That's ... about all I can say.

Lego Movie 2 -- Lego Meets Mad Max, with space aliens. Looks very fun. I should probably go see it. And the first one, too.

How to Tame Your Dragon 3 -- Looks like a good adventure. I should go see it. I should rewatch the first one and watch the second one, too.

Ant-Man and the Wasp -- Still looking good. Still feeling excited.

Wreck-It Ralph 2 -- Wow. That's a lot of unabashed brand placement. To be fair, it's nice to see a fantasy about the Internet being grounded that way. Also, this looks like a funny movie. I should rewatch the first one, and go see this one.

So, lots of sequels and spin-offs, and a fair number that I have an interest in seeing, sooner or later. Not bad.
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Stage Review: "The Book of Mormon"

We attended a Fathers Day matinee of The Book of Mormon, which is on tour and passing through Denver right now at the DCPA. We all had fun from my entering-college son to my devout mother.

It's an interesting show, beyond having some great tunes. While it definitely pokes barbed fun at the LDS church as both an institution and mythos (and, by extension, organized religion and blind faith in general), it also speaks to both the humanity that spiritual belief can build up, and the human need to create myths to illuminate and inspire that humanity.

Since this is South Park's Trey Parker and Matt Stone (and the analogous talent of Robert Lopez, of Avenue Q fame), the story is packed to the gills with irreverence (and not just about religion -- there was more than one moment where I was, "They're singing about that?!) -- and, as with all satire, one's personal comfort level with different oxen being gored will vary. But I nabbed a copy of the sound track from the swag shop at the theater ("Warning! Explicit lyrics!"), and plan to get to know the music even better, because there is some funny shit there.

I'm glad we went; it was a fun part of Fathers Day with the family.

Book of Mormon plays at the DCPA until 7 July (https://www.denvercenter.org/shows/specific-series/Get?Id=76cce1c8-11ed-4630-abe9-f78213413f7c)
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That's my boy!

+James Hill at the Denver PrideFest parade, with other students from his high school.

Glad we could be there to cheer him on.
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On Monstrous Motivations

See! He's not unknowingly pursuing some horrible policy in a callous and unfeeling and brutal fashion because he's a callous and unfeeling and brutal monster. He's knowingly pursuing a horrible policy he admits is horrible because it will give him leverage for political and narcissistic concessions he wants from others.

That's much, much better, right?

President Trump has calculated that he will gain political leverage in congressional negotiations by continuing to enforce a policy he claims to hate — separating immigrant parents from their young children at the southern border, according to White House officials.

On Friday, Trump suggested he would not change the policy unless Democrats agreed to his other immigration demands, which include funding a border wall, tightening the rules for border enforcement and curbing legal entry. He also is intent on pushing members of his party to vote for a compromise measure that would achieve those long-standing priorities.

Trump’s public acknowledgment that he was willing to let the policy continue as he pursued his political goals came as the president once again blamed Democrats for a policy enacted and touted by his own administration. “The Democrats are forcing the breakup of families at the Border with their horrible and cruel legislative agenda,” he tweeted. After listing his demands in any immigration bill, he added, “Go for it! WIN!”

See also: "If you make me shoot my hostages, it's all your fault."
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