This week’s OpinionList is a bit long, but don’t let that discourage you. I tried really hard to make it worth your while. Hope you enjoy it.
Mrs. President: You know who I’m talking about. In fact, everyone knows, even the Republicans. That’s why they’re bringing up Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton again. You see, they have nothing worse to say about Hillary and nothing better to offer our country. That’s right, if Hillary decides to run in 2016, she will be the next President of the United States. I can’t wait.
No, Please, Really?: Buzzfeed reports, “Republican Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake appeared on the NPR show Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and said, ‘If an NFL player can come out as gay, a Republican senator can come out as an NPR listener.” I’m sure that Senator Flake thought that he was being funny. However, I don’t see anything funny in the fact that the Republican party has become such a cult of ignorance that intelligence and an intelligent NPR are considered liberal tools. What is even less funny is that, “Flake…voted ‘aye’ on HR 1076 in 2011 to ‘prohibit federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of federal funds to acquire radio content.'” He’s not only unfunny, he’s a flake.
Substandard Principles: It doesn’t bother Texas’ attorney general, Greg Abbott, who has his eyes set on the Governor’s mansion to bring Ted Nugent along on the campaign trail. The same Nugent who has spewed atrocities that include calling President Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” that no decent human being would want to be seen speaking to him, much less palling around. But, bringing out the base is really important for the GOP, even when it’s the basest it could possibly be, “…a senior Abbott aide admitted their campaign is only bringing on the gun rights activist to help spur voter turnout among the base, as the state begins early voting for the upcoming March 4 GOP primary.” In case you’re curious, “The aide said the campaign originally had 100 people commit to their event Tuesday morning at a Denton restaurant, but when they announced Nugent was coming, the number of expected attendees tripled.” For 300 people, who gives a Nugent about principles?
Christ! This Christie!: Salon has an excellent article on how “last year’s New Jersey special election was the most unnecessary statewide election in American history.” Chris Christie held a special election to fill the New Jersey Senate seat left vacant by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg (who died on June 3, 2013) three weeks before Election Day costing an estimated $12 million when, “The logical solution for Gov. Christie was to hold the special election on Nov. 6, when New Jersey would already be voting for statewide offices.” Salon further explains, “But Christie didn’t like that idea. He was running for reelection as governor, and he did not want to appear on the same ballot as popular Democratic Senate candidate Cory Booker. Sharing a ballot with Booker was unlikely to lose Christie the election, as he held a commanding lead over challenger Barbara Buono, but it was likely to decrease his vote share. Christie’s presidential aspirations depended on a landslide reelection victory in blue-leaning New Jersey, and he wasn’t about to let an unexpected Senate election jeopardize that.” Salon gives several statistics on special elections like “there have been 113 U.S. Senate special elections. Of those 113, 85 were held at the same time as congressional elections in an even year and three were held at the same time as gubernatorial elections in an odd year, so they did not require an additional election,” concluding “In sum, there has been only a single other Senate special election held between January and November in a statewide election year in the last 95 years.” Christie has become the proverbial onion, the more you peel him, the more he makes you cry.
Apocalyptic Pizza: Did you ever hear the joke, “Sex is like pizza. Even when it’s bad, it’s good.”? I’m really not sure about that, but apparently the U.S. military is (about the pizza). Their MRE (ready-to-eat meal) catalog will now include a pizza that is edible three years after it’s packaged, without having to put it in the fridge or freezer. So, if we get wiped out by a nuclear war or a humongous asteroid, those of us who were not microwaved will be able to enjoy pizza. That is, if we come out of our shelter up to three years later. I don’t know about you, but I prefer a real pizza (and really good sex).
The Big Split: It seems that before The Big One comes and splits up California into tiny pieces, someone wants to split it up into 6 big ones. ABC News reports, “A venture capitalist who feels colossal California is too unwieldy to govern is proposing to split it into six separate states, and Secretary of State Debra Bowen has given him the green light to start collecting petition signatures.” That someone’s name is Tim Draper. No relationship to Don Draper, although some might think that Tim is a mad man.
What’s Up? WhatsApp: And way up. The company is getting bought by Facebook to the tune of $19 billion. This is the biggest tech story, possibly the biggest news story, of the week. Also, it is the biggest startup acquisition ever. As someone put it in an article, even the company’s administrative assistant is now shopping for a Lamborghini. Oh, and if the deal falls through, WhatsApp will still get $2 billion ($1 billion cash and $1 billion in Facebook stock). That’s what’s up.
If You Can’t Join Them, Beat Them: No, I didn’t get the saying wrong. Brian Acton got turned down for jobs at Twitter and Facebook four years ago. Guess what? He’s the co-founder of WhatsApp. As it turns out, success is not only the sweetest revenge, it’s also the most profitable.
When Plus Is Minus: The New York Times reports, “Google Plus may not be much of a competitor to Facebook as a social network, but it is central to Google’s future — a lens that allows the company to peer more broadly into people’s digital life, and to gather an ever-richer trove of the personal information that advertisers covet. Some analysts even say that Google understands more about people’s social activity than Facebook does. The reason is that once you sign up for Plus, it becomes your account for all Google products, from Gmail to YouTube to maps, so Google sees who you are and what you do across its services, even if you never once return to the social network itself.” In other words, everyone is watching you, but some are telling advertisers exactly what you do. And, Google, a company whose motto is “Don’t do evil,” is one of them.
Note: Original Publication date: 2-21-14. Publication date has been changed for display purposes.