Posts Tagged ‘CNN’

Recent Readings for May 9, 2019

May 9, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 9, 2019

Author’s note: One of the articles linked below involves a porn star; the article is not particularly explicit, but I wanted to give warning. Also, two of the articles below contain upsetting details about violent crimes. MEM

Gosh, I haven’t done one of these in nearly two and a half years. Let’s see what’s been running through my mind lately!

• “The Sunday school children: The little-known tragedy of the Sri Lankan Easter attacks.” Rebecca Wright, Sam Kiley and King Ratnam of CNN take a detailed look at one of the bombings in the terrorist assaults that killed about 250 Christians and tourists last month. Be aware that this story is filled with a number of heartbreaking details.

• “Student slated to attend Western Michigan University beheaded in Saudi Arabia.” This was one of a series of government executions, the particulars of which should shock the conscience of every American. Alas, it’s hard to imagine that our freedom-loving pro-life president giving this matter more than 30 seconds of thought. As I tweeted: “The details presented here are shocking, and comprise a not-so-gentle reminder that this nation produced 15 of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 11, 2001.”

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Arguing about American rights: The U.S. Constitution and its first two amendments

April 29, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 29, 2016

Perhaps the worst day in American history since Sept. 11, 2001, was Dec. 14, 2012. That Friday morning, a 20-year-old fatally shot his mother in their Newtown, Conn., home before driving to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School, where he killed six adults and 20 children before turning a weapon on himself. The gunman used weapons that had been legally purchased by his mother.

Over the course of more than a year following that massacre, I spent a great deal of time on Twitter attempting to persuade people who held what I thought to be excessive enthusiasm for gun rights that their ideas were somewhat misguided.

“I no longer want to live in a country that shrugs and says the Second Amendment justifies every gun death,” I told one such fanatic several hours after the killings had taken place.

After right-wing conspiracy peddler Alex Jones told Piers Morgan in a January 2013 interview, “My point is that the Second Amendment is sacrosanct,” I quoted Jones and added a sarcastic parenthetical (“Kids’ lives? Whatever”) in attempt to highlight his skewed priorities.

When a conservative mixed-martial-arts fan told me on Twitter that “guns as written in the constitution are to protect countrymen from a tyrannical government,” I dryly observed that “[t]hat worked perfectly in Waco and at Ruby Ridge, right?” Shortly afterward, I asked the same individual, “So 31,000 gun deaths annually is the price of the Second Amendment?”

Reader, I’m 99 percent sure that I persuaded approximately zero percent of the people I engaged to alter or adjust their views in any way.

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Lion kings, gorillas, Labradors and road kill: The 2016 presidential campaign as viewed from the perspective of a handful of Pennsylvania “Wal-Mart moms”

April 25, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 25, 2016

When I last wrote about politics, I discussed a cockamamie scheme to draft a retired Marine general into running a third-party presidential campaign that would block either Trump or Clinton from winning the Electoral College.

I wanted to return to the subject of politics after reading this Todd Gillman story about the possibility of a contested Republican National Convention, which seems high indeed. The article, published Friday, concerns focus groups that were held in Pennsylvania last week by a pair of pollsters, one Republican and one Democratic. Gillman concluded that “for at least one group of Wal-Mart moms — an umbrella demographic that stands for much of the electorate … depriving Trump of the prize if he’s ahead would deeply offend many voters.”

(The pollsters define Wal-Mart moms as voters with children age 18 or younger at home and who shopped at Walmart at least once in the past month; they comprise roughly 15 percent of the electorate. According to Gillman, they include members from a wide range of income brackets.)

Gillman does a good job of presenting the arguments for and against a contested convention. The cons mainly come from the mouths of 10 anonymous so-called Wal-Mart moms from the Pittsburgh area, all registered Republicans, who said their sense of fair play would be offended if the candidate with a plurality of votes didn’t wind up receiving the nomination.

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Man on the run: Contemplating the intent and the future of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign

April 5, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 5, 2016

Eight days ago, a hitherto obscure public relations expert and New York University adjunct professor named Stephanie Cegielski generated a great deal of attention when she wrote an open letter explaining why she would no longer support Donald Trump’s run for president. The most notable thing about the letter was its author — specifically, the fact that Cegielski had worked for several months for the Make America Great Again political organization, an unofficial adjunct to Trump’s campaign.

The next few days went poorly for Trump: He suggested breaching the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit torture, among other things; said he was for punishing women who illegally obtain abortions before changing his position on the matter several times; continued an aggressive defense of his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, even after Florida police charged him with manhandling a female reporter then associated with a conservative “news” outlet; and gave the latest in a string of interviews in which he seemed arrogant and disjointed. (Asked by The Washington Post’s Robert Costa what strategy he had for converting former Republican rivals into allies, Trump said, “I think that’s overrated, what you’re saying, about bringing them into the fold. At the same time, I think I would be successful with many of them. I don’t know that I’ll be successful with Jeb Bush.”)

Now several pundits are questioning whether Trump is sabotaging his own campaign, consciously or otherwise, because he doesn’t really want to be president. By way of example, today, we had Michael Brendan Dougherty writing for The Week; on Monday, there was Robert Becker writing for Salon and three editors writing for The Huffington Post; on Friday, Sean Illing in Salon and John Fund in the National Review. On Saturday, A Prairie Home Companion ran a “Guy Noir, Private Eye” skit in which a faux Donald Trump orders his staff to find a way for him to wreck his lead in the nomination campaign. On Sunday, Chris Wallace began an interview by asking Trump, “Are you in the process of blowing your campaign for president?”

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Ambushed by the past: A blog post about the glimpse of television that prompted my previous two blog posts

October 19, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Oct. 19, 2014

Sometimes, current events catch you by surprise. On Tuesday night, a part of my past popped up unexpectedly.

In between World Tavern Poker tournaments at the Big Easy, a restaurant in Cary, N.C., I sat in a high chair at the island that separates the bar area from the dining area. The Kansas City Royals were hosting Baltimore in what would turn out to be the fourth and final game of the American League Championship Series, and I wanted to keep an eye on the action.

But images on another screen, showing an old Major League Baseball event, caught my attention. The video was fuzzy, and the sound was off, and my view of the screen was obscured, but somehow, I recognized the event after seeing just a second or two of footage.

CNN was showing a documentary about the event that’s known to the world as the San Francisco earthquake. I murmured “1989 World Series” (or words to that effect) to myself. Suddenly, scattered memories of my experiences of the Loma Prieta temblor began flashing through my mind.

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Re-debunking one easily debunked conservative lie about Obamacare and HealthCare.gov

November 13, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Nov. 13, 2013

On Oct. 25, Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee appeared with CNN anchor Carol Costello to discuss GOP charges that HealthCare.gov might be compromising the privacy — specifically, the medical information — of its users.

Now, I certainly can’t vouch for the security of HealthCare.gov. What I would argue, however, is that if the data it collects from other website visitors goes no deeper than what I provided — and that’s my understanding based on reporting on the matter — then everyone’s medical history is completely safe.

Why is that? Because HealthCare.gov doesn’t really collect any medical information.

It asked for my name, physical and e-mail addresses, phone number and race. It also asked whether I was a member of a federal recognized Native American tribe, whether I had Hispanic or Latino origins, and whether anyone for whom I was applying for coverage was incarcerated. There were a few multiple choice questions intended to verify my identity: the year was I born, cities in which I had previously lived, the name of the pet for which I had recently purchased veterinary insurance (a red herring; I’ve never owned a pet as an adult).

Excepting, I suppose, the identity verification queries, which the website said were based on the database of the Experian credit bureau, these are all more or less standard questions that any health insurance company would want answered before selling me a policy. In fact, prior to Oct. 1, I’d bet insurance companies would require answers to most or all of those questions before they’d tell me whether they would even sell me a policy.

But HealthCare.gov didn’t ask me any questions about my medical history, except for this: whether I’d regularly used tobacco products over the last six months. (I’ve never smoked — anything at all.)

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