How I’m protesting the Donald

March if you want to. I’ve got a better plan.

In light of yesterday’s leaked intelligence report alleging the president-elect is a Russian stooge who once rented a hotel room previously used by the Obamas and hired a gaggle of local “talent” to perform a golden shower show on the bed as a means of defiling it, I’m going to rent a hotel room the Donald previously stayed in, Febreeze the piss out of the bed, get under the covers, and…

  • Buy a Tesla and some solar panels.
  • Order tacos and leave the room’s door wide open so room service can stroll right in.
  • Eat fried chicken with my bare hands.
  • Browse OkCupid for a strong, professional woman and send her a nice polite message.
  • Properly sell a Stone Cold Stunner delivered by housekeeping.
  • Start a union.
  • Watch It’s Complicated.
  • Kick Planned Parenthood a few bucks.
  • Fire up Command and Conquer: Red Alert on my laptop and kick some Russian tail.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOO! HOW DO YA LIKE THAT, DONNIE!?!? U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

(Oh God, I’m going to get itches in my nether regions, aren’t I?)

On Watersportsgate

Hoooooooooooooo boy. Ever read so many hilarious Twitter jokes that you wake up feeling somewhat hungover the next morning even though you didn’t touch a drop of booze? Yeah, that’s me right now.

Yesterday, CNN reported on a cache of documents claiming that the Big DT is in bed with the Russians. Buzzfeed released those documents not long after. Turns out that whole “in bed” part is both literal and figurative; the most fun section of the report claims the president-elect went to Russia to stay in a room previously used by the Obamas and hired a bunch of local talent to perform a water sports show on the very bed the first couple slept in. The more important part alleges the Russians have been developing the guy as an asset of sorts with which to disrupt the west and that they’ve got plenty of blackmail-worthy information on him. The report was supposedly developed by an ex-MI6 agent in good standing with the intelligence community and his sources have been deemed trustworthy. This thing’s been circulating for a while now; Mother Jones reported on it briefly a few months ago, John McCain himself brought it to the FBI (turns out the FBI already had its own copy), and both the president-elect and President Obama have been briefed on it.

It should be noted that none of the information in this report has proven legit. And, quite frankly, Buzzfeed crossed an important journalistic line by releasing these documents without first verifying them. When shit like this is proven false it makes it even easier for people to dismiss the media. Transparency is a fine goal, but it’s also a goal we need to address responsibly. Many people are more than willing to act on incomplete information. That’s not a good thing.

How amazing it, though, that so many of us can read these claims and say “yeah, sounds like our new president!” I mean, Jesus. This stuff hit the public on the very same day that President Obama delivered a dignified, sincere home run of a farewell address. The contrast between the man moving out and the greasy gutter slug moving in is off the damn charts.

Try to imagine President Obama doing any of this stuff. Or W. Or Slick Willy (ok, yeah, some of it). Or Poppy Bush. Or Ronald Reagan. Or Carter or Ford or Nixon and so on and so forth. You can’t, can you? Despite their flaws, they were all dignified, sincere Americans. But with the Donald, it’s almost expected. It’s amazing. I’ve written before about how I understand the reasons people voted for him but I can’t translate those reasons into “welp, gotta vote for that guy!” This morning, my problem’s even bigger. With any other president I could’ve easily dismissed these allegations offhand. With this dude? Nope. I can totally see it. You can tell me that’s just my cuckolded libtard bias talking, but keep in mind that the left aren’t the only people who think this dude’s a monster.

And if I can put my tinfoil hat on for a paragraph, maybe that’s all part of the Big Orange Plan. Not this report, exactly, but the idea that making the public accept he’s a horrible person might make us shrug off future scandals as just business as usual. It’s like a Teflon coating made of pure, liquified garbage, or like that improved alcohol tolerance you develop when you go out every night of the week. It would be kind of brilliant in its own disgusting way.

I’m not calling for the president-elect to lose his new job. Doing so before we’ve got confirmed proof of his alleged Russian connections would be irresponsible and wrong. What I am asking, and what the whole point of this post is, is that we all pay very close attention to this story. It’s one of two very important things. Either it’s a smoking gun proving the president-elect isn’t fit for the office to which he’s been elected, or it’s a warning that we need to be very, very careful when assessing information related to his activities. And if it’s the latter, the free press may want to look out.

Have fun explaining the term “golden shower” to your parents and grandparents!

Bursting the bubble

I’m still trying to make sense of that weird ass presidential election. I understand the reasons why people voted the way they did, but I still don’t understand how being concerned about the economy, worrying about national security, being fed up with government bullshit, not liking Hillary Clinton, or feeling like the nation is leaving you behind translates into “I have to vote for the unstable orange scumbag with zero political experience who’s spent his entire life fucking over the little guy.” I can see the dots, but I can’t connect them. I want to, so I think about it a lot.

(And no, that doesn’t mean I think all of his voters are stupid and/or racist, because that is flat out not true.)

One of the things I keep coming back to is the idea that coastal elites like yours truly don’t understand the way Middle America voted because we live in a bubble. It’s bothering me. Let me tell you something right now, Middle America: you’re right. We coastal elites do live in a bubble. So do you. Every single one of us lives in his or her own bubble. We’ve got a sphere of influence and a sphere of influencers, and where those overlap—boom, bubble. The sizes of our bubbles are limited by tangible factors like distance, time, and available soap (that’s only kind of a joke—no one wants to be in your bubble if you fucking smell). We can only process so much information in a given day. Our bubbles are, essentially, our experiences, and they’re necessarily limited because none of us can do everything or be everywhere at all times. Our bubbles absolutely influence our votes, because our bubbles are us.

“But Scott Colby!” you say. “Enough half-assed philosophy! My bubble is full of real Americans!” Oh. Oh, wait. Shit. Welp, ya got me. I don’t know what I was thinking. Was I even thinking? Now I’m not sure. How could I have been so shortsighted? College really didn’t teach me anything, now did it? Poopies.

Insert an eye roll emoji here. Assuming there is one. There aren’t a ton of emojis in my bubble.

Any time someone claims to be a “real” whatever it’s due to a deep insecurity about their place in the pecking order of that whatever. Real Americans. Real men. Real women. Hell, I only think of myself as a real Red Sox fan because SERIOUSLY CUT THE SHIT WITH THIS WALLY GARBAGE AND GARY STREIWSDSKAIY TALKING ABOUT HIS SHOES AND SHOW SOME BASEBALL YOU’RE LEAVING ME BEHIND NESN GOD DAMN IT!!! The whole real Americans thing is absolutely due to feelings of being ignored and marginalized. “Real” is a defense mechanism, not a meaningful category.

As I wrote before in a post outlining my cockamamie scheme to rethink the states, urban life and rural life are very different from each other and both need to be represented in our government. Flat out. We’re all in this together, and the combination of our two experiences should result in a better everything for everybody.

Which means we—and by “we,” I mean both sides of the aisle—need to stop relying on bullshit like “they live in a bubble!” The biggest tragedy of this election (if you remove my personal biases) is the way big important issues were constantly reduced to useless bullshit soundbites repeated ad nauseam in the media and in daily conversation. Russia didn’t “hack the election;” they infiltrated the computer systems of one of the political parties involved and exposed damaging information about that party to the world at large via a series of shady go-betweens with the end goal of influencing American voters. Look at how much more useful and informative and interesting that is! Look at how it gets us to a place where we can start examining and thinking about both what happened and what the repercussions are going forward! Look at how it sets us up to better judge the impact of those events. Jeez, that’s nice. Fucking sweet.

So cut the shit with the bubble talk. We’ve all got one, and using “you live in a bubble!” to explain the culture divide in either direction does no justice to just how different our experiences are. We’ll never get anywhere if we keep relying on that sort of bullshit to prove points and end arguments.

An alternative to the NFL

The NFL sucks. We’ve been over this, but I need to reiterate for the sake of introduction. The games are boring, the presentation blows, the rules are stupid, and every team not named the Patriots appears to be working with some sort of mental handicap. I used to be a huge fan, but I’ve since divorced the league. After watching a few games over the holidays I’m more sure than ever that I made the right choice and I’m not missing anything.

I was discussing this suckitude with someone the other day and suggested that now would be a great time for a rival league to try to get rolling. I don’t hate the game of football, after all; I just hate the NFL. Maybe I’ve got the XFL on the brain because of that upcoming 30-for-30 documentary and one-day popup hall of fame. Whatever the reason…I’ve been thinking a lot about what that rival league might look like. I’m going to throw it all into a bulleted list.

I give you…the ScottFL.

  • It’s a spring/summer league. Competing head-to-head with the NFL, NBA, and NHL (ok, fine, really just those first two) would be kind of dumb. Providing an action-packed alternative to the dog days of summer baseball could be just the ticket.
  • It’s all about pace of play. Two twenty-minute halves, thirty-second play clock, two timeouts per half…and no fucking commercials. Seriously. The ScottFL will sell every inch of its teams’ uniforms, fields, and arenas to advertisers. No more sitting through the same six commercials seventeen thousand god damn mother fucking times every game.
  • No fucking kickers. Seriously. Kickers suck. They’re not even human. No field goals, no points after, and for the love of Christ no fucking punting. Get that shit all the way out of here. Situations that would otherwise involve a kickoff instead put the offensive team on their own two yard line.
  • Safeties—which are awesome and hilarious—are now worth three points.
  • The field is shorter. Fifty yards from goal line to goal line. Move it along, losers.
  • Penalties based on yardage and fresh downs are bullshit. We’re going NHL style. Holding? False start? Face mask? Get in the box for a couple minutes while your team plays a man down.
  • Breathing on a dude is no longer pass interference.
  • No former players on color commentary. They’re all insufferable dopes. I will end the ScottFL before I allow this particular rule to be broken.
  • A touchdown is still worth six.
  • A fat guy touchdown is worth seven.
  • The point after is replaced by a two-point conversion worth one point.
  • Fun and individuality will not be punished. Players can wear whatever they want on their shoes, gloves, and face masks. Cash prizes will be distributed weekly for best end zone dance, sack taunt, and coach tirade.
  • No Mannings. Ever.
  • All coaches must provide a high school diploma before hire and be able to pass randomly administered literacy tests.
  • Screw it. Fat guy touchdowns are worth ten points.

Unhappy with the Electoral College? Here’s an idea

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of the president-elect and that that’s putting it lightly. Unlike a lot of people who share my opinion, I haven’t been clamoring for changes to the electoral college. I’m not sure the electoral college is such a bad thing, primarily because I think it’s important not to marginalize the lesser populated states. Let’s face it: we’ve got a huge country to govern, and city life and country life are two very different beasts.

However, I do think we’re un-marginalizing those states a little too much. According to the last census (in 2010), the state of Wyoming has 560,000 people. They get three electoral votes. That’s one electoral vote for every 186,000-ish people. California, meanwhile, has 37 million people and 55 electoral votes. That’s one for every 670,000 people. That’s a pretty big difference. I hear Wyoming’s a wonderful place, but is giving its voters that much more power really necessary? It gets even worse when you consider the fact that both states send two senators each to Congress. Yes, I know the House of Representatives is supposed to balance out that last part, but come on they’re useless and everybody knows it.

“But Scott Colby!” you’re thinking. “That’s why I want to do away with the electoral college!” Or, alternately, you might be thinking “Waaaaaah waaaaaah waaaaah! Look at the silly liberal whining because his candidate lost! Go find a safe space you wuss!” First off, the electoral college isn’t the problem here. Second off, the entire world is my safe space bro so your ass had best hop in a rocket to the moon if you don’t want to be in it. Here’s where things go full Scott Colby: I don’t want to change the electoral college because I want to change the states.

I’ll give you a second to process that.

I know, right?!?!?

Historically, state boundaries have been determined by geographic features, railroad lines, and latitude and longitude. Why are we sticking with that? Modern technology means physical distance to your state capitol isn’t the problem it used to be. Don’t states exist to serve people, rather than land? Why haven’t I heard any talk of reexamining this ever? Sure, it would be a huge transition, but maybe it would be worth it. Splitting up heavily populated states like California and Texas would mean more representation for their residents and smaller, more functional state governments. Merging the Dakotas would increase the resources available to residents of those states. And combining all of New England together would mean we’re rid of Rhode Island and we might finally manage to civilize its savage denizens.

Yes, I understand that the distribution of electoral votes and seats in the house changes over time as state populations grow and decline, but man…this shit’s super unbalanced and it has been for quite a while now, and it’s likely to get worse as our overall population continues to increase. That census I’m getting my other numbers from shows urban growth (12.1%) outpacing the national rate of growth (9.7%). Barring a catastrophe that causes an immediate migration and means we’ve got much bigger problems than uneven representation, it’s not going to change any time soon—if ever. And I’m not looking to make the ratios perfect, mind you; somewhere around two-to-one or three-to-one sounds about right.

And before you get your Trump-brand knickers (complete with easy-access flaps for those with small hands) in a twist, remember: this works both ways. Vermont gets three electoral votes and two senators for its 630,000-ish residents. Twenty-five million Texans get 38 electoral votes and two senators. How in the blue hell can two senators properly represent 12.5 million people each?

I’m kind of amazed that I haven’t seen this idea bandied about elsewhere, at least as an intellectual exercise. There’s no way the state map would look the way it does if the United States were founded, say, yesterday. I’m particularly surprised that I haven’t seen a version of this discussed in California. Splitting Cally into multiple states would complicate several Tupac songs, but it would also make running the place a hell of a lot easier and give the state’s residents more power in the senate and in presidential elections.

I’m done now. Feel free to tell me how stupid I am, but do me a solid and at least think about it a little bit first. Usually it’s best to start at “bat shit insane and probably drunk” and work towards a realistic solution, which is what I’m doing here. Fifty stars looks a hell of a lot better on a flag than thirty-seven or sixty-three or whatever it would end up being, but times change and we need to at least entertain the idea of adjusting our existing institutions so they work well with our current situation.

Don’t forget to support my 2020 presidential campaign!

Let’s talk about fake news

Lately you can’t turn on the TV, browse the internet, or go hang out in your local townie bar without hearing about “fake news” and its influence on the election. It’s the go to topic for news outlets and hack jobs desperate for eyeballs and clicks (like me!). It’s good that we’re talking about this.

That said, Conspiracy Theorist Scott Colby is worried. We know that governments and various interest groups are capable of twisting national narratives for their own ends (and if you don’t know that, wisen up—powerful douche bags have been doing it forever). So…when’s the other shoe drop with this fake news stuff? Seriously. What outrageous bullshit perpetrated by someone or something important is about to be completely disregarded because we’re so focused on not falling for incorrect information?

Sure, I should probably take my tinfoil hat off. Likely any attempts to exploit the current discourse will be much less dramatic than what I’m rambling about. Thing is…it’s sort of already happening. Watch this. That’s Kellyanne Conway, the president-elect’s campaign manager, telling CNN her boss is going to continue working on The Apprentice while he’s in the White House.

And this was the Big Orange Blumpkin’s response on Twitter:

Think about this for a second. That is a downright impressive manipulation of the “fake news” phenomenon. I’m applauding even though I’m fucking disgusted. There was absolutely nothing phony about CNN’s report. A representative of the president-elect went on TV and provided information that turned out to be incorrect, and the vehicle that did nothing but communicate that representative’s words gets thrown under the bus—and people are going to believe that because “ohhhhh fake news is everywhere!” and think even less of the media. What a heel move. Get this guy some tights and get him (back) in the ring.

And I wonder…did the incoming administration just set up CNN? Sure, it’s possible Conway had bad information even though she’s a high-ranking, integral part of the operation that’s supposed to make sure she’s on message at all times. It’s also possible that the president-elect fully intended to continue working on The Apprentice and was caught off guard by the backlash. But man, doesn’t this feel almost like a beta test of sorts for exploiting the fake news thing? I’m not accusing them of anything and I have no evidence, but think about it. Fine. I’ll take my tinfoil hat off again. I’m sorry. I keep putting it back on because it makes me look positively dashing.

My point, I guess, is that it’s more important than ever to use your head. Don’t believe everything everyone tells you, but don’t automatically disbelieve it, either. “But Scott Colby!” I can hear you whining from under the covers to which you’ve retreated. “That’s hard! Can’t I just pick one and always do that!” Nope. Sorry, pumpkin. If you want to understand the world and participate well in it, you’ve got to put the work in.