tag/poty

best photos of 1996

July 17, 2016
I've decided to go through all the digital photos I (or sometimes a friend on my camera, or my comission) taken over the past 20 years, and pick out the dozen best photos of each year. Starting with 1996 - but I was only taking photos for like half the year, so it's just a half dozen.

1996 marked my graduation from college, and my first apartment - in Waltham, where Dylan subletted from me for a while.

My first camera was the Kodak DC20. It had a beautiful minimalism; no screen, no flash, just a cut-out viewfinder. Like getting good old film developed at the drug store, you couldn't see what picture you had taken 'til later.

So, the best of 1996:

best photos of 1997

July 18, 2016
My dozen best photos of 1997. Even though I had graduated, I sang with Tufts' sQ! as an alum. And I'm still working my first real, non-summer job.
On a Hulu ad I first saw how Panera is really hammering "clean" as the primary descriptor for their salads. At first I thought it was a dig against Chipotle, though I guess it's kind of a trendy food movement, ish? But kind of a diffuse one as far as I can tell?

Anyway, can't say the ad was entirely ineffective, got me into the store where I took a shot of the poster.

Salads from Sweetgreen, Cosi, Chipotle, and Panera really are a boon to dieters who are willing to sacrifice some $$$ to save time.
A Brief History of Celebrities Using the Notes App to Share Their Thoughts With the World "...the street finds its own uses for things"

best photos of 1998

July 19, 2016
My dozen best photos of 1998...


How Tennis Balls get made is visually compelling. By coincidence just the other day I saw a destroyed, chewed up tennis ball on the curb, thought about its construction and how people in a "Mad Max" society might miss having them.
The would-be-first-lady speech plagiarism as deliberate sabotage. Plus, Rick Roll.

Good lord.
For some reason I liked Quora's What's the Most Overrated Pleasure. Some I disagree with, but I'm getting to the point where it's worth analyzing the real benefit of things assumed to be pleasurable. (Oo oo another chance for me to analyze!)

best photos of 1999

July 20, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 1999...


Interesting! I had no idea you're much more likely tofall into an eccentric orbit than to actually hit the sun. (I guess satellites around the earth have just enough resistance from the upper atmosphere to not enjoy a similar free ride?)
30 Years of Saying Government is the Problem means you're going to be bad at government.
Mad Magazine released their Trump issue online. Trump vs The Bible is great. Christians: Trump is not one of you.
This is terrible

best photos of 2000

July 21, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of The Year -- *2000*!
Video Shows Unarmed Black Man Pleading With Arms Raised Before Getting Shot by Police - Hands up, don't shoot. Mercifully, not a death, and maybe "just" an error from an itchy trigger finger? Still... Racist, Barney Fife BS.
The Centipede is especially good...


How Republicans went from the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, in 13 maps - want to keep this around in for when the old "Us? Racist? But we're the Party of Lincoln!" comes around.
Jimminy Frickin Crickets, Republicans.

Extra bonus: Trump and Putin see eye to eye on NATO (even as Pence tries to say we WOULD stand with the alliance that kept us through the cold war.)
The ultimate Tell Me Again Why Trump is a Fascist.

best photos of 2001

July 22, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2001.


The crime and violence that today afflicts our nation will soon -- and I mean very soon -- come to an end. Beginning on January 20th 2017, safety will be restored.
Donald Trump.
Besides the fact this is a spooky authoritarian tyrant kind of line, how the HELL could he promise this unless he was like, ordering the crime and violence himself?

best photos of 2002

July 23, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2002.

Don't get mad if you parents ask 'simple tech questions' because they taught you how to use a spoon.
Thechangingboy

best photos of 2003

July 24, 2016
My Dozen Best Photos of 2003:


Clay Shirky speaks to why I'm so appalled about Trump.

best photos of 2004

July 25, 2016
Best Photos of 2004... Mo and I part ways, I sell the house, publish my Atari game, and spend a lot of time with EB and Jane.


Slate on The Hillary Haters. Saturday at a party I was showing around some old Spy-magazine covers about Hillary from the 90s (I remember 'Hillary as dominatrix in particular.) The endless dislike of her has a lot of roots in sexism, without a doubt.

best photos of 2005

July 26, 2016
Best Photos of 2005, marking the halfway point of this project, years-wise.
Getting political fatigue to the point of burn out.

Whichever side wins, it's not the end of the world, or the republic. We'll get shitty judges, lives (especially for vulnerable classes) will be made worse, we'll continue banking on some future geo-engineering crap rather than actually thinking about climate change, we'll be more at risk for authoritarian crap, we'll be a few ticks closer to nuclear armageddon. Trump will be Putin's man in the white house, etc.

Most of us will still muddle through in conditions that are the envy of 99% of the history of humanity. We'll be that much farther from our potential as a species, and in general being on the wrong side of history.

We've survived LBJ, Nixon, Reagan, GWB, Newt Gingrich.

Life would go on.

We can do better, and knock wood will with Hillary. It's frustrating that it all comes down to a few swing states. Even more frustrating that we've so clustered around two very different narratives of what it means to be a good, smart American.
Dilbert on Corporate Slogans like Make the world a better place
From 15 Twitter Jokes Everyone Should Read:
Young children are like sponges. They are the filthiest thing in your house.
@RockabillyJay
I told a joke about a mandatory meeting once, you had to be there
@le_buns
Any dog can be a guide dog if you don't care where you're going
@matt___nelson

best photos of 2006

July 27, 2016

Mexican illustrator Mona Robles Reinvents Pokemons as 'Pokemayans':

Trump: Release the Tax Returns or Get Out of the Race

best photos of 2007

July 28, 2016

Amazing demos of how different camera lenses make the subject look much, much fatter.

I'm trying to figure out if there was any way college or something could have gotten me to my current awareness of how frickin' different people are.

I think a lot of people, as a short hand, kind of assume everyone is more or less like them. It's a bit of a working hypothesis we need for empathy?

But then... I dunno. Even apart from all the crazy amounts of partisan tribal bickering. Sometimes when I read about how badly people do on basic science questions, or fractions, say, it's just weird. Negative, sure - but just strange, too.

And I'm aware of how thinking about "basic science and math questions" as a rubric is kind of intensely OF my particular demographic.

And all this is just in my country, a culture I kind of sort of more or less understand. (Actually I should probably limit my claims to intra-culture, FWIW) That there are all these other nations and cultures, each presumably with their own intra-culture diversity, is even harder to wrap my head around.

best of 2008

July 29, 2016

Nothing in the world is as old as what was futuristic in the past.
Ben Lerner (in his 2014 novel 10:04)

The Freewright is a uni-tasking, distraction free, mechanical keyboard, don't go back and edit just keep writing word processor that also synchs up to the cloud. Very cool concept, it appeals to me in the same way scratching out things on the original Palm Pilot I bought a few months ago does.
Commercials on the Bar TV- one for this HP Spectre laptop, one for VistaPrint business cards, both with a lot of crappy faux-classy Shiny Gold on Black-- I'm worried we have Trump to blame for this? I mean who but sports channel watching business dudes are out for a super pricey Windows laptop and tacky business cards?
Susan Kare, pioneer in Mac Pixels and still a big player in the industry. So cool. The cross-stitch/pixel connection is great; sometimes I think about how my work on the old Etch-A-Sketch Animator connected me to my dad's Counter Cross-stitch work. (Kare points to this 1760 sampler by Elizabeth Laidman )
OPEN LETTER ON DONALD TRUMP FROM GOP NATIONAL SECURITY LEADERS I think this might be my new go-to summary for why Trump would be a horrible, horrible president.
Republican VP Pence chastises Obama for calling Trump "a demagogue" - says that "name calling" has no "place in public life."

best photos of 2009

July 31, 2016
Including a trip to Portugal, I think it makes its case for "best of the year galleries"

How and Why Trump Will Try to Ditch the Debates If Trump won't stand up to 1:1 debates, and he won't release his tax documents, he is a coward unworthy of your vote.
This week I finished Robert P. Jones' "The End of White Christian America", a left-leaning (I think) study in how White Protestantism (North and South, unlike the WASP term) has been on the decline in terms of power for decades. One sign of that: "The current [pre-2016] U.S. Supreme Court is comprised of six Catholics and three Jews." - in 225 years there have only been 6 other Catholics, and 5 other Jews sitting there.

Also, I didn't realize Southern Baptists forked away from the main Baptist body when the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society started disqualifying slave holders as missionaries.

The book puts a lot of weight into how the young generation is generally for gay rights, particularly marriage, and that's tied into how the older generation is losing clout trying to hold that line. (What's cause and what's effect is not always clear, I'd say.)

I like this quote from author and Baptist minister David Gushee: Jones says he takes the Christian Right to task for being less motivated by the gospel and more by "nostalgia for a less-religiously and morally pluralistic age, when specifically Christian practices dominated American public life in a way that is now impossible and *should* be impossible under our constitutional system."

(The book also mentioned the case of lesbian mayor of Houston Annise Parker, where in a messy controversy about a equal rights (maybe centering on Transgender bathroom access?) she subpoenaed the sermons of five area pastors, which on the face of it seems a bit too far.)

second best photos of 2009 and july 2016 new music playlist

August 2, 2016
Second Best Photos of 2009. Several years have had some bonus images thrown in, but 2009 was strong enough that I thought it could use its own runner-up gallery dozen.
In its essence, technology is something that man does not control.
Martin Heidegger

It was a rough month for me and iTunes; I realized that 180 or so songs were just gone, so I had to spend a lot of time digging them up from archives and what not. (and it's frustrating, because I'd prefer to use "smart" playlists based on "Added" dates, but iTunes doesn't let you backdate files.) Not sure what caused that; my dalliance with Apple Music, some bungling on my part, or what, but now I'm out to be a lot more careful with my music collection.
4 stars in red.

best photos of 2010

August 3, 2016

But more than that I can't figure out if abolishing the memory of pain is the same thing as abolishing the pain. [...] If I take the drugs, it's like dividing myself into two people. It's a fork in the road: the person who experienced the procedure and the person who didn't. It's like leaving a version of myself alone with the pain, abandoning him.
from Ben Lerner's novel "10:04"
The character has to decide to get local anesthetic vs general, with the general tending to cause amnesia around the whole thing. Decent short novel, touched on a several themes relevant to me and people I'm close to, from donoring to dental work, and with a whole pile of apocalyptic nervousness.

best photos of 2011

August 4, 2016
The year included a trip to Paris and London and also a trip to Cleveland. (Oddly enough more photos made it from Cleveland into this top dozen.)

second best photos of 2011

August 6, 2016
(Err, not counting the second best of the Europe Trip, but I think I'll leave those be.)

30-plus years of being a Star Trek fan and I just now realized that fictional doctor Leonard McCoy and science fiction actor Leonard "Spock" Nimoy share a first name.
http://kottke.org/16/07/ive-never-had-a-goal - I've had this link open in a tab for way too long, meaning to write about it a little.

I'm very non-goal-oriented, which I kind of view as a source of weakness (recognizing it's because I'm a bit too wussy about the ego damage of failure vs the more even wear of not trying) but also strength (I think I'm better than average at locating low hanging fruits and making small but meaningful tweaks to existing things.)

best photos of 2012

August 7, 2016

I just finished Penn Jillette's "Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales". The kickstart to his losing 100 lbs was two weeks of NOTHING but potatoes, but that was mostly just to get him away from the super flavors of "SAD", the "Standard American Diet". (Then it switches to something like "Whole Plant" emphasis. It's pretty dang spartan overall.)

I'd like to flatter myself by seeing some similarities in me and him, though that's obviously a stretch (despite finding out he's been keep a daily diary for years, like I do.) I think the most critical difference springs from this:
Live outside the law. Be honest. It's easy once you get there, but it's difficult to start. You're bucking the whole system. The law says make things easy-- so do things that are hard! Everything you love was hard to do: juggling, playing bebop jazz on upright bass, catching a bullet in your teeth, working with Teller, being married, raising children-- even reading Moby-Dick was hard. All the things that make life worth living take work.
Actually Penn quotes Neil Young on how I end up feeling:
It's hard enough losing without the confusion of knowing I tried.
...I have a hard time shaking this fixed mindset that causes me to seek out all the ego-gratifying low hanging fruits. A useful talent, sometimes. Though also I've been thinking about how it has shaped the music I like, which tends to prefer the accessible to the subtle; I think though I have enough "novelty seeking" that it keeps me out of the worst of the ruts.

Another passage I found striking:
I worry a little about the young adults of today. I worry that they aren't sexting quite enough and won't have enough naked pictures and porn video of themselves. I worry there's still too much false information about society's unnecessary stigma about sex. There's stuff in the news all the time about college students sexting, but still reports say that fewer than half of young adults are sexting pictures of themselves. I don't want to see pictures of young people naked. I'm old and I'm creepy, but I'm not that creepy. What I want is pictures of my friends and myself when we were twenty. I want just what at least half of young people are going to have when they themselves are old and creepy. The news sources I read (which are for old people like me) fret about young adults not understanding that when they post nude pictures of themselves, those pictures will never go away. That's a feature, not a bug, and fortunately at least half of young adults know that.

I understand immediately why people collect stamps. I understand why people play polo. I can relate to every sexual kink I've ever seen video of.
Penn Jillette

Horses don't eat anything but plants, and they build strong bodies that some women find sexy in a way that's a little creepy.
Penn Jillette

It frightens me, the awful truth of how sweet life can be.
Bob Dylan (via Penn Jillette, who says it's his favorite line)

My dad loved soup and taught me to love soup. He also taught me to love ritual jokes. There were certain jokes he did every time the chance came up. Every time my dad had soup, he'd say, "Once I had soup while my nose was running, and I thought I'd never finish."
Penn Jillette.
That is a TERRIFIC dad joke! So delightfully gross.


August Blender of Love

second best photos of 2012

August 8, 2016
Hope it doesn't undercut the idea of picking "the dozen best for each year" by including these.


Olympic Logos discussed and rated...

Propublica on the white underclass. Reading about J.D. Vance's bio makes me think a bit about my upbringing; a lot of privilege, despite money being tight, but then some inheritance and insurance money that had the silver lining of making college available without crushing debt. Sometimes closer exposure to some of this 'underclass' because of my parents' roles in The Salvation Army, probably the transition to college was a bigger demographic shift than I noticed.

best photos of 2013

August 9, 2016
This was the year I started doing "One Second Everyday", and I feel like the peak of photos was 2009-2012 or so, maybe? That I'm less thoughtful and anxious to make good images because I'm taking so many little videos...


Easy to watch but not dumbed down History of the American Civil War.
First Person Squirrel!

From womenburningthings.tumblr.com

First Seven Jobs:
Pharmacy Stockboy/Clerk
Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Worker
Camp Counselor for Special Needs Kids
Dorm Mailman
Computer Lab User Consultant -> (to Manager)
Computer Programmer (On Campus)
Computer Programmer (For Reals)
#firstsevenjobs
I am not your Watson, a**hole!
Relevant to my interests. (I always like Douglas Adams more when he put things back on Earth, than when he was in "zany adventures in space!" mode.)

second best photos of 2013

August 11, 2016

Twenty percent of Americans describe themselves as "spiritual but not religious." Although the claim seems to annoy believers and atheists equally.
Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"

There is barely time enough in a book-- or in a life-- to get to the point.
Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"

The neurologist V. S. Ramachandran seems to have been thinking along these lines when he wrote, "It may not be coincidental that [you] use phrases like 'self conscious' when you really mean that you are conscious of others being conscious of you."
Sam Harris, "Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion"

The philosopher Roland Puccetti once observed that the existence of separate spheres of consciousness in the normal brain would explain one of the most perplexing features of split-brain research: Why is it that the right hemisphere is generally willing to bear silent witness to the errors and confabulations of the left? Could it be that the right hemisphere is used to it?
An answer consistent with the hypothesis of mental duality in the normal human brain suggests itself. The non-speaking hemisphere has known the true state of affairs from a very tender age. It has known this because beginning at age two or three it heard speech emanating from the common body that, as language development on the left proceeded, became too complex grammatically and syntactically for it to believe it was generating; the same, of course, for what it observed
Sam Harris, "Waking Up".
More than any of those other quotes, this idea has got me thinking. I want to read up on split minds, and the dual consciousness we all seem to carry. I've coming up with some "Just So" stories about and want to find out if that split could explain things like this "inner teenager" I have to struggle with in order to, for instance, keep my weight where "I" want it. I've tended to assume that my conscious self was just the aggregate of all of my brain when it decides to muster itself into a voice, but could it be there's more of a spatial division?

Even if true, it does myself - my full self- a disservice to let my left-brain speaker presume it's "more authentically me" than my inner teenager or what not... "we're" all in this together, in the most literal sense possible. Similarly, in the Sam Harris podcast where he's patching things up with Daniel Dennett, I'm surprised they both let Texas belltower shooter Charles Whitman - whose notes and requested autopsy pointed to a brain tumor as the cause of his murderous behavior - let that brain tumor be considered as something external to Whitman... since if detected in a timely way it could have been removed, and Whitman would have been by most accounts a fine upright person. But I'd have to say, when that tumor was controlling his actions, it was "really him", you know? Saying otherwise feels like a distraction.

I want to ponder on this further to think if other external influences to a person's behavior, outside control, hypnosis, etc, challenges my view, but I think it's pretty consistent.

best photos of 2014

August 12, 2016
Two of the most amazing events happened on the same day in early May; Cora was born, and I went on a Zero-G flight.


"Hey Elliott, here's a tasty way to get over your sadness: Eat your tears."
--Amelia
Dying is Probably Okay - a retort to a piece on Peter Thiel being right about radical life extension.
BABAM band (collective of folks from HONK-stye bands) played along with the Landmark Orchestra at the Hatch Shell, like we did last year. Here's Marie, me and organizer Chris Schroeder's kid, all who were feeling pretty Super!

Disclaimer: if you like vaping, more power to you. Have fun with it! The clouds of smoke seen kind of fun, and I guess it's less dangerous than more traditional tobacco. That said...

I think I figured out why Vaping seems so weird to me- even beyond the dystopian sci-fi feel of it, beyond the goofy candy flavors that are often chosen for it, beyond folks who treat he human fog-machine aspect as a competitive sport:

A classic cigarette is an event. Like having a drink, it demarks a period of time (often providing a small time of respite from work drudgery): from the moment of lighting to when the cigarette is stubbed out. This seems not to be the case with people vaping; people can carry it around and take a puff whenever they feel like it.

Vonnegut kind of justified smoking as "a fairly sure, fairly honorable form of suicide" but vaping seems to rob it of some of that critical dignity... at its worse, especially dangling from a chain around the neck, the vaporizer looks (and, to some extent, acts) like a baby's pacifier- at its best, it's like someone walking around with a sports bottle, having a pull as thirst dictates.

Again, not really trying to mock its use, just isolating why it seems so goofy to me in a "you kids get off my lawn!" kind of way.

second best photos of 2014

August 13, 2016

Cool, our cross-honkish-band BABAM got mentioned by name in a Boston Globe article about our gig with the Landmark Orchestra!

best photos of 2015

August 14, 2016
2015 - this project is just about at its end! Just today and a "Second Best of", and then I'm caught up.
As I get ready to head to Ireland for a work conference (silver lining to housemates: I can pre-announce this stuff without worrying about advertising an empty house), with a layover in Germany to meet some old friends, I realize they might ask me about Trump etc.

It makes me think that one current advantage of our two major party system is this: Trump's surprisingly high floor is at least partially supported by some really ugly sentiment; if the Democratic Party were to splinter, the USA would be at big risk of seeing a lot of traction in extreme right wing parties, like the more multiparty states in Europe are dealing with.

second best photos of 2015

August 15, 2016
So this marked 20 years worth of photos, posted! Thanks to everyone who took time to comment, its been a great stroll down memory lane.

best photos of 2016

June 3, 2017
Realized I hadn't done a "best of" photoset for 2016... (though the Malaysia trip had its own best of and second best of)

I suspect my dedication to "One Second Everyday" taps some of my still photography mojo.

second best photos of 2016

June 4, 2017
Second Best Photos of 2016 - though to be honest I think some of these might be better than some of the "Best" I posted yesterday...
via @chapien who calls it the Tumblr Thread to End All Tumblr Threads

runner up best photos of 2016

June 5, 2017
The runner ups for best of 2016... (hmm is that 'third best of 2016?')

To feel that life is meaningless unless 'I' can be permanent is like having fallen desperately in love with an inch.
Alan W. Watts, "The Wisdom of Insecurity"

best photos of 2017

January 4, 2019
A year late but making good time...


[I] am rarely happier than when spending an entire day programming my computer to perform automatically a task that would otherwise take me a good ten seconds to do by hand.
Douglas Adams
Reminded of that quote after posting this devblog entry

second best photos of 2017

January 5, 2019
talk about a day late and a dollar short - the second best photos I took in 2017...


You don't own the atoms in your body. It's just your turn to use them.
u/Prof_Alchem
(reminds me of the quote from the movie Avatar: "She said all energy is only borrowed, and one day you have to give it back" )

best photos of 2018

January 6, 2019
My favorite dozen photos from 2018. Some I find visually compelling, others are a bit more about what the content is.
you: hey
them: what's happening
you: everything
them: cool
you: literally everything is happening
them: cool cool
you: somethings, like stones, are happening slowly
them: ok
you: other things like love or weather are happening faster
them: well, good to see you
you:

Melissa and I have "Iron Man 3" on in the background on SyFy. Commercials are a weird alternation: Pizza, Fitness, Pizza, Fitness, Pizza, Fitness....

Best Photos of 2019

January 3, 2020

and the whole year one second per day:

A marine explains why liberals hate Trump

January 4, 2020
Former marine Chris O'Leary answered "Why are people so hostile towards President Donald Trump?" (even before Trump started cranking up shit in the Middle East way beyond what was needed- lets see what the blowback is next week!)

O'Leary answered so many issues so well and hopefully has the bona fides my conservative friends will respect that I'm posting this here. (And afterwards I'm gonna play the opposite, and even though I'm a lefty Imma list some reasons I think people who like Trump like him, so conservative (and liberal!) buddies feel free to read and add to that part as well.)
Before you pass my answer off as "Another Liberal Snowflake" consider that
1.) I'm an independent centrist who has voted Republican way more often in my life than Democrat, and
2.) If you want to call someone who spent the entire decade of his 20's serving in the Marine Corps a snowflake, I'd be ready to answer the question what did you do with your 20's?

Why Liberals (And not-so liberals) are against President Trump.

A.) He lies. A LOT. Politifact rates 69% of the words he speaks as "Mostly False or worse" Only 17% of the things he says get a "Mostly True" or better rating. That is an absolutely unbelievable number. How he doesn't speak more truth by mistake is beyond me. To put it in context, Obama's rating was 26% mostly false or worse, and I had a problem with that. Many of Trump's former business associates report that he has always been a compulsive liar, but now he's the President of the United States, and that's a problem. And this is a man who expects you to believe him when he points at other people and says "They're lying"

B.) He's an authoritarian populist, not a conservative. He advances regressive social policy while proposing to expand federal spending and federalist authority over states, both of which conservatives are supposed to hate.

C.) He pretends at Christianity to court the Religious Right but fails to live anything resembling a Christ-Like Life.

D.) His nationalist "America First" message effectively alienates us and removes us from our place as leaders in the international community.

E.) His ideas on "Keeping us safe" are all thinly veiled ideas to remove our freedoms, he is, after all, an authoritarian first. They also are simply bad ideas.

F.) He couldn't pass a 3rd-grade civics exam. He doesn't' know what he's doing. He doesn't understand how international relations work, he doesn't understand how federal state or local governments work, and every time someone tries to "Run it like a business" it's a spectacular failure. See Colorado Springs' recent history as an example. The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise And that was a businessman with a MUCH better business track record than Trump. We are talking about a man who lost money owning a freaking gambling casino.

G.) He behaves unethicaly and always has. As a businessman, he constantly left in his wake unpaid contractors and invoices, litigation, broken promises, whatever he could get away with.

H.) He is damaging our relationships with our best international friends while kissing up to nations that do not have our best interests in mind. To his question "Wouldn't' it be great to have better relations with Russia?" The answer is Yes. But it is RUSSIA who needs to earn that, who must stop doing the things that are damaging to that relationship, or we are simply weaker for it.

I.) He has never seen a shortcut he didn't like, and you can't take shortcuts in government. "Nuclear Option, Remove the Filibuster, I'll change the Constitution by Executive Order...Don...what happens when you remove the filibuster and the other side retakes the majority in the Senate? Suddenly want that filibuster back? What happens if you manage to change the Constitution by Executive Order and an Anti-2A President wins the next election?

J.) He behaves and has always behaved as an unabashed racist. Yes, I've seen your favorite meme that claims he was never accused of racism before the Democrats...Absolutely false. Donald Trump's long history of racism, from the 1970s to 2019 See the Central Park 5, the lawsuits and fines resulting from his refusal to lease to black tenants, the 1992 lost appeal trying to overturn penalties for removing black dealers from tables, his remarks to the house native American affairs subcommittee in 1993. The man sees and treats racial groups of people as monoliths.

K.) He is systematically steamrolling regulations specifically designed to keep a disaster like the 2007 subprime mortgage crisis from happening again.

L.) He speaks and acts like a demagogue. He sees the Legislative and Judicial branches of government as inconveniences, blows up at criticism no matter how deserved and actively tries to countermand constitutional processes, not to mention attempts to blackmail and coerce people who are saying negative things about him

M.) His choices for top positions, with the exception of Gen. Mattis, who is a gem, have been horrendous. A secretary of Education without a resume that would get her hired as a small town grammar school principal, A secretary of Energy who didn't know the Department of Energy was responsible for nuclear reserves, an EPA head whose biggest accomplishments to date had been suing the EPA on multiple occasions, an FCC head who while working for Verizon actively lobbied to kill net neutrality, and an Attorney General who thinks pot is "nearly as bad as heroin" and asked Congress for permission to go after legal pot businesses in states where it is legal. (There goes that great Republican States rights rally cry again, right? *Crickets*) An Interim AG after Firing his First AG who's appointment is probably unconstitutional.

N.) He denies scientific fact. Ever notice that the only people you hear denying climate change are politicians and lobbyists? 99% of actual scientists studying the issue agree that it's real, man-made and caused by greenhouse gasses. Ever notice that every big disaster movie starts with a bunch of politicians in a room ignoring a scientist's warning?

0.) He does not have the temperament to lead this nation. He is Thin Skinned, childish, and a bully, never mind misogynistic, boorish, rude, and incapable of civil discourse.

P.) He still does not understand that the words he speaks, or tweets, are the official position of 1/3 of the US government, and so does not govern his words. He still thinks when he speaks it's good ol' Donald Trump. It's not. It's the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. You have probably spread a meme or two around talking about how no president's every word has ever been dissected before...YES, THEY ALWAYS HAVE. It's just that every other president in our lifetime has understood the importance of his words and took great care to govern his speech. Trump blurts out whatever comes to his mind then complains when people talk about what a dumb thing that was to say.

Q.) He's unqualified. If you owned a small business and were looking for someone to manage it, and an unnamed resume came across your desk and you saw 6 bankruptcies, showing a man who had failed to make money running CASINOS, would you hire him? He is a very poor businessman. This is a man it has been estimated would have been worth $10 BILLION more if he'd just taken what his father had given him, invested it in Index Funds and left it alone.

R.) He is President. But he refuses to take a leadership position and understand that he is everyone's President. Conservatives complain about liberals chanting "Not my President" while Trump himself behaves as if no one but his supporters matter.

S.) He's a blatant hypocrite. He spent 8 years bitching Obama out for his family trips, or golfing, or any time he took for himself, and what does he do? He was already on his 20th golf outing in APRIL of his 1st year in office. He constantly rants about respect for the military, yet can't be bothered to attend the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day because of a little rain. (And that excuse about Marine One not being able to fly in the rain is HILARIOUS.)

T.) He's a misogynist. It's not really ok in this day and age to be a misogynist, but it's not a huge deal if you're a private citizen. It's a pretty big deal if you hate half the people you're elected to lead. The disdain for women seeps out of his ...whatever.... and he just can't hide it.

U.) Face it. In any other election "Grab Em' By the Pussy" would have been the end of that candidate's chances. Back in the 90's I used to marvel about how Teflon Bill Clinton was. I no longer do. The fact that he managed to slip by on that is as much a statement about how much people hate Hillary Clinton as it is about what is wrong with politics in this country right now.

V.) He has one response to a differing opinion. Attack. A good leader listens to criticism, to different points of view, is capable of self-reflection, tries to guide people to his point of view, and when necessary stands his ground and defends his convictions. Any of that sound like Trump? His default is not to Lead, its' to attack. Scorched Earth. The Jim Acosta reaction is a good example. There was no defense of his convictions when Acosta was asking him repeated questions about his rhetoric on the caravan. His response was to attack Acosta.

W.) He takes credit for everything positive while deflecting blame for everything negative. Look at him with the Stock Market. He's been bragging about it since day one, and to give credit where credit is due, speculation on coming deregulation early in his presidency did fuel some rapid growth, but to pretend that it's all him, that we're not in the 9th year of the longest bull market in history and THEN, when the standard market volatility that deregulation inevitably brings about starts to show up? Yeah. Look at yesterday. Hey! Stock Markets losing because the Democrats won! Do I need to bring out the Stock market chart for the last 10 Years again?

X.) He emboldens the worst among us. Counter-protesters are slammed into by a car while countering actual Nazi rally, and the response is there's fault on "Both Sides" The media is at fault for a nut job sending them and Donald's favorite targets pipe bombs. The truth is not all Republicans, not all Trump Supporters are racist, fascist lunatics. Many are just taken in by the bombastic personality and are living in an information bubble made worse by the fact that they unfollow anyone and ignore any source of information that makes them feel uncomfortable. People on the left do that too. The Biggest problem the right has right now is that the worst of the Right is the loudest and the most in your face, and the actual right, especially the Freaking PRESIDENT needs to be standing up and saying No. Those are not our values.

Y.) He seems to think the Constitution of The United States, the document that IS who we are, the document he took an oath to support and defend is some sort of inconvenience. He demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Constitution, from believing he can alter the 14th through executive order, to thinking The free exercise clause in the first amendment somehow supersedes the establishment clause (not that he really understands either) or that the free exercise clause only applies to Christians. Or his attacks on freedom of expression and the press. He repeatedly makes it clear that if he's read them, he does not understand Articles 1–3, and that's something he really should have before he took the job, because they're not going away.

Z.) I'll use Z for something I do blame him for, but the rest of us have to carry the blame too. Polarization. This country is more politically polarized than I can remember in my lifetime. Some of you who are a few years older than I may remember how it was in the late 60's when construction workers in New York were being applauded for beating up hippies, I think it's pretty close to that right now, but that was before my time. And he is the cause of much of the current level polarization, but also the result. It didn't' start with Trump. We've been going down this road I think since the eruption of the Tea Party in the early years of the Obama Administration. I do hope the tide turns before it gets much worse because the thing that scares me more than anything is what if that keeps going the way it has been? "
So, as a liberal, but one with weird philosophical ideas about how very few people are evil in their own eyes at that moment (even if objectively I'd say their priorities for "good" are so out of wack that they might be objectively bad) I will put forth some of the things people who like Trump like about him:

1.) He kicks over the board. People frustrated with a lot of things in the status quo - and who are sick of liberals being all preach-y and know-it-all, and suspicious of the whole deep state shtick, love the idea of a smart guy who ignores the "so-called experts" and just gets shit done.

2.) He infuriates liberals, fills them with hilarious shit-tons of righteous anger and in this polarized age that's shit tons of fun.

3.) He's fun! The dude was in wrestling matches in the WWE for chrissakes! He got that whole "You're Fired!" Meme started. His third wife is a hot model! And he came from behind and won an election that no one thought he could.

4.) Economic trends have continued their pretty good trajectory for 3 straight years of his presidency.

5.) He's appointed lots of judges w/ hardcore conservative values, not even giving a flying fuck if they're rated qualified by the ABA. (See point 1)

6.) He's a rich guy but he sounds kinda down to earth. Or at least fun in that Joan Rivers energy he has.

7.) He "saved" us from Hillary, and 4 more years of Obama-ish stuff. (Or 4 more years of Clinton... and for liberals, Bill "DoMA" "Launched air strikes when impeached" "Treated women badly/Epstein party plane sketchiness" "invented the presidential talk show circuit w/ his sax on Arsenio" Clinton is not looking good, so even with out any misogyny the idea of not continuing the Clinton path (and PS, Bush, Bush Jr, Bill Clinton, and almost his wife? Oh and Jeb. When the hell did politics return to John Adams / John Quincy Adams family dynasty bullshit?)


(Again, with those 7 points, most of them I could argue the counterpoints, but this is an exercise in empathy even when I find those opinions wrongheaded or gross.)

Second Best Photos of 2019