[Other] These are the top 73 parks in the United States, ranked based on the quality of their coaster collections, as voted by, well... you! This is as close to objective as a ranking will ever get for this. Don't worry, I have some nerdy data to help explain myself.
This post needs a little clarification. Anyway, many of you are aware of the brilliant Vote Coasters project over at Coaster Bot. If not, take a look: https://coasterbot.com/votecoasters-fullresults2020 2699 enthusiasts from across the wrold people ranked every roller coaster they've ever ridden, at an average of 43 coaster credits per voter (116256 total credits). Many of you personally participated in this survey. Their algorithm is extremely clever (https://coasterbot.com/votecoasters-how) - "The community is only permitted to rank roller coasters they’ve actually ridden. This way each roller coasters position in the final results will be as truthful and accurate as possible. By making it easy for lots of people to contribute their lists, Vote Coasters is able to accumulate a large sample which represents everyone! Once the community has voted, the numbers are crunched. Our method involves directly comparing the rank of two individual roller coasters across all of the submitted lists. As Vote Coasters makes direct comparisons between individual roller coasters, the poll is not a popularity contest. Even obscure roller coasters that few people have had the chance to ride yet can do well!" I have taken this data and created a point system for coasters that's directly linked to their ranking on Vote Coasters 2020. The #1 ranking, Steel Vengeance, is worth 500 points. [Zadra's second and would be worth 499 points, but it's not in the US] #3, Lightning Rod, gets 498 points. El Toro gets 497 points and so on, all the way down to La Vibora in 499th place, earning only 2 points for its park. Any coaster under the top 500 (such as Corkscrew at Cedar Point) is worth zero points. This weeds out kiddie coasters and terrible coasters from factoring into a park's collection quality. Basically, crappy coasters add zero points to a park's total points, while excellent coasters are worth way more points than mid-tier ones. For coasters with two tracks, such as Gemini or Lightning Racer, I only counted points for the best of the two tracks. My spreadsheet showing the point values for all 256 American coasters in the top 500 is here: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10aaS1f8CptsXEvUSqE2-VUtal-Od9gim-x8rT7xkT8M/edit?usp=sharing I have added all of the points for the coasters in all of the 73 American amusement parks that house at least one global top 500 roller coaster. I ranked the earned point totals for all 73 parks. (That's how I got to a "Top 73!") For those like me who care exclusively about coasters and collecting quality credits and nothing else, I think this is an EXCELLENT way to prioritize future amusement park trips based on the quality of each park's overall coaster collection. Without further ado, here's what you want to see:
69 (93 points): Frontier City (5 coasters, 1 ranked)
70 (37 points): Adventureland New York (2 coasters, 1 ranked)
71 (17 points): Lakemont Park (3 coasters, 1 ranked)
72 (12 points): Conneaut Lake Park (2 coasters, 1 ranked)
73 (8 points): Belmont Park (1 coaster, 1 ranked)
If any coaster YouTube channel wants to use this data to fuel an idea for a new video (sup Airtime Thrills or Coaster Studios or, you know, COASTER BOT!), please feel free! 100% of the credit goes to Coaster Bot for helping me compile this ranking.
[WTS] U.S. Trade tokens, type coins, Morgans, invasion money, mint/proof sets, Eisenhower dollars, and other graded U.S. silver/gold coins.
MAKE OFFERS. I'm selling off a chunk of my collection so I can justify buying other stuff I want, and I'm trying to price it to move. Proof: https://imgur.com/a/RHJaHkN Shipping will be $8 for Priority Mail small flat rate box (or at cost for larger flat-rate boxes), or $4 if you are at less than 10 oz total and want the First Class Mail option. If you want to buy multiple pieces, feel free to make an offer. Worst I can say is no. Obviously the grades listed are my own opinions - see pics to verify for yourself. Payment options accepted (in order of preference): Venmo, Google Pay, Cash App, PPFF, Zelle, PPG&S (add 4%).
[800x]UNC 10-peso Japanese invasion notes from Philippine occupation in WWII. With original Japanese brown paper wrapper. Sold as one lot. Feel free to look at eBay and see how great a deal this is. $1800$1600 FOR ALL - OBO. SERIOUSLY, MAKE AN OFFER.
The next Detroit: The catastrophic collapse of Atlantic City
With the closure of almost half of Atlantic City's casinos, Newark set to vote on gambling and casinos or racinos in almost every state, it seems as if the reasons for the very existence of Atlantic City are in serious jeopardy. Israel Joffe Atlantic City, once a major vacation spot during the roaring 20s and 1930s, as seen on HBOs Boardwalk Empire, collapsed when cheap air fare became the norm and people had no reason to head to the many beach town resorts on the East Coast. Within a few decades, the city, known for being an ‘oasis of sin’ during the prohibition era, fell into serious decline and dilapidation. New Jersey officials felt the only way to bring Atlantic City back from the brink of disaster would be to legalize gambling. Atlantic City’s first casino, Resorts, first opened its doors in 1978. People stood shoulder to shoulder, packed into the hotel as gambling officially made its way to the East Coast. Folks in the East Coast didn't have to make a special trip all the way to Vegas in order to enjoy some craps, slots, roulette and more. As time wore on, Atlantic City became the premier gambling spots in the country. While detractors felt that the area still remained poor and dilapidated, officials were quick to point out that the casinos didn't bring the mass gentrification to Atlantic City as much as they hoped but the billions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs for the surrounding communities was well worth it. Atlantic City developed a reputation as more of a short-stay ‘day-cation’ type of place, yet managed to stand firm against the 'adult playground' and 'entertainment capital of the world' Las Vegas. Through-out the 1980s, Atlantic City would become an integral part of American pop culture as a place for east coast residents to gamble, watch boxing, wrestling, concerts and other sporting events. However in the late 1980s, a landmark ruling considered Native-American reservations to be sovereign entities not bound by state law. It was the first potential threat to the iron grip Atlantic City and Vegas had on the gambling and entertainment industry. Huge 'mega casinos' were built on reservations that rivaled Atlantic City and Vegas. In turn, Vegas built even more impressive casinos. Atlantic City, in an attempt to make the city more appealing to the ‘big whale’ millionaire and billionaire gamblers, and in effort to move away from its ‘seedy’ reputation, built the luxurious Borgata casino in 2003. Harrah’s created a billion dollar extension and other casinos in the area went through serious renovations and re-branded themselves. It seemed as if the bite that the Native American casinos took out of AC and Vegas’ profits was negligible and that the dominance of those two cities in the world of gambling would remain unchallenged. Then Macau, formally a colony of Portugal, was handed back to the Chinese in 1999. The gambling industry there had been operated under a government-issued monopoly license by Stanley Ho's Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau. The monopoly was ended in 2002 and several casino owners from Las Vegas attempted to enter the market. Under the one country, two systems policy, the territory remained virtually unchanged aside from mega casinos popping up everywhere. All the rich ‘whales’ from the far east had no reason anymore to go to the United States to spend their money. Then came the biggest threat. As revenue from dog and horse racing tracks around the United States dried up, government officials needed a way to bring back jobs and revitalize the surrounding communities. Slot machines in race tracks started in Iowa in 1994 but took off in 2004 when Pennsylvania introduced ‘Racinos’ in an effort to reduce property taxes for the state and to help depressed areas bounce back. As of 2013, racinos were legal in ten states: Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia with more expected in 2015. Tracks like Delaware Park and West Virginia's Mountaineer Park, once considered places where local degenerates bet on broken-down nags in claiming races, are now among the wealthiest tracks around, with the best races. The famous Aqueduct race track in Queens, NY, once facing an uncertain future, now possesses the most profitable casino in the United States. From June 2012 to June 2013, Aqueduct matched a quarter of Atlantic City's total gaming revenue from its dozen casinos: $729.2 million compared with A.C.'s $2.9 billion. It has taken an estimated 15 percent hit on New Jersey casino revenue and climbing. And it isn't just Aqueduct that's taking business away from them. Atlantic City's closest major city, Philadelphia, only 35-40 minutes away, and one of the largest cities in America, now has a casino that has contributed heavily to the decline in gamers visiting the area. New Jersey is the third state in the U.S. to have authorized internet gambling. However, these online casinos are owned and controlled by Atlantic City casinos in an effort to boost profits in the face of fierce competition. California, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Pennsylvania and Texas are hoping to join Delaware, Nevada, New Jersey and the U.S. Virgin Islands in offering online gambling to their residents. With this in mind, it seems the very niche that Atlantic City once offered as a gambling and entertainment hub for east coast residents is heading toward the dustbin of history. Time will tell if this city will end up like Detroit. However, the fact that they are losing their biggest industry to major competition, much like Detroit did, with depressed housing, casinos bankrupting/closing and businesses fleeing , it all makes Atlantic City’s fate seem eerily similar.
If I can in anyway contribute to fighting fake news, let it be this piece about Gen. McInerney (pls share)
Since McInerney is back in the news spreading conspiracy theories about our recent Presidential election, making up bullshit stories about US Special Operations raids, many will find this article I wrote six years ago helpful in learning who this guy is and what he is really about. While many are familiar with President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous farewell speech, fewer have read the original drafts which include dire warnings about the future of America and what Eisenhower termed a “military-industrial complex.” One of the original drafts, penned by speech writer Malcom Moos, reads: “We must never let power, implicit in this combination, endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert, knowledgeable, and wise citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that both security and liberty may prosper. In the councils of government, we must jealously guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We can ignore it only at our peril.” The tone is softened slightly in the speech that Eisenhower delivered, but his message remained intact. Since the Eisenhower presidency, the military-industrial complex has grown and gone through a metamorphosis, the rhetoric changing to match the current threats, real or perceived, to the United States. The Cold War gave way to the War on Terror. At the forefront of those who shape the rhetoric are often the same retired generals and admirals who staff the boards of directors of America’s largest and most powerful defense companies. Lieutenant General Thomas McInerney carries three-star clout following an extremely impressive career. Retiring from the Air Force, McInerney served four tours in Vietnam, including hundreds of sorties as a combat aviator. Afterwards, McInerney served in a succession of important military commands. He is a graduate of West Point and also has a master’s degree from Georgetown. Since his retirement in 1994, General McInerney has also served on the board of directors for perhaps a dozen different defense and defense-related companies. However, General McInerney says some very odd things. To the uninitiated, like MSNBC host Rachel Maddow, he sounds “nuts.” When McInerney makes outlandish claims as a paid Fox News contributor, people sometimes describe him as sounding crazy. Yes, the general’s claims, a few of which we will examine here, are bizarre, but McInerney is not crazy. In fact, he is very intelligent, highly rational, and each of his words are very calculated. The Pentagon’s Military Analyst Program When the Pentagon established the military analyst program in 2002, they did so largely to help build public support for the invasion of Iraq. Retired generals were recruited into the program by the Pentagon and given exclusive access to classified briefings, as well as tours of Guantanamo and bases in Iraq. While these analysts were presented on network news each night as being objective experts, they were actually being groomed by the Pentagon and fed talking points. Moreover, many of them had ties to major defense contractors with material interests in the war. Former Green Beret and member of the military analyst program, Robert Bevelacqua, later said of the program that the Pentagon was telling them, “we need to stick our hands up your back and move your mouth for you.” When the New York Times sued the DOD to obtain documents about the program, they found that the talking heads we saw on television were referred to as “message force multipliers” and “surrogates.” When one retired general in the military analyst program received talking points from the Pentagon, he wrote, “good work” and “we will use it.” That general’s name was Thomas McInerney. Malaysian Flight 370 While McIerney is known for his very hawkish stances on foreign-policy issues, he is perhaps better known for the straight-up outlandish claims he often makes. One of the most curious is the theory he advanced on Fox News multiple times when Malaysian Flight 370 disappeared somewhere over the Pacific. The theory: Flight 370 was hijacked by terrorists, probably the pilots, who then turned off the aircraft’s transmitters and flew the plane westward. The pilots then shadowed Singaporean Flight 68 in order to hide their aircraft’s radar signature as they flew over Indian airspace. McInerney insists that the Indian radar operators would not necessarily have picked up flight 370’s radar signature as most countries don’t have their “A-team” manning the radar late at night. If we are to accept this bizarre leap of faith, we then have to invent some way in which Flight 370 then broke away from Flight 68. McInerney insists that the Malaysian passenger plane then landed in Lahore, Pakistan, and the passengers are being held hostage. Fox News is always quick to point out on air how General McInerney has amazing sources and contacts within the Pentagon and elsewhere—an attempt to backstop his strange claims and theories. In this case, McInerney pointed out that it wasn’t simply his sources that gave him his information, but rather that logic dictated the plane was hijacked and flown to Lahore. But this isn’t the same type of logic advanced by Plato, Hobbes, or even Machiavelli. McInerney is making inferences based on inferences based on inferences and none of it adds up or can be verified by anyone. Despite McInerney’s incredible sources that Fox News pundits constantly reference, no one that SOFREP has spoken to in the intelligence community lends a bit of credence to this claim. DEFCON 1 “Something is happening out there and we are asleep at the switch.” Another interesting statement made on Fox News by McInerney is that the United States should go to DEFCON 1. Defense Condition One is America’s highest level of alert and means that nuclear war is imminent. McInerney reminds us that America has never gone to this level of alert before. Even during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, when the United States was on the brink of nuclear armageddon with the Soviet Union, we only made it to DEFCON 2. Why would America need to raise our alert status to DEFCON 1 in September of 2014? McInerney references a variety of nebulous threats. In various interviews he says that this threat could be nuclear, an EMP weapon, or cyber-warfare attacks against our infrastructure. Where does this threat emerge from? General McInerney said on Fox that, “unchecked, ISIS is an existential threat to the United States…” However, there is no evidence that ISIS is even remotely an existential threat to America. While ISIS can—and gone unchecked, almost certainly will—become a threat to America, the idea that a ragtag group of jihadists could destroy America has no credibility. Even the 9/11 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center came nowhere close to actually destroying America. In the same interview, McInerney then repeats his suggestion that the government raise the alert level to DEFCON 1, and that he believes that multiple American cities are soon going to be attacked because ISIS has slipped through our porous borders and are already staging in American cities to strike. He then pushes for a “massive air campaign in Iraq and Syria.” Nuclear Iran “Getting the bombs or the components of bombs into the United States would be simple.” (End Game, 27) At the New Hampshire Institute for Politics, McInerney commented on one of his favorite topics: nuclear Iran. In this speech, he warns America that Iran could develop a nuclear weapon, possibly hand it off to a third party, and then it could be smuggled into the United States to be detonated in a city. McInerney would have us believe that while intercontinental ballistic missiles carrying a nuclear payload can be traced back to the country that launched them, a nuclear weapon smuggled into America would leave no fingerprints as to who the culprits are. Of course, this claim is patently false. The science of nuclear forensics would allow us to quickly identify who built a nuclear weapon set off on American soil. Iran knows this. So does General McInerney. Contrary to many alarmists, Iran is a rational state and the Iranian government does realize that, should they launch such an attack against America, the nation of Iran would cease to exist in short order. To effect a regime change in Iran, and according to McInerney, to prevent this nuclear nightmare, he advocates a 48-hour air campaign over Iran. The goal would be to set the Iranian nuclear program back at least 5 years. This would include the use of bunker busters, 70 stealth aircraft, and 400 non-stealth aircraft to bomb 2,500 targets inside Iran. America’s Nuclear Deterrent “It is very safe and it is very secure.” Considering the dire threats that McInerney insists America is facing on an almost daily basis, he made one curious appearance on television to assure the public that America’s nuclear stockpile is safe and secure. On January 14th, 2014, McInerney appeared on Fox to address reports of missile launch officers being caught up in a drug investigation and cheating on their certification exams. General McInerney responded to the question of the disposition of our nuclear stockpile by assuring us that it is, “very safe and it is very secure.” He goes on to point out that there have been some human failings in our nuclear command, but that our “nuclear-deterrent force is in very good shape.” The general pushed for modernizing our nuclear forces and said that these weapons needed to be maintained, but when it came to the personnel and overall capabilities of our nuclear deterrent, he was very positive. For someone who often warns Americans about dire threats against our nation and even insidious conspiracies from within (in a TruNews interview, he warned that Obama is carrying out a well-orchestrated conspiracy to transform America into a communist/socialist state), it is curious how he assures us that everything is fine with our nuclear forces. Nothing could be further from the truth. The problems plaguing our nuclear command are not just limited to our aging stockpile, a few drug users in the ranks, or cheating on exams. Major General Michael Casey, who was in command of three nuclear wings, was relieved of command in 2013. The reason? Casey was boozing it up in Moscow and hooked up with two local women at a hotel. He was drunk, incoherent, and belligerent during his trip, and went missing for hours at a time. This sounds very much like a “honey trap” engineered by Russian intelligence services. Vice Admiral Tim Giardina was also relieved from his position as deputy chief of U.S. Strategic Command, ostensibly because he used fake gambling chips at a casino in Iowa. With Giardina and Casey relieved within days of each other there may be a real conspiracy at play here. It seems likely that beyond a few human failings, America’s nuclear forces are heavily targeted, if not penetrated, by foreign intelligence agents. This raises the possibility that U.S. military counter-intelligence decided to clean house in October of 2013. Again, the implications of these scandals within our nuclear command would not go unnoticed by someone with the depth of experience and knowledge that McInerney has. All of this begs the question as to why he goes on television to tell us everything is fine with our nuclear forces when he is also constantly warning us about foreign threats and the destruction of American cities. END GAME “Syria is a domino waiting to fall.” (End Game, 54) In 2004, McInerney co-authored a book called End Game with Major General (ret.) Paul Vallely. The two graduated from the same West Point class and became reacquainted when they were both brought into the Pentagon’s Military Analyst Program. Their book opens with, “Today, America is at war with an enemy every bit as dangerous as Nazi 51D6TASMSFL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Germany or the Soviet Union: We know it as radical Islam” (End Game, 9). In order to counter terrorism, they advocate regime change (“major policy shifts”) using military action in six countries. Afghanistan and Iraq were two that had already been toppled when the book was published. They suggested further military action in Iran, Syria, Libya, and North Korea. Since 2004, Libya has experienced a regime change while Syria and Iran have both been under serious duress. Interestingly, two other countries were identified for reform rather than military action: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. But, according to the book, if Saudi Arabia can’t shape up, we may have to bomb them, too. End Game tells us that we don’t have time to take these countries out in sequence, but rather we have to attack all of them at the same time (End Game, 38). To what extent McInerney and Vallely have actually influenced the policy decisions to target these countries is unknown, but it is a safe bet that they have been hard at work behind the scenes. End Game is also filled with predictions that never came to pass. For instance, they said that, if North Korea detonates a nuclear bomb, that Japan, and maybe even South Korea, would develop their own nuclear weapons (End Game, 25). They again assert that if a nuclear bomb was detonated in America that “evidence would vaporize,” making the weapon untraceable (End Game, 29). Regarding Afghanistan, they write that, “The force level that NATO needs to maintain in Afghanistan is relatively small, the duties in the long term, relatively easy.” (End Game, 40). When it comes to Iraq, they write, “We are confident that the Iraqi people are up to the task, based on how enthusiastically they have embraced the opportunities to vote in meaningful elections.” (End Game, 44) Considering the author’s failed predictions for post-war Afghanistan and Iraq, perhaps we should scale back from attacking the rest of these “rogue” nations all at once with massive American air power as they suggest. Maddow Gets it Wrong “We report, you freak out.” -Rachel Maddow Interestingly, journalists and media commentators have never really put McInerney in the spotlight for his many irregularities. On the rare exception in which a critique is offered, it always portrays McInerney as a far-out-there right-winger. Four years ago, Rachel Maddow did a story on McInerney for her show on MSNBC. The reason for her coverage was because McInerney was supporting an Army doctor who refused to deploy on the grounds that he suspected President Obama was not born in the United States, and therefore was not a valid President. In an affidavit written by McInerney, he praises the doctor’s courage and bravery for standing by his beliefs. Yes, apparently McInerney is a birther as well. Rachel goes on to say, “what is news is that someone with General McInerney’s qualifications is saying that maybe the President is secretly foreign.” While Rachel is correct in pointing out how preposterous it is that a three-star general would endorse such a zanny conspiracy theory, she is ignorant of the calculated intent behind his carefully worded and pre-rehearsed statements. She then wraps up the segment with, “the real story, it seems to me, is that a guy this nuts gets paid to comment on foreign policy and wars. The birther general is on Fox New’s payroll…” Rachel is directionally correct in pointing out the strange disconnect between the fact that McInerney is a retired three-star general and that his statements don’t make any sense. However, she misses the fact that, while his statements are off-the-wall, they are never off-the-cuff. In short, McInerney does not actually believe the bizarre things that he says on air, but rather, these are carefully worded statements fed to the public for political purposes. The Military-Industrial Complex Thomas McIerney is constantly on television beating his war drums and warning Americans about amorphous threats to our nation. According to him, we are just days away from a horrendous terrorist attack. But McInerney is not simply a television military analyst, rather, he is an active participant in the military-industrial complex via the various boards of directors upon which he sits. What he does is not analysis, but advocacy. He is an advocate for nuclear weapons, long-range bombers, UAVs (specifically Global Hawk), and he is an advocate of going to war with a half dozen countries simultaneously. This is not conjecture or secret information from anonymous sources, but rather McInerney’s own words. In his book End Game, he claims to have plotted the liberation of Iraq in 2002 on a cocktail napkin with Paul Vallely. They then pitched this plan to Bill O’Reilly at a party hosted by the Fox News network, who agreed to have them on his show to talk about it. In End Game, the generals write, “We knew appearing on The O’Reilly Factor to discuss the plan was something of a risk. In the past, we had acted solely as military analysts. Presenting our plan came close to advocacy.” (End Game, 85) General McIerney chose not to simply be a passive analyst, but to instead become an active participant in shaping history. He believed we could take down Iraq in 30 days, and that the rest would basically be a cake walk. The U.S. military invaded in 2003 and our soldiers fought, bled, and died in the streets fighting terrorists, Baath-party loyalists, foreign fighters, and run-of-the-mill gangsters in places like Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra for an additional nine years. Mcinerney is not to blame for the failures of the war in Iraq, but his rhetoric is suspect when the companies he works with have a material interest in the United States going to war—wars in which the products endorsed by McInerney, such as air power and UAVs, would be employed. In order for those products to be used, the American public has to be kept in a constant state of fear. That fear can then be channeled and used as a vehicle to support war. The vehicle of choice for McInerney is radical Islam. He isn’t a right-wing nut as people like Rachel Maddow would have you believe. If we were to take McInerney’s word’s at face value, the politics he endorses are actually divorced from any ideology in contemporary mainstream politics. Like Lyndon LaRouche, Thomas McInerney’s politics are so far out there that it is disingenuous to describe them as right-wing, Republican, or conservative. But it is highly unlikely that McInerney actually believes silly stories about Flight 370, Iranian nuclear weapons, and birther conspiracies. Far more likely, he says these things cynically for purely political purposes. McInerney honorably served his country for many years, but contrary to the lapel pin on his collar, what he does today is far from patriotic. In fact, it is the exact opposite. Misleading Americans with alarmism and hyperbolic statements is deconstructing our political process. An informed public is an absolute necessity for a democracy to function. When retired generals leverage their credibility to mislead the public like a pied piper for political purposes, we are in serious trouble. When they lend their name to conspiracy theories, it only contributes to polarizing American politics and driving wedges between the American people. When politicians see that the talking heads on television are saying something that does not match up with what our intelligence professionals are telling them, it is then seen as an intelligence failure. Thomas McInerney is not alone. He is one member of a clique of retired generals, admirals, and CIA officers who have created an echo chamber in which they cite each other as sources and stir up the political fringe of America. They do this intentionally, knowing that their alarmist messages will be diluted by the time they make their way down to more reasonable people. But in the meantime, the damage done to American politics is impossible to calculate. This is one facet of the modern military-industrial complex Eisenhower warned us of.
My long story of my trip from Minneapolis to Kansas City (pics, included)
So I took a trip to Kansas City from Minneapolis on a business matter. Just the week before I'd driven in my 97 Honda Civic from Minneapolis to Chicago (no pics). I found the Chicago trip to be fun and interest. The drive was filled with a lot of interesting views, people, and things to do. By contrast, the drive to Kansas City pretty much grated on my nerves. The drive down thru southern Minnesota wasn't so bad. But once I got into Iowa, I started to get sleepy. The landscape is so boring. So I stopped at this gas station, got a hot dog, chips, and a drink, and relaxed for the evening. The gas station parking lot was full of trucks. Dozens of them. But I found a quiet spot in the back and began to fall asleep around midnight. Unfortunately, some dipshits decided to park right next to me and start some bullshit argument. Screaming, "You motherfucker, you left my cell phone, my clothes, and all my shit back at the park cuz you got scared of the cops! Go back to the park and get my shit!" I understand I don't own the parking lot. But why do idiots have to park next to me. This is the reason why I completely black out my windows and have earbuds. Because it's easy to tune out others that way. But I had neither that evening so I had to endure those idiots for 30 minutes til they finally left. I woke up after 7:30am the next day and started driving. And driving. And driving. I stopped off at Des Moines and ate at a local McDs. Des Moines was virtually a ghost town. I could count the number of people I saw on the street on my fingers. But it was raining...so.... In any case, I got back on the road and did more driving and the drive just grated on my nerves. Iowa is the size of England yet the population is only 1 million. And the landscape is nothing but boring praire. Take a look at this pic. This is just a small road. But on the right is what you see on either side of you while driving down the Iowa highway. Nothing but flat prairie dotted by the occasional farmhouse. It's mind numbingly boring beyond belief. Especially when you're in a hurry. When you're in a hurry, not so boring. And Iowa is low on exits of any kind. You can go 5+ miles without seeing any exit. Not an exit for a town, a rest stop, or anything. So if you have to go to the bathroom real bad, you could be holding it in for around 10 miles. And the drive is even more dreary in the rain. But I did find an exit for the Lakeside Casino. I had to stop or I'd have fallen asleep. Their video arcade was smaller than my old bedroom. And the restaurant was dead. I played a few slots but wasn't feeling it. The place was pretty dead. The place was pretty much like any other Native American casino: mostly filled with chain smoking old folks gambling away their retirement money. Plus, this being rural America, I got a few, "Are you serious?" looks from the locals because I was wearing a mask. Although all employees were wearing masks, less than half the patrons were wearing masks and the employees weren't enforcing masks. After a few dollar lost, I went to sleep in the parking lot. I wish I had money for an RV space on the other side of the lot. The casino also has an RV park for people who wanna gamble regularly. Looks like that's how they spend their retirement: living on the lot while gambling. Nice way to retire. After a long drive, I made it into Missouri and finally Kansas City. But it was night by then and I stopped at the local Walmart for relaxation and some zees. Unfortunately, a couple of idiots, one in a white truck and the other in black, had to park right across from me, so they could have a contest to see whose car could rev up the loudest. I was severely tempted to go into the Walmart and buy a weapon but they went inside. I parked as far from them as I could and got some sleep. I woke up around midnight to the sound of the Walmart parking lot sweeper making a huge racket. At the far end, he wasn't annoying. But he kept on driving past my car and it was too loud. After a while, he seemed to go away. I needed to pee so I whipped out my pee bottle. I covered it up under my blanket. Right when I was dabbing the last remains, the sweeper comes right next to the car and looks dead at me. Even though I couldn't see his expression, I am 100% positive he thought I was beating my meat. Because he never came by my car again. I resolved right then and there to get black cardboard to cover my windows. The next day, I finished my business in Kansas City, used the library to charge my devices, and ht the road for Minneapolis. And I kept driving and driving and driving until I thought, "I must be close to Des Moines by now." But then I saw a sign that said, "Welcome to Iowa!" and I screamed at the top of my lungs. It was gonna be a long drive. But I drove faster this time. Kept my foot on the accelerator and stopped only a few times. There are three rest stops in Iowa and the all have stall doors that are only five feet high. So if you were taking a piss, you could turn your head and see a guy dropping a deuce. Nice interior design. I kept driving until I finally needed gas. The gas station had a dystopian feel. The shelves were half empty, the cashier looked like Willie Nelson, and the owners could probably count the number of customers they got per year on their hands. The local Dairy Queen had seen better days. So had the abandoned trailer behind it. The Super 8 appeared to be the liveliest spot in town. After I got on the highway, I drove the remaining 1 and a half to 2 hours at 70 miles without stopping. When I made it back to Minneapolis, I parked at my regular pizza shop. That's when I noticed white smoke was coming from my car. I looked at the temperature gauge to see the needle was way up there in the red. Crap. I got some pasta. Then parked at a nearby Taco Bell, near the Valvoline Oil where I was gonna get an oil change. The Taco Bell kept on having dipshits who would blast their loud crap music even while waiting in line at the drive thru. But I was far away enough to fall asleep. When I got to Valvoline, they told me I had an oil leak and it would take more money to fix than what I'd paid for it. Shit. Time to get a new car. The end.
What A Day: GSA It Ain't So by Sarah Lazarus & Crooked Media (11/18/20)
"You're going to play gotcha questions with me?" - Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), asked if he thought Joe Biden won the election
Don't Wayne On My Parade
Eleven days after the election ended in decisive victory for Joe Biden, Republicans’ continued performance of uncertainty about the outcome is as appalling and dangerous as it is unrelentingly embarrassing.
On Tuesday, the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers briefly refused to certify the election results in Michigan’s largest county, for a very valid reason that definitely wasn’t “Detroit has a lot of Black voters and we don’t think their votes should count.” (Against all odds, a white man in a polo shirt summed up this stunt best.) The Republicans reversed course on Tuesday night, for a very badass reason that definitely wasn’t “reporters started finding all the racist memes on our Facebook pages.” As a cherry on top, Donald Trump missed the memo and congratulated his would-be coup enablers on their courage, after they had agreed to certify the results.
His hopes of stealing away Michigan’s electoral votes dashed, Trump has turned to Wisconsin, a state he lost by more than 20,000 votes. The Trump campaign has filed a petition for a recount, but only in Wisconsin’s two largest, most Democratic-leaning counties, for a very solid reason that assuredly wasn’t “we’ve been through this, that’s where all the young and Black voters are.” That partial recount cost the campaign $3 million, but if you can pay Rudy Giuliani $20,000 a day to rattle off conspiracy theories at an exasperated judge, what’s a few million dollars to lose Wisconsin again?
As profoundly dumb as all of this is, it is also incredibly corrosive. It’s no particular surprise that Trump fired DHS’s cybersecurity director Chris Krebs for the crime of debunking his lies about the election having been stolen from him, but it deserved immediate, unanimous condemnation. Instead, Democratic lawmakers have spoken up, while Republicans, with a few half-hearted exceptions, have sat on their hands. What will it mean for future elections that a defeated president fired an official who safeguarded this election’s integrity and then told the truth about it, and a whole political party said “sure”?
Republicans might be blowing up democracy in slow-motion, but at least most of them aren’t pretending to agonize over it.
Sources who have spoken to General Services Administrator Emily Murphy say she’s been struggling with her unilateral decision to delay the presidential transition, and feeling like she’s been put “in a very difficult position.” Boy have we got great news for Emily: This one’s actually super simple. There’s no real doubt about who won the election, so you can just go ahead and sign that piece of paper! Get a marketing job and move to Paris! You’re free!
Each of Trump’s far-fetched coup maneuvers has flopped, but way too many Republicans have been happy to give them a whirl, and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t try again in an election with closer margins. Whatever surreal elements of this year we eventually shove down the memory hole for our collective sanity, that fact can’t be one of them.
Look No Further Than The Crooked Media
On today's Keep It stream, Ira, Louis, and Aida discuss Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro's fervor over Harry Styles wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue: "The hilariousness of 'bring back manly men.' Where do you want them brought?" Watch and subscribe → youtube.com/crookedmedia
Under The Radar
Donald Trump just gave the worst possible job to a former speechwriter who was fired for having white nationalist ties. The White House dismissed Darren Beattie in 2018 after it came to light that he had spoken at a white-supremacist conference, back when that was something the Trump administration could still be shamed about. Beattie then took a bunch of taxpayer money from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), in a violation of House rules. Following that proud interlude, Trump has welcomed Beattie back into the administration fold with an appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, which was established for the specific purpose of preserving the memory of Holocaust victims. Sixty-three days until the Inauguration.
One of the biggest takeaways from this election has been “Latino voters are not a monolith,” and while much of that analysis has focused on Florida, it’s just as true everywhere else. In Texas, Trump became the first GOP presidential candidate in a century to win Zapata County, which is more than 94 percent Hispanic or Latino. Dissecting the result the requires understanding the specific character of South Texas, where most Spanish-speaking residents self-identify as Tejano. Most consider themselves American above all else, wouldn’t identify as people of color, and have positions on gas and oil, guns, and abortion that are closely aligned with the Republican Party. The Trump campaign recognized and effectively targeted that specific community, and Democrats will need more than generic messaging to win it back.
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Is That Hope I Feel?
A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s policy of using the pandemic as an excuse to turn away migrant children seeking asylum at the border. Pfizer now says that its vaccine actually seems to be 95 percent effective, and, implicitly, that Moderna can eat its shorts. Pfizer plans to apply for emergency use authorization from the FDA within days. The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for the first at-home rapid coronavirus test. Tiara Mack has become the first openly LGBTQ Black person elected to the Rhode Island state Senate, at age 26: “I'm going to be unapologetically Black, I'm going to be unapologetically queer, and I'm going to be unapologetically young, and I'm going to push back against the system that tells us we don't deserve justice now.”
I am making a weather map/travel planning map I need every public race track listed. See any missing?
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