iPhones, Insurance, and Republican cluelessness

Jason Chaffetz recently blamed poor people who can’t afford health care, saying that they need to choose between health care or a new iPhone.

Because he thinks you can get great health care for $700 a year. (You can hardly even get it for $700 a month!)iphone-medical-id

“The real problem is he’s talking to the American people like he’s talking to his own kids,” said comedian James Corden. “‘Well, maybe if you mowed lawns over the summer like I told you, you could afford that new kidney that you wanted.'”

Health care costs are outrageous and you don’t have to be poor to need help. The GOP plan where we can set aside money for our own health care is ridiculous. The money has to come from somewhere — it doesn’t magically appear when you open a “health care account.”

Even rich people have trouble with health care costs when an emergency happens. Vice President Joe Biden (who, admittedly, is not “rich” by some standards) even considered selling his house when his son got cancer a few years ago. That’s outrageous, and should make all Americans upset. Imagine that happening to a family not as well off as the Bidens.

But you see, this is the problem with most Republicans — they think “poor” means homeless. They get upset when the find out that a poor person has a refrigerator or a microwave (seriously). How dare you not be poor enough for them!

They also have this idea that people are poor by choice, which is frankly insulting.

And to make it worse, there are idiots like Ben Carson who grew up poor, was able to make it because of welfare and student aid and food stamps, and who now says things like “I made it on my own” and wants to deny people the same benefits that helped him get out of poverty.

It comes down to basic selfishness, I think, which is at the core of most conservative and libertarian thought.

Can Obama sue Trump?

Trump is usually the one randomly suing everyone, but lately people have been asking if Obama can sue Trump for the lies he’s been telling about him.

The short answer is “No.”

The long answer is “Noooooooooooooooooo.”

Defamation includes libel (written) and slander (spoken). In order to win a case, you have to prove three things:

First, that the statement was false. This is usually the easiest thing to prove, but sometimes the thing being said is merely an opinion. trump-liar“Joe is a jerk” is not true or false. “Joe is a pedophile” is a lie.

But there’s even more to it than that — you have to show that the person who made the statement knew that it was false or said it with reckless disregard as to whether it was true. (If it actually was true, then we stop there. Truth is always a defense against libel and slander).

In this case, the argument would be that no matter how much Trump believes it to be true, it just isn’t. Just like his belief that Obama wasn’t born in America, or that millions of people voted illegally, or practically anything else that pops into his brain that he tweets out that have no correlation to reality. Trump has a reckless disregard for the truth, and that means that he can’t use as a defense that he reasonably thought it was true.

And to make it even more difficult, the standard for celebrities and politicians is even higher than it is for a private citizen. You have to show that not only was the statement false and that the person knew it was false, but that they said it with malicious intent — they wanted to harm the other person, and weren’t just repeating some rumor or something. (Since almost everything Trump says has malicious intent, this requirement may be meant.)

So if you can show that the statement was a lie, you still have a ways to go.

The second thing is to show that other people believed it. If someone calls you a martian, then that’s clearly a lie. But if no one believes them, then what’s the point? The lie has to be believed by others, and by lots of others. The fact that a bunch of idiots who watch Fox News believe a lie doesn’t mean much — those people believe anything.

Finally, you have to show that you were seriously harmed in some way and not just insulted. You need to show that because of the lie, you lost your job and people are throwing bricks at your house and spitting on you as you walk down the street. You have to prove damage.

So if someone says “Joe is gay” and it’s not true and the person who said it knows that it’s not true, you’ve met the first burden. If everyone believes it, then you’ve met the second burden. But if no one cares and you aren’t harmed in the slightest other than perhaps being upset or embarrassed or insulted, then you have no case.

I don’t think Obama was harmed in the slightest by the latest Trump lie. The people who hate Obama still do, and those of us who have a brain still don’t believe anything Trump says.

So let me clarify:  Can Obama sue trump? Sure, anyone can sue anyone. Does he have a chance of winning?  Nah.



What if the critics’ choice always won the Oscar?

When Moonlight won the Oscar this year, I noted that it had also been the best reviewed film of the year (according to Rotten Tomatoes).  So I started wondering how often that happened.

Here’s a list of the best reviewed films of each recent year compared to the film that actually won the Oscar. Most of the time, the Oscar winner is near the top, but sometimes, it’s clearly not the “best” film of the year.oscar

Note that Rotten Tomatoes uses some magical mathematical formula based on how many reviews a film gets and who those reviews are from and so on so that even if both films get the same percentage of good reviews, one may come out ahead of the other.

Rotten Tomatoes started in mid-1998, so I only went back to 1999 on the chart.

2005 is an interesting year — the best film was a documentary, and the winning film Crash was not very well liked. In fact, it didn’t even make the Rotten Tomatoes top 100 for the year.

The film that came in second that year was Wallace and Grommit: The Curse of the Wererabbit, but as we can see from other Rotten Tomatoes winners, the Oscar never goes to an animated film no matter how well made it is. I mean, seriously, look at this list:  Over the past 18 years, animated films have topped the charts 8 times.

Year Best Reviewed Film (Tomato score) Best Picture (Tomato score + rank)
2016 Moonlight (97%) Moonlight (97%) #1
2015 Mad Max: Fury Road (97%) Spotlight (96%) #3
2014 Boyhood (98%) Birdman (91%) #15
2013 Gravity (96%) 12 Years a Slave (96%) #2
2012 Argo (96%) Argo (96%) #2
2011 Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows 2 (96%) The Artist (96%) #2
2010 Toy Story 3 (99%) The King’s Speech (95%) #5
2009 Up (98%) The Hurt Locker (98%) #2
2008 The Wrestler (98%) Slumdog Millionaire (92%) #8
2007 Ratatouille (98%) No Country for Old Men (93%) #3
2006 Casino Royale (95%) The Departed (91%) #6
2005 Murderball (98%) Crash (75%) > #100
2004 The Incredibles (97%) Million Dollar Baby (91%) #15
2003 Finding Nemo (99%) The Return of the King (95%) #2
2002 The Two Towers  (96%) Chicago (86%) #27
2001 Monsters Inc. (96%) A Beautiful Mind (75%) #71
2000 Chicken Run (97%) Gladiator (76%) #47
1999 Toy Story 2 (100%) American Beauty (88%) #11

It’s still ridiculous

There are plenty of legitimate things to criticize Trump for, absolutely. More than enough.

How he likes his steaks and how his staff may sit on a sofa are not among them.tsi-may-cover

Seriously, many liberals are bringing up the fact that Trump likes his steaks well done with ketchup as a way to attack him. They then point out how Kellyanne Conway sits on a sofa in the Oval Office with her legs up as if that’s an issue.

Admittedly, the criticisms are done in a humorous way to make fun of the administration, but why are they even issues in the first place?

I am just against hypocrisy, and I clearly remember Obama and his staff being criticized for a number of outrageously stupid things like this, and Obama supporters like me pointing out how ridiculous those criticisms were.

They don’t become less ridiculous just because they’re now lodged against someone we don’t like.