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Monday, November 07, 2016

Random Thoughts


This picture made me smile today. It's the gravesite of suffragette Susan B. Anthony, where people have been adding their "I Voted" stickers. Demand is so high that the cemetery will stay open extra hours on Election Day to accommodate crowds who -- 110 years after her death and 94 years after women won the right to vote -- want to celebrate casting their ballots for America's first female president.

Kudos to Brian Stelter of CNN and Jim Rutenberg of the NY Times for writing about the plague of fake news sites. Stelter has approached it as a consumer advocate, warning that you should double- and triple-check any "news" you see or hear before you believe it. Rutenberg writes about the challenge of real news outlets overcoming the threat of fake news sites, lamenting that on Facebook, most readers can't tell the difference between stories reported and vetted by actual journalists versus those that have been made up to advance someone's agenda. It's a troubling trend at a time when we need truth-tellers and fact-checkers more than ever.

If you knew nothing about America but came here as an English-speaking tourist who watched and listened to the political ads running non-stop on TV and radio, you'd have to conclude that all the people running for public office are the lowest scum in the country. Spot after spot decries that this candidate is "bad for Missouri," that one is "bad for America," and another one is "bad for the Milky Way." You hear allegations of all sorts that would be the basis of defamation suits in any other context, paid for by either a candidate's campaign or some dark-money political action committee. I'd bet there isn't a single race in the USA that doesn't include these kinds of negative attacks -- and then politicians wonder why so many Americans don't like or trust them.