Friday, February 19, 2016

The Week That Was

A lot has been happening this past week. I've been busy with my part-time job and work on my 2015 tax returns, so now I need to play catch-up.  My thoughts: 

Antonin Scalia
My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues on the Supreme Court. Of all the Justices, I disagreed with Scalia the most often.  Despite this, I was truly appalled by the Republican response to his death. They pounced on who would appoint his successor and when, totally disrespecting the Constitution and the Office of the President, not to mention Scalia and his grieving family.  The Republican presidential candidates were no better.  I recently found this on Facebook: it's a law review article from 1970 written by now Senator Mitch McConnell:

To Senator McConnell's credit, it seems that the Senate Republicans he leads are now in favor of a speedy nomination for Scalia's successor. President Obama's duties as President include nominating judges to be Supreme Court Justices.  It is the Senate's responsibility to hold hearings about and confirm nominees.  The Republicans would like to think that it's a good idea to postpone nominating Scalia's replacement when, in fact, it would be harmful to the Supreme Court and to the country.  And these people want to be the President, leader of this country?  Unbelievable.

Apple Vs. the FBI

The issue here is one of security vs. privacy, as I understand it.  The FBI has requested that Apple provide them with the means to unlock the iPhone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.  If the FBI continues to try different passwords, they risk the phone erasing all its data.  In my ignorance of tech things, I wondered why the FBI just didn't give the iPhone in question to Apple to access the data without giving the code to the FBI.  They could then provide the FBI with the data they had removed from the iPhone.  This would seem to be a reasonable compromise.

Encryption and security supporters, however, are concerned that the FBI wants Apple to provide a "back door" to the software on the iPhone which would allow the FBI (and anyone else) a way into the terrorist's iPhone to access the data on it.  Apple has worked hard to create software and encryption that has no back door and is secure against hackers.  So, Apple has refused to comply with the FBI's request.  I tend to agree with Apple's decision even though I'm not a tech person, don't own an iPhone, and still want the FBI to access the data on the terrorist's iPhone.  I suppose the FBI doesn't want to turn over the terrorist's phone to Apple because of chain of evidence issues or something? 

Who's the Liar?

Methinks the Republican presidential candidates doth protest too much...about who's the biggest liar. My way of dealing with them all now is to imagine them all in diapers in a sandbox with pacifiers in their mouths.  That's pretty much how they're behaving.

Then this morning, I ran across this encouraging poll, published by the Huffington Post, about the fear factor in Trump's campaign. I've thought he was a scary guy from the beginning when he first called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals.  Trump is unapologetic about his beliefs, and he's not afraid to express them, countering any protests with his stock statement about how political correctness is killing this country. So he thinks he can unite all the various groups that he's been dissing?

But Trump is only the Number One scary guy, in my opinion.  The next two are Ted Cruz ("TrusTed") and Marco Rubio.  None of the Republican front runners have a real comprehension of the issues we're facing now in this country, and none of them have any real plans for addressing those issues.  But they sure are good at sound bites.

And finally, regarding the Pope's comments about Trump's plan to build a wall at the border between Mexico and the U.S., I found this ironic hilarity on Facebook this morning of Jerry Falwell telling the Pope not to mix Christianity and politics.  The Pope's comments were about building bridges, not walls, as being what a good Christian does.  It seems the GOP wants to use religion only when it benefits them.


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