Fix in, chairwoman out, planned unity off as Democrats convene in Philadelphia

Thanks, Prisma!

Thanks, Prisma!

Remember when Ted Cruz, John Kasich, and Donald Trump were going to divide the Republican Party amongst themselves? Remember when we worried aloud, biting our cheeks to keep from snickering, that the GOP would suffer a contested convention? Here’s video from the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, in which delegates boo their nominee:

The DNC was in the news this weekend, starting Friday afternoon, when Wikileaks published over 20,000 emails proving party leaders connived against the Sanders campaign. The leaks probably came from Russian hackers, who likely dumped the information to sow division among Democrats and abet Kremlin favorite Donald Trump. That’s what the panicked faithful said, anyway. On Sunday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned as chair of the DNC. She promised to gavel the convention to order and oversee its proceedings, but after delegates from her home state met her with jeers at breakfast, she withdrew. Now the party is without a master, and Hillary’s power to command loyalty among Democrats is compromised on the eve of her ascension. Oh yeah—and Trump pulled even with her in the polls.

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I would never urge Missoula to gather fireworks and converge on the mall

Rockets explode over Bed, Bath and Beyond in a display of times past.

Rockets explode over Bed Bath & Beyond in a display from times now past.

Every once in a while, current events intersect with my natural talent for stupidity to make something so dumb even I enjoy reading it. This week’s column in the Independent is one such. You may not know it, but the mall canceled its Fourth of July fireworks show last week, depriving the city of its semi-official display. Because Missoula is basically a bowl, you used to be able to see the mall fireworks show from any of the mountains and hills around town. One of my favorite summer activities was taking a blanket to High Park and watching the fireworks from within the tall grasses. But all that’s over now, unless we all come together in some kind of implied but not explicit plan to save the Fourth of July. You see, I know what the loss of independent spirit can do to a town.

I have always loved the Fourth of July, ever since I was a kid. In my hometown, graduating seniors used to grab a 12-pack and drink it at the municipal fireworks display, then go to the highest point we could find and throw up. Sadly, in ways none of us could have predicted, this tradition turned tragic. The annual fireworks display was canceled out of respect for the family my friend threw up and then fell on, and the mill shut down after that. Eventually, the town was disbanded.

Fireworks are illegal within Missoula city limits, so residents should definitely not buy as many class-B mortars as they can find and bring them to the mall. The assistant fire marshall has most certainly not been driven mad with power and irrational opposition to fire and its works. But still, one wonders when the centipede of liberty will wriggle from beneath the bootheel of oppression and bite, bite bite. If we are ever to climb the pants leg of freedom, we must rise up.



What could change at the third Republican debate?

Donald Trump cannot believe he's falling for this.

Donald Trump cannot believe he’s falling for this.

The third Republican presidential debate airs tonight at 8pm eastern on CNBC and is titled Your Money, Your Vote, which is coincidentally also the title of this year’s session of the Supreme Court. Except for the absence of Scott Walker, the field looks remarkably similar to what we saw in the second and first debates. CNBC admitted all the candidates polling above 3% nationally, which should give you some sense of the sheer, um, thoroughness of the Republican field. Some of these people are not strictly necessary. But the least necessary of them all, Donald Trump and Ben Carson, are somehow vying for front-runner status nationwide. I don’t know about you, but I expected those bubbles to pop sooner. Which brings us to a question: What could voters learn about those two men tonight that they don’t know already?

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In possible overstatement, Time calls dad bod a “sexist atrocity”

A gender-neutral atrocity

A gender-neutral atrocity

My brother sent me this blog post from Time, in which Brian Moylan argues that the concept of the dad bod “continues to reinforce inequality about what is acceptable for men and women.” As you have no good reason to know, a dad bod is when you are kind of fat but not really. The term comes from this 500-word humorous essay by McKenzie Pearson, a sophomore at Clemson University. Pearson writes:

“The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’ It’s not an overweight guy, but it isn’t one with washboard abs, either.”

She goes on to enumerate reasons women like a dad bod, including looking pretty my comparison. Annie Dillard it ain’t; Pearson’s essay is lighthearted and relentlessly slight, which might explain why it went viral. It might also be because it feeds the internet outrage machine. Six weeks after Pearson published her essay, Quartz declares that “the viral dad bod phenomenon is male privilege masquerading as empowerment.”

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Time calls 2014 election “end of post-partisan dream”


President Obama meets with members of the House of Representatives

Over at Time magazine—which may just be a website now—Michael Scherer notes how far we’ve come since 2004, when a young firebrand named Barack Obama declared that “there’s not a liberal and a conservative America; there’s a United States of America.” Props to The Cure for the link. Shortly after that speech, we re-elected George W. Bush, hated him, and gave control of Congress to the Democrats in 2006. Then we elected Obama, hated him, and gave the House to Republicans in 2010. Now we appear to be on the eve of repeating that process with the Senate.

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