The topless prime minister

Sanna Marin, the 34-year-old Prime Minister of Finland, recently posed for a topless photoshoot.

Well, sort of. (All you guys who just went to Google, you can stop now; I’m exaggerating.)

Marin posed for the October issue of Trendi magazine clad in a black blazer with nothing underneath.

You can’t see anything but hints of cleavage.

There has been something of a “backlash” over the photo, if you believe the media:

“Mari Paalosalo-Jussinmäki, director of women’s media at A-lehdet magazine group — publisher of Trendi — told CNN that there was an “enormous” backlash against the photoshoot and cover story in Finland. She said the magazine received fierce criticism on social media soon after it was released on October 9.”

Also, there has been a “backlash” to the “backlash”. #ImWithSanna is now a trending hashtag. Want to pose topless in a black blazer and put a photo of yourself on the Internet? Here’s your big chance: Continue reading “The topless prime minister”

Mayor Betsy Driver’s social media post

Betsy Driver, a mayor in New Jersey, has shocked many of her constituents with a profane social media post directed at Republican voters:

“This is day one of the new SCOTUS terms – the religious zealots want to enact the Christian version of Sharia law,” the post reads. “If you voted for the orange monster with COVID, go f— yourself. If you plan on voting for him again, unfriend me and go f— yourself again.”

We can assume that Mayor Driver is referring, at least in part, to SCOTUS nominee Amy Coney Barrett.  As a judge, Amy Coney Barrett is a strict constitutionalist; but in her personal life Judge Barrett is a devout Catholic. 

Mayor Driver’s social media post is bad news for Democratic politicians hoping to woo centrists and swing voters. It is especially bad news for Democratic politicians in heavily Catholic districts. The Democratic Party is already developing a reputation for anti-Catholic bias

Much of the Democratic Party’s opposition to Catholics and Catholicism stems from the abortion debate. Most Roman Catholics are opposed to abortion. The Democratic Party—if you’ll pardon the pun—regards abortion as a sacrament. Forty years ago, there were pro-life and pro-abortion Democrats. In 2020, the Democratic Party tolerates only one viewpoint on this subject. 

Abortion has been legal in the United States since 1973. I’m 52 years old, and this debate has persisted for as long as I can remember. The debate concerns not only the fundamental legality of Roe v. Wade, but also specific aspects of abortion law, like sex-selection abortions, and parental/spousal notification requirements. 

People disagree on abortion, of course. Because of the personal nature of this issue, emotions can often become heated. For most of my lifetime, however, mainstream politicians involved in the debate have remained civil. 

Betsy Driver is not exactly civil, is she?

There are a few takeaways from this story. First of all, there are indeed some folks on the left who really, really need to calm down and reflect on their public behavior. Maybe Donald Trump will still be president in 100 days, and maybe he won’t. Either way, the violent hysteria over everything the president does, everything he says, has gone overboard. It has gone overboard, off-the-rails, since the day after Election Day 2016.

Paybacks, as they say, are hell. If you believe the polls, then Joe Biden will most likely become President of the United States on January 20, 2021. The anti-Trump “resistance” has set a dangerous precedent for how citizens should treat members of the opposition party who happen to be in power.

If the behavior of radical Democrats over the last four years is to be our guide, then no one should complain in 2021 when officials of the Biden administration are harassed at restaurants and asked to leave when the staff doesn’t agree with their views.

We should expect, from the very beginning of the Joe Biden administration, angry denunciations with the words “NOT MY PRESIDENT”. The grassroots anti-Biden hysteria will be supported by expressions of the same in the establishment opposition press, just as it was during the Trump years.

And, of course, it will all be justified—not on partisan grounds, but on moral grounds. If the anti-Trump resistance was saving America from “fascism”, then the anti-Biden resistance will be saving America from “communism”. If Donald Trump was the second coming of Hitler, then Joe Biden will be the next Stalin, Kamala Harris the next Jiang Qing

Mayor Betsy Driver made her profane declaration on social media. Social media is a genie that is never going back inside its bottle.  There will always be citizen hotheads shooting off their mouths on Twitter and Instagram.

Elected officials, on the other hand, should be held to a higher standard. Betsy Driver did step over the line of civilized political discourse in a democratic, pluralistic society, where there are many differing opinions on many different issues. Mayor Driver should have the decency to resign. If that doesn’t happen, then her constituents should either recall her or vote her out at the next available opportunity. 

Slow mail, and slower ballots

The election is only a few days away. Here is something that should concern you, regardless of your political affiliation: the mail.

Mail-in ballots are not new, of course. Proponents of the practice will defiantly tell you that US military personnel have been voting by mail since Gettysburg, or maybe even Valley Forge. That’s true…to an extent. Some US soldiers did indeed vote by mail in the election of 1864, at the height of the Civil War.

What is also true, though, is that in 2020 a record number of mail-in ballots will be cast. In several states, the volume of mail-in ballots will result in unprecedented delays in the tallying. Both the Trump and the Biden campaigns have acknowledged that we won’t know the results by the end of Election Day. It will take days, maybe even weeks, to know the results, in fact.

I’ve been watching US presidential elections since 1976. This has happened only once in my lifetime—in 2000. The protracted election of 2000 was a major ordeal; and compared to 2020, America at the turn of the century was a halcyon land of bipartisan unity.

No one can quite agree on the reasons, but the USPS is in the midst of a major slowdown. No, I’m not getting this from Fox News, Breitbart, or President Trump’s Twitter account. This comes from my own experience.

On September 15 I went to my local Ohio BMV office to get my drivers license renewed. The BMV mailed my new license on September 18. I received my new license on October 2.

This means it took the U.S. Postal Service two full weeks to deliver a piece of first-class official mail from Columbus to Cincinnati, a distance of about 100 miles. The old Pony Express could have done much better.

I know: good enough for government work. But consider what that slowness is going to mean when millions of mail-in ballots inevitably clog up the system.

Extol the wonders of voting by mail to your heart’s content. Mail-in ballots are going to be a major problem this year. A source of many, many disputes on and after November 3. If you believe that mail-in voting won’t throw wrenches into this election, I have a bridge I want to sell you. (I’ll make you a good deal, too!)

Oh, and to make matters even worse, at least one mail carrier, Nicholas Beauchene of New Jersey, has been caught dumping ballots. Does anyone really believe that his is the only such case?

I hope I’m wrong. I hope someone finds this post on November 13 or November 23, and sends me a sarcastic email about how smoothly Election Day 2020 went. I rather think, though, that the odds are against that.