Belated mini-Friday News Roundup: election, olympics

I wrote this blog post yesterday morning. For some reason it didn’t publish when I thought it did. I’ll write the new post mentioned at the end in a little while.

I’m not dead. I purposely held off this week doing a Friday News Roundup because about 75 percent of my news feeds have been about a certain presidential candidate that quite frankly I’m sick of hearing about. He has been getting enough free publicity from the press that he keeps trying to insult. Likewise, I haven’t been hearing enough news about Clinton. I’ve stated my views about the race so far so I don’t feel the need to keep reacting to everything he says. His name has been getting repeated enough lately. Even bad publicity is good publicity.

Likewise, I have no stake in the Olympics. I just don’t have enough to say about sports. I will say that I heard an interesting piece on PRI’s The World about the Russian doping scandal. The woman on the radio said that state-sponsored doping is a human rights violation, that these people are pressured into taking drugs by the government and it isn’t fair to hold it against them. I hold off for now responding to that with my own views. However, I wonder how that woman would respond to the Nuremberg trials. I am not comparing the Russian athletes to Nazi soldiers, not by any means. But the discussion on the radio show had the shadows of the “I was following orders” argument.

I guess I just ended up doing a mini-Friday News Roundup, albeit belated, by writing about not doing one. But I am going to stop there. I’m also going to end this post by saying that I’m going to combine this weekend’s Nerdy Saturday post with the Sunday List tomorrow. This is partially because of time constraints. But I also had an idea for a list to do for a while now, and it definitely falls under the “nerdy” category as well. I’ll get to it sometime tomorrow.

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Friday News Roundup… sort of.

I haven’t been able to keep up with the news over the past week as much as I normally do. If anything, in trying to catch up on the podcasts that I missed last week while I was away I’ve been getting a mix of bits and pieces of the past two weeks. So I’ll address those bits and pieces this time. Considering that I’m still fighting jet lag that’s probably all I can do this time.

I guess the most current news is that the opening ceremonies for the Olympics in Rio is tonight. I haven’t been watching Olympics over the past decade as I don’t have even basic cable. I always used enjoy at least the opening ceremonies and their pageantry. With so much conflict in the world, even an illusion of everybody coming together in friendly competition is both hopeful and useful. I know there’s been a lot of controversy in recent years around Rio hosting these games, Russia’s involvement, the refugee team and so on. But in the end that illusion keeps drawing me back (when I’m able to view it).

All over the news in the last couple of weeks were the Republican and Democratic conventions. I already made my decision who to vote for months ago so I didn’t care. But it’s entertaining to hear about how much of a shit show the Republican National Convention was and how the party is continuing to fall apart. The Democratic National Convention has some strife coming from the Bernie Sanders supporters (I agree with Sarah Silverman: you’re being ridiculous) and others but largely seems to have held together more. I suppose it does have the benefit of going second—the organizers saw how bad the Republican convention went, and they can put together a more coherent, if less amusing, event. That could be reading too much into it, though. It could just be that the Republican convention really was just a shit show.

There’s three new “nerdy” movies that have come out recently: the Ghostbusters remake, Suicide Squad, and Star Trek: Beyond. I’ll wait for Ghostbusters to come out on DVD. I didn’t want to spend the money on that one but it does look amusing enough. I’m holding off on Star Trek as I’m going out with a fellow fan on Sunday. We might see it then, we might now. And I have no interest in Suicide Squad. The trailers look horrible. I’ve heard it’s even worse than Batman v. Superman, which I also haven’t seen but have heard terrible things about. I’m a fan of the Joker and was excited to finally see Harley Quinn on the big screen—which is particularly is why I’m not going to see this one. If it really treats these characters as badly as I’m hearing I don’t want to risk it. I don’t know, maybe someday. But I’m sick of hearing about it.

Yeah, I told you I really didn’t follow the news that much this week. I’ll be more focused next week. And for those interested, I do have a book to review for Monday. I’m a little nervous about my first book review, but I’m not going to apologize for it at the beginning of that blog post like I did with this one.

Friday News Roundup. #turkey #nice #pokemongo

In which I offer my take on some of the week’s news. I can’t promise I’ll hit everything.

  • I’m writing this as news is pouring in at the coup attempt in Turkey. It’s really too early to offer any comment, but I can’t say that I’m terribly surprised. From what little I know of Turkey it doesn’t seem like the government has a high level of support from multiple sides. Turkey is often hailed for it’s mix of both old and new and of both Eastern and Western cultures. Just recently I read a book that challenges the traditional point of view that Western is Modern, and that several different modernities are possible—using Turkey as a case study. While that can lead to a lot of cultural diversity I have to wonder how strong a system has to be to maintain stability in such an area. It’s only a general impression but like I said, it’s too early to really make any real remarks about what’s happening now.
  • The biggest story of the week so far appears to be the attack in Nice. Obviously I condemn such violence and terror and I’m morally disgusted at all of the lives that were taken. But given all of that, I have to wonder if there’s any footage of the attack. I don’t ask for my own entertainment. There’s action movies for that. But given the novelty of the attack, it would be interesting to study what happens to crowds of humans when a truck plows through them in such a way.
    But that thought aside, how many more attacks is France going to take? How many attacks is Europe going to take? I wish I had the answers to what could be done. As a pacifist I have  hard time coming up with peaceful solutions. Even if there is violent retaliation against terrorists, is there an endpoint to all of this? Or are we just in a perpetual state of violence and terror as human beings?
  • Up until the attack in Nice, the biggest news story this week seemed to revolve around the game Pokémon Go. It’s a neat premise but one that I’m not going to involve myself with. My primary reason, as always, is because everybody else is doing it. However, I don’t need yet another company tracking my movements so they can learn what kind of consumer I am. That information is out there. They don’t need to research me directly. I could go on about them selling that information to the government but it’s really too late to worry about something that now.
  • Speaking of video games, Nintendo announced the release the Nintendo Entertainment System: NES Classic Edition. Here’s yet another thing made out of plastic to tempt you to waste your hard-earned paycheck. I want one.
  • A big American news story this week, one which happened locally to me, is that Bernie Sanders officially gave his support to Hillary Clinton. I can’t say that I didn’t see this coming months ago. As I have said, I like his rhetoric better but I don’t trust him any more than the others. Which ever of the two leading Democratic nominees wins, I’m voting for in November. None of this has anything to do with what I think of Hillary Clinton. In this case, voting for the lesser of two evils really is voting based on my conscience.