USWNT vs. France Reaction, The Democratic Debate, & A Fascinating Abortion Article

If you did not watch the USWNT game against host nation France in the World Cup I can give you the summary: these women from the U.S. are absolute badasses.

France had home-field advantage, with the momentum to match. This was the most talented team that the U.S. women had ever faced on the world stage. Many thought this was the time France would finally overtake the U.S. Not only did the U.S. women never get rattled, they controlled the game from start to finish. Calling it impressive is an understatement. These women were giants.

It is hard to single out one girl on the pitch because all of them were incredible. Megan Rapinoe continues to be an American Hero, willing this team further and further still with two goals and an endless fighting spirit. Crystal Dunn was not on the world cup team in 2015, and this game yesterday was the biggest game of her career. She stepped up big time on the defensive end. Alex Morgan did not score a goal, but found ways to open up her teammates and broke down the French back line.

Those are just a few performances from what was ultimately a team victory. I do not know how much this group will get paid, nor do I care about that right now. What I know is this team is capable of giving me just as much joy as any other team I support. They may not be as “good” as the guys but to me it does not matter. It is impossible not to feel an immense surge of pride when Megan Rapinoe scored from a set-piece, and gave a celebration worth a thousand words. I love this team, and I wish them the best against England in the semifinal.

I could never in a million years vote for Donald Trump. So my question to Democrats is: Will there be a candidate I can vote for?

[The Democrats] are competing for the support of the angry voters they read on Twitter—overlooking the many millions of people uniquely available to the non-incumbent party in what should be a pro-incumbent cycle.

The first quote is from David Brooks. Sometimes, I wonder if I could just give my thoughts over to Brooks and just let him take over. He would probably say what I am feeling, just in a slightly more eloquent way. The other is from David Frum, another David I think highly of. Both summarize my overall opinion on the debate very well: the democrats should worry.

Incumbency is a powerful force, and even though Donald Trump is so disliked, he is still the favorite. In a year where the incumbent is this disliked however, there are plenty of available voters toward the middle who have no idea who to vote for. Yet, with the exception of Joe Biden, John Hickenlooper and a few others, the democrats seemed determined to feed their base. This strategy will most likely not work.

In terms of policy proposals and experience, Biden seems best prepared to take the mantle and win the election. Yet, when it comes to debates and personal attacks, he seems ill-prepared. If he cannot handle a prepared line from Kamala Harris, how can he possibly handle the barrage of attacks from Trump? This would not be horrible, if there were other candidates who could take the nomination who held similar views. Most of the candidates however, seem more left of center than ever before.

The person who is probably best equipped to handle attacks from Trump is Harris. But like the most of the candidates onstage, she has endorsed things that could spell trouble for her down the line. She raised her hand to endorse public insurance over private insurance and hedged later, she (along with everyone on stage) endorsed giving illegal immigrants healthcare. She also showed an unwillingness to work with other branches. If congress won’t do their job the way I want, I will sign an executive order and make sure they are doing it the way I want. This is a bad way to govern, even if it has been done before and feels right.

It is possible that the electorate is genuinely more polarized than ever. It is possible that this strategy will work. But I find it hard to believe. I really hope Donald Trump is not president in 2021. If this continues, I will not be surprised if my hope does not come true.

 

We weren’t just talking about nausea and swollen feet and low back pain. She and I are abortion doctors. We routinely perform procedures well into our patients’ second trimester, when the fetus is well-formed and easily recognizable as humanlike, even “life”-like. Baby-like.

Abortion is an issue I have struggled with in some respects, especially as I have moved through the conservative world. Writing for a conservative paper this summer, I am practically the only one who is pro-choice. My reasons for supporting the position have changed but my views have not. Yet, it is fascinating to hear so many arguments that disagree with my own.

This article, written by an abortion doctor who became a mother, is enlightening. Abortion is often treated as clear-cut by whoever argues for whatever side. It is going to be tricky, even for the people tasked with doing this. For this women she has to believe that she is in the right. Yet, there is still guilt.

When we forget how emotional these situations can be for so many, and treat people who disagree with us as the problem, we take the seriousness out of the issue. I believe women have the right to decide if a baby lives or dies within them, because they are the caretakers of the species. But with all of that said, do I understand why many are so angry and upset by abortion practices? Of course I do.

Annie Hall, Michael Cohen, & A Storm of Swords Reflection

Annie Hall – Woody Allen is a fascinating character and a joy to watch in Annie Hall. His constant neuroticism, as well as his openness towards his contradictions make him troubled but likable. It is still hard not to think of the recent allegations against him, and wonder how honest he is being when describing his love life. Regardless that should not take away from the merits of this work, as it is still an incredibly smart and clever piece of work. That said, it does drag and tries too hard to subvert itself. Some of the gimmicks are strange and unneeded. Also watching him embrace every Jewish stereotype imaginable at times made me laugh but at times made me wonder if he approached the subject with any seriousness. My negative thoughts aside, this film is a fascinating watch, even if some of its tricks work against it. 8/10

There is none of the purgation of self and transformation of spirit that happens among people who have truly been altered. He’s just switched teams and concluded that the Democrats can now give him what he wants, so he says what appeals to them. That may be progress, but it is not moral renewal.

How should we view Michael Cohen in light of damning testimony? On one side there seemed to be more of an embrace, while on the other side there seemed to be complete skepticism of him. I think it is important to be very clear on who this man is but also understand that he is being candid in his testimony.

As David Brooks notes, he worked for Trump and branded himself as a “fixer” in order to gain respect in Trump’s orbit. He did horrible things in order to protect a man he admired and get recognition from him as well. Now he has looked back and decided he was wrong. Regardless, he has not given us enough of a turnaround to make him a new person. However, I do believe he showed candor, and as LawFare notes, plenty of his evidence is damning. While we can still rightfully question what kind of person Michael Cohen is, it is important that we treat his testimony as credible. If we do not, we are enabling a president who does not care about anyone but himself. That should be something we should all fear, regardless of political allegiance.

For the most part there was one perspective character per location. A Storm of Swords changes that by moving characters around and sometimes showing the same events from different perspectives.

I finally finished A Storm of Swords, and it is probably the best piece of fiction I have ever read. It never slows down, and keeps the pace going in such a smooth way it was easy to forget just how much happened in one book.

Every character changed and grew so much in this story that it is hard to view them the same way than at the beginning of A Game of Thrones. Sansa and Arya in particular, both young girls, have now become strong women in their own right. While their transformation is rewarding in many ways, it is also brutal to see them begin to lose hope in the world around them. Who can blame these characters? Often times they are isolated and tested just to survive.

My hope for the next book is to see how these characters become major players in the war itself and watch their characters grow and develop. I am really looking forward to A Feast for Crows, and have already begun reading. I will let you know of some of my favorite quotes when I get the chance.

Spirited Away, Incredibles 2, and Covington Catholic

Spirited Away – It is hard to think of a movie that genuinely had me on the edge of my seat quite like this one. Chihiro’s story is so absorbing, and her conviction is so strong, it is hard not to root for her the whole time. The screen is so full or richness and mystery, and the story is genuinely exciting and thrilling. Seeing this on the big screen at Michigan Theater was a great choice, and if you can see it that way I recommend it. This movie is so full of fun moments and little nods to Japanese culture it can easily be missed on DVD. While I felt certain things were still ultimately lost in translation, it is a delightful story that follows no conventions and surprises until the very end. 9.3/10

Incredibles 2 – I saw this first over summer and was disappointed. I figured something might have been wrong with my interpretation so I decided to wait and watch it again later. I watched it again and I was disappointed again. I think much of this has to do with how much I loved the first film, no sequel could ever live up to that film. However I found the villain to be incredibly lackluster, which is unfortunate considering how compelling the villain was in the first film. The film is also incredibly predictable, which while it is a kids movie, made it frustrating to watch. Especially in light of Spirited Away, this film at times seems uninspired. Jack-Jack is easily the best part of the film, creating numerous laughs as he discovers his powers. However, in spite of my desperate attempts to like this film more, it is simply disappointing. 6.5/10

It’s about reducing a complex human life into one viral moment and then banishing him to oblivion.

This is from David Brooks’s latest article about the Covington Catholic High School boys, which I think is the best take on the subject. This subject quickly came to dominate the weekend, and much of it was unprecedented in which how one narrative was quickly spun. This school is by no means a model for society and has done some unsavory things, however we should not demonize high school boys because they are not the type of people we want to be.

This need to destroy people’s lives also went contrary to further evidence later presented by other videos, which only make the rush to judgment by so many that much more troublesome. We have all done and said things that we regret. However, most of us were given the benefit of the doubt, and do not have to go to everyone explaining why when they were young they said something they maybe shouldn’t have. These boys may not get that luxury, which is slightly disturbing considering they are only in high school and they are not guilty as tried. People change, and yet we want to box people in at a very young age and destroy their futures. That has to stop.

The Favourite, Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse, & David Brooks’s Favorite Articles

The Favourite – Yorgos Lanthimos’s snide and narcissistic comedy about two women fighting to be Queen Anne’s confidant is hilarious and biting. Much attention has been paid to Olivia Colman as Queen Anne and rightfully so, but I was more impressed with Emma Stone as Abigail. Watching her duke it out and manipulate those around her in a way Machiavelli would be proud was terrific, and she makes the absolute most of her role. It ends in slightly odd and precarious way, but that does not take away from the overall quality of this movie. It is a very fun time, even if it is imperfect. 8.7/10

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Like me, I am sure many of you have Superhero fatigue, and yet this movie finds a way to be incredibly fresh and exciting as a superhero film. Cleverly written, it takes joy in playing with narrative and structure, showcasing different Spider-men and women from different dimensions. It makes for some of the most refreshing thrills in years, and allows for a unique take on a comic book staple. The animation is also incredible, as it literally brings comic book pages to life. Miles and the other spider-people seem to move at hyperkinetic speeds while also keeping a unique artistic quality that beckons comic books of old and new. It is hard to think of a movie more fresh and fun than this one, and one that I highly encourage you see in theaters. 9/10

Finally in this piece, David Brooks quotes some of his favorite long-form pieces of journalism, and all of them are worth a read. I would highly recommend both Andrew Sullivan pieces mentioned, as they are both terrific.