Chances are I wouldn’t recognize Susan Slusser if she passed me by on the street. I’ve seen her photo online and her on local sports television a few times, but given how I’m the living embodiment of jokingly stating the reason retail workers wear nametags is so we can remember our own, it should come as no surprise I’d most likely miss her if she was tap dancing in front of me. In a duet with Stomper.

Ms. Slusser is a superb sports reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle. Her main assignment since 1999 has been my beloved (albeit sometimes bedraggled) Oakland A’s. She writes with crisp, clean accuracy, covering the team’s ups and downs while drawing little if any attention to herself. It’s said the best referees and umpires are the ones you never notice due to their calling the game correctly. Similarly, in today’s world where reporting and opinion are far too often mixed in an unwieldy, unsatisfactory in both areas whole, Ms. Slusser is admirable in keeping the two separate, never tipping her hand or interjecting herself into the story. She is informative, in depth, and invisible.

Like most every media person in any field these days, Ms. Slusser has a social media presence. Unlike most every media person in any field these days, using said social media as something other than sheer self-promotion she engages with her readers, or at least the ones with a few synapses firing in coordinated fashion. I’ve exchanged a few tweets with her in recent months, and she has been unfailingly polite and informative. In like fashion, I have always addressed her with completely deserved compliments, respect, and consideration, often looking for a way to insert something she hopefully finds chuckle-worthy into the conversation. I gotta be me, after all.

I’m quite certain that Ms. Slusser and I voted for different Presidential candidates last November. Which is fine. Politics aren’t everything; I’d much rather chat about what the A’s are doing to address their defensive deficiencies or my beloved classic Christian rock artists. I don’t need to debate every policy and platform with everyone. Sometimes – most all of the time, in fact – I’d rather find common ground and not mix politics with everything else. I’d rather enjoy a ballgame. I also figured out quite some time ago that no one in Washington DC was refreshing any given blog site where I write fifty times a day, trembling with anticipation of my next great pronouncement so they’d know which policies and platforms to pursue. Something others, given their predilection for incessant self-righteous babble, have apparently yet to learn. But I digress.

There are many on my side of the political aisle who live for open combat with one and all in mainstream media. It works for them. It generates heat; it creates a scenario in which the fearless flamethrower, backed by gallant retweeters and such, speaks truth to power hiding behind corporate walls. Makes for great spectacle. Hail the conquering snarknado master!

If someone isn’t doing their job properly because of implied or overt bias, fine. Call them out. They deserve it. But with this duly noted, is it impossible to praise, and treat the same way you and I wish to be treated, reporters who regardless of their political beliefs do work of the highest quality? Or for that matter, members of any given profession?

Certainly engaging people as, well, people is far less exciting and attention-drawing than treating others as raw meat designated for tossing to your wolfpack fan club. But does the latter genuinely accomplish anything? Sure, you look like the tough guy or mucha macha chica on Twitter et al. You’ve also alienated, probably permanently, a whole lot of people you’re supposed to be trying to reach for your cause who, astonishing as it may seem, aren’t that interested in your totem pole positioning within their echo chamber. Why not for once try being respectful to another human being possessing the same dignity and worth as you? If it doesn’t work, you did the right thing. But if it does …

… you too can exchange tweets with the Susan Slussers of this world.

I don’t make it a practice to comment on potential legislation before reading it. Speculation takes too much bias and rumors into account which tends to sway the reader (and author) in directions before the truth is even known. I’m making this exception because if reports that Vice President Mike Pence has negotiated a deal with the Freedom Caucus turn out to be true, it could be the best move made by the administration on health care since taking office.

Then again, it might be a big nothingburger.

The good news: limited waivers for the states. This means states have opportunities to bypass certain provisions of the AHCA that would allow them to help drive down premiums.

The bad news: essential health benefits carry over from Obamacare. This will limit the decrease (and even perpetuate increases) in premiums for the vast majority of Americans.

We’ll see how it pans out, but here’s the thing. I know many if not most Republicans are in favor of repealing and replacing Obamacare with the AHCA. It would boost morale and take away certain chunks of the oppressive economic burden that Obamacare has placed on us. However, the details are terrifying to anyone who believes in limiting government and defending the freedoms we hold dear. The original AHCA was a repackaged version of nationalized medicine that would push us further down the road towards financial oblivion and what we’ve seen of the proposed changes don’t change that. It would potentially slow down skyrocketing insurance costs, but it wouldn’t reverse them. In essence, it’s not a solution to Obamacare but a way to spread out the ill effects. We will still be paying way more than we were just a few years ago. We will still be ballooning the national debt and making little impact on our outrageously unbalanced budget.

Full repeal is the right way to go. That’s not to say that we need to return to the pre-Obamacare era. Changes need to be made, but those changes should come based upon reactions and analysis once it’s repealed rather than trying to plug all of the potential holes ahead of time. If we repeal Obamacare and allow the free market to guide the government on changes to be made, the end result will be much better. We can already plan for some of the changes such as opening up competition across state lines. We can work with charities, communities, and local governments to fill the gaps and prevent people from falling through the cracks. By repealing Obamacare fully in stages over the next 1-3 years and then watching how consumers, health insurance companies, and markets react, we can make intelligent decisions rather than speculative ones.

Of note is that the Freedom Caucus is supporting the amendments to the bill. We’ll see what that really looks like. Getting government out of health care is the only truly conservative/federalist way of fixing it. If they’re willing to negotiate, I would hope it’s because they believe in the plan and not because they’re feeling pressure from donors and the White House.

Only time will tell and speculation at this point is premature, but it will be interesting to see just how revamped Ryancare 2.0 really is. The bright spot I’ve seen in initial reports is that leftist publications like WaPo and HuffPo seem to hate the idea, so that’s good.

Ok you’re Berkeley, you imposed strict expensive conditions on conservatives to speak, they still come, when leftist Antifa thugs come to riot you’ve given them free reign to throw rocks, explosives and pepper spray at conservatives, they still come and eventually overpower and drive the thugs from the field, what can you do to keep conservatives away.

Why you ban them outright:

From the linked article:

“Yes, it was officially banned,” Coulter said of her planned April 27 appearance. “But they can’t stop me. I’m an American. I have constitutional rights.”

Coulter had accepted an invitation from two campus groups — the Berkeley College Republicans and BridgeUSA — to deliver a speech about immigration, the topic of one of her 12 New York Times best-selling books.

“If that’s banned, then no conservative can speak,” Coulter told THR on Wednesday. “Meanwhile, corrupt banana republic leaders like Vicente Fox have the red carpet rolled out for them on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Or put simply you don’t need Antifa when the administration will silence conservatives for you, yet they are still claiming they defend free speech:

“It has nothing to do with anyone’s political views,” said Mogulof, the school’s spokesman. “We believe in unqualified support to the First Amendment. But we also have an unqualified focus on safety of our students.” He claims they’re trying to reschedule her for sometime in September, which is the smart thing to say if you’re a public university. Admitting that they’re shutting down Coulter because of her views would be unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination under the First Amendment; insisting that she’s welcome eventually, just not next week, is more defensible as a time, place, and manner restriction. Problem is, there’s no reason to think campus will be any safer in September than it will be eight days from now. The idea that administrators can suspend basic liberties in the name of “safety” is a farcical campus mini-version of the rationale used by states like Egypt, which maintained a state of emergency for decades after Sadat’s death so that it could bypass civil rights. If the school can bar Coulter indefinitely in the name of the “safety of our students” then it has a de facto license to ban all right-wingers from speaking.

How is this anything other than an incentive for leftists to continue to make threats concerning conservative speakers and given this incentive system give me one reason why the right should not start following suit when leftist speakers come to campus to put them in the same spot?

Now I strongly suspect that if a right wing mob did show up and threatened violence if Vincente Fox or other left wing speakers came the university would have no problems providing all the security needed to make sure the speech went on as planned but one has to remember that like all totalitarians leftists demand tolerance when they are out of power then demand obedience once they have it.

I fear it will come to that because history shows that as long as such things do not affect the left the leftists who run college administrations and media will not consider it a crisis, but once their own are placed at risk then it will become a national crisis that needs to be handled.

Of course none of this would be necessary if the principles of free speech were upheld on the grounds of upholding speech, but then again power has always been the only principle of the left, not freedom of speech.