This is Aaron Camp here. As the final day of the 2010’s comes to a close and a new decade begins, it is important to note that, for me, the 2010’s were, for me, defined by my heavy use of Daily Kos, going under the handle DownstateDemocrat on that site, for expressing my political views. However, due to a post that I wrote on Daily Kos that was completely accurate, but drew the ire of many other Daily Kos users, I have been permanently banned from Daily Kos.
I am, and always will be, a controversial person, even within progressive Democratic circles. I’m not afraid to say what I think, even if it pisses people off. I’m certainly not afraid to criticize those I disagree with, even if they’re in the same party as me. However, all publicity is good publicity is not a mantra that the powers to be at Daily Kos really want for their website, and my greatest work at Daily Kos
If Augusta National Golf Club can decide who can and can’t be members of their golf club, then Daily Kos can decide who can and can’t be members of their website. As a result, I will not be seeking reinstatement at Daily Kos, and I strongly discourage anyone from launching any type of movement to reinstate me at Daily Kos.
While Daily Kos can ban me from their website, they can’t ban me from the entire internet. As long as WordPress allows me to host blogs via their service, there will be an Apollo Corner. In fact, in the very near future, I will be launching three new blogs, one for each of my three main passions, which will form the Apollo Corner Trilogy: Apollo Corner Politics, Apollo Corner Sports, and Apollo Corner Writing. Additionally, the main Apollo Corner site will be moving to a new WordPress subdomain due to me needing to register a new email address, although I will be leaving this site online as an archive.
I wish everyone a safe and happy new year and new decade!
A researcher who lost her job at a thinktank after tweeting that transgender women cannot change their biological sex has lost a test case because her opinions were deemed to be “absolutist”.
In a keenly anticipated judgment that will stir up fresh debate over transgender issues, Judge James Tayler, an employment judge, ruled that Maya Forstater’s views did “not have the protected characteristic of philosophical belief”.
Forstater, 45, a tax expert, was a visiting fellow at the Centre for Global Development (CGD), an international thinktank that campaigns against poverty and inequality. Her contract at the charitable organisation, which is based in Washington and London, was not renewed in March after a dispute over publicising her views on social media.
I will state my own opinion in the Maya Forstater controversy. I think that, regarding private-sector employers like the Center for Global Development, it’s best left to employers to determine what constitutes a offense worthy of termination of employment. If the Center for Global Development deems that it’s not appropriate to have someone with a transphobic view of society on their payroll, then they have should have the ability to terminate the employment of such an individual.
One of the most prominent individuals to defend Forstater is J.K. Rowling, the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter series of novels. Rowling sent out this tweet earlier this afternoon:
As an author who is openly polysexual, I am unwaveringly supportive of LGBTQIA+ rights and LGBTQIA+ equality for all people who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, including those who represent the “T” in LGBTQIA+, transgender people. If you want to read something from an author that supports transgender equality, feel free to buy Lady in the Fast Lane, the eBook that I self-published, on Kindle, Apple, Kobo, Nook, Scribd, 24Symbols, or OverDrive. However, if you’re going to review my book, please make the review an honest review about my book, not about J.K. Rowling.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This blog post is a preview of a future self-published political eBook, to be written by the author of this blog post under the pen name Aaron Apollo Camp and tentatively titled Gerrymandering the Senate: How Benjamin Harrison’s 19th Century Political Power Grab Affects American Politics Today.
Last month, a Reddit user operating under the screen name u/BroIBelieveAtYou, whose real name is unknown, posted this map of the theoretical State of Harrison, consisting of the territory of the current states of Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming. David Montgomery of The Atlantic‘s CityLab tweeted the map not long after it was uploaded to Reddit:
Harrison includes all six states admitted to the Union during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison, a Republican who served as the nation’s 23rd President from 1889 to 1893. There doesn’t appear to be any major inaccuracies in the map itself, although it’s important to note that whoever created the map hypothesized that the City of Helena, currently in Montana, would be chosen as Harrison’s state capital.
In an information blurb provided in the map under the heading “Federal Political Consequences”, the creator of the map noted that Harrison becoming a single state “would obviously cause the Republicans to lose the U.S. Senate federally”. That’s not a clearly true statement, unfortunately for left-of-center people like me.
If Harrison were to become a single state, Harrison would receive two U.S. Senators, just like any other state in the Union. However, as the area covered by Harrison is currently covered by six different states, the area covered by Harrison is currently represented by 12 U.S. Senators. As a result, the area covered by Harrison would lose ten U.S. Senators, and the U.S. Senate’s total number of seats would, correspondingly, decrease by ten, from 100 seats to 90 seats.
The current U.S. Senate has a total of 100 seats, with 53 seats held by Republicans and 47 seats held by Democrats; this figure counts two seats held by U.S. Senators elected as independents as Democrats, as both independent Senators are currently members of the Senate Democratic Caucus. The area covered by Harrison is currently represented by nine Republicans and three Democrats. If Harrison were to become a single state, and Harrison sent one Democrat and one Republican to the U.S. Senate, that would represent a net loss of two seats for the Democrats and eight seats for the Republicans. Under that hypothetical scenario, control of the U.S. Senate would be tied between the two major parties, with each major party holding 45 seats. As the Vice President of the United States, currently Republican Mike Pence, has the tie-breaking vote power as President of the U.S. Senate, this would result in a U.S. Senate controlled by Republicans due to Pence’s tie-breaking vote, absent the agreement to, and implementation of, a formal power-sharing agreement. If the Democrats were to win both of Harrison’s U.S. Senate seats, and no other U.S. Senate seat in a state not affected by Harrison becoming a single state were to be controlled by a different political party than the political party that currently controls the seat in question, Democrats would hold a 46-44 majority in the Senate. However, Harrison would likely not be a stronghold for either major political party, and, if anything, the state would likely be slightly Republican-leaning.
A book of spreadsheets containing population, U.S. House of Representatives apportionment, and 2016 U.S. Presidential Election analysis of the theoretical State of Harrison can be found here. As you can tell from the spreadsheets, there is another error in the Federal Political Consequences blurb in the map; the additional error is about the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election. While Trump would have carried Harrison in 2016 if Harrison was a single state in 2016 (on a related note, Harrison would have 18 electoral votes if it were a single state today), Trump’s margin of victory in Harrison in 2016, in terms of percentage of the total popular vote in Harrison, would have been slightly less than 3% of the total popular vote in Harrison, although the estimate provided in the map for the raw vote margin in Harrison is accurate to the nearest ten thousand.
Lis Smith is a key figure in Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. This was an article that Politico Magazine ran on their website earlier this year about Smith’s instrumental role in Pete’s political rise as a presidential candidate, and, long story short, without Smith, Pete would have virtually zero chance of winning our party’s presidential nomination.
It’s no secret that Pete has had serious problems attempting to appeal to black voters, which will be a large segment of the Democratic primary/caucus electorate in 2020. This gives you a general idea of how incredibly tone-deaf Pete is when it comes to issues related to racial equality:
However, Smith might have an even worse record than her boss when it comes to race relations in America. This is a screenshot of an actual tweet that Smith sent out two years ago about white supremacist and former Donald Trump operative Steve Bannon:
I will take this opportunity to remind everyone that Bannon is no political genius. He’s a bona fide white supremacist with deeply-held hatred of people who aren’t like him. Even worse, Bannon has a long history of promoting far-right, white supremacist political movements in the U.S. and in foreign countries.
Smith has also associated herself with Richard Grenell, the white supremacist and U.S. Ambassador to Germany. Short of publicly praising Adolf Hitler, Grenell has done pretty much everything else to alienate German politicians and ruin America’s reputation in Germany. For example, Grenell has made it his mission as ambassador to promote far-right, white supremacist political parties in Europe, violating international law in doing so. Despite all of that, Smith has been praised by Grenell, and Smith even attended Grenell’s going away party, which as also attended by, among others, Donald Trump, Jr. and Sarah Huckabee Sanders:
The fact that a white supremacist like Richard Grenell can find common policy ground with Lis Smith, who is one of Pete Buttigieg’s top political operatives, should alarm anyone who is even considering supporting Pete’s candidacy for the Democratic nomination. You won’t find Elizabeth Warren’s staffers paling around with white supremacists, because Warren understands that social and economic justice are important to making America a more perfect union.
As part of the special series of blog posts here on Apollo Corner about the best of the 2010s, let’s take a look back at the best sports moment of the decade. There was a lot of competition for this title, but I chose the Kick Six play from the 2013 American college football game between the University of Alabama and Auburn University as the best sports moment of the decade.
Normally, with an induction in this series, I would write a lengthy story explaining why I chose to induct something, in this case, a sports play, as the best of the decade. However, I’m instead going to post the SB Nation video about the Kick Six, as anything else I could add would be redundant:
Actually, I do have something to add. After defeating Alabama to finish the season, Auburn went on to win the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship Game one week later, defeating Missouri, before losing the final BCS Championship Game to undefeated Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) champions Florida State. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the Kick Six was the best sports moment of the 2010s.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is the first blog post in a multi-part special series entitled “Best of the Decade”, about the best things of the 2010’s.
Over the next month or so, I will be writing a series of blog posts about the best things of the 2010’s. My first blog post in the series will be about what I consider to be the best blog post of the decade, although one rule that I’ve self-imposed for this particular blog post is that the best blog post of the decade cannot be a blog post that I wrote.
One reason why I chose Brita’s blog post about enthusiastic consent as the best blog post of the decade is because it helped me completely rethink the way I viewed sexual and romantic activity. Prior to reading the blog post, I had a rather negative attitude towards sexual and romantic activity, in that I was legitimately afraid of being in any kind of romantic relationship. After reading the blog post, I felt far more comfortable with the idea of being in a romantic relationship of any kind.
Brita’s blog post talked about sexual consent in a very sexy way, which made the blog post very interesting to read. Brita wrote about sexual consent and romantic activity in a way that presented the concepts of sex, sexual consent, and romantic activity in a very positive light. Brita even included a real-life example of her and her husband making out to illustrate the concept of enthusiastic consent. The entire blog post, from start to finish, was very interesting to read.
There might be some people who were probably expecting to find a politics-related or sports-related blog post as the best blog post of the decade. However, the blog post that Brita wrote about enthusiastic consent was so effective at getting me to read a blog post about relationships, something that I would not normally have an interest in, that I decided that “Enthusiastic Consent: A How-To Guide” by Brita Long is the best blog post of the 2010’s.
Meg LaTorre, the literary agent-turned-author who hosts the iWriterly series of YouTube videos about book writing and publishing, described the pros and cons of self-publishing a book in this video, which was posted to YouTube last month:
Near the end of the video, LaTorre, who herself chose the self-publishing route for publishing her debut novel, described a major disadvantage of self-publishing, in that it is easy to publish a bad book. Given that literary agents play a major role in the traditional book publishing process, the fact that a former literary agent chose to self-publish a book that she is writing gives you a general idea that there are a lot of advantages to self-publishing, but there are disadvantages to self-publishing as well. This blog post is not a criticism of self-publishing, but rather a cautionary tale to remind those who are considering self-publishing a book to not make the same mistakes that I did.
I self-published my first eBook, Lady in the Fast Lane, which is the first of what will be two books in The Chronicles of Vazkelt series, about a month and a half ago. The book has sold only two copies in the first month and a half that the book has been available for sale. That’s not a typo. It’s time for me to do something similar to, although less humorous than, what Jackie Gleason did long before I was born when a game show that he hosted turned out to be an abysmal failure and be honest and admit several reasons why I believe my book did not sell all that well. To be honest, if the SBNation YouTube page wanted to do a video about my book being the worst sports-themed book, they have my permission to do so.
I rushed the whole book-writing process
It took me only a month and a half to write a novella-length eBook. A novella is a literary work of fiction of a length between that of novels and short stories; a novella will typically be of a word count of at least 17,500 words, but less than 40,000 words, although this is not necessarily a strict definition of a novella. Lady in the Fast Lane is in the upper half of the typical novella word count range. A month and a half was not enough time for me to write a novella properly; I should have given myself at least two more months than I did in order to have been able to write a better-quality novella. Me rushing to get my book published led to the book being written with a very clunky writing style, as well as entire sections of the book having the feeling of being tacked onto, or shoehorned into, the book. In fact, some chapters and scenes were tacked onto, or shoehorned into, the book by me due to not coming up with an outline for my book before writing it.
Writing the eBook was done in a trial-by-error manner
Not really knowing what writing an eBook would involve at the time I set out to write my first eBook was a major reason why my first eBook was not a success at all. At various points in the writing process, I changed computer programs that I was using and the manner in which I intended to publish the book. About halfway through writing the book, I switched word processor programs from OpenOffice (which does not allow for saving documents in the .docx format) to LibreOffice (which allows for saving documents in the .docx format, making conversion to the .epub format for eBooks much easier). While writing the book, I originally planned to publish the book exclusively to Amazon Kindle via Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and have the book available in both eBook and paperback format. Instead, I eventually decided to publish the book in eBook format only via PublishDrive, which allows for eBook-only self-publishing to multiple eBook stores like Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, and Barnes & Noble Nook, among others. While PublishDrive is fantastic for eBook-only self-publishing, switching to PublishDrive required switching from KDP-oriented computer programs like Kindle Create to Calibre, a program designed for formatting an eBook for submission to multiple eBook sellers. Furthermore, I was forced to drop chapter numbers and scene dividers from my book due to formatting issues that resulted in my book failing the all-important .epub validation multiple times before I knew what I was doing wrong and was able to fix the errors and get the book to pass validation. I probably would have been able to self-publish a higher-quality book if I knew what I was doing the whole time instead of doing everything in a trial-by-error method.
I did not give any literary element other than plot serious consideration
While a work of fiction has to have a coherent plot in order to be readable, I will admit that, when writing my first eBook, the only thing I took into serious consideration while writing it was ensuring that the book had a coherent plot. In particular, conflict, typically a very important element to a work of fiction, was pretty much an afterthought for me while writing my book. In fact, my book pretty much lacked a true lead antagonist because I wanted the concept of misogyny, rather than any one character who was a misogynist, to be the antagonist. As a result, there were multiple characters, none of which had an iron-clad claim of being the lead antagonist, who represented the concept of misogyny, and there was more of a focus on Kaiser Easthouse, an ally of the lead protagonist, Karen Yellowdragon, than any of the antagonists. While the book’s point of view was clearly third-person, I didn’t give consideration to what kind of third-person point of view would be used in the book because, while writing the book, I wasn’t aware there that there was more than one kind of third-person point of view.
The book did not fit neatly into any genre and was too much of a genre mashup
As LaTorre mentioned in the video that I’ve embedded in this blog post, one advantage to self-publishing a book is that one can do a genre mashup, in which a fiction or non-fiction book includes elements of multiple genres. However, my book was so much of a genre mashup that it became extremely difficult to classify in any genre whatsoever. My book contained one element typical fantasy works, in that the setting in a fictional universe, but completely lacked the magic or supernatural elements typical of fantasy works. My book contained a couple of political scenes, but politics was not the primary element of the book’s plot. There are car crash scenes in the book, but the book was certainly not an action or a thriller. The book was set in a time frame that roughly corresponded to the mid-20th Century on real-life Earth, but the book was not exactly a historical fiction due to being set in a fictional universe. My book ended up being classified as a lesbian fiction, and that was by total accident, and only because the lead protagonist is lesbian. Believe it or not, I did not intend for the lead protagonist’s sexual orientation to be acknowledged in any way, and it was only after writing a radio talk show scene that I got the idea to have the lead protagonist come out as lesbian. I thought that I did a good job developing a lesbian protagonist character, although I could have done much better in that regard had I set out to write a book with a lesbian lead protagonist in mind from the outset.
The book tried to appeal to two demographics with very little overlap
My first eBook is a lesbian motorsports fiction. The goal of my eBook was for the book to appeal to both the LGBTQIA+ community (as someone who is openly polysexual, I am part of the LGBTQIA+ community) and motorsports fans. These are two demographics that have very little overlap. As a result, the book tried to appeal to one demographic that consists mostly of people who are not diehard motorsports fans and tried to appeal to another demographic that consists mostly of people who are culturally conservative and probably aren’t that interested in reading any kind of works of fiction, let alone one featuring an openly-lesbian protagonist. This made it pretty much impossible for me to properly promote my book to any kind of audience whatsoever.
I led a motorsports-themed book with a war/home front scene
EBook sellers often will give potential buyers of an eBook an opportunity to preview the first part of the eBook (typically the first 10% or so of the eBook). I was not aware of this before I submitted my book for publishing, and, had I been aware of this, I would have written a completely different first chapter that would have involved a pre-war car racing scene, with the lead protagonist as a spectator, than a war/home front scene in which the lead protagonist loses her job as a wartime factory worker after a war ends. Leading a motorsports-themed book with a scene that wasn’t a motor racing scene probably confused people and resulted in some people who might have been interested in buying my book deciding not to buy my book.
The primary setting of the eBook was not Vazkelt
While my eBook is part of a planned series called The Chronicles of Vazkelt, Vazkelt, a fictional archipelago of islands, was a secondary setting for my eBook. The primary setting of my eBook was a fictional supercontinent called Lahyrnt. Originally, I envisioned Vazkelt as a continent in its own right, but eventually decided to completely alter Vazkelt into an archipelago of islands near a supercontinent because I thought that would make the lead protagonist’s journey to become a successful race car driver much more dramatic. That came at the cost of making the name of the series sort of a misnomer. The next eBook in The Chronicles of Vazkelt series will be more Vazkelt-based than Lady in the Fast Lane was.
The cover of my eBook was, for lack of a better term, awkward
The cover of my eBook was designed entirely by me. Believe it or not, I used a computer program called Inkscape, which is not really ideal for creating an eBook cover for one big reason, for creating my eBook cover. As Inkscape doesn’t have a built-in feature to export to the .jpeg file format, I had to export to the .png file format, which Inkscape has a built-in feature for, then convert the .png version of my eBook cover to the .jpeg format using a program designed for that purpose. Also, the cover was rather blurry, at least in part due to my choice of text font and text color. I probably would have been better off using a different computer program and creating a cover that was drastically different in design.
While I will not pull Lady in the Fast Lane from the eBook market (in fact, if anyone actually wants to buy the eBook, links to where you can purchase Lady in the Fast Lane can be found here), it is important in life to learn from mistakes. The biggest mistake that I made while writing Lady in the Fast Lane was not knowing what I was doing when I set out to self-publish an eBook, and this explains a lot of the mistakes I made. While self-publishing an eBook can be rewarding, it is imperative to know, before you begin actually writing your book, that you know what you are doing. When I self-publish my next eBook, my next eBook will be of much better quality.
To be clear, Gov. Kristi Noem (R-SD) is, to the best of my knowledge, not actually a meth addict. However, the South Dakota state government recently unveiled one of the most poorly-designed ad campaigns in U.S. history. To give you a general idea of what the ad campaign is, here’s the actual logo of the ad campaign:
There’s even video of Governor Noem saying the words “I’m on meth” to promote the ad campaign:
Given that being “on meth” is typically used as an expression for being addicted to, or otherwise using, meth, using “we’re on it” as the tagline of an anti-meth ad campaign is going to send a very unintended message, to say the least. The consultants behind the ad campaign were unavailable for comment in regards to whether or not they were on meth when they designed the ad campaign.
An unnamed member of the Lafayette County, Wisconsin Board of Supervisors proposed a controversial resolution that, if enacted, would allow for journalists to be prosecuted if information in press release regarding a water study covering a three-county area in southwestern Wisconsin is published, but not in its entirety:
It’s clear to me that this is an authoritarian-minded ordinance proposal that blatantly violates free press provisions in the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions. Furthermore, it’s bad policy that is apparently designed to politically benefit politicians who would rather drive a political narrative about the water quality survey, rather than make a good faith effort to inform the public about water quality in southwestern Wisconsin.
The public should have a right to know what is in their water. However, prosecuting journalists is not going to help inform the public about anything.
While it is universal in the English language for the possessive form of plural nouns to be written with just a following apostrophe, there is a debate on whether just a following apostrophe, or a following apostrophe followed by the letter “s”, should be used to denote the possessive form of singular nouns whose final letter of the nominative form is “s”.
In 2007, the Arkansas State Legislature passed a non-binding resolution deeming the possessive form of the state’s name, which is a singular proper noun, to be “Arkansas’s”, with the “‘s” denoting the possessive form of the state’s name. The name of my home state of Illinois also ends with the letter “s”, although usage of “Illinois'” as the possessive form seems to be more common than “Illinois’s”. It is important to note that, in the nominative forms of “Arkansas” and “Illinois”, the final “s” is silent, but, in the possessive form of each, the final “s” is articulated. Although this blog is based in Illinois, this blog complies with the Arkansas resolution, meaning that the possessive forms of “Arkansas” and “Illinois” is spelled “Arkansas’s” and “Illinois’s”, respectively.
However, the name of the state of Kansas is a singular proper noun ending in the letter “s”, which, unlike those of Arkansas and Illinois, is articulated in the nominative. It is, compared to singular nouns ending in a silent “s”, more common for the possessive form of a singular noun whose nominative form ends in an articulated “s” to be spelled with just a following apostrophe rather than with the “‘s”. This results in the possessive form of “Kansas” typically being written as “Kansas'”, without the “s” following the apostrophe. However, unlike the possessive forms of “Arkansas” and “Illinois”, the possessive form of “Kansas” has an additional syllable compared to its nominative form. The nominative form of “Kansas” is pronounced KAN-z·s (note that the interpunct denotes a vowel sound like the vowel sound represented by “a” in “about”), whereas the possessive form is pronounced KAN-z·s-·z, with the possessive ending being pronounced as a full syllable. If one were to write the possessive form of “Kansas” as “Kansas'”, an apostrophe would represent an entire syllable. Therefore, I prefer to write the possessive form of “Kansas” as “Kansas’s”.
It would seem, at least to me, rather awkward to use the longer form of indicating the possessive in writing (i.e., “‘s”) for singular nouns ending with a silent “s” in the nominative and an articulated “s” in the possessive, but use the shorter form of indicating the possessive in writing (i.e., just the trailing apostrophe) for nouns ending with an articulated “s” in the nominative, which requires an additional syllable to articulate the possessive form. As a result, this blog uses the “‘s” form of writing the possessive form of all singular nouns, as well as plural nouns that do not end in a silent or articulated “s”, and uses the apostrophe-only form of writing the possessive form of plural nouns that end in a silent or articulated “s”.