Monday, January 30, 2017

Dear Sen. Toomey

This is the letter I sent to Sen. Pat Toomey asking him to vote "NO" for Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education:

Senator Patrick Toomey
8 Penn Center
1628 John F Kennedy Blvd #1702
Philadelphia, PA 19103

January 30, 2017

Dear Sen. Toomey,

My name is Kevin Regan. I am a Democrat and a Pennsylvania voter living in Delaware County. My father, Francis J. Regan Jr., is a diehard Republican. Our dinner conversations are always interesting, to say the least. But one thing we agree on is the great responsibility that is saddled upon our public servants. That is evident now more than ever.

Clearly your office has been inundated with phone calls in regards to various topics lately. Though I’d imagine the abundance of those pertain to cabinet votes, specifically that of Betsy DeVos.

My wife Julie and I have a beautiful little girl named Katherine. We call her “Kit.” She’s three years old and, in September, will start her first organized schooling. She is our first and only child, so of course we’re scared to death! We think we’re ready, but that seems to scare us even more.

I’m 41 and Julie is, slightly older (I wouldn’t dare write a lady’s age here).  Therefore, most of our friends have already been down this road we’re traveling on to send a child to school. This has been an extreme comfort to us, as we have a fantastic support system in place. To me, this is America. Not Republican or Democrat. But common ground in creating and nurturing the community we live within. That support system.

As a Democrat, I am asking that you, a Republican, vote against Betsy DeVos tomorrow. I truly don’t believe that she, in any way, strengthens the support system which American families depend on in the Education System. In fact, I am certain, she weakens it.

I am not asking you to vote against party lines, but rather to vote for Fathers, like myself. To vote for Grandfathers like Francis J. Regan Jr. To vote for families. To vote for Pennsylvanians. To vote for educators. But mostly, to vote for the Kits. For all of the children within the school system or about to enter, regardless of physical and mental ability. So that they may have as strong a support system at the start of their educational journey, as many of us do well into it.

Please vote against Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.

From one father to another, I sincerely thank you for your time.

Kevin Regan
(Address Redacted)

Friday, January 13, 2017

Our Next State of the Union Will Be Tweeted

Article II, Section 3 of the Constitution stipulates that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” 

Nowhere is it stated that the President has to publicly deliver their SOTU to Congress. It may be written. Which begs this question:

Will Donald Trump Tweet his State of the Union address?

Technically, he could.

Obviously, we're talking about a year from now. So a lot of things could happen. But it's not something that is as far fetched as it might first sound. A few tidbits about the history of the State of the Union (because we all love us some tidbits!)

The first State of the Union was delivered to Congress by the first President of the United States, George Washington. Washington delivered his speech in person on January 8th, 1790. Being the first SOTU address, you'd assume it was possibly one of the longest. After all, there was an awful lot of "state" to discuss, after a war and declaration of our independence and such. Well...not even close! At 1089 words long, it was the shortest SOTU to date. Washington would go on to deliver, in person, all eight of his addresses to Congress. Washington's successor, John Adams would also deliver all of his in person. However, as a one term President, he'd only get to do it on half as many occasions.

Thomas Jefferson, a gifted scribe, but generally accepted poor public speaker, would instead choose to send his SOTU to Congress in written form. A tradition that continued until over a hundred years later (1913), when Woodrow Wilson once again addressed Congress in person.

From that point on, it varied with most Presidents preferring to address Congress in person. In fact, the last President to send their speech in writing was Jimmy Carter in 1981. And at 33,667 words, who could blame him! This also happened to be the longest State of the Union in history. So, back to Mr. Trump. Let's say he decides to Tweet his speech to Congress. Could he do it? We all know he could. After all, firing off a "tweetstorm" seems to be the standard 10-forecast with him.

But I mean, could he do it, legally?

While I'm not a Constitutional scholar (our current President is, let's keep HIM!), it could be argued that Tweeting would fulfill the requirement to "...give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union." I'm certain Mr. Trump would judge every one of his tweets as necessary and suggest Tweeting is in fact, the most expedient method of delivery.

But how would he do it?

Let's discount the fact that he could probably Tweet throughout the year and call that a "State of the Union," under the lax definition of "time to time."

Instead let's breakdown what it would look like if he picked one night in January of 2018 to send a hailstorm of Tweets.

First off, how many Tweets would it require?

As mentioned above States of the Union have varied in length from 1089 to 33,667 words!

That's a ton! And even before that, Twitter limits each Tweet to 140 characters, not words.

So we're going to have to get a little creative with our math and take a couple leaps of faith (two things Republicans LOVE to do!)

According to Peter Norvig, a computer scientist (as well as the Director of research at Google)

The average is 4.79 letters per word, and 80% are between 2 and 7 letters long.

This breakdown includes words that are often reused in sentences, like "and" or "the" etc. This seems perfect for our assessment as Tweets are often repetitive. Also, most people Tweeting know how to use "shorthand" writing to allow for minimal character usage. So we'll round up to 5. Then, we'll even add another to our number since Luminoso, an artificial-intelligence analytics company, once determined Trump's most used words were "disaster," "NAFTA," and "border." Which average out to closer to 6.
Also his favorite word is six letters, "Donald."

According to, they have tracked 230 speeches.
*Though, some of which admittedly are not official "States of the Union," but rather speeches given at the start of a President's administration. This has been the practice since Reagan took office in 1981.

So 230 speeches with 1,770,245 words (only 27,802 are unique words - I guess there really aren't any new ideas). This brings us to 7696.7 words on average.

Far be it from me to label Mr. Trump average (or normal for that matter), so we'll go ahead and bump his up to 7800 words. This is almost 500 words longer than President Obama's longest address, so this should make Trump fans happy (as if anything ever could).

7800 words x 6 letters/characters per word = 46800 characters.

That alone would be 334 Tweets (It's like me watching an awards show!)

BUT WAIT! We're not done. 

Those are just Tweets without being addressed to anyone. These need to be address to Congress. Here's the rub: Congress doesn't have a Twitter account. Oh sure, each Congress Person does...some more than 1 account. And then different caucuses and subgroups have them...but there isn't a @Congress account. At least not one without this warning:

Tweeting too many dickpics, right?

So instead, we're going to have to use a hashtag. #CONGRESS takes up 9 characters (including the number sign), so let's fine something shorter. How about #SOTU? 5 characters, but that means it's going to be used 334 times bumping up the actual number of tweets needed. So in the art of this deal let's do this:

334 x 5 = 1675
46800 + 1675 = 48475
48475 \ 140 = 347 


So there you have it. 347 Tweets could be the next State of the Union address by the soon to be President of the United States. An address which was once written (8 times) by the same man of careful composition who wrote our Declaration of Independence.

"But Kevin! Donald Trump would never miss out on the face time he gets with The State of the Union."

You think he'd pass up being the #FIRST person to give the State of the Union in such a unique way?

Besides, how else can he properly displace his love for Vladimir Putin than by Tweeting this gem in the middle of his stately address?

We'll know next January.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Selfiesless or Selflessie?

So far, we are 12 days into the new year and I haven't take a single selfie photo.

(For anyone who saw my first photo of 2017:
Full disclosure, I took that photo around 8pm on 12/31 so I was ready to post it at exactly midnight - I have a sickness).

Guys, I'm selfieless or selflessie (not sure which one is correct, though "selflessie" looks like I'm declaring myself a lesbian...which I totally am down with doing!)

"Kevin, that's not a big deal!" you say.
"OH HO HO!" I reply.

Based on my past 3 years, I think it's a very big deal.

3 Years ago, 1/4/2014:

A mere 4 days into the new year, I was in a show with my dear friend Kristin Finger. We got to perform as our John Hughes High characters (Principal Hines for me and Lucy Campbell the Band Geek for her), along side Thomas Fowler. It was a very enjoyable show. And we have a photo to capture the night for posterity)

2 Years ago, 1/3/2015:
This one I only made it 3 days. I scheduled a photo shoot for Kerry's birthday gift. A lot of friends came out and took photos, including my adorable daughter. How could I pass up the opportunity with lights AND cameras about?

Last year, 1/1/2016:
1 day! 1 goddamn day was all I could make it before sticking a camera in my face and taking a photo. This time, to tease my taco/hockey loving friend Jimmy, who was neither watching hockey nor eating tacos with me.

But now I'm on a streak!
It wasn't a news resolution that I deserved, but it's the one I need right now.

Let's be honest, if I run into you on the street, I'm taking a picture and breaking this streak over my goddamn knee. But right here, right now, let's appreciate my selfielessness in 2017...which I totally just bragged about in a blog. So there's that...