Tuesday, October 27, 2020

So Many Stupid Things Today

The confirmation process has made ever clearer to me one of the fundamental differences between the federal judiciary and the United States Senate. And perhaps the most acute is the role of policy preferences. It is the job of a Senator to pursue her policy preferences. In fact, it would be a dereliction of duty for her to put policy goals aside. By contrast, it is the job of a judge to resist her policy preferences. It would be a dereliction of duty for her to give into them. Federal judges don’t stand for election, thus they have no basis for claiming that their preferences reflect those of the people.

This separation of duty from political preference is what makes the judiciary distinct among the three branches of government. A judge declares independence, not only from Congress and the President, but also from the private beliefs that might otherwise move her. The Judicial Oath captures the essence of the judicial duty. The rule of law must always control.

This is from the speech given today by Amy Coney Barrett from the White House after being fake sworn-in by Justice Clarence Thomas as Impeached Preznit Carnage Pornstarfucker looked on.

Read that again. The new United States justice. Declared her independence as a justice from Congress, her own biases, and THE PRESIDENT. FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.

***

Impeached Preznit's Chief of Staff Mark "We Are Not Going To Control The Pandemic" Meadows and CNN's Jake Tapper chat about masks:

JT: So the American people should abide by CDC guidelines, but you are not even asking your supporters to wear masks, even though--

MM: We have. We pass them out Jake. I mean, have you been to a... have you... have have... have...

JT: Do you know how many people in Minnesota have gotten the virus because of Trump rallies?

MM: Have you been to a rally? You come on with us to a rally, and we'll show you, we give out masks. We have a number of people--

JT: They don't wear them.

MM: Well, it's a free society. You're not wearing one right now, Jake.

JT: There is literally nobody in this room. There is literally not one person in this studio.

MM: So you're saying that you always wear a mask wherever you go. Come on, Jake. The American people know that's not true. I know it's not true.

JT: I wear a mask except when I am here, in my office, and home. That is true. 100 percent. I wear a mask when I walk in the hallway at CNN.

Note to preznits: Please don't stick yer chiefs-of-staff in front of a camera. They don't belong there.

*30*

Saturday, October 24, 2020

I Voted.

I have just returned to my headquarters from my first attempt to vote. Where I live, where I have lived for nearly ten years now, I have never waited long in line to vote. I figured I’d just take my ballot in and drop it off real quick just to make sure Louie DeJoy didn’t mess with my vote.

They were lined up around the block.

Suddenly, my faith in the United States Postal Service has been restored.

Regardless of how it was done, it is done: I have voted. Make sure yinz do, too.

***

I often wonder why some “conservative” friends are sometimes weird about attribution. One today in my facedbook feed began a post by claiming they’d found it “in the comments section of an on-line article.” This struck me as weird, so I did some painstaking legwork: I copied the first sentence of what they had posted, and I pasted it into a Googly search bar.

Wouldn’t you know that the piece was published on the Fox Business site and was authored by Andy Puzder. Who’s Andy Puzder? Why, he was nominated in December 2016 to be Impeached Preznit Carnage Dear Leader’s Secretary of Labor.

Here’s the lede in this little op-ed: “Released two weeks ago, the Census Bureau’s report on “Income and Poverty in the United States” for 2019 clearly shows that, pre-pandemic, President Trump’s economic success blew past that of any other presidency. First, the Census Bureau reported that real median household income grew to $68,703 in 2019, an impressive 6.8% increase over 2018. It was the largest one-year increase in median income on record going back to 1967.”

So. I googlied that, too. And I discovered a darned interesting article by Jonathan Rothbaum, chief of the Income Statistics Branch in the Social, Economic, and Housing Statistics Division at the US Census Bureau. Rothbaum wrote that there might be a wee bit of a problem with making comparisons to years prior to 2017, “…since recent estimates reflect changes implemented to the survey,” and also, ya know: Pandemic.

The article is called “Was Household Income the Highest Ever in 2019?” It wanders pretty far into the weeds, so your mileage may vary. As noted, however, the kernel of Rothbaum’s analysis is that Andy Puzder’s scratched-the-surface comparison and its slimy adulation of the Superspreader-in-Chief might leave us a bit short on truth.

Besides, there’s that trickly little qualifier in there, “pre-pandemic.” As in yeah, I was in terrific health before all the tumors. I don’t care if the fucker put a literal chicken in every literal pot before the pandemic. In fact, that’s a polling area I’ve never been able to understand, oh, Trump has been horrible on the COVID, but he’s our man when it comes to the economy! There is no economy with COVID. There’s only more and more people skewered via intubation in ICU beds.

I remember when it was explained to me what had to happen in order to conquer this pandemic. First, we have to stay home so as not to overwhelm the medical infrastructure. Next, we have to test people, test a lots of people. After that, we ask anyone who tests positive where they’ve been and who they’ve seen in the last two weeks or so, and we go to those places, and we find those people, and we test THEM. And so on, and so on, and scooby doobie doo.

Do you notice a part of that we’ve not done? The contact tracing? Like, not at all? We are EIGHT MONTHS into this pandemic now. There has been no federal push to do the most vital, the most aggressive thing that can be done to whack this virus down. And this Andy Puzder offers up an analysis that is no better, no more useful than the nostalgia one feels flipping through one’s high school yearbook. Remember before the pandemic? Wasn’t that neat?

Impeached Preznit Carnage Poopypants is still making fun of reporters for wearing masks; he just did this yesterday. He has not learned a single solitary thing not even after having experienced this illness himself. Another term will not cause him to improve. He is a worthless, shitty, no-good chief executive of this country, and he’s got to be voted out (since the Senate abdicated its responsibility earlier this year).

Joe Biden will encourage masks and will in fact mandate them where he can. He will mount a national effort toward testing and create an infrastructure for contact tracing. And, while mounting a response to the current crisis, he’ll proactively work to be prepared for future strikes. And I can bullet-point all of the other initiatives Biden has posted on his campaign literature, but there is one thing he has done and will do that really creates the fault between these two candidates regarding this plague:

Joe Biden wears a mask.

So, from this perspective, for me, this was a good day. I voted. I saw formidable lines for voting. And I have just watched Biden speak in Luzerne County, Pa., and it was a strong speech. I am feeling mighty good about this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

14 Days

Toby Ziegler believed in magic.

White House Communications Director for fictional President Josiah Bartlet, Ziegler says he has written two speeches on election night. "I've got a speech if he wins. I've got a speech if he doesn't," he says. Despite apparently legendary poll numbers for Bartlet, Ziegler obsessively insists he won't "tempt the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing." Josh Lyman joins the meeting and, upon learning that Deputy White House Communications Director Sam Seaborn has somewhat mocked this, Lyman agrees with Ziegler's prescription: Seaborn must go outside, turn around three times, and spit. Or curse. We're not sure which.

I sure am glad I ain't Toby Ziegler.

I've been saying "landslide" for a while now. When I say it out loud to other human beings, sometimes they make that same Toby Ziegler superstitious face, and I prepare for them to insist that I get myself outside to do some sort of skyclad ritual in order to please the whatever from high atop the thing. Don't get complacent, says they. We can't be complacent. Complacency. That stuff's a killer.

And they're not wrong. Whatever label you stick on your forehead, be it "liberal," "progressive," "Democrat," "socialist," "radical," or "Abbie Hoffman," no, we can't be complacent. We can never be complacent. But I'm not being complacent. I'm being confident.

My voting plan is to awake early(ish) Saturday morning, the first day for early in-person voting in New York, and to traverse to the local mall that is .25 miles from my home, and to vote. From the looks of the reporting, many other Americans have made and stuck to voting plans around the nation. Look, NPR said so.

There are many reasons I think it's wise for Democratic voters to shake off the putrid shade of PTSD that afflicts from 2016. This is a different year. It is a different election. Our nominee is running a great campaign. He chose a rock star running mate. Even the polling averages are looking good for Democrats. And the opposition, Impeached Preznit Carnage G. Fuckhead Not A Real Billionaire, keeps finding and triggering all the shit-packed frog-mines in his path. (I have many other reasons but am trying to write succinctly.)

Of course don't be complacent. But please, find some confidence to wear in your hat. Stow at least some of that dread and loathing under your seat. Like my man James Carville used to say, we're right. They're wrong. And if Impeached Dear Leader Dances Like Elaine Benes has been good for something, he's been good at demonstrating just how right we are. People are aware. And they are showing up.

::whispers:: landslide!

Now. Go vote. And let your little light shine.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Here in Edinboro, Pa., when I was a kid, street signs were these four-foot-tall white concrete monoliths with the street names in black lettering. I reckon they thought that was a rustic little touch to Lakeside. At some point, though, this borough had to put up real street signs, probably at the behest of PENNDOT or some other crazy liberal big-government nonsense.

These days though when you're walking around Lakeside, you notice that these posts seem a bit more colorful. It seems the fad now is to paint the things. Here's one I made a picture of yesterday while Mom and I were out for a typical lake walk.

Of course it is dog-themed. I think Edinboro has more dogs than people.

Anyway, here's the scoop on all the post painting. Edinboro is like that, community-minded and crafty. I noticed as we walked yesterday that it's also a good excuse for neighbors to have some new conversations.

This, of course, while maintaining a healthy six-foot distance.

It feels pretty good after six months in maintaining a comfort bubble within Monroe County, New York, to bust out and finally send a little time at my lake. I am right now this morning watching the most screamy children I've ever witnessed play at the playground across the street. Beyond that in my eyeshot is the pretty, spring-fed lake that draws people here, a little choppy this morning. Mom and I are having a nice, albeit socially distanced, visit. I had to have her watch my favorite new whodunnit Knives Out last night, and I think it was a hit. I liked it better the second time around; that is a good movie.

There is even less to do here than usual. Many antique shops are open by appointment only, the campus is sparsely populated, and we are still not as lulled as a Trump fan that sidling up to the bar at the Edinboro Hotel is a great idea. But it sure is pretty. And we have these new decorated posts to look at.