Friday, November 20, 2020

A Vital PSA From Rachel Maddow

From last night's TRMS. Stick with it through her technical issues. Is worth it.

Friday, November 13, 2020

On November 13...

On November 13, Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place of residence; that request came from his wife. Deep down, he knew she was right, but he also knew that some day he would return to her. With nowhere else to go, he appeared at the home of his friend, Oscar Madison. Several years earlier, Madison's wife had thrown HIM out, requesting that HE never return. Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?

(Thanks to my friend Todd, who remembers this date every year.)


Can somebody please explain to Impeached Preznit Carnage 217 Electoral Votes that he did such a good job as preznit that he doesn't need to serve another term?

Monday, November 9, 2020

Yellow Taxi

Joni Mitchell's vision is literally happening directly outside of my apartment. "They paved paradise; put up a parking lot." It seems I can never move anywhere and just be left in peace.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

A Good Day

I am enjoying my favorite salad, an olive salad with juniper dressing, and I am listening to this weird bootleg-sounding CD I picked up some time ago of Duke Ellington circa 1971. I don't expect the best sound quality when enjoying music of this era, but this bad recording is missing the charm of earlier Ellington bad recordings and just sounds like some wisenheimer snuck in with a tape recorder they borrowed from the high school AV closet, so I turned the volume down a little, but it is a nice break nonetheless as sometimes the MSNBC, after I've consumed it in large quantities, scratches my brain bumps in bad ways. And today has been a large MSNBC day here at the Serious Poo-Poo Institute of Technology, my friends.

As you may know, Rachel Maddow is in COVID lockdown presently but was able to provide some of her cogent color from her bunker, and she enunciated a thing I've been thinking all day, how before today, Impeached Preznit Carnage One-Termer's threats to not concede, to sue, to stamp his widdle feet and cry, to not concede, to not recognize the legitimate results, how that threat prior to today felt like a dark and cold approaching storm. However, she said, today, these efforts seem merely "laughable," and yes, that is the word she used. And, she's right.

I had expected a Biden victory to emasculate Trump. I hadn't expected it to have happened so quickly. Earlier today, Twitter covered up four of his tweets consecutively, due to them being full of bullshit. He snuck away to go golfing, and America went and called the race in his absence. By the way, whose job was it to try to convince him that going golfing on today of all days is the most horrible of ideas, and does that person still have a tongue in their head? How about the person who had to deliver the news while this dipshit was on the links?

And I know I've been somewhat of a Pollyanna regarding Biden—funny, Joe Scarborough used the same word this morning by way of self-description—but the micro-era I'm driven to in my thoughts is when we were all wringing our hands about the running mate. There were reports Susan Rice was in the mix, and Karen Bass, and Val Demings, but whether you remember the short-list names, you certainly remember the waiting. We'll announce on Aug. 1. That became next week in August, and on Aug. 11, it became we'll tell ya real soon, so there was even more waiting that day, which is when he announced. But to me, the waiting, the seemingly stretched process by which he decided, I think it offers assurance. The VEEP pick is the nominee's first preznentshul decision. Joe Biden did it right. And I think he did it right ever since. And today, these Untied States of America are enjoying the fruits in a one-term Trump.

That there was any question is a wonder. A re-elected Trump would have been a re-elected impeached president. He would have been a re-elected president with 120,000 COVID deaths on his head, with 550 needlessly orphaned children on his head, a re-elected president who did not bother to press the issue of the murder of American resident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a re-elected president who used the military to clear peaceful protesters from the premiere protest park in Washington, D.C. just so he could hold up a Bibble and take a picture, a re-elected president who dared to present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Rush Fucking Limbaugh.

Biden is already getting to work. Axios reports that he will soon announce a COVID Task Force. There is already talk about his Cabinet. The projected president-elect and vice-president will speak tonight and claim victory. And Americans are dancing in the streets.

It was, indeed, a good day.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Perfection

Joe Biden did this weird thing today where he made a brief speech and said exactly what was needed to be said. Here is a link to the transcript of his speech today. And here is what I consider to be the nut graf:

We the people will not be silenced. We the people will not be bullied. We the people will not surrender. My friends, I’m confident we’ll emerge victorious. But this will not be my victory alone or our victory alone. It’ll be a victory for the American people, for our democracy, for America. And there will be no blue states and red states when we win, just the United States of America.

He spoke 796 words today. 796 words. And with the words he chose, he offered comfort, and sanity, and leadership. His speech was not about minute-to-minute politics. It was not about winning or losing. It was about comforting a reasonably jagged-feeling America. It was a fireside chat. And it helped.

This is why Joe Biden is the perfect candidate for our times. It's why he's the best choice to be president right now. Since his nomination, I have been unable to shake the feeling that the Democratic Party accidentally somehow stumbled into perfection like a guy in a tux who trips in the mud. Without an apocalyptic challenge in front and, let's face it, all around us, he'd just be Joe Biden, older Joe Biden, who doesn't cope as easily for his stutter anymore, who seems to yell more than he needs to, who says "look" and "folks" a lot.

But what we've been lacking has been a president who rises to the occasion. Impeached Preznit Carnage Weird-Lean Pear-Shaped Hickey is a president who has been offered the greatest opportunity to do that thing a president does when challenged, to grab the bullhorn on top of the smoldering pile of rubble, to yell at the German man to tear down the wall, to say the thing about asking not what your country can do for you, to break out and sing "Amazing Grace." No president has been more challenged to rise to the occasion, and, weirdly, Impeached Preznit has willfully crossed his arms, pouted, and refused to do so every stinking time.

Joe Biden isn't even the president yet, and he rises to the occasion every time he's seen in public.

We’ve had a hard campaigns before. We’ve faced hard times before. So once the selection is finalized and behind us, it’ll be time for us to do what we’ve always done as Americans, to put the harsh rhetoric of the campaign behind us, to lower the temperature, to see each other again, to listen to one another, to hear each other again, and respect and care for one another, to unite, to heal, to come together as a nation.

This is a study in contrasts to how the current occupant of the Oval approaches it:

This is a fraud on the American public. This is an embarrassment to our country. We were getting ready to win this election. Frankly, we did win this election. So our goal now is to ensure the integrity — for the good of this nation, this is a very big moment. This is a major fraud on our nation. We want the law to be used in a proper manner. So we’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court. We want all voting to stop.

This is a country in sore need of a chief executive capable of rising to the occasion, capable of registering empathy, capable of embarking on a sensible path forward, capable of leading with integrity and by solid example. Joe Biden does nothing but prove himself to be this.

Somehow, the Democratic Party chose the best person for the job, I think nearly by accident. Joe Biden is no mere second banana any longer. He's not just good.

He's perfect.

We'll know more later today. But keep honking your horns, America. We've got this.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

That's The Trouble With Never

Like them big trucks trying to run the Biden bus off the road, California v. Texas is roaring down on us. Oral arguments start Nov. 10 in the Supreme Court's hearing of whether or not the Affordable Care Act should be annihilated. From where I sit, the Republicans' (read: federal government's) support for this is pretty short-sighted.

Republicans have already painted themselves into a corner. They decided long ago (as documented in Robert Draper's fine book, Do Not Ask What Good We Do: Inside the U.S. House of Representatives) that they could not afford to allow any legislative nor legacy success for President Obama, on the grounds that it would cost the Republican Party politically on a leviathan scale. The covert strategy on the Affordable Care Act, of course, was to throw glass shards into the thing when they could, so states would drag their feet on expanding Medicare, nnd Marco Rubio would nix high-risk corridor payments, and the federal government would cut back on reminding folks about open enrollment periods. Overtly, the mantra became "repeal and replace."

The problem being that there are things Obamacare does that people like, one of the most striking of these being the provision that prevents insurance companies from screwing people with "pre-existing conditions" with their pants on. And so you have an impeached preznit who insists that they have already done away with Obamacare, but that, somehow, this protection would remain sacrosanct.

As observed previously by this wonk and others (a fellow Smirking Chimp contributor Miles Mogulescu does an A+ job of laying this out, here), there is quite literally no other way to maintain this promise (besides completely socializing medicine in the United States). The promise to repeal Obamacare but to continue protecting people with "pre-existing conditions" is the elbow-in-your-ear of public policy. It just can't be done.

However, I do see a possible legislative way forward. It's stupid. But hear me out.

So what if Congress went ahead and repealed the Affordable Care Act, then introduced a new bill called the "Schmaffordable Shmare Mact." And instead of exchanges, this thing would have markets. And instead of subsidies, it would have oh, I dunno, call it "assistance for care." Instead of a mandate, there would be a requirement. And so on. They could say, oh, no, this isn't Obamacare. This is the Republican plan. It's much, much better. They could keep their promise. They could save face. And Americans could keep their current coverages. Even Democrats could go for it because the results would be laudable.

Now, as I often remind people, I am not a lawyer. But as I understand it, California v. Texas entertains two clear paths whereby the Supreme Court could completely overturn the Affordable Care Act. That would render anything resembling it as completely vulnerable to constitutional challenge. Therefore, any future legislative efforts toward health care reform could be nothing resembling a mandate, a penalty, establishing state-wide exchanges, regulating shit insurance plans, etcetera.

That leaves only one reform option on the table, Action Jackson. And it rhymes with "Medicare For All."

You know, Republicans, if you paint yourself far enough into that corner, there's a little stool and a dunce cap waiting for you. Sit down and wear the hat. You've earned it.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Why Are You Confident About Biden 2020?

I remember the conversation I had with Eric just before I left work in 2016. He was sure Trump would win. I was sure Hillary would win. We both said so.

Eric and I both shared the same birthday.

And he was right. And then he died.

Rest in peace, brother.

***

This is not 2016.

I keep saying that a ya’ll keep nervously scratching your arms and you’re all like ARE YOU SURE?

Yes.

I’m sure.

2016 was weird. Let’s start with the fact that it was the first election in eight years not to have an incumbent. Or that it was an attempt by political party to garner a third term as preznit. Nobody ever seems to factor those impossibilities in. Instead they be all like “Hillary was a horrible candidate and never went to Wisconsin and said that thing about coal that once.”

2016 was weird.

Is there a 12 step just for you?There was Comey. There was Russia. There was, sorry if you don’t like to talk about it, but there was Bernie. There was the Green Party. And, yes, there was Hillary.

This is not 2016.

This is 2020. And there is an incumbent. And his record is the worst in American history. He has torn breastfeeding children from their mamas’ tits. He has looked the other way amidst reports that an ally put bounties on our soldiers’ heads. He has been impeached for leaning on a foreign entity for garbage on a political opponent. He has inarguably bungled a response to the most vital health crisis this country has ever experienced. Just yesterday, he left his own supporters out in the middle of nowhere to freeze to death.

I still think we’re going to be okay. I’m not saying I think it’s going to be easy.

But have you seen those lines?

Paul Weyrich is shitting his pants in his grave.

It’s going to be okay.

Really.