Monday, June 21, 2021

Debunking a Fact-Free Whine-Fest

I just happened to stumble over some blog material I had stashed in my email “Drafts” folder. Apparently sometime after Election Day, I found a conservative list of complaints and squirreled it away for later examination. Why there were no graphics that went with it, I have no idea. I can’t remember where I found this, only that I copied the verbiage and stashed it in “Drafts.”

Anyway, it’s somewhat dated but still infuriating in its delusion, so let’s have a look. The GOP gripes are in red. (As if you won’t be able to tell.)

I just don’t recognize MY country any longer! What has happened to America in the past few decades?

Our Biggest, and Greatest City gets invaded by Muslims, and we elect them to our Congress and they want to Impeach our President!

“MY country?” Listen, pal, “YOUR” country includes everyone. You obviously misspelled, “OUR country.” Right out of the gate, there’s the religious bigotry. Apparently being Muslim is a disqualifier to holding office, because there is no difference to a MAGA between the twenty-some 9/11 hijackers/conspirators and every other Muslim in the world. “White makes right, baby!” Maybe he never noticed but a shitload of non-Muslims wanted him impeached too. Lastly, I wonder if the former guy might have written this himself. It certainly has his compulsion for random capitalization.

Our Children don’t have any Identities anymore, and our Bathrooms are places for predators.

Really? Unidentified children are on the loose? Or is it maybe that some of them choose identities that he doesn’t like? And show me where attacks in bathrooms have been committed by Trans people or crossdressers? It isn’t happening. This is just a scare tactic accepted as fact. He might as well be ranting about the Boogeyman.

Our subways have become a home for Psychos, Mental Patients, and the Homeless to do their Dirty Deeds. They are so filled with Crime that people fear to use them.

LOL… he thinks this is new?  Where has he been for the last 50 years? (Probably in Montana or something, where the only Subways sell sandwiches.) Although I can’t speak for other cities, but I’ve never felt threatened in my 20 years of riding the Baltimore Metro (subway). Sure there are the occasional panhandlers, smelly people, shoplifters selling their plunder, and loud cellphone talkers, but that’s just a microcosm of the city. It’s just funny that he seeks to blame Democrats for a societal problem that covers decades. (Of course they do, everything that’s wrong is always the Democrats’ fault, right down to Republicans storming the Capitol, on command, on film.) Lastly the only “Dirty Deeds” I know about are done dirt cheap by this guy:

We allow Sick people to cross our boarders ILLEGALLY to commit horrible crimes, and bring in drugs and yet we call the Wall that stops them “Immoral”!

More scare tactics assumed to be true. The statistics show that immigrants, legal and illegal, commit far fewer crimes than American natives. As for being sick? Another big assumption and is especially rich considering the pushback on mask-wearing, spacing, and vaccinations currently underway in red states. Plus, we (Republicans included) considered the Berlin Wall immoral for generations. This one would be no different.

We want more Compassion for the illegal Invaders, yet we have no compassion for our Vets!

The obligatory reference to veterans’ problems, which Republicans constantly bemoan but never actually do anything about it. Invaders? Immigrants are “invaders,” but only from the Southern border, right? They’re only “invaders” if they’re not white. Just more racist bullshit.

We impeached the best President that we’ve had in decades, and vote for a Senile, delusional, useless, inept man to destroy it.

“Best President” by what standards? By the “Most impeachments?” Definitely. Most indictments in an Administration? Absolutely. In fact, all the descriptors used in his previous sentence describe the former guy to a tee. I don’t even have to elaborate. You can come with an instance or several for each one.

We put a person into the second-highest office in the land only because of her gender, and the color of her skin.

Yeah, and after only 45 white guys in a row. The white guys were cheated, I tell you! The fact is that Harris’s qualifications are no better or worse than the rest of her predecessors. (Maybe someone can tell me how abundantly qualified Dan Quayle was.) Hell, she was a qualified as Obama was, plus she served more time in state office.

When if ever will we wake up and see what we have done?

As for what you have done, it takes at least four years just to clean up afterward. It happens time and time again… a Democratic administration has to come in and repair the damage that Republican tax cuts, environmental chaos, infrastructure abandonment, and safety net destruction do to the country. A party that has no intention to actually govern sure fights hard against one that does.

Monday, June 14, 2021

What's the Gift for THIS Anniversary?

Reading the local news last week reminded me of one of my favorite philosophical notions, “When you try to please everyone, you end up pleasing no one, least of all, yourself.”

A couple weekends ago there were some disturbances in the downtown-adjacent area to Baltimore known as Fells Point.

It’s a party place, kind of touristy, with shops and boutiques, lots of bars and restaurants, many of which have live entertainment. You can join “ghost tours,” which entail visiting the places that are reportedly haunted. It’s right on the Harbor and used to be a working cargo dock and haven for pirates.

Anyway, the good times have been recently interrupted by a bunch of drunken street fights, brawls, and shootings. Definitely not good for business. People are coming out of COVID hibernation and have forgotten how to act around other people.

So the local businesses reached out to City Hall, asking for help. That help arrived in the form of increased police presence, frequent ID checks, parking areas cordoned off, checkpoints coming to and from the area, etc.

Now the Fells Point businesses are pissed about that because they feel they’re keeping their customers away.

For the life of me, I don’t know what the hell they expected the cops to do. How are you going to keep street fights from breaking out if you’re not on-site? Magic incantations? Thoughts and prayers? Barry Manilow music?

And on the other hand, we have other communities charging favoritism, that the police are sent right to the “showplace,” while their neighborhoods (where no one wants to go near without a Kevlar jacket and helmet,) are ignored.

And I guarantee that if a similar police setup happened there, they’d complain about that too. Maybe they’re upset because the police were doing a lot of summons-issuing and just being a general presence. There was a conspicuous lack of surrounding and beating the shit out of people in cuffs. I don’t know if that was due to an overabundance of attention, cameras, or white people.

***

Are conservatives really this dim, or are they just counting on their audience not knowing any better? I saw this on Facebook recently.

There are a couple of things I’d call out here. First is the stereotype of the teenage burger-flipper. That’s what they always call minimum wage workers. But many child care and elder care workers also work for minimum wage, as do the “essential” grocery store clerks, hairstylists, and many others, including agricultural workers who often work off the books and get far less. Millions of grownups work for minimum wage, not just teenagers looking for beer money.

The other point is that minimum wage and social security have totally different targets and purposes, so it’s disingenuous to compare them head to head.

Social security comes from a dedicated fund, paid into by you and your employers. Some people WILL be getting $2400 per month because they’ve worked long and hard to build up that fund over their entire working life. The object is to provide a safety net so that people who have worked all their lives can retire without having to live in a box under a bridge. The money comes out of a finite fund that workers pay into. That’s the kind of “self-reliance” Republicans are always going on about.

Are Republicans really calling for people who barely work to earn this $2400 per month minimum? Of course not. Their only goal here is to justify keeping the minimum wage low. This argument doesn’t accomplish that.

Minimum wage is another story. The source of the money is as varied as the number of employers in the country. Employers can pay whatever they wish and they wish to pay as little as possible. Many employers have forgotten that people work to provide a living for themselves, not for the joy of performing manual labor for the entitled class. Prices have skyrocketed over the last several decades and the minimum wage has not. If the Republicans in Congress had approved incremental increases over the years, there would be no need for such drastic action. But they didn’t, because they were afraid it would be bad for the bottom line, so now a correction is desperately needed. And they’re still fighting it. Some things never change, and Republican fealty to the next quarterly report is one of them.

***

I have to wonder about who makes this shit up. Look at this meme:

This one is aimed straight at those who get their information solely from Fox “News” and other propaganda outlets. If they would ever actually listen to the president, they’d be shocked to find a fellow who speaks clearly, directly, and often makes good sense. The way conservative media tells it, the guy is a week away from rolling around in a puddle of his own making.

Considering the nonsense that came from the former guy, they have zero room to poke fun. Even though he’s sometimes informal, President Biden uses a grownup’s vocabulary, as opposed to the 4th-grade, sing-song Dick and Jane bullshit for which the other guy was known.

You think Biden is incoherent? Show me, and it better be good because I can find miles of tape of the former guy talking in circles, making nonsensical and often contradictory points. If I was a Republican, I wouldn’t come anywhere near this line of criticism. But then that’s what they’re known for isn’t it? Calling out others for things they’re doing themselves.

***

I saw this headline this morning on my Yahoo news feed:


Is it bad that my first thought was to think, “Well, that’s redundant." “Arm up” and “get guns” mean exactly the same thing. She’s already padding her list. I say if you’re going to issue a dime-store call to arms on the southern border and advocate summary executions, at least be clear about it. After all, when you eventually go on trial, get convicted, and die in prison, it will probably be your epitaph.

***

I got a text message today from my brother-in-law, who reminded me about an important anniversary.

Way back when, while traveling down I-75 to see my sister and aforementioned BIL, we passed by the Solid Rock Church and beheld the sight of their 62-foot statue of Jesus, emerging from a pond. You could only see Him from the chest up, so technically, it was a stature of half-Jesus. Full Jesus would have been about 124 feet, I suppose. I wonder if they had the bottom half underwater.

We now consider statues of Confederate generals are offensive! I wish we had that kind of sensibility back then. Maybe someone would have lashed that thing to some speed boats and tore it down “Porky’s” style.

Anyway, I thought it to be such a garish and unnecessary waste of foam and fiberglass and so it induced me to write a post about this scam mega-church. (The proprietors of this “church” were as crooked as their statue was ugly.)

Not more than a week later, the stats on that post blew up to such an extent I had to investigate why. I then learned that the statue had been hit by a bolt of lightning and burned to the freakin’ ground! Throughout the day, nine different friends sent me the story.

Such great symbolism with this happening! I had to bang out another post just to deal with the glee. Comments were a riot, and that was where we coined the epithet, “Great flaming Jesus!” As in “Great flaming Jesus, that burned up real good!

And that, my friend, was 11 years ago, today.

Good times!

Monday, June 7, 2021

The Road to Ruin

I’ve never felt such dread before when the party I support is “in power.” I should feel much more content but all I see on the horizon is disaster. It’s not because of shortcomings I see in leadership, it’s that our guys seem to be getting outflanked. That’s what happens when you’re suddenly playing a game with no rules.

The biggest source of anxiety is regarding the 2022 elections, which are being slowly and steadily stacked for Republicans to retake the House and Senate. Red state governments (GA, TX, FL, etc) are busy passing draconian voter suppression laws, no doubt to be rubber-stamped by the current SCOTUS, to ensure their reclaiming of power. Minority-rule power at that. (By which I do not mean rule by “minorities” as the term has traditionally meant, but fewer people on one side of an issue as opposed to the other.)

The only brake on this runaway train seemed to be the prospect of passing the For the People Act, (HR1) which would federally codify voter rights and make it easier to vote rather than harder. In short, it would cut off the red states’ attempts to suppress opposition vote under the guise of “election security,” whose only aim is to “secure” the “election” for themselves.

Over the weekend, Sen Joe Manchin (D?WV) publicly came out against the bill, because he thought a partisan bill would send the country into chaos and end democracy as we know it. This makes no sense to me considering how the red state voter suppression bills are doing that right now. How much will the country be torn apart when state legislatures start overturning elections based on unproven accusations and allegations?

This makes the issue of killing the filibuster moot. If we can’t get the 50 Democrats we have on the books to support free elections, there’s no point in trying to end the filibuster. That’s another issue that neither Manchin nor Kyrsten Sinema support. And now it looks like it’s something we’ll need in two years, if the GOP doesn’t kill it themselves first.

So the only brakes we have on this runaway train seem to have the tensile strength of jello. The only strategy left is for the Democrats to call all this out in public, rally the citizenry, and prepare everyone to dig in to exercise their vote no matter the obstacles. Excuse me if I’m not optimistic about this option. Politics is a huge part of life to me, (you too if you’re reading this) but for huge swaths of people, it’s just not a priority. Certainly not something over which they want to lose a half day’s hourly wage. And that’s exactly what the GOP is counting on in rolling out their fascist “election” rules.

This weekend also saw a new rally from the former guy, who among other things:

·        Rejected the notion that several Democratic-leaning states didn't side with his agenda.

·        "I don't believe it," he said. "I can't believe that some of these states are blue."

·        Alleged that elections in some blue states could be "corrupt."

It depresses me that we live in a world where the ravings of this madman still matter to some people. The guy couldn’t be any more full of shit if he replaced his Big Macs with turdburgers. How narcissistic can someone be to disbelieve that there could be people who don’t agree with him? This is what happens when you’re surrounded by yes-men who want nothing more than to keep their parasitic relationship going.

In his mind, the mere fact that his opponent got more votes, by default, means they cheated. And what’s worse, he’s convinced his idiot followers, people he wouldn’t let wash his car, of the same thing.

Until this country learns how to deal with objective reality rather than run with intricate conspiracy theories, we’re all looking at a one-man, one-party autocracy in the near future.

And speaking of conspiracy theories, the worst thing might have happened… one of them might have been close to the truth.

I haven’t been following this story very closely so I’m not sure of the details, but apparently there was something from Dr. Fauci’s released emails that make people think the coronavirus was actually created in a lab rather than springing from wet market animal transmission.

Now, the reason I haven’t been following this story is that it doesn’t make a lick of difference. Whether this was a deliberate Chinese plot, (which also killed thousands of their own people), or an accidental release, it doesn’t change the fact that the former guy ignored and downplayed the seriousness of the virus when he knew for a fact how dangerous and contagious it was.

How would the origin of the virus change what could have been done about it? What if China had come out and said, “Here, take that! Die Yankee pigs!” Would the former guy have addressed the problem any differently? Would that admission have removed the need for spacing, masking, and vaccines?

Of course not. We’d be in the exact same place we are now. The former president kicked the problem to the states, told them to deal with it on their own, and then fought them for supplies. He created a political litmus test out of a common-sense health issue and Americans have been dying over of it ever since.

So now, the wingnut brigade thinks they’re onto something since one of their fevered wet-dreams might have paid off. I attribute it to the famed Blind Squirrel observation, in which one occasionally finds a nut.

But now they’re using it as “proof” that the election was stolen and the former guy is actually the current guy. Unfortunately for them, you can’t create buttercream frosting out of manure. It’s plausible that the Chinese were working on a virus, which then escaped containment, either on purpose or not. It’s within the realm of reality.

However, the idea that somehow thousands of illegally cast votes appeared in precincts across the country without leaving a molecule of evidence, thousands more GOP-cast ballots disappeared, never to be found again, but the down-ballot elections were totally unaffected, all the while both Republican and Democratic election officials swear by the counts … that’s what they’re counting on being publicly revealed?

These people really do have their heads in a bubble. And by bubble, I mean that empty space formed amid one’s lower torso.

  

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Long Weekend Bluz

I’m writing this Memorial Day afternoon, well into my second margarita, so please excuse me if this post doesn’t hit my usual bar for clarity and insight. But that’s not really a very high bar now, is it?

First I want to thank the families of those who served, fought, and died in defense of this country. Their family’s sacrifice is not forgotten. I’m doing that first because I have to be careful how I phrase it, because if I do like Kamala did and just wish everyone a happy Memorial Day weekend, I’ll be called a commie, military-hating, no-good foreigner.

You have to be super-careful if you’re a Democrat these days because everything you say and do is wrong, regardless that your accuser has done worse, just because you’re a Democrat. Because the Veep wished people a nice weekend, she’s being disrespectful, but when the former guy said that veterans were suckers and losers, he was taken out of context, or the reporting was wrong, or the leaker was a commie, or he didn’t really mean it, or something, something, Socialism! MAGA!

I saw another classic meme misdirection this weekend, one that comes around every Memorial Day like clockwork:

This is the Republican response to getting anything done for anyone… that we can’t do “X” because homeless vets, etc. The trouble with that logic is that the Republicans never do anything for veterans either. They had control of the presidency and both houses. Did they do anything for veterans? Nope. Nothing that wasn’t already in the works. Not that they didn’t TRY to take credit for it.

All the former guy ever did was sign a VA Mission bill, which allows veterans to have a private doctor if their wait time is 20 days or if their drive is 30 minutes. That’s it. No programs, no money spent. So spare me the dewy-eyed paeans to our veterans. Republicans are done with them as soon as they’ve served their purpose. They only care about using them as a lever against doing something for anyone else.

***

It looks like we dodged a bullet in Texas with their proposed gutting of voting rights, right down to allowing the legislature to overturn election results. It was the most fascist, anti-democracy, anti-American piece of legislation I’ve ever seen. It took the totality of Democratic lawmakers walking out to deny them a quorum to keep the bill from passing.

How much do you want to bet that the next order of business they take up is lowering the number for a quorum to however many Republicans are currently seated? Fucking maggots…

***

Sweetpea has been having a terrible time trying to order a pair of shoes online. She saw an ad on Facebook for some shoes that would help her sore feet so she took a shot and ordered them. When they eventually showed up, they were size 4.5. She ordered 7.5. The invoice showed the correct size. Seems like a simple matter of switching them out, right?

Nope, in their Pidgeon English emails, the company wanted her to measure her feet and provide pictures of the shoes not fitting.

We sent them this shot of the shoe she ordered lined up among her other 7.5s.


That wasn’t enough. They then wanted a picture of her foot on a ruler, because… whatever. Which we sent.

When they finally sent another package, they turned out too small as well. On the size tag, they had 7.5 written in with a marker. When we scrubbed that away, the tag said 6.5. It was infuriating.

And still, they wanted to argue about it, insisting that we send more pictures of her foot not fitting in the shoe and one with a ruler. I think this company may be run by foot fetishists. We resent the ruler shot from the last time. And she’s been very direct with what we see happening and what we expect. It’s obvious that they’re out of 7.5s but they have to send us something, so they try one ploy after another, always throwing up another hoop to jump through… anything to get us sick and tired of fighting about it; just giving up and letting them keep the $50.

Not gonna work though. At least we have the ace in the hole, of disputing the charge with the credit card company. But in the meantime, we’re being entertained by how they try to bob and weave and avoid admitting fault (or… gasp… either fulfilling the order correctly or providing a refund.)

***

We’re grilling out tonight and I was almost really excited about it. Sweetpea came home and said she found wild boar on sale, so I’m thinking, giant fire pit, raging fire and then red-hot coals, with a great beast on a spit.

Alas, she was talking ground boar, which wouldn’t look nearly as impressive on a spit. Not even if I molded it into the shape of a pig.

Director’s DVD Commentary: My apologies to my friend Infidel753, whose activism for meatlessness I respect, but cannot, myself, join. I acknowledge the horrors that go on in slaughterhouses, but remain secure in the knowledge that my food comes from wild hamburger tree groves, standing by vast, waving fields of bacon

 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Debunkery - The Gas Pains Edition

The conservative Facebook memes were even more lame than usual this weekend. Like this one:

Experimental drugs? For cryin’ out loud, the COVID vaccines have been tested out the wazoo. There’s nothing “experimental” about them. Granted, they are still evaluating data from those having taken the shot, but that’s what science is supposed to do. It’s always gathering more data, always refining conclusions.

Being approved for emergency use does not make it “experimental,” it’s just a sign of how seriously the situation was and how badly we needed relief. And so far, the data says it’s working.

Any peer pressure exerted is just a valiant attempt to get thick-headed people to give a care about their health, their family’s health, and that of anyone else they encounter. I know it runs counter to Republican “best practices,” but there are some problems that “rugged individualism” won’t solve. This is one of them. Now get your head out of Breitbart’s ass and get your shot. It’s not peyote, it’s a chance to resume a normal life.

Who the hell is “They?” There is no Democratic movement to replace “Mom” or “Mother” with “birthing people. What happened was a couple of Democratic congresswomen used the term on their own in an attempt to be more inclusive. That hardly constitutes a movement.

But of course, Fox “News” and the rest of the Republican talking heads have to jump on it to try to whip it up into something to be outraged about. President Biden hasn’t worn a tan suit yet, so I guess this will have to do.

This could be seen as merely a nostalgic look back to another time when it was less costly to buy gas. But the person who posted this also posts a variety of other dubious conservative memes and no doubt sees this as a knock on Biden. I’m treating it as such.

But yes, back in the “good old days” of seven months ago, people were housebound; no one was traveling or eating out, or going anywhere but the grocery store or the doctor’s office in their cars. Demand was down the drain so consequently, prices came down too.

As the effects of the vaccine take hold, demand is increasing, which causes prices to return to where they were. Plus we had that pipeline hack which panicked everyone for a week, allowing the oil companies to jack up the prices to capitalize on the panic. (It’s funny watching Republicans complain about how Biden hasn’t provided the kind of infrastructure that would prevent such a hack, all the while obstructing the massive and much-needed infrastructure bill.)

President Biden doesn’t control gas prices, nor does Congress or any sitting president*. It’s just what happens in a free market driven by supply and demand, the benefits of which Republicans tout at every turn.

*Unless they sign some loopy executive order like The Federal Gas Prices Must Rise Policy. Or start bombing the Middle East. But short of that, they have no role.

It’s a simple logical fallacy in which because B follows A, A must have caused B. In other words, gas prices were low, Biden was elected (7 months ago) and now gas prices are higher, so Biden must have caused it.

It’s the kind of argument you can make up out of anything. By the same reasoning, Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl caused gas prices to rise. But as much as I’d like another reason to hate Tom Brady, the argument is complete bullshit.

If conservatives want to sharpen their meme game, they should look at these two:


Logical, factual, and to the point.

It’s alarming the lengths the red states are going to now to crack down on reproductive rights, now that they see a favorable bench on the Supreme Court. Unfortunately, I don’t see any way that a major change isn’t coming down the pike. It’s inevitable, given the way the former guy let the religious whackos sculpt his nominees. We won’t be able to look to SCOTUS for help in keeping the misogynistic wingnuts at bay. The only recourse is to elect rational people to local government seats who will vote to undo these hideous laws. People overwhelmingly favor the keeping of Roe Vs. Wade and the spirit it represents. Local governments need to reflect that. When it doesn’t, it’s our own fault.

Democrats need to participate in every election and vote for people whose values reflect our own. Only coming out every four years isn’t much of a help.

Meanwhile, Republicans in state government are busy creating laws to prevent us from doing that very thing. (And SCOTUS isn’t going to be much help with that either.) Through gerrymandering and the severe curtailment of mail-in voting and drop-boxes, assuming control over local election boards, creating veto power for themselves over election results and certification, and distributing voting machines in a partisan manner, they are ensuring there will be no more upsets like in 2020.

They’ve shown their hands. They have no more ideas on how to win hearts and minds, so they are left with rigging the voting process. These ploys are so clear and obvious, they can’t even pretend it’s about “election security.”

They want the process hard and the lines long so that working-class people don’t have the time or inclination to vote. And you watch… right about the time someone sets up a service to stand in line for other people, like seniors, they’ll come up with another law to forbid that… they can call it the “No Cut-sies “ Rule.

Our only response is to be more stubborn and more committed than they are and make voting our Holy Grail, stopping at nothing to get it done, every election, every year. Double-check our registrations, get there early, stand in the goddamned lines they create, and vote angry!

The inmates are trying desperately to run the asylum and we can’t let that happen.

And now just to end on a lighter note, there’s this:

If either of these clowns (on the right) come to trial, I’m getting the popcorn.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Maskholes

With spring charging into full bloom, it looks like we’re beginning to put the COVID in the rearview mirror here in Maryland, if not the rest of the country. I’ve been watching the daily numbers releases for the COVID stats since last year. Yesterday there were 369 new cases reported in Maryland. That’s at least a week’s worth of numbers coming in at under 1000, maybe more, since I’m going off memory from what I read in the paper every day. It took a long time to get under 1000 consistently. We had a dip a month or two ago, after which many counties relaxed their rules, which resulted in the numbers spiking back to over 1000 again.

But now, with the vaccines readily available and the big push going out to get people vaccinated, I think the lower numbers are taking hold. The testing positivity rate is at 2.25%, which has been creeping down since early this year.

As of yesterday, 83.14% of Marylanders have received at least one shot. The governor’s original target to remove statewide mask mandates was 70% fully vaccinated. (“Fully vaccinated,” meaning it’s been two weeks after receiving a second shot or the single J&J shot.) But then last weekend, he scrapped them anyway.

Baltimore City is keeping its mask mandates until more people have been vaccinated. I can’t blame them. Young Mayor Brandon Scott has not been messing around with the ‘Rona. He’s kept hardcore capacity limits and mask mandates for the city. And the results speak for themselves. Early last summer, according to the stats, Baltimore County and Baltimore City (these are two completely separate entities… the county wraps around the city), were about 200 apart, regarding COVID cases. The county then began pulling away and today has roughly 12,000 more cases than the city. This is with about 7% fewer city residents being vaccinated, compared to the county.

The difference was the enforcement of COVID protocols. Granted, downtown restaurants and bars took a major hit. Most of the ones around my office building closed for good. I hope that some of them get restarted under new management. It would be a shame if doing the right thing for public safety resulted in turning downtown into a ghost town for good. But you have to applaud the resulting decrease in the number of people catching the virus.

Of course, there are dark clouds to go with the silver lining.

Maryland is a distinctly “blue” state, with the populous center being heavily blue and the lighter-populated edges heavily “red.” As a resident of that heavy blue center, I should be sitting pretty.  But it’s a cryin’ shame there had to be a political difference.

I maintain that if the Former Guy could have lived up to the bare minimum expectations of a president, and just said, “Hey, take these precautions and stay healthy. We’ll help you out as best we can,” we would have had a fraction of the deaths we’ve already had and vax numbers would be much higher. We could have been at “herd immunity” months ago. But no. Because he was too vain and narcissistic to be seen wearing a mask, and had such a persecution complex, he made it into a political issue and so the country naturally fell back into its political tribalism. His people felt the obligation to back up whatever dumbass things he said because after all, he was their dumbass.

Hence, the Dems are getting vaccinated and the Repubs aren’t (as much). They’re loudly proclaiming how much they want things to go back to normal, yet taking actions that prevent that very thing. (Way to go, Ricky Schroeder. Now maybe you and Scott Baio can start a club. Call it C-FLOR… Child-stars For Living on a Respirator.)

I’d be fine with it if I thought they were going to die off from catching COVID, but I don’t see that happening. More likely, because enough others will be vaccinated for us to become at least close to herd immunity, it will just empower them to walk around going, “See? No vaccination and no masks and I’m fine.”

At which time we’ll have to shoot them, which is our gods-given right via the Second Amendment.

OK, it’s not that I’m seriously promoting the deaths of those with whom I have a philosophical difference, but if people are tap-dancing on a greased balcony railing, it’s hard to get worked up over it if they fall off.

Light My Fire

I had one particular activity in mind to do before these crisp spring nights turn in the miserable days of summer. Ever since I first visited (and eventually moved in with and married) Sweetpea, I’ve wanted to use her fire pit. There was one right in the backyard, with the remains of a single, charred log left in it. It was about 8” in diameter. I’ve been wanting to burn that up for four years now. It would just sit there, taunting me, like an unfinished project.

So, last Monday, after dinner and after dutifully dashing off my weekly blog post, all the elements came together: clear, cool weather and nothing compelling on TV. Sweetpea and I sat outside on the patio and I proceeded to rely on my old fire-tending practices to construct a nice little fire in the fire pit.

Obviously, I couldn’t just try to light the big log; I had to get a nice fire started with smaller pieces of wood.

I mentioned in a post back in March that our yellow lab has a habit of bringing back giant sticks from his morning walks.

I figured this was a perfect time to put them to some use. He wasn’t happy about it and kept trying to steal some from the pile I made as I broke them up. Fortunately, the thing with this dog is that he’s more interested in the stick acquisition than actually owning or playing with the sticks.

Initial stage

So, I got a little fire going and it was nice to sit around it like I used to do back when I was a kid in the country. (Or at least tending to our fireplace in the house.)

And you know how we guys are when we successfully build a fire. We’re very proud of ourselves.

“I have made fire!”

Granted, I had a lighter and newspaper, so I didn’t have to rub my hands raw trying to make a spark, but no matter.

Once I was sure I had a sufficient base, I dropped the big log in and tried to get it going. I never saw it really light up, but I did see smoke coming from inside it. I figured that was a good sign.

Now with log nemesis added.

By the end of the night, all the sticks were gone, leaving only the smoldering log behind. It was a bit smaller than when we started but I thought I could take a shot at it another night. As much as I love the smell of burning wood, I wasn’t too crazy about it all over my shirt. I definitely had to get a new one for bed, lest both Sweetpea and I make the sheets smell like a burning barrel.

Anyway, when I checked back the next morning, voila, the log was gone. Reduced to ashes overnight. Must have just smoldered away.

I was like, “Take THAT, Mr. Log… Your wooden qualities are no match for my incendiary capabilities! Now someone bring me their finest meats and cheeses!

Now I just have to wait for the dog to restock the woodpile so we can do it again.

Monday, May 10, 2021

Must Scrat Love

It was slim pickin’s this weekend, looking for memes to dissect from my conservative friends. It’s almost as if they’re embarrassed by the state of their party. Or maybe they’re a bit queasy about supporting known, provable, lies. But I was able to find a couple to work with.

Right off the bat, I would doubt the veracity of the initial statement. I don’t think those three have anywhere near that kind of wealth, especially the number of houses. I know there was a misleading charge about Bernie buying a lake house with campaign money, but that was false. (In reality, he inherited a house in Maine, which he would not be able to easily visit, so he sold it and used the proceeds to buy the lake house. Nothing about that is illegal, rare, or limited to the realms of the rich.)

But it’s true they held a town hall on income inequality… 3 years ago in 2018. So it’s not like this was a current event. But here’s the thing: even if it WAS true, that these three are worth $20 mil each (and that’s a big IF), what they’re fighting to accomplish will cost themselves money. And they’re OK with that because they’re interested in coming up with domestic policies that benefit the whole country, not just the upper crust.

Show me one Republican politician who supports an issue that will personally cost him or his big donors. I’ll wait...

Time’s up. Don't feel too bad; Republicans are all about protecting the “haves” against the “have-nots.” And they’re almost always “haves,” themselves. Or at least they plan to be shortly after they leave Congress and get jobs in big money “think tanks” and appear on Fox “News.”

As I’ve said often before, they just use the social issues like abortion and immigration to get bigots, fools, and prigs to vote for them, so they can get on with the financial fellatio of the rich.

Every big Democratic donor is acting against their own financial interest because Democrats want to tax the rich to provide a better life for everyone else. And they’re willing to take the hit to make that come to pass. So go ahead and attack the Dems who have money. It only goes to show that they care about the American citizens and each Republican is nothing more than a crazy little Scrat, scurrying around, trying to protect his own nut. Bag the elephant; this should be the GOP symbol:

Eliminate the ‘Death Tax!’”


Onward...

Here’s a news flash: the courts would be able to do a far better job holding criminals responsible if they didn’t have so many police running around planting evidence, falsifying reports, and beating up handcuffed detainees.

There was a story I covered two years ago about how there are now over 300 Baltimore police officers on a list with the State’s Attorney’s office as non-credible witnesses, who cannot be put on the stand. Until that changes, the cops can arrest as many as they want, but they’ll end up right back on the street if they can’t be convicted.

You want to get criminals convicted? Make sure the cops follow the rules so they can testify without tainting the case with their own history of abuse and corruption.

***

If I may take a personal digression for a moment, I’d like to bid congratulations to my nephew, who yesterday graduated from Penn State. I am beyond proud of the young man. And geez, it seems like just last week when he was taking his first steps.

The dude is going to be totally set up for real life too; he’ll be walking into a job that will pay him a figure I never saw until I was 48 years old, (44 if you adjust for inflation.) Maybe if I’d taken economics instead of radio/communications I’d have done a little better in my early years.

But he’ll be able to live at home for a while and sock all that dough away. He should have quite a war chest when it comes time to move out on his own.

It’s funny though. When I heard about his job, (and got back up off the floor), I went and looked up my own wage history as provided by the Social Security Administration. (I used to get annual mailings from them, showing my taxable income for every year I worked. Now it’s all online.) That’s how I came up with that little factoid above.

My first full year after college, I made $10,800 ($27,390 in 2021 money.) With that, I was able to move out of the house and shack up with my girlfriend and another roommate. A year later, I made $11,440, which allowed me to get my own apartment after the girlfriend thing inevitably blew up. My rent for a 1-bedroom efficiency, less than a mile from my workplace, ran about $180/month. I was happy. I had what I needed and just loved being independent, with a place of my own. It was enough to keep me in food, wine, records, and the occasional piece of stereo equipment.

I don’t know what I would have done at that age with the kind of cash my nephew is going to have. I’m sure he’ll manage it carefully. He’s pretty level-headed. I just fear that he’ll miss out on one of the best financial teachers there is, which is living paycheck to paycheck. Not having much money is a great way to learn how to get good value for your buck and to learn the difference between what you need and what you want. It’s a skill that will pay off for the rest of one’s life.

It’s a shame that his last year of school was a mess. There were a lot of parties, football games and other social events that never came to be. Just walking around being a senior was a fond memory I had and it’s too bad his crowning year was kind of a downer.

But, he’ll no doubt make up for it in the year to come, just by being young, handsome, witty, and carrying some spending money. There are far worse scenarios that could come to pass.

The kid is fortunate that he had an ideal situation. He never needed student loans so he’s starting out debt-free. That’s a rare benefit these days. His family, myself included, will make sure he finds his way and builds a solid foundation from which to launch.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Waging War

Conservatives are trying everything to convince people that raising the minimum wage to $15 will summon the End of Days. Like here, for example:

This is kind of a chicken and egg thing… Did minimum wage make prices higher, or did high prices necessitate a rise in the minimum wage? I’m betting on the latter because for as long as I’ve been aware of California, I’ve heard that it was an expensive place to live. California should be the example of why there should be a higher minimum wage. Prices are so high a $7.50 wage just can cut it.

And that brings me to another problem with this meme… it’s not like California has one universal pricing system. There are vast differences in prices between places like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Jose, as opposed to Sacramento or Bakersfield. I presume it’s the same way in Kentucky, although you probably get a discount if you offer up an hour with your cousin, Fuzzy Mae.

OK, I can’t really poke fun at Kentucky. Here in Maryland, the most frequent discount is the five-fingered kind, which is often holding a gun. So who am I to cast aspersions? But I digress…

So I get that Republicans have to fight against any kind of living wage… it cuts into profits like all payroll does. But if they hadn’t fought so hard for so long that the current minimum wage hasn’t moved in over a decade, maybe it wouldn’t be such a big jolt now. Prices keep going up but wages, especially at the bottom, have not. It’s time to catch that up. But not without tales of woe coming from big business.

I say if they’re really so worried about having to raise prices to counteract higher wages, maybe some of those CEOs can pare back on their annual bonuses and stock options. (Not like that will ever happen.)

But wherever it comes from, most of the money paid out in wages will turn around and get spent, raising everyone’s boat.

Looking at other countries, whose minimum wages are far higher than ours, their prices are not that much higher, if at all. All the hype about soaring prices is just a scare tactic on the part of the rich, which they’ve sung every single time the minimum wage was raised in the past. And somehow, the businesses managed to keep on going and we kept on buying stuff. There was no economic crisis. It was then and is now, a ploy to keep things the same, with the owner class comfortable and the lower class scrambling to get by.

Personally, I’m willing to pay a little bit more for my meal or whatever if I know the owner is paying his workers a living wage. It’s just part of living in a thriving economy.

More Debunkery

Ahem… There would be no need for marketing campaigns if there wasn’t a significant portion of the populations laboring under the delusions that the vaccines are dangerous, COVID is a hoax, COVID is no worse than the flu, the seriousness is exaggerated, and the death numbers are artificially inflated. And that doesn’t even count the real wackadoo stuff like microchips being injected into us for malevolent tracking purposes or some jibber-jabber about 5G. If we’re ever going to obtain herd immunity, we’re going to have to reach some of these folks, hence the heavy messaging.

So here we are, hindered from getting back to normal because idiots won’t take the precautions that will get us back to normal, because they want it to be normal right now!

I don’t know what these people think the payoff would be if their delusions were to be true. Where does the profit come in from convincing people to get vaccinated? I think, like the fabled South Park underpants gnomes, they’re missing a key step.

Who benefits from a massive downturn in the economy? DoorDash and UberEats? Maybe they’re the brains behind the whole anti-vax operation? Maybe that’s their business model… Ravage the population with a virus, so they have to stay home and order delivery. Once they’re spoiled by food being brought to the door, they’ll forget that they had to overpay for it by $10. That’s just good old American entrepreneurship.

I also saw another meme that interested me, but I didn’t capture it because basically, I’ve addressed it before. It was one of those things where they have a list of all the stuff for which they say you need an ID and no one complains about it, and then there’s the Voter ID.

It’s funny how they’re so desperate to not be seen as racist while doing such blatantly racist things. The last time, I attacked this argument by disputing the things they said required IDs. But here’s a different reason why this is such an invalid point: They’re only addressing the small scale. It’s as if they’re describing a house as an object that’s 4” x 2” x 8”* because they’re only looking at one brick.

You have to pull out and see all the bricks to see what’s been built. So then when you factor in:

·        Requiring state-issued photo ID

·        Increasing the price of those IDs

·        Closing places that issue state-issued photo ID in urban areas.

·        Closing voting precincts in urban areas.

·        Reducing the number of voting machine present in urban areas.

·        Hiring “poll watchers” whose job it is to “challenge” any voters (people of color) they see fit

·        Reducing early voting hours

·        Reducing the number of drop boxes

·        Restricting the use of absentee ballots and reducing the time frame to get them submitted

·        Using all these things to create long lines and then forbidding people to bring food or water to those in line.

The only and obvious conclusion that these bricks make a wall and it’s placed directly between a certain segment of the population and the voting booth. They want to make it as difficult as possible, with the hopes that people won’t put themselves through it. It’s sad that this is the only way they see themselves winning again. No new ideas, just election manipulation. So don’t cry to me that it’s “just an ID.” It’s not. It’s just another brick in the wall.

 

*Dimensions are rounded up because I didn’t want to get into all the fractions. So please don’t rely on these numbers to calculate your bricking needs. 

Monday, April 26, 2021

Evaluating the Power of One's Convictions

While I was happy to see the conviction of Derek Chauvin on all three counts, it’s hard for me to get excited about it. I know a lot of people were expecting a giant OJ-sized curveball but I wasn’t one of them. I was sure he wasn’t going to walk because this was a case unlike so many others.

First, the video evidence was incontrovertible. It captured the before and after, by different people from multiple angles. There was nowhere to contest that what everyone saw wasn’t what happened.

Next, this dance is getting old. We’ve seen all kinds of contortions performed to alleviate abusive policemen from consequences. The public was going to rage across the country if justice wasn’t served.

Also, in this case, you had police testimony… the good cops finally stood up… where they said this was not what they were trained to do and it was not department policy directing his actions.

Lastly, half of the jurors were Black, which is not to say their vote was a given, but they would be much harder to sell on phantom exculpatory evidence. The blind support of law enforcement espoused by so many white people would probably not be in play here.

With all the evidence presented, video, police and medical testimony, and the laughable defense arguments, there was nowhere else for them to go other than guilty, at least not without massive bribery. This case was a slam dunk.

I’ll feel better about the efforts to hold cops responsible for egregious abuse when decisions start coming down in cases that aren’t this water-tight. I’ll be happy when good cops testify against bad cops when there isn’t complete video evidence, but they saw something that happened and it wasn’t right.

I’ll be happy when we stop seeing police reports that have to be retracted when witnesses or video contradict the initial statements.

I’ll be happy when police departments are staffed by those who use their badge to serve the public… ALL the public, and not to justify violent, sociopathic behavior.

I’ll be happy when people aren’t executed for holding cell phones, sandwiches, or anything else that short-circuit a cops brain into thinking he’s in mortal danger.

And we still have to worry about the decision getting overturned on appeal, or a sweetheart sentencing deal.

So this is a good step, but only the first one. We have several staircases yet to go.

RIP

It was with great sadness last week that I learned of the passing of Jim Steinman. Along with writing songs for Air Supply, Bonnie Tyler, and Celine Dion, Steinman was best known for his work with Meat Loaf. Steinman wrote several albums for Meat, most notably his debut album, “Bat Out of Hell,” which racked up enough sales worldwide to become the third best-selling album in history. It’s also my favorite album of all time.

Meat Loaf and Jim Steinman on the back cover of Bat Out of Hell.

I’ve written a lot about Meat Loaf in the past… about how I first discovered Bat Out of Hell, when I got to meet him, and how Bat Out of Hell was my good luck charm for bad-weather driving. (When the snow was flying, I’d put on Bat and I knew The Loaf would get me home. Or if I smashed into a pole, at least I’d go out to some good music.) I also wrote about how the first time I ever got to see him perform on TV, I tuned in hoping to see him do Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad or Paradise by the Dashboard Lights, but it turned out to be some duet with Cher.

I think Meat is the greatest pure rock n roll singer ever. I’d put the note he hits at the end of Bat Out of Hell up against any rock artist across time and space, just for power and savagery. But as his long and checkered career has shown us, he’s nothing when he’s not singing Jim Steinman songs. It was Steinman’s vision to create a symphony of guitars and bombast, married to Meat’s sonic boom of a voice. Steinman would create this huge calamitous climax to a song and Meat would belt it out of the park.

Steinman may have an annoying habit of lyrical repetition within a song, (his songs would be about a third as long if he cut the repetition), but not many were better at the clever turn of phrase.

And I know that I’m gonna be like this forever/I’m never gonna be what I should/                                           But if you think that I’ll be bad for just a little while/ You know that I’ll be bad for good.”

Title track for “Bad for Good,” Steinman’s solo album that was supposed to be the second Meat Loaf album, except the Loaf developed throat problems after touring and couldn’t sing.

I know you belong, inside my achin’ heart/And can’tcha see my faded Levis, burstin’ apart?”

For Cryin’ Out Loud,” the most powerful love song I know, into which he finds a way to fit in a dick reference.

Surf’s up/And so am I.”

Surf’s Up,” from Steinman’s solo album, which Loaf covered shortly after. The song is basically one extended dick reference.

I know you’re looking for a ruby in a mountain of rocks/But there ain’t know Coup DeVille, hidin’ at the bottom of a crackerjack box.”

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” which everyone knows. (Or should.)

If I could only find the words then I would write it all down, if I could only find a voice I would speak/It’s there in my eyes, oh can’t you see me tonight, why don’t you look at me and read’em and weep.”

Read’em and Weep,” from Meat’s second album, Dead Ringer.” Oddly enough, Barry Manilow covered this song but didn’t come close to doing it justice. (Note to fledgling singers: Never try to cover a Meat Loaf song. It will just make your voice sound puny by comparison.)

I started prayin’ to my God and on my mother’s grave that I would love you till the end of time/I swore I would love you till the end of time. /  /  / So now I’m prayin’ for the end of time…”

The classic climax to “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.”

Yes, Jim Steinman was definitely an acquired taste. But he was responsible for one of the greatest albums in rock history and a bunch of other damned good songs. He will be greatly missed.

Monday, April 19, 2021

National Punching Bag

Conservative rag The National Review was taking shots at Dr. Fauci again last week, comparing him to that last guest who’s still drinking and dancing when the hosts just want to go to bed:

He’s been a target of the Right since Day One when he dared contradict the Former Guy on matters within his area of (considerable) expertise. Republicans are determined to minimize the seriousness of the coronavirus in order to keep schools and businesses open and making money. They don’t care about the damage done as long as the money keeps rolling in and upward.

Republicans complaining about Dr. Fauci always strike me as sounding like kids whining because they want dessert for dinner. They just want everything over so that all the elves can go back to their trees and resume making cookies. They desperately want to turn back the clock to pre-COVID times and then turn it back further to 1949.

I understand that we are all COVID-fatigued and want things to be normal again. And we would be closer to doing so if only we didn’t have that childlike desire for instant gratification. Just when we get to the point where we can put a serious limit on the Rona, we ease off the brakes, throw open the screen door, let the horse out of the barn, celebrate on the 10-yard line, or any other metaphor you like that means "to give up too soon." Premature inoculation, if you will.

Our country leads the world in COVID cases, for the simple reason that 40% of the country thinks it’s a hoax, despite suffering over 567,000 deaths.

Look at this map from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center, specifically at the yellow graph in the lower right.

The poorly drawn red arrow shows where we started “opening back up” in February. Look at the increase in cases, and that’s WITH the aggressive rollout of the vaccine. We’re blowing it because we are too impatient and too reliant on “expert opinions” coming from non-experts, who usually have skin in the game. And that first little bump on the left of the graph shows where we were when we shut down the country the first time. I’m not saying we keep up the draconian measures, but we should at least insist on masks and distancing until the vaccinations take hold.

Taking potshots at the nation’s leading epidemiologist for changing his story only shows that they don’t really understand science. They seem to think that Dr. Fauci was supposed to stand up there on March 12th, 2020, and layout every detail regarding transmission and treatment of COVID-19. They don’t understand that no one can have a full picture of the details on a virus that’s just getting started. Science observes ongoing behavior and evidence and updates its theories to suit the data.

Science does NOT stake claim to a theory and then cast it in stone when other factors call it into question. That’s what religion and politics do. They start with the desired outcome and backfill the rest.

There’s also the question of being a decent human being and a good neighbor. Look, I’d like all this to be over as much as the next guy, (aside from working at home, which I never want to end,) and I just got my second shot last Friday. Two weeks from now, I’d love to rip my mask off and go running barefaced through the streets and retail outlets, screaming “I’m free! I’m free!”

But even after being fully vaccinated, I can still contract the virus and then spread it to others, some of whom may NOT be vaccinated. But I can’t see running wild like that until we achieve the fabled herd immunity.

It’s ironic, in a “snake chasing its own tail” sort of way, that Republicans are desperate to get to the no-restriction phase of herd immunity, yet actively work against achieving said herd immunity by downplaying the seriousness of the virus, going without masks, gathering in bars and restaurants, avoiding the vaccine and trying to convince others to do so as well. Thus, they ensure that we never reach that coveted “freedom” they so loudly desire.

But let them throw jabs at Dr. Fauci all they want. That’s the thing about a punching bag… it always snaps back.

***

In other COVID news, I noticed Republicans going nuts about the pause with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. I don’t know if the pause is a good thing, (using an abundance of caution to not kill people) or a bad thing, (scaring people out of getting the shot), but I do know that if those test results came out and they didn’t put a halt to its use, Republicans would go nuts about that too. It really doesn’t matter.

Whatever happens with Democrats in charge, Republicans are against it. To be seen fighting the Libs is all they have. (Well, that and stoking fear of foreigners, Blacks, gays, trans, Muslims, Atheists, feminists, and tan suits.)

***

I also saw this headline from the National Review in my Yahoo news feed:

To me, this sounds like the best news in a long time, on the reproductive front. And they’re calling it “cruel?”

Shit. Cruel is forcing a woman to carry and deliver a baby she doesn’t want, can’t afford, or will kill her in delivering, while opposing assistance with birth control, medical care, food, or child care. They’re just pissed because obtaining the “abortion pill” by mail bypasses all the roadblocks they’ve set up, like making up restrictions that only women’s health clinics have to follow and shutting down any place that can’t comply, allowing mobs of people to line the streets like a gauntlet outside the clinics, enforcing waiting periods to make sure it will take a couple of trips, sometimes over many hours, requiring doctors to read scientifically incorrect statements to their patients, perform invasive, medically unnecessary tests, and so on.

It’s the same reason they hate voting by mail… it bypasses their vote suppressing policies.

 ***

I culled this from Facebook this weekend.

Um, I can think of a reason… how about so we won’t slaughter each other in numbers we can’t even keep track of any more?

Always with the grand conspiracy theories, they are. Hey, when assault weapons were outlawed in 1994, what did the government do for which you should have shot them? I’ll tell you… not a damned thing. All that happened was that the number of mass shootings went down. And then as soon as Republicans let the ban expire in 2004, the numbers skyrocketed.

If, as the meme intimates, we need semi-automatic rifles to go up against government forces that have turned against us, ask the Taliban how effective all their guns were against the forces of the United States military. They had lots of AK-47s and it didn’t do them much good at all. Defending one’s home against military invaders, using nothing but the contents of one’s own gun locker is a pipe dream, a Hollywood, bad-ass, feel-good story, and not marginally related to reality.

I’ve gone through all this before. I believe civilians have no business owning semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity clips. They serve no function other than to kill lots of people in a short amount of time, and to give ammo-sexuals their thrills when they fire guns that go boom-boom-boom. The latter reason is no rationale to tolerate the first.

The gun nuts love to rail against “taking our guns.” Even if that were possible, that these killing machines could somehow be removed from circulation, (which I seriously doubt,) we’d still be the most heavily-armed citizenry in the world, just with standard rifles and handguns.

If Washington DC didn't have strict laws against open carry, we wouldn't have seen the January 6th Insurrection, it would have been the January 6th Congressional Massacre. 

They also love to argue that guns residing with law-abiding citizens are not the problem. And the problem with that is most mass-killers ARE law-abiding citizens, right up until they’re not. Just ask the victimized parents of Sandy Hook.

People certainly wouldn’t stand for some kind of national Evaluate the Citizenry for Signs of Evil program, so how else does one identify potential killers? It’s not like the guys who suddenly go off and shoot up a workplace or factory always have a history of gun violence… it’s usually the quiet ones or ornery loners who just go off. It’s unlikely that we could ID these guys in enough time to confiscate their guns. (And if we do, it sure seems like they can go right back out and buy more guns.)

The only solution is to put limits on these guns. All we need are a few more politicians with the balls to take on the NRA. 

Getting it past the new Supreme Court is another story.