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!

4 comments:

  1. Haven't been to Fells Point in years, but for Pete's sake, why in the heck can't people go out and have a good time with or without a mask and have a good time without all the nonsense? I just don't get it. Years and years ago, Virginia Beach used to be the spot to go for Spring Break, but it turned into a nightmare of violence and naked people. So that's no longer the hangout, and geared more towards families these days. They're so serious about it, that people can actually get a $250 ticket for cursing on the Virginia Beach boardwalk! Have an awesome Thursday! RO

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    1. "a nightmare of violence and naked people..." I hope those are two separate scenarios. I'd hate to think that there were a bunch of naked dudes running around beating people with... whatever they had in hand.

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  2. Put some people in pandemic lockdown extended stay for a year and a bit and when you release them they just can't seem to get along and play well with others anymore. Seems there are a lot of angry people roaming about and randomly being reactive as justification for how they just are. That tacky Jesus monstrosity getting hit by Lightening and burning up was hilarious... and some good Bad Karma being displayed right there!

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    1. The last thing we needed as a culture was an extended lockdown to make us become even more self-absorbed.

      That lightning strike was practically the highlight of the year that year. It was an unsubtle display receiving an unsubtle rebuke.

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