Monday, September 26, 2022

A Confidence Man

Did you see this headline about Sen. Lindsey Graham from last week? I wonder if he really believes his own bullshit here…

Oh, he’s confident, is he? Seriously? Is that because millions of American women are so hair-on-fire mad at Republicans for pushing for women to have fewer rights than dead people? Is that because a referendum on the same subject got trounced in blood-red Kansas? Is that because other Republican colleagues of his are all, “Hey Lindsey, shoosh with that, will ya? Yer gonna get us killed, or worse, not re-elected.”

Unless he’s talking about his local church coffee klatch, I’m confident that a mass majority of Americans would absolutely NOT support a national ban on abortion. It makes me wonder where he’s getting his information. Is he looking at a poll of Federalist Society members? Otherwise, his statement reeks of desperately wishful thinking.

You have to wonder that when an idea is this unpopular, why would any politician go near it? That’s why prospective justices bob and weave and do anything but reveal their true intentions regarding how they would rule on abortion cases. Then after they’ve been appointed for life, they can get on with reducing American women to the level of “breeding livestock.” But they don’t lead with that, for Pete’s sake. It’s bad for business.

The Universal Kibosh

As I’ve often said, whenever conservatives want to squash an idea, they just drag out the issue of homeless veterans… not to provide homes, obviously, but to use them as a blockade against anything that costs money or benefits someone they deem undesirable. So here we are again:

I saw this posted on Facebook. I’m not sure if it’s a patch or a doormat, with the latter being applicable to the way Republicans figuratively step on veterans to prevent anything beneficial from happening to anyone else.

My usual reaction is that this isn’t a binary equation. There’s no reason the government can‘t do something for both veterans AND asylum seekers. We don't have to decide on one over the other.

Republicans had two years of unrestricted power. If they wanted to do something for veterans, they could have. But what did they do? They passed a massive tax cut for the richest among us and made it permanent. Then they tossed some tax cut scraps to the rest of us, and set it to expire after seven years. And that’s about it. They did diddley-squat for homeless veterans when they had the chance.

And hell, Republicans had to be shamed into supporting health care for veterans and 9/11 first responders last month. Their initial action was to shoot it down as payback for the Democrats having the gall to pass a bill Republicans didn’t like. Then Jon Stewart raised enough of a ruckus about it that they had to turn tail and reverse themselves.

This ties in with the Republican trope of using people’s lives as pieces on a board to play an inhuman game of chess. On one side, homeless veterans; on the other, asylum-seeking immigrants, locked into a perpetually stalemated game that no one ever wins. Except for the rich, who rigged the board in the first place, keeping us moving against each other while they pad their bottom lines.

I guarantee you this. If the Democrats ever proposed something to provide housing to every homeless veteran, (and they should!), Republicans would find a reason to block that too, probably while ranting against handouts and socialism. They’d accuse Democrats of political gamesmanship because they only recognize the games they’ve already fixed.

Here’s another angle on why providing homes for homeless vets would never fly: It would be unfair to the rest of the veterans who already bought their own homes. In fact, we may have already heard this argument a time or two, haven’t we?

Why Can’t We Just Go Straight to Jet Packs?

One of my conservative FB friends posted this on her timeline:

I just wonder where this even comes from. Is there a bloc of people raging against the A/C? I’ve never heard such a thing. I’m pretty sure it’s not coming from the mainstream.

But regardless, this is still another example of the Fossil Fuel industry sowing the seeds of misinformation to be spread by conservatives, to try to stamp out the momentum driving toward electric cars. They always seem to want to point out that it takes energy and possible earthly harm to create machines that reduce or eliminate emissions. And I’ll even concede that point, to an extent.

It takes energy to make both a gas-powered car and an electric one. See, both are on an even footing. But then take a look after the cars are built. One operates far more fuel efficient and the other continues to emit exhaust into the atmosphere and continues to require fuel that has to be pumped from the ground and highly refined, which also carries environmental harm.

Yes, electric cars require electricity, but that can be made with far less damage done to the atmosphere. There’s wind, solar, and even nuclear, that when done properly, are more environmentally friendly than drilling for oil and refining it into gasoline. But that’s the last thing the Fossil Fuel industry wants you to think about. They know they’re on the way out and they’re doing everything in their power to delay that from happening.

America needs to get off its collective ass and make progress with creating renewable energy sources. The tech is there, the conditions are there, we just need the collective will to make it happen.

Taking the News by Storm

I love it when hurricane season brings storms with the same name as people I know. I remember a while back when there was a famous storm with the same name as my ex-wife. I was totally on the lookout for clippings I could send her as the storm-ravaged her home state. But I never found anything compelling… most headlines referenced “Hurricane X” or “Tropical Storm X” rather than just “X Destroys Valuable Beachfront Property.” I was probably better off without it though. I doubt she would have accepted the clippings in the spirit I would have intended.

But this morning, I found a headline that I could use on someone else, so I tagged my cousin with it on FB.

That cracked my shit up as soon as I saw it this morning.

Ian appreciated it and wrote back about something similar his family had done regarding his father:

It’s even funnier because his dad is probably 150 lbs of bone and gristle. He could have had a fine career as a spy because he’d only have to turn sideways to he’d disappear from sight.

Lastly, just because this bluzdude has a birthday coming up this weekend:

Monday, September 19, 2022

MAGA Bingo

Hey there political junkies! Tired of listening to the same old excuses from the GOP whenever their Orange Idol steps on his own dick again?

Bored with the same old outlandish lies and blatant misdirections when one of TFG’s minions spills the tea on Republicans’ actual plans?

Why not make a game of it with MAGA BINGO!

When the next news cycle brings another atrocity, just cut out your game card and start playing along! Keep track of what the MAGAs say to alibi their heroes out of hot water and win valuable prizes!*

*Prizes = Sense of pride and well-being for not falling for their bullshit.

Yeah, That’s Exactly the Same

I saw this on my Yahoo news home page last week:

It’s from Fox “News,” of course. Otherwise, they might have realized that their guy spent millions worth of taxpayer money on golf trips, the funds for which were paid directly to his own properties. Maybe Fox should pipe down about a president going to vote.

And aren’t they against mail-in voting anyway? I guarantee that if he mailed in his ballot, they’d come up with some kind of twisted story involving fraudulent ballots. Given their own loyalists’ penchant for voting in multiple places or in precincts to which they don’t belong, they should pipe down about that too. In fact, they should just pipe down about everything… they’ll raise the country’s average IQ by at least several points.

The thing is, a president has to travel by expensive means. That holds true for presidents on both sides of the political divide. It’s a sign of a dishonest argument to castigate your opponent for something your guy does even more. But my point is that it’s rolled into the cost of doing business as president. There are protocols and security issues that are above and beyond the experience of the average citizen, so most comparisons are skewed.

What the president does is important. He should be setting a good example. Being seen in the process of voting is good for the country because it promotes an important civic duty. But then the LAST thing Republicans want is for the unwashed masses to actually vote, especially in person. That takes a whole area of fraud accusations off the table. That’s why restrict the number of voting machines in urban areas and pass laws forbidding the distribution of food or water to people in the lines they just legislated into existence. And speaking of, look at this local issue:

This is from this morning’s newspaper. Dan Cox is a Trumpian, “Big Lie” supporting wingnut who won the Republican nomination for governor, without the backing of the current Republican governor, who thinks he’s a wackadoo. He did enjoy the support of the Democrats though, who spent money on ad buys backing him, because they couldn’t wait to run against this guy.

Remember how the Republicans and the conservative media outlets spent weeks decrying how long it took to count mail-in votes and because of that time delay, insisted it was proof of fraud? I don’t think they want to give up that particular rallying cry, otherwise, authorizing the advance or same-day counting of mail-in votes is a no-brainer. What possible benefit is there to holding off counting the votes? I can’t think of a single up-side, especially when everyone wants results and decisions immediately, Republicans included. But, even more, they want their excuse to protest any election they don’t win. This guy is just trying to keep his alibis in play.

Pawns to Queen Four

I was appalled at the crass gamesmanship employed by Florida Man Ron DeSantis, who borrowed some asylum applicants from Texas and flew them to Martha’s Vineyard on the taxpayers’ dime. ($12 million worth of dimes.)

I haven’t seen such a denial of status as a human being since the Knights jumped the Queen in History of the World Pt 1.

Mel Brooks was joking, but DeSantis is not.

The MAGA adherents he’s trying to inherit from TFG love this kind of thing… it’s red meat for them. Immigrants are sub-human to them anyway so this is nothing. They’re probably patting themselves on the back for giving these people their first plane ride.

What they didn’t get right is the thought of any Lib-owning.

Nothing like this remotely happened. They thought the hoity-toities of the Vineyard would get huffy about it, and they might have if there were even there. But this is “off-season.” Most of the hoities have left, leaving only the common toities to deal with the influx. And that, they did. They got them set up with beds and meals and are working out what to do long-term. DeSantis apparently couldn’t be bothered to even check if the people he was trying to prank were home.

What DeSantis did, with the help of Governor Abbott from Texas, is basically kidnapping. They got them onboard this plane with promises of jobs and quarters, without even bothering to let anyone know they were coming. It was like they were dumping an unwanted dog on somebody’s farm. Or like some big prank, only instead of a stack of pizzas showing up, it was thirty poor, scared, immigrants trying to flee terrorists and criminals. Sounds like they got out of Texas just in time.

The other thing that gets me is that this isn’t even a Florida concern. If he wants to round up some immigrants, let him burrow into his state’s Cuban communities. What the hell did he do, ring up Abbott and ask if he could borrow a cup of Venezuelans? But he just wanted in on some of the good MAGA PR that Abbott was getting. This was nothing but a photo op. And you can tell that for sure because Fox “News” knew they were showing up and sent a camera crew. How is it that they knew but no one from the state or town knew? It’s because the most important thing was that Fox “News” got a story and some footage.

Both “men” disgust me, and it disgusts me even more that there are people who cheer them on.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Getting Down to Brass Tax

There are now three guaranteed certainties in this life, Death, Taxes, and Republicans trying to get out of paying taxes. I saw this a couple weeks ago and it got me thinking: 

First, I don’t know who was “crying” about Elon Musk buying Twitter instead of “solving” world hunger. Yeah, it would have been nice for a guy like Musk to spend some of his excessive dough on projects that would better our surroundings. And he likes to pose as quite the philanthropist, but I think he prefers his vanity projects.

And since when can $80 billion “solve” world hunger? There are far too many factors and variables to make it so that no one is ever hungry again. $80 bil wouldn’t make a dent. It may help a select group of people for a finite amount of time, but that’s not a solution. A serious solution would look too much like Socialism and that’s the last thing people who like this meme would want. Or, it might look like this idea from the 80s:

“It occurred to me that there wouldn’t BE world hunger if you people would live where the FOOD IS!

But I was really more interested in the IRS bit. This Democrat is thrilled that the IRS is getting rejuvenated. The last administration was keen to let the whole organization whither on the vine and die so that the richest among us could still use all the tax lawyers at their disposal to ensure that the national tax burden rested on the rest of us, and not them.

I don’t think the IRS is interested in chasing down us commoners for audits. Where’s the payoff in that? (Other than enjoying the sadism.)

If I’m a guy working for the IRS and I want to produce results, where do I look? I look where the money is, with the rich, and not with the working stiffs. Chasing down the average citizen is a waste of time and resources. I’d want to be able to say to my boss at review time, “I recovered X-dollars’ worth of unpaid taxes,” where “X” is the largest number possible.

Republicans know this, probably because their rich donors pound it into their heads, so they want the IRS to be as under-manned, under-funded, and under-equipped as possible. So when the new funding bill wanted to bolster the T-men, they figured they need to get the commoners good and scared about getting audited by gun-packing federal agents. It’s the tax equivalent of the “death squads” they trotted out to make everyone afraid of Obamacare, and just as misleading.

That’s the Fact, Jack

I saw this a while back and it’s just too ridiculous for words:

You have to admire the chutzpah it takes to attack fact-checkers by citing a book of myths and fairy tales.

The person who posted this on his FB account has posted several anti-fact checking memes in the past, no doubt harvested from the many conservative social media outlets he reads.

And what I always want to say, at top volume, is “Maybe if your side didn’t produce so much pure bullshit, the need for fact-checking wouldn’t be so severe!

I’m sure it does get frustrating to have everything your team tells you to believe turn out to be a nothing-burger. But the solution isn’t to kill the fact-checkers, it’s to cut the crap. Come up with a message that holds up to scrutiny.

But that’s the problem. The people creating bullshit memes know they’re untrue, but the truth wouldn’t be good for business. If TFG taught us anything it’s that you can get ahead but by flooding the market with so much junk, no one can tell one outrage from another. And by the time we get a handle on one thing, ten more have taken their place. It’s the “Hydra” theory of politics.

Game On

I know it doesn’t matter to many but I was thrilled, yesterday, to get back into pro football. Got my fantasy team stocked, got my picks made, got my game jersey mojo spreadsheet open, and I’m ready for some football.

But I also realized that the world of sports can also produce bullshit memes, which seem impressive at first glance, but don’t really hold up under further review. Like this one:

Everyone knows Tom Brady and usually has an opinion. Greatest of All Time? The Anti-Christ? Or maybe something in between. Personally, I’ll be happy when he retires for good because he pretty much owns my favorite team. The sooner he’s gone, the better for me. But I won’t argue that his legacy isn’t impressive. Impressive enough that it doesn’t need a meme like this.

What’s wrong with it? Well, it’s cherry-picked to make his legacy look larger than it is.

Look at the list of other quarterbacks. This meme creator specifically chose big names who didn’t win many (or any) Super Bowls. Where’s Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, or even Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning. Bradshaw and Montana by themselves would top Brady. (Each won four.)

Hell, if you really want to pad the list, why not add every quarterback in NFL history who lost a Super Bowl? You’d have to keep paging down just to see them all.

I say Brady’s Super Bowl accomplishments stand alone as some of the greatest ever. They don’t need to be fluffed up by weak comparisons.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Odd Bits - Editia Latina

Republicans are still bellyaching over the president daring to help the lives of ordinary citizens by easing their debt load. As usual, misinformation, misdirection, and outright lies take center stage.

Misinformation: this meme.

One of the main points of the debt relief order is that just getting a job does not solve the problem of paying off the debt. Between the high interest and the structuring of the payment process (to pay interest before principle), it takes a truly high-paying job to make a dent, let alone pay it all off. Lots of people struggling with student debt have jobs. But they also have life expenses like housing, groceries, medical issues, and utilities, all of which are at all-time highs. Unlike non-executive wages.

The simplistic notion of “Just get a job” doesn’t do justice to the situation. In fact, it pretends that’s the solution when it clearly is not. “Just get a job as a CEO or Hedge Fund Manager” would be much more accurate, but sadly, there are not tens of thousands of such job openings.

I saw a commercial last week that was intended to mock the notion of student debt relief. In it, they had people portraying various manual laborers sarcastically talking about how they don’t mind paying for other people to go to college. This brings us to:

Misdirection: Talking about how all these “college graduates” get a free education on the backs of the rest of them.

One of the glaring problems with the whole situation is that student debt is hardly limited to people that got their degrees. When I went to school, I was told that only about a quarter of the freshman class would ever graduate. Assuming those stats are accurate, or close to accurate, that leaves a buttload of people who took out the loans but never earned that degree that was supposed to be key in paying off the loan.

Sure, some partied their way out of school, and others couldn’t hack it academically, but there are also many who had to drop out for other reasons, like having to go to work to support a family, medical issues, or getting pregnant and starting a family. Or any of a myriad of reasons that don’t involve a lack of effort or attention. So right out of the gate, they have to find entry-level (and usually low-paying) jobs and still service a high-interest loan.

Also, consider that $10,000 doesn’t necessarily pay off a student loan. While a reduced payment is welcome, the payment structure is still the same and the lendee still has to make payments aggressively if they are to ever pay down the balance.

Republicans don’t want you to think about those sides of the story, they’d rather you concentrate on getting angry over supporting basket-weavers, navel-gazers, and partiers.

The commercial actors also mention paying the loans for “rich guys,” which brings us to:

Outright Lies: The advertiser knows very well that there is no debt relief in this order for anyone making more than $125,000 a year, which hardly qualifies as “rich,” so this is an outright lie. That’s what bothers me so much; that these guys are broadcasting a 100% verifiable lie, knowing a segment of the population will eat it up. They do this just to make more tax money available for being grifted by the banking industry. Keeping a boot on the necks of the working poor is just a fringe benefit.

Free Speech

You may have heard that President Biden gave a speech last week. Not many heard it first-hand, as none of the major networks covered it live, but the reverberations were massive. Immediately there was a great crying-out from the Radical Right, for having just been called out as fascists. Gee, all they did was try to overthrow the government, there was no need for name calling!”

I saw a conservative Facebook friend writing about this as the most incendiary and divisive speech ever. I was like, “Have you ever HEARD TFG speak before? Perhaps you’ve heard the crowd mooing back about “Brandon?” Christ, the cognitive dissonance is off the charts. Like most bullies, these people love to dish it out but they cry like babies when it’s thrown back. Perhaps it’s because it’s got that extra sting of truth.

I say it’s about time the Dems take the gloves off and go toe to toe. I’d rather be aggressive and win (by telling the truth) than turn the “other cheek” and get pasted.

Free Press

I came across a little editing snafu within the Baltimore Sun this weekend. It seems the Chess column was designed for a niche audience: Popes.

The text is in Latin. Not “Latin-American,” but Latin Latin. Like, Ancient Rome Latin. Medical School Latin. Ancient English Teacher Latin.

And not only that, what’s up with the chessboard moves on the right? They look like redacted nuclear codes sent by TFG. I think they’re playing it a little fast and loose in the page design room.

Local Poop

We’ve had a bit of stress over the last week… our dog came down with a case of the runs. We’re so fortunate I work from home because on Monday, the boy came to me every 60-90 minutes to be let out for a squirt. If we were both away from home for work, well I don’t even want to think about what kind of fresh hell we’d return to at the end of the day.

Sweetpea scheduled a vet appointment for Saturday so until then, we tried to fix things through diet. No more kibble and scraps, our boy dined on chicken breast, rice, broth, and a probiotic at every meal.

Our new preoccupation became trying to get glimpses of what the dog was producing and how to describe it, which wasn’t always easy or successful when he had to go out after dark. And we had to make extra sure we wore shoes out in the yard.

His frequency of going tapered off as the week went past until Friday when he never attempted a poop at all, so we were beginning to worry about the opposite condition taking hold. Like what if he now had a big chunk of rice holding up the works? We wanted to cancel the vet appointment, (“Put him on bland food for the week. That’ll be $300,”) but we didn’t want to be foolish about it.

Then when I got up Saturday morning, Sweetpea was out grocery shopping, but I found this note:

* "At the Loin” refers to the local “Food Lion,” which we always refer to as the “Food Loin” or just “The Loin.”

But yes, that was the top story, that we had finally achieved “poop.” Huzzah!

When she got back and gave me the rundown, she said she’d “Never been so glad to see a piece of shit in her life.”

What really cracked me up is the “we” part of the note, because it read to me like she was crouching down right alongside him. I’m sure the neighbors with Ring cameras would have been shocked. Or amused.

 Director’s DVD Commentary: The post title “Editio Latina” translates to “The Latin Edition.”