Monday, September 25, 2023

Corruption Eruption

Looks like we’ve got a whole new scandal to chew on, and Republicans are overjoyed that for once, it’s not one of theirs.

Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) is on the hot seat for bribery and influence peddling charges and from the snippets of evidence made public, it looks like he’s in deep doo-doo.

Apparently, the prosecutors have him nailed with envelopes stuffed with cash left in his suit jackets, which sounds like something right out of the Sopranos, bars of gold, text messages showing him working on behalf of Egypt, and much more. You’d think he was preparing for a new world economy following the next Apocalypse.

As usual, the accused is claiming the prosecution has it all wrong. “Ooopsie!”

I maintain that a case like this never hits the news unless it’s nailed down tight. Even the Dems realize this guy’s goose is cooked; unlike the Republicans do, no one is rushing to his defense. That’s the thing with Democrats, when one of ours gets caught with his hand in the cookie jar, he’s out of the club. Gone! And I’m fine with that.

I do make room for the fact that in New Jersey, the (currently Democratic) governor gets to name a replacement, so there will be no risk of losing a Senate seat to the opposition. If that were not so, I think we might have seen a different response. Which I would understand.

Republicans do not screw around when servicing their power. It doesn’t matter what one of their guys does, if it puts a seat at risk, they rally around him. Or at least refuse to take any action. See Santos, George, aka The Tommy Flanagan of Congress.”

“Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

And I’m sick and tired of our guys taking the honorable approach and then losing seats.

The most egregious examples were the two impeachments. The Dems built a wall of evidence, brick by brick, which formed an undeniable link to high crimes and misdemeanors. I watched a great deal of the proceedings… they had TFG down cold. There was no other possible conclusion.

But what did the Republicans do? They closed their eyes, maintained that they saw nothing, and voted to acquit. Because to them, there is never an up-side to giving up a seat, a policy, a talking point, or anything, ever.

In politics, there are no style points for coming in second. Republicans play zero-sum, smash-mouth politics. If Dems don’t do the same, they have no hope of containing the Fascist threat.

Like this Fascist threat right here:

Just in case anyone thought TFG was kidding when he said he wanted to start locking up his enemies, he made it clear this weekend that he was dead serious about ending our Republic as we know it.

Now he’s adding unfriendly media outlets, (meaning anyone that’s not in the bag for him), especially NBC and affiliates. He wants investigations, sentences, and executions of his perceived enemies. (Note that “trials” are not included.)

The scary part is that if by some abomination, he gets elected again, I believe he can do it. Last time, there were “adults in the room” with him, to keep him from carrying out his most destructive wishes. He won’t make that mistake again and will surround himself with Yes Men and Hit Men, ready to carry out his most unhinged instructions, despite piddly concerns like “laws” and “the Constitution.”

And with so many Federalist Society appointees on the bench, especially the Big Six on the Supreme Court, I don’t see where there’s anyone to stop him.

And it goes without saying that once he’s in, he’s not leaving until they carry him out on his shield. Or in a giant McDonalds bag. He will find a way to effectively eliminate elections and Republicans will line up right behind him. And needless to say, (but I will anyway), if the Dems ever tried the same thing, Republicans would be calling for not only the National Guard to step in, but the Russians as well. After all, it can’t be an atrocity if it’s in their favor.


There’s still no end in sight to the UAW strike, but did anyone think this was going to end quickly? Nah, it’s got all the hallmarks of a long haul… Overly idealistic demands vs. entrenched business practices that will never, ever, end.

The line has been that the UAW is asking for a 46% increase because that’s how much top executives have had their pay increased over the last couple of years. (Way to use that bailout money, guys!)

One thing I haven’t seen anyone discuss, or even float, is a proposition that rather than bring worker pay up by 46%, they have they claw back some of the dough from the execs, rendering their increase to something like 25%. Then they can meet the philosophical demands of the UAW with a raise that’s the same as management.

It could work. But of course, it will never happen. There is zero percent chance that any of these boardroom types parts with a single dollar they’ve earned stolen. Not only is it just not done, it would establish a dangerous precedent for the 1%. Givebacks are for the rank and file, when times are tough, not the execs. The last thing they want is for any other industry to follow suit.


Not that I follow the activities of today’s young pop stars, but I’ve been entertained by the coverage of American Goddess Taylor Swift being linked to a famous football player, Travis Kelce of the KC Chiefs.

She attended his game yesterday and watched it from one of the team suites. (What, you think she’s gonna be out there in the stands, with the rest of the riffraff? She’s no Joan Jett… who totally sits out with the fans when she sees an Orioles game. That’s where I first met her.)

Anyway, she was all over the game coverage, with the press frequently asking the players about it during the post-game presser.

While, like I said, I’m not in the habit of following the movements of pop stars, you can’t help but pick things up just by being aware of the culture. Stories about her frequently show up in my Yahoo news feed, she’s on TV all the time, with interviews, news stories, and whatnot.

My opinion regarding Ms. Swift is that She may be one of the most beautiful women ever created. She’s practically perfect. And I have a great deal of respect for how she’s conducted her own career. She makes sound business judgments, writes her own songs, and plays her own instruments, which is an unfortunate rarity, here in the days of pop idols who are all image over substance.

I’ve never read anything about her being a shit-heel, not even from her legendary exes. I’ve never heard one say, “Oh geez, I’m so glad to get away from that raving harpie! What a pill!” Even after she writes a song about them, I’ve never seen them respond with anything of substance. (Granted, I’m not exactly looking, either.)

All her friends seem to stay for life, or if they do leave her orbit, they keep their yaps shut. No one’s writing any tell-alls about what it’s like to be in her posse.

Yet stories of her kindness and consideration to fans abound. And hey, she pushes voting for Democrats, from her home in Tennessee, which takes some guts.

But her songs? Meh. Totally not my style. When she comes out blazing guitars like AC/DC, I’ll get interested. Speaking as a crusty old White guy, shiny, over-processed, pop music is not for me.

So the thing I noticed about the prospect of dating this football player is that this seems to be the first time she’s going against type. She usually dates these pretty-boy pop singers or actors. I haven’t seen her with a big alpha male yet. This Kelce, he plays the tight end position, and these guys are huge, by definition. (He is 6’6”, 260 lbs.) He spends his days in physical battles with other huge dudes. This guy can make her feel protected, like when she’s followed and harassed by the paparazzi idiots. He seems to be a nice guy, like a better-looking “Gronk,” but I admit that all I have to go on is his media presence. He could be an asshole, so who knows?

So, we’ll see how this works out. Maybe it’s a nice change of pace, or maybe it’s something she didn’t know she needed. Either way, she should at least get a new song out of it.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Drugs, Pugs, Jugs, and Thugs

I’ve been out of the loop a bit for the past couple of weeks, (busy kicking COVID’s ass), so I’ve got some catching up to do on the matters of rivers and streams… in other words, current events.

That was some good news about Biden’s drug negotiations with Medicare kicking in, wasn’t it? Well, unless you’re among 99.9% of the country that’s not an executive with a Big Pharma company. They don’t like this at all because, well, they can’t tell you. But they mean “profits.”

From my friends at Crooks & Liars:

They should look up the meaning of “short term,” huh? Also, I’d like for someone to tell me how “what is best for patients” to pay several hundreds of dollars a month for maintenance drugs when the rest of the world pays a pittance? I’m sure a flak at PhRMA would tell you it’s so they continue to innovate and come up with new drugs, but I call bullshit. Do you really think they’re going to stop inventing drugs (and the syndromes their drugs are supposed to treat), fold up shop, and go home? Of course they’re going to continue to come up with more ways to leach us dry, just like they do every other time a new drug becomes eligible to go generic. As long as we have a for-profit medical system, drug companies will continue to invent ailments and the treatments to fix them.

I was happy to see Xarelto on the list, because that’s a blood thinner I should be taking (per one of my heart doctors), but costs over $300 for a month’s supply. I can almost see it, as a one-shot deal, but blood thinners are often maintenance drugs one has to take over a lifetime, especially after dealing with strokes or heart issues like atrial fibrillation. So any help in that arena should be applauded.

The fact that during the GWB administration, the Republicans actually supported and passed a rule forbidding Medicare to even negotiate on drug prices goes to show you how deeply they are in the pockets of Big Pharma. And they continue to fight about it today!

This is yet another block in the wall of evidence showing why the Republican Party is not on your side.


Moving on…

I’d call Mitch unfit for office too, but there are dozens of reasons more pressing than his freezing up again. The less he says, the better off the country, as far as I’m concerned. But of course, MT Greene had to insert herself into the mix because she couldn’t bear the spotlight not being on her for 15 seconds. Maybe Mitch ought to remind her of the famous quote, “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” That’s one she could take to heart, if she had one.

And speaking of this half of the performance art group “Heckle and Dyed,” didn’t Lauren Boebert get herself into some shit this weekend? It cracked me up because it went through the usual alibi cycle: “No, I did NOT do that. People say they saw me do it? Nah, they’re just liberal snowflakes. I absolutely didn’t do it. You have video of me doing it? All right, I did it, but it’s OK because I’m allowed. Don’t you know who I am?

I saw the video and it quite clearly shows her A) vaping, and B) getting herself felt up like she was re-enacting in “Paradise by the Dashboard Lights.” The video had everything but an old car horn sound effect going “AHH-OOOOH-GA!” I didn’t see her grabbing any peen, but that area was a little darker than the rest and I couldn’t really tell. The dude had a smile on his face though, so probably.

The thing is, I don’t really care about any of that. It just shows she’s crass, entitled, and a liar, but that’s not something that wasn’t apparent before. Yes, she’s a terrible Representative, but that’s based on her stated beliefs, and, well, I was going to say “actions,” but she hasn’t really taken any that’s had an effect.

The ire-raising part of all this to me is that she’s one of the cultural warriors of the Right, putting forth all these rules that her opponents need to follow or be castigated, and she and her cabal of “friends,” do not.

The best response I’ve seen so far is this:

As I recall, AOC was smeared after a video surfaced of her dancing on a rooftop, before she was elected. Just… dancing, like that’s some kind of problem. Has the GOP turned into the townspeople from Footloose? I guess we have to send Kevin Bacon in there to lay some applicable Bible verses on them. I don’t think there’s anything in there about going to second base in a crowded theater though…


Here’s another reminder that we cannot let TFG, nor any of his MAGAts, be elected President, or we’re looking at the end of the Republic. This is the kind of “king” shit that our forefathers expressly wrote out of our Constitution.

TFG wants you to believe he was just going along, minding his own business, all legal-like, when the big bad Democrats decided to go after him. So he has every right to jail his opposition and replace anyone in the entire government who doesn’t pledge allegiance to him.

The fact that there are mountains of evidence that guided every decision to prosecute is beside the point. And that point is that he thinks he has every right to do whatever he wants because he’s White and he (allegedly) has money.

Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t. Or at least he shouldn’t. We still don’t know the level at which he’s stacked the deck.


Congratulations to the Baltimore Orioles, for clinching a playoff berth! I was there in 2014 when they clinched a spot, and it was really exciting. At least at first… I ended up having to leave the park in distress… abdominal distress, so much so that I almost left a trail around the stadium concourse. And then, a month later, at an AL Championship game, it happened again. This time, it took on a Sci-Fi feel.

I only mention the Orioles here because recently, when I was watching a game, I came across a guy with a really unfortunate name.

Yes, the White Sox have a pitcher whose name is Bummer. And it sounds just like you’d think. In a post from last summer, I mentioned that the Orioles have a guy named “Santander,” but rather than pronouncing it “San-TAN-der,” it’s pronounced “Sahn-tahn-DARE.” If this Bummer guy wasn’t able to change his name, (he may have come from a long line of Bummers,) he could at least play with the pronunciation. Like, “No really, my name is pronounced, “Boo-MAIR.”

And it wouldn’t even take any paperwork unless he went whole hog and put an umlaut over the U.

And one last note on fandom…

I hate it when my team plays on Monday night. I guess I made myself forget about it this weekend because I was sitting there on Sunday, all dressed for the game in my best mojo-producing gear… game jersey, team shorts, team socks, and a T-shirt that said “Cleveland Never Rocked.” And then came the realization that they weren’t playing until the next night, so I had to get up and change again. No sense wasting good mojo when your team isn’t even playing.

And last week, my guys got their butts kicked soundly, but I was able to find a bright side. Earlier that morning, I forgot to snap down the clipper guard over the blades of my beard trimmer and accidentally took a notch out of my beard, just below the ear.

The good news is that if my team had won that day, I’d then be obligated to keep taking notches out every week until they lost (and I couldn’t blame it on the jersey I was wearing.) I take my team mojo obligations seriously.

Monday, September 11, 2023

The 'Rona Comes Home

I wasn’t too worried about the tickle in my throat Friday night (9/1). That usually meant I was early for my annual cold, I already had one in May. I get the same cold every year, or at least I did up until the ‘Rona, and I began working from home. I’ve hardly been sick since 2019. My usual cold starts in the throat, migrates to my sinuses, I get tired and lethargic, and it eventually lands in my chest, until I can hack it all out. The whole process usually takes a couple of weeks.

Sweetpea said she had a headache behind her eyes earlier in the week, but I didn’t think much of that.

When I woke up Saturday morning, it was a whole different ballgame. I felt like about nine bags of fuck. I had a sore throat like I was trying to swallow ground glass, aches all up and down my body, especially around my back, chest congestion, and a splitting headache. And the problem with that was that every time I had to cough, (which was often, as I tried to clear my chest and airway,) it felt like the top of my head was going burst open.

This was no gradual thing, more like,

Friday night: “Sweet dreams, don’t let the begbugs bite…”

Saturday morning: “Yaaaaaahhhhhhhhh! Welcome to Your Highway to Hell!”

At that point, I consulted a chart I had from 2020 at the onset of COVID. It looked to me like my symptoms lined up more with the flu than the ‘Rona, where I had 7 of the top 8 symptoms. (I did not have the trots.)

Also, I could still taste my food and drink, which I considered the telltale sign that it wasn’t COVID. So I just took some meds to fight the symptoms and waited for my immune system to kick in.

Sunday and Monday were even worse, with the headache intensifying. Nice long weekend, huh? I would get up around nine, have breakfast and do my crossword puzzles, then go back to bed about 11 and stay there for 2-3 hours. I was just beat. I ate a lot of soup, because that’s what I could swallow with the least amount of difficulty. I also lost 5 pounds, so if you want to jump start some weight loss, consider the Soup Diet.

By Tuesday, the headache let up and the body aches went away, and my throat was much less sore. I still had chest and sinus congestion, was easy to tire out. And just when I could swallow comfortably again, I lost the sense of taste.

At that point, Sweetpea and I both took at-home COVID tests and we tested positive.

Dammit! I had avoided it all this time. It wasn’t hard for us to figure out that Sweetpea brought it back to the house from her week of teachers training meetings she had the prior week. (I literally had not left the house for the preceding week.) But her symptoms were much less severe than mine. She just had the headache, some fatigue, and also lost taste.

By Wednesday, my headache and sore throat were gone, I had less chest congestion, but a dry cough at night at times. And my sense of taste returned; Sweetpea’s came back a couple days later. But as such, I lost my opportunity to eat a year’s worth of broccoli and other vegetables I can’t stand, but are good for me. I guess I’ll have to wait until next time.

From Thursday on, I’ve just had mild but clingy chest and sinus congestion, but my energy has been much better. I don’t have any reason to think it won’t continue to fade away, but I’m keeping an eye on things.

It’s been about a year since my last COVID booster and flu shot, so I’ll be anxious to go get jabbed as soon as they release the new versions for fall. I’m grateful that the previous shots kept me out of the hospital.

Yes, my case could have been much worse, but man, I do NOT want to replay those first three days again for anything! That was a truly miserable experience.

Take it from me: get your shots and take distancing and masking seriously.

Monday, September 4, 2023

Station Break - We'll Be Right Back - Update 9/7

I'm sorry I don't have anything for you today,  my friend, but pestilence has visited the House of Bluz. I'm pretty sure I came down with a bad case of flu Friday night and I've felt like crap since Saturday morning. I'm pounding drugs, soup, and naps as best I can. Later this week I hope to be able to create another edition of the kind of bullshit to which you've become accustomed. 

Thursday Update: Sorry, it doesn't look like there will be a proper post this week. I found out on Tuesday that this is actually COVID. I'm feeling much better than I did over the weekend, but I'm still pretty lethargic and muddled. And I've been completely unplugged from the news, other than celebrating a couple of Proud Boyz getting hard time. 

Anyway, I plan to tell the full story in my next regular Monday post.