525.00


If you get the tax taken out from the enhanced unemployment, that is what you get. This program has been one of the few good ideas to come out of the government during the Covid 19 pandemic.

While some senators would already have way too much vacation voiced that “it’s a disincentive to get people to work,” as you might expect I don’t share that opinion. I’ve been the recipient of two confidence shaking furloughs and am not quite out of the woods a third. That extra bit has kept me in my home, paid bills, bought groceries and gone BACK INTO THE FLIPPING ECONOMY!!!

The senators (let’s call them McConnell and Graham) think in stupidly general terms instead of doing what is right and just for the people they supposedly represent. It’s money I’ve been paying into since I started working at age 15.

Regular unemployment benefits don’t do it. These chuckleheads seem to think it is coming out of their pockets. What good is propping up cruiselines (THAT PAY NO TAXES!!!) when nobody can afford to partake.

I’m not saying we should be cruising but when government forces a shutdown, this is what you run budgets up for, not for when tax  rolls don’t favor your friends enough. There has been complaints that this had underminded folks desire to work. I don’t agree. I was on the program for a few weeks and I paid the rent, car and pushed it all back into that economy that will suddenly be without a lot of spending if this deadline goes by the way side, which should be a concern for those wanting the economy to move again. This has larger ramifications that morons saying get a job on facebook posts. To those morons, yeah, everybody should be working indeed and I’m sorry you didn’t get rewarded as your job didn’t end, but have you tried to apply for something when you are over age say, 35, it gets tougher. A manufacturing union rep looking for workers says the benefits are over a $1000 a week and he can’t compete with that. That has the benefit of not being true.

Sure, a few played the system like every government program ever, but can you imagine if you are a restaurant worker and your place has reduced capacity, so you are making minimum and because that reduced capacity, you aren’t going to clear as many tips, and you have to take on sanitizing and mask policing, I’m not going to lie, that does slow your roll a bit.

But unemployment does want you to be looking. My time down? That’s all I was doing. These are unprecedented times and we do need to not be so selfish when folks are squirming because of circumstances forced upon them.

As has been often said, “nobody wins, unless everybody wins.”

 

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Breathe


Take a breath, be grateful you have that option

The names change, but the color does not. That is a elegantly tragic sentiment that came from Governor Cuomo. I’ve been trying to process everything about what happened to George Floyd and I’m not even close.

This has been a horrifying period of time to watch over and over as a thankfully now former Minneapolis policeman burrow his knee into Mr. Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes. Paramedics were quote that Mr. Floyd was dead at the scene. The officer was so casual about making Mr. Floyd a victim that he had a one hand in a pants pocket while he snuffed the last breathe from Mr. Floyd.The cell phone camera has offered more protection to Black Americans than any law enforcement agency, court, prosecutor, elected official, or news organization.

The horrifying video has been a tipping point. Yes to protests and continued silence does nothing but add to body counts. While I am not a fan of the violent destruction of property, I get it. When you haven’t been heard, when you, time and time again, get ignored, shown that not all lives matter, I defy you dear reader to not want to lash out in some form.

While that form isn’t great, Target will be fine. Yes, there are some people taking advantage (of all colors) and some of the destruction was at the hands of folks paler than me, but consider that it took 4 days for that officer to be charged, 4 more for the other three officers there to be charged for killing him.

It seems like we are two countries, one that fights for equality and another who fights for brunch. Here I sit, as a middle aged white guy, who raised that we are all people, and I am seeking the council of Ben & Jerry’s, but for once not of their ice cream.

I am fortunate. I married into a proud African American family that welcomed me like my seat at the table was waiting for me to sit right at it. I was raised by two supportive parents who continually showed that while the world is a fundamentally a good place, it wasn’t such for everybody and that needed to change. It still does. My children are the three smartest people I know and I’m sorry that their African American side still faces that struggle that our elders know all too well. I know firsthand of some of the hurdles they have faced because of the ignorance of others and my imagination doesn’t want to envision what else they may have encountered when their mother or I wasn’t around. That they have love in the hearts shows me the incredible people they are in spite of what the world continues to want to serve up. My daughters have both married upstanding tremendous men. I want to appropriate what my one son-in-law posted earlier:

“Check in on your friends and family of color. Everyone needs support right now. Making this post to let everyone in my life know that if you don’t support people of color and #blacklivesmatter , we have no reason to be in contact. This is not a political agenda, it’s a human right violation. I love my black family and I support you.”

Spot on and goes for me too. Before you respond at all with “well, all lives matter,” just don’t. Yes, they should, but they haven’t. There is white folk then everybody else. I know I can drive through a suburb nearby without so much as raising an eye, given my impervious shield of white privilege while my black brother-in-law might raise some eyebrows for doing the exact same thing.

In race riots in Buffalo, NY in the late sixties, my dad was directed to hide out for safety in an office supply shop. I like believing my future father-in-law gave him that direction. Easy to imagine in that both my dad and my pop sought a better world.

Pale breathren, don’t ask your black friends how you can help all the sudden. This shit has been going on for a long damn time, not just since last week. and they’d be right to ask where’ve you been. We have a president who seems to hate everybody who isn’t in the donor database he keeps. He has looted his own foundation, the 9/11 relief fund, casino bond holders, people who trusted his only charity, military families for a wall he said Mexico would fund and the U.S. Treasury directly into his for-profit golf resorts. He is bigoted, documented liar and racist, who demanded yes man like subservience and you are lesser if you have spine. He apparently has no trouble tear gassing his own citizens, but when called on it denies it, despite evidence to the contrary. What the little bunker bitch needs to realize is that what will make this country great is realizing that we all need to be in this together. The marginalization of every culture nonwhite has been destructive and hasn’t really improved the white folks either. We haven’t been one, but in those rare times, those few instances where the matters immediately at hand trumped (there’s that word), like Hurricane Harvey, people have the capacity to pull together as one. It should stop being the exception and be the rule.Let’s keep talking, listening, remembering honoring and actually heeding the thought that

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

This I found on Facebook and am going to reshare as we need to remember people and how this situation needs to improve, that the riots are the voices of the unheard, but beyond the demonstrations…

In America – because I am a human who happens to have white skin, I can do all of these things without thinking twice:
I can go birding (#ChristianCooper)
I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery)
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson)
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I can go to church (#Charleston9)
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I can be a 10 yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I can run (#WalterScott)
I can breathe (#EricGarner)
I can live (#FreddieGray)
I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED (#GeorgeFloyd)

White privilege is real. Take a minute to consider a Black person’s experience today.

Living in your American skin shouldn’t get you killed no matter what color.

In the end, nobody wins, unless everybody wins.

#BlackLivesMatter

Questions


It didn’t occur to anybody to dub the murder hornets….Buzzkill?

In other news, why, for the love of god, why do such horses patoots like Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham keeps their seats in Washington? Both stupidly bitched on twitter about enhanced unemployment has taken aware incentive to work. Apparently it is okay in their eyes to hand billions to airlines, cruise ships and Trump properties but hand $525 to ensure somebody stays in his home and puts that money BACK out into the economy unlike those organizations is an egregious sin. Both used to have spines, backbones, but apparently they only represent the people who blindly obey them.

Why isn’t the Trump administration working like the Trudeau one and investing in people first? I mean banks, cruise lines, airlines all need customers. It’s not that the Congress and the administration can’t help more, they just choose not to. In a world where multimillion dollar steak houses and pro basketball teams somehow qualify for small business protection loans, government should be one of the places where people should come together and no one should be left behind, but that apparently isn’t so.

The president is quoted as saying too much testing for corona virus looks weak. How can that be? Are the optics of 80,000 dead and rising better? How about just doing the right thing just one time? People shouldn’t be regarded as expendable. This has been a tortuous period for my parents  My mom’s health has declined that nursing home care is needed and the weeks of no visitors has only exacerbated her dementia struggles, which in turn eats at my dad because he can’t see her or fix it. I didn’t realize that when the president says wanting to make America great again that actual Americans weren’t part of that equation. But by all means, it’s important to get Starbucks open (hopefully sarcasm translates).

Why does Michael Flynn get a pass after twice pleading guilty? Nothing like selective rule of law.

Why does it take a national outcry and a viral video to be released to get justice for a man who was guilty of nothing aside from exercising while black? And I’m pretty sure you can’t yell self defense when the gun you brought does the work.

Why is it okay to run up the federal deficit to give folks who don’t need tax cuts said tax cuts but when it comes to helping actual people who have to put their money back “out there” a little additional assistance, suddenly congress folk of the republican persuasion get conservative?

Lest this be totally a governmental whine, did the release of the National Football League’s planned 2020 schedule really need a 3 hour show? Are we that sports starved?

Given that absolutely nothing has been released, can every producer who decides on a “What Football will look like segment” stop running those segments until we actually know what football will look like? Segments devoid of anything but guess work don’t really help anything but fill air time.

Are we really in this together? A random internet jamoke lectured an actual reporter on covid statistics with the sentiment of “Let this sink In.” Pretty sure news personnel who are proactively trying to cover the covid story don’t need to be told to let things sink in, but thanks random jamoke.

What is it about putting a mask on for safety that caused that dude at Costco to have such a nutty? Sir, Costco wasn’t violating your constitutional rights. Because we are tired of all this doesn’t mean health risks are over and that dipshidiot made me sorry for Costco.

What is it about taking a few steps for safety sake? Some folks were privileged jerks pre pandemic I guess.

Why would Congressman Tom Reed, who thankfully isn’t mine, suggest a stimulus package for essential workers only? He didn’t define essential workers and I don’t think gets the point of stimulus packages. You don’t dole them out as thank yous, you put them in place to get people to spend it on goods and services which get business going. Most folks who’ve their work due to shutdowns (Including myself) lost because of virus shutdowns and as a result living paycheck to paycheck got even dicier. Yes, everybody from the incredible nurses to the admission clerks are on the front lines and making money to be sure, so Congressman, push for the wages that never stopped to be increased, realize that hospitals finally got some coverage in the last package.

So how come Trump and the rest of the folks at the White House aren’t just letting herd immunization run its course? That’s what they want us to do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BAD


While Biden, Buttegeig and Sanders verbally slap each other around on policy in New Hampshire, Elizabeth Warren remains the adult in the room, focusing on replacing the orange elephant in the room. It gave me pause as to our latest round of presidential nonsense.

And if you are of the type who is upset that the speaker ripped up her copy of the State of the Union, think back to when various speakers wouldn’t even stand up to greet President Obama and members of the gallery had no compunction about yelling “You lie!” So, people like Matt Gaetz should shut up with their hallow outrage about the current speaker’s behavior. She ripped up her copy (we think, the Vice President isn’t done taping it back together). I mean it’s not like she started a fraud university or ripped off her own children’s charity.

So it turns out that a racist, bully, slightly to the right of Attila the Hun blowhard can spend decades browbeating, harassing, obfuscating for anything that isn’t conservative, xenophobic white male and he can get the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Probably drops the value for previous award winners who generally got them for not being unlanced boils on the buttocks of humanity.

It’s bad enough that we are numb enough that everybody kept a straight face as Susan Collins says she thinks he learned his lesson from impeachment. I mean nobody guffawed or sniggered “Bullshit? (well, except maybe the President, and he even admitted that was not the case.) Senator, just go cash the check from his reelection campaign and enjoy the safety from any real opposition.

I’m not surprised that acquittal was the result of the hearings in the Senate as the game was rigged from the get go with no witnesses, no evidence, and an allegiance to party over people. The oaths they signed was largely a moot point with many too cowardly to vote anything along what they heard out of fear of retribution or lack of financial contribution. I mean Lindsey Graham was a house manager in Clinton’s impeachment that was over an extramarital fling. As far as flip flops go, that’s downright impressive.

Kudos to Mitt Romney for following his own lead. I don’t know how much he was actually risking but I appreciate him going his own way, an actual republican as opposed to whatever the current GOP pretends to be now. Don Jr decided to deride Romney for having a conscience with some “manly” name calling on Twitter, keeping it classy. I’m a little upset that I actually know who Jr. is when there clearly is no reason to as it is up there with actual media reports of the “master showman” at work. Journalism shouldn’t be about stagecraft when such critical substance is getting swept under the rug.

It’s interesting that the President had to deride Romney’s faith at a Prayer Breakfast, which he promptly turned into a pep rally (since he just can’t give a speech). I’m a firm believer in whatever works for you, whatever gets you through the day, just keep it to yourself. Mitt actually did that, only alluding to his faith as part of his decision making process and the pettiness of the President and his crime family decided to pick on that first.

I guess my central issue what kind of aphrodisiac is power? That you are willing to subsume your beliefs to stay close to it? That you are willing to contradict yourself to keep it? That you turn your back on the people who voted for you to spite those who didn’t, that you are fine with one branch of government stripped of all checks and balances, the american people (remember us, the folks you are supposed to represent) lose, none of us are represented from dirty water to nexus cards for New Yorkers to our social security being taken, the school lunch programs to actual fair legitimate elections and the list is pretty lengthy. What is it?

The people who have it don’t know better. And they don’t care. It’s a big club and we ain’t in it.

It’s bad.

You’ve just won the Iowa Caucus!


“I’m going to Disneyworld…” but more realistically somewhere in New Hampshire

Now that Iowa has shown us that there really isn’t an app for everything, it did make me wonder about this whole process. A live look at their app.

https _cdn.cnn.com_cnnnext_dam_assets_180822105148-commodore64Too many “delegates” appeared on TV sounding and looking they had survived a really intense Fantasy Football Draft. Given the over emphasis Iowa has, you would think the Democratic National Committee would have had them better organized than a high tech version of a Marx Brothers movie. “Hey Diddle Diddle, let’s vote up the middle.”

While the Electoral College is the subject of numerous aimless discussions on social media and a lot of appointed government officials are making jerks of themselves on Twitter, an idea popped into my addled little brain.

Do all the damn primaries, caucuses and what not on one day, a national primary day, do it in May or June. Let the six months of campaigning that we have just witnessed fold into the actual year. We are all so fatigued already and the actual voting is just getting started. People may have forgotten already that the President does have a challenger in his own party.

I know what you are thinking. But, we’d all have to do our own home work. Let that town in New Hampshire start us off at midnight eastern if you need a quaint story,

I watched a little of the coverage and it was an incoherent mess with not a whole lot to say, but it didn’t stop people from trying to speak. With so much focus on Iowa and by the time I publish this, New Hampshire, I can’t help but wonder if the emphasis, the money, the media can help but skew voters, not unlike making projections on East Coast voting returns at five after 9 when West Coast voters are still trying to get out of work.

“With 3% percent reporting it looks like Harvey Lipschitz will win!”

“Didja hear that, hon, Lipschitz won Delaware…no point in us heading out.” “Nope, make yourself a drink.”

Ooh, that Lipschitz.

The whole slew of debates didn’t further causes on the Democratic side. We achieved nothing by having monthly debates over the past six months other than cover such ground breaking subjects like:

“Is she/he likeable enough to get elected?” – Who cares? I’m not going to invite the winner for a beer. I want them to have the savvy to protect social security, make the water cleaner, to serve the republic and all that.

“What’s your skin care regimen?” – A question that probably doesn’t dog Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.

I mean any polling has steered money without any real lifting of the debate, just eliminating some promising candidates who couldn’t crack the bluster.

Maybe this is all hooey, but when information is critical and gossip not much, we seem to be drowning in the latter and getting more ignorant of the former.

But perhaps, there should be a step back.

lever_voting_machine

This may have done the trick. No chads, no ethernet, no central data processing. On Election Nights when I was in college, I was a “stringer” and went around and made a little cash by going from district to district and watched as folks took the sheet off the back of these and counted them up.

If ever there is a thing to have facts over scuttlebutt, it’s our elections.

That should matter. Let’s get somebody who can handle the tallying. Maybe him…DzhyYE8d_400x400

These Eyes


Waiting rooms and unsavory chores are great ways to contemplate what all is transpiring in the elements that surround us all.

I was sitting in an exam room last week waiting for my dad to get taken care of and the in-room television was tuned to TLC. What was the Learning Channel was giving us an onslaught of Dr. Pimple Popper. It was aptly named but seemed like an odd freak show vignette for a hospital waiting room.

I don’t know when exactly we got so afraid of ideas to the point where people act on half truths or comforting gossip, instead of doing a little research.

I mean why go off half cocked when you can breath, maybe read a little and go in full.

A guy locally paraded in the march of privileged, pistol-packing cosplayers who were upset with Virginia’s attempts to bring a little sanity to the idea of gun control. Said local knucklehead was proudly showing off a variety of armaments that no sports man needs, but no government official is coming for. The law asked for background checks and limits as to how many new purchases you can make to add to your gun collection. How much stocking up does one need to be doing? I thought I missed the part where Virginia was coming for their guns. Turns out I didn’t, as Virginia is not, but let’s invest lots of time into fear mongering that seems to be all anybody will pay heed. Said local doofus should enlist, but I think a push up is asking a lot.

Did you notice the clean water act is getting rolled back? Check it out: https://www.newsweek.com/trump-admin-reckless-capricious-rollback-clean-water-rule-drinking-water-environmentalists-1483711

Did you notice that a nutritious school lunch program has been axed?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/01/17/usda-proposes-changing-school-menus-allow-more-fries-pizza-fewer-vegetables-fruits-reversing-michelle-obama-effort

Did you notice you the quote from the President about cutting social security after the election? https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2020-01-23/trump-social-security

That’s our money that we’ve been paying into all of our working lives. It’s only ever been in danger from Congress and the President as they yell entitlement long enough, you can’t talk about it without some yahoo on Twitter pointing out that “it is an entitlement program,” like the semantics matter. It’s not gift money, it is money I’ve earned, thank you very much.

The president noted that the GOP wants to “do a number” on social security. This is the GOP who talks about “the American people” a lot. They don’t seem to have much regard for the actual people who live here.

Ted Cruz ( a guy who supports the President more than he supports his own wife and dad) thinks it was absolutely right to investigate the Bidens. The GOP has had a majority since 2014 in the Senate. Why now, Eddie, er, Ted?

Given that, you’d think the endeavors of the Democratic candidates would be pretty linear, very straightforward, but instead they continue to fight among themselves and it is accomplishing little.

I didn’t expect the impeachment to change anything. It is just disheartening to the see the volume of people who ignored their oaths and obligations to ensure that was the case. At one point, it was reported that 24 Republican senators were out of the room. McConnell, Graham and others signs oaths swearing dutiful jurorhood, but that is pretty laughable given their respective lap dog status. Curious how Graham got to be out of the room when 20 year video of him actually saying “there doesn’t need to be a crime to impeach.” Interesting giving the same person could be swung so opposite of what was conviction. Darned power, there it goes, corrupting again. It does make me wonder what goes on in those states that such jamokes are never fading from site. Wish it was a fair fight, that each side called witnesses and actually played it out. If I’m in the administration and I’m guiltless, it is practically a victory lap.

When your world loses somebody like Terry Jones or Kobe Bryant, that is sad, for some epically so. The downside of social media is that gifted people are no longer with us. If you don’t mourn the same, that’s fine, but so many are in such a rush to point out flaws or past imperfections or other matters. I don’t know what that benefit is, other than moral superiority from behind a keyboard. Jones meant a lot to the comedy of my youth. In the case of Bryant, aside from everything else, dying and unable to prevent your child from meeting that same fate. I feel for him, his daughter, their family and all the poor souls on that helicopter and their families.

Apparently, it’s okay to be ignorant and take it out on NPR reporters. There appears to be large amount of okay when the Secretary of State decided to bluster and berate a well informed reporter from NPR on matters Ukraine. Commenters on some sites are just fine with that behavior, just not with having an NPR. Guess the second amendment is the only amendment with swagger.

I was reading this morning about the head start Wegmans Food Markets are getting on the New York State plastic bag ban. His attempt at a parting shot was to say “well, Tops just gained a loyal customer,” conveniently forgetting that Tops will be following the law as well, just closer to when the time comes. But the shit we are choosing to care about just astounds me, the shit getting a pass? That’s a stunner too.

The zippy one liners needs facts too, folks.

These eyes are definitely not smiling.

Everybody’s Miserable


I was reading, with a moderate amount of disinterest, a reddit thread about the evils being inflicted on society by social media. It isn’t that social media is so evil, but how we use it at the expense of other critical thinking and reading (of things not on a screen that doesn’t seem to be en vogue in the moment.

We are looking for things to grouse about, and the digital walls we all spray paint graffiti on allow for that instant gratification without having to sweat truths.

I mean, I’m tired. The Buffalo Bills have a meaningful December football game to play at home for the first time in eons and there is a twitter thread with fans concerned that it might not sell out entirely. Who cares??? We have meaningful football in Buffalo in December. I can’t be bothered to care if the last guy in the last seat in the last row is wearing the other teams colors. Let’s enjoy the hype of the game.

Some of the presidential candidates have been confronted with questions of likeability. This, to me, seems like running into a firehouse and yelling movie. Essentially we don’t have anything to talk about, so instead of finding stuff out, reading, researching, we have found something else to complain. I mean, if I’m elected a president, in all likelihood, I don’t care if he or she is likeable. I want capable, instead of not, engaged in representing everybody, instead of not, smart instead of not. I don’t want to have a beer with my president. I want them to see the whole board, to be too busy governing that they can’t stop to care to register what the television pundits have to say.

We are not very good at seeing the forest for the trees. Folks seized on 25,000 projected jobs and ignored the multibillion dollar tax giveway to get these jobs into a section of Manhattan, a section of Manhattan that none of the workers of those jobs could afford to give. The gripers targeted the congresswoman who led the block as being stupid. Turns out the company bought the land anyway without New York State giving anything away. And the jobs pay about $14 an hour (I looked). How many of those jobs would a person have to work to be able to stay in that portion of New York? Each of the original jobs would have been a six figure tax break. That’s some screwy math. The congresswoman was right.

There is a show getting ready to premiere called “Man versus Bear.” Without knowing anything else about it, I’m rooting for the bear in the equation, has to be smarter than the average man.

Can we all quit using phrases like “franchise Quarterback” like we know what we are talking about? It’s a phrase of recent vintage and questioning whether this person or that person is a “Franchise Guy” makes me think you are talk radio host trying to fill air time and you don’t have a radio station.

The gas station in the photo will never have to pay up, especially with all the flushing going on.

Imagine being the white house staffer who prepares notes for the President only to have him go off script and muse about people flushing 10-15 times or thinking births at nine months need to be stopped.

For that $120, 000 you probably could have gotten three bananas at Whole Foods, with enough left over for a whole roll of duct tape.

It’s perfectly fine that Billie Eilish doesn’t know who Van Halen is. She’s 17. The only place you run into Van Halen is classic rock radio, where 17 year olds aren’t a huge demo. She’s an innovative talent. And in a world were everyplace is a 2010 comments page, Wolfgang Van Halen had the best response, that music is a personal thing. You like what you like, you know what you know, words to that effect.

On that note, I’m going to go listen to a no longer guilty pleasure

 

 

Trouble Me


I’ve always had a soft spot for newspaper films. “Spotlight,” “The Paper,” “All the President’s Men,” “The Post,” whenever these pop up, my remote control stops. Maybe it’s the story of the pursuit of ideas, the continued chase for what is really happening that they resonate with me so solidly.

Out of the recent round of commercials put together for the Super Bowl, the one that resonated with me that I can even remember it was the one produced by the Washington Post.

Check it out here:

Predictably, many internet folks aren’t seeing the forest for the trees, hitting the Post for buying Super Bowl space instead of hiring journalists. Or my personal favorite complaint that it is just a “leftie rag” or other such cultural  nonconstructive criticism.

The need for journalism has never been greater. One of the missions of the current administration has been to discredit reporting from the very first day. The screams of Fake News, the general atrophy of attention spans and a social media induced malaise about information seems to have resulted in a fear of ideas and information and a preferred stage of propaganda induced and narrative confirming subservience that renders most into baseless name calling on Facebook.

We seem to be scared of having our notions challenged, to the point where accusations come in case to threaten those notions. You hear “fake news’ and it is pretty fair to say the yeller of same has just heard something they don’t like.

While there are more avenues for transmitting and receiving data, our ability to process has been getting more and more muddled.

Blind Faith is a dangerous thing. So is looking for gossip ahead of information and that seems to be how many are digesting their informational mcnuggets.

A good friend and good journalist posited on his facebook page, admittedly opening a can of worms, asking “what we’d expect from the President’s State of the Union?” Aside from the usual waggishness including my own, there were a number of responses that took shots at the network his station is affiliated with and that just seemed weird.

I get wanting to defend “your guy” but such blind subservience reminds me about the late 70’s “Afterschool Special,” that mused how Germany evolved in the 1930s.

Learning new things, getting actual information, finding out more. These are all good things. They might not always be pleasant but they are worthy pursuits. It could reveal that some leaders aren’t who you think are, but you might have a more honest assessment of who they actually are. That is good.

Don’t be afraid.

 


Vote for me!


“People get stupid during elections, Charlie.” “No, people get talked to like they are stupid, CJ.”

That exchange from the West Wing sort of sums up where I am at with the current election cycle.

Some thoughts that have been in my brain since the midterm elections and while we await recounts to complete.

Too many people are worried about I voted stickers and not enough about who they are stuck with. Me, I’m more:

I like Mark Hamill’s voting “disguise” the best.

“Why doesn’t Jim Acosta just go to the car and change his shirt or put on a hat and go right back into the press briefings?” I mean, the President in a fit of pique says that happened on a number of polling places where republican seats might have difficulty eeking out wins. Not Jim, but multiple votes, noteably without any evidence cited, just screaming into his twitter microphone.

A congressman who has been arrested and indicted is running ads to tear down his opponent. This candidate, who previously admitted to caring only about donors,  claims “Open borders” would be a part of his opponent’s victory.  It’s not a quote, not lifted from another location, it’s just something to shout. Because the internet has given way to epically short attention spans, I’m sure some viewers are believing he is for open borders. Never mind that nobody knows what those are actually might be. Nevermind that nobody has ever advocated for open borders ever. It’s vernacular straight from the idiom that brought us “death panels.”

(courtesy

All presidents have to do some pretty unsavory crap in leading the country.  But it is a rarity for one to hold a press conference on an election, but basically cherrypick what questions he will deign to answer, dress down reporters, insult others and engage in unfounded contempt. Yet, folks are fine with it. Apparently anything that isn’t complete subservience into only what they want, regardless of anything is view as subversive. Noting now, a few days after I started this essay, that a federal judge is ordering Jim Acosta’s credentials be returned by the White House. In this era of discrediting and belittlement, I can see the White House never calling him ever again.

If you are going to listen to people scream voter fraud, make them back it up. I’ve yet to see anything that substantiated the amount of sound bites and sad tweets from people who aren’t getting what they want. Every vote should count regardless of which way it lands and everybody, including power mad presidents, spineless lapdog senators  and obstructionist majority leaders should remember they are in public service first and respect that!

I’m sure the total tonnage of what we don’t know is substantial. But none absolutely none should get to do exactly everything they want. It’s contradictory to the notion of public service, especially when the only amendment that gets afforded some respect is the second one.

(courtesy of The New Yorker)

If you absolutely at peace with your current leader, there is no way you can be seeing the “whole board.” Blind absolute faith is a powerfully dangerous thing.

The new blood of women who actually have agendas to help, to represent, to do the job is the most encouraging aspect of this whole election boondoogle, along with the higher voter turnout. Decisions get made by those who show up.

She’s right, so was Martin Sheen when he said it in an earlier episode. So was Harry Truman when he actually said it.

The infighting in Florida about their recounts in frustrating. Democrats are looking to the recounts (state mandated ones) and hope. Republicans are screeching that it is only democat votes that are being found (that could be a way of admitting voter suppression). For my money, I’m starting to think that Florida just isn’t very good at this stuff.

Neither is Georgia where the GOP candidate for Governor is his state’s secretary of state, so basically he can sign off on his own election. Talk about your ethically grey areas. Yet 45 is all about, it’s fraud, it’s stolen, it’s infected….all of which is apparently code for “It’s not the result that I want, so screw it.

Eventually, democrats and republicans will realize that they need each other to get stuff done, to get anything accomplished in the name of the jobs they hold when we send them to Congress. Neither should get all they want. I think we all would like them to get something done and remember the bulk of the country as opposed to just the folks who profited from the 1% tax scam. You hear about checks and balances a lot in your eighth grade social studies and this is where that lesson comes into real life. Unlike Algebra as I’m still looking for that practical application.

Things We Choose to Care About…


Been a lot of news to digest lately, almost to the point of “Breaking News” exhaustion, so my apologies for seemingly being behind the curve.

Alton Brown found a really good wing joint in East Aurora. I think that is okay and certainly not worth getting in a dander about. While an attempted take down of him on one of the local stations was funny, I can’t help but wonder: Why do we care? Misery is tangible and real, we don’t need contrived things to bitch about. I wish our griping carried some gravitas.

I care more that Marco Rubio realizes all the sudden that the recent tax bill isn’t benefiting the masses, admitting that the most companies are stuffing the funds back into their pockets instead of any worker relief. If only somebody would have told him about that part. Oh, wait…

The sole pet peeve I have about the White House Correspondents Dinner is that supposedly high level national reporters want an apology to the White House Press Secretary for insults and body shaming. The body shaming didn’t happen, the insults did, but it’s a roast and most troubling is why these reporters are so protective of a press secretary who treats the press to fabrications and contempt. Michelle Wolf did what she was hired to do and was pretty funny. I guess the reporters griping on twitter are worried about losing their access to the daily dumpster fire. Perhaps a remembering of purpose over parties would be a good reminder. There is a lot of news out there after all.

Former Health and Human Service Sec. Price admitted that repealing the individual mandate will raise health coverage costs. It’s clearer than ever the GOP’s closed-door dealings had nothing to do with protecting families and everything to do with carving out giveaways to special interests and donors.

Anybody else troubled that a 71 year old man uses “haters” and “losers” so much? I mean, I know what my daughters are talking about when they say something is “Lit” but I’m smart enough to know how stupid that would sound coming out of my 54 year old mouth.

I watched an interesting two hours of TV that I recommend. I’ve always enjoyed Anthony Bourdain’s programs. Who wouldn’t want to have that gig? His show on West Virginia was really well done. It was an honest assessment of people trying to do their best, with folks of varying color living and working together despite lies from the Trump Campaign in 2016, flat out contempt from the Clinton campaign in the same year. It’s worth checking out to broaden your own perspective as the intolerance everywhere is just disheartened. It’s a very unlikely place to see some hope.

W.Kamau Bell’s show on the Mexican border issue that followed was riveting too. I firmly believe the President couldn’t have a worse view of the border. His wall is something we cannot afford, it won’t work and about the only thing it will inspire will be new confidence in the ladder and boating industries. But guess what, the last six presidents (both sides) had issues too. Wish the current one would explain what his issue is instead of nonsense rally platitudes.

Oliver North thinks the National Rifle Association is a victim now. Um, no. Your congressmen are still bought. The President is back to being afraid of your dollars. It doesn’t sound like much of anything has changed.

Another mass shooting, another round of politicos pretending to care for the duration of the news cycle, another round of sniping at each other pointlessly on social media. Here’s a simple thing. Instead of calling for of all things, “Door Control.” Do this: Register every gun. Conduct a background check on every gun purchase. Hold gun manufacturers liable if their gun is used in a crime. Hold parents criminally liable if their child steals their gun and uses it in a crime. Digitize the ATF’s gun records. Realize horrible will happen given the amount of nothing we’ve done thus far. Realize criminals are going to do criminal things, else we need to call them something else, but I don’t think Gun free zone signs matter to them at all. I don’t want your gun, Mr. and Mrs. Responsible Gun Owner, I’d just like to see it be a little more of an achievement to get one.

We have seriously become Short Attention Span Theater when it comes to any issue and the crime families in Washington know this.  I get a kick out of people blaming a given media for the decline in debate. As the waffling Trump supporter in West Virginia mentioned to Anthony Bourdain correctly noted, “we need to talk with each other not at each other.”

Everybody is podcasting, but nobody is podlistening.