Privilege

There is a growing sentiment that I’ve heard voiced more and more often since the January 6th hearings started:

facebook/Stonekettle

This recent outrage is just more of the same in my mind. It’s the same kind of thing that he’s done and said since the day he took over his father’s businesses and proceeded to run them into the ground while simultaneously pretending to the possession of obscene levels of wealth. This has gone on far longer than he’s been in the public eye and been the darling of Christianists everywhere.

He’s always pretended to be above the law and said things out loud that most people would understand are an open admission of guilt. Several people have pointed this kind of behavior out to me over the last couple of weeks, as if I haven’t been pointing it out to most of them for more than six years. He’s guilty whether he admits it or not. What he’s doing is a con, a scam, a fraud. It’s clearly sedition and we just need to see him convicted in order to keep him out of office in the future.

Let me put it this way. If a prosecutor will bring charges against Donald Trump. If a prosecutor brought charges in front of a court and if that court convicted him. After prosecuting and convicting him, if that court sentenced him to death by firing squad. Finally, if Donald Trump takes several bullets to the chest in front of a firing squad for his transparently obvious crimes of sedition, only then might I be willing to admit that a wealthy person could be held to account in the United States.

Donald Trump doesn’t need an insanity plea and he’d never stoop to being represented that way in court. He doesn’t have to worry about pleas or legal strategies because he’s convinced everyone of importance that he is wealthy and comes from old, established American wealth and power. Fine, christian wealth. Wealthy people in the United States need not worry about jail time, especially prominent, wealthy, christian white men.

The United States was created by the wealthy for the wealthy. It was created out of the dreams of the average person, the dreams that they too might one day be wealthy. Their dreams, their blood, their sweat and their tears. But this country isn’t for average people, no matter how many of them die for it. This country serves the one percent, the upper echelons of wealth. The truth of this is evident all around us if we only look.

The founders were all landed gentry. Men of wealth and property. The most prominent name on the Declaration of Independence was a smuggler (along with Sam Adams) engaged in evading the taxes levied on them by the British parliament. The founders made grand promises of equality and liberty for everyone; but really, who cares about other people’s liberty anyway? I got mine, get yours.

When I was at my most cynical on this subject, many years ago, I observed that the United States had finally reached economic racial equality because O.J. Simpson managed to get away with killing a white woman and her boyfriend in cold blood. A wealthy black man was finally equal to a wealthy white one when it came to law and justice. It’s just unfortunate for him that he spent all his wealth evading justice on a murder charge and so ended up jailed as a poor black man a few years later.

One day even independently wealthy women will be as bullet proof as wealthy men currently are. On that day Martha Stewart will be able to not only engage in insider trading but almost cut the heads off former lovers and get away with it scot-free. Martha Stewart is no Donald Trump. He can send violent mobs to the Capitol of the United States with the goal of catching and killing his own Vice President, and he can walk around bragging about it for years afterward.

It’s nice to be privileged like that, I imagine. It probably tends to make you even less connected to the real world around you than the average American is. Tends to make you more than a little nuts. But, hey, that’s okay. He has money. He’s a nice guy once you get to know him and he’ll make it worth your while to be nice to him. He’ll get away with sedition, most likely.

NPR: All Things Considered – Proud Boys leader and 4 top members are charged with seditious conspiracy for Jan. 6 – June 6, 2022

While it is true that you can be barred from public office for being convicted of sedition, that charge almost never sticks, as the podcast embedded above goes into. Imagine being the prosecutor that fails to keep Donald Trump from running for office again; or keeps Donald Trump from running again, and becomes the target of every gun-carrying wingnut in the United States. Even less of a winning scenario than the charge of sedition being successful against one of Donald Trump’s lovely, lovely henchmen. Which is still a longshot.

There is also the fact that we’ve never prosecuted a President before in 240 years of US history:

In the 240 years since America’s founding, no former president has been indicted for criminal conduct. This isn’t because they were angels—far from it. And it isn’t because post-term indictment is not legally allowed. Instead, it is because Americans don’t like the idea of criminalizing politics. Both parties and the public see the prospect of post-term immunity as a guarantee that the country’s politics will remain civil and that power will transition peacefully from one party to the other. That is what drove President Gerald Ford to pardon Richard Nixon. And it’s one reason why the Office of the Independent Counsel decided not to indict former President Bill Clinton.

The presidency of Donald J. Trump has upended those calculations, and the resistance to post-term investigation may now come at too great a cost. When he leaves office, whether in January or four years later, the next administration or one of the states can and should investigate citizen Donald Trump—a former president whose legal status will be no different from that of any other American. The risk of politicization of such an investigation is far outweighed by the danger posed by failing to uphold our nation’s values. To protect future presidents from retributive investigations once they leave office, however, any investigation should be limited to Trump’s conduct before and after his presidency, not his behavior while he was president. If the findings of such an investigation justify it, prosecutors should indict the former president for violations of criminal law.

theatlantic.com

Until the time that all happens, the indictment, prosecution and sentencing of Donald Trump (the wealthy, white, christian, former President) I’m going to stick to the more doable task of keeping the House Democratic, making the Senate democratic and securing the election system against all future Trumpists. Because I think it’s important to maintain realistic goals.

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Restore The Child Tax Credit

This is one of the things that we need to be going to polls for, restoring the Child Tax Credit. If you want to reduce the impact of inflation on the people most devastated by inflation, then you want to ease the burdens of the parents of young children. Their children are the real victims of this economic turmoil.

NPR: The Indicator from Planet Money – Going backwards on child poverty – June 16, 2022

…and it’s much more than that. If you want to reduce the number of abortions you have to visibly provide support for mothers. If you are going to force the end of abortion in the United States (as we seem hell bent on doing, even though it is impossible to achieve) then you must provide support for the children that you are now directly bringing into the world by your interference. There will be a bill due from all of this turmoil, and if we don’t pay it to the children they will take it from those who live long enough to see them come of age.

Tatooine Dust Levels

The subject came up in raid chat the other day, the existence of Saharan dust in the atmosphere of the Southern United States. Apparently this was news to people who haven’t lived in the South for the last twenty years. It was about twenty years ago that I first heard reference to Saharan dust drifting on the winds from Africa and landing in my lungs here in Austin.

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On a more serious note, here’s NASA explaining it:

The Sahara Desert is by far Earth’s largest source of airborne dust, and the storms can arise at any time of year. In winter and spring storms, Saharan dust often ends up fertilizing the nutrient-poor soils of the Amazon rainforest. Dust storms in the summer tend to loft material higher into the atmosphere, allowing plumes to travel thousands of kilometers on high-level winds. Those summer seasonal wind patterns can carry the dust from Africa to the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. Plumes of dust recently reached Florida, Texas, and other southern U.S. states in mid-May 2022.

earthobservatory.nasa.gov

This explains why I sound like a frog when I’m talking these days. My apologies.

The Unlamented Death of Reaganism

Last night the first public hearing of the 1/6 House Select Committee was live across most of the internet and cable entertainment services in the United States. They’ve been working quietly in the background since that day, the day we almost lost our republic to insurrectionists at the instigation of then President Donald Trump.

Quietly investigating the events that lead directly to the second impeachment of Donald Trump in an attempt to uncover exactly how we got to the point where the supporters of the President could attack the Legislature of the United States while screaming for the death of the Vice President because of his required role in certifying the Presidency of Joe Biden.

The election had been held. The votes had been counted, the lawsuits dismissed, the lies about the election exposed. There was nothing left to do but rubberstamp the certified results in the traditional manner before handing the administration of the United States government over to the next President. An event that has occurred more than 40 times since the creation of this country back in 1776.

But not this time. No, this time the President wasn’t going to allow his own defeat to be recorded. Not that he wasn’t defeated, that had already been determined democratically and judicially. He wasn’t going to allow the defeat to be recorded officially so as to turn defeat into… what? It couldn’t be victory because there wouldn’t be a United States after he retained power in defiance of the rules and of the votes of 81,282,916 people. So what did he hope to achieve beyond the destruction of the norms that had governed the lives of Americans since March 4, 1797 when the first president of the United States voluntarily surrendered the office?

It is ironical that these events mark the logical end of Reaganism. Reaganism that was re-invented into neo-liberalism and then rebranded into compassionate conservatism and finally zombified in the form of the prosperity gospel and Trumpismo. Reaganism kept animated by the dedicated effort of Roger Ailes’ FOX news and political activists determined to see Reagan’s grand compromise with Evangelicals and their joint takeover of the Republican party brought to its ultimate… victory?

Trump rode into office mouthing phrases utilized by Reagan. He promoted the ideals of Reagan, whether or not he lived up to those ideals of wealth and morality. He delivered on his and Reagan’s promises to the Evangelicals who backed both of them, creating a Supreme Court that was pre-rigged to overturn Roe v. Wade, the cornerstone of hatred that modern Evangelical America was founded on.

With FOX news and Rush Limbaugh smoothing over every excess of Trump’s criminal reign for four years. With the apologetics of Christianists well versed in twisting ancient texts to suit modern agendas. Through two impeachments. With the transparent puppeteering of Trump by Vladimir Putin ignored. With Trump’s love affair with Putin’s strongman tactics. It all came to the only end that could possibly have been in store for it given his complete inability to have a private thought unexpressed. What end? The near-destruction of the United States as we have all known it, before he was finally forced out of office.

…Of course the Republicans who profited from Trump’s reign refused to acknowledge the damage that had been done. Of course FOX news doesn’t admit that there was anything wrong with the Presidency of Donald Trump and instead spends every single moment of its air time deriding the performance of the sitting President.

That would be Joe Biden, for those who are still in denial out there. Joe Biden, the second coming of Barack Obama.

Make no mistake, this is what Republicans hate most about Joe Biden. That he represents the triumph of a black man who successfully ran the country for eight years, and was the only President since LBJ to reverse the decline of the fortunes of the American people. Reverse the decline through a single act of legislation that he guided through a nearly comatose Senate.

So FOX news talks endlessly about the flagging economy that none of their vaunted heroes have ever been able to fix, let alone understand; leaving out the part where Joe Biden orchestrated the ending of the COVID pandemic, the cause of the economic woes, through the rollout of vaccines that Donald Trump couldn’t get delivered and that his supporters still won’t take.

FOX news talks about the ignoble ending of the Afghanistan war, blaming it on Joe Biden when it was their golden boy, Donald Trump, who set us on the course to be kicked out of Afghanistan by the Taliban that we had defeated twenty years earlier. If there is a stain on America then they put it there by first electing the guy who restarted American imperialism, Ronald Reagan, and then continued to agitate for a more expansive American agenda for more than forty years in the face of changing climates, vanishing resources and more militant opposition in those places that we took our resources from.

FOX and the American conservatism that it gives voice to have pushed us all to the edge of destruction. No matter how you slice and dice the evidence this is the only conclusion that can be drawn, which is why they have all decided that the evidence is the problem and must therefore be ignored.

If FOX and American conservatism are to be believed, then the 1/6 investigation is a witch hunt that has found actual witches. For the first time in history. They won’t talk about the Committee’s findings, only that the Committee shouldn’t exist and that the Republicans who sacrificed their careers to see the investigation carried out should be drummed out of office. The findings are real though, despite the denials. The facts speak for themselves; which is a good thing, considering the climate.

Fox News’ choice to NOT cover the January 6th Committee hearings is the first ethical decision they’ve ever demonstrated.

Given that they’re seditious coconspirators, it would be a conflict of interest.

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Who has cable anymore? A show of hands? Exactly. FOX news may be the most popular news channel on American cable systems, but almost no one watches cable news anymore. Most of us get our news from (shudder) the internet. What FOX is, what MSNBC and CNN are, are dinosaurs. They are the vestiges of a once powerful opinion manufacturing machine that has largely gone to dust.

They long for the good old days when they could change history with their influence. Now they are transparently what they always have been, political reflection machines that serve only to ramp up the beliefs of the minority of the population who still watch them.

PBS News HourFull January 6th Hearings (Playlist) C-SPAN

I watched the hearings on YouTube like most people did. It’s true that the feed was NBC’s, and even older dinosaur than MSNBC, but what I saw is what anyone who watched saw, the opening salvo of a months-long series of hearings that will lay out the coup attempt by Trump and his co-conspirators, facts that those of us who pay attention to politics already know the gist of.

What FOX will be doing is trying to hold the attention of their viewers, not just for hours or days but for months, desperate to distract their viewers from the truth airing everywhere outside the conservosphere. MSNBC will simply be embroidering on the facts revealed in the hearings. CNN will reduce the facts to easily digestible chunks so that even the unwilling will have to concede to their existence. Which of these jobs would you rather have?

The results of all of this redundantly expensive noise will be determined outside of the reach of any one political entity; which is the way it should be. The one true thing that Vice President Mike Pence will probably ever say in his lifetime, a thought repeated in the 1/6 evidence on that first night of public hearings, bears repeating here:

There is no idea more unAmerican than the notion that any one person could choose the American President.

twitter/Mike Pence

…and by extrapolation, what the will of the population is should not be the decision of one man or even one political entity but should be readily established by the voices of the people themselves, directly. Eighty million people voted for Joe Biden, therefore Joe Biden should be President not Donald Trump.

Donald Trump still can’t accept this fact almost two years later and is still trying to enact a coup to have himself re-instated as President, as if that is even a thing that can be done. FOX is happy to beat the drum in support of Donald Trump; thereby signing its own death warrant, which is the punishment for treason.

Sedition. Treason. Easy words to say, hard accusations to prove.

He doesn’t mean talking in front of the committee when he asks for equal time. There is an open invitation for him to come to the committee and testify out there right now. The Chair of the committee extended this invitation from the beginning of the investigation. All Donald Trump has to do to be allowed to speak is comply with the requirements of the law. First he has to submit documentation for review, and he doesn’t have documentation on anything. Then he’d have to show up and not lie about established facts, a thing he doesn’t know how to do.

As his fan club has protested for years, requiring him to testify under oath is entrapment; except I don’t think they understand what this objection means. What they are saying is that he is not sane. If he was sane he could and world stop lying about established facts. His supporters know this when they say the word entrapment. If he was sane he would be able to stop himself from lying. He can’t, and so he isn’t.

Trump’s lying in front of the panel is exactly what is needed right now. Having him appear and face judgement would be the best for everyone concerned. If he could be made to appear and accept responsibility and our judgement. That is the crucial point of this juncture in time. Can he and his followers be made to accept responsibility for their actions and our judgement of them?

If we could compel him to appear he would do one of two things. He would transparently lie just as he always has and then dare us to act against him, the former President, in full view of his supporters. His supporters who will then probably start another insurrection. At least it would be in the open then.

Either he would lie or he would do the thing that all his betters do. He would plead the fifth just as he has done in past depositions (otherwise known as the “I can’t recall” defense) and that would leave us right where we are now. The place we don’t want to be. But we would still have the evidence of his evasion under questioning. This is why he blusters for equal time but will not avail himself of the opportunity to sit before the committee.

He doesn’t want to sit before the committee, he wants to run the committee. He wants a committee of his own. This potentiality is not as farfetched as most people might think. He could have his own committee if Republicans take the House and appoint him Speaker after the midterms. Anyone can be made Speaker of the House, although traditionally only sitting members have been appointed to this job. Think about that for a few minutes. Speaker Donald Trump. Have a puke bucket handy before you do.

I prefer not to think of the bastard at all. This was an easy thing to do before half the nation became members of his personality cult. All of this behavior around him is not what sanity looks like. It’s not just him, it’s his followers and others too. It started before him and it will continue after him. It may be the death of the human race if we don’t find a way to defeat it.

Climate change denial. Gun violence. Antivax. Trumpismo. All of these groups have the same thing in common, denial of the facts in evidence. Denial of the facts despite the rising levels of certainty stacked against this denial. Now either we figure out a way around this blockade so that the things needing doing get done, or we all die. We all die through climate disaster or nuclear holocaust or maybe even both simultaneously.

Wouldn’t that be fun?

You say you know he knows? That his lies are conscious? That all of this crap we’ve been through for six years was his idea of of a money making scheme? It’s possible, maybe even probable. We can’t say what he knows, despite what most people think. We can say what the facts are, and we can say that he was informed. We can’t say that he knows or that anyone similarly afflicted with this kind of dysphoria (?) knows. What we can say is that it is common and that a significant portion of the population can be influenced by others who have it. That people who are afflicted should not be trusted in positions of authority for the very reasons being laid out before us by the January 6th Committee today.

He was informed of the known facts and refused to accept them. Call it megalomania, call it willful ignorance. Call it Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Call it whatever you like but it still means he’s not sane and cannot be trusted to do anything of importance at any time after this. He needs keepers not access to the nuclear codes. He and his followers.

This is about much more than his freedom or our need to see Donald Trump punished. This is about all of our futures. I’ll happily call him nuts and fit him and his lunatic followers into straightjackets if that would get us past this crisis that we’ve been stuck on and in for most of my life. I doubt that will address the problem though.

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the era of big government is over

Bill Clinton, 1996 State of the Union Address

Two years into his first term as President, Bill Clinton announced his endorsement of Reaganism and the birth of his version of neoliberalism. His time in office saw the destruction of the public sphere that started under Reagan continue unabated through his two terms and through the two terms of George W. Bush, along with a heightened reliance on military strength as our way of demonstrating our will to the world’s people and governments.

The deregulation of industry. The abandonment of the poor and infirm. The triumph of greed. All of these trends have continued unabated since the day that Ronald Reagan won the White House and imposed his vision of America on us and the rest of the world. They have continued and now brought us to this crisis point in our civilization.

The environment is changing before our very eyes. The seas rise, the land sinks. Crops die in the field from intemperate weather and wars break out across the globe as the populations of the various nations realize that their governments do not care if they starve to death or not. Their caring may not even be the problem since there may not be enough food to feed everyone in the very near future. Is this the end? Only we can decide that.

Make no mistake though, Reagan is as much a product of the corporation’s desire to avoid paying for the impending climate disaster that they helped to create as he was a creation of the Christianists of the Religious Right who wanted to inflict their religion on the rest of us; and all of them are to blame for creating the environment that people like Donald Trump thrive in. They made his kind of lawless greed possible. They are to blame for all of this.

History will record that FOX died the same death as the Reagan Republicanism it was founded to promote. It was never more than an organ of that political movement and so will not survive its ultimate demise. A death that has been a long time coming but that we are watching play out around us right now.

What will replace Reagan Republicanism will be determined by those people who act on the politics of this moment whether they follow the news or not; and the truth of Trump’s crimes are there for anyone with the eyes to see them. All they have to do is open their eyes and look. So is the inflation brought on by a reigniting economy. So is the lingering pandemic. So is the war in Ukraine. So is the climate crisis that possibly has a hand in bringing all of these things to a head at the same time. What one thing will voters take to the polls in November to decide the next course this country will head on? Will it be just one thing?

We are barreling towards the November midterm election as I type this. Donald Trump and the Democrats who are trying to prosecute him want the election to be about Trump. The environmentalists want it to be about climate. The talking heads on FOX news want it to be about the economy. No one wants to think about the pandemic or the war, but they are out there influencing opinions anyway.

If you are blind enough to believe that Republicans ne Conservatives have answers for anything that the future might bring after everything we’ve been through over the last four if not forty years, then you’ll vote for Republicans and get violent when your side loses again. The rest of us will stick with the only sane group out there, moderate Democrats. How long can the center hold though? Hopefully long enough to see the next political philosophy rise, one that isn’t yet another zombified version of Reagan Republicanism.

Featured image of Ronald Reagan and Roger Ailes found here: highlandscurrent.org

Texas, Bloody Texas

Greg Abbott has blood on his hands; and not only Greg Abbott, but every voting Republican in Texas has blood on their hands today. Eighteen children and three adults are dead in Uvalde (Texas Standard) and these additional victims can be added to the numberless other people killed as a result of the Texas Republican party’s reckless actions last summer. Numberless dead because there is no way to keep track of all the people killed as a result of constitutional carry.

These results were predicted when Governor Abbott signed the law:

House Bill 1927 eliminates the requirement for Texas residents to obtain a license to carry handguns if they’re not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a gun. The signing was reported by the Texas Legislature’s official website, which tracks the progress of legislation. Abbott’s office has announced a ceremonial signing of the bill and other gun-related legislation at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Abbott’s signature seals a win to conservative activists who have long sought the measure without success. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republicans who were initially noncommittal about the bill were under immense political pressure this session from conservatives and gun rights advocates, who have long lobbied the Texas Legislature for permitless carry but historically struggled to win support.

texastribune.org

Anyone can carry a gun in public anywhere in Texas for any reason and no one can stop them. Even the perpetrator of this latest mass shooting in Uvalde had every right to carry his weapons, right up to the point where he shot his first victim. Anyone who tried to stop him would have been violating his rights.

There’s no vetting whatsoever. None at all.

Mike Taylor, Texas Standard

Everyone who backed the constitutional carry law is guilty of murder now. All of you have blood on your hands. Governor Abbott might as well have gone to that school and shot those children himself for all the difference it makes. All the thoughts and prayers are wasted. Your god is vengeance, and these dead children are his vengeance on your stupidity.

It’s time we left the death cult that is the belief that more guns will solve a problem. More guns are the problem. We need there to be fewer guns and those guns in the hands of people who are trained, licensed and insured against accidents. Until that happens there will only be more senseless death at a rapidly increasing rate. I will be keeping my children as close to me as I can until these cruel Republican bastards are removed from office.


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The 2022 NRA Annual Convention will take place at the George R. Brown Convention Center May 27-29 in Houston, Texas. Among those people confirmed to be attending the convention are: Donald Trump, Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, John Cornyn and Dan Crenshaw. All of these people should be up on charges right now as accomplices to murder. Actual children, not the imaginary children that they run around saying they want to protect every day, but actual children lay dead in Uvalde because of their actions, and they are going to have a convention before the bodies of their latest victims are even in their graves.

There should be mass protests in Houston. Access to the convention center should be blocked by chains of people handcuffed together. This murder of innocents has gone 0n long enough. Action is what is required now, and not the hateful action of the people who buy their murder tools. We Texans must stand up and put things right. The time is now.


There is a tendency in media these days to stampede to the location of the latest atrocity and then blanket cover the minutest detail of everything about the subject; as if there is any story deep enough to bear the scrutiny of the entire world twenty-four hours a day or that the bereaved parents and families in a small town in Texas will welcome your invasion of their backwater community in this time of tragedy.

Where was the interest when the interest could have made a difference? When the independent school district appointed the security chief that kept parents and officers out of the school building for an hour while the shooter continued to rampage?

Arredondo believed that the shooter had barricaded himself and that the children were not under an active threat.

nbcnews.com

That would have been the crucial moment when something might have been done that would have changed the outcome on that fateful day. There is no point in asking these suffering people about their opinions of State politicians right now. No point in torturing them with what if questions. You are just adding insult to injury.

Those are questions for the rest of us to ask ourselves and find our own answers:

On the Media – Again and Again and Again and Again (and Again) – May 25, 2022

There are several good answers to many questions we might ask ourselves in that episode of On The Media. Will we ever tackle those tough conversations?


A citizen of Uvalde has come forward to speak on the subject of what we need to do next:

C-SPANMatthew McConaughey Complete Remarks at White House Press Briefing – Jun 7, 2022

We want secure and safe schools and we want gun laws that won’t make it so easy for the bad guys to get the damn guns

Matthew McConaughey

I refuse to accept that there is nothing we can do about this subject. I know what I think should be done to stop mass killings and maybe even impact the even greater number of individual gun deaths across the nation. I’m going to vote to do something different:

This is on you [Governor Abbott] until you choose to do something different. This will continue to happen. Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will be continue to be killed just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday.

Beto O’Rourke

To the Republican politicians who lashed out at Beto for his interruption of that news conference, and to their self-satisfied base of voters who see nothing wrong with the way the the death toll is mounting, I only have this to say; your time is coming to an end. There will come a day when the people you have abused and mislead will wake up and realize that they have the power to fix their own government and that they don’t need guns to do it. All they have to do is stand up and act as one. Act as one indivisible unit. That day will come. I hope I live long enough to see it.


These are the kinds of school programs that need to be spread throughout school systems so that these disaffected teens can find the help they need instead of burning out and lashing out:

NPR: Short Wave – Can The Next School Shooting Be Prevented With Compassion? – June 16, 2022

The boy in that story, Mishka? That boy was another version of me, another version of so many children who are overlooked by education systems too overloaded to have time to avoid injustices like multiple injuries inflicted on a child that just happens to be the target of physically aggressive bullying. If you want to stop these children growing up into violent adults (if they are lucky enough to grow up at all) you have to intervene when the problem starts, not after it explodes in blood and violence.

As Texas Goes, So Goes the Nation

The Supreme Court has decided that they like more shootings in public places. They want the rest of the United States to be more like Texas, overturning a century of legal precedents when it comes to the carrying of firearms:

Since 1911, the state of New York has required individuals who would like to carry a concealed weapon in public to show a need to do so for the purpose of self defense and to require a license. More than a century later, the United States supreme court has chosen to strike down New York’s long-established authority to protect its citizens.

Joe Biden

Now you can’t stop mass shooters from massacring, you can only respond after they open fire with volleys of your own. You can’t stop them because there are no laws that stop people from carrying weapons into places where weapons don’t belong.

Make no mistake here. Unless we both limit the access to guns; train, license and insure gunowners, as well as start caring for the abused and mistreated among us, we are going to see an increase in gun violence. In every town, in every city and basically anywhere a disagreement occurs and one of the parties has access to guns and violent tendencies at the same time. This is inevitable and has been inevitable from the very beginning. We are trying to deny human nature when we act like everyone is reasonable and rational and can be trusted to not blow up the world if we give them access to the power to do so. This is simply not the case.

Cyrano: Loving Madly

Cyrano (2022)

The Wife and I watched this movie two days before our 33rd anniversary. In my opinion there are few stories that can compete with this one for romantic impact on an anniversary date night. This new version of the story, set to music:

SpotifyCyrano Soundtrack

Is the first time that I ever took a real interest in the story. The reason I took an interest was because of this man:

Youtube – Peter Dinklage ’91 Addresses Bennington College’s Class of 2012

I love Peter Dinklage. Every time I would see him on screen he was always fully invested in the character he was portraying. I don’t remember him for most of the things that others might first think of, not Game of Thrones or Death at a Funeral (both of them) or even the Station Agent. I remember him for a little known television show named Threshold.

This wasn’t the first time I had seen him in a show, but it was the first time that he owned the screen so convincingly and persistently. He commanded my attention and I fell in love with his onscreen presence. I loved the show even though they canceled it. This seems to happen a lot with things I love. Most people simply can’t wrap their heads around why the thing is worth paying attention to.

This appears to be true of the Cyrano musical as well. I suspect that this is because most people can’t take little people seriously in leading roles. The Wife is convinced that it is the poor pacing of the movie edit that causes the problem with viewers. I personally don’t think most people are deep enough to notice that the pacing drags in several sections. They see a little person in a leading role and they refuse to pay to see the movie because it simply isn’t believable.

This is to their own personal detriment. The film is beautiful. It is a marvelous example of a period piece set in a variety of real world locations. Cyrano de Bergerac was a real person that came from a particular place and time in history. However, that Cyrano seems to have had little problem with women. While he apparently did have a very large nose, it was apparently no more pronounced than several popular actors of recent years (yes, I am looking at you Adam Driver) He did seem to be touchy about it, though. In the musical they simply abandoned the fake nose that has come to be associated with productions of the classic play. Who needs a large nose when you’re leading man is so distinctly not normal looking right out of the box?

The play was written by Erica Schmidt, Dinklage’s wife. Even though the part seems almost written for him, he reportedly had to beg her to be allowed to play it. They first performed the play in New York city; off, off Broadway. The future director of the movie just happened to be in the audience one night and the rest is history.

Youtube – From Tyrion To Cyrano – Peter Dinklage On Playing Intelligent Characters – Dec 1, 2021

As beautiful as the movie is, it is the soundtrack that makes it memorable. The passion in the performer’s voices is palpable. Dinklage’s vocals are raw and moving at all times. The lackluster reception for the movie does force me to wonder what the audience response would have been like if they had gotten someone more traditional to play the leading man’s role? If they had simply used movie magic and computer animation to make Peter Dinklage six foot tall? Would audiences have noticed how beautiful the film was then? Noticed the emotion? I don’t know. I’ll continue to love it anyway.

Easter Vertigo

The migraine crept up on me over the course of yesterday evening. I chalked it up to bad weather. Low cloud cover and high pressure tends to make my eyeballs and sinuses ache and the migraine slowly presented itself out of those minor irritations over the late hours of the evening.

I eventually gave up on my attempts to distract myself with playing World of Warcraft, and went downstairs to fix a late snack. I wasn’t hungry but knew I needed to eat something before taking my drugs and going to bed. I hadn’t eaten anything since about noon.

While my snack was heating up in the nuker I went and took my traditional cocktail of migraine drugs. Two ibuprofen, two acetaminophen, pseudoephedrine, guaifenesin and Claritin. As bad as I felt, I kept the dose down to two ibuprofen instead of four. I have been cautioned about overdosing on ibuprofen several times now, even though I’ve known pain sufferers who took as many as ten at a time. So just two ibuprofen instead of four.

When I went back to the nuker (microwave ovens have always been nukers in this household) to check on my low sodium pot pie, the world violently started to spin to the left. It happened so suddenly that I almost missed catching myself on the countertop.

“No, no, NO” I told the world, but it didn’t listen. I couldn’t track anything visually. I felt around for the stop button on the nuker and then felt my way back into the bedroom to get my Xanax, the only treatment that I’ve found can quell rotational vertigo when it strikes.

The wife was at the hospital still recovering from her latest surgery. I’m without my partner in crime today. There will be no cheating the gods of vertigo this time, and it felt like it was going to be one of my worse experiences with the symptom.

I had to shake several bottles before I felt the weight I was looking for, and then I double checked the label. It took four tries before I could make out the name on it. Alp. Alpro. Alprazolam. That’s the Xanax. So I took one.

I felt around for the controls for the bed and then got in it and tried to make the Catbus plushy that I focus on when the world starts spinning stop dancing back and forth in front of me. It was leering at me, not grinning. It also wouldn’t hold still.

When someone finally came to check on me I begged for a promethazine and then I passed out after taking it. Clothes on, no CPAP, no nothing.

I came to breifly at six am and did my own version of an Easter egg hunt. I was starving. Where was the food I’d left in the nuker? I reheated it, ate it, took the remainder of my normal daily drugs from the night before along with a second Xanax just to make sure, and passed back out again.

Now it is 4:04 again. I barely know who I am or what I will be capable of today. I won’t be driving to the hospital to pick up the Wife. It’s Easter. She can’t get her required pain pills after surgery because the pharmacies are closed. Aside from which, I doubt I could get there without crashing the car several times.

Happy Easter everyone!

Postscript

The Cedar Fever woes have continued onto the verge of May. I still feel like every breath is accompanied with a tickling sensation, pretty much every day. I can ignore it until that one breath where I feel like I have to struggle just to get air in my lungs. Twice I’ve had to give up trying to sleep until some extra medication kicked in because I was just too congested to sleep, both in the lungs and in the sinuses. It’s a wonder that I’ve only had one major vertigo attack this season.

My friend Xanax has saved me from a few minor ones as well as making the major one less hellish. I’m going to have to get a refill. I hope the doctors don’t give me crap about it.

Biting the Hand That Feeds You

A fresh appeal appeared on the Meniere’s subreddit today. EECOG came back inconclusive. Am I missing something? A long and winding appeal for feedback. Something I see on the sub pretty much every day. Generally I’m not in the mood to spend time writing to newbs who could just as well have read the wiki on the subject that is pinned to the top of the sub. But I was feeling generous this afternoon. The Wife is bedridden and I feel like I should do more but can’t, so I spent a few minutes writing something that I felt was generic enough to be broadly appealing but specific enough to point them in the right direction.


No one knows what you are going through aside from you and no one can tell you how or even if what you are going through is going to change or progress. There is very little understanding of what it is that makes the symptoms that we suffer from appear, or what even causes them. As I point out in the first paragraphs here:

There are many different possible causes of the symptoms. You might try looking into TMJ disease. It may be something that a vestibular physical therapist can help you with. I’m with you on not spending time chasing the chimera of natural/holistic/placebo cures. If there is a cause then there is a real medical and/or therapeutic solution to the problem. It’s just a matter of relentlessly tracking down the cause of the problem and then addressing it properly.

I’ve been after that cause myself for most of my life. The problem never even had a name for me until 2003 and I still don’t know what the cause of my symptoms is. But I know pretty well what makes the symptoms worse now. I know when I need to medicate and when I should let someone else do the driving. That’s a step up from my low point. Here’s my story:


I would have been better served to just go walk the dog rather than to write anything at all. If I had read the username attached to that falsely ignorant appeal I would have known that it was someone I’ve run across before. Someone who really didn’t want informed answers just a pawn they could toy with and that would fawn over them and hold their hands for a nice feel-good session.

This was the second time they informed me that I was doing a disservice to the group by trying to help people with real answers to their real problems and that I needed to butt out of the convenient attention trap that they had laid. They beat me to the punch and blocked me right after the snarky reply. Time to go walk the dog. He at least appreciates the little attention I give him.