Wednesday, June 03, 2020

George Will, and Won’t

George Will has written a savage take-down of Trump and the Republican Senators who have supported him. You have probably seen it. But, on the slim chance you haven’t, it is here: “Trump must be removed. So must his congressional enablers.” 

In it, the eloquent Mr. Will trains his verbal artillery on Trump and the GOP, and leaves no Republican stronghold unblasted. Trump, he says, is less than garbage. The Congressmen and -women who support him worse. 

It is all marvelous stuff...good and hot...and particularly coming as it does from a man who was and is the dean of conservative intellectuals. It is no wonder that his column has gone viral and all right-thinking liberals, socialists, and never-Trump conservatives have spread it far and wide.

But there’s the rub. Will it do any good?

On one level, I’m pretty sure it won’t. That’s because the people who vote for Trump are not the ones who are going to read this piece and be convinced. I mean, let’s face it, even if...somehow...they saw the column, they wouldn’t understand it or care to. (Mr. Will ends his piece with an extensive quote from T.S. Elliot’s “The Hollow Men.” Brilliant. But think about the people screaming at police and abusing reporters at the recent anti-quarantine protests. Do you think they’ve read T.S. Elliot? Or, if they have, do they care about Hollow Men? Even as they are themselves empty?)

Am I being elitist? Yes, I am. But I also think I’m right. The Deporables really are deplorable. The poorly educated that Trump says he loves, are truly poorly educated. They are voting for him out of the fear and ignorance that comes from never having had civics in high school.



How Often Does He Read Poetry?


Which means that Mr. Will’s column will be read chiefly by those who already despise Trump, and plan to vote against him. Thus, maybe, he is simply preaching to the choir. (Which is not to be superior. I am guilty of the same sin. If you are reading this, you are probably planning on voting blue, no matter who, in 2020.)

Yet, on another level, I am guessing that Mr. Will’s column will be valuable. That’s because, first, it will give liberals, like myself, a bit of boost. We will see that even our more ancient and eloquent enemies are coming around to our side. We may not always be able to count on their friendship, but at least we know they are...in the matter of Trump...with us.

Second, it will remind conservatives that they can and should vote against Trump and, indeed, the whole of the GOP. It will remind them that the Republican party is no longer theirs, and that to cast their ballots against it is no shame.

And, finally…

It will remind the Senate Republicans who now support Trump...albeit out of fear and opportunism...that change is coming. 

And if they wish their careers survive it…

Then they must take a stand, and discover, somewhere, the backbone which seems that, up to now,  they have misplaced…

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

June 2


Watch this incredibly powerful video from Rev. William Barber. This is the kind of thing we all need to hear in this moment of crisis.




Monday, June 01, 2020

Is This The End Of American Democracy?

Tonight, Donald Trump came very close to calling for martial law in America. He said that if state governors don’t “dominate” protesters, he will call out the military.

Let’s face it, this could be the end of American democracy.

The question is, what are we going to do about it?



Trumpsty's Bunker

Can’t believe how precedent I was. Yesterday I posted that I was stunned by the contrast between our nation’s needs and Trump's behavior. I envisioned him sitting on his golden toilet, rage tweeting in the night, while all around him the nation burns.

Well, today we learn that he spent part of last night literally in a bunker, while the lights of the White House were turned off, and protesters met riot police in the streets outside.

The image is evocative, is it not? And did I not foretell it in my way?

Amazing.

Maybe I’ll hang out a shingle as a professional futurist. Or an astrologer. Six of one. Thirty seven of the other.



Terror In The Night

While the nation burns…

So, shall we recap? Covid-19 has killed at least 100,000 Americans and probably far more. We are on the verge of a new Depression. China is taking over the world. Our cities are in flames....

And Donald Trump sits on his golden toilet and rage tweets at midnight.

WTF?



Sunday, May 31, 2020

Masks Are So Hot Right Now

So I read in HuffPost that Fox News’ Brit Hume attempted to shame Joe Biden for wearing a mask on Memorial Day. Apparently, according to Mr. Hume, Biden looked silly in a mask. And, you know, all the cool kids refuse to wear ‘em. Particularly when they’re out smoking behind the gym.

The word I think I’m looking for is “idiotic.” Of course, no one looks cool wearing a mask. Well, exceptions made for Batman and the Lone Ranger. but you get my point. A mask is reasoned, rational, choice with which you try to protect your health as best you can. It is not a God Damn fashion statement. Period.

But my point is that I worry about the American people, and particularly Americans who support Donald Trump and bash mask wearers and claim that Covid-19 is hoax and all the rest of it. They are endangering themselves, and everyone else...



What the GOP has become...

And they are doing so using most adolescent language possible. They sound and act like the bullies and Big Men/Women On Campus I knew in Junior High. And, like the bullies I knew in Junior High, their behavior (like smoking, “up with your rules”) may serve them well in the short run, but quite possibly kill them in the long.

In other words...

Dear God, what happened to Americans? When did we abandon all signs of maturity and adulthood?





Source: Fox News' Brit Hume Face-Mask Shames Joe Biden; Twitter Goes Bonkers by Mary Papenfuss, https://www.yahoo.com/huffpost/brit-hume-joe-biden-trump-face-mask-shaming-032451198.html


***



About me: I’m a writer and former journalist who has published material on everything from computers to the Jazz Age. (Among my small claims to fame is that I interviewed Steve Jobs just after that talented if complicated man got kicked out of Apple, and just before the company’s Board came begging him to come back.)

Please check out my new book, Padre: To The Island, a meditation on mortality, grief, and joy, based on the lives and deaths of two of the most amazing and unconventional people I ever met, my mother and father.

  Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Anti-Mask Men With Small Peenies

I find it fascinating that not wearing a mask in the midst of the current pandemic has, somehow, become a means of demonstrating just how big your penis is. I mean, how tough you are. I see postings on Facebook and elsewhere reading, “I refuse to wear a mask because I refuse to live in fear.”

And, already, we’ve seen people take the next logical step from there. That is, to say that wearing a mask must be a sign of weakness and cowardliness. And, of course, weaklings are made to b e bullied. That is the Will Of God...as interpreted by the church of the Deplorable...

Thus, the anti-mask movement has revealed its true colors with remarkable speed. It is no longer about the freedom to go without a mask. It is now about the suppression of my right to protect my health as I see fit.

Or, to put it another way, the anti-mask movement was never about liberty. It was, and is, about being a bully.

Nothing more. And nothing less.







***


About me: I’m a writer and former journalist who has published material on everything from computers to the Jazz Age. (Among my small claims to fame is that I interviewed Steve Jobs just after that talented if complicated man got kicked out of Apple, and just before the company’s Board came begging him to come back.)

Please check out my new book, Padre: To The Island, a meditation on mortality, grief, and joy, based on the lives and deaths of two of the most amazing and unconventional people I ever met, my mother and father.

  Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Friday, May 29, 2020

I Couldn’t Give Blood

Funny what seems important in the midst of a crisis.

I had kind of a bummer of a morning this a.m. Nothing serious. Just a mild downer.

What happened is that I couldn’t give blood, or, more precisely, platelets. I originally got started doing this because I may have had Covid-19 back in February. If so, I’d like to donate blood to the various programs that are experimenting with “convalescent plasma therapy.” That’s where doctors take plasma from someone who has already recovered from a disease and inject it into people who are still sick from it. The antibodies in the donated plasma then fight the disease -- in this case Covid.

I would like to do that, but the antibody tests are just not available yet, and the way we’re going, may never be.

Still, my local blood bank, WeAreBlood.org, suggested instead that I donate platelets. These are the components in the blood that help with clotting, and it turns out there’s always a need for that sort of donation, and it also turns out that my blood type, AB+, is uniquely valuable for platelets.

So, last month I started donating them. Truth be told, it isn’t particularly fun. It doesn’t hurt much. But it does take a long time--about two to three hours. And afterwards, I feel lightheaded and a little ill. In fact, between the process itself, and my state of mind afterwards, I basically lose an entire day.

Still, this morning, off I went. Martha drove me down. I checked in at 10:30 am. Then, next thing I knew, I was on the bed and they had the needle in my arm. A machine next to me whirred into life and everything was in process.



But, about fifteen minutes into things, we discovered that the needle had gone in “at an angle.” This meant the blood couldn’t be returned to my arm after the platelets had been extracted. Which meant that the whole process had to come to a complete halt. No donation that day. And I can’t do it again for another eight weeks.

I was startled by how depressed I was about it all. I had gotten myself geared up for the adventure, only to have it end in frustrating failure. I had all the negative aspects of the experience -- the wasted day, the vague feeling of lightheadedness -- with none of the satisfaction of knowing that maybe, just maybe, what I had done would be of use to someone. That is, I didn’t even have the hope that my platelets went to a patient who really, really needed them.

Though, I suppose there is a larger issue behind all of this, something I don’t necessarily think about consciously, but which is present just the same. Like most of us, I feel horribly helpless in the midst of all the bad news...the pandemic, the politics, armed protestors in Michigan and elsewhere, authorities who do not seem remotely competent, the fact that as of this date (I write this on 22, May, 2020) the United States has seen over 94,000 deaths from Covid-19...the fact that Trump doesn’t seem a damn about that...

And, well...everything...

Giving blood, or, rather, platelets was one small way for me to be of some service.

It is unpleasant to have that taken away, even if only for a time...


***


About me: I’m a writer and former journalist who has published material on everything from computers to the Jazz Age. (Among my small claims to fame is that I interviewed Steve Jobs just after that talented if complicated man got kicked out of Apple, and just before the company’s Board came begging him to come back.)

Please check out my new book, Padre: To The Island, a meditation on mortality, grief, and joy, based on the lives and deaths of two of the most amazing and unconventional people I ever met, my mother and father.

  Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Just a reminder...DON'T LET THEM STOP YOU FROM VOTING

Seriously, don't let do it. Here's a reminder for next November from everyone's favorite activist Star Trek crew member: