Saturday, October 1, 2022

Looking for Nothing

I’m trying to spend this weekend doing as little as possible, which is a relative term.

I’ve prepped for my Monday classes. Graded the online class essays. Written the exam for my remote class for Friday. Mown the lawn. Proofread the new version of the online class and sent in a short punch list of things that need to be corrected that I couldn’t do myself. Revised a discussion grade for a student who felt they were grievously shortchanged and did a good job of explaining why. Soon I’ll write out the bills (which I still send through the mail, having done the online identity theft fandango a few too many times to trust automatic online bill paying) and then go grocery shopping.

This counts as a slow weekend these days.

There are, of course, other things that need to get done – some of which will get done and some of which won’t. And there are some things that are fun and therefore don’t really count as work, so I’ll consider them.

I’m nearly finished a book that Lauren recommended, something she had to read for a class last year. It has been great so far, with a lot of references to places and experiences I remember growing up in the Philadelphia suburbs in the 1970s, and more than a few laugh-out-loud lines.

I watched the new episode of Great British Bake Off last night – still cheering for Janusz, Maxy, and Syabera, though as always there really isn’t anyone to cheer against on that show. They’re all fun and it’s sad to see them go. But now I’m caught up which means I can go back to plinking around my social media feeds without worrying about spoilers, which may or may not be a good thing.

This morning I managed to watch an entire Premier League game, something I haven’t done all the way through in one sitting since the spring. It was quite a game. The best part though was the male announcer, who sounded exactly like the Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy – if you’ve never heard Danny Bhoy’s “ceilidh” routine you should run to YouTube and listen to it now. It makes for an interesting soccer game to have that running in the background of your mind.

“The situation has changed! And not to your advantage!”

But if all goes to plan there will be downtime, and that is a sorely needed thing these days.

We’ll see how it goes.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

News and Updates

1. It’s actually autumn here in Baja Canada, by both the calendar and the weather. I’m good with that. Summer only gets romanticized because for the first two decades of most Americans’ lives it’s the one part of the year when they have unstructured time to spend how they like, but the weather itself is miserable. Bring on the crisp nights and the cool breezes and the grey skies, I say.

2. We went up to see Lauren and Maxim last night, dropping off Maxim’s bookcase on the way and then finding a nice dinner right by campus. I’d never been to a Brazilian steakhouse before. There’s a salad bar full of lovely stuff that you can help yourself to at any time, and then there’s meat that they bring around, and that’s pretty much the set up. There is no menu. You just sit there with a large piece of wood on the table that has one end painted red and the other end painted green and if you turn it so the green end is up someone comes by with a skewer full of tasties – steak, pork, chicken, and in one case grilled pineapple – and slices some off for you and if you don’t do anything after that more people come by with more skewers. Eventually you turn the wooden thing over to red and they stop coming for a while. And then the cycle repeats. It was a very nice experience, yes indeed, though I suspect not one I will repeat frequently.

3. Tonight we will go over to a fundraiser dinner at the local historical society where Oliver is working, and I suspect I will be there with some of the kind of community leaders that I don’t get to see in person very often even if this is a fairly small town. Look at me, ‘obnobbin’ wi’ the upper crust! Well, it’s for a good cause, and somebody has to paper the house.

4. While I’m on the subject of food, I was very happy to notice last week that my local grocery store here in southern Wisconsin carries chinotto! It’s right there in the weird soda aisle, waiting for me to place my greedy paws on a four-pack and toss it into my cart! That store carries almost everything. Life is good.

5. I’m nearly completed the project I was supposed to have completed on August 31 and it will be an entirely frabjous day when that happens. I may celebrate irresponsibly if I can remember how to do that. At least I’ll sleep better, which at this point of my life is a celebration in itself.

6. My life is a constant whiplash between the fact that my everyday experiences are perfectly fine and yet the broader culture and society in which I live seems to have landed squarely in The Worst Possible Timeline. I have a lovely family, good friends, a job that I generally like with colleagues I enjoy talking with, a house full of books and tea, and at least at present no major health issues that I am aware of, and yet the prelude to WWIII is happening in Ukraine, the planet is melting down, and unapologetic Fascists have taken over one of the only two major political parties this country has and 46% of Americans are perfectly fine with that as we barrel toward what may well be the one of the last free elections in American history. Truly these are interesting times.

7. We are all held hostage by the delusions of madmen.

8a. So there is a story about a mermaid who can sing and dance, one where she and the other main characters break out into song at just the strangest times, accompanied by full, unseen orchestras. You might have seen it. Her best friends are a crab with a Jamaican accent, a flounder, and a seagull with bad hair whose main function in the story seems to be giving the mermaid incorrect names for flatware. The mermaid falls in love with a human prince who happens to be drowning nearby, and then a giant evil octopus swaps out her voice for a pair of legs so she can pursue him romantically. The octopus eventually turns into an eldritch god and is stabbed to death by a boat, after which the mermaid marries the prince. And the thing about all of this that strikes some people as being unrealistic is that … the mermaid … is … black? Really? Are those people receiving the psychiatric care they so desperately need?

8b. Seen online: “The sort of people who will forcibly load people they hate onto airplanes are also the sort of people who will load them into boxcars.”

9. It’s a strange and lovely thing to see adults that you knew when they were very young children all grown up now and interesting to talk with on top of everything. This whole getting older thing does have some advantages after all.

10. It’s Great British Bake-Off season again. It’s nice to watch a show where people genuinely seem to like each other and help each other out, where the stakes are fairly low and there really aren’t any villains. I haven’t quite figured out a favorite among the candidates yet – so far Janusz and Maxy are in the running, but we’ll see how it goes. That will come in time I suppose. Right now the main issue I have is that they broadcast the shows on Tuesdays in the UK but not until Fridays in the US, so for several days I just have to avoid my Instagram account – a good 15% of which is devoted to former Bake-Off contestants – so I don’t get spoilers. On the one hand, yay Bake-Off ! And it’s not such a bad thing to skip social media. On the other hand, Instagram is my primary source of funny memes and we all need funny in these parlous times. It’s a trade.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Cheesecake

Sometimes you just have to throw caution to the wind, laugh in the face of danger, and stare death in the eye until it blinks, which is a pretty impressive thing to do when you’re staring at an eyeless skull.

For many people this involves feats of physical derring do, adventurous visits to risky places, or open defiance of the laws of nations or physics, but for us it meant going into a mid-20th-century recipe book to look for a cheesecake recipe.

Let me tell you, ol’ Betty Crocker does NOT fuck around when it comes to cheesecake.

Dustin has been staying with us for a week now and it turned out that yesterday was his birthday so we figured there ought to be a celebration. Oliver said that back at Small Liberal Arts College they usually would have a cheeseboard for dinner on the occasion and that was pretty manageable for us – we often do that, though we call it “Swedish Breakfast,” and we had just been to the local Sheep and Wool Festival last weekend and very quicky located the cheese booth where our friend Karen was working. You have to buy some cheese if you’re going to monopolize someone’s time that way, and it was good cheese after all.

So, we asked, what kind of cake do you want after dinner? And the answer was “Cheesecake.”

Kim found the recipe and after our eyes popped back into their sockets we thought, “Yes, Yes, YES – this is absolutely the cheesecake recipe we need to make.”

It calls for two and a half pounds of cream cheese, which is rather more than a kilogram in metric. Nine eggs total – five whole and four yolks. Sugar. Heavy cream. The zest of two lemons and an orange. The barest hint of flour, because there must be some legal requirement about that. A few other things that I no longer recall because I was still kind of reeling from the cream cheese requirements. It’s quite a cake.

Clearly the American Heart Association had not been invented when this recipe hit the presses.

It was, as you would expect, remarkably good.

We feasted on cheeses, meats, crackers, fresh bread, olives, and jams (including a bergamot jam that we found at an Italian deli in Kenosha) for dinner, and then after a suitable period to allow for digestion, we hauled out the cheesecake, sang “Happy Birthday,” and dove in.

We cut the pieces pretty narrow. Betty Crocker herself says that the recipe – which is supposed to fit into a 9” spring-form pan though in the end we were very glad to have substituted a 10” one – feeds 20 people. The four of us got through about a fifth of it, so that works out about right. There were no moves for seconds.

The rest of the evening was spent poring over other mid-20th-century cookbooks, reading the most striking recipes out loud and wondering how anyone survived, although to be fair you never know how things will turn out until you actually make them.

We’re all big fans of Dylan Hollis, who has gathered a following of several million people by putting out 90-second TikTok videos of himself making vintage recipes, about a third of which he ends up liking, often against his better judgment. If you’re over 40 you can also find the videos on YouTube. They’re worth it.

“Floof powder!”

Someone once told me that recipes made in the 1920s through the 1940s tend to be fairly reliable because they were made by people trying to feed their families, while recipes from the 1950s through the 1970s are to be treated skeptically until proven otherwise because too many of them come from companies trying to get you to buy their ingredients. I’m not sure when this recipe was created, but it’s definitely a winner. It had the feeling of something you’d keep in reserve as a special treat in hard times – a blowout sort of thing that would use up scarce resources for a celebration and then you’d talk about it for the rest of the winter.

There’s still a lot of it left.

There will just have to be further feasting. It’s a dirty job, and we get to do it.

Sunday, September 11, 2022

News and Updates

1. The first two weeks of the semester are basically madness for advisors, as we try to get all of our students in to see us at least once before the deadline for adding classes passes. My whole calendar is “Outlook blue” until at least the 19th. But that’s good, really. It means my students are coming in and getting what they need.

2. The first two weeks are generally pretty light for faculty, though, as things ramp up. And then everything switches: advising gets calmer as schedules are set and financial aid issues get resolved, while teaching gets more stressful as assignments start coming in and classes start in on more substantive material rather than just going over the syllabus and getting the foundations laid. Good thing I get to have both kinds of stress!

3. It’s a cool autumn day here in Baja Canada, grey and rainy and perfect. This is the weather I live for.

4. Oliver’s boyfriend Dustin is visiting us for the next week or so. There was a moment of panic when Oliver realized that he had misremembered the landing time for Dustin’s flight and we had to go hurtling out the door to get to the airport, but all ended well. It’s nice to have him here. Midgie has decided that Dustin is an acceptable person to sit on, which for a cat as cowardly as this one is quite an endorsement.

5. I’m not sure how both of my children ended up dating Texans, but there you have it. It seems to be working out just fine so far.

6. The Queen of England died the other day and so far I can’t figure out who is annoying me more – the raving royalists who insist that the world come to a halt until proper obeisance is made or the screeching grievance choir insisting that she was personally to blame for every evil of imperialism going back to James I. We had an entire revolution to allow me to be not overly concerned by what happens to the British royal family, for one thing, and for another if I wanted to listen to a screeching grievance choir I’d head over to the latest fabrications vomited forth by our unlamented former president and his lunatic cult. I’m sorry to see her go – she was a calm and dignified presence in a world sorely lacking in such things, and by all accounts had a fairly sharp sense of humor – and really that ought to be enough.

7. There is a fine line between a literary biography and a fanzine.

8. The more we hear about what stolen documents were retrieved – and not retrieved – from der Sturmtrumper’s lair, the worse it gets. This is a Category 5 national security disaster that will take a generation and probably tens of billions of dollars to recover from if it can be recovered from at all, and it is extremely illuminating to see who finds this troubling and wants it thoroughly and properly investigated and who is doing their absolute best to make sure that doesn’t happen. Makes you wonder what each group is thinking, really. Remind me, what is the penalty for stealing secrets and imperiling national security? Let’s look at historical precedent and find out, shall we?

9. One of the joys of autumn weather is that you can cook slow-simmered dinners without worrying about making the entire house into an oven. Red beans and rice, here we come.

10. Now is the point where all of the things that I meant to do over the summer come home to roost and I spend the next two weeks trying to figure out how many of them I can move to the fall and how many of them will just have to get tossed onto the large and ever-growing pile of things labeled “Oh well.”

Monday, September 5, 2022

An Adult Cat

You should wish this cat happy birthday! She’s legally old enough to vote today.





There is a part of me that thinks we should try to get her registered, but if we did that some humorless right-wing idiot would come by screaming dimwitted conspiracy theories about the 2020 election at me and I would be forced to exercise my Constitutional right to remove from the planet through blunt force anything that annoys me and then there would be one less right-wing idiot cluttering up the US and there was a train of thought I was following as to why I should not try to register the cat to vote and I seem to have forgotten why doing so was a bad idea.

It will come to me.

Oh, right. Cats are by nature libertarians and nobody outside of a college dorm lobby at 3am on a Tuesday thinks that’s a good idea so going out of my way and possibly committing a felony in order to create another libertarian voter is just a stupid plan from the get go, so we’ll pretend I never brought it up.

It’s pretty impressive that she’s that old, though.

We got her from the local animal shelter after our most recent earlier attempt at owning a cat ended in ignominious failure. The cat Kim had when we got married had been moved to Grandma’s a couple of years before this in order to spare her having to deal with toddlers (when your two-year-old comes up and says, “Hey, Daddy, I’m a cat! HISSSSSSS!” it’s probably a sign that the cat just isn’t happy with small children) and eventually a friend gave us a new one who ended up hiding in the basement for two months and then running off in the dead of winter, never to be seen again – much to the heartbreak of Oliver and Lauren who just wanted a pet – so when we went to the shelter for a new one our priority was to find a cat who was friendly.

They let you play with the cats before you make any decisions, and it didn’t take long for us to choose this one. She played with us.

They told us her name was Smokey and we thought we’d keep that until 5-year-old Oliver started calling her “Smokes” and we thought this might give people the wrong impression of our parenting skills so we batted around ideas for a new name for a while. I finally suggested Mithrandir, which any Tolkien nerd can tell you means “grey wanderer” – it seemed fitting for a grey cat we found at the shelter after they took her in as a stray – and Kim agreed as long as we shortened it down to Mithra. She often goes by Pookie for some reason. I assume it has something to do with her secret double life of crime and I don’t pry too much.

She’s been a good and faithful companion. She likes her people and will be reasonably friendly to visitors, unlike Midgie who is the most cowardly animal I’ve ever owned (up to and including the turkeys) and will hide at the slightest suggestion of company. She’s utterly incapable of sitting still in your lap unless she walks all over you for a while beforehand. She’s put up with 4H Cat Shows, innumerable veterinary visits, and even Midgie, who is a sweet cat but a bit of a noodge. She was a good hunter in her day.

She’s old now, and mostly blind. She can see shapes and shadows but we’re pretty sure that’s about it, and whenever we come home from work she echolocates at us until we find her and let her know we’re there. We have accepted that we will not be rearranging the furniture for the foreseeable future. She’s also a bit arthritic and we’ve put little staircases up to the taller chairs and the sofa. The things you do. Other than that, the vet says she’s in pretty good health.

Mostly she likes sitting with you, warming her old bones and generally hanging out with her people.

We’re not really sure when she was born, of course. The shelter told us how old they thought she was when we got her and we did the math and figured Labor Day 2004 was close enough, so that became her birthday to us.

And here she is, legally an adult in person years.

Happy birthday, Mithra.





Wednesday, August 31, 2022

What Doesn't Quite Work

One of the most useful things I have ever learned I got from a friend of mine, up in the lighting booth while working on a play over at Home Campus. We were discussing the vagaries of the new automated equipment that we were working with on this particular play and whether or not any of it was trustworthy.

“Technology is what doesn’t quite work,” my friend said. “When it works all the time, it’s an appliance. Refrigerators used to be technology. Now they’re appliances. Computers are still technology.”

This past week has been absolute proof of the fact that computers are very much technology.

Set the Wayback for two weeks ago, Sherman, and let’s see how this tale unfolds.

My status at Home Campus, and indeed at every campus I’ve ever worked on or for, is contingent. I am never guaranteed employment more than 36 weeks in advance, and often not more than 17 weeks in advance. Welcome to the adjunct life. You get used to it, eventually.

But most of the time the folks who make those decisions know well in advance that they’re going to extend my contract so the word simply gets passed along to whatever HR department needs to hear it so they can keep me on the payroll while the paperwork gets processed.

For long and complicated reasons that have been outlined but not fully explained to me and which I probably wouldn’t understand even if they were so I am not complaining about this fact, this did not happen this year. So while Home Campus was going through the usual process of saying, “Yes, he’s coming back, don’t do anything drastic,” the good folks at the Mother Ship (and, from what I gather, the Home Planet as well) saw my contract expiring and said, “Well, he’s out. Cut him off immediately.”

So I was officially “fired” last Monday when the new contracts started, along with a number of others in the same predicament. And then the folks at Home Campus went “What?” and got corrections made and I was officially “rehired” last Thursday, after three days of unemployment during which I got no notice of any of this and still thought I had a job and still showed up to do it. I’m assuming I was hired retroactively. I’ve been assured that I still have insurance and whatever benefits, sick leave, and general fringes that I had prior to this. I’m hoping I got paid for working. It is quite possible that all of this is true.

Unfortunately, when the various HR departments did this they also wiped all of my access from all of the shared drives that I need to do my job. Eventually this became obvious (vide supra, re: no notice) and after a 45-minute phone call with the IT people over at the Mother Ship on Monday it turned out that I needed to file an individual ticket for each folder I had ever been given access to in order to get that access back. After several minutes of searching they did provide me a list, and I filed the tickets which all went to whomever owned the folder so they could approve me. There were five. Four came back in an hour or two, but the most important folder – the one most directly connected to my job as an advisor – can only be approved by my former boss, who left in March.

Remember how quickly they “fired” me? My boss, as described above, left in March. MARCH! This sticks in my head for some reason, perhaps because it’s been several days and the situation remains unresolved despite the intervention of my current boss on my behalf as he’d like me to go back to doing my job thank you very much.

So that’s the first issue.

While this was going on, I was receiving frantic emails from Apple that I needed to update my work computer to the newest OS (12.5.1) because there was some Monstrous Hack (tm) going on that allowed any random scraggly-bearded incel tapping away in his mother’s basement to take over and render odious my entire computer. I know from hard experience that I do not have permission to update an OS on my work computer because reasons. This is why I was still running 10.15.7 and hadn’t even sniffed at 11.0. Another phone call to IT and eventually they said, “Sure, go ahead. We’ve given you permission. Just do it at the end of the day, as it will take a while.”

So I did this on Monday as well.

Tuesday morning I came in and the computer had in fact updated, and while it needed several restarts to do things like find the keyboard and put the menu bar back on the desktop such things are to be expected and eventually it was up and running. It’s faster, so that’s nice.

And then it got complicated.

I have three browsers on my computer. I mostly use Firefox, because I like it and I see no need to justify that any further. I also use Chrome when necessary, and because some of the programs I use can’t have multiple log-ins on one browser I also use Safari.

After about an hour’s use, Firefox randomly decided I needed a new “profile” and gave me the choice of accepting this immediately or accepting this immediately. I weighed those options and decided to accept it immediately, whereupon it restarted and promptly erased several hundred bookmarks and all of my saved passwords.

There was an interlude of colorful language.

Some internet searching eventually revealed that there is a way to access old profiles to get all that back and gave step by step instructions on how to do that except that all of the pathways necessary to get to any of the relevant folders in that process had been diligently greyed out and rendered unusable. I’m sure there was a reason for it and I’m sure that reason involved “security” because that’s the catch-all reason for everything inconvenient and maddening involving computers, but the upshot is that at some point in the next few weeks I will have to recreate all those bookmarks individually and try to remember all of the passwords. I’ll probably end up just writing the passwords on a list and taping them to the side of the computer because that’s what happens when “security” becomes more important than actually being able to use a machine. It’s kind of counterproductive that way, but so it goes.

That’s the second issue.

Another of the consequences of updating the OS was that now every time I wake the computer from sleep there is a window dead center that cannot be hidden, only moved, asking me to choose a certificate from a pull down menu (which one? who knows) and log in to confirm it (can I do that? who knows). I can also hit Cancel. In any event the net result of any of the choices offered is the same: it goes away until the next time the computer wakes up and then the cycle starts over.

That’s the third issue.

The fourth issue is rather more worrying.

As part of the latest round of “security” we all must download an app onto our personal cell phones that the university is not actually paying for and every time we log in to an ever-increasing range of programs the log in process now includes the browser version of the app having to get approval from the phone version of the app, which means that I can’t actually do my job without my personal cell phone that the university is not actually paying for, which sticks in my mind for some reason. The app must be satisfied.

But I have the app in all of its versions – all of the various campuses (campii?) that I work for require one or another of these apps and eventually even I figured out that resistance was futile – and it generally does what it ought to do, though often at its own chosen pace.

But on Tuesday I tried to log into a mission-critical program and when I told the Firefox version of the app to contact the phone version of the app to get approval it gave me a popup window that basically said, “Your browser is out of date and you can’t use our app anymore until you update it.” It then provided step by step instructions on how to do that.

Bear in mind that this app is an officially sanctioned product here, approved by the University as being appropriate. You would think this would mean those instructions could be trusted. You’d be wrong, of course. But you would think.

So I followed the instructions and was soon greeted by ANOTHER popup window notifying me that I do not have the permission of the IT department to update my browser. So I am required by “security” to do what “security” will not let me do, which means that I can’t do anything.

I switched to Chrome and discovered the same thing, except that my Chrome browser expires tomorrow rather than this past Tuesday so I did get a couple of days to work with it before it disappears.

So I called the IT folks again. We’ve gone back and forth several times now to no great success, and tomorrow I will neither have access to my shared drive files nor to almost all of the mission-critical programs I need to do my job. Meanwhile, classes start Tuesday, we still have incoming students who need to be enrolled, and I have several large summer projects that need to be completed before the fall officially begins but likely won’t.

Technology.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Loans and Forgiveness

Sometime in the summer of 1984 I sat down at the dining room table with my parents with the paperwork for a student loan between us.

My dad had filled out the PHEAA form a few months earlier – the Pennsylvania version of the FAFSA before there was such a thing – and after much bureaucracy I’d gotten my financial aid package from the university I was hoping to attend. It was a generous package, enough so that I could actually afford to go there. And part of that package was a student loan.

My dad pushed the papers toward me. “I’m not signing this,” he said. “This is your loan.”

I understood what he was doing. This was my education, and while my parents would help me to the best of their ability there were certain things that I needed to take responsibility for and this was one of them. I signed the papers.

I signed similar papers in each of the next three summers as well.

I graduated college in 1988 and started paying those loans back later that year, after my six-month grace period expired. With four years off while I attended various graduate schools (you don’t have to repay student loans as long as you’re in school for at least six credits, which is a point that the bank refused to recognize until I threatened them with legal action) it took me until 2009 to finish repaying them. There were some lean years in there, particularly between graduate schools, but I never missed a payment.

We finished paying off Kim’s loans a couple of years before mine. She graduated before I did, so that made sense.

With this in mind, we made sure to put aside money for our kids so that they wouldn’t have to take out student loans when they went to college. Like most states, Wisconsin has a 529 Plan system that allows you to do that. It meant some sacrifices, but it was worth it. Oliver graduated without loans. Barring economic crisis, Lauren probably will too.

This is good.

Part of my job is advising students about financial aid and how it works, including student loans. My advice is always the same: Don’t take them if you don’t absolutely need them. The student loan industry (and consider, for the moment, the fact that “student loan industry” is an actual thing, and what that means for our culture) is quite possibly the most predatory and soulless branch of the financial services sector today, which is saying something in a field that includes payday lenders. They wrapped Congress around their little finger a couple of decades ago and now you can’t even get out of repaying those loans if you die. Unlike most debts, they’re not discharged by bankruptcy either. They’re a racket, pure and simple. But not everyone has the luxury of turning them down, and for those students I simply advise them to be careful, explain to them how the system works and where to start, and tell them not to take more than they need. They’re always surprised by the fact that you don’t need to take the entire loan. I suspect that’s by design.

So, bottom line:

1. I am intimately familiar with student loans – how they work, what the consequences are of both taking them and not taking them, and what the cost/benefit analysis is regarding whether to take them or not.

and

2. I paid mine back. It took me over twenty years, through good times and lean times, when I had much better things to spend that money on, but I paid them back.

Joe Biden announced this week that the federal government will forgive up to $20,000 in student loans for most borrowers.

You know what?

This is an unmitigated good. This is a thing to celebrate. This is what government serving the working majority of the population instead of the parasitic elites should look like.

Student loan debt has been a primary factor in keeping educated Americans under 40 shackled to low-paying, abusive jobs, so that they can keep making payments. Eliminating it entirely would free up immense reserves of entrepreneurial talent and money, stimulate the economy, and constitute one of the best investments in the American economic future that we’ve seen in decades.

Naturally the small and petty are against it. “I paid my loans!” they whine. “Why don’t they have to?” Or, even more small and petty, “Why should my taxes pay for their loans!”

First of all, the amount we’re talking about here - $298 billion, including everything over time – constitutes roughly 0.3% of federal revenue.  It’s statistically insignificant compared to the tax giveaways that have gone to the already wealthy in the last few years, by an order of magnitude. It’s a classic example of what can happen when miniscule amounts are taken from large groups to produce vast benefits for society as a whole, including those who had those miniscule amounts taken. Honestly, folks. It’s not that hard and it’s not my fault that so many Americans have been duped into forgetting how this is supposed to work.

More importantly, if your reaction to this is “I carried my burden, why shouldn’t everyone have to carry their burden,” instead of “I carried my burden, nobody should have to carry that burden,” I don’t know what to tell you. I don’t know how to convince you that you should care about other people. I probably could wrap my head around the kind of immorality if I wanted to do so, but I don’t. The whole point of life is to make things better for those who follow, and the fact that you suffered should not mean that everyone else has to suffer as well.

Seriously, people, try to keep up.

Naturally the American right wing is horrified. They’re losing a key lever to keep younger Americans subservient to their corporate masters. They’re losing a way to bludgeon the poor into serving in the military. They’re watching people NOT SUFFER, which frankly galls the Party of Performative Cruelty no end.

Eh. Fuck ‘em.

I paid my student loans. I paid them entirely, every last dollar, in good times and lean times. I paid.

And the only thing I don’t like about this loan forgiveness bill is that it doesn’t go nearly far enough.