Friday, December 11, 2020

News and Updates

1. So the Supreme Court just threw out the Texas lawsuit that wanted to overturn the results of the presidential election and simply appoint Trump to a second term in office because reasons. The Electoral College will vote Monday and barring an unprecedented whole-number multiple of the all-time record for faithless electors the presidential election will be over and – for what may well be the 60th time since November 3rd – Joe Biden will have won. Folks, it wasn’t even close. Biden won the popular vote by over 7,000,000 votes and the electoral college by 74 votes. Trump and his ilk have been decisively rejected and no amount of seditious nonsense will change that.

2. By actively supporting Trump’s campaign to overturn a free and fair election rather than slapping it down as the overt threat to American democracy that it was, the Republican Party has yet again proven itself to be a subversive organization, one that fundamentally does not accept the entire concept of democracy and needs to be disbanded and whose leaders need to be prosecuted for crimes against the United States.

3. If you think I’m exaggerating, bear in mind that Allen West, the Chair of the Texas Republican Party, has openly declared that his state should now secede from the Union because they didn’t get to impose his party’s candidate on an unwilling nation by disenfranchising millions of Americans in states that – I keep coming back to this – were not Texas. Disunion was treason in 1832, when Andrew Jackson faced down John C. Calhoun and South Carolina over the Nullification Crisis. It was treason in 1861 when the South decided to declare war on the United States so they could continue their practice of human slavery and were razed to the ground by Grant, Sherman, and the Union Army. It’s treason now. Mr. West should be aware that the United States has laws prescribing the fate of traitors.

4. In other news, it’s snowing here in Baja Canada, which is appropriate for mid-December after all.

5. So far my campaign to get into the Christmas spirit seems to be failing, which I attribute to a) the general state of the world and the United States in particular (vide supra), b) the fact that it is the end of the semester and I barely have time to start everything I need to finish let alone devote energy to a new project, and c) the fact that I have no idea what if anything will happen on Christmas that will separate it out from any other day of this past year. I’m still out there plugging, though. Maybe it will happen.

6. Kim, Lauren, and I went out last week and picked a Christmas tree from the lot where we got ours last year. It’s a nice tree and it smells good in the living room, though it has yet to relax its branches and at this point I’m kind of resigned to it retaining its arrowhead shape throughout the holiday season. I finally put the lights on it last night and tomorrow we’ll decorate it, and then there will be pictures.

7. Today was the last day of classes at two of the three campuses where I teach (because of the way it structures its classes, the third never really has a last day). I still have about 48 solid work-hours of grading to do, and if I can get my final to work out for my long-distance class I’ll be shocked, but I am really looking forward to a break. I have been running pretty much flat out since mid-March without pause, and while I count myself lucky to be employed in this economy I am very much looking forward to not having much to do at all for a bit.

8. I’ll miss my students – I always do, at least most of them – but given the way this semester’s classes were structured I will actually see most of them next semester in one capacity or another.

9. They’ve started giving out vaccines for the coronavirus now, which means that with any luck we may be back to some semblance of normality in a few months or so. Maybe longer, if the anti-vaccine idiots and the anti-mask lunkheads continue to screw up the world for everyone else because of their ignorant selfishness and boundless stupidity, but even so. The fact that we have not one but several viable vaccines less than a year into this pandemic is nothing less than astonishing.

10. I try to go for walks when I have time, which – as noted – is not very often these days, but so it goes. I need the exercise. Mostly I just walk the mile and a half up to Local Businessman High School and then turn around and walk back, which is a nice route as it involves almost no thought on my part. Once in a while I will pull out my phone and randomly call up some old friend whose number I still know and who might actually pick up – not many people use phones to make phone calls these days, but it’s nice to talk to people live that way. So if I have your phone number, you may well get a call sometime.


LucyInDisguise said...

1. If I recall correctly, it ain’t actually over until the Electoral College presents their vote to Congress on January 6th and is accepted and winners declared and stuff. They have a plan, and there is still a metric shitton of stuff repelicans can do to debase themselves and throw our country into civil war. Jus’ sayin’.

2. They still don’t think it is over. v.s..

3. Knowing that you are not given over to hyperbole, I’ll not only agree, but I will also state that the proscribed treatment of traitors used to be much better before we became so civilized. And, I’ll repeat myself: v.s.

4. We got a couple of inches overnight here in High Desert Country, NV. First measurable precipitation in 5 months. Dry, light fluffy powdery shit. Almost no water content at all.

5. I surrendered a couple of years back. Don’t even try for that spirit thingy anymore, much to my wife’s dismay.

6. Pictures good. More pictures, less typing and reading required.

7. Pulled a twelve, three fourteens, and finished up with a 16 hour day yesterday. Just to make things a little more interesting, my Biannual Bronchitis flare-up hit me this morning. Everything that requires actual thinking - unlike this - has been placed on ignore for a while - basic survival mode for the next 5 to 7 days.

8. I miss your students, too, but I’m going to purchase a new scope and promise to aim better.*

9. The problem with boundless stupidity is that idiots are so damn ingenious.

10. I try to avoid any walking not absolutely required to get from where I am to where I must be, and if there is any chance at all that my physical presence is not required, I ain’t going. [Editorial Note] LBHS, being an actual school, allows you to claim “uphill in both directions during a blizzard” in that sentence. And, (I almost missed this part) multiply the distance by a factor of ten.[/Editorial Note]

My wife just peeked in and wants me to say “Hi!” and convey a “Merry Coronavirus Christmas” from our family to you, your wife & family, and each and every one of your fans.


* Kidding. Inappropriate, I confess, but it really was the first thing that went through my mind. See #7.

LucyInDisguise said...

I think she actually meant "Merry Lack-Of-Coronavirus-Christmas".

Reading what I typed just sounds wrong.


David said...

Well, happy merry to you and your lovely wife! I will definitely pass along her best wishes to my family. As to my fans, they will no doubt have already read it here. ;)

1) The election is over, though the shenanigans continue. Now the GOP is trying to overthrow the election, which is a wholly different issue. You will get no argument from me on the "still a metric shitton of stuff repelicans can do to debase themselves and throw our country into civil war" front, though. That's their only hope of retaining power after all.

If the first bill passed by a Democratic Congress isn't a vast expansion of legal protection for voting in this country then we're all in trouble.

2) Hell, half of them don't even think the Civil War is over.

3) One of the things that I will never forgive Trump and his minions for is the fact that they have conclusively proven to me that I am not nearly as moral a person as I would have hoped. I can envision all sorts of things that I probably wouldn't get all that upset about happening to traitors, and that disturbs me.

4. We have had a lot of precipitation here this year, which pleases me no end. As noted, I'm going to retire to Scotland for the weather.

5. I'd like to get into it, as I suspect it's more necessary than usual this year. Plus I still have at least one kid at home. Next year they'll both be Coming Back for the holidays, which is a different dynamic entirely.

6. Pictures good! New Blogger interface Bad! Make posting pictures Goddamned Chore! We'll see how it goes.

7. A speedy recovery to you, sir! I'm glad that I'm in the category of autonomic reaction these days and not in the actual cognition zone. :)

8. They're good kids, most of them. There's one I'd like to dunk in ice water to clear the Attitude off of the surface material (I'm from Philadelphia; attitude is an art form where I come from and I don't DO amateur hour), but that's not a bad ratio.

9. The real problem with boundless stupidity is its tendency to expand by leaps and bounds, thus confounding both observer and description.

10. LBHS actually is uphill both ways depending on which part of the journey you take into account, oddly enough. It's a lot more uphill going than returning, though, which is nice for the homebound trip. I don't mind walking as a form of exercise. It's peaceful and low stress. I tried a few of those machines that people buy, and they make great coat racks. And the only reason I ever run is to escape something that is chasing me, and increasingly I am inclined not to bother with that either. Why die tired?

LucyInDisguise said...

1) I think what we need is a Constitutional Amendment that, once and for all, clearly defines who gets to vote (everybody) when, where, and how. With pictographs for repelicans. Probably won’t work, though. They started putting pictographs on highway signs years ago. Do ya know how to tell if you’re following a repelican down the highway? They just missed their exit because they can’t even figure out the pictures!

3) Moral. There’s a word that describes an ideal that, in my view, does not exist in this world. I view ‘morality’ as an enforced form of civilization held in place only by the imposition of public shame. Lose that shame and morality vanishes in a puff of smoke. Few people even recognize shame, therefore morality does not exist. QED. I chose the word civilized for a reason - moral behavior enforced by a set of laws. I came to this view the hard way - I am not a moral person.

There was a period in my life before we married that my wife refers to as my Despicable Period, during which I demonstrated a glaring lack of respect for other people’s right to exist. She is responsible for my reformation. Wrong word. Domestication? At the very least, she holds my leash, firmly, and commands me to heel. One of the threats she holds as berserker matriarch of our family is her willingness to let go of my leash under appropriate circumstances. It is an effective threat - even my eldest daughter understands that all too well - repelicans should not feel anything like “safe” in my presence. (I’d insert a smiley emoji here to kinda take the edge off of this paragraph, but there really isn’t anything humorous about it.)

4) I just checked. Precipitation: Month: 0.06 in. Year: 1.36 in. [ ] <<< That weather station is about 6 miles from my house. There is a reason I refer to this place as High Desert Country, NV and it has literally nothing to do with elevation. (If you click on that link, don’t donate. He was still flying a red repelican campaign sheet on his flag pole (instead of - not below - our nation’s flag) a few days ago. But the weather information is accurate. Trained Weather Observer. Believes In Science. Up to a point. Global warming is a scam cooked up by the Chinese something something blather idiom idiot makes my brain hurt. I was told that NOAA made him take all of the conspiracy theory links off that page if he wanted to link to their site.)

7) Medical terminology has changed over the years. They now refer to what I got as COPD, but I’ve been dealing with Chronic Bronchitis since I was 12 years old. Flares up pretty much twice a year, every year, at the major season changes: Fall to Winter to Spring (or, from warmish to coldish and back again). Generally lasts 5 - 7 days. It’s a PITA, but over the years I’ve kinda learned to deal with it. Doesn’t get me any time off, just means breathing becomes something I have to think about doing instead of letting it happen.

9) I think we are zeroing in on the real problem with stupidity: Its steadfast refusal to adhere to any form of quantification. By your observation, you admit that even the word ‘boundless’ is not applicable, and I’m pretty certain ‘infinite’ would not apply, either.

10) See? I was right! Why die tired? Now them’s Words To Live By if I ever heard any!

It is after 3:00 o’clock in the morning. I just finished eating a day-old chocolate donut & some popcorn for breakfast. I’m going back to bed now …


David said...

1) I would not object to an amendment clarifying that voting is a right of all American citizens, not a privilege to be granted to the select few. And then there needs to be serious enabling legislation to back it up, because in previous attempts at amending the Constitution in that direction (15th, 19th, 24th) conservatives have successfully undermined it every time.

3) I would strongly argue against your point here. There is a difference between shame and morality and I have known too many people who do their best to do what they feel is morally right even when nobody is watching, even when it harms their own self interest. You can impose this from the outside - civilized is a good word for it - but that doesn't take away from the fact that it can also be imposed from within.

There is more, but this would be a much longer argument than finals week will allow so I'll move on.

4) Well, I suppose even a conspiracy-loving halfwit can provide good weather information. It's nice to know that such a person has a positive function on this planet, however limited that function may be.

7) That does sound like a genuine PITA. I hope things ease up for you soon. I've had the same nagging cough since 1969 - my doctor diagnosed it last year as SomethingSomethingChronicSomethingElse, which translated out of the medicalese means "You have a cough and it likely won't go away at this point." Respiratory pandemics, therefore, do not thrill me.

9) Someone once said that the two most common things in the universe were hydrogen and stupidity, and hydrogen was finite. I'll go along with that.

10) Yes, but walking in general doesn't tire me out, so I'm good with it.

I remember the year or so I spent on my high school track team as a "C heat" sprinter, running long after the actually fast guys were done. I enjoyed the meets, but practice was not my thing. "Go out and run a mile!" the coach would tell us first thing, even us sprinters. I remember doing my laps around the track and thinking, "There has to be a pace at which I can move for long periods of time and not get tired," and eventually it hit me that there was indeed and it was called "walking" and that was pretty much the end of my track career.