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Member since: 2001
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6200 in a 19,000-seat venue is blood in the water. They gambled and lost, big.

Watch for an increasingly frantic exodus by any GOPpie who isn't irrevocably chained in the bilge of this sinking ship.

That is all.


Thoughts on Celebrating Juneteenth

First thought: I think there are reasons for Americans who are not black to celebrate Juneteenth. It marks a major occasion when lying to black people about their status to keep them in bondage was no longer possible.

I think it's important for white me to acknowledge, honor, and celebrate when a particular door to shitty racist behavior closed for white people.

I think it's important for white me to acknowledge, honor and celebrate when a major racial injustice perpetrated by white people was brought to an end.

Second thought: Black people have the right and the option to define Juneteenth as a holiday and white me wants to respect and honor and celebrate that definition.

But I do worry that if Juneteenth becomes "a black holiday" it will forever get pigeonholed and marginalized and its real significance might be lost. White me thinks it would be best as an American holiday. Like Independence Day. Very like that.

Third thought: Maybe the way white me can most respectfully celebrate this holiday is by LISTENING to the voices and thoughts of black Americans on their experiences.

So my celebration today begins by looking for the first-person stories of black Americans, historical and contemporary, on how racism is experienced, and how we can change it.


Stop blaming the apples.

Sure, they're rotten. Not just one or two, but barrels of them. Occasionally you get some good ones, but yeah, the number of rotten ones just keeps getting bigger, fewer in each barrel are salvageable...

But it's not the apples' fault that they're rotten.

The orchard is diseased.

A healthy orchard has many different kinds of fruit, for many purposes. Early harvest, later harvest. Fruit that's best for eating, fruit that's best for cooking. Fruit to use right away, fruit that keeps well.

And you don't grow them all together, because different kinds are vulnerable to different stresses, diseases, pests, etc., and if you grow too many of the same type close together, one bout of blight can affect all the fruit.

Of course, it's cheapest to monocrop. Pick one kind. Optimize conditions for it. invest in the machines to tend and harvest just THAT kind.

At least, until the blight sets in.

And then you've got an orchard of one kind of fruit that's good for one kind of thing, but it's being shoved into every niche, whether it's good for that or not. And when the disease sets in, you've got nothing going into the barrels but rotten fruit.

If you want to fix it, stop thinking you can do it on the cheap with a monocrop and a one-culture-fits-all growing environment and automated equipment.

Survey the ground, test the soil. Note the sun exposure, the prevailing winds. What kinds of fruit will do well at this end? You definitely need some cooking fruit, where will it do best? What do you need to grow that special kind that's going to be in demand later?

Tend it carefully and pay attention to it. Don't think you can cheapass it with quick-grow fertilizers. Amend the soil properly and pay attention to its health or it won't grow you healthy fruit.

Check the trees regularly for signs of pest infestation and disease, and don't hesitate to remove a bad tree if it won't respond to treatment.

Get the BEST rootstock. Quality rootstock will let you graft healthy and resilient bearing scions.

At this point, we may need to plow it all up and re-plant.


The tide has turned.

I use this expression deliberately.

My stepfather retired on the Gulf Coast. When I'd visit him, he'd suggest I take a walk on the beach... "before the tide turns."

See, when the tide turned, the beach would get littered with garbage, and a series of tarry, debris-defined lines... the stuff left there by the old tide, coming in and leaving the garbage.

Now the tide has turned. Float with it, or swim out to sea, or face the risk of being left on the beach like a desiccating jellyfish corpse.

Racism is not over.

Racists are forever.

But the system is changing.

And the tide has now, finally, turned.


What's Really Chapping [Redacted]'s Ass Right Now...

...is how clearly the pandemic and the protests in the street demonstrate his own complete and utter irrelevance.

Not one thing he has been able to do has changed either situation in any real magnitude.

Meaningful decisions have all devolved from the White House to hundreds of state and local Departments of Health, Governors' mansions, law enforcement entities, community protest groups, media centers, etc.

He had chances-- dozens of them, even hundreds of them-- to affect outcomes dramatically, to make a real, positive difference, in both situations. But they would have required him to, in his own view, "look weak." They would have required him to delegate and cede power to competent others. They would have required him to become a leader, leading by consent and with participation of the governed, rather than a dictator giving orders.

So he couldn't do it. He couldn't do any of it.

The most he could do, without directly scuppering his own mental image of himself as The War Pressydink or whatever it is, was to mess up other peoples' efforts.

And now there are too many people making too many various efforts in too many other places for him to control at all.

All the effectiveness and impact he, as the designated central authority, COULD have contributed to the dire situations, is so much tear gas dispersing on the wind.

He's officially irrelevant. The sideshow clown he's always been, exposed.

His foam-flecked horror-tweets barely rate a mention anymore, and that only pro-forma from the sources detailed to maintain a watching brief.

Watch for him to keep trying increasingly dangerous and deranged gambits to make himself relevant again.


Dear Joe Biden

First, thank you. Thank you for a life of service to America's Constitution, and the people of America. Thank you for your humble leadership, your gentle exercise of power, and the unflinching moral clarity you have learned through trial and error, sacrifice and hope- both personal and public.

Second, be assured of the support and strength flowing to you from all across America, appreciation for the hope you represent and the promise you have given us. I am grateful. I know I'm not the only one.

Now, a request. I know you're getting advice and gathering information from some of the most experienced political, social, and media strategists in America- but these are extraordinary times. Not even the strategists can claim experience with the concatenation of challenges facing our nation right now. You, however, have one incredibly rare and incredibly valuable quality which, if you put it to use, will light the path to rebuilding our nation as a just and equitable home for democracy: You have always shown yourself keen to listen to ordinary people outside the bubble of political power and media influence. Put this to work now.

And I'm writing this, so here's mine: Begin forming your government, NOW. Begin building strategies. Assemble plans. Connect with allies. Identify sources of expertise and help. And above all, gather data. Track what is going on in all of the places where the forces of greed and autocracy are attempting to shatter our commons and destroy our ability to heal democracy.

In other words, start day one with an action plan ready to roll out, and contingencies for all the obstruction you will face (and it will be monumental, undoubtedly.)

Don't neglect to hold a watching brief for the ploys focused on destroying your candidacy and stealing the election, but also, don't prioritize putting resources and energy into too much of the traditional campaign activities. Respect the electoral process, sure. Connect with voters, of course. Let the nation see you value the exercise of our votes, definitely.

But put as much of the resources and energy as you can into building a government that we will have confidence in from day one. You know as well or better than anyone the amount of energy that gets diverted into media circuses around the selection of key appointments and the structure of Administrative power, in those early days. That way lies loss of valuable momentum.

Well-planned choices now will not only sidetrack that unproductive folly later, it will build our confidence. And it will limit the amount of scrumming for influence later. We don't need horse races. We don't need reality teevee. We don't need drama, suspense, and soapsuds.

You can do this.

And we got your back.


The dumb bigots are salivating at the thought of finally getting their "Race War"

They want to escalate the violence because they think it will be blamed on black people and finally, finally, they will get what they want and all white people will rise up in righteous retaliation and restore the natural order of white dominance in America.

If I knew I had Covid-19 right now, I'd head right on out and join them, shouting joyfully into their faces about how finally the world will see the righteousness of the Holy Wypipo Cause.

I don't, though. But I applaud all of those who are risking their lives to witness the provocation and testify to the racist escalation of the violence.

And I shudder to think of what the coronivirus fatality statistics will look like a month from now.

And I weep.

I weep...

I weep...


I updated my candidate preference early.

I said I wasn't going to do this until all the Primaries were over and it was clear which candidate is the choice of the largest number of Democratic Party voters.

Of course, I said that a long time ago- nearly a year ago, IIRC.

Who I would have voted for in my state's primary is no longer relevant.

(Reminder: Voting in your state's primary is STILL IMPORTANT, if it hasn't happened already! There are other contests than the Presidential ticket to determine and your voice matters.)

I am thrilled that we have a candidate as experienced, compassionate, and competent as Joe Biden to head our ticket. I am thrilled that so many brilliant Democratic public servants participated in the primary race and gave us a chance to get to know them.

I am grateful to ALL of the primary candidates for the attention they brought to issues that matter to us and to our Party. While the current existential threat may force some hard choices and difficult prioritizing, none of those issues should (or, I suspect, will) be forgotten in the long run.

I am a proud and delighted Biden voter and I hope that we can now unite strongly behind Joe and his Veeper pick, and kick the toxic death cult that the GOP has become, to the curb in November.


New York is Again Ground Zero. And Again, Americans are all New Yorkers.

(With the obvious exception of that Orange Florida Man, of course.)

I'm remembering some of my 9/11 thoughts about "Why New York?"

To a lot of people, New York is quintessentially America. Big and diverse, full of life and creativity, commerce and innovation, wheeling and dealing, entertainment and fashion.

Tourists go there. People looking for excitement and variety go there. People looking for opportunity go there. People looking for a stage to perform on, people looking for a stage to watch.

New York is to the vast narrative of America as "Hamlet" is to English literature... it's "full of quotes". Stuff everyone knows. The punchlines of the jokes, the accents, the Five Boroughs, the pols, the parks, the glitter and the grit.

Yeah, some of us want no part of the hustle and the bustle, but we love to look on from afar, we love to tune in on New Year's Eve and enjoy Times Square, or watch the late night shows with their quintessential New York datelines. We're proud of it, proud that the world comes to New York for business, for diplomacy, for entertainment, for inspiration.

Some of us grumble that America isn't like that, not at all, really... the "heartland" is bigger, yanno, has more people... just because those New Yorkers get all the attention, doesn't mean they speak for all of us. Some of us paint New York as the Great Babylon, the seat of All That is Wrong with Godless America... but there's probably more than a little protesting too much in that trope, too.

New York isn't the heartland, for sure.

But as I felt after 9/11, it is America's big, beating, lively, perhaps a bit hypertensive, but vital and all-embracing heart.

I remember that feeling, after 9/11... a sort of awed and proud and sorrowful discovery, as if the blow had landed in a place I'd never realized the importance of, to me, personally.

New York, New York... again the epicenter of an American disaster, again brought on not so much by its own big, brash Obvious Target status as by the incompetence and uncaring folly of greedy fools in Washington.

Just want you to know, Manhattan. Just want you to know, Queens, Staten Island. Just want the Bronx to know, and Brooklyn...

I love you. You matter to me. I gotcher back. You're my peeps.

The lights of Broadway and Times Square may be dimmed for now, the streets no longer a-bustle as you fight for survival.

But you are still that big, bright splotch on my mental map of America.

My heart is with you.

Keep fighting.

Your fight is our fight.

Live, dammit.


On the "Closing the Churches BAD" RW talking point:

(Disclosure: I am a believer, but I do not belong to any religion, sect, or congregation.)

I'm neutral on the whole "Church" thing, with possibly a slight "agin" bias, only because so many branches of organized religions have been so effectively co-opted by malignant grifters for power and/or wealth.

But I look at each congregation, regardless of doctrine or faith, in terms of two things: First, does it provide congregation members with meaningful spiritual experiences and support? (In crass terms, are they getting something of real value to them in return for their investment of belief, time, and usually money?) And second, does the congregation contribute anything positive to the community that has given it a tax exemption and a good many operational privileges just because it IS a religious organization?

Here's what I've seen so far in my own community:

Congregations that seem to have a resounding "YES!" answer to both questions are not holding live group worship services, and they are urging their members to practice safe social distancing and preventive hygiene. They are ALSO developing and deploying all kinds of ways to continue their 'mission' under these conditions- whether it's social media get-togethers, phone support trees, volunteer efforts to keep the elderly and vulnerable connected and supplied, whatever. They're not letting the technical "closure" of their building and their in-person services keep them from the essentials.

On the other hand, congregations that seem to be iffy in one or both of those questions, especially those that seem to rely heavily on in-person get-togethers to "pass the plate" and whip up the income stream for their particular shamans, are either finding ways to defy the prevention protocols and expose their members to transmission risk, or they're agitating for a quick end to the shutdowns.

Whatever anyone's conception of God/Supreme Being/Divinity is, it's pretty clear that it won't shrivel up and go away just because worshippers can't all come together in the same place and pass the plate once a week.

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