Category Archives: Athenae

People Need Money

This is great and everyone should do it: 

Tubbs’ program, which started in February, could serve as a test case. For eight months, 125 Stockton residents living at or below the median income line (about $46,000 annually) have been getting $500 monthly stipends. The money is distributed through the mail in the form of debit cards.

This week, the city released the first set of data about the program. Most participants, it found, had been using their stipends to buy groceries and pay their bills.

The presumption that the poor will spend money frivolously is a deeply racist and offensive wingnut creation designed to keep middle class white people in the suburbs scared of the slavering hordes of welfare queens roaming the city streets armed with Your Tax Dollars. Fuck’s sake. People are people and everyone I know has a bill they could make disappear with $500. Even people who are relatively well off would benefit from that and if you’re NOT well off? That’s a goddamn windfall.

That’s the home repair you’ve been putting off or the dental work you’ve been struggling to pay for or the school fees for all of the kids plus your sister’s, that’s the coat you couldn’t replace plus the field trip you told your son he couldn’t take or the groceries for a month, for two months if you stretch.

And who does that sort of thing benefit? The local grocery, clothing and drug stores, the mom-and-pop places we’re told will benefit so hard from our support only nobody’s got any money to support them. Look, if you don’t have any customers it doesn’t matter how many tax cuts you get, you’re gonna close down, and you won’t have customers if they don’t have money.

Plus these thing spiral. We know this now, the missed bus leading to the lost job to the poorhouse, but also the $500 home repair not getting done and turning into $1,500 plus a fine from the city. If anyone thinks an extra $500 is some kind of incentive to not work they haven’t paid rent in several decades.

Five hundred dollars does not cover rent and utilities and the occasional hamburger, and even if it did, Jesus tits, the presumption that you’re the only one busting your ass is so goddamn conceited I want to put my fist through some thing.

A.

 

Not Everything Sucks

Watch this and feel good for a minute:

A.

The Leopards Finally Ate Shep Smith’s Face

*headline reference

Just spare me the eulogies for Shepard Smith’s career, please.

Twitter on Friday was full of fawning takes about how he was the best person at Fox, which is like being the least slutty person at Caligula’s last orgy. You’re still there while the watersports and bestial bukkake are happening, my dude, and it’s not like the doors were locked behind you.

Let’s review some of things Fox and its creatures engaged in during Shep’s principled time there, which did not outrage him enough to quit his job.

Bill O’Reilly, all by himself:

  • Said he “didn’t hear a word” Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) was saying because he “was looking at her James Brown wig.”
  • Leered at a female black employee at Fox News and called her “hot chocolate.”
  • Was surprised and amazed when he went to a restaurant in Harlem and found it was a normal restaurant where people weren’t screaming “M-Fer, I want more iced tea.”
  • Questioned how Trump would help black people get jobs when most of them “are ill-educated and have tattoos on their foreheads.”
  • Blamed Freddie Gray’s “lifestyle” for his death.

Here’s Glenn Beck:

Glenn Beck, the host of an eponymous afternoon commentary show, stated in 2009 that he believes President Obama is “a racist” and has “a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture.”[155] These remarks drew criticism, and resulted in a boycott promulgated by Color of Change.[156] The boycott resulted in 80 advertisers requesting their ads be removed from his programming, to avoid associating their brands with content that could be considered offensive by potential customers. He later apologized for the remarks, telling Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace that he has a “big fat mouth” and miscast as racism what is actually, as he theorizes, Obama’s belief in black theology.[156][157][158][159][160][161][162][163] Beck left Fox News in June 2011 after 29 months with the network.[164][165]

Here’s a good video review of how even the cooking shows were racist:

These were the actions of a company from which Shepard Smith was just fine cashing checks. These were the actions of his colleagues, his comrades in journalism, his friends. This was the operation to which he was in no way, and at no time, morally opposed.

At least, not enough to tell them to take this job and shove it.

So now Shepard Smith is gonna go write his book about being the Last Honest Man, or start a Twitter feed of all the ways in which the modern conservative movement disappoints him and betrays its high-minded ideals and is just so Very Coarse These Days. He will be lauded for it across Totebag Nation, at academic events and debate venues throughout the land. And anyone who points out that he was in fact for decades a pleasant face of the racist, fascist, GOP-run NRA-banked propaganda operation that has done incalculable damage to what was once our democracy will be derided as some silly, strident, impractical leftist.

I’ll be screaming it outside the Aspen Ideas Festival, nonetheless. I know you’re all good for the bail money.

Much was made of his work after Katrina, his moment of moral clarity calling out the catastrophic failure of Republican-run America to fulfill the promises it made to its citizens.

But I’d like to know. Why wasn’t that enough for him to quit?

Why wasn’t that moment, or a thousand thousand like it, enough for him to say, I will no longer be a part of what is obviously a force for evil? It was obvious, even then, to viewers watching at home that Fox was conservative-run and conservative-backed; why wasn’t the exposure of the ugly underbelly of what conservatism had done to America and would continue to do reason for him to jump ship?

Why wasn’t any of the unhinged nonsense during the Obama years enough to encourage him to bail? The Tea Party and the white nationalism it encouraged? Why did he not look at “terrorist fist jab” or “do you make Kool-Aid” or “Santa Claus is white” and say fuck you guys, man, this isn’t okay? Why did it take Trump for this to come to a head? Where has he BEEN all this time?

Shepard Smith has spent 23 years at the behest of an organization that has made America worse, and now we’re supposed to publicly grieve his leaving it? Because he wasn’t as bad as the rest of them? We’re supposed to feel sorry for him because his boss, a known ratfucker, fucked him, a rat?

Sorry. I’ve got immigrant kids in cages to feel sorry for, fresh out of sympathy around here.

Jumping on the Express Train to Hell

Imagine signing on for this today. 

At this point in the last election, Trump’s campaign employed 19 consultants. Now, there are more than 200. When Trump had all but locked up the nomination by May 2016, he had spent $63 million. Thus far, pro-Trump committees have spent $531 million.

I mean, imagine signing on for it in 2016, when his opening statement was “Mexicans will rape your white daughters” and he followed it up with That Convention and Lock Her Up and Grab ‘Em By The Pussy. That’s bad enough, when he was just a crude old racist asshole and thus, if you were rich and white, kind of a joke.

But now that he’s all that plus — thanks to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan — an imminent threat to the republic, a fascist presiding over concentration camps, the enemy of anyone who isn’t a suburban Caucasian dipshit, imagine who you’d have to be to say yeah, gimme a piece of that.

I get that we all have to eat, but there are sales on ground beef at the grocery store every week, guys, don’t any of you dare say you needed to resort to this. There’s a liquor store on the corner I’m sure you could halfway competently rob and at least then you’d have my respect.

One of the major solaces these days of having been raised with an understanding of capital-G, Old Testament Charlton Heston God, is imagining that there are in fact circles of Hell, literal physical ones, full of demons torturing people by ripping out their livers for eternity and shit. Everyone involved with this situation is clearly going there, but I choose to have faith in a hierarchy, and anybody who signs up NOW is gonna be a lot closer to the bottom of the pit.

A.

Layoffs Don’t Help Digital

Sports Illustrated has just announced it’s going to fuck the same chicken that legacy media has been fucking for two decades now, and you’d all better like it.

First up on the parade of How to Fuck up Online, we’re gonna PIVOT TO VIDEO!

Video. In a world of nearly unlimited thirst for video inventory from major advertising brands, SI must create real-time, distinctive content – and lots of it. We are investing millions in new hires, studio infrastructure, video hosts and talent. Central studios in Los Angeles and NYC will power all-day and evening news coverage, incorporating boots-on-the-ground local reports and authoritative national voices. Our editorial leadership, along with management and Maven’s engineers and designers, are building an entirely different way to empower SI’s newsroom.

Is there really an unlimited thirst for video inventory from major advertising brands? What does that even mean? Is he saying an audience exists for more Mountain Dew commercials? Or is he saying that Mountain Dew wants more videos to advertise in?

I gotta tell you I don’t think either one is really a problem. Mountain Dew has all of YouTube to monetize unboxing videos and teenage makeup advice and people who want to watch videos can go literally everywhere already to do it. I just:

We are investing millions in new hires, studio infrastructure, video hosts and talent.

Studio infrastructure. Jesus tits. In six months you’re gonna be hocking that equipment on Ebay and renting out the studio to high school students whose parents want to subsidize their Scorsese dreams.

Next up, HYPERLOCAL!

Local/team coverage. SI.com long ago abandoned team-specific coverage, and that decision neglects the heart and soul of a sports audience. Sports are tribal as well as national. SI will be a leader at both levels. Maven is investing millions in a digital platform to support over 200 local journalists—enough to cover every professional and major NCAA team in North America.

They’re investing millions in a digital platform. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AND BILLY DEE WILLIAMS IT IS 2019. The world abounds in platforms of every kind, surely you can find one that mostly fits and then juice it up. Or you could just copy the one EVERY MAJOR NEWSPAPER BUILT AND THEN ABANDONED in the past ten years.

They’re building an APP, guys, which you may not have heard of but you can download it from the APPLE STORE.

Site performance has already improved, and native apps for iOS and Android with built-in community, social and video features are being designed today to keep fans coming back daily.

Please tell me this will have some kind of message board as its “built-in community,” because as long as we’re doing the greatest hits from the bad old days of the Internet, we should keep the one thing that actually worked which was the comments sections at Television Without Pity.

Sports changes by the minute.

I’m sure this comes as a shocking development to the STAFF OF SPORTS ILLUSTRATED.

Next up, content farms!

These entrepreneurs are independent, third-party businesses that are provided access to Maven’s digital platform to post their content and who receive a share of advertising and membership revenue. We firmly believe this model provides the most opportunity for talented local journalists to flourish in a changing landscape.

You know what helps people flourish in a changing landscape? Money. The kind of money they used to earn for doing the same job you’re asking them to do now. People fucking flourish like crazy when they get paid. They flourish in areas like “buying groceries” and “keeping the heat on in their homes.” It’s amazing.

The “changing landscape” line made a very tiny bit of sense back in like 1998 when nobody knew what the internet was going to be. Now that we know it’s the same four corporate weasels going ass-to-mouth in the parking lot of a P.F. Chang’s, there’s even LESS incentive to fall for it.

These third-party businesses have discretion to operate their businesses how they want. Since the businesses receive a share of the revenue their channel generates, the amount of total compensation is based on how well they run their businesses, and on their success in creating great stories and communities to attract a highly engaged audience.

Thus, the business model cannot fail. It can only be failed by people who thought they were gonna do the news, not sell the news or market the distribution of it.

They proceed with a bunch of other bullshit and nonsense, approaching sense occasionally when talking about how previous cuts haven’t worked, but diving right back into the sewers with insistence that firing people makes them nimble and agile and bendy and elastic and shit, as if sucking your own dick is something anyone should aspire to. Fuck this fucking game.

A.

Enabling

When I was post-collegiate first-job broke, I lived out of Steve’s day-old bagel bin.

Steve owned the coffee/ice cream/pastry shop across the street from my retail job at a bookstore and he and my boss were buds. They’d hang out in each other’s places and give each other shit, and Pat paid in books for what Steve gave him in treats. If we couldn’t find somebody who worked for one of them, chances are the missing employee was in the other’s shop. It was that kind of neighborhood and, by virtue of selling used books to Pat’s customers, I was presumed to be a member of their family.

So when Steve noticed I was skinny and drinking tea from home instead of buying coffee from him, because a bill was due or a freelance check hadn’t come, he gave me a huge bag of bagels.

“Nobody will buy them if they’re more than a day old,” he said, shrugging, but he was being kind. There’s no way to tell if something’s a day old or not, he could have sold them toasted and masked their staleness.

Six bagels, twelve meals: Toast half of one (these were real bagels, thick, big as a third of a loaf of bread) with butter and jam for breakfast, toast the other half with butter and green-canister “parmesan” cheese for lunch. If I stuck them in the freezer they didn’t mold during paycheck-cashing times when I could buy chicken or Pop-tarts or pasta or eggs, and I had them when the money got thin again.

Steve gave me his day-old bagels for a year, and to this day one of the most satisfying comfort foods for me is an everything bagel with butter and parm. The real stuff now, grated by hand at the cheese counter, bagel still hot from the bakery oven, but it still makes me think of Steve banging through the door of the bookstore, or handing the bag over the counter when I stopped on my way home.

I think of him whenever I read something like this:  

“We’ve recently learned that some employees have been giving away Vita gift cards, food, and coffee to homeless people in the neighborhoods we occupy,” Washington wrote in the email. “Although these were well placed intentions, please understand, it is our belief that feeding homeless people without comprehensive services actually enables, increases and promotes homelessness.”

Washington went on to write that “giving away products is theft and the grounds for immediate termination,” and then argued customers “will likely choose alternatives” if the cafe is “filled with homeless people.” The email concluded with an invitation to “discuss opportunities to volunteer or donate” to the company’s “charitable efforts aimed at homelessness” if employees wanted to “make a meaningful impact.”

I work now in a rich area with a shitload of heroin problems and I’m not ever going to shame you for giving money to an organization working for affordable housing instead of a fiver to a twitchy guy whose sign says HUNGRY AS FUCK. I am sure as shit going to shame you for shaming other people for giving food to the homeless out the back of a store where they’re not bugging anybody:

In an interview, former Capitol Hill manager Hannah Delon, who worked for the company at multiple locations for five-and-a-half years before getting fired for “failure to enforce protocol,” said for “at least the last ten years” baristas have given “pastry waste” to a homeless man they believe distributes the confections to other people experiencing homelessness. Delon also said baristas sometimes give away drip coffee dregs to homeless people who offer to help bring in tables and chairs at the end of the night.

Like God forbid people, even twitchy dudes with drug problems, are just people and you can be kind to them. There are cures for homelessness and addiction but no cure that I know of for being an asshole.

I looked Steve up the other day. I know I thanked him for the bagels but I couldn’t remember if I ever thanked him for what he was really giving me: The knowledge that someone cared about me, just for a moment, when I was living alone and scared and needed something warm.

A.

Sunday Catblogging: Lick Lick Lick Edition

Slade HATES being brushed. Just hates it. He tries to bite the brush, runs away, yowls as if being tortured, whereas Ada will come running if I wave the Furminator and say “brushy brushy!” The result of which is that she has absolutely no hairballs and a lovely plushy coat and he sits in the corner angrily licking himself and making hork motions.

Dumbass. I love him so much.

A.

Tuesday Catblogging

Look at this idiot and his floofy tail and his fat little feets.

A.

A Cruelty Turducken

“Medical bond” so that jails can get out of paying for sick inmates, who can’t afford treatment from hospitals, that write off those expenses, so that nobody’s responsible and nobody gets paid and only the inmates get punished: 

Tidwell had been on the receiving end of a practice referred to by many in law enforcement as a “medical bond.” Sheriffs across Alabama are increasingly deploying the tactic to avoid having to pay when inmates face medical emergencies or require expensive procedures — even ones that are necessary only because an inmate received inadequate care while incarcerated.

What’s more, once they recover, some inmates are quickly rearrested and booked back into the jail from which they were released.

Local jails across the country have long been faulted for providing substandard medical care. In Alabama, for instance, a mentally ill man died from flesh-eating bacteria 15 days after being booked into the Mobile County Metro Jail in 2000. And in 2013, a 19-year-old man died of gangrene less than a month after he was booked into the Madison County Jail. In both cases, officials denied wrongdoing and surviving relatives settled lawsuits alleging that poor jail health care contributed to their loved ones’ deaths.

But the use of medical bonds isn’t about inferior care. It’s about who pays for care.

How anyone can look at this system and say what we need here is to tweak it around the edges and phase in improvements by 2035 and walk very, very softly so as not to upset the Very Fine People who think LETTING A DUDE OUT OF JAIL TEMPORARILY SO HE CAN BE IN A COMA SOMEWHERE ELSE don’t get upset.

And look, we tried that. We tried the absolute mildest reforms possible, and even that opened up a gigantic GOP hellmouth spewing “death panels” and “government takeover” and “mandated birth control,” so maybe it’s time to clue into the fact that howler monkeys howl because it’s right there in the name. Maybe it’s time to do what needs to be done despite the entirely predictable, utterly disingenuous flipout that will most certainly occur.

You can’t convince me THIS is sustainable, or good for anybody, or can be improved upon by degrees.

A.

Not Everything Sucks

This Star Wars thread exists. 

At least once a week I think “weed van” like on the bus or something and start giggling uncontrollably to myself.

Team Weed Van needs to be the official name of The Resistance.

A.

Sunday Catblogging: Courting Ada Edition

Ada had a visitor yesterday:

This orange fellow is Remy. He lives next door to us and prowls the neighborhood during the day, then in the evening reappears to yowl incredibly loudly until his people let him in to eat.

Because we live in Mayberry, well-meaning neighbors often post pictures of him on Facebook and declare that he is lost and they’ve taken him in to feed him, and then when somebody says he’s an outdoor cat, it’s 567 posts about how terrible it is for cats to be outside. If the half a bird I saw him dragging into the yard the other day is any indication of his skills, Remy can more than hold his own with what passes for wildlife around here.

He’s friendly as hell. He follows Kick around begging for pets whenever she’s outside, and Ada desperately wants to go on outdoor adventures with him and thinks it is the height of injustice that she isn’t allowed. Remy is street-smart and Ada could lose a battle of wits with a dust bunny so for now they are star-crossed lovers Romeo-and-Julietting through the back door.

A.

Pope Chunky Reese Witherspoon flaps his mouth again

Reading a Douthat column, my expectations are always low, but every time it’s like looking into the hose of a Shop-Vac after you’ve hoovered up your storm drains. Like just look at this: 

Ask an intelligent Republican staffer what they imagine awaits their party after Donald Trump, and you’ll get an interesting disquisition on the factions and figures that might shape conservatism, the political and policy arguments to come.

Let me simplify for you so you can get back to calling girls on birth control unfuckable: The future of the party is the same as it’s always been.

Racism, racism, and racism.

The divisions you speak of exist within racism. The diversity of views and policies and goals you lionize are the differences between open racism, covert racism, Foghorn Leghorn racism, book club rosé lady racism, just-moved-here-for-the-schools racism, plantation wedding racism, and that guy on the corner screaming about Obama still coming to take his guns racism.

That’s been your party for 50 years and it’s not going anywhere else.

What an interesting disquisition.

Ask that same staffer what happens if Trump is re-elected, and you’ll get a heavy sigh, a thousand-yard stare and then a hopeful “Well, maybe we can just pretend he isn’t there …?”

That would be a real risk if there weren’t thousands of members of our Sacred Fourth Estate ready to hold accountable the system that created, promoted, nominated, elected and enabled Trump.

Wait.

Shit.

Instead Trump will bestride his party like a decaying colossus, and his administration’s accelerative deterioration will be the G.O.P.’s as well.

Your mouth-anus to God’s ears, though I’m sure She’s sick of listening to you by now.

My days of writing high-dudgeon columns demanding that Republicans act in concert against Trump are behind me; cynicism and bemusement define my attitude toward G.O.P. decadence these days.

How nice for you.

Refugee kids at the border have a different view of things, looking out as they do from behind the bars of their cages, but you do you.

Dick.

But in a bored-Roman-aristocrat drawl, I just want to suggest — mildly, dabbling my hands in a convenient finger bowl — that the current impeachment inquiry might, in fact, be that magical remote control: a chance to hit fast-forward and summon the post-Trump future into existence here and now, for the 2020 campaign.

Hitting the button requires only two things: the swift, before-primary-season impeachment schedule House Democrats are entertaining and then 20 Republican votes in the Senate for conviction, if the Trump-Giuliani operation in Ukraine looks as bad in a few months as it does today.

OH MY GOD I TAKE IT BACK THIS IS HYSTERICAL.

You think you just get to get OVER this? You think you just get to get past it? This isn’t like your previous Republican presidents, the four horsemen of the Dorkpocalypse, in order Resignation In Disgrace, Incompetence, Bigotry and War Crimes. Trump has done something none of your previous monsters managed to do, which is make you all look just RIDICULOUS.

People might forget criminals but they remember clowns. Trump will follow you to the end of all your living days and I will be right there beside him ringing a cowbell as loud as I can to make sure everyone knows that here proceeds a clasp of lepers.

You don’t get to have an after. If the dead refugee kids don’t, neither do you, cocksock.

And let’s just take a moment to laugh at the idea that the BRIGHT SIDE for the Republicans right now is this motherfucker getting impeached as quickly as possible. That’s the best case scenario for the ex-pope’s hype man up there.

With Trump gone, everyone from Haley and Carlson to Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley could jump into an accelerated primary campaign against the unloved Republican “incumbent,” Mike Pence.

So Trump crossed with a wine mom, TUCKER FUCKING CARLSON, a guy who couldn’t beat Trump in a pissing contest, and Woody from Toy Story if Woody was racist, would all jump into a primary? Against Mike Pence, who is adored by the evangelical base?

I’m not gonna bag on anyone’s political fantasy life but I have a better chance of convincing John Kerry to make me his Chief of Whatever He Needs These Days than you have of making this kind of fetch happen, Ross.

Call me, John.

You know, time was people got the sense that the Times’s conservative voices had ears within the party. Now Ross is the guy on the corner screaming anti-Semitic shit about FDR, and the soapbox is giving him splinters.

I think these conservatives underestimate, as liberals did with Bill Clinton long ago, the advantages in jettisoning a corrupt leader.

Not to defend Bill here, as he is our gross old perv, but I don’t recall any major Democratic figures skipping his wife’s convention, whereas at Trump’s every ex-president you had alive was on a fucking milk carton.

But I would still ask — swirling my wine and adjusting my NeverTrumper toga — worse than what? Worse than a world where Trump survives impeachment, the Ukraine miasma chokes Biden’s campaign, Warren proves less electable than her supporters hope, we replay 2016 with the Electoral College and enter a second Trump term with the ship of state rudderless, Democrats yet more radicalized, and all those icebergs looming for the country and the G.O.P. alike?

Liz is going to clean you all like a clock and speaking of togas, Dr. Professor Senator Zero Fucks left hers at your mom’s, so when you’re done jerking it to a 97-part history podcast of the fall of Rome maybe you can pick it up and take it to the dry cleaners.

You can’t say that you didn’t have an early exit from the Trump era. You can’t say you didn’t have a choice.

That’s why the  club of the fucking most of us voted for somebody else, and/or jumped ship right around the time he kicked off his campaign by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers. We all knew we had a choice. Why didn’t you?

Schmuck.

A.

Time to Impeach the Motherfucker

Okay, good. 

But.

Before we pop the champagne.

Look.

Trump’s mouthbreathing supporters are wilding out and shooting up synagogues and running over protesters and threatening to murder undocumented immigrants, Muslims, women who won’t blow them, etc, for months, and that was when he was winning.

We need to think about what we’re doing now. Who can call who for help. If you are, like me, a relatively safe white person, you need to intersperse yelling things like SUCK IT YOU FASCIST ASSHOLE with checking on the people in your community who will be at risk.

Please.

A.

Don’t Say It’s Over

A reminder that your nihilism is embarrassing: 

The activists’ progress was often slow. The group launched a campaign against Kroger and Walmart in 2014; one ad ran in national newspapers and on billboards in Kroger’s home city of Cincinnati showing a girl holding an ice-cream cone in a Kroger store next to a man with a rifle, pointing out that only the girl was violating the store’s policy. They gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures on petitions. But both stores were unwilling to change. “I went and met with their executives in 2015,” says Watts. “And it was very clear that they would not consider changing their policy. But we just kept the pressure on. And then after the mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, we began conversations again with Walmart executives and gave them counsel on policies that would make their store safer.” After Walmart announced its new policy—including, beyond the new open-carry policy, a plan to stop selling ammunition—the group pivoted to pressure Kroger, which made its announcement the next day.

This is how work gets done. I get that it’s not as Capra-film inspiring as someone rising on the Senate floor and saying I HAVE HEREBY CHANGED MY MIND and then we all applaud and cry and the law is changed and no one dies anymore, but this is how the work gets done. In living rooms. In grocery stores. Day after grinding day.

It’s slow and it’s miserable and you lose more often than you win and you risk looking just RIDICULOUS, but if you don’t care how much of a ridiculous miserable loser you are, if you’re not afraid of how long it’ll take, if you see the passage of time not as proof that you’ve lost but as a record of how long you stayed standing, you will change the goddamn ridiculous miserable motherfucking loser WORLD.

What has happened with Moms Demand and Everytown is what happens when you just stop believing that despair is the only option, when you stop expecting the avalanche and start chucking rocks. It’s so EASY to tune out the horrors of the world. It’s so EASY, most of the time, to convince yourself to do nothing because there’s nothing you can do.

But then comes the hour between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. When you can’t sleep, and you realize that none of us get out of this alive, that none of us are in this for peace, that “there was nothing I could do” isn’t an answer but an excuse and not a good one, that you are literally presented with a hundred thousand things a day that are chances and if you pass them by you are doing something, and that something isn’t good. When that hour comes, you’ve got to answer for what you’ve done with every minute, and let’s be honest, most of us can’t.

You can face that and dig even deeper into your despair or you can pick up an axe and get to work. Or you can send out that horrible tweet again about how Sandy Hook was the end. I’m not telling you how to live your life, but these women are making it harder to lie to yourself that nothing will change and that’s really quite something, now isn’t it.

A.

Keep Not Saying It

Can’t be racism. Can’t be: 

Like many people interviewed for this article, Ms. Cerep, who is 35, liked some things about Mr. Trump. But she found his language vulgar, and was tired of the cycle of insults and angry retorts.

“I see the good things he’s done, but he’s done a lot of messed-up things, too,” said Ms. Cerep, who was babysitting a friend’s children.

Ideologically, Ms. Cerep is eclectic. She said she voted for Barack Obama because he “was the type to roll up his sleeves with everybody and was not some Republican that’s going to sit there and say, ‘Pick that shovel up and do this.’”

But she also used to listen to Rush Limbaugh — a habit she’s dropped — and she doesn’t like that “they are taking all our monuments down in the South.”

Our monuments. Our. Monuments.

Okay.

The whole piece is premised on the idea that “America” isn’t polarized, and features interviews with lots of people who are disengaged and think that their kids having matching socks isn’t “political,” which they view as the shouting on TV, as cable news, not as anything that affects those socks or how much time they have to make sure the socks match.

Many people interviewed in Lackawanna County said they were not regular news consumers, but that might actually be a boon in one respect in today’s divided age. Those who are more politically engaged tend to have exaggerated views of their political opponents.

Michael McCorey, a dancer visiting from Philadelphia, said that for him, social media was news and that he looked at it a lot on his phone.

“He’s like Thanos in the Avengers, the evil guy who looks for stones that give him more power,” he said of Mr. Trump. “His supporters are just as small-minded as he is. They are O.K. with others’ suffering.”

Emphasis mine. Show me the lie. Other than Trump’s marked lack of any Infinity Stones, show me the exaggeration.

Recent polling has found some darker impulses — an us-versus-them thinking reminiscent of populist movements where there has been a democratic breakdown. About 30 percent of partisans thought the other party was a threat to the nation’s well-being in 2014, according to Pew Research, and that number rose into the 40s in 2016. And between 5 percent and 15 percent endorse political violence or have no sympathy about harm to political opponents. In another poll, 18 percent of Democrats said they thought violence would be justified if the Republicans won the presidential election in 2020, and 14 percent of Republicans said the same (if Democrats won).

BOTH SIDES. BOTH SIDES. BOTH SIDES.

We’ll get to the double digit murders by white supremacists just as soon as we finally find the baby parts Planned Parenthood is selling at the Antia Murder Rally.

Christ.

“Look, I’m not some crazy Republican,” he said. “I don’t have flags in my yard or hit you if you like Hillary. But if Trump doesn’t get it, it’s over. We’ll be pushed to the side. They’ll be letting people in and giving them everything. We’ll get squished against the wall.”

There’s an interesting story in here somewhere about people who don’t think they’re that bad who are actually really horrible, or maybe that’s a case study. I get them mixed up sometimes.

A.

Not Everything Sucks: HORF

Go read this wholesome dumb animal thread.

I live for wholesome dumb animals because two of them live with me and they’re so stupid, look at this idiot:

I’d die for her without a second thought and if she wasn’t cute somebody would have turned her into mittens years ago.

A.

Everything is Racism & Sexism and Nobody Will Say It

Look at these fucking contortions: 

Boston’s North Shore seems as if it should be prime Elizabeth Warren territory. It is home to working-class towns, and it’s a short drive from Warren’s own house.

But ever since she entered electoral politics in 2012, she has struggled on the North Shore. When she defeated Scott Brown, the Republican incumbent senator, that year, she lost in places like Haverhill, Peabody, Saugus and Methuen. Last year, when Warren won re-election easily, she performed worse in those towns than Maura Healey, the Democratic attorney general, who was also on the ballot.

As Warren has risen to the top of the presidential primary field, her North Shore struggles underscore the biggest question about her campaign: If she were the nominee, could she win back working-class voters who swung to Donald Trump in 2016?

I can’t imagine why. Maybe it’s because white people have been mainlining Fox News/Sensible Centrist heroin for two decades now and all they’ve learned is that Democrats want to raise Your Taxes so they can give Secret Great Welfare to undeserving minorities while poor white people get Bad Welfare which is No Help At All.

Let’s go to that notorious whisperer of the Average American Voter, fucking CHAIT:

I’ve argued before that Warren has an excellent overall agenda for combating wage stagnation and helping the working class, but that her support for mandatory Medicare and border decriminalization is a politically damaging mistake.

Jonathan Chait of New York magazine says that Warren’s policy positions are hurting her with swing voters. “She is a compelling orator with a sympathetic life story and a gift for explaining complex ideas in simple terms. Yet she has spent most of the last year positioning herself as if the general election will never happen,” Chait writes.

Warren’s policy positions. Are hurting her. With swing voters.

Well goddamn, if only she’d bake them some cookies and tell them a story! About her personal life! Stop saying things like “we should quit locking up children fleeing violence and persecution” and “maybe you shouldn’t go bankrupt if you get brain cancer,” Lizzie!

Mandatory Medicare. You absolute jackass.

Warren’s working-class issues also matter in the primary. The political journalist Ron Brownstein coined the terms “beer track” and “wine track” to describe two different parts of the Democratic electorate, and the beer candidate (Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Walter Mondale) usually beats the wine candidate (Bill Bradley, Paul Tsongas, Gary Hart). Barack Obama was the exception because he added black voters to the wine track.

No one wants to have a beer with some chick!

Obama added black voters to the wine track? It’s 2019 now. Everybody fucking drinks wine. This isn’t the 80s when American wine was garbage; even box wine is good now and this metaphor is goddamn embarrassing. Stop quoting people still masturbating to the catchphrase they invented 20 years ago.

Are we genuinely, in the age of Donald Trump, still doing this? If so, I’d like to trademark the Crackpipe Track, whereby we all vote for the candidate least likely to make us want to freebase until we go blind.

Right now, based solely on this opinion piece, that’s Warren.

“Liberal college whites are growing as a share of the Democratic electorate, and Warren, in particular, has shown the potential to become a very strong candidate among them, as demonstrated by the huge crowds she recently drew in the white-collar enclaves of Minneapolis and Seattle,” Brownstein writes for CNN. “But many party strategists remain dubious that Warren — or anyone else — can win by consolidating those voters alone if Biden maintains an edge with the party’s other two biggest blocks: blacks and blue-collar whites.”

Well, Lord knows the party strategists have NEVER been wrong about who was the most electable candidate, given that they were all in the tank for Hillz and she lost to a sentient bag of dogshit because they all missed the fact that this is a racist-ass country full of angry old people posting Facebook memes about pressing 1 for English.

This isn’t about Warren vs. Biden. I’ve said before and I’ll say until we’re done here that if Joey the Shark is our nominee I will vote for him and campaign for him and post pictures of him and B. Barry Bamz looking sexxxxxy on the trail because that’s kind of our thing and because I’m not a fucking child, I know what’s at stake here.

But this constant regurgitation of the conventional wisdom of the Clinton years and the conflation of “working” with “white” and the elevating of those voters over all other voters and the goddamn arsing chickenfried refusal to acknowledge voter suppression and Republican misinformation in order to make the case that somehow the Democrats just don’t manage to “connect” with Chait’s imaginary whiskey tango proto-voters down the trailer park makes me want to tear off my own head and eat it.

We have serious problems and there are, lest we forget, parts of the country goddamn underwater, and other parts where there are immigrant kids in cages, so you’ll pardon me for skipping the part where we ask all the Democrats what kind of cocktail they are.

A.

Stand for Christ

Stooooooooop:

Do you know all the crap Jesus has to do? Like, all of it? He has so much shit to do. He has to keep His eye on sparrows and sort His junk mail and appear in visions from here to Laredo and now on top of that you want to give Him the unbelievable burden of supporting Sean Spicer on Dancing With The Stars? For His sake.

Sometimes I like to imagine Jesus, in His human incarnation, just bitching to His mom. “It’s not FAIR. I’m supposed to save every baby with cancer and ensure good weather on circus day AND make sure this nitwit wins his fail-dancing competition? Where does it end? When can I take a me-damned nap?”

Of course people are going to respond with “well, Jesus doesn’t get tired or frustrated and loves all of us etc etc” to which I would then offer as rebuttal the entirety of the Gospels in which He is basically like, “Guys, come on, I explained this six times already. Must we?”

As much fun as it is to clown on Huckabee and Spicer, the fascists’ court jesters are actually calling out to their true flock, those Christians who believe that Jesus is their personal savior and that that means He literally must climb into the pit and save them from everything up to and including the genital herpes they got from the sandwich shop girl. It’s a bizarre relationship with God, and this is me saying this. My relationship with Him is a series of increasingly loud arguments followed by an Advent booty call.

But this is the base they’ve cultivated. This is the army they’ve called to fight a culture war that is basically about what you watch on TV and hating liberals. This is why I say it’s useless to argue with the Trump cult. You want to convince the people who find THIS persuasive? You want me to believe talking to them is some kind of, what, normal option? No thank you.

Not only does Jesus have enough work to do already but so do I.

A.

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Pity the Border Patrol

Jesus Christ. Between this tweet and the ongoing defensive freakout over the mildest of online criticism, the New York Times is having almost as bad a time as, say, CHILDREN IN CAGES:

The Border Patrol, whose agents have gone from having one of the most obscure jobs in law enforcement to one of the most hated, is suffering a crisis in both mission and morale. Earlier this year, the disclosure of a private Facebook group where agents posted sexist and callous references to migrants and the politicians who support them reinforced the perception that agents often view the vulnerable people in their care with frustration and contempt.

It’s not that, you know, I’m in favor of yelling at people doing a job over the people ordering them to do it but at a certain point you decide what you’re willing to do as a job and if it’s “enforcing Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell’s fascist orders” maybe you look for other work.

But let’s talk about the decision to give A1 top story status to the plight of the poor border patrol, because that WAS a decision. Someone assigned “poor border patrol, they’re hated so much” over, you know, literally any other story including what the Kardashians are up to.

I mean, let’s look at just that nut graf up there:

The Border Patrol, whose agents have gone from having one of the most obscure jobs in law enforcement to one of the most hated, is suffering a crisis in both mission and morale.

They sure as shit weren’t “obscure” to the migrants they were chasing, but I suppose something only exists if they’ve heard about it in Greenwich.

Earlier this year, the disclosure of a private Facebook group where agents posted sexist and callous references to migrants and the politicians who support them reinforced the perception that agents often view the vulnerable people in their care with frustration and contempt.

Um, it demonstrated the reality that agents viewed the most vulnerable people in their care with frustration and contempt. The head of the goddamn agency was a member of that racist hate group. It’s not like this was five people and it was blown out of proportion.

Let’s continue:

Overwhelmed through the spring and early summer by desperate migrants, many agents have grown defensive, insular and bitter.

Overwhelmed by migrants deliberately putting this terrible pressure on them by — checks notes —  fleeing violence and persecution, many agents have given in to their inner brownshirts, confident that the nation’s largest newspaper will describe their deliberate actions as the weather.

Let’s ask the agents why their job has become so awful:

The difference between doing the job now and when I started is like night and day. Before, it was a rush of adrenaline when you caught people with drugs. You were doing more police stuff. Now it’s humanitarian work. If you ask anybody about being in Border Patrol, they’re playing a movie scene in their head, jumping into a burning building and saving people. Now, it means taking care of kids and giving them baby formula.

Reality of job at odds with childish fantasy! Also, agents horrified by having to feed hungry babies. STOP THE PRESSES.

Some of those who worked at the agency in earlier years said that it had changed over the past decade, and that an attitude of contempt toward migrants — the view that they are opportunists who brought on their own troubles and are undeserving of a warm welcome — is now the rule, not the exception.

Again with the passivity.

It had changed. Not “it had been weaponized by a racist GOP that saw an opportunity to turn the American Southwest into the new antebellum South by whipping up loathing toward poor frightened women and children.” It just, all by itself, changed.

The way we talk about these things matters. Prioritizing the agency’s pain and suffering over those who’ve suffered under that agency and obscuring the fault involved when selfish politicians demand police action where humanitarian work is needed, is an editorial choice, and the New York Times is making it.

A.

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GOAL MET! Thank you all!

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