Chinese Checkers

Beijing Winter Olympics 2002 Logo

In two weeks the Winter Olympic Games ™ will begin in China.

I won’t be watching.

I will be boycotting these games. My physical attendance was never going to happen, so my boycott will be of the television kind. And I strongly urge you to join with me on this boycott journey.

First of all let’s face it, nobody really cares about winter sports unless they or a family member are playing them. Strapping boards on your feet and sliding down a mountain trying to be one tenth of a second faster than the other guy is not compelling sports viewing. Really, it is like auto racing, we’re just waiting for the crash. Don’t get me started on ice skating, a “sport” tailored to be a cesspool of corruption. Ice hockey? I have the NHL for that, if I really need it. Luge, bobsled, cross country skiing? Fine things to do, but a bore to watch. Now curling, that’s something I could get into, but until they let the curlers (don’t call them athletes) play it in their natural habitats, ie, with a beer can in their hands, I’ll pass.

But all that’s just my distaste for winter sports. That’s not the real reason I’ll be boycotting.

Did I mention these games are taking place in China? You remember China. The land that censorship loves so much it bought a timeshare there. The land of suppression and repression. Where surveilling leads to jailing. Where human rights are thrown into the back seat of a police car never to be heard from again. Yeah, that China.

China, or to be more correct the city of Beijing, was selected to host these Olympics through some pretty dubious means. Back in 2014 when the selection election was held, Oslo Norway was the leading candidate. That made perfect sense since, well, Oslo is well known for it’s winters, i.e., they have plenty of naturally occurring snow and ice. But at the last minute the International Olympic Committee (IOC) threw in demands such as:

“Diva-like demands for luxury treatment” for the IOC members themselves, such as special lanes on all roads only to be used by IOC members and cocktail reception at the Royal Palace with drinks paid for by the royal family. IOC also “demanded control over all advertising space throughout Oslo” to be used exclusively by IOC’s sponsors, something that is not possible in Norway because Norway is a liberal democracy where the government doesn’t own or control “all advertising space throughout Oslo” much of which is privately owned and has no authority to give a foreign private organization exclusive use of an entire city and private property within it.

Now the IOC is pretty well known for being a little footloose and fancy free when it comes to demanding things from potential host cities, but that was ridiculous. It actually sounds to me like the IOC made these requirements with the idea of gaming the election so that ONLY Beijing would be able to win. As it stands the only competitor for these games after Oslo pulled out was Almaty Kazakhstan, another Asian country with dubious credentials when it comes to human rights (but notably better than the Chinese).

So Beijing becomes the first city to ever host both a summer and a winter Olympics and they will have done both in the span of 14 years, far quicker than any other two time host city ever has. Then again, while once upon a time cities fought tooth and nail to get an Olympics now they mostly have an ambivalence about them, especially the winter games. Let’s face it, as a ski destination you only have a few months to make money and if those months have to be given over to preparing for and then hosting an event you don’t make money on, well thanks but no thanks.

But having the IOC game the system for them is the least of my problems with China hosting these games. Let’s talk about what they are requiring of those attending the games, both participants and partisans.

Continue reading “Chinese Checkers”

What Exactly Is America?

This is sort of a minor trope in the movies and TV, where a character realizes that someone they trusted/loved/partnered with is actually a villain, and the shocked character gasps out “what ARE you?” as they back away in horror. I’m sort of wondering that myself about our country. I do know the past two years have been a little unnerving. We learned that a disturbing number of Americans are perfectly cool with you dying if you are elderly or have an underlying condition. I just want to be able get a beer in a bar and it’s been MONTHS, … Continue reading What Exactly Is America?

You Tell That Ol’ Virus Who The Boss Is

Helen Lewis represents the sort of mindset that I worry is taking hold in the U.S. In her piece in the Atlantic, she pretty much made the case that she is so over COVID.

To be fair to Lewis, the headline is a bit misleading. She did say she would continue to respect and follow pandemic rules and recommendations in her home country, Great Britain. But the general tone of the piece is this new “I’m over it” phase of the pandemic that seems to be growing.

This is, of course, the most magical of magical thinking. A virus doesn’t really care if you are “moving on” because, well, a virus doesn’t “care.” It’s a virus, not an ex after a bad breakup.

Lewis has replied on Twitter, saying her main point was this has been all very hard. I don’t want to be the Pain Police, because this has been hard. It has been difficult for parents and their children, no doubt. Often we’ve been confused about what we should do, partially due to the fact this was a novel virus when it showed up, and partially due to some communications bungling that is, in part, because of how depleted our public health infrastructure has become over our years of hyper-focus on budget deficits.

But at the same time, people are acting as if wearing a mask in a theater during a Marvel movie is the same sort of stress and trauma as the Bataan Death March. Lewis has certainly experienced multiple lockdowns, but let me tell you, if a rural American is whining to you about being in two years of lockdowns, chances are strong they are so full of shit they float. Here in my neck of the woods, rural central Pennsylvania, I can certainly tell you that there are a ton of folks who haven’t lived like they are in a pandemic for at least a year. For some, they never did.

I really can’t fathom the amount of sacrifice that was asked of our society in World War II ever happening today. Just imagine asking some of our fellow current humans to experience rationing, blackouts, air raid drills, etc.

“No, Mr. Churchill, This Is Not Our Finest Hour. No More Hiding Underground,” by Helen Lewis, is the sort of thing that is not hard to imagine The Atlantic running. “I Want to Bake 20 Loaves of Bread to Give to My Friends. The Government Says I Can’t” is another. “I will most certainly NOT turn off all my lights, if I want to turn them all on I will and no air raid drill warden thug will tell me otherwise!!!!!” Tweets @FreedomLoverGuy443932.

That’s not even including hot takes by the Smartest Boys and Girls on Substack asking why we’re fighting Hitler in the first place, and GOP lawmakers demanding we support the Nazis, but that’s another post for another time.

Continue reading “You Tell That Ol’ Virus Who The Boss Is”

The Blame Game

Everyone is up in arms against the Biden administration because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. Focusing solely on the administration only obscures what the real exacerbating issues are. First, and maybe most importantly, Omicron is a game changer. It evades the immunity conferred by vaccination so it is spreading to many, many more people than any previous iteration of Covid. There is literally nothing that the Biden administration could have done to prevent its existence. Second, the lazy mainstream media, which is still collectively angry at Biden for leaving Afghanistan, fetishisizes the stupidest shit, like home rapid … Continue reading The Blame Game

Ahh For The Good Old Days

The Game of Risk

In the last two years COVID has inspired lots of people to embrace nostalgia for the past. TV shows from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s are the “go-to” viewing for millions. Safe, warm, inviting, and you know how it all turns out anyway (Rachel doesn’t get on the plane). People are rereading or reading for the first time books from out of their past, even the ones you had to slog through in English Lit 101 and couldn’t understand why anyone ever thought this was any good (looking at you Jane Austen).  Baking bread became a talisman for happier times when you came home from school to the tantalizing smell of something Mom just pulled out of the oven, a pleasant certainty in a time of complete uncertainty.

Even in politics there seems to be a desire to return to what we grew up with. A time when the President of the United States didn’t call Nazis “good people”. A time when Supreme Court nominees were distinguished legal scholars or experienced jurists who got a full and fair hearing in front of the Senate. A time when street protests were the province of the left and editorial handwringing was the province of the right. A time when the violent overthrow of the government of the United States was the stuff of political suspense novels. In other words, a time when you knew who the good guys were (us) and who the bad guys were (them).

So thanks Vladimir Putin for bringing back a remnant of an earlier time: Russia versus America in The Great Game. Just when you were thinking there would never again be a solidly black and white issue where we as a country stood together against the Evil Empire, Vlad decided it was time to sprinkle his troops along the border between his country and Ukraine and threaten to invade. All that’s missing is Brezhnev’s bushy brows, Nixon’s nattering nabobs, and Kissinger’s krafty kreepiness. Geo-politics is always better with alliteration.

Yes, Russia has it’s troops poised to invade Ukraine like so many plastic armies on a Risk game board. Meanwhile Russian and American diplomats hold talks in that citadel of diplomacy and spy craft called Geneva to try and hold off any sort of military confrontation. You can almost feel the strings being pulled by the various players and emissaries. In the meantime George Smiley is sending his people back into the cold. The main difference this time is that the ideological aspects of the Cold War are gone. This isn’t the Communists versus the Democracies, it actually harkens back to an even earlier version, the Fascists versus the Democracies.

And I hate to say it, but it’s a bit frightening to harken back to that earlier era of confrontation, mostly because we know very well how it played out and how it played out was not all that well. The similarities make it even more frightening.

Wanna see more? Click the link below

Continue reading “Ahh For The Good Old Days”

What Are We Doing?

If you could just ignore that positive COVID test and come into work tomorrow, that’d be great.

Corporate America is pretty much turning into Lundberg as far as how it is dealing with COVID. For those unfamiliar, Lundberg is the smarmy, passive-aggressive boss from the excellent 1999 workplace satire, “Office Space,” and is pictured above.

Lundberg’s most memorable character trait was sneakily making his employees work weekends and not telling them until the end of the day Friday.

Fast-forward to the present day and now it seems management has had it with your COVID concerns and is going to need you to come in even if you’re sick. For example, at Red Lobster you may get some COVID from your server along with those cheddar biscuits:

Full disclosure: Not a fan of Red Lobster, mainly because I grew up an hour north of Baltimore/Chesapeake Bay and I could get much better seafood elsewhere. And everything is too salty there, not to mention if you get any fried seafood, it all tastes like KFC Extra Crispy.

That said, this is completely insane and irresponsible to the fans of Red Lobster. Also, as Legum points out in that Twitter thread, his reporting found that the ol’ myth that if retail corporations provided paid sick leave they would immediately go under is pretty much, well, an ol’ myth.

So much for all that “essential workers are our lifeblood” propaganda we saw in the spring of 2020. Now we have the employee version of how the Red Army used to have special soldiers to shoot any Soviet troop who was retreating in WWII (look up “barrier troops for more).

Teachers are increasingly being told that they, too, are virus fodder. A good example of this is the teacher’s union battles with Professional Awful Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who is leading the charge against Chicago Public School teachers who want to avoid dying in a pandemic. This excellent thread by Guardian reporter Julia Carrie Wong raises a good question – how is forcing teachers to teach in person going to work if lots of them get sick?: https://twitter.com/juliacarriew/status/1478531158023491584

Indeed, it’s not the teacher’s unions creating the problem, it’s the VIRUS that’s creating the problem. Meanwhile, Georgia has decided that if you got the COVID and you aren’t showing symptoms, get back to work, teachers. “But they are requiring masks for such people” says the moderate reasoned person in my head. “Have you seen how great people are wearing them?” I reply.

As has always been the case, the virus also doesn’t cooperate with such policies. The battle cry for the REOPEN SCHOOLS OR ELSE crowd has been “children aren’t at risk” but COVID being COVID, it apparently isn’t listening to the Nate Silvers and Matt Yglesiases of the world.

Continue reading “What Are We Doing?”

Letter From New Orleans: A Tale Of Two Krewes

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell was elected in 2017 as a progressive. After four years of an increasingly incoherent mayoralty, it’s hard to tell what if anything she stands for. She was easily reelected but without any opponent of stature with the money to mount a serious challenge. Mayor Teedy believes she has a mandate but for what? Beats the hell outta me.

I realize that this post may qualify as inside-New Orleans baseball to some readers. I started out as a hyper-local New Orleans blogger in 2006, after all. Sometimes I revert to that form.

New Orleans is among the most interesting cities in the world and Carnival is central to our local culture. I have oversimplified at points to make this post comprehensible to those who are, as we say in the 13th Ward, from away.

Carnival disputes have often served as proxies for political warfare in New Orleans. In 1992, a Mardi Gras anti-discrimination ordinance passed shaking up the staid, stuffy, and often racist Carnival order. It led some of the snootier all-white krewes such as Comus and Momus to stop parading for good. It was a much-needed shakeup that led to the birth of some new and more diverse parading krewes such as Orpheus and Muses and eventually to quirky marching groups such as the 610 Stompers, Pussyfooters, and Laissez Boys to name a few.

It’s happening again. The city has decided to press on with Carnival even with Omicron raging. Ironically, the only thing Mayor Teedy did right in her first term was combat COVID. City Hall has announced that parade routes will be compressed and altered supposedly because of an understaffed and overwhelmed police department. In fact, this is a change  that has been long sought by the NOPD and they’ve managed to accomplish it under cover of COVID. They’ve wanted to consolidate the peak parade route onto St. Charles Avenue, and they’ve gotten their way for at least 2022.

The changes directly impact the parades that roll up Magazine Street in Uptown New Orleans. It means that these krewes will no longer parade around the corner from Adrastos World HQ. That’s no big whoop for me this year: I plan to stay away from the parade route. I’ve managed to go this long without getting sick during the pandemic and while I love Carnival, it’s not worth getting sick over. Nothing is.

There’s one krewe that has been rolling up Magazine Street for many decades: the Krewe of Thoth. They’ve made it a point to parade past hospitals and other health care facilities with the aim of bringing good cheer to patients and staff alike, especially at Children’s Hospital.

Thoth is the parade I will miss the most. There’s an annual neighborhood party at the corner of Valence and Magazine Streets. It was missed last year but it will be impossible this year as the parades will begin nine blocks away. I hope to feel safe during Carnival 2023 but it’s uncertain if Thoth or the other Magazine Street parades will return.

City Hall consulted with some of the parading krewes. Thoth was not among them.

One krewe that was not forced to move its route is Endymion. They parade across town in Mid-City. They’ve been allowed to stay on their customary route with a few tweaks That’s why this post is called A Tale Of Two Krewes.

Endymion is an obnoxious parading krewe with political clout and money to burn. Most of its members live in suburban Jefferson and St. Tammany Parishes. The latter is the reddest and richest parish in the Gret Stet Of Louisiana. Yet, they have more clout than Thoth, which is based in the bluest parish with an allegedly progressive mayor. What’s wrong with this picture?

A personal note: I hate Endymion and the people who camp out for days on its route. Hardcore New Orleanians call these creeps the Krewe of Chad because one year some jerk named Chad painted his name on the neutral ground of Orleans Avenue. I am not making this up:

Continue reading “Letter From New Orleans: A Tale Of Two Krewes”

The Power Of The Dogs

Dogs playing off leash

The wife (Cruella) and I live in a 55 and older community that has its own set of rules and regulations regarding, well, just about anything that might happen in the community.

It’s one of the truisms of life that for whatever you want to have you have to give something in return. In this case, in order to live in a community where young families are not present (not that we have anything against them, it’s just past our time of life) and to have the amenities we want (clubhouse, pool, jacuzzi, etc.) we have to give up some of the freedoms we would have living elsewhere. No, we’re not constrained in any way from socializing with any others or anything so drastic. We just have to do the garbage a little differently, have a mailbox instead of having the mail delivered to the house, maintain our yard to a certain standard, in other words, typical homeowner association stuff.

Which brings us to dogs. The rules say you are perfectly fine having a dog, though they prefer the dogs not be too big or too mean. When on the public street dogs need to be on a leash and need to be picked up after. Those are the only rules about dogs.

We don’t have a dog. Three of our neighbors on our court, each a single woman living alone, do. While I understand a woman in that situation would want a dog, these dogs are not voice trained, won’t come when you call them or heed a warning from the owner. Those three neighbors love to let their dogs play together in the center of the court, unleashed, for a good amount of time each day. Many is the time I’ve had to slam on the brakes as I turn into the court because these dogs are right in the middle preventing me from getting to my driveway. I’ve politely told the owners they need to have their dogs on leashes, as per our HOA rules, but their response has been to accuse both myself and Cruella of not liking dogs.

Let me say this right up front. We like dogs. We have owned dogs in the past. My kids grew up with a dog. My younger son currently has a dog. Here’s a picture of her:

Scout The Dog
She’s very well trained

We love dogs so much that we don’t want to see them run over by cars. When I mentioned this to the three ladies their reply was “well everyone on the court knows they are here” to which my reply was “yes, but the UPS, USPS, FedEx, and Amazon vans that come in here nearly every day DON’T”.

The HOA has sent the three amigas the slap on the wrist, don’t do it again letter reminding them that our rules say dogs have to be on a leash when on the public street. By the way, that’s the county rules as well. It has of course engendered ill feelings between them and those of us on the court who don’t have dogs because, well, it sucks to be wrong and be called out on it.

But now it’s unlikely that any of those dogs will get run over by a van. And that’s the point of making rules, so that people and property don’t get harmed. Those who don’t want to follow the rules have to be upbraided, not only because of the harm they themselves might do, but as an example to those who might think it okay to also break the rules.

Which brings me to Novak Djokovic and Elizabeth Holmes.

Want more? Click the link:

Continue reading “The Power Of The Dogs”

This is Fine

People sure did have a great holiday season this year, huh? Lots of Christmas parties and New Year’s parties. Tons of people at airports. And now tons of new Covid cases. A few weeks ago I wrote about America’s approach to the pandemic:  magical thinking. This week magical thinkers are learning that magic isn’t real. I’m not going to join the chorus of people beating up the CDC. See, the CDC treated us all like adults last year. We had clear guidelines–for a quickly unfolding pandemic featuring a virus that science had never seen before–about how to reduce our own … Continue reading This is Fine

Welcome to the New Normal

The New Normal

How’s your 2022 going so far?

I know it’s only a few days into the new year and you might still be recovering from your New Year’s Eve party/day.

On the other hand, maybe you’re not. That’s the point. After nearly two years (yes, that’s right, two years) of pandemic it’s time to admit we have entered a new normal. Large groupings of unrelated people milling about for hours, drinking, carousing, perhaps even exchanging bodily, um, connections, those days are over for the foreseeable future.

I’m here to say, don’t be afraid of the new normal. It’s just the latest in a long line of them.

Granted a new normal is usually after some kind of war has ravaged a country or several. Buildings stand, if they still stand at all, damaged to an extent ranging from a need for a good cleaning to a need for a good enema. Populations redistribute to areas where the damage is less (sometimes called being a refugee) alternately causing a need for more in one area and a need for less in another. Once stable supply systems are taxed and/or destabilized to the point of incompetency. Governments are changed either through the ballot or through the bullet. Niche groups rise up to take advantage of the power vacuum, usually niche groups on the far extremes of the political spectrum.

Does any of this sound familiar? Replace “war” with “COVID” and there you are.

If I may go off on a slight tangent, if the COVID pandemic is the equivalent of a war, wouldn’t those “soldiers” (aka citizens) who refuse to get vaccinated be guilty of dereliction of duty or perhaps even disobeying an order from a superior officer (AKA the president)? As such shouldn’t they be thrown into prison? I won’t go so far as to say shot, but a forced jab might be in order.

Make no mistake, the time will come when you are old and grey and your grandchild is sitting on your lap looking up and asking “What did you do in the great COVID pandemic Grands?” What do you want to tell them? That you did all that was asked of you? Or that you didn’t believe any of it was true which is why you’re tethered to the oxygen tank little Billie is idly playing with the valves on as you chat.

But I digress.

The need to mourn what was should be superseded by the excitement of what is to be.

Wanna know more about what the new world will look like? Click the link

Continue reading “Welcome to the New Normal”

Dear National Media: Stop Jinxing Us To Own The Libs

Back in March of this year, the DC Punditry had anointed Trump Lite Governor Ron DeSantis as The King of the Pandemic. Politico, being Politico and by that I mean terrible, went all-in on the King Ron love. Things, as you know, did not go well for Florida soon afterward. In fact, they are going terribly for Good King Ron at the moment, along with his fellow Floridians. Florida is breaking COVID daily case records and King Ron has been nowhere to be found over the last two weeks, although his office claims he is accompanying his wife to cancer … Continue reading Dear National Media: Stop Jinxing Us To Own The Libs

Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – miscellaneous meshugas edition

Ok, people – new year is here and it’s time to clean up all the meshuga 2021 Freeperville threads I haven’t gotten to yet.

- You're meshuga! - I am not your sugar.

Let’s start with – O’Really?

Bill O’Reilly: ‘Diminishing the Capitol riot could never have happened’ while he was at Fox News
The Hill ^ | 12/15/21 11:12 AM EST | BY DOMINICK MASTRANGELO

Posted on 12/15/2021, 7:18:51 PM by RandFan

Former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly said downplaying or diminishing the seriousness of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is something that “could never have happened” during his time at the network.

“Fox News is a different place than it was when I was there,” O’Reilly said Tuesday evening while appearing on Dan Abrams’ primetime show on NewsNation. “I don’t follow it that that closely anymore, but when I was there, there was a discipline from management that diminishing the Capitol riot could never have happened. And I’ll state that firmly on the record.”

O’Reilly had joined Abrams’ program to discuss revelations this week that top hosts at Fox, including his former colleagues Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Brian Kilmeade, had been texting with then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows during the riot, urging Meadows to convince former President Trump to do something to stop the attack.

“I wouldn’t have done it myself,” O’Reilly said of the text messages the hosts sent Meadows. “I would have asked the question, ‘Say, are you guys going to make a statement? What are you going to do? Looks like things are out of control?’ I don’t think I would have advocated; that’s not what journalists do. But it was in a very intense, quick-breaking situation. So I’m not going to condemn anybody here.”

Hannity and Ingraham both defended their texts to Meadows during their nightly programs on Tuesday and played for their audiences portions of their statements the night of the attack.

“I said to Mark Meadows the exact same thing I was saying live on the radio at that time and on TV that night on Jan. 6 and well beyond Jan. 6,” Hannity said Tuesday.

1 posted on 12/15/2021, 7:18:51 PM by RandFan
To: RandFan
Isn’t he on tour with Trump?
12 posted on 12/15/2021, 7:28:18 PM by M_Continuum
To: RandFan
33 posted on 12/15/2021, 8:19:01 PM by Theoria
To: Theoria
This is one of Trumps flaws. He does not choose the best people
35 posted on 12/15/2021, 8:30:02 PM by griswold3 (When chaos serves the State, the State will encourage chaos)
To: RandFan
What a turd. I never liked him and I hate that Trump tours with him.He’s not a conservative – he’s a moderate at best – who only cares about whether the Left will think he’s fair and balanced – he’s an appeaser and that’s exactly what he’s doing here.When he says he’s “…not going to comment…” on Tucker’s Jan 6 program – that’s classic O’Reilly being a fair and balanced coward.Plus, he’s as dumb as a rock.
49 posted on 12/18/2021, 5:15:31 PM by enumerated
Which one?
Or are you referring to both?
.
More cleanup after the magic link –

Continue reading “Today on Tommy T’s obsession with the Freeperati – miscellaneous meshugas edition”

Yielding Sweetness

On Tuesday I learned about a Christmas tradition that I absolutely could not believe was real, despite my source being someone that I trust to tell me the truth. In Catalonia, families decorate a log—the Tio de Nadal, or the log of Christmas–with a smiley face, a hat, and 2 short front legs. The children “feed” the log all December, and then on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day the adults place a blanket on the log’s back end and the children sing a song, Caga Tio, while they beat the log with sticks. To wit: You have no doubt noticed … Continue reading Yielding Sweetness

One Weird Year

This really happened.

While I think nostalgia is a two-edged sword and I am often a nostalgic memory skeptic, I do admit to missing the Good Old Days. And by Good Old Days, I mean before the year itself became a meme/joke about something terrible.

This started in 2016, when we all joked about how the year was so bad, nothing can top it. Then each year after said “hold my beer” and was terrible in its own way. 2021 was no exception.

Along with being kinda lousy, 2021 was also weird. And on occasion, good. I cherry-picked a few examples of the good, the bad, and the weird that stood out to me. Perhaps you can add yours in the comments.

The Good: Joe Biden became president, despite the best efforts of people like 9/11 Hero to Suckers Rudy Guliani, Crazed Lawyer Sidney Powell, and The My Pillow Guy. Biden hasn’t been perfect but he has done some good things. And with two very sad and key exceptions, he mostly seemed to unite Democrats, including having one of his biggest advocates being a member of The Squad, Jamila Jayapal.

The Bad: The Big Lie lives on and is a driving force in the Republican Party, which is now focused on wrecking our democracy, something you can say without hyperbole. Unfortunately, too many people in America either view this development as super awesome coolness, or are clueless enough to think that thinking there is a real threat to democracy is hyperbole.

The Weird: Even as a screwup, the Four Seasons Landscaping fiasco (see the above image) was bizarre and surreal. One of those things that if it were part of a movie, critics would slam it as a ridiculous plot development, and yet it happened in real life.

The Good: We got a vaccine – several of them! The research into mRNA is showing potential for other medical treatments as well. There is no doubt, the vaccine has saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

The Bad: The anti-vax movement has become even larger, more heinous, and more dug-in than ever before. Instead of getting a simple two shots, then a booster, way too many Americans (mainly conservatives) decided the best path forward was trying one of a sad number of convoluted Rube Goldberg-like solutions to fighting COVID. Many died while bringing the term “horse paste” into the American lexicon.

The Weird: This year featured a very odd obsession with “owning the libs” over COVID from some pundits, including a lot of mocking of those who are treating a pandemic like a, well, pandemic. On May 4, Emma Green published in The Atlantic a long “lol” at those libs who are “addicted to the pandemic.” Since that date, as per Johns Hopkins University data, 238,532 Americans have died from COVID. On Dec. 13, Matthew Wahler, also in The Atlantic, lectured everyone that the down-home folksy thing to do was not give a flying shit about infecting others. Since that date, 18,824 Americans have died from COVID. Most recently, on December 20, Shadi Hamid posted about “Omnicron Panic and Liberal Hysteria.” Since that date, 9,717 Americans have died from COVID. You get the idea.
Continue reading “One Weird Year”

Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “I – Can’t – help – falling out of love with you” edition

Oh, Darnold, Darnold, Darnold.

You unleashed the monster, and now it’s nibbling at your toes.

How does it feel?

(President) Trump says he got Covid vaccine booster shot, tells fans not to boo him for it
CNBC ^ | MON, DEC 20 20211:07 PM EST | Dan Mangan

Posted on 12/20/2021, 5:17:35 PM by entropy12

POINTS Former President Donald Trump says he received a booster vaccine shot for Covid-19 “Oh don’t!” Trump said, waving his hand as some people in an audience in Dallas at a show with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly seemed to react negatively to him saying he got the booster. A relatively large percentage of Republican voters have refused to get even initial doses of the coronavirus vaccines. GOP governors around are resisting vaccine and mask mandates.

******************************************************

Does this mean president Trump will no longer be popular here on FR?
1 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:17:35 PM by entropy12
.
Good question.
.
To: entropy12
Booooo
2 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:18:41 PM by Brimack34 (If Palin was VP Trump would still be in office.)
Boo who?

To: entropy12I

don’t understand him when it comes to this vaccine. He must think they really work.

Well, he did spend some time in the ICU at Walter Reed, so maybe he wishes he had gotten vaccinated.

Two advisers close to Trump who were briefed on his condition told the book’s authors that the former president was “gravely ill” and they feared that he “wouldn’t make it out of Walter Reed.” 

Very disappointing. It makes me wonder if he knows what is actually going on with the global takeover.

4 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:20:25 PM by JudyinCanada (Aim low, avoid disappointment.)

To: entropy12
“Oh don’t!” Trump said, waving his hand as some people in an audience in Dallas at a show with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly seemed to react negatively to him saying he got the booster.

YOU don’t. You’re blowing this one POTUS 45.

10 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:25:06 PM by philman_36 (Pride breakfasted with plenty, dined with poverty and supped with infamy. Benjamin Franklin)

Well, you blew him daily here for over four years, so maybe you’re even?
To: entropy12
Trump is either nowhere near the very stable genius many here had thought.
Or he is nowhere near the good and faithful American many here had hoped.
Spin can’t fix this, only repentance.
15 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:26:59 PM by BuddhaBrown (Path to enlightenment: Four right turns, then go straight until you see the Light!)
Aw, c’mon – surely ye hath not forsaken The Darnold?
To: entropy12
Simply put he is wrong here. I won’t harass him about it because quite frankly I’ve never considered him very intelligent to begin with, (snip) I still like what he represents to many people, but he’s getting a bit old at this point and personally I’ve moved on to DeSantis.
18 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:29:39 PM by jimwatx
What’s DeMoron going to do when HE catches COVID at one of HIS campaign events?
To: entropy12
He has nothing to worry about. In addition to his 3 shots,

Maybe it’s the Fauci/Gates microchips making him say that?

he has already had COVID and has no known co-morbidities.

20 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:30:04 PM by Socon-Econ (adi)

Followed by :
To: entropy12
Trump is getting up there in age and is overweight
54 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:59:27 PM by conservative98
Otherwise, ok?
.
And now – the post of the thread!
To: JudyinCanada
“I don’t understand him when it comes to this vaccine. He must think they really work. Very disappointing. It makes me wonder if he knows what is actually going on with the global takeover.”
Clearly, Trump has been comprised by the Deep State Cabal – why else would he take the vaccine?? In fact, anyone who has taken the vaccine is now under the influence of the Deep State nanobiots, and no longer to be trusted!!
The ship will be lifting of at exactly 2342 hours on December 29th, departure point Bravo. Be there or be left behind to become part of the Global Consciousness!!
Somebody please hold me. I’m so frightened.
36 posted on 12/20/2021, 5:38:56 PM by Bruce Campbells Chin ( )
Yippee!!!
.
.
More below!

Continue reading “Today on Tommy T’s Obsession with the Freeperati – “I – Can’t – help – falling out of love with you” edition”

A Festivus For The Rest Of Us

First off, The Reason for the Season, at least the reason for today (Festivus): Yeah, I’d air my grievances but we’d be here a while. Lots of reasons for grievances, including one I’ll aim at a certain senator, with apologies to ol’ Charlie Dickens: “Spirit! are they yours?” Manchin could say no more. “They are Man’s,” said the Spirit, looking down upon them. “And they cling to me, appealing from their fathers. This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware of them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow … Continue reading A Festivus For The Rest Of Us

Saturday Odds & Sods: Jacob Marley’s Chain

Jacob Marley’s Ghost by John Leech.

Things had slowed down in New Orleans on the COVID front, but it looks as if we’re about to be hit with another wave. I know of at least 10 people who have been exposed to the highly contagious Omicron variant. I’m glad the Carnival parading season is late this year. We may still be able to salvage it. Stay tuned.

This week’s seasonal theme song was written by Aimee Mann for her classic 1993 album, Whatever. It’s more of a Dickensian song than a holiday song, which is why I like it so much.

We have two versions of Jacob Marley’s Chains for your listening pleasure: the studio original and a live solo acoustic version with an amusing introduction by the songwriter.

We’ve all been foolish, but I for one have never been part of a chain-chain-chain of fools:

It’s time to stop fooling around and jump to the break.

Continue reading “Saturday Odds & Sods: Jacob Marley’s Chain”

Two Years and Counting of Magical Thinking

Back in February I wrote about the US passing the 500,000 mark in people who died from Covid. Today we crossed the 800,000 mark, and there is no end in sight to the unnecessary death. I tweeted this a few days ago:  “Everyone wants to report back who died, but far fewer people want to talk about grief.” I was actually talking about the Sex and the City reboot “And Just Like That”, but it fits the real world, too. Even if you have not lost a loved one to Covid, the grief is palpable everywhere. In this moment as … Continue reading Two Years and Counting of Magical Thinking

What If Humans, In General, Suck So Much We Can’t Solve This Mess?

idiots screaming outside a door
The glory of the human condition on full display at an anti-Covid lockdown protest in 2020 in Ohio.

Maybe it’s a lack of sleep due to our one cat who had successful surgery yesterday keeping me awake all night with his meowing and rubbing his cone against my head, as if to torture me for making him wear it. Maybe it’s overwhelming workload at my day job. Maybe it’s the general level of anxiety that anyone who is paying attention at the moment feels. But my general skepticism that humanity, as it is today, can overcome our problems might be at its highest.

For starters, we’re merrily skipping onward toward the 800,000 American deaths mark, and this happened last night.

Also, there seem to be more people lately who are like Tristan here:

COVID is shrug-worthy and not a big deal. That’s one helluva take. No doubt, we will eventually see plenty of “while one million deaths is, of course, bad, COVID has proven to be not near as bad as the experts claimed” type posts by the Smartest Boys and Girls on Substack.

Ezra Klein has noted before that we as a society are very good at ignoring suffering. Klein used the example of the millions of deaths that occur globally each year related to pollution, and how we more or less just ignore it. This was something I heard him say in a podcast pre-COVID. I wonder if he ponders how COVID has made that concept even clearer.

Never forget that last year, a conservative talking point was “old and immune-compromised people dying is no big deal, they’d die anyway.” Or in May of this year, the worst thing was how those darn silly libs were addicted to the pandemic. Scared people are to be understood if they are conservatives. Mocked if they are liberals/progressives.

What does the death of others even mean anymore? I’ve said before, for a lot of people, the answer to the question “is it okay to murder someone” for almost everyone is “of course not” but for a lot of people, the honest answer is “it depends.” We saw that play out in social media reactions to the Rittenhouse trial.

Seriously, anyone who works in climate change mitigation, pay attention to what is happening right now. COVID is in that “sweet spot” where there are just enough deaths to worry some people, but enough for many to ignore or deny. I should probably call that the “bitter spot.” We will no doubt see that with climate change. Just enough deaths to alarm some, not enough to alarm the self-centered.

“I don’t give a shit if that west coast storm killed over 100, I live in Indiana, why should I have to buy an electric car?”

Just wait until the climate refugee crisis gets going in earnest.

Continue reading “What If Humans, In General, Suck So Much We Can’t Solve This Mess?”

Cry The Beloved Almost Visited Country

South African Flag

So while everyone waits with baited breath on the results of the further tests on the Omicron variant of COVID I have a selfish reaction to the news.

Fuck, there goes my vacation. Maybe.

Yes, the wife (Cruella) and I were going to be heading to South Africa in about six weeks. Why South Africa? The beauty and wonder of a land so far from our own. The chance to leave winter behind and regale in the warmth of the southern hemisphere. And, ironically, it had until last week, one of the lowest COVID infection rates IN THE WORLD. The U.S. has a rate of 25 cases per 100,000 people. South Africa has a rate of less than one per 100,000. In a country of 59 million that means, hold on let me get the calculator out, let’s see divide by 100K, multiple by one percent, oh crap the calculator battery ran out, anyway that means like 59 people in the entire country diagnosed as COVID positive.

Those are the kinds of odds I’ll take a chance on. Besides I wanted to photograph lions and hippos and elephants oh my.

I’ve been on the side of vaccination, social distancing, mask wearing, et al throughout the pandemic. Do I think the world is overreacting to Omicron? Hell no, until we know more everything should be shut down. Seal off any country where it rears it’s spikey little head. That includes those European countries that relaxed their testing and sequencing efforts (looking at you Belgium, you frivolous Flemish fop).

Here’s the thing about Omicron, at the moment hospitals aren’t overrun with Omicron variation patients. As a matter of fact, few have gone to hospital and even fewer have ended up in Intensive Care and those who do tend to be (say it with me) unvaccinated. The symptoms that present seem to be along the lines of general achiness and a bad cough. Um, I don’t know about you, but that’s how I wake up each morning. And yes, all those who have tested positive for it are on the younger side so are more likely to be able to fight it off with relative ease, but compare that to original COVID-19 where people got it and ended up on a ventilator eventually.

Here’s a thought. What if Omicron is the end stage mutation of COVID? What if it is like the mutation that turned the Spanish Flu of 1918-1920 from deadly killer to winter time annoyance? I have no epidemiology training and I don’t play a doctor on TV, but the fact that no one is dying of it suggests that there is at least the possibility of this being true. And if that’s the case, don’t you actually want that variation to reach as many people worldwide as possible? Is there a lab somewhere in the world where an original strength COVID molecule is being put into the proverbial ring with an Omicron microbe to see who bests who? I mean even Coke and Pepsi did that.

And now from the beautiful Sands Hotel in fabulous Las Vegas Nevada, it’s fifteen rounds to determine the heavyweight virus championship of the world!

Drizzle drazzle drazzle drome click the link for more

Continue reading “Cry The Beloved Almost Visited Country”