Category Archives: Stupid Everything Tricks

The Gods Lift Those Who Lift Each Other

Two quick hits.

One: 

Oklahoma stands out for the velocity with which districts have turned to a shorter school week in the past several years, one of the most visible signs of a budget crisis that has also shuttered rural hospitals, led to overcrowded prisons and forced state troopers to abide by a 100-mile daily driving limit.

Democrats helped pass bipartisan income tax cuts from 2004 to 2008. Republicans — who have controlled the legislature since 2009 and governorship since 2011 — have cut income taxes further and also significantly lowered taxes on oil and gas production.

“The problems facing Oklahoma are our own doing. There’s not some outside force that is causing our schools not to be able to stay open,” said state Sen. John Sparks, the chamber’s top Democrat. “These are all the result of a bad public policy and a lack of public-sector investment.”

Two:

I’ve been thinking about the latter since first reading it, because it articulates so perfectly what we’ve lost in the last 60 years (lost, never forget, at the hands of racist rich men who found the GOP eager to provide a political “philosophy” to sell their hate and selfishness). We’ve lost not the idea of kindness but the ability to clearly articulate the benefits of community. Not that helping others is some abstract good for which we will be rewarded in heaven, but that it directly benefits us right now today.

White Male America didn’t succeed in the 1950s as a result of keeping black men and women down. White Male America succeeded because of public policies designed to enhance the lives of many. The GI Bill, robust and widespread public schooling, infrastructure improvements that started before WWII and affordable public college provided by land grant universities all lifted vastly more people than tax cuts ever would have. Wild amounts of government spending, union jobs, pensions, and honest-to-god public assistance without ponderous and intrusive means-testing bullshit, all provided a framework for everyone to succeed.

And then a bunch of people came along and said this can’t continue, because it’s starting to benefit black and brown people, and if they win you lose. If you talk about the collective good you’re a commie. If you want to be fairly paid you’re a feminazi. If you criticize foreign wars you’re an egghead elitist SJW coastal fifth columnist who loves terrorism and hates America. If you’re different in any way, you’re a threat.

Who did that? Who’s responsible? Who sold that line, and who bought it? We still can’t identify the perpetrators in public. We talk all day long about how “Washington” is “broken,” how “politics” is “broken.” We talk about “the age of Trump” like it’s a tornado that just descended from the clouds. Someone MADE US THIS WAY and made money from it, and we can’t even bring ourselves to name the force that did it.

If Democrats are going to articulate a policy that is about helping ourselves, instead of helping “others,” because of course they’re the same thing, then they need to get real about what they’re fighting and why. A return to New Deal/Great Society rhetoric isn’t going to cut it in the face of the GOP puke funnel. I don’t think the concept of pity is the main problem here.

A.

Oh, the Courage of the GOP

They’re going to finish this, one way or another, and then we’re gonna let them do it again.

Really, Nixon should have died in federal prison, and that should have been the end of that party.

Really, murdering Central American schoolchildren and nuns in order to fight an illegal proxy war should have resulted in the GOP being thrown on the trash fire of history.

Really, tens of thousands of dead Iraqis and Afghans and lies to the entire world about why, that should have caused decent people to turn away from the word “Republican” in disgust.

Really, turning the entire mechanism of federal government into a way to interfere in the Schaivo family’s tragedy should have been enough. Shutting down that same government to oppose health care for poor people, stealing a Supreme Court seat from the first black president, letting their surrogates call that same president illegitimate, promoting Sarah Palin as a real person, I could go on. Any one thing, in a sane world, should have been the end of it.

But we let them up off the mat. We said BUT HER EMAILS and UNLIKEABLE and WHITE WORKING CLASS OPPRESSION, and we said BOTH SIDES and SINCERELY HELD RELIGIOUS BELIEFS and we let them be a real party again.

They’re gonna get rid of Trump and it’ll be like it never happened. It’ll be amazing how much it never happened. People will say “Donald Trump” and it’ll be like us Internet grandparents saying “George W. Bush is not our lovable great-uncle, stop it” and “John Yoo should be in chains” and everybody’s all, “Why can’t you let any of that go, God.”

I mean, just look at this shit:

Like others in Congress, Comer would have a week at home on recess to reconnect with his voters. Typically, a recess is a time for town halls. But this time, most members were not holding any. Comer’s plan was different — to hold four over the next three days.

“The perfect storm,” one aide told him, even as Comer’s Twitter feed showed video clips of a few other members facing angry crowds and stumbling to explain themselves.

“Everybody is ducking for cover right now,” he told her. “Everybody’s had the same advice for me — cancel them.”

But he wasn’t going to.

Wow, he’s going to do basic constituent services. Oh, the bravery. Let’s anoint this fucking guy like he’s Shackleton at the Pole.

He cleared his throat and then started talking about the most controversial thing he had been involved with so far, his vote to repeal the ACA. He said the ACA had deepened the problems in Kentucky by opening up such wide access to Medicaid, the health-care program for low-income Americans. He said so many had signed up across the state that nearly 1 in 3 were now covered under that program — and receiving free coverage. Some of those people, he said, desperately needed that help. But many were feeding off the system.

I’m so glad we’re humanizing this racist piece of shit.

The second town hall was in a county where Trump had won 85 percent of the vote. This time, there were no protesters, and Comer went in through the front door of the courthouse. He was cheered when he walked up to the lectern, and when he said, like Trump, that he wanted to make America great again, he saw 75 people leaning in, listening, not ready to pounce.

So he told his favorite Trump story. Two months earlier, he had flown on Air Force One with the president on the way to a rally in Louisville, and hours later he was returning to Washington in the same plane — only this time, with an invitation to join Trump in his private office. “Yes sir,” Comer said he told the president, and there he sat for 1 ½ hours, across from Trump and right next to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as Trump talked about his plane and his election victory and his health-care plans. The plane landed at Joint Base Andrews, and Trump had another invitation for Comer: Did he want to take the Marine One helicopter back to the White House? Did he want to see the Oval Office?

“Why hello, poor constituents! Let me brag about how Trump let me near him to talk about the size of his electoral dick! Doesn’t that prove we’re all right to take your health care away? SHORE DOES!”

He looked out the window and started talking about the differences between being a politician in Kentucky and in Washington, of civilities and incivilities. “We used to ride together, go to O’Charley’s, go to LongHorn,” he said of the Democrats with whom he served in Frankfort, the state capital. “That never happens in D.C.”

I wonder why.

He rolled up to the last town hall, in Calhoun, population 763. He shook hands with some police officers and the county executive, and soon was standing in front of 75 people. “Trump won this district by 55 points,” he was saying, when a woman interrupted to say, “That’s very sad.”

I don’t know what’s sadder, that a Trump victory somehow proves he’s not a disaster as if terrible people never succeed in this country, or that this douche thinks it’s a defense of anything.

But hey, let’s keep pretending Trump is some kind of outlier, and the rest of the sensible Republican party — these people who talk about government handouts and “turning around” a country with 5 percent unemployment and (finally, some form of) universal health coverage just because it was led by a black guy — is just trying to sincerely gauge whether people still love Trump and, by extension, themselves.

Jesus H. Tits, we really don’t want to get better, do we?

A.

THIS is it, right? Finally? This is finally it?

Surely THIS is it, the thing that will make the GOP rise up against Trump: 

In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

OF COURSE THIS ISN’T IT. WHAT ARE YOU, NEW?

Several reasons why this — like bragging about sexual assault, threatening federal witnesses, ignoring the Emoluments Clause, and a hundred other things — will not be grounds for impeachment with a GOP Congress (or a cowed Dem one). Let’s start with the easiest: Republicans cannot find their ass with both hands, a searchlight, and a posse. They won in 2016 through a combination of luck and racism, they’ve been screaming for 40 years and don’t know how to do anything else, they are not organized around any principle besides HA HA FUCK YOU LIBTARDS, and so their response to Trump’s idiocy is therefore by necessity kind of “… dude, the hell?”

Also, the few who do have an ideology find that Trump’s idiocy does not imperil that ideology one bit. Paul Ryan can kick poor kids off health insurance and give himself a tax cut regardless of how many secrets Trump blurts over the buffet.

AND, I dunno if you’ve noticed, but national security is not actually their thing. When they’re not humping a stack of aircraft carrier contracts, Republicans in the recent past can be found burning covert operatives, ignoring intelligence briefings about imminent terrorist attacks, setting up secret torture prisons badly enough to have said secret torture prisons found out, and generally sticking our national dick in any bees’ nest they happen upon. They’re not going to suddenly start giving a shit about things like the lives of U.S. assets, not when it’s a GOP president endangering them.

Jesus Aloysius Tits, I can keep explaining it for the cheap seats but I can’t understand it for you: THE GOP IS NOT GOING TO SAVE US FROM THE MONSTER IT CREATED. Two or three senators are going to shake their heads on the Sunday shows and not do anything otherwise. I get that it is fun to continue to play Political Sims, where you are suddenly the Hero Who Bucks His Party and Rises Up to Save the Republic, but at this point it’s just embarrassing. Stop it.

Continually hoping for a GOP savior from this mess is not only futile. It actively disappears the people — primarily women, and people of color — who have NEVER bought into Trump’s bullshit, never voted for him, never helped get him elected, and are leading the damn resistance while everybody else is writing fanfic for major papers about how maybe THIS TIME instead of the other 497 times, this time the GOP will grow a spine.

A.

Avoidable Problems

She seems nice: 

Mulkey explained her comments in the postgame press conference, saying she was tired of hearing the scandal discussed on a national stage by people not involved in the investigation who “don’t know what they’re talking about.” She said the scandal is over and she would send her daughter to the private Christian university, claiming the “problems we have at Baylor are no different than the problems at any other school in America.”

THERE IS SUCH AN EASY WAY OUT OF THIS, guys.

I’m gonna tell you what it is.

I’m gonna tell you how to make sure your university, your school, your organization, your HOLY ROMAN CHURCH, your football team, your whatever can avoid the stigma of multiple accusations of rape and subsequent inept coverups. 

I’m gonna tell you how you can get around the horrible damage to your reputation and the very bad publicity and the unbelievably damaging effect of having people say mean things in the papers and on TV and maybe at the wing place when you’re just trying to have a beer. I’m gonna tell you how to finally be free of all that.

Here we go.

Don’t commit any rapes. Strive for the number of people you rape to be zero. Try really, really hard. No rapes. That’s the goal.

If you are in charge of things at a large organization such as a college, and your employees, your students, your players, your coaches, are raping and you find out about it, you in order: Call the police, shitcan and/or expel the rapists, and hold a press conference admitting to the two former actions and apologizing for having rapists near you.

If it seems like your entire program is just riddled with rape and rapists and there are too many of them to count, possibly take a break from footballing to figure out the raping part.

Refrain from acting like somebody writing a mean tweet about you is equivalent to rape. Don’t whine about how hard this all is for you, the accused rapist or enabler of rape. If you must, employ lawyers and PR people who understand when to talk and when to shut up.

You do these things, instead of doing what that lady up there did, and people will still hate you but they will hate you slightly less. Don’t compound your shitheaditude by being a shithead about having your shitheadedness exposed.

EASY. PEASY.

Christ.

A.

But They’ll Let Me Cut Taxes, Mom!

Republicans were always gonna be okay with it: 

In effect, congressional Republicans have sought to compartmentalize Mr. Trump’s presidency, adopting a cafeteria-style approach. They reach for the more appealing offerings, such as the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, and avert their gaze from less appetizing or, to some, downright indefensible elements (America is not so different from Vladimir V. Putin’s Russia), which would have surely drawn relentless rebukes if uttered by President Barack Obama.

Some lawmakers take comfort knowing that the president’s behavior last year didn’t hurt their campaigns, and they have used the electoral result as a justification unto itself, suggesting — as Mr. Trump has constantly — that his campaign success validates his approach.

“He’s a unique personality, to be sure,” acknowledged Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the Republican whip. “But he’s gotten this far the way he is, and I think that probably leads him to think, well, it’s working for him so far, so why change?”

And Republican lawmakers do not mind?

“As long as we’re able to get things done,” Mr. Cornyn said.

They were always gonna be fine with basically being in hock to the Russian mob.

They were always gonna be fine with unsecured e-mail, unhinged Twitter, incoherent interviews, babbling speeches, and lie after lie after lie after lie.

They were always gonna be fine with a cabinet run by Goldman Sachs and the oil industry.

They were gonna be fine with whatever they had to be fine with, because Donald Trump will let them cut taxes.

They were gonna be fine with whatever they had to be fine with, because Donald Trump will let them repeal Obamacare.

They were gonna be fine with whatever they had to be fine with, because Donald Trump will let them push their 20-week abortion bans and personhood laws, their birth control restrictions and defunding of mammograms for poor women.

Oh, sure, one or two of them might say something mean to a reporter or on Twitter, but none of them were actually going to hold a hearing, or vote against a cabinet nominee, or encourage others in their party to break ranks.

Why would they? He lets them get things done.

This was all obvious to anyone with half a brain who was doing anything like actually looking at what was happening during the Republican primaries, but we still had six months of stories about how surely, any minute now, the grown-ups in the GOP were going to take control back from this tangerine-tinted madman and restore order in the land.

Surely his cabinet would save us! Surely he would surround himself with smart people who would run things while he just, like, golfed or something. Surely he would jettison all the white supremacist rhetoric and govern as a moderate! The office will change and mature him! The party will keep him in line!

Those of us functionally awake during the Obama era, during the Sarah Palin’s Facebook Rules Our World era, during the Don’t You Want to Fuck George W. Bush era, during the Senator Saxby Chambliss era, during the Purple Heart Band-Aid era, said no way no how is any of this going to happen, because we are not idiots, and we know what the Republicans of the last 20 years are about.

They’re about cutting taxes, repealing Obamacare, gutting business regulations, slapping their foreign policy on the table, and punishing women for having sex. And they are willing to put up with anything they have to put up with in order to get that stuff done.

So spending time with them now asking REALLY? REALLY THIS IS OKAY WITH YOU? isn’t going to shame them into acting right, into filing articles of impeachment or invoking the 25th amendment or even written a sternly worded letter or two. I keep seeing these bewildered stories, like, “Isn’t there anything that would convince you your party’s president has gone off the rails?”

No. There’s nothing that would convince them of that. There’s nothing they are willing to do about it and there never was.

There’s something we can do, however.

We can remember that they’re like this. We can, for once in our ahistorical, nonsensical political lives, internalize and forever recall that the GOP has no loyalty to anything but the concept of itself, and the next time we’re offered a choice between one of them and another candidate, we can vote for their opponents.

A.

Let Me Make This Easy for You, Democrats

No.

Really? Still? We’re still doing this? It’s 2017. We’re fully more than a decade past the time when Democrats, eager to take the high road and do the right thing and be patriotic and put country before party, sucked George W. Bush’s strap-on and were rewarded for their decency by having the war hero they nominated for president derided as a commie faggot peace-freak appeaser. We jus spent eight years in which a Democratic president gave weekly speeches about nonexistent well-meaning Republicans who just disagreed on policy while they howled outside his windows burning him in effigy. And we’re still gonna do the right thing?

WHY?

I mean it, God, why? So rich fucks like Richard Blumenthal can look at themselves in the mirror and talk to their reflections about how they tried, or something? So they can feel good about themselves? So they can say they did the “right thing” as defined by some centrist think tank as its members hump the status quo like their lives depend on it? So they don’t ruffle any feathers on the half-plucked chicken we’ve placed in the executive branch? So that maybe next time they’ll get a freebie? How stupid are these people?

Let me explain this for everybody, the fucking club of the most of them, that just got here on the last bus out of Idiotville. Let me tell you what will happen if Democrats hold hearings and confirm this guy. Let’s imagine they do that, and somehow we all survive the next four years and come out alive, and it’s a Democratic president in that chair the next time. And maybe Ruth Bader Ginsberg or one of the other 400-year-old people decides to pack it in. Let me lay out for you what happens next.

In payment for Democrats being so nice and good, and voting to confirm this suit filled with cockroaches to the highest court in the land, Republicans will make the next Democratic nominee into the biggest screaming pinko terrorist butt-buddy to ever walk the earth. They will portray that person, most likely a semi-conservative career prosecutor or the like, as a grave threat to the Republic and come up with endless rationales for delaying and finally denying his or her confirmation, and after they do that they’ll take victory laps at CPAC so the frog-fuckers who vote for them can shower them with praise for saving the land.

That will be your reward, Democrats, for “doing the right thing” by Republicans. Would that any of you were half as interested in doing the right thing by your constituents, or by America. Would that you felt as strongly about doing the right thing for us. Would that that kept you up at night.

Schmucks.

A.

What Are You Looking At?

I cannot tell you how exhausted I am of the Democratic Party pretending there’s only one race that matters: 

Still, the party’s expectations about Clinton demonstrated just how bad parties are at analyzing what they need to fix to win. Next year, while it is not what they boast about, Democrats are expecting mistakes by Trump — the most unpopular incoming president in decades — to create opportunities for them. Their debate about winning a new majority is not about a savior from red America, or even a change in policy. It is about better organizing, and how to win back voters who were Democrats until the party was branded as neoliberal and pro-trade.

 

Democrats can’t just organize at the national level and run for president and lose every House and Senate seat and every state house and expect those losses not to eventually bite them in the ass at the national level too. Let the blue states become seething roiling pits of anti-everything sentiment, from Scott Walker’s rageaholic anti-education Wisconsin to Bruce Rauner’s union-bashing Illinois, and those feelings reach a critical mass.

If every voice from every leader is an authoritarian Republican one, how do you expect them to listen to what Democrats are saying? Where are they supposed to read your 5-point plan? Twitter?

When we look at the future, what are we looking at? National numbers on Trump’s unpopularity? If that shit mattered John Kerry would be opening his presidential library and Hillary would be having Bill measure the Oval for new curtains. State numbers are all that matters, and maybe this more than anything: How far down the Republican rabbit hole have the state legislature and the house races gone?

If those have all been won by tea-freak bigots, I don’t care what it did in the last election, that’s not a blue state.

What are we expecting otherwise? “Well, on a local level I approve of drug testing for welfare and repealing worker protections and gutting public schools and bashing professors and throwing the entire economy into a tailspin so I can regulate where transgender people pee, but nationally? I’m all for fairness, sharing, kindness, gay people, single mothers and the idea of a representative democracy!”

Forget a 50-State Strategy. We need a 50-State Legislature Strategy.

A.

It Hurts to Take the Story Apart. Do It Anyway.

There’s a story we’ve been telling ourselves for a long time now, about how democracy works, about how it has to work in order for us all to get up in the morning. It involves how campaigns operate, how elections take place, how power is handed from one person to another and what is done with that power and to whom.

The story’s called America. It’s a few years old now. Maybe you’ve heard it: We are free, and we choose who leads us, and we have chance after chance to make things better. We’re in charge, you and me, for good and ill and sometimes both together.

It’s always been partly fiction. In our finest hours it’s always been a little frayed. But we’ve been able to tell ourselves the story while it’s still more knit than mend.

Can we do that right now?

The Russian state took an interest in our elections and tried to influence them. To what extent, with what effect, and for what purpose, those in power know and aren’t saying.

And over the past couple of days during discussion of that, and discussion of the popular vote imbalance, and discussion of voter suppression in formerly swing states, I’ve been hearing lots of variations on IT’S TOO HARD AND OMG MEEN. That political blowback would be intense for anyone who said hey, hold on, let’s figure this shit out. That we don’t have time between now and the inauguration (I guess there are too many Christmas parties?) and can’t we just put our heads down and power through this?

The vast majority of the GOP, of course, is hedging its bets as they have been since the primaries ended. Maybe this will all die down and they can get back to gutting the social safety net which is what they’re really here for. Maybe Donald Trump will just fuck up normally, like Dan Quayle or something, accidentally hit on a few prime ministers’ wives, do some blow in the Oval, and leave the hard work to them. That was their overarching rationale for endorsing his skeezy ass and they are desperately clinging to it.

It’s gross, of course, like a 15-year-old who still wants to bring his blankie to school, but we always underestimate how attached people are to their security objects.

But Obama and the Democrats? The purported grownups in the GOP in Congress and statehouses who either actively avoided mentioning Trump or flat-out said he was garbage? Those people? I don’t want to hear from THEM how difficult it is to take the story of America apart and put it back together again.

I don’t want to hear about concerns that they’d be perceived as helping Hillary, or that TV commentators would say things in that deep concerned voice they affect, or that frogs would yell shit online. THOSE AREN’T REAL CONSEQUENCES for people who are elected to do a job.

They aren’t elected to serve just to rename official state animals and pass continuing resolutions to hold up how much everything sucks right now. They are elected to fix what is broken even if that something is EVERYTHING.

Things have been breaking down for a while now. Redistricting to weight state legislatures overwhelmingly against Democrats and third parties, ballot initiatives designed to turn out opponents of one candidate or another, tax caps and institutional neglect and voting restrictions, and all of it leading to a campaign in which one candidate won the popular vote by 2.6 million and the other candidate — a racist sex predator — is president.

Things have been breaking down and politicians have been desperately pretending they are okay because, frankly, taking all this apart is hard. It takes time. It takes study and most of all it takes attention we don’t have because the decent public servants are trying to keep their constituents out of hock to the mob.

Which is a deliberate thing also, in case we didn’t have enough to deal with. I get ragey when modern American voters are described as being distracted by TV and video games; the club of the most of us is distracted by the trivial need to EAT, and I can’t imagine the calls district offices get asking for help with the few social programs we have left.

Still. Still and all. There have to be things big enough that we make room for them. The question of foreign interference in an election has got to be one of those things.

Winter breaks can be cancelled. Everybody can work late. We can stop talking about Twitter and we can take out a yellow legal pad and a box of black pens and a box of red pens and we can figure out how to investigate this and, if necessary, prosecute it. It’s not false and it’s not trivial and it’s certainly not too much for us.

We’ve built bigger than this. We can tear this down. We can take this story apart and figure out which parts are true and which are false.

Sack up, hos. Get to work.

A.

Love at First Spite or, An Offer to Trump Supporters in the Spirit of the Season

In the spirit of the holidays, I have a proposition for our Trump-supporting friends.

Go ahead.

Say it.

Say, “Fuck you.” Say it to my face.

Say it to my liberal, city-dwelling, higher-educated, Democratic-Party-voting, Starbucks-swilling, Whole-Foods-shopping, Heather-Has-Two-Mommies-reading face.

Say it morning, noon and night.

Say it as often as you want. As loud as you want. Say it in front of my husband, my daughter, and all my friends. Say it over and over and over again.

Get it out of your system. So that the rest of us can GO BACK TO WORK.

That’s my present. That’s my gift to you, Trump supporters. That’s my extension of empathy and generosity and understanding, based on everything I’ve heard and everything I’ve read about you since the election.

You see, I understand you have been left behind by the economy. I understand you have been struggling for a while, even before the dot-com boom and bust, before the 2008 crash, before the anemic “recovery” that didn’t help you recover from anything.

But I understand something else, too.

The very smart Kathy Cramer, who I’m proud to have briefly shared an office with at one time, explained it for people who, unlike me, didn’t grow up next door to you: 

Racism is certainly a part of the story when these people make calculations about deservingness and who is or is not working hard. People would talk about opposing social programs because the recipients were lazy and not hardworking like themselves; those were often dog-whistle racist claims. But, at times, they were also talking about the laziness of desk-job white professionals like me.

So racism is a part of this resentment, but we are failing to fully understand these perspectives when we assume that racism is more fundamental than calculations of injustice. The two elements are intertwined. The way these folks described the world to me, their basic concern was that people like them, in places like theirs, were overlooked and disrespected. They were doing what they perceived good Americans ought to do to have the good life. And the good life seemed to be passing them by.

It’s worth noticing that Trump’s appeal to these folks is not about facts or particular policies. It is instead the act of delivering a message that resoundingly resonates with the perspective of someone identifying proudly as a resident of a type of place that the dominant urban society does not care about or respect.

I can’t do much about the location of the state capitals or the legislative schedule. I can’t make people’s representatives listen to them or interact with them, nor can I make people show up to the community meetings their reps might have. I can’t make anyone feel more comfortable in his or her skin any more than I can give anybody a job right now.

But maybe I can do something about the deep, abiding, burning need to tell someone who exemplifies what you hate to go straight to hell.

You want to prove you’re an underdog who tells the libtards who don’t respect you to go straight to hell, people?

You want to give the middle finger to everything that bugs you, including Happy Holidays at Macy’s, someone speaking Spanish on her cell phone at the restaurant, an ethnic scholarship at your high school, a gay storyline in your favorite police procedural?

Do it.

Make that stupid Hillary “KFC” joke ten times. Tell me the story about Michelle Obama putting crack pipes on the Christmas tree at the White House. Talk about how Bill Clinton is the biggest sex offender the world has ever known. Offer your opinion that “we” have “banned” God from “the schools.”

Ooh, call me a babykiller. That one never gets old.

Send me a hundred memes just like this one:

trumpsantajesus

I’ll post them on my Facebook timeline. I’ll nod and agree with anything you say. I’ll feel very, very bad about myself and everything I stand for. I may even cry, if that’s what it takes.

 

I am more than willing to take one for the team.

If.

IF.

In exchange, you vote for health insurance for your sick neighbors. You expand Medicaid for your state’s poorest residents. You don’t fight about food stamps and subsidized housing, in fact, you support them.

In exchange, you vote for punishment for companies that poison your water. You support jury awards of damages for corporations convicted of harm to the environment and the people who live in it.

In exchange, you vote for lowering the Social Security retirement age. You vote for increased funding for public education. You vote for restoring the Voting Rights Act and you vote for expanding it to every state in the union: No one gets to fuck with anyone’s vote without review or check.

You vote for honest-to-God campaign finance reform, and consideration of judicial appointees in a timely manner so that the fucking courts can do their job.

You vote for all that shit, and you can tell me to my face that I’m a lazy liberal who doesn’t understand the real world, and I will agree with you.

You make your life better, you make my life better, you make our country better, and you GET WHAT YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING, which is to say fuck you.

I mean it. I’m sick of people I love suffering because you want to make a statement. Because you want to have feelings about your place in the world. Because deep down you get mad and sad that you are not being given a parade for showing up every day. Because you resent.

I’m offering you a way out. Go ahead.

Take it.

A.

 

You’re Not a News Organization

Everyone involved with this story needs a goddamn nap: 

Bush never told NBC News brass about the tape when he joined “Today,” and they’re not happy about it. “Billy was bragging about the tape to other NBC staff while in Rio. If he knew about the tape, and remembered the full extent of such an explosive conversation with a presidential candidate and didn’t disclose that to NBC News, that is a very, very serious problem,” the insider said, adding it could violate the “morality clause” in his contract.

Look. If you work at a news organization, which the Today Show likes to pretend it is when trying to get interviews with actual important people as opposed to the latest celebrity chef, then you don’t get to ignore news you hear. You don’t get to sit on it anymore than a reporter at the Washington Post would. Donald Trump is RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, you really expect us to believe that nobody thought his being a serial molester was relevant?

Everything on that tape was gross but hearing that supposed journalists, people who like to jaw on about how their job is to inform the public, thought hey, let’s just NOT, okay, is the grossest. Trump was being himself. NBC? They were supposed to be better than that.

I don’t want to hear anymore about the sacred guardians of our democracy and how they’re being undermined by the Internet. I really don’t. If you can’t do the simplest thing right, and in this case the simplest thing would be reporting that immediately, then sit your ass down and think about your life.

A.

ps. Speaking of guarding our democracy? Want to help us keep calling bullshit on, you know, bullshit? Click here to donate to First Draft’s fund drive! 

Why Don’t Poor People Just Buy Houses in Nicer Neighborhoods?

Because they aren’t allowed to. It would drag down the property values all over the place: 

Village of Hartland — Village officials and residents on Monday squared off in a heated exchange during a plan commission meeting over a proposed housing development on the east side of the village.

A plan by Habitat for Humanity of Waukesha County would put 15 homes on 3.2 acres at 1270 E. Capitol Drive. Residents said such a densely populated development would lower their property values and could bring crime to the area.

The commission only reviewed the conceptual plan for the development and did not vote on it.

“What bothers me most about the proposal is the density and the risk that it’s going to give to my property value,” said Diana Benben, who lives two doors east of the proposed development.

The development would be placed on the lot of the former Slugger’s bar, which has been torn down, and the house west of the bar lot. The future of the house isn’t clear, and may be torn down to make room for the development. The property is not hooked up to the village’s sewer and water system, and that work will cost the developer between $400,000 and $500,000.

The homes would cost between $150,000 and $225,000 and will range from 900 to 1,800 square feet, according to a conceptual plan sent to the village by the consulting firm Lynch & Associates of New Berlin.

This is an argument I used to hear all the time when I covered suburban land use issues, and still hear all the time whenever somebody brings up shitty public schools, or food deserts, or crime in historically black neighborhoods. Why don’t they just move?

Well, because after you smuggies lit out for the exurbs you pulled up the bridge after you and now nobody can afford to “just” move.

Just move. Fuck’s sake. Like you won’t show up at the village hall and bitch about apartments having “unattended juveniles” at them or frickin’ Habitat for Humanity homes bringing down “your” property values by being merely $225,000, like a slum or something.

But you don’t hate poor people. You just oppose anything and everything that might actually help them in any practical way. That’s all.

A.

 

‘he had a football season to worry about’

Of course he did: 

A man claims he told Joe Paterno and his assistant coaches the day after Jerry Sandusky allegedly molested him in a shower at a 1976 football camp, but Paterno brushed him off, saying he had a football season to worry about, according to newly unsealed court records.

“I was shocked, disappointed, offended. I was insulted,” the man, who was 14 at the time. told lawyers for Pennsylvania State University’s insurer in a deposition two years ago. “I was embarrassed.”

The man later became one of dozens of Sandusky accusers paid millions by Pennsylvania State University. His testimony was released as part of a trove of records unsealed in an ongoing legal fight with its insurer over who should cover the costs of the millions of dollars Penn State has paid to end claims tied to Sandusky.

Let’s put this guy’s statue back up. Fucking hell.

Not that the rest of Penn State’s leadership is exactly covering itself in glory:

In May, Penn State President Eric Barron said in a statement that the university never found evidence to substantiate claims suggesting Paterno and his staff had long ago been aware of or ignored Sandusky’s abuse, or that any of them had been raised during the accusers’ settlement negotiations with the university.

“None of these allegations about the supposed knowledge of university employees has been substantiated in a court of law or in any other process to test their veracity,” he said.

STOP IT. Just stop. Just stop defending yourself. There were 30 accusers. Everybody knew, and nobody wanted to do anything to disrupt the status quo, and it was disgusting, and you hid it on purpose, and just fucking stop. Stop trying to equivocate. It’s gross. It’s also counterproductive but mostly it’s gross.

I’m going to give you some free PR advice, Penn State. It’s a paragraph you could probably pay six lawyers $300,000 to draft for you, but I’m giving it to you gratis because somewhere in the janitorial department or something you have some decent people working for you and they deserve better than your mealy-mouthed corporate crap. Here we go.

Whenever a new allegation, a new document, new information about how much CHILD RAPE you covered up and enabled comes out, you say this and only this:

“We made terrible mistakes, at every level of university leadership. We are sorry to the depths of our souls. We will never, ever allow this to happen again.”

And in answer to every question about what you knew and when you knew it, about why you didn’t say anything, about why when you said something it was lies and bullshit, blah blah blah blah insurance culpability negligence criminal liability veracity testing blah blah blah SHUT THE FUCK UP. None of that matters. You pay what you have to pay, every last dime, even if it closes your doors. You do the time you have coming to you because oh boy, do you have it coming. And you say nothing but I am sorry, full stop. That’s all anybody wants to hear from those who, when faced with the chance to aid the powerless, protected the powerful.

They don’t want to hear about your reputation and about courts of law and rules of evidence and the weight of substantiations and your precious almighty reputation and they don’t want to hear that there are a lot of good people working there who didn’t rape children or protect child rapists because child rape is one of those things, guys, that kind of outweighs that you had a really bitchin’ backfield one itme.

Probably nobody wants to hear “I’m sorry” either. Let’s be honest. But at least if you’re apologizing, you’re not making it worse.

Schmucks.

A.

JUST SHUT UP FOREVER AND DON’T VOTE THEN

This election is NOT ABOUT YOU: 

Not everyone at Mr. Sanders’s rallies is dreading a Trump victory, however.

Victor Vizcarra, 48, of Los Angeles, said he would much prefer Mr. Trump to Mrs. Clinton. Though he said he disagreed with some of Mr. Trump’s policies, he added that he had watched “The Apprentice” and expected that a Trump presidency would be more exciting than a “boring” Clinton administration.

“A dark side of me wants to see what happens if Trump is in,” said Mr. Vizcarra, who works in information technology. “There is going to be some kind of change, and even if it’s like a Nazi-type change, people are so drama-filled. They want to see stuff like that happen. It’s like reality TV. You don’t want to just see everybody be happy with each other. You want to see someone fighting somebody.”

Jackie Becerra, 28, an executive assistant who lives in Lake Forest, also said she was leaning toward voting for Mr. Trump if Mr. Sanders was not the Democratic nominee. She said that she doubted Mr. Trump would keep his promise to build a wall along the border with Mexico, and that, even though his proposal to bar foreign Muslims from entering the United States made her “nervous,” she did not believe he could stop people from coming into the country based on their religion.

“Everyone is like: ‘Trump has these terrible social issues. He hates Muslims and he hates the L.G.B.T. community,’ ” she said. “But our world is big enough that he’s not actually going to implement any of those changes in a realistic way. But what he will do is potentially audit the federal government, and he will try to break up some of the banks and try to at least influence government that way. However, with Hillary, it will just be a complacent, run-of-the-middle-of-the-road presidency.”

I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS FOR THESE PEOPLE FOR STARTERS would you be willing to say, “I would like to see women denied necessary health care so that I can be amused?” Like, with a straight face, would you say that to a woman carrying a dying baby? Donald Trump, in addition to being hella funny on the campaign trail, thinks she ought to be punished somehow for her nonviable pregnancy, so she’s your target audience for this question.

Would you tell an immigrant family or a Muslim family, “I’m willing to take the chance that you might be deported or denied legal entry into the United States, so that I won’t be bored at all in the next eight years?” Would you tell it to their kids? I can translate it into Arabic, if you like. If that would make it easier.

Would you tell a father who’s getting food stamps because the minimum wage won’t buy both milk and diapers, “Yeah, I know it’s nice to have reasonable assurances that your baby is gonna eat today but I just want to see what color Trump would paint the Roosevelt Room.” After which of his two jobs do you think it would be best to approach him with your views?

These are tough questions. Take a minute. Here’s some paper and a No. Fucking 2 pencil in case you need to show your work.

You’d better come prepared to show your fucking work, you fucking clowns.

And I know, okay, #notallSandersvoters. This isn’t about the callow youth or even the callow rich. I’ve heard much of the same from middle-class people who say they are “independent” because they don’t really have politics beyond what they’ve picked up from the Today show and they can’t defend a single argument. I’ve heard this from lots of Republicans: Yeah, Trump’s a moral monster whose every third utterance makes me want to drink turpentine but at least it won’t be DULL, DUDE.

Ha ha ha, so funny.

The reason this has been the worst election, the most stressful election, the most infuriating election I can remember isn’t that the Republican nominee is a garbage disaster. It’s not that he’s supported by white supremacists or that he stirs up religious bigotry or that his followers assault protesters and the homeless. It’s not even that he’s opened up America’s racist septic tank and let us all take a nice, deep whiff.

The reason this election has been such a reeking, rotten clusterfuck is that far too many of the people who are supposed to be taking this shit seriously are apparently unable to conceive of any reason to even HAVE a presidential election except to give them something to watch.

They’re unable to imagine, for example, their FOOD or their SHELTER depending on the outcome of a presidential election. They’re unable to conceive that their health care might be vetted by some crucifix-humping jackass who doesn’t even know how pregnancy works.

So they shit on protesters and they disregard everyone on the internet yelling LISTEN UP DIPSHITS and they act like the only consequence to the country from a Trump presidency would be the EMBARRASSMENT they would suffer. Like we can get to how you’re telling everybody in St. Tropez that you’re bummed to be American once we finish worrying about how people might actually starve.

So if you’re one of these people, who’s been saying all over the Internets that hey, at least Trump’s inauguration will be like a TOTAL TITTY FEST, try to imagine saying that to somebody whose life is at stake. Because somebody’s is. Lots of somebodies.

Schmucks.

A.

Maybe Detroit’s Teachers Could Sell Some Bling

Then they could afford to work! 

“There’s a basic agreement in America: When you put in a day’s work, you’ll receive a day’s pay. DPS is breaking that deal,” Ivy Bailey, the union’s interim president, said in a statement. “Teachers want to be in the classroom giving children a chance to learn and reach their potential. Unfortunately, by refusing to guarantee that we will be paid for our work, DPS is effectively locking our members out of the classrooms.”

Teachers rallied at the school system’s headquarters Detroit on Monday morning to “protest the news that Detroit educators will not be paid for their work,” according to a news release.

On Monday evening, the union indicated that the sickout would extend for a second day on Tuesday. “We do not work for free and therefore we do not expect you to report to school tomorrow,” Bailey wrote to members.

The school system has a $515 million operating debt and a total debt that exceeds $3 billion.

Or roughly what GE avoids in taxes every year. 

I do not know what to do with a country where this is acceptable. Where we can have schools that are quite literally moldy, and everybody involved should have just made different choices. From the entirely predictable garbage comments:

They need to eliminate paying teachers yearly and just pay them for the school year. If someone can’t manage to budget for the summer months, that’s their problem.

charlie

Look, the majority of my offline work is contract freelance. I don’t love paying taxes. In fact, I frickin’ hate it. But I like having good schools and lots of cops around and mostly clean streets and a park district with a zillion programs and OH YEAH IT’S NICE TO HAVE ROADS AND SHIT TOO. And a library. I really dig the library.

So I grit my teeth and close my eyes and write the checks, and the return I get is what I’ve paid for because that’s how this country is supposed to work. Not TOO BAD SO SAD DUMB TEACHERS HURR DURR and acting like determining who took six cents from the till fixes the structure of the American economy.

They elected the politicians and school board that ran off with the money. NOW they complain? Kick ’em all to the curb – spend their pension money on new gym equipment and hope for better next time.

michelleyeroll2

A.

On Fighting For Those Who Fight Against You

Charlie: 

Before beginning, and in fairness to the good people of Menomonie, Wisconsin, whose voting record we examined earlier Tuesday afternoon, let us remember that Texas is the home office for climate denialists among our elected representatives.

It begins at the top with Tailgunner Ted Cruz, who’s been spouting the stupid on this subject heavily for the last few weeks. It runs down through Governor Greg Abbott and indicted attorney general Ken Paxton. And it runs deeply through the Texas congressional delegation, which includes some leading intellectual giants like Lamar Smith and Louie Gohmert, although, to be fair to those other worthies, Gohmert doesn’t know much about anything, so it’s almost unfair to include him here.

I mention this only because Houston is about to turn into a really bad Kevin Costner film and the climate crisis is one of the main reasons why.

And so fucking what? Look, this Vox piece was a load of false-equivalence crap, so stop acting it out by yelling I Told You So before people are even dried off. The people who already believe you don’t need the reminder and the people who don’t aren’t reading you anyway.

These are pretty typical comments when it comes to federal aid for Houston and its environs: 

Can we please ask the Federal Government – in the form of one specific person, teh Communist Muslim Overlord – to say yes to Texas …. as long as they ask on the White House lawn in front of the full array of tv cameras and it must run as the head story on a certain ‘news’ program?

Just for once can we rub their noses in it?


Wait, can’t you just shoot the flood with your concealed handgun?


Karma. It’s a bitch.


Ideally, authorizations for these monies should be at the periodic discretion of the President, as chief executive, as to whether it is needed.

The next election will be held Tuesday 8 Nov 2016. Said authorisations should be arranged so they ALL go up to the President Nov 9 or 10. And those places plumping for Republicans (the Party of Small Government) should get all aid cut until 20 Jan 2017, when the new President can do as he or she wants.

I get it.

America is hard to love right now.

Three out of every ten of us who vote are going to vote for Donald Trump. Four of every ten of us haven’t quite cottoned to the idea of women or gay people being citizens under the law, and people are spending lots of time figuring out how to assure themselves that they are in charge of where men and women go to the bathroom. Like, lots of time. The space race took up fewer mental meters than this bathroom crap does.

Thanks to the Internet, we now see that our racist uncle is everybody’s racist uncle, and thanks to news organizations thinking they are just Internets and have to tell us what our racist uncle thinks, too, we hear so much hate all day long. That Vox trash fire wasn’t wrong about the ease of seeing loathing. We see every dumbass meme about Obama killing jobs by forcing people to buy different light bulbs and we see the comments applauding those dumbass memes. What of the news we’re forced to watch in doctors’ offices or wherever is pretty stupid. It’s like the point in your family Christmas party where everybody’s drunk is always going on.

Hard to love that. So, so hard.

GRIT YOUR DAMN TEETH, AND DO IT ANYWAY.

Because: What is the alternative?

I guess we could stop voting. I guess we could stop calling and writing and working and campaigning. I guess we could pretend we know who everybody in Houston voted for, or maybe check their records, before we tow their cars out of the floodwaters. I guess we could repeal Obamacare for the red states, because to hell with those people anyway, right? I guess we could withdraw all federal services from states whose governors seem to hate the federal government, and teach those people a lesson.

I guess at a certain point we could give up even thinking about this crap, and watch TV. It’s been a rough, punishing 6 months and all I do is work. I would like to watch TV.

It’s Sunday morning. Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you.

Moreover: Do good to those who persecute themselves, for no damn good reason other than screw some imagined minority somewhere, or they can’t be bothered to find out that the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing, or they don’t see a point to voting because THE SYSTEM MAN, or they are just stone-ass dumb and mad. Do good to those who persecute you unless they tell you to go away was not part of the deal.

You want to tell me that a sick baby born in Alabama tomorrow to a couple of poor 15-year-olds bears any responsibility for the state’s shitbag governor? I want that baby to live and be fed and be happy and that baby dying sick and poor does absolutely nothing to change who holds the House of Representatives.

You know what would? Some actual goddamn Democratic money being put into every single legislative district race where Republicans run unopposed year after year after year. Yeah, probably futile and why bother. Because the sick baby, that’s why.

Does America deserve America’s help right now? Probably not. We are a shithead country at the moment. We are full of jerks. But that doesn’t get better if two thirds of us shake our heads and go home because we’re tired. I have news for us all: Not working doesn’t make us any less tired. It just makes us tired, and powerless.

What’s in front of us? A presidential election in which our choices are almost certainly a fairly conservative mainstream politician and ONE OF TWO COMPLETE LUNATICS. In the meantime there will be fires and floods and disasters natural and unnatural, and sick babies and poor kids who need food, and we are not asking how anybody voted before we address any of that. America is hard to love right now.

What’s the alternative?

A.

 

The Fog Of Historical Pictures: Street Theatre Edition

The goofy money tossing demonstration outside the George Clooney fundraiser evoked memories of Occupy Wall Street for many people. I cast my eye back farther to the Sixties when the Yippies used street theatre as a form of protest. They even burned money and flung it about at the New York Stock Exchange. I wasn’t able to find any images of that but here’s a medley of Yippie performance art:

yippies_blackmask

They staged an even more douchetastic protest at Disneyland. It was over their dress code. I am not making this up:

8_6_70_Yippies

Disneyland, August 6, 1970.

The moral of this story for Dudebro protesters is this: do NOT emulate the Yippies. They were wankers who accomplished nothing except for getting on the electric teevee machine.

NYT: Pedophilia & One-Night Romps are Equally Sexy Hijinks!

In a review titled, no kidding, “John Colapinto Revives the Male-Centric Literary Sex Novel,” we get this gem of a passage: 

There was a time when the great American male novelists took delight in writing about sex. Rebelling against a literary tradition that perhaps underestimated how much space animal urges take up in the male brain, many big hitters of the 20th century, like Norman Mailer, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, Philip Roth, John Updike and Saul Bellow, dived into the muck with the zeal of Rabelais or Cleland.

Sex was freedom, sex was adventure, sex was a good time, sex was pain, sex was life. Masturbation, threesomes, pedophilia, extramarital flings, one-night romps: It was all up for grabs, and how they grabbed it.

Yeppers. Sex was a good time. Especially all that child rape. Raping children was just like masturbation or threesomes or “extramarital flings.” It was LIFE, I tell you. What the SHIT?

The entire story is a shitshow, its premise that modern men are pussified and afraid to write about the boldness of their wanting girls half their ages, unlike those Real Mayunns of old. Who has ruined these men and their strong, hard, turgid writing? Feminists, of course:

Katie Roiphe lamented the inability of male novelists to reckon with lust in a 2009 essay in The New York Times, and not much has changed in the years since. For the crew of writers that includes Dave Eggers, Benjamin Kunkel and Jonathan Safran Foer, she wrote, “Innocence is more fashionable than virility, the cuddle preferable to sex.”

Publishers of literary fiction, perhaps afraid to alienate their biggest customers — women, whoread more than men — aren’t exactly rushing to release the next male-written sexually provocative novel.

Because there is apparently not an entire entertainment industry predicated on young hotties wanting to hook up with the schlubbiest guy in the room. That’s not a thing that happens, that May-December of Next Year romance in which the elderly dude thinks with his peen. There are no movies about it.

Colapinto’s publisher offers this stirring defense of his author’s literary merit:

“If we’re on trial, no decency laws have yet been broken,” said Dan Smetanka, the acquiring editor at Soft Skull.

EXCELLENT NEWS, FUCKSTICK! But I’m still stuck on “pedophilia” being one of the many fun sex things that has fallen out of favor because of “modern times” and “not wanting to wind up in prison” and other such killjoys:

Books and their authors are products of their time. One wonders if any sexually frank novel published today could rattle the culture in the way that “Portnoy’s Complaint” did back when books could go further than movies. At the same time, playing the role of a middle-aged male sexual provocateur in an era of safe spaces and trigger warnings is a risky proposition.

Safe spaces. Such as those inhabited by children who need to be “trigger warned” and also NOT RAPED. Such a damn buzzkill, you guys. It’s a wonder anybody manages to write anything at all anymore.

via Jacob.

A.

It Can’t Be Said Often Enough: Trump Was Not a Surprise

Not if you’d been paying attention in any way: 

A 2006 report by the Institute for Policy Studies found that, in 2005, CEOs of the largest U.S. private defense contractors continued to profit from the ongoing wars.

Defense CEO pay was 44 times that of a military general with 20 years of experience and 308 times that of an Army private in 2005. Generals made $174,452 and Army privates made $25,085, while average defense CEO pay was $7.7 million.

In contrast to wealthy individuals who became even wealthier, those who were sent to do the actual fighting comprised disproportionately high numbers of working class Americans. In the combined efforts of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom, almost 7,000 U.S. soldiers have died. More than 970,000 veteran disability claims have been registered with the Veterans Administration.

Returning soldiers face higher unemployment rates than their civilian counterparts, particularly among male veterans age 21 to 24. Between 2009 and 2012, the youngest veterans had an unemployment rate of 21.6 percent, compared to 13.5 percent for civilians.

Veterans struggle to find proper healthcare in a system ill-prepared for the number of wounded, particularly those with catastrophic injuries and mental health issues that require long-term care. Private nonprofit organizations have been picking up the slack left by inadequate funding in the federal budget.

Like their ancestors who fought in and survived the Civil War, today’s soldiers return to find their situations either the same, or much worse, than when they left. Who would blame them for being angry? As soldiers go off to war we say, “God bless our troops.” Maybe we should add, “God help them when they come home.”

It reminds me of when 9/11 happened and there was a sea of stories about “why they hate us” and other stuff, like, how dare those illogical people blame America for the fact that their kids are killed by bombs we sold to their enemies, what crazy talk. To profess surprise at Donald Trump’s message taking hold is to admit you were asleep the entire last half of the last century and the entirety so far of this one.

And the veteran piece is a critical one because for a lot of people, including a lot of people I know, service was the fastest and most reliable way out of a dead-end situation. So they join up to escape poverty, and then get plunged right back into poverty when they get home, only now they’re minus a leg and need medication the VA can’t give them for three months. You’ve taken what is already a monstrous situation — go to war so your family can eat, kids! — and made the best case scenario end of it (that you come home alive) a horror show.

I don’t blame anybody at a Trump rally one bit for being pissed the government doesn’t listen to them. Because you know what? It doesn’t.

A.

Science Babies FTW or, Why Chrissy Tiegen’s Critics Can Suck It

I swear, we hate no one in the world like we hate female celebrities. The amount of bile spewed at Kim Kardashian, Taylor Swift and now Chrissy Tiegen would, if properly directed towards Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney, solve nearly all our country’s moral crises.

What did model and actress Tiegen, who happens to be infertile and public about it, do? She chose to have a female embryo implanted in her uterus during an IVF cycle. People are fucking idiots, no thanks to the morning Mommy talk shows, and accused her of “designing” her baby and personally murdering all children available for adoption and being a dumb whore and all kinds of stupid things.

Is this a good idea?

You can find opinions across the spectrum.

Some people believe that using gender selection non-medically is the wrong use of medical and health care resources. Critics worry about the potential gender bias in selecting one sex over the other.

Others believe this is a personal decision that parents should be allowed to make.

Of course they don’t understand how human reproduction and IVF work. Doctors often perform tests on embryos prior to “transfer,” meaning placing them in the mother’s uterus. Those tests will tell parents if an embryo is male or female, among many other things, like if the embryo has certain conditions or genetic disorders that would make life impossible for the little critter.

We conceived Kick through IVF but didn’t do those pre-transfer tests, mostly because our insurance didn’t cover them and they’re thousands of dollars. If we had done the tests, and had known that we had both male and  female embryos, we would have had to choose which ones to transfer first. You have to pick if you have a certain number of embryos; Octomom notwithstanding, you can’t just fling everything you have at the uterine wall in the hopes that something quite literally sticks. Our doctor would have asked us what we wanted to do.

There’s nothing Mad Scientist-y about it; nobody’s splicing genes in an underground lab to create alien hybrids. I know it’s fun to think about that because it allows you to be a bitchy scold to women who can’t get pregnant and thus are going through something you can’t possibly understand. I know it’s fun to shudder about “designer babies” and imagine women, especially pretty and famous young women like Tiegen, as flighty creatures who are just all DOO DAH DOO DAH THINK I’LL HAVE A BLUE EYED ONE. I know it’s hard to take women seriously about their own reproductive choices, but I’m gonna have to ask you to put your shoulders into it and consider some things.

  1. You’re being an asshole. “But she’s a public figure!” I don’t care if she puts on swimsuits for money. I don’t care if she killed Kennedy. If you’re being a dick to her, you’re being a dick. You are responsible only for you.
  2. “Just adopt” is not only trivializing to people who don’t adopt for various reasons. It’s also trivializing and dismissive of those who DO choose to adopt, who work hard to go that route and aren’t “just” doing anything. Don’t use courageous and admirable adoptive parents just to denigrate someone else.
  3. Also what are you expecting people to say when you say, “Just adopt!” HOLY SHIT I FORGOT YOU CAN ADOPT KIDS I’LL JUST RUN DOWN TO THE STORE THEN AND GET ONE THANK YOU FOR THIS SECRET INFORMATION. Again, this is about respecting families, so do them the credit of assuming they’ve considered their options and are picking the best one for them. Assume women are rational and smart. I know it’s tough, but stretch those muscles.
  4. If you support women’s reproductive freedom then you support it, full stop. Even the Duggars. Even Octomom (God, remember that collective cable-news freakout? What a fucking waste of our time). If you support women making their own choices, then you don’t get to bitch about this stuff.

To her credit, Tiegen told everyone on her case to get off it and refused to let them make her all shy and apologetic about her baby.

Damn right.

A.

I’m Done With All Your Hillary and Bernie Feelings, Internet

TED CRUZ WANTS TO SET THE WORLD ON FIRE.

Genuinely, I think he does. I think he wants to bring about the end times. I think he is living in a comic book and none of the rest of us are real to him.

Marco Rubio is six years old and he keeps thinking if he talks faster and louder it will make him sound smarter. Debate moderators ask him why his own people think he sucks, and he yells about his Lord and Savior.

Jeb Bush once ruined an entire family’s life just to make points with the Jesus freaks over Terri Schaivo, and the freaks are not even voting for him now. Like, think of that. You mortgage your soul for someone, and they’re like, “Ick, get away.”

I don’t know what to worry about more, that Donald Trump is gonna pick somebody for his VP that he has already publicly called a giant shitlord who will then sink him from within, or that he’s gonna choose a military dude like Petraeus. Then he’ll win, and quit, leaving us with a morally dyslexic G.I. Joe in charge.

ANY ONE OF THEM gets to appoint Supreme Court justices, as Sainted Dead Scalia reminded us last night, and Notorious RBG ain’t gonna live forever. If we make her deal with one more Republican president, she would be well within her rights to give the concept of existence on this planet the finger.

So if I read one more thinkpiece about ageism, sexism, Bernie-ism and who isn’t respecting who enough online, I will send this whole Internet to bed without supper. I have a Mom Voice now. I can do that.

I mean, dear God. IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU, writers. It’s not about you. It’s not about you, people who have time to be penning this or that for a publication that exists to explicate the zeitgeist or whatever. God damn, what is happening in this country right now during this political campaign, it is not about you.

Some of the things being said at and near Bernie’s fans remind me of how I was treated as a young person at my first paying gig: You’re only 22 so nothing you say is legit, like call us when you grow up. Some of the things being said at and near Hillary remind me viscerally of how I was treated the last time I asked for a raise at my job: You need to be nicer because that matters more than any other skill you have. 

Some of the things being said to younger and older voters are making me ragey and some of them are making me sad and you know what those feelings of mine, those deep and real feelings mean to a bunch of people in Flint, Mich. whose kids have been poisoned by lead in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ Two Thousand Sixteen?

FUCK.

ALL.

There was a Democratic debate Thursday night or during the Super Bowl or whenever, and two candidates on stage — a Jew and a woman, both the first of those groups to win major primaries — were discussing their responses to systemic racism. Systemic. Racism. They were discussing institutionalized hatred of black people and the dehumanization of them by the government.

Yes, later John Lewis and Bernie Sanders supporters snapped at each other on Twitter and yes, Hillary could not get away with having a prominent supporter who goes by “Killer Mike” because of sexism. But at that debate OUR PARTY HAD A GODDAMN DISCUSSION ABOUT FIXING RACISM.

The Republicans, at their debate last night, were fighting over who gets to hold the fire hoses and unleash the German Shepherds. 

And not for nothing, but a few weeks ago we had a sitting U.S. Goddamn President name of Barack Hussein Obama who spoke not tentatively, not neutrally, not cautiously but ADMIRINGLY of the courage of young gay men and women living their lives as full citizens of the United States. He PRAISED THEM. As role models not just to other gay people but to everybody, in front of a joint session of Congress, behind a fucking podium with a seal on it, to thunderous applause.

Later, at the Republican debate, a bunch of guys talked about if we could put Don’t Ask Don’t Tell back into effect somehow and make everybody forget if Gunny Highway likes dudes and stack the Supreme Court with people who will go around forcibly divorcing every gay married couple on earth.

The differences between Bernie and Hillary are real (see Kissinger, Henry and Dead, Why Isn’t He Yet) and explanations of them are welcome and necessary. But the constant online whining about behavior of campaign supporters towards one another and the over-identification with the candidates personally* is starting to feel like therapy for the comfortable commentator class. Maybe we’re forgetting that BEN CARSON DOESN’T KNOW WHAT THE DEBT CEILING IS..

It is starting to remind me of 2003 when Yes Hippies Are Right But They Smell, or 2004 when Yes Democrats Are Right But The Midterms. I do not want to see President Trump elected so that all U.S. progressives can Suck On This for not supporting Bernie. I do not want somebody else’s kids to fight three more wars so We Can Learn Something This Time It Serves Us Right for not supporting Hillary. We who are here to type stuff into the Internet don’t get to write checks for other people’s asses to cash.

I am supposed to be freaking out right now because calling someone a Bernie Bro is reductive and mean and makes you less likely to vote Hillary? I will call you anything you WANT, okay? What do you want me to call you so we can get some work done? I am sorry I was born after Roe v Wade but I’ve had by conservative estimate 37 transvaginal ultrasounds, so if I give you a pin commemorating the fight to make abortion legal can we please elect Bernie to stick a probe up Scott Walker’s bunghole?

President Bernie, President Hillary, are not going to lead-poison our children to save a few bucks and then be all LET’S NOT TELL ANYBODY when they get a memo about the poisoning. They’re not going to make cracks about turning Syria into a glowstick and they’re not gonna slap their junk on Putin’s dinner table and they’re not gonna forget where China is or whatever it was Trump did last week. They’re not going to punish poor women by faux-investigating the only medical clinics that give a shit if those women live or die.

I want a woman president, maybe this woman. I want a non-Christian president, maybe this dude. I would rather have CLAIRE as president than any combination of any of the Republicans currently running and I’m sincerely afraid that we might not survive a couple of them. Far too many of the things I’m reading lately are forgetting that soon and very soon that will be the fight we’ll have to have.

At that point the therapy sessions will be over, and not a moment too soon. So work for your chosen candidate. But don’t confuse that work with the kind you need to do on your psyche, because the latter you can get done on your own goddamn time.

A.

*Call me, John Kerry, you are 8 feet tall and it still charms me senseless.