Don’t be a chump

Here’s a little screed from Dave Winer, a smart guy I’ve been listening to for 20 years. Among other things, Dave is the original blogger, the Blogfather. Here’s what he has to say about Biden’s speech last night and what he recommends. I agree.

But Biden’s speech was disturbing. Not because he said anything other than what he was saying through the campaign — he was totally consistent. But now we’re on the other side of the election, and I don’t think all the happy talk about working across the aisle will amount to anything, other than a sense by the Repubs and their voters, that yeah you can walk all over the Dems and there’s never a price to pay.

Another quote: I like what JFK said in his inaugural, to the Soviets.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

The equivalent from Biden to McConnell today would be…We noticed that Trump stopped getting his Cabinet officials approved by the Senate a couple of years ago, and McConnell never said a word about it. So the first round of my Cabinet appointments will be on the house, freebies, appointed without Senate approval. Then we can have a big bipartisan conference on how we want this to work in the future. And until then, the Senate is out of the advise-and-consent business. If you don’t like it, ask Nancy Pelosi if she’ll impeach me. Heh.”

Hopefully the Repubs will squawk, loudly, and take the Dems to court. And Biden, like Trump, will ignore what the court says, if they dare rule on this.

Same with oversight from the Senate. Cross that off the list too, until we come to some larger agreement about enforcing the norms that Trump and McConnell trashed over the last four years. Maybe the price is, dear Senate, that McConnell is censured and loses his party leadership. Or maybe we insist that he be sent back to Kentucky. I’m not kidding. What you all did is not excusable. We’re willing to let McConnell take the fall, and then we can move on from there.

But don’t tell me how we’re friends, we’re not friends. McConnell came within a hair of turning America into a fascist dictatorship. He must’ve thought he’d get away with it.

I wrote about this in We must be worse than the Repubs on Oct 27.

“The Repubs walk all over the Dems. But if you love America, you have to vote Democratic, because the Repubs are crazy fascists. We have to teach the Dems how to be hardass motherfuckers, and insist that they have a head-on collision with the Repubs so they respect them, and in doing so, respect us.”

It sure sounds like Biden is making the same insane mistake Obama did, believing that this election is somehow transformative, or that he is transformative, and all of a sudden, because the US is in dire trouble (as usual when the Dems take over), the Repubs will transform. They only respect you if you drive straight into a head-on collision with them without hitting the brakes. You are the president, Mr President-elect, you have to be the badass. I’m hoping you know that and this happy talk is just a veneer.

I agree 100%. Don’t be naive – the Republicans will not change, will not play fair in 2021. Have to recognize the game and play it better.

Saturday by the numbers

2020 remains the shittiest year ever, with very few exceptions.

The US has registered over 10 million COVID-19 cases so far. Informally, that’s more like 20-30M cases, given our deplorable testing program.

The US 7-day moving average for new COVID cases surpassed 100K for the first time, registering 101K yesterday. There’s really no end in sight right now – Americans have lost the will to control the disease.

It’s been 35 weeks (245 days) since we started taking pandemic precautions in our household. Sure seems longer.

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have received 4 million more votes than Trump/Pence. That’s a solid victory in the popular vote.

On this day (Nov 7 in 1972), Richard M. Nixon was re-elected President in a landslide. I’m thankful the story will be different this year.

It rained approximately 0.1 inches in Fallbrook last night, the first rain in 8 months.

We also had the coldest temperature for the year last night, at 51 degrees F. That’s a balmy evening in the Midwest, but around here people will break out their down jackets and ski caps.

According to GoodReads, I’ve read 75 books this year. I’ve slowed down lately – my attention span is pretty short these days.

20 years ago this week I proposed to this wonderful person (below). Definitely one of my better decisions in adult life. Thanks for saying yes.

Weather in Socal?

Have to say, I’ve felt tired and unsettled all day. Can’t get comfortable, constantly hungry and irritable. Maybe it’s the lingering question of Trump. I don’t have Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS), but I may have a case of Trump Existential Dread (TED).

Or maybe it’s the weird weather moving through. The day started out sunny and cool, then it got hot, and now at 330pm there’s a windy, Bay-area-style fog/cloud front moving in. That’s a lot of weather in one day for Socal.

I’ll keep trying to find something to push me out of my funk. TGIF, right?

Glimmers of hope

Things are feeling a bit less gloomy than they were first thing this morning. To celebrate that, here are some pictures from our recent travels.

First up, the featured picture (above) is of the spectacular sunset we had on Halloween.

Next, a pano shot of the meteor crater near Winslow AZ. We didn’t see Starman, much to K’s disappointment.

Finally, a nice shot of the Grand Canyon from the south rim. We were there a whole 16 hours!

The day after

I really hoped that people would rise up and vote Trump out by a landslide, but it didn’t happen. Instead, we have one of the closest elections ever, much like 2000 (Bush v. Gore). That didn’t end well.

It will take a couple more days to get reliable results from WI, PA, MI, NC, GA and NV. Biden needs to win several of those to win the election.

This morning feels exactly like I’m in the hospital waiting room, waiting to hear whether a loved one has died or not after a horrific accident. Lots of dread but clinging onto a slim hope that everything will be OK.

Overlaying that dread is a sadness at the realization that approximately half of all Americans want Trump as President even AFTER they’ve seen him in action. After all the lying, the disrespect for women, the in-your-face graft and corruption, the infantile behavior, the lawlessness…they still want him in charge. This isn’t the country I thought it was – the reality is much darker.

It’s going to be a long couple of days.

Sunday morning musings

Upon returning home and reflecting on the state of things, several thoughts dominate.

First, this is going to be a pivotal week for America, if not the world. I think this might be the most important week in my lifetime. If Trump is re-elected, chaos and division will reign for another four years. I truly don’t think our democratic system can survive under an unleashed Trump. Trump has made it clear that laws and norms don’t apply to him, and is tearing the democratic system down to his sole advantage. We would become an autocracy, basically a third world country with first-world technology and resources. Hard to believe, but here we are. And it gets decided this week.

Second thought is that I have a lot I still want to experience and accomplish, so it’s time to get healthy. I’ve taken health for granted and have been lucky, but I can’t count on that forever. So I intend to put the some serious willpower into getting healthy.

I had already made this personal resolution about health, and then I heard some bad news from one of my best friends about a surgery gone wrong. He’s had a serious health setback and will need help from his friends and family to recover. I’ll be there for him, but his misfortune is a stark reminder not to take good health for granted. Consider me reminded.

Third thought is that it’s a big country. There is sooooo much open space between CA and KY. Millions of square miles of unpopulated or very lightly populated land. Given that, why do we have such an immigrant-hostile attitude? I’m not saying we should just open up our borders, but a rational immigration policy would select people willing to settle in some of these vast unpopulated areas and make something of the land and of themselves. I would love to see our immigration policy and process revised, top to bottom. Immigrants could once again become the engine of our growth.

Fourth and final thought is that it really is a great country. We take so much for granted, and we’ve accomplished great things in the last 250 years. Our technology, our national infrastructure, our vast national resources – we have all the ingredients we need to accomplish great things as we did in the past. But we’re about to lose that by dividing ourselves politically. We need a common cause, maybe a common enemy, to get reunited as a country.

Maybe it’s time for some hostile aliens (and I don’t mean immigrants) to land. I’d prefer the uniting force be something less militaristic, but…so far a pandemic and ecological collapse haven’t managed to be that uniting force. But an invasion by ugly, merciless, baby-snatching insectoids – that might just do it.