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Thoughts on Events the Week of March 29

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on April 7, 2021

Overview: Channeling Paul Simon, I look around, around and I see people going without masks and not social distancing even as Covid-19 cases are rising, I see people refusing to enact sensible gun legislation while surrounded by mass murders, I see legislators enacting voter suppression laws in a democracy, I see white supremacists thinking they are superior when all evidence is to the contrary, and I see that Ron White was correct: You can’t fix stupid.

Matt Gaetz:  This congress congressperson from Florida is being investigated for violating US code 2423 for transporting a minor across state lines for the purpose of sexual activity, and the possible legal jeopardy and negative publicity couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

Whether Gaetz is innocent or guilty, which is not proven and until which he is considered innocent, he is a truly odious human being. He not only spews Trump lies, of which he knows better, word for word, but in a distinctly obnoxious way. Show me a rich pasty white guy who engages in lies and smears and grievances, poor baby, and I’ll show you a guy who deserves every negative thing he gets.

Infrastructure: This is a subject that has been bandied about, but not addressed, for years, arguably for half a century.

Trump promised to produce the best infrastructure bill ever incessantly, perhaps the only positive thing he ever did mention, but did absolutely nothing about it. President Obama desperately wanted an infrastructure jobs bill to help with the recovery from the Great Recession, but an obstructionist Republican Party denied him it. Now President Biden wants to go big on it. He’s positioning it in part as a jobs bill, but in my view, it’s really a catch-up bill.

Infrastructure must be maintained regularly or it falls into serious disrepair, which is what has been happening for years. It can be postponed up to a point, but the fact is, the more it is delayed, the more it is going to cost. That’s in part why Biden is making the big ask now.

I don’t think a bill of this kind is essential mow, as it certainly was in 2009. So, I’m not sure it necessarily needs to be addressed all at once. I would be happy with a commitment to on-going maintenance rather than one lump sum. That said, I appreciate Biden’s go big impulses.

Boycotts: After some prodding, corporate leaders in Georgia and Texas have made statements claiming the obvious, that voter suppression laws are odious. I can kind of sympathize with businesses put in this position. In today’s polarization, about half of their customers often stand on both sides of almost any issue, so whichever way they go, they risk alienating half their customers.

For instance, pulling the Major League Baseball’s All-Star game out of Atlanta is a small step, but a meaningful one. But the only ones affected in a meaningful way, other than bruising Atlanta’s pride, are the people who would be employed for the event and hospitality businesses.

Besides, I don’t put much stock in these statements. Like everything else in politics, don’t pay attention to what they say; watch what they do. If corporations really mean it, and they should, they will stop making donations to the Republican Party and its candidates. That will get politicians’ attention, and that’s what I will be looking out for.

Worst state: By way of welcoming Georgia into the rarified company of worst states, I give them the cup this week for the reason they qualify: its odious voter suppression laws.

Thoughts on Events the Week of March 22

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 30, 2021

Immigration: It is just like we instant gratification addicted Americans to hammer President Biden for not solving our problems on the southern border, which have bedeviled us for decades, in the first two months of his administration while addressing the pandemic with his other hand.

The situation down there at present is this. The border is closed. Individuals and families who cross the border are turned around and sent back immediately. Unaccompanied children are taken in and held in camps until relatives or sponsors can take them in. It’s not ideal, but it seems more humane than sending them back into the desert.

Neither of these situations is tenable, however. We need more immigrants, for labor and to sustain our own population, which is aging and shrinking. Once we invite them in to work for us and pay taxes to our treasury, don’t we own them an opportunity for citizenship?

As for the children, we can’t take in every kid in the Western Hemisphere. And of those we are taking in and sending into the country to family and sponsors, what happens to them now?

You see; it’s complicated. For Pete’s sake, give the man and his administration time to think.

Mass murder derby: Not to be outdone by the raving lunatic who killed eight people in Atlanta, Georgia, another raving lunatic killed 10 people in Boulder, Colorado, taking the lead in mass killings in 2021. Next contestant.

Just when I thought it was safe to go out…: I have been making a list of places I need to go and things I need to do when it is safe. Now that I am fully vaccinated – two shots plus 14 days – I went to a couple of those places and scratched them off my list. Last Friday, I even went to a restaurant for the first time in more than a year, one that takes the protocols seriously.

Then, our low functioning moron Governor released all the Covid-19 restrictions in Arizona and invited in effect everyone to run amok, which they are doing. Now I’m seeing people of all ages walking around with no masks and no social distancing.

I tried going to the next place on my list, which had two cash registers, one manned by a young woman wearing no mask, and one by a young man wearing a mask, but not very well. The woman said she could help me next. I said I would wait for the guy with the mask. She said masks are no longer required. I said they are by me. So, here I am, locked down again with a long list of to dos unfulfilled.

More incredibly dumb stuff from knee jerk liberals: No one is more in favor of diversity than I, not least because it makes things so much more interesting. Different colors, different sounds, different looks, different languages, different music, different cuisine (I wouldn’t want to live in a world without enchiladas and Pad Thai), and different points of view.

Besides, the opposite of diversity is exclusion, xenophobia and prejudice.

But a couple of female Democratic Senators, who of all people should know better, threatened to hold up all Biden’s appointments until there is more representation of Asian Americans in his cabinet. This smacks of a filibuster to me.

The senators quickly withdrew the threat, but the flag had been flown, showing once again how knee-jerk liberals can get tangled up in really stupid, unimportant stuff and take their eye off the ball.

Full disclosure: I have always thought that presidents should have the cabinet executives they want, just like any corporate CEO does. I see no reason for the Senate to advise and consent, absent any egregious choice, which in this case would be criminal activity, not different opinions. This is another flaw in our fraying Constitution.

Crisis: Everything is a goddamn crisis these days. It has become one of the most over used and misused words in our language at present, up there with “impact,” “you know” and “Trump.”

The situation at the southern border is a big problem. The pandemic is a crisis. Our national debt is a problem. Mass murders are a crisis. You see the difference, don’t you?

Worst State: Jesus, where to start? Every one of the current worst states and contenders did egregious stuff again this week. But I’m going with South Carolina, because Senator Lindsey Graham stood out for his hypocrisy and disgusting opinions.

That said, the jury is in and I’m adding Georgia to the worst states list, which beat out the other contenders with its odious, singularly undemocratic voter suppression, supported by every Republican legislator in the state and its knuckle dragging governor.

Thoughts on Events the Week of March 15

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 23, 2021

Another mass shooting: Robert Aaron Long shot and killed eight people in Atlanta, most of whom were Asian Americans. The killings are being investigated as a possible hate crime. Whatever Long’s motives, it’s obvious he is a raving lunatic, which begs the question how he was able to get his hands on a gun.

What the hell is wrong with us? We see so much gun violence on the news it’s not even news. When is someone going to consider that gun violence is caused by guns in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them and do something to keep them from having one? No gun, no shooting.

I know, I swore to myself I would write any more about gun control until something actually happened, but I am sick to the heart with this insanity.

Xenophobia runs amok: China Virus? Really? That’s the excuse for knocking down little old Asian ladies and men to the concrete pavement? How brave. How patriotic. How stupid.

It appears that the virus originated in China, but it’s not like China wanted it there. And I’m damn sure Asian Americans had nothing to do with it. They weren’t even in China. By definition, they were in America!

Some people just seem to need someone to blame and to hate. Is it to make themselves feel superior in some way? What’s superior about xenophobes who beat up little old ladies? The average IQ of Asians averages a point or two above ours. We’re lucky to have them here. And we sure don’t need to be taking it out on them, or China either, for that matter.

Leaving Afghanistan: After umpteen years of fruitless war and wasted treasure, President Biden announced we are getting ready to pull our troops off this pile of rocks. Everyone seems to be taking cover under the guise of negotiating a peace agreement with the Taliban. This is a canard. Everyone knows that the Taliban will take over the instant we leave.

I don’t give a rodent’s rectum who runs Afghanistan, so long as they don’t cause any trouble here. I only wish Obama had done this 12 year ago. Afghanistan is a pile of rocks. I am an admirer of Obama, but failure to do this was one of his two biggest mistakes.

Insurrection reduction: I was spot on when I predicted that we would hear precious little from the rioters on January 6 and their like-minded ilk once the light was shown on them. Not a peep. Crickets.

These bozos are hiding under the refrigerator because they know if the show themselves, they will be busted. Oh, they are probably jerking each other off on their right-wing social media platforms, but they are harmless there. Take down the fences.

So, now the only people preaching and condoning insurrection in public are Trump, Republican politicians, and Fox News.

Worst state: In a no brainer, I’m giving the cup to Texas this week because Congressperson Chip Roy evoked lynching during a hearing on Asian Americans and hate crimes. How tone deaf and insensitive can one bozo be? Is he trying to rival fellow Texas Congressperson Louis Gohmert for dumbest sombitch in the House? With a name like Chip, he’s got to be stupid, or he would have changed it.

Thoughts on the Filibuster and Bigotry

Posted in Politics and Justice by EloiSVM42 on March 18, 2021

I have gone back and forth over this issue for years, but I am now convinced that the filibuster has got to go for the good of democracy, against which it has been used egregiously. The filibuster is undemocratic, it is wrong in its practice and it’s wrong in its intent.

It’s undemocratic, because it thwarts majority rule – 50% plus 1, which is the basic definition of democracy. We are obliged to respect the views of the minority, but the filibuster lets the minority mock the majority’s will.

It is wrong in practice because until recently, the filibuster used to be quite rare, and difficult to execute (think Mr. Smith Goes to Washington). Now they occur frequently and with no difficulty for the filibusterer whatsoever. One senator says he or she filibusters without doing anything else and that’s it.

It is wrong in intent, because Southern Senators used to use it for the purpose of denying civil and voting rights to blacks, an odious practice. Today, it’s used by Republicans to obstruct anything and everything Democrats propose, even if the idea was first proposed by Republicans and may be popular with voters.

The filibuster is also a way for the Senate to avoid doing anything, which is pretty much what it has been doing for the last two decades. It’s a terrible way to run a government.

Democrats must do away with it, or they are not going to be able to get anything more done. Moscow Mitch has made it clear he is going to obstruct everything unless this knot is tied in his tail.

In the alternative, we might return to the earlier filibuster requirements. Make the Senator who wants to filibuster stand in the chamber and hold the floor by talking as long as he or she can. And make a quorum of other Senators sit there and listen. See how many filibusters there are then and how long they last. I’ll take the under on a day.

And while I’m on the subject of obstruction, how about that pig part Senator from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, demanding the entire relief bill to be read on the Senate floor. Actually, I think it’s a good thing for Senators actually to read the things they vote for or against, but the practical result of this stall was to have aids read the bill to an all but empty chamber. Make the other senators have to stay in the chamber and listen.  

The Greater Bigot Theory: All this voter suppression legislation and filibustering begs the question who the biggest bigot in politics is. There are countless worthy candidates. Trump is a card-carrying bigot. Ditto Cruz and Hawley. Can’t forget Gohmert and Biggs. Moscow Mitch is a prime candidate.

But by my lights, the worst bigot by far is John Roberts. He is the one who gutted the voting rights bill on the disingenuous grounds that Southern states don’t really engage in voter suppression anymore so voting rights protections are not needed. The moment these protections were removed, offending states immediately returned to doing it, and a number of states joined in. As I write this, 43 states are introducing voter suppression laws.

So, the man who has don’t more to deny blacks their civil and voting rights since (insert name of your least favorite Southern bigot Senator here), is the Chief Justice of our Supreme Court. Kind of makes you proud of our democracy, doesn’t it?

Football Thoughts plus a Basketball Bonus

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on March 17, 2021

Dak Prescott gets his money: On the day before he would be franchised for the second time, Dak Prescott finally signed the deal he and the Cowboys have been working on for two years.

Jerry Jones says he was bested by Dak on this deal, but by most accounts, including mine, both sides got much of what they wanted. Dak got a lot of money, including $75 million at signing, though only $22 million will count against the Cowboys’ cap this year. Someday, somebody must explain to me how this could be, but there it is.

Dak got a four-year deal, not five years, as Jerry wanted, but Jerry got some cap space with which to sign some more players. But most important, the Cowboys got a franchise quarterback.

As a practical matter it is impossible to win a Super Bowl without a top tier quarterback, and now the Cowboys have one. Dak is among the top 10 in the league. More than two thirds of NFL teams want for a quarterback capable of getting their team to a Super Bowl. As any one of them if they would have paid Dak’s price and they all would have jumped at it.

But before we start putting Super Bowl and Cowboys in the same conversation, remember that the Cowboys are still a mediocre team at best, with overpaid underperforming players and a coaching staff that can’t coach a team across the street with a green light, let alone get it to the big game. The Cowboys may win the NFL East because it is so weak presently, but that is the best they can ever hope to do in their present circumstances, which haven’t changed with the Prescott contract and are unlikely to any time soon.

NCAA Basketball Tournament: I don’t follow basketball, college or pro. In fact, I don’t watch basketball at all, except for the Championship Tournament in March, which I consider one of the best events in sports of any kind.  

But this year, the basketball tournament, as with all sports, has been disrupted and diminished by Covid-19. Already, at least three teams that would make the tournaments have had to withdraw due to the virus.

We should put an asterisk on the entire sports year. I write this even though my beloved Oklahoma Sooners are tearing up almost every spring sport. They make walk away with several national championships.

So, I will watch some tournament games this March, but probably not as many as usual.

Thoughts on Events the Week of March 1

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on March 8, 2021

Covid-19 Relief Bill Passes in the House: This actually happened as I was going to press last week. Not a single Republican voted for it, although polling showed up to 70% of Americans favored the legislation, and with good reason. People, including a rapidly growing number of children, are starving.

Yet not a single Republican House member saw fit to vote for this legislation. Disgraceful, but no worse than the two Democrats who voted against it also. And it’s apparent that no Republican Senators are going to vote for the relief either. On the contrary, they are doing everything they can to thwart it. Hey, Republican legislators, Republicans are out of work and starving too.

So, Democrats, it is time to smell the coffee; The Republicans are as bad as they appear in the rearview mirror, and Democrats should not give them the sweat off their huevos going forward. It’s time to wipe up the floor with them, beginning with ending the filibuster, about which I will write more when I return from hospital later in the week.

Covid-19 conundrum: How sad would it be to be the last person killed in a war? We are so close to winning the war against Covid-19. Seeing the efficacy and safety of the new vaccines and the rapidly increasing distribution of them, you might think that people would want to be even more cautious for a few more months, to avoid being the last person to die of it when we are about to have it on the run, but it seems to be the opposite.

Everyone wants to get back to some state of normality, which is quite understandable. But the only way to do that is to beat the virus. We can’t have one until we have the other. Why can’t people understand that? Don’t bother to answer. It was a rhetorical question, with an obvious, unflattering answer.

March 4: QAnon assured its followers (read gullible morons and bat shit crazies) that Trump would return to the White House and resume his presidency on this date. You will be shocked, shocked to learn that this didn’t happen. I wonder which date QAnon will pick for their next day when Trump will triumph. Perhaps January 20, 2025, which is as unlikely as any other date they might pick.

That said, I never thought for a minute that there would be any trouble at the Capitol on March 4, or at any other date for that matter. The light has been turned on, and the cockroaches are scurrying back under the refrigerator. They now know if they show their faces, they will be arrested, and if they do try to cause trouble at the Capitol, the National Guard will be there in a heartbeat. We can take down the fence now.

Syria redux: Iranian backed militias in Syria launched some more rockets at our base across the border in Afghanistan so we lobbed some more bombs at them. The ostensible reason we have troops there, we are told, is to keep the Taliban from overrunning the Afghanistan before we can finalize a peace agreement with the Taliban.

This is fantasy. The Taliban is going to overrun Afghanistan as soon as we leave anyway. Secondly, I don’t give a rodent’s rectum if the Taliban overruns Afghanistan. Many of the people in Afghanistan seem to be perfectly happy with that kind of religious insanity. Afghanistan is a pile of rocks. Let them have it.

Poor Pence: The former Vice President and currently unemployed sycophant-in-chief penned an editorial supporting Trump’s big lie. The unfortunate bozo. I presume he is hoping to hang onto Trump’s base now that Trump is gone. But since Trump has turned on him and his base tried to lynch Pence about a month ago, I don’t see it happening.

Elaine Chao: Trump appointed the wife of Moscow Mitch McConnell to Secretary of Transportation where she was in the best possible position to grift for her family’s private business. And according to the inspector general, she chowed down (Chao, chowed. Get it?). I don’t really know why I even mention this. Corruption and grifting were so common in the Trump administration, it hardly qualifies as news.

 Worst state: It turns out that Texas’ leaders not only screwed their citizens, but all of the rest of the country as well. Since they failed to winterize the petroleum refining facilities, which froze, crimping supplies, gas prices have skyrocketed.

But this isn’t the worst thing about Texas this week. Governor Abbott rescinded all commonsense measures to combat Covid-19 just in time for Spring Break. What a political putz. Texas deservedly gets the cup this week.

To be fair, Mississippi has done the same thing, but Mississippi doesn’t count. I’m not sure it is even an actual state. Its biggest contribution to the nation is to be worst of the 50 states in every despicable category, saving other the embarrassment of it. Alabama state motto: At least we’re not Mississippi.

I’m still keeping my eye on Arizona and Wisconsin for possible addition to the worst state list. A lot will depend on what each state does to suppress voting rights and gerrymandering. Arizona has Gosar, Wisconsin has Johnson. As long as they are around, both states will rate some consideration.

Thoughts on Events the Week of February 22

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on February 28, 2021

The Crown Prince did it, with a saw in the consulate: President Biden released the report telling us what we already knew, that Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

It’s a tough call how to deal with MBS now. He is the de facto leader of his country, likely to be the king when his father dies. As head of state, he cannot be ignored. And he is not the only despot Trump’s coddling emboldened to commit heinous crimes without fear of retribution. Remember Putin (Russia), Kim (North Korea), Duterte (Philippines) and Erdoğan (Turkey).

It’s an easy call, however, how to deal with Saudi Arabia, the country: as an ally, but at arm’s length, true to our own national interests, and particularly wary, knowing the country is run by a reckless, violent sociopath. Saudi Arabia is not our friend.

CPAC: This annual congregation of bigots, xenophobes, homophobes, and other various and sundry crazies gathered together this week for a mass ass kissing of the recently departed Trump. (Sudden thought: since Trump is departed, isn’t that necrophilia?)

Mel Brooks said about Nazism that some things are so horrible, all you can do it laugh at them. CPAC is not quite that horrible; it’s just laughable.

Neera Tanden: Having nothing to do with her qualifications, the nomination of Tanden to be President Biden’s Budget Director is in jeopardy because she has said mean things about some Republicans. Poor babies. She hurt their feelings.

But what would you expect from a political operative involved in three Democratic presidential campaigns and administrations? My hopes of rational bipartisanship from Republicans are growing dimmer daily. Shame on these people.

Measured, proportional response: President Biden lobbed a few bombs at Iranian-backed militias in Syria because they shot some rockets at our troops there. I would just like to point out that if we didn’t have any troops in Syria, no rockets could be shot at them, hence no response requiring measured proportionality, whatever that means.

Worst state: Texas is an avatar of what’s wrong with unregulated capitalism and governmental misfeasance. In their misguided sense of independence and greed, Texas allowed profit-driven capitalists to separate Texas from the national power grid and let their grid be market driven. Okay, but when the whole thing came a cropper because they didn’t winterize their systems to cut costs for more profit, the capitalists now want the government to pay for the winterizing, and Governor Abbott is inclined to let them!

Texas capitalists, like those everywhere, want the profits for themselves but for the rest of us to pay for their screw ups and losses. They are definitely the worst state this week and richly deserve the cup.

Football Thoughts – Carson Wentz Trade

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on February 22, 2021

A little news and entertainment before the NFL draft. When the Philadelphia Eagles fired coach Doug Pederson, the report was that Pederson wanted to trade Carson Wentz and start Jalen Hurts at quarterback, but owner Lurie didn’t want to take the financial hit. I opined at the time that Pederson should have been fired for poor coaching anyway.

Perhaps that was the case, because the Eagles did trade Wentz, to the Baltimore Colts for not much: a third-round pick in 2021 and a conditional second round pick, which could become a first-round if Wentz performs well in the 21-22 season. (The Eagles traded up twice, at a cost, to take Wentz #2 in the 2016 draft.)

To trade Wentz, Philadelphia will take the biggest financial hit in NFL history: $33 million in dead cap space.

Financing aside, this was a good call by the Eagles. We can’t say he is a complete bust – he may still work out with the Colts – but it clearly didn’t work out with the Eagles. He couldn’t stay healthy, he became shaky, even panicky in the pocket, he wasn’t popular in the locker room and it’s being said was hard to coach.

An interesting side note for Oklahoma Sooners fans: assuming Jalen Hurts starts for the Eagles this fall, which is likely, it will mean that three NFL starting quarterback will be young products of the OU system: Baker Mayfield (Cleveland), Kyler Murray (Arizona, my new favorite team), and now Jalen Hurts (Philadelphia).

That’s almost 10% of the 32 total starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Quite a record, and a reason OU gets a lot of top tier quarterback recruits, such a Spencer Rattler, a #1 recruit and current starter for OU today. They want to be coach by Lincoln Riley, and what quarterback wouldn’t with this record?

Thoughts on Events the Week of February 15

Posted in Uncategorized by EloiSVM42 on February 21, 2021

I’m dreaming of a white Texas: Let’s be clear: when a major natural disaster occurs, such as Hurricanes Sandy and Harvey and now the massive winter storm in Texas, there is going to be damage, destruction, disruption and even loss of lives, no matter who is in charge. We cannot hold leaders responsible for the weather.

But we can hold them responsible for what they did to anticipate the possibility of such disasters and how they respond to them. In both of these, Texas failed spectacularly, due to its overwrought sense of independence, misguided distain for regulation and greed. Texas’ leaders can’t hit the floor with their hat and seem to be proud of it. Texas voters picked them, so they have no one to blame but themselves.

The Good Civil War: Former President Trump and former Senate Majority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell are savaging one another in public for us all to see. I’m enjoying watching (cliché alert) the “battle for the soul of the Republican Party” and it couldn’t happen to more deserving people. I hope they tear it down to the ground and end up with two anemic parties that can’t elect a dog catcher between them.

Rush Limbaugh died: Even the worst people will eventually leave the stage.

A step in the right direction: At a gun store in Louisiana, a gun nut shot and killed two people, wounded two others and was himself shot and killed. I’m down with it when these crazies kill each other, just not other people.

Worst State: I’m sure you are all familiar with the maritime tradition that when the ship is sinking, the captain always goes down to Cancun. Such was the case with Texas Senator Ted Cruz. Governor Abbott stayed – he’s wheelchair bound – but he addressed the disaster by taking a gratuitous swipe at environmental activists as the cause of Texas’ grid failure. Texas earned and received the cup this week.

Football Thoughts – The Super Bowl

Posted in Sports - football, mostly by EloiSVM42 on February 16, 2021

Skip Bayless was right. Never bet against Tom Brady when all the chips are on the table. Brady can be beaten, but you are foolish to bet on it.

Prognosticators opined this game would go in one of three ways and it did. One opinion, with which I happened to agree, was that the game would turn on the absence of Kansas City’s two starting tackles. This allowed Tampa Bay to get to Patrick Mahomes as no team has before and had him running for his life the entire game.

But it was also a factor that, though KC had three of the top five offensive players on the field, the Buccaneers had the better team top to bottom. You picked your new team well, Tom.

Overall, I thought the commercials this year, which are usually among my favorite parts of the event, were disappointing. I like the Rocket Mortgage spot.

As for the halftime show, I had never even heard of The Weekend, which shows that they are no longer interested my demographic, I suppose. But I don’t even know what to think about a celebrity whose name is a daypart.

Next on the football calendar is the NFL draft, after which I will segue into my summer of discontent until fall practice.