A brief political update

…several days after writing this, and having spent some time reading on and thinking about Michael Bloomberg as a candidate for the presidency, I feel compelled to inform you that he is now indisputably my last-choice candidate, and the only circumstances under which I will vote for him is if he somehow gains the nomination and I have no other choice. I actually feel like I did Sanders a disservice by ranking the two of them together.

Furthermore, I will cheerfully endorse any number of convention-based delegate shenanigans to deny him said nomination if necessary, regardless of which other candidate said shenanigans hands the nomination to.


One other thought, actually, and this is coming late enough that I’ve already hit “publish” on this post– I have officially given up on the idea that I Know Anything about politics, which is why you haven’t really seen me attempting to make any broad predictions about how either the primary or the overall race may be going beyond my insistence that you cannot declare the primary over before Black and Hispanic voters have had a chance to weigh in– and tomorrow will give us a fair amount of useful information on that account. The polls have been an enormous Goddamned mess throughout the primary, and given that I am utterly unable to understand why anyone would willfully and intentionally vote for the shitgibbon beyond the purest and most undistilled love for white supremacy, I’m not going to be any damn good at, say, predicting which Democratic candidate might be more electable than any other.

I strongly suspect that electable is code for “old white dude with good hair” anyway, if we’re being honest.

In which I try to rank Elizabeth Warren and a bunch of people I don't want to vote for

The last time I did this was– Jesusalmost a God damn year ago, and since then not only has Kamala Harris dropped out, but so has everyone else I wanted to vote for except for Buttigieg, who has spent most of the last eleven months making me dislike him. I have gone from a Democratic presidential primary where I went through eight people before even entering “meh” territory to one person I want to vote for– Warren– a bunch of people who I despise, and Amy Klobuchar, who I wouldn’t have even considered a serious candidate any longer until New Hampshire, and frankly I probably shouldn’t start treating her for-real seriously until she does better in more than one state.

What I have been saying for the last several months remains true: this race is still Biden’s to lose, despite his poor performance in Iowa and New Hampshire, because unless the poll results have shifted radically in the last couple of weeks he’s still the only candidate with a serious base of support in the black community, who are still the base of the Democratic party and who haven’t had a chance to vote yet because of how fucking stupid our nomination process is. I have heard tell that those numbers are starting to shift, though, and if they are, Biden’s fucked, which is kind of fine because I think he’s slowly losing his shit and I don’t really want to vote for him.

But … God, I don’t want to vote for any of these fuckers other than Warren, and every time I try to think seriously about ranking them, I spend most of my time pondering the inevitability of death instead. I mean, to be clear: I’m voting for the fucking Democratic nominee in November, full stop; I don’t give a fuck who it is. But I really don’t like any of them beyond Warren, and I remember enjoying being able to vote for candidates who I wanted to hold office, damn it.

So.

2. … Klobuchar, I guess? Who is an asshole, and a moderate, and she’s shitty to her staff, but that’s all I’ve got and she hasn’t managed to personally piss me off yet? Plus, she’s a woman and she doesn’t have one foot in the grave or any obvious decline in her mental facilities? So, yeah, sure, Klobuchar’s second, I suppose, mostly because someone has to be.

3. Buttigieg. I have voted for Pete Buttigieg literally every single time he has run for office, and I don’t want to ever vote for him again. Yes, in March I was somewhat enthusiastic about his candidacy. And he’s spent damn near every second since then trying to drive me away with his Jesusiness and his Kumbaya approach to “working with” people who would literally rather see him dead than in office. But much like Klobuchar he has the advantages of not being senile or nearly dead, and I’m not convinced he’d be a shitty President, and he’s smart, if perhaps not as smart as he thinks he is, and if he made a sensible pick for VP he might not be a disaster as a President, although of the current group I think he’s the one most likely to run for a second term and lose.

4. Fuck it, Biden. Who is running an absolute shit campaign, and who is perhaps not as senile as I thought he might have been a bit ago (I was unaware until recently that he has battled a stutter his whole life, and that explains a couple of things) but is still noticeably not as sharp as he was a decade ago, and has run for President three times now and so far still has not ever managed to finish higher than third in a primary. And he clearly doesn’t understand the nature of the opposition he’s facing, either, because he’s competing with Pete for the Kumbaya naïveté awards. But at least he’s not either of those other two assholes, and of the group of three he’s the one most likely to have some fucking sense and not run for a second term in the first place. Leaving me with …

Bernie and Bloomberg, and fuck both of ’em, I’m not ranking them. I loathe Bernie Sanders. I like his policies but Warren’s are every bit as good as his and she’s not a garbage human and she’s actually got some accomplishments in her life, unlike Mr. Myocardial Infarction Where The Fuck Are Your Taxes, whose life’s work boils down to not having a job until he was 40, naming a couple of post offices, and exactly three black-and-white photos of him being a massive civil rights hero on par with Malcolm X, Jesus and Martin Luther King combined. He will be a desperately shitty President and nothing will be accomplished during his single term in office, if he even lasts that long without dying, because who the hell knows what kind of condition his God damn heart is in; his campaign has lied about it endlessly and he’s refused to release his medical records. Which is not fucking forgivable even before you get to the part where he’s basically a cult leader and I cannot tolerate the idea of an America where the Bernie Bros have political power.

(Am I calling every Bernie voter a cultist? No. I am explicitly not doing that, and if you are a Bernie person and I know you I am also explicitly not calling you personally that. But I stand by the statement nonetheless, particularly in the context of the vile hordes of his people I have to deal with online.)

Bloomberg, on the other hand, is a racist piece of shit and a blood-gorged tick on the nuts of humanity, and he’s carefully and clearly exposing every single thing wrong with what we are still calling our “democracy” for some reason. I have no idea why anyone would ever choose to vote for him, and the fact that he’s registering in the polls at all is a sign of how dangerously and completely fucked we are. If somehow the race is down to these two by the time the Indiana primary rolls around I’m probably just not going to vote. Again, I’ll vote for the nominee even if I hate him, which is looking more likely by the day, but I’ll be damned if I endorse either of these fuckers twice if I don’t absolutely have to.

(EDIT: When and if Bloomberg turns out to be a serial sexual harasser and/or a rapist, which I’m figuring even odds on, he immediately falls off the list altogether. That would be one thing that would definitively shove him under Sanders for me.)

Fuck the Iowa caucus

So here’s the thing: a few hours from now, or maybe a couple of days depending on how complicated things get, results will be released from the Iowa caucuses and someone– probably either a white dude whose name starts with B or Elizabeth Warren– will have won them. And that person will have just a smidge more actual delegates than the three or four people behind him or her, and all the press in the world won’t make a damn bit of difference to the fact that the actual delegate edge gained by this contest– y’know, the thing that matters— isn’t gonna be much of anything.

But there will be yapping, oh so much yapping, about What It All Means, and Bernie’s people will find a way the process was rigged against him even if he wins, and it all doesn’t fucking matter because Black people are the base of the Democratic party and right now no one and I mean no one has done a God damn thing to cut into Joe Biden’s huge lead among Black voters and unless that changes this shit is already all over but the shouting. And am I happy about it? No, not at all; with Kamala Harris out of the race I am an Elizabeth Warren man through and through, and Biden may actually be my last choice among the serious candidates (every time I try to think hard about whether I’d vote for him or Bernie at gunpoint my small intestine jumps out of my body and chokes me until I’m unconscious) but right now hard demographic reality is gonna make him the nominee unless something changes. Is that impossible? No. Does fucking Iowa have much chance to make a difference? Also no.

Fuck caucuses, and fuck Iowa. Caucuses, particularly how they’re practiced in Iowa, are undemocratic as hell and as wildly, painfully ridiculous a way for grown folks to choose a presidential candidate as they could possibly be. They disenfranchise old people, poor people, people with night jobs, people with children, people who don’t want the assholes who they live around to know who they want to vote for, people who don’t like spending hours arguing about politics in public with strangers, and no doubt a host of other people as well. They introduce a lovely veneer of social pressure into an event– voting– that is supposed to be private and secret. They are unnecessarily complicated. And Iowa is damn near as lily-white as it gets and I am sick as fuck of losing good presidential candidates– particularly in this cycle– because a state full of cracker corn-fed white hicks didn’t decide to get excited about them.

(Yes, I am from Indiana. When I get so fucking arrogant about Indiana’s position in the primary that I insist I should be able to personally shake hands with every candidate you can call me whatever the fuck you want.)

There needs to never be another Democratic Iowa caucus again– I don’t give a fuck what the Republicans do with their primaries– and Iowa needs to never again be allowed to be the first state to vote. Fuck New Hampshire, too, while we’re at it, but they don’t get as much attention and they’re not voting caucusing tonight so they aren’t what this post is about.

I fucking demand that the Democratic party come up with a fairer and more representative way to select our presidential candidates in the future. Caucuses are bullshit and the stranglehold Iowa has on our country is bullshit and I am fucking done hearing about either of them. Fix this bullshit, and fix it now. There are 50 Goddamned states in this country and I’m pretty sure you can find another one with fucking county fairs that also has some damn Black people in it. I won’t even fight you on which one so long as it’s a better choice than fucking Iowa.

Which, really, shouldn’t be all that fucking hard.

Adventures in barbershopping

The boy’s hair is getting into his eyes, and we have been threatening him with a haircut for a few weeks now, but higher-priority things keep getting in the way. This morning, as my wife is leaving to take the Great Old One to the vet for a check-up, she asks me if I can get his hair cut. Yes! I can do that, and for once we do not have ten thousand other things that need to be done today.

I call the place we’ve been using. Someone answers the phone.

“Hi, do you have appointments available this afternoon?” I ask.

“We’re open until three,” the person on the other side says.

That is … not what I asked, and something about her tone gets directly on a nerve for some reason. A moment or two of slightly confused but pointed questions reveals that yes, they’re more or less free all afternoon and I can pick whatever time I want, and I make an appointment for noon.

The correct response here, by the way, is something along the lines of “We’ve got open spots all afternoon, what time would you like to come in?” I feel like this isn’t a complicated interaction, y’know? Probably happens a few times a day, at least? I asked about appointments. If you’re wide open, say that. Don’t get snotty with me and tell me your hours as if they weren’t right there on the website I used to find your phone number.

We’ve been using this place for a while, because they’re nearby, reasonably priced, and kid-friendly. There has always been a bit of Jesusiness about the place, but it’s never been too terribly overwhelming; they sell shirts and the shirts have a Bible verse on them for some reason along with the logo of the barbershop. That’s been about it. I live in fucking Indiana; I’m used to it.

Today when I got there their front door had been redone to include the two images in the above picture, and, well, welcome to the Don’t Want None Won’t Be None zone, folks. If I were to deliberately design a logo for American Christofascism I could not do much better than a cross with a thin blue line graphic imposed on it. My rule for when I allow my politics to influence decisions that shouldn’t be political (like where should I get my kid’s hair cut once every two or three months) is that if you make sure I know where you stand, I’m going to judge you accordingly, and if you don’t, I’m not going to go looking for trouble. And these folks have now officially crossed a (thin, blue) line that makes it perfectly clear that my business isn’t wanted there, and they’re going to get what they want from here on out.

Now, note here that 1) I have never had any problem with any of the employees, and I’m not even certain who actually owns the place; and 2) I am perfectly willing to let this rule apply to me; I wear my politics on my sleeve around here and anyone who is, say, unwilling to buy my books because of that is absolutely encouraged to make that decision. Everyone is welcome to not spend their money on my work for whatever reason they like, regardless of what I might think of the reason. I don’t actually get to have a say here! It’s your money!

And, well, when it’s my money, if you’re gonna make sure I get greeted with Jesus and Blue Lives Matter before I walk into your place of business, well, I’m gonna keep on walking. Sorrynotsorry, I guess.

Happy Thanksgiving

So it turns out that the iPhone’s Portrait mode works really well on cats, too, to the point where I’m figuring the people who coded it set it up that way on purpose. Dude still doesn’t have a name. Ten minutes ago I thought he had a name, and was ready to announce it, but he does not. Soon, though! He’s ours legally now, and we’ve got an appointment to get him fixed on Monday, so he really ought to have a name by then. Yesterday was the day the fifteen-day hold officially expired, though, so he’s ours.

Maybe that’ll be his name. We’ll just call him Ours. Sure.

I do not typically have Difficult Family Holidays, and do not actually have the crazy racist uncle that so many of us seem to have to tiptoe around on the holidays– or, if I do, he’s made certain to never be such in my presence or at my house. I wanted to make a joke here, the first was about my mother-in-law and the second was about my sister-in-law’s husband’s vague resemblance to Saddam Hussein, but both of them are landing rather poorly so just pretend I said something funny here.

So while we’re splitting Thanksgiving over two days this year– the Electric Boogaloo version is tomorrow– neither should be especially stressful, especially since I seem to be using my lingering illness as an excuse to go Full Metal Masculine and not be helpful in any real way at all.

I’m going to have to cook the whole goddamn meal next year to make up for this year, is what I’m saying.

But: while still ailing, I remain at least nominally alive, which is still an improvement over earlier this week, and I had mashed potatoes today and did not deliberately eat myself into a food coma, which may be a sign that I’m getting smarter as I get older but is probably just a sign that I remember I get two of them this year. So now I get to spend two days stressing about grading and a day actually grading, and then there’s a two-and-a-half week run to Winter Break, and then I can fall into a damn coma for all anyone cares.

Which, y’know. That’s the dream.

More– possibly lots more– tomorrow.