Forget it, Jake, it’s 2020

Enjoy the pretty flower; it’s likely to be the only pleasant thing in this post.

We went out and bought pumpkins and got the boy’s Halloween costume earlier today, and at some point during the trip I sighed, and my wife asked me why. My answer was that she should assume that if at any point between now and, oh, two or three weeks from now, she hears me sigh, it’s because I’m under an absolutely immense amount of stress basically all the time and I’m trying to discharge some of that.

Not that that’s specific to me, mind you; we’re all neck-deep in bullshit right now. We went to Target after the pumpkins because the boy needed new shoes and I got an email from a student apologizing for not turning in any work this week. She’d been in a mental hospital.

I wrote her back and told her she was to do none of the work for my class. I’m going to exempt her from everything she’s missed. I absolutely refuse to let my class be another source of stress for this kid. She doesn’t need it.

(Incidentally, I tweeted out this article about teaching and learning in 2020 earlier today, and I endorse every word of it.)

Meanwhile, I’m trying to decide how vocal I want to be about calling upon a school board member to resign. If you remember my 2020 endorsements post, you may recall a tepid endorsement of current board member Leslie Wesley, who I don’t actually get to vote for or against because she doesn’t represent my district. I was, at the time, less encouraging a vote for her than a vote against her opponent, who is, to put it mildly, a local crank.

Unfortunately, Ms. Wesley got busted today for plagiarizing her candidate statement to the South Bend Tribune more or less in its entirety, basically just changing the city and district names of a 2018 California school board candidate’s essay. She first claimed that she’d written the piece in 2016 and actually accused the other woman of having plagiarized her, then switched her story to blaming a staffer, because people who run for school board need staff members.

Sure.

This is one of those situations where the initial situation is bad and then the lying about the initial situation just makes it even worse; her insistence in that article that nobody running for office ever writes their own articles is horseshit, because she’s not running for President, she’s running for fucking school board, and the initial suggestion that she’d simply just dusted off a statement from four years ago and reused it and slandering the stranger who got dragged into this against her own will is obscene.

There was also apparently a bunch of inflammatory bullshit on Facebook when this initially came out, all of which has been deleted, but including this charmingly inexplicable comment:

Hell, even if she’d written the statement in its entirety this year, any statement by a school board member trying to be reelected to office this year that never once mentions Covid, further not discussing the fact that she voted twice to return us to school, is not acceptable.

She needs to go. I would rather have a crank on the board than a shitty liar, and she’s a shitty liar even if she’s not a plagiarist. Fuck her. She needs to resign, to hell with the election.

So I gotta decide what I’m going to do about that. I considered using her picture on this post and decided against it; I thought about using her name in the headline and decided against that. I’m on Facebook under Luther’s name, not my real one. And my audience here isn’t as locally concentrated as one might thing, because my friends and family are all over the place.

(I wonder if WordPress has a way to do state-by-state traffic tracking? That might be interesting.)

At any rate, I can use my Big Platform, which probably isn’t as Big as I need it to be given how hyper-specific this issue is, or I can begin raising hell on my own, using my real name. It’s not like I haven’t gotten into the habit of emailing the entire board and the superintendent whenever the mood strikes me.

(Some Board members have replied to every message. The superintendent has replied to every message. Several Board members have replied to at least one. I have never heard a single word back from Ms. Wesley. Perhaps she doesn’t have a staffer to check her mail for her.)

Anyway, I gotta think about this. But if you are local, and especially if you’re in the third district for the School Board race, be aware of this, and if you haven’t voted yet, please vote accordingly.

On yard signs, again

I should probably feel at least kind of guilty about how I’ve handled my day so far. Under the current hybrid model my district has adopted while we pretend that our numbers in the state and the county aren’t skyrocketing, Wednesdays are days where all of the kids are home and the buildings are “deep cleaned.” We were instructed last week to keep these days asynchronous– in other words, there is to be no live instruction on Wednesdays, and thus I’m freed from having to spend my entire day in front of a computer screen. Furthermore, because of the aforementioned need for deep cleaning, even the staff that have been reporting to work are home today. I’d have been home anyway, mind you, but I’m super at home today.

Why is everything asynchronous on Wednesdays? Because they want to use those days for training. Which is why I was a bit surprised to learn that today’s training was a single hour in length and was not required to be viewed live. So rather than make sure to log in precisely at 10:00 to watch it as it unfolded, I went out and ran some errands, leaving the house for the first time in eight days. I voted, managing to hit the County/City building at a slow moment and getting in and out in 32 minutes, which didn’t seem too bad. Since I was downtown, I went to the Griffon and bought some dice, then hit the comic shop, got a flu shot, grabbed lunch from a drive-thru and came home. Now, of course, I’m blogging, and I guess when I’m done with this I’ll do the training module and get my lesson for tomorrow recorded. But so far it’s 1:41 on what is technically not a day off and I haven’t done a single thing for work. I kind of feel like I should feel bad about that. Then again, I wasn’t the one who told me to not meet with students today because of trainings and then only scheduled an hour of training.

(stares off into space for eighteen full minutes)

Anyway, I was going to talk about road signs. I was mostly along the same route I was last time I did this, so I can report a handful of changes:

  • There is now a single (1) Holcomb for Governor and a single (1) Myers for Governor sign, although obviously not in the same yard. Notably, Indiana has a Libertarian running this year who is expected to capture a nontrivial percentage of the vote because of Republicans who are disappointed that Holcomb’s actually attempting to take the virus seriously– enough so that it’s less unimaginable that the Democrat might win than it might be otherwise, given how utterly shit his campaign has been. I’ve seen no signs for that guy anywhere, though.
  • Overall the volume of signs has not changed notably, and continues to be primarily for state and local races.
  • Interestingly, and somewhat depressingly, I’ve noted a trend in yards that have signs for the presidential race in their yard, and it doesn’t appear to be a partisan trend: the lawn signs for President are usually placed much closer to the actual house than any others. I would guess that people are either actually stealing and/or destroying them or people are assuming that they will if they put their sign within reach of the street.

I voted pretty much in accordance with my earlier endorsements, although I’m a bit more irritated with the School Board today than I was when I wrote that post two weeks ago and I very nearly did not vote for John Anella. Rudy Monterrosa continues to have earned my vote. I also decided to vote for the Democrat in the county coroner race despite the Republican candidate having formerly been my doctor. Upon thinking about it a bit more, despite my history of not voting for this office and my strong contention that it has no reason to be 1) elected or 2) partisan in the first place, I feel like any doctor who has been alive to witness the science-denying, mask-refusing death cult the GOP has turned into in the last four years and remains a part of the party can no longer be trusted. Sorry, Dr. Jordan. I liked you when you were my doctor but this isn’t okay.

On predictions

I did not watch the debate last night, and I have, I think, more experience with Mike Pence’s peculiar brand of affectless sophistry than most, but not in a million years did I think insects would compose a substantial portion of the discourse the day afterward. And if it wasn’t the insects, it was what appeared to be pinkeye, a twin to his boss’s nearly swollen shut eye in his drug-induced, semicoherent frenzy video from yesterday.

I have no idea if this dude has Covid or not. He was supposed to be in Indiana tomorrow to vote; that’s been abruptly cancelled and he’s been recalled to DC. I am refraining from guessing what that might be about, as I suspect there are plenty of utterly boring reasons why the Vice-President might have to cancel a purely optional trip to attend to something else in DC. There are a bunch that aren’t boring, too, but I’m utterly done trying to predict what is coming next, ever.

I had a brief text conversation with my brother earlier today about Nate Silver, who is currently predicting that Biden wins the election. Frankly, everyone is predicting that Biden wins the election, and we are at least edging into “but by how much?” territory. I saw a poll today that had Biden up by sixteen points. This is what an eighteen-point win looks like:

… so, good news, right? Nah. I’m not predicting a god damn thing. I still haven’t voted, but I’ll attend to that as soon as I can; it’s only a suddenly somewhat more complicated schedule that has kept me from doing it already, since my wife for various reasons isn’t able to work from home as much as she has been recently. That’s what I can control. I’m going to vote, and I’m going to make sure everyone I have even the slightest influence over also votes, and then I’m going to do my best to stop worrying about it. I’m making no predictions of any kind. I’m barely even allowing myself to be hopeful. I’m gonna vote. I’m gonna tell you to vote. And I’m probably going to take the day after the election off, no matter what, and I’m gonna make sure I’ve got a supply of emergency brain meds laid in.

And that’s all I can do right now.

In which I endorse, 2020 edition

Early voting begins in Indiana tomorrow. I will very likely vote this week, although I don’t think it’s super likely that I will do it tomorrow, as I figure that there are more likely to be lines tomorrow than there will be on, say, Wednesday or Thursday. Lines are To Be Avoided.

Therefore, my 2020 endorsements:

Some of these are obvious! You shall vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for President and Vice-President, respectively, and you shall enjoy doing so quite thoroughly. In general, you should probably just cast a straight Democratic ticket, but I want to write this post anyway so I’m gonna do it.

Indiana has a Governor’s race, but no Senate races this year. I will be voting for Woody Myers and Linda Lawson for governor. Probably. I may actually leave this one blank, and I’m deliberately not using the word “endorse” here, because Myers’ campaign has been utterly invisible, and honestly I have no particular reason to be annoyed with Holcomb beyond several things that are generic to Republicans and not specific to him. He will crush Myers. It’s going to be embarrassing. I have trouble voting for someone who did such a poor job of campaigning that I had to look up his name in October.

I enthusiastically endorse Pat Hackett for Congress from IN-02. My current Congresscritter is loathsome; I actually wrote Pat’s name in in 2018 because another Republican somehow stole the Democratic nomination and proved to be so noxious that I refused to vote for him. She demolished him; turns out that people who want to vote for Republicans are more likely to vote for Republicans than they are for Republicans who are pretending to be Democrats. I haven’t seen any useful polling and don’t have any idea how much of a chance Pat actually has but I would be deliriously happy to have her in Congress. I’ve been making weekly donations to her campaign for months. I’m really crossing my fingers for this one.

I will vote for the Democrats for any state legislative seats that are available and I won’t bother finding out their names beforehand.

In terms of more local offices, in the St. Joseph County Commissioner’s race for my district I endorse Oliver Davis, who I know personally and like quite a bit, over Derek Dieter, who I do not know and also think is a sexist asshole. The last time I mentioned him on this site his campaign manager tried to start shit with me on Facebook; I’m almost hoping they try it again.

I may be forced to break not one but two of my rules for the coroner’s race. First, I don’t vote for Republicans, and second, I don’t vote for coroner. I’ve typically skipped this race because I have no idea why the hell the coroner’s race would be an elective office. However! Patricia Jordan used to be my actual doctor, and I was quite fond of her. Insofar as I don’t see why this is an elected office, I’m even less clear on why it might be a partisan office, and as such I’ll probably end up voting for Dr. Jordan.

Finally, the School Board At-Large race: I endorse John Anella and Rudy Monterrosa, both current members of the Board, and of the two I endorse Monterrosa quite a bit more strongly than Anella. That said, you choose two candidates from a field of six, so that’s who I’m voting for. I know Jeannette McCullough and actively do not want her on the Board, and I know nothing of the other three, so this is a pretty easy choice.

Also, I don’t get a say in this because I’m not in the district, but I endorse Leslie Wesley for the District 3 School Board seat. I am not a huge fan of Ms. Wesley, particularly as she’s not been voting correctly regarding our recent school closing and reopening decisions, but Bill Sniadecki, who she ran against and defeated four years ago, is trying to slither back onto the Board again and he needs to be prevented from doing so.

(The previous paragraph is rescinded. See here for details.)

(Oh, and I almost forgot: there are six or so retention votes for judges on the ballot. I am not going to pretend that I did exhaustive research here, but I looked briefly into all six of them and no obvious red flags presented themselves. I typically do not vote one way or another on judges unless I’m given a reason to have a strong opinion, and unless someone shows me something I missed, right now I do not.)

Not that I’ll take my own advice, but …

My grading for the weekend and most of my planning for next week is done already, which is a good thing, but that hasn’t stopped me from spending most of the morning doomscrolling. And something has occurred to me: this situation being what it is, we literally cannot trust a single thing we hear from anyone at all. Certainly not the administration, not the doctors, not photographs (note that this picture of him “working” involves signing a blank piece of paper, and this isn’t even the first time that they’ve been caught pulling that dumb-ass move,) nothing. Not one word that any of these people say can be trusted.

There are only two things that can be assumed to have some sort of reasonable truth value here: 1) he dies, or 2) he leaves the hospital. Both would be rather difficult to fake, although I’m sure it’ll be at least a day or two before they admit it if he does actually die.

(I paid fairly close attention once Herman Cain went into the hospital, checking in on his condition once every day or two, and they did the exact same thing– dude was in the hospital for weeks and they consistently insisted he was fine and/or getting better right up until he died.)

Anything short of release or death, good news or bad, has to be presumed to be a lie. And therefore there’s really no point in the doomscrolling, because if he does die or leave the hospital once that information leaks out it’ll be everywhere in seconds, so it’s not like we won’t find out.

So I’m going to try and do something else. I’m going to fail, mind you, but I’m going to try.