Quick question

Has the number of white people losing their shit in public over trivial and sometimes imaginary violations of either their “rights” or the sort of behavior they expect from other people actually skyrocketed in the last six months, or is it just that, much like police brutality, it’s always been there and the difference is now as soon as someone starts showing their ass in public six people whip out cameras?

I’m not even necessarily talking about covid-related stuff. I’ve seen so many videos over the last couple of week of people just purple-faced and incoherent with rage over absolutely nothing that it’s genuinely shocking, and it’s not like I’m going to look for this kind of stuff. And there have been a number where it’s clearly crossed a line from misplaced rage and landed straight on mental illness. I mean, sure, sometimes it’s funny to watch somebody lose their damn mind at a cashier who clearly doesn’t give a shit because their burger had too many pickles on it or whatever but I’m starting to see a subgenre where by the time they’re done they’re not funny anymore and I just want someone to put the poor person in a place where they can get help.


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.

A possibly relevant anecdote

A note: I am writing this immediately after the post from last night, and the way things are going it is entirely possible that events will have rendered this post out of date by the time it pops. Today is my mother’s first birthday since she passed away in January, and the immediate family is getting together, so I won’t be around, thus the pre-written post. Which at this point is going to be shorter than the disclaimer.

Further, if something does happen and I suddenly start talking about having converted to some major world religion or another, you know why.

I have been thinking about this story for a good chunk of the day: A good friend’s stepfather passed away several years ago. I feel like it was Parkinson’s, but if it wasn’t it was something similar; one of those terrible wasting sorts of diseases that always come with a life expectancy, sometimes expressed in months and sometimes in years, and sometimes can be managed, and sometimes cannot. I remember finding out he had this disease, and asking my friend how long the doctors had said he had.

My friend gave me a number, and then paused, thinking about it. “He’s not got that long,” he said. “There’s no fight in him.” And, indeed, he was gone fairly quickly after the diagnosis.

And, honestly, I can’t think of anyone with less fight in them than the person in the White House Walter Reed Hospital.

In which I explain as far as I know

To be clear, I hope he dies, and I don’t care who knows it, and the notion that he might die alone and gasping for breath from a disease that he refused to do anything to prevent is so karmically beautiful that I almost don’t know what to do about it.

A few years ago, I was trying to not be that kind of person; I have given up that fight. It’s lost. I hope he dies. He’s a terrible person and he’s responsible for hundreds of thousands of dead people and the fact that my mother never got a funeral and his painful, solitary death would be one of the very few 2020 events that counted as positive.

That said, it’s a little bit constitutionally complicated, so let’s run through some scenarios.

If he dies before the election: Mike Pence becomes President until at least Jan. 20. It is too late for the Republican Party to put anyone else’s name on the ballots. They are printed and thousands (hundreds of thousands?) of people have already voted, and state deadlines have passed. However, continue reading.

If he dies before the election, and loses the election: Mike Pence is still President until Jan. 20, there is likely no Vice President named, and Biden becomes President on January 20.

If he loses the election, then dies: As above. Pence takes office until Jan. 20.

If he dies before the election, and wins the election: This seems unlikely but isn’t impossible, and is where it starts getting complicated. The Republican party is in control of both their nominees and their nomination process, neither of which are specified in the Constitution, since the Constitution knows nothing of political parties. Furthermore, remember, you’re technically not actually voting for President, you’re voting for electors who are bound, sometimes not actually legally, to vote for that person later. There would, no doubt, be a quick party convention where someone– presumably Pence– would be nominated for President, along with a different VP. The Party would then inform their electors in the states they won to vote for whoever the person they chose was. This would have the potential to get really, really interesting if the Republicans find out they can’t coalesce around a single candidate, but that goes beyond my knowledge of the procedures involved. This would skirt some state laws that require electors to vote for the person that won the popular vote in that state, but I don’t see actual prosecutions being likely in this case, although that little wrinkle has potential to make this even more complicated if, say, there’s a state that he won that somehow has a Democratic legislature and governor.

If he wins the election, then dies before the electors have voted and the votes are officially certified by the House: The Electoral College votes on December 14, over a month after the election, and then there’s over a month between the Electoral College voting and the actual inauguration. This is where it gets really interesting. Pence still takes office for at least a little while, but I don’t know if things still work the same way as they would if he wasn’t alive for the election. I think they probably do, so long as the electors have not voted yet, the party can still scramble to pull an actual ticket together, and it wouldn’t automatically be Pence.

If he wins the election, the votes are certified, and then he dies: Pence becomes President, and remains President for the second term, as far as I know. For all I know, it ends up in the Supreme Court, because holy shit is there no precedent for this, but I don’t see it coming out any other way.

Not a lawyer, blah blah blah. If you see anything I’ve blatantly gotten wrong, let me know.

On the mighty Jordan River

Indiana University, my alma mater, has decided to remove eugenicist David Starr Jordan’s name from all campus properties. This includes the biology building, a parking garage, a street (they’re still working this part out with the city) and the mighty Jordan river, which cuts through campus.

Shut up. It is mighty. And it is a river.

Now, to be clear, 1) I support this decision, and 2) I couldn’t have told you David Starr Jordan’s first or middle names if my life depended on it prior to ten minutes ago, nor was I aware that he was a eugenicist. Not that it matters much, but apparently he got into that after ending his association with IU. I am not terribly pleased with the insanely boring choices they’re going with for new names (the Biology Building, the East Parking Garage, and the Campus River) but it does appear that they’re considering those names temporary placeholders while they work out better names for them. I can live with that.

This is not, however, why I’m writing this post. I’m not attached to Jordan’s name for the building or the street, and certainly not the parking garage. Rename those all you want. But I have just discovered something fascinating about the way my brain works, which is that despite knowing all four of those things were called the Jordan Whatever, and despite knowing at least vaguely that there was a biology dude who used to be affiliated with IU named Jordan, it never once occurred to me that the river was named after the same guy and not the river Jordan in Israel. Which, like, I’ve been calling that damn river the “mighty Jordan” for twenty-six fucking years as a mild little personal joke, with the understanding that people who I’m saying that to know we’re comparing it to the real one.

(Those of you who have never been to Bloomington: this thing is three inches deep at its deepest, and most of it you can jump across. For those of us not emotionally invested in it, it is a creek at best.)

I don’t know how my brain did that. You can damn near see Jordan Hall from the Jordan River and it never even once crossed my mind that they’d been named after the same dude. So, yeah, part of me doesn’t want the river renamed; I just want them to start lying about how it got named that, and insist that it’s always been named after the river in Israel, so I can keep making that joke.

Probably not entirely reasonable, I know, but I have to make exceptions for my own idiocy sometimes.

Okay, seriously now: am I watching the debate tonight? And if I am, am I liveblogging or livetweeting it? Decide for me: