A handful of quick (possibly unnecessary) reminders

14355019_1130463423707041_9216674759976386590_n.jpgThe election was always going to tighten.  It’s in between the conventions and the debates.  The natural impulse is to revert to the mean.

The news media really, really, really wants this to be a horserace, so they’re going to do whatever they can to make it one.

National polls are meaningless and will remain so.  We do not have a national election.  Pay attention to the electoral college.

Donald Trump has no campaign and no ground game.  He barely even got on the ballot in Minnesota.  Early voting starts soon.  It will matter.

Trump will be graded on the curviest curve that ever curved at the debates.  Absolutely no matter what happens at the first debate, he will be named the winner if he does not shit himself.  It will be declared a tie if he actually does shit himself.  They will lose interest by the second (and third, if it happens) and the debates will widen Clinton’s lead again.

Tim Kaine will humiliate the fuck out of Mike Pence at the VP debate.  Sadly, it will not matter.

Pay little or no attention to the Stein and Johnson campaigns, particularly the Stein campaign, as Jill Stein is an Internet troll and not even a credible candidate by third-party standards.  They will not matter.  I don’t care how they’re performing on the ballot right now.  The election is still a month and a half away and their numbers will drop.

There has not been a single second so far where Donald Trump was in the lead.  Not one.

When in doubt, consult this image, and remember 2008 and 2012, and remember that those folks are going to show up again.

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Dassit.

In which I say and think things I shouldn’t

CXzsl10WYAAR7Rt.jpgJust one drone-fired Hellfire missile.  Just one.  The military would never miss it, and I think it would teach an important lesson to the others who think like this sewing circle of Cheeto-fed halfwits about the utter futility of waving their dicks at people who have missiles.

At least when my people dress up like superheroes and go out in public we know we’re doing it.

But no.  I’m a fucking filthy liberal, and part of being a fucking filthy liberal is that we try to recognize when our ids are doing the thinking and not the more rational parts of our brains, and then we tell our ids to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up and go try and do the right thing.  “Kill ’em all!” is very much the conservative reaction, or at least it would be if these morons weren’t white.

(I watch with interest all the folks who have been insisting there is never any other option than murder when your target is a black child with a toy; those people have all gone surprisingly quiet.  Well, okay, it’s not surprising.  At all.  If these fucks were black or Muslim or– horrors!– both, half of Oregon would have been burned to the ground by now.)

So, as much as I admit that I wouldn’t shed any tears if it went another way, I genuinely do want the government to solve this peacefully.  Luckily, from what I’ve seen and read so far, #yokelharam seems to be doing a pretty good job of putting themselves in jail already.  There are obviously a lot of unknowns here, and I’m also obviously not a law enforcement officer so I am open to being corrected here or changing my mind once I hear new information, but honestly this doesn’t seem like a terribly difficult situation to resolve.  I’m hearing, for example, that this is their “supply room,” although I’m keeping my eyes open to see if anybody claims this picture is a fake:

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So… apples, oranges, a boom box, and what appears to be a giant bag of cat litter or, charitably, maybe wheat germ or oats or some shit.  I assume, but don’t know, that the government has already blocked off the (one?  two, maybe?) roads leading up to this place, so resupply isn’t happening.  If they haven’t, maybe wait a couple more days to see if the honeypot attracts any more morons, then close the roads.

Then cut off the heat, the electricity, the phones, the water, fence the place off, fire some beanbags through the windows, and wait.  Keep the place under constant drone surveillance; if one of them tries to shoot it down, well, that’s another federal charge once they quit.  You wanna be really mean?  There’s a lake very close by.  It’s cold and rainy in Oregon right now.  It’s gonna stay that way for a while.  Spend an hour a day hosing the place down.  Knock out another couple windows a day while you’re at it.  See a generator outside?  Shoot it.

And wait.

These chucklefucks aren’t going to be there for “years.”  And there aren’t 150 of them, and if there are, they’re going to regret that quickly.  Because then sanitation becomes a problem much, much faster.  And even if that picture is a fake there is just no way they have enough supplies for that many people.  Or the space.

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They’ll be fucking each other by the end of the week, eating each other by the end of the second, and rotting in jail at the end of the third.

This isn’t worth the life of a single law enforcement officer of any stripe, and honestly it’s not worth any of their lives either unless they’re stupid enough to start shooting, in which case I refer you to the Hellfire missile option above.  They’ve been pretty open in describing themselves as an armed insurrection even though the news media won’t (again: white) and since there are no hostages there’s not really a whole lot of room for innocent lives to be lost here.  Did you drive many miles to go live in a hut with a bunch of overfed slack-jawed cosplayers?  Well, that was dumb, wasn’t it?

And when they surrender, hit them with every charge you can think of, maybe make up a few for the hell of it, and toss ’em in the clink until the diabeetus gets ’em.meal_team_6_operator.jpg

Which, let’s be honest, won’t be very long.

Let’s talk about #assaultatspringvalley

I’m going to start this with something I said yesterday.

What will be painful: they’ve got CNN on in this damn waiting room, and they keep going back to that poor kid getting her ass beat by that cop in South Carolina the other day.  Having to watch/hear the footage is rage-inducing enough; I swear to God if I have to listen to some fucking Hoosier conversation about it I’m gonna go to jail today, and it’s good that we’re already at the hospital.

I have a new policy, and I’m sticking to this motherfucker: if I am ever in public where a 24-hour news station is audibly playing over a television set, and I’m in a situation, like a waiting room, where I literally cannot get away from the TV, I’m unplugging the goddamned thing, and to hell with the consequences.

I had to spend several hours in a waiting room yesterday because my mother was having her hip replaced (as of last speaking to her, around 6:30 PM last night, she’s doing astonishingly well; I’ll see her again this afternoon after I get my son from school.)  CNN was on on the television in the waiting room.  It was on multiple TVs, so there was nowhere in the room I could have gone to get away from it, and I’d neglected to bring earphones with me– not that I really could have used them, since my aunt and my dad were both with me and that would have been kind of rude.

CNN kept lying, or putting people on the TV who were lying for them– like, for example, the police chief, who insisted that there were no complaints against “Officer Slam” despite the fact that he’s the subject of a lawsuit right now.  And the chief kept blaming the kid for starting the altercation, and the fact that she’d hit the police officer kept coming up.

Note that, at that time, I had not seen the “third video” that showed her hitting him, so I was just going on faith that it had happened and that it was more or less as those describing it said.  CNN wasn’t showing it.

I was managing to keep it together.  I’ll be fine, I remember thinking to myself, so long as no one around me starts a conversation about this bullshit that I can hear.  And here’s the thing: shit woulda been the same even if the people talking had completely agreed with everything I think.  I cannot tolerate this kind of evil any longer, and my blood pressure meds and mood-altering drugs are not enough to overcome the rage.  I don’t know that anything is.

So naturally the old white lady sitting across from me had to start yammering about how Kids These Days and how everything was the girl’s fault.

It… did not go well.  Now, on my end: I am actually trained in crisis intervention, and I’ve been in dozens of situations over the years (read Searching for Malumba— I talk about a bunch of them!) where keeping an absolute lock on 1) my emotions; 2) my language; 3) my tone of voice, and 4) my physical stance and presence were absolutely critical to keeping things from going very south.

I referred to her solely as “ma’am” during the entire conversation.  I did not raise my voice, I did not so much as lean forward, and I kept my laptop in my lap and my hands on the keyboard during the entire conversation.

It began with me pointing out that I have been involved in urban education for fifteen years, and during that time I have had literally dozens of situations where it was necessary to remove a student from my classroom, and at not one time during all those years was violence, much less that level of violence, necessary to remove the student from my classroom.

“That man should be in jail,” I said.  “He has committed assault against a child, and he should be in jail.”

She tried to tell me– I swear to God this is true– that I didn’t understand what kids were like “these days.”

That didn’t go too well either.

Yammering about how she’d hit the cop.

“So what?  That’s a sixteen-year-old girl sitting in a chair.  He’s a grown-ass man in body armor who can bench press 600 pounds.  Who cares if she hit him?  What difference does it make?”

She asked me what I would have done “if that ever happened to you,” apparently not having heard anything I’d said.

I pointed out again that it had happened, repeatedly, as well as any number of other situations far more dangerous than a moody child sitting in a desk, and that I had resolved those situations without resorting to violence.

“Well, I suppose you’re just an expert, then, aren’t you?” she sneered.

Eye contact.

“Yes.  I am.”

She wasn’t expecting that response, I think.

At that point she started babbling about relatives who used to be teachers and a friend who used to be a cop and blah blah blah I cut her off.  Pointed at the TV.  “That’s your child,” I said.  “Right there.  That’s your little girl being dragged across the floor by a grown man who can bench press six hundred pounds.  If you can seriously look at that and place any of the blame on the child, ma’am, you very badly need to examine your soul.”

At that point, my dad leaned forward a bit, holding a hand out toward me; I think he thought I might be about to get up.  Nah.  I got this.

At some point she shut up.  Interestingly, the guy she was with– he didn’t vibe husband or boyfriend, but they were definitely together– only spoke about three times during the conversation, and only did so to agree with me.

A few minutes later, once the press conference was on, CNN had some sort of ed person– maybe a principal, maybe a Ph.D researcher, I dunno– on, and the anchor asked him what the proper reaction to that situation should have been.  The man went on to more or less exactly repeat what I had said, which was gratifying.

I didn’t speak.  I did, however, point at the TV.


It is good for everyone that I had not seen this video prior to that conversation.  This is the magical “third video,” the one that shows the girl “hitting” the police officer.  Basically the whole thing is repeating the first few seconds in slow-motion over and over again, so once you’ve watched the first fifteen seconds or so you’re probably good.

Trigger warning.  This fucked me up for most of last evening.  I suggest you not watch the video, and just trust me that I’m describing it accurately.  If you’re human, this will enrage you.

That’s “hitting” to these people, and if you click through to YouTube you will see that the headline appears to have been written by someone who may be wrapped in human skin but almost certainly lacks any actual humanity.

“Officer Slam” has grabbed this child around her neck with one hand, and with the other he is reaching underneath her legs.  She flails backwards at him with both hands.

There is literally no way for this to be any more clearly self-defense than it is.  Furthermore, given the angles of the two, and the fact that he’s got her by the neck, the risk to the “police officer” is minimal at best.  And let’s not forget, either, that he initiated the contact.

I had thought, from the media reports, that she had punched him before he went after her.  No.  Not even close.

If you can watch that, and you still think that the actions of the child are in any way relevant to what went on, there is something terribly, terribly wrong with you.

Furthermore: watch carefully the reaction of the other teenagers in the room.  Think carefully about that.  There is just about nothing kids like watching more than somebody else getting their ass beat.  In damn near any classroom in the country a scene like that would have produced pandemonium.  Half the kids would be doing their best Chris Tucker impressions and a handful of them would be screaming at the cop.  They’d be out of their seats and running around.  A couple of them would be standing on desks to watch.

Not one of those fucking kids moves.

Because they are terrified.

That kind of fear has no place in a school, ever.  This man should not only be fired (granted, he has) he should be jailed, and it is abundantly clear that he should never have been allowed inside the walls of a school to begin with.  Any of the bullshit charges filed against the two students who were arrested should be dropped immediately, and the young woman hurled to the floor should at the very least have her college tuition paid for by the police department.

I’ve said this before, and I have to remind myself of it every day: I have liked every police officer I have ever personally known, and in particular the three SROs I’ve worked with over the years have all been professionals who were good at their jobs and worked to build rapport with their students instead of ruling by fear and intimidation.

But that reminder is mattering less and less the longer this goes on.

America’s police officers need to patrol their ranks, they need to eliminate the deep, deep, deep rot that exists within their organizations, and they need to do it right now.  Because the police are, more and more every day, looking less like a group of people whose job is to “serve and protect” and more like a mercenary army who are not only allowed but encouraged to kill and injure the rest of us as they see fit without any chance of consequences.

This must stop.  Now.

In which I’m in the hospital again

TotalHipReplacement_-_Before__AfterDo not panic!  It’s not for me this time!  Honestly, though, I’d rather it was, as my last couple of ER visits were for not especially big deals as hospital visits go.  My mother is having her hip replaced, converting her even further to a cybernetic organism, because she already has a replacement knee, artificial corneas, and I think maybe something in her lower back as well.  I have to admit; if it weren’t for the years of pain that led to each of the surgeries, I’d almost be jealous.  I wanna be a robot too!

Then again, all I really have to do is wait.  I have indisputably inherited my mother’s knees; I stood up yesterday from my recliner and the crumpling-paper noise from both of my knees was so loud that my wife heard it.  It didn’t really hurt, precisely, but the holy shit what was that reaction was so horrifying I almost wish it was pain.

What will be painful: they’ve got CNN on in this damn waiting room, and they keep going back to that poor kid getting her ass beat by that cop in South Carolina the other day.  Having to watch/hear the footage is rage-inducing enough; I swear to God if I have to listen to some fucking Hoosier conversation about it I’m gonna go to jail today, and it’s good that we’re already at the hospital.

Mom’s gonna be fine, by the way, but good vibes are appreciated anyway.  More later.

EDIT:  She’s out of surgery already, which is ridiculous.  The doc said she had a lot of arthritis in that hip but everything went fine.  She’s in recovery now and we’ll get to see her in a couple of hours.  There’s still the standard post-surgical suite of potential complications to worry about but the surgery itself went as well as it possibly could have.

I’ll just leave this here

The article doesn’t say “Dyson sphere,” and the whole idea is ridiculous, but holy shit they found a Dyson sphere.