What a day

I made it through a full day at work today, and it was a good day. I am trying to not get too far ahead of myself, but I think– I hope— that I’m going to really like my kids this year.

I got home and my Horizon Forbidden West Tallneck LEGO set had arrived, finally, and I put the base together. It was surprisingly fun.

Then I started finding out details about Pres. Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, and it looks like it’s going to be a, uh, big fucking deal. I’m not going to talk about it much because everywhere that can provide tons of details is utterly borked right now, but everything I’ve seen looks like really, really good news.

Good day today. Is this what optimism feels like? Christ, this might be optimism!

In which you’ve got to be kidding me

My Congresswoman, an odious creature by the name of Jackie Walorski, died unexpectedly in a car accident several weeks ago. The way things work in Indiana is that if someone in office dies there has to be a special election to fill the seat no matter how little time is left in the term, but depending on the timing, the special election can be the same day as the general election, and there are no primaries– the parties just name their candidates by whatever means they choose. So the Democrats nominated the guy who already had the nomination for the general election, and the Republicans just named both a candidate for the special election (the winner will serve for about two months) and for the general. It is reasonable to assume that the same person will end up winning both, of course, but you never know.

A quick detour. You may recall a movie from the mid-nineties about a Notre Dame football walk-on named Rudy Ruettinger. Parts of it were actually filmed in my high school, and there are a handful of my classmates here and there filling out background/extra roles. Sean Astin starred as Rudy. This is the logo for the film:

The Republicans chose their candidate sometime in the last day or two. His name is Rudy Yakym. I have briefly perused his website and he appears to be a nutcase; there’s a bit on there about ending persecution of Christians, so we’re in genuine shithouse rat territory here and I’m super excited for the Republicans to be getting worse again.

Scroll slowly, here. Take a second, take all this in, and picture this guy’s campaign logo. Go ahead. I’ll give you a minute to think about it. In fact, have a song:

Okay. You ready?

This is Rudy Yakym’s campaign logo:

Literally all my dude did was turn off the bold.

Fuckin’ embarrassing.

Fucking Christ, that’s enough

Damn near all of this is good news, one way or another, and you can imagine how jubilant I am that we might finally get a perp walk for that orange shitstain sometime in the near future. But all I can think about right now is Salman Rushdie. I don’t know why I haven’t seen the phrase “assassination attempt” used in any of the media accounts I’ve seen of the stabbing attack on him today, but the latest information I’ve seen (as of 8:23 PM) is that he may lose an eye, that the nerves in one arm were severed, and that he sustained damage to his liver as well. He is currently on a ventilator but I’m choosing to not read much into that given that he just came out of major surgery, and being on a vent after something like that is pretty much par for the course.

Initial reports (which may, of course, be wrong) suggest that his attacker is an Iranian sympathizer and he does not appear to have been provided with any security at the event where he was attacked. I don’t know how that happens. If he doesn’t make it through this it’s going to be the biggest loss to world culture since Lennon was killed.

I dunno, it’s got me fucked up. I hope he recovers. I can’t deal with Salman Rushdie being assassinated right now.


Out of town tomorrow for a birthday party in Indianapolis, and I’m back to work for real on Monday, so don’t be surprised if you don’t hear from me on either or both days. The classroom is in decent shape (I’ll have all of Tuesday to finish it off; Monday is all meetings) but I’ve got a lot of writing and presentations to create so if I behave like an adult for the next couple of days I’ll be busy as hell.

A political thought exercise

My training today was a nightmare, but not for any fault of any of the people involved. For whatever reason I couldn’t get to sleep last night– I was awake and mindlessly scrolling through TikTok at 1:30 in the morning– and I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually get to sleep until after 2 AM, only to be back up at 7:30. Somehow I managed to get to the training without getting any actual caffeine in my body, which … what? That shouldn’t have even been possible, as I’m generally less likely to leave the house in the morning without some form of caffeine consumption than I am to leave without my pants, but it happened.

And then the training was in this tiny, windowless, concrete-block shitbox of a classroom with no moving air and not a whole Goddamn lot of air conditioning, and on top of that the room featured those horrible one-piece desks that I am, at this point, simply too fucking fat to sit in comfortably. I eventually got up and commandeered one of the two teacher chairs in the room, pulling it up to an empty desk, because fuck it, I’m not going to be in pain for three hours, but between the lack of sleep and the temperature and everything else, staying awake was a nightmare, but not in any way that I blame the presenter for. He did fine, and the actual new textbook adoption seems initially pretty solid, although I’ll need to look more carefully at it later.

I actually took a nap when I got home, and slept so hard that I woke up three hours later convinced it was the next morning, and it took several moments of genuine confusion about why it was so bright in the room before I realized I’d only slept for a few hours. I think the boy’s still alive. I should go check on him after this post is done.

Oh, and when I checked the mail I had another jury summons, my second of 2022 so far. I will, I’m sure, still not make it into an actual trial.


Anyway. That thought experiment.

Let’s imagine that we’re a member of a political party. For the purposes of this conversation it genuinely doesn’t matter which one, and while I’m framing this as part of America’s two-party system, I don’t even really know that a two-party framework is necessary. Let’s further imagine that whichever direction on the spectrum our party generally leans, we are personally somewhat further in that direction than the average party member. So if you’re a Republican, you’re more conservative than most, and if you’re a Democrat, you’re more left-leaning(*) than most.

So here’s the question: your party is not a monolith, as I’ve said, and you’re more , I’ll say polarized, than most. Which of these two scenarios is better?

  • Your party has a slim majority, where the loss of more than one or two members of your party means your legislation isn’t going to get passed, but nearly all members of your party are generally reliable votes for your party’s legislation;
  • Your party has a considerable majority, but includes a significant centrist wing, so legislation from your party is more or less going to get passed, but virtually everything is going to require getting through that more centrist wing and therefore will require inter-party negotiation and, more than likely, watering down of the priorities that the people at the longer end of the tail– you, in other words– are going to want.

There’s been a lot of talk since the Dobbs decision about how Obama had a supermajority in 2008 and should have codified Roe into federal law while he had the chance. I am going to ignore most of the details of this argument and look specifically at one thing: that Obama did have said majority, for a few months at least, but that said majority included at least a dozen Senators who were considerably further to the right than any current Democratic Senator other than the oft-maligned Mr. Manchin, and I’m sure a couple of them– Joe Lieberman, anyone?– would have ended up to Manchin’s right if compared carefully. Nearly all of those people are no longer in the Senate. Why?

Well, most of them were replaced with Republicans. And it is very difficult to imagine that once Sen. Manchin retires he will be replaced with anything other than a Republican, and a considerably more conservative Republican at that. I remind all of you that I live in Indiana, and have counted among my Senators both Evan Bayh and Joe Donnelly during my lifetime. Neither were especially reliable Democrats, but they were Democrats, and their current replacements, Mike Braun and Todd Young, are not improvements over either of them.

The Democratic Party as a whole and particularly the Democratic Senators are considerably to the left of where the party was in 2008. Not to the degree that the Republicans have moved to the right; not even close, I don’t think, but the movement is undeniable, and at least part of the reason is that we’ve effectively pruned the right wing of our party during the last fourteen years. And as a result we have 48 more-or-less reliable Democratic votes, or at least reliable Democratic-caucusing votes, since I’m counting Bernie Sanders in that mix, and we have Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. I feel like Arizona could do better than Sinema; West Virginia will not be improving on Manchin.

So, again, your question: Are we better off? Why or why not?

(*) Left-leaning people currently being in a little bit of a civil war about nomenclature, I’m going to choose for the purposes of this post to stay agnostic about it.

One down

My wife is in Boston for work until next Saturday, so I am entirely responsible for keeping our pets and son alive until she returns, which sounds like it ought to be a lot of work but I think I can probably handle it. I’ve got about a page and a half of stuff I intend to get accomplished before she gets back, and despite spending several hours with an extra fifth-grader in the house this afternoon I managed to cross several items off of my list. Most of them were what a motivational speaker might call “quick wins,” but fuck it, they still count. I have a couple of Projects in mind for tomorrow, so we’ll see how we do.

I think tomorrow I’ll write the Obi-Wan review; I meant to do it today but the day got away from me and all the sudden it was 8:00, which is sort of the unofficial “Goddammit get something on the screen” deadline for blog posts around here, and the review is going to demand at least a little more thought than I think I’m ready for at the moment. I am also considering a Manifesto of sorts; a What Do We Do Now type of thing that no one will listen to and will never come true. And it’s all going to come down to vote, you morons anyway. I’ve blocked, conservatively, dozens of idiots today, and there will likely be more tomorrow as I continue to lose even the vaguest vestiges of patience with what are either young progressives without a single stitch of sense about how things actually work or, perhaps more likely, Russian bots.

That said, I can’t really blame The Youngs, at least not exclusively; I put this on Twitter already, but this little bit of Fucking Nonsense From People that Should Know Better showed up in my text messages yesterday, and, uh, I wasn’t in the mood:

Probably shoulda just typed STOP, as Kati-from-the-DSCC never responded and likely also wasn’t actually a person, but whatever. A fucking petition. No, I’m not signing a petition. Petitions are for twelve-year-olds. Nothing that mattered has ever been changed by a Goddamned petition.

(Prove me wrong, if you can; I’m pretty sure I’m right here, but if you know of a counter-example, I’d genuinely love to hear it.)

So, yeah, everything still sucks and I still hate it here, but at least for the time being I’m no longer, like, actively marinating in hatred. Progress? Sure.