Dear Luther

What the hell, let’s advice column this shit and see what happens: I am feeling much more human today. My brother and his wife are expecting their first child in April, and it has long been the plan to give them the crib we used for our son. He texted me earlier this week and offered me $100 and lunch if I bring him the crib rather than the original plan of them coming to get it at some point; they live north of Chicago, so maybe 2-2 1/2 hours away. I am taking a day trip to bring him the crib.

(Also: I work from home, they both work from home, my dad is coming along for company and he’s retired; everyone involved except maybe my sister-in-law has had at least one shot. None of us really go anywhere, and we’re all religious about masks when we do. Covid risk is therefore minimal.)

(Also also: It’s possible, but not super likely, that my brother will see this; he gets a vote just like everybody else if he does.)

Giving me $100 will not break his bank account and receiving $100 will not change my life. He’s definitely buying me lunch, but do I take the money? Defend your answer in comments.

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 let the hivemind decide

Six years ago I watched a certain movie and had some opinions about it. I, as I am occasionally known to do, put those opinions on the interwebs for other humans to see. That post is still the number one Google result if you search for the words “Snowpiercer stupid,” and is, somehow, still my highest-traffic regular post on a day-to-day basis:

You may be aware that they have decided to make a television program out of this very silly movie, and that that television program is currently airing, which is responsible for the current surge in pageviews– the post never died; there has been one day since 2015 where it didn’t get any views at all– but I’m not used to it being back up to having three-figure days again.

So here’s the question: do I watch the show? I’m not actually interested in watching the show, but I’m willing to do it for science, if the Internet wants me to.

So, uh, let me know?


3:54 PM, Wednesday May 20: 1,539,633 confirmed cases and 92,712 American deaths.

In which I know nothing, but talk anyway

More politics! More politics!

What can I say, it’s been that kind of week.

So here’s the thing: it is impossible– completely, flatly impossible– to get the Democratic nomination without substantial support from the African-American community, and in particular without support from black women. Go ahead, if you like, and look through my posts about the 2016 primary: you will discover, as I quickly did, that one of the reasons Hillary Clinton’s nomination was damn near inevitable after a while was that Bernie reliably lost any state that had fewer than (if I remember right) 60% or so white voters. The only exception to this rule was Hawai’i, which is heavily nonwhite but is heavily Asian and Pacific Islander and not so much as black and Latino as the rest of the country.

It’s no secret that Buttigieg’s base is well-off white liberals. This is not, in and of itself, bad– that was actually Obama’s base when he started his presidential run too, and look how that turned out. But while Obama definitely had to convince black voters of his viability, he was never literally polling at zero percent with them. Pete is, at least in South Carolina, and I suspect in a whole lot of Super Tuesday states as well.

So obviously what he really needed right now was to mishandle it when a racist cop murdered a black person in South Bend.

(Don’t bother arguing with me about this. No body cam means the cop is guilty. If I end up sitting on the jury you can talk to me about bias. Until then, fuck this guy. Cops lie, and I am going to be 100% on the side of the dead people for the foreseeable future until America’s police forces clean house.)

So Pete’s done. It’s all over but the shouting at this point. Much like Sanders, his path to the nomination is basically closed without black support and statistically speaking he doesn’t have any. I do not, at this point, see that changing. He hasn’t put in the work and he keeps shooting himself in the foot.

What about Biden?

Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo is currently commanding the lion’s share of the black vote, much like he’s commanding the lion’s share of the polling in general. I went on a tear trying to find a Biden supporter yesterday and eventually managed to find one person who admitted after two tweets that he was her #1 choice but she couldn’t name anyone else running as a Dem.

I’m not actually criticizing this person. There’s a long goddamn time until any voting starts, and frankly it’s probably smarter to tune all of the nonsense out right now. No grief from me about this. But it really makes me wonder how soft Biden’s support actually is. And he spent yesterday saying all sorts of nice things about segregationists and how they never called him “boy.”

Candidates who they would have called “boy” had some things to say about that, as well you might fucking expect.

This is what I meant, yesterday, when I said that Biden has done his level best since deciding to run trying to erase any goodwill I ever felt for him. We can’t just Kumbaya our way to governance, no, we have to choose some of the worst possible examples we possibly can of literally evil Senators who he got along with just fine. The man has the instincts of a headless turkey and given that he’s run for office several times before on his own and never gotten close to the nomination I have to feel like he’s going to continue fucking up and voters are going to start looking elsewhere. And if you want to fuck up your numbers with the black community, there are probably a few ways more effective than telling everybody how well you got along with people who praised Emmitt Till’s murderers but you’re gonna have to work at it a bit.

The interesting question: assuming the voters do flee, where do they end up? Obviously I’d hope they end up with Harris or Warren, but anything can happen. There’s always the electability argument, which I think is mostly bullshit (Biden is polling best against the Current Occupant for the same reason he’s on top of the primary polls: everyone knows who he is) but has the advantage of being simple and truthy.

Only seventeen more months of this shit to go, y’all!

Writing question for y’all

WordPress should have some sort of built-in poll functionality.

Feel free to reply here or on Twitter and expand on any thoughts you might have.