In which this isn’t fair

It is an unbelievably perfect demonstration of how fucking perverse all of existence is right now that, literally less than ten minutes after telling my wife that I was getting (hah!) stir-crazy and wanted to go out and impulse-buy something, I went outside and checked the mail and found a brand-new Goddamned Best Buy card waiting for me. The card currently carries no balance at all; I typically use it only for large purchases (really, the only reason I ever enter a Best Buy nowadays) and the last thing I bought was my desktop, which is a 2017 model. I could use a new laptop, as the battery on the old one is starting to go, or I could make the smarter choice and just replace the damn battery. Similarly, for the first time since my initial upgrade I’ve cast an eye at the new Apple Watch, but there’s just no good reason to do that either. In either case it would be spending money just to spend money, and I’m trying to be smarter about that crap nowadays.

(I do expect to have to shell out the money for the laptop battery pretty soon, which will be a couple hundred bucks. But the thing is … six? seven? years old and there’s no speed issues at all, and if I bought a new one it would be north of two grand. The only problem is the battery, and since I don’t go anywhere I can keep it plugged in most of the time. I even still have my work laptop at home in case of emergencies.)

(Checks to see if BB has PS5s available)

(They do not)


In general, the election has failed to improve my mood. Other than the presidency, which is all over but the shouting at this point, I went from “it looks like I’ve lost every other race I care about” the other day to “I have lost every other race I care about” today. The School Board race was especially heinous; not only did the plagiarizer not lose her seat to the crank, but the other district seat up for reelection, another person who voted to return, also won, and the teachers lost their best advocate on the Board in favor of an imperious ass who I am not at all looking forward to having to deal with, ever. My personal interactions with her when she was with the district were never good, plenty of people have much worse stories than I do, and her husband was fired for incompetence.

And yet, because this is South Bend and we hate education here, she actually got the most votes of any of the At-Large candidates. So. Dandy.

But yeah: I’ve been waiting for that moment when it feels like the weight falls off my shoulders, and apparently Biden at least theoretically clinching the Presidency hasn’t done it yet. In theory the rest of the networks (particularly the AP) getting the fuck in line and making the call might help, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to relax until the fucker is hauled out of the White House by his hairpiece, preferably to be tossed directly into jail to die alone in a deep pit. Apparently the AP is waiting for Biden’s margin to exceed half a point before they call Pennsylvania; I’m not sure what the holdup is otherwise. Either way, I thought I was going to feel better about all this by now.

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.

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.)

Election day, I suppose

4f9afcb76383fI was the fourteenth voter of the day at my precinct.  I didn’t get a goddamn I voted sticker.  I’ve been voting for twenty years in three different cities and I have never once gotten a goddamn I voted sticker.  What the hell is democracy even for?

This was a pointless little election.  I voted a straight party ticket for the first time in my life, choosing stupid and incompetent over evil.  There was little at stake locally; my House election felt (still feels) like a foregone conclusion, there was no senate or gubernatorial election, and most of the state races were fucking unopposed, which makes me vaguely furious.  I don’t even want to know what the national returns are looking like.

Then there was the school board election.  Our school board, as I think many do, has a lunatic on it.  The young lady above is his daughter.  She has recently lost a lawsuit against the school board and has taken her revenge, no doubt encouraged by her father, by running for the board president’s seat.  There’s a fine tradition in South Bend for some reason of suing public institutions and then trying to run for office to control them when your lawsuit fails.  As you can imagine, this often ends poorly.  Her campaign signs were her dad’s campaign signs from the last time he ran for school board, with the “re” in “re-elect” covered with duct tape.  So we’re running a class operation here.  I didn’t have to look hard to find that photograph, by the way; it’s one of the first results when you Google her name and her Facebook page is public.  Her qualifications for office (and this is not me being snarky) include being a bartender, having a couple of kids, and being pregnant.  I assume at the same time.

I encourage young people to run for office if they feel like they can make a difference; our mayor, as you may recall, is one of the youngest in the country, and was not yet 30 when he was elected.  (And I voted for him.)  But he was also a Rhodes Scholar.  Maybe you at least take the time to scrub the more strippery pictures of yourself off the internet before you run for school board. Or, y’know, maybe not; I am officially an Old now and don’t understand how these kids think anymore.

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I will be in Louisville tomorrow, then Nashville tomorrow night through Saturday morning, then Louisville again for a while, then home.  Expect some hotel room pictures, but I’m expecting to be crazy-go-nuts busy and there may not be much more.  I will be working on the book, though.  So there’s that.