A very brief Congressional explainer

I’ve seen a fair number of people who are confused about what the hell the House is doing right now. To be clear, I am very very far from being an expert, and it’s possible that I’m going to get some details incorrect in this, but I think I’ve got the basic gist, and if anybody sees any outright errors, please put them in comments and I’ll amend the post.

My current understanding is that Pelosi has brought the House back into session today and has already asked for unanimous consent to bring a bill to the floor calling on the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment. That unanimous consent has been denied, and therefore there will be a vote by the House on the bill tomorrow. Pence will be given 24 hours to do the right thing and then impeachment proceedings will begin.

I’ve seen a lot of people asking why they have to wait so long, and why they can’t vote on the bill today. That is, in fact, exactly what they asked for unanimous consent on. You cannot introduce a bill and vote on it on the same day; that’s been a rule for several years now, and it’s a rule that makes good sense– remember, a lot of the bills passed can be hundreds of pages long and complicated, so it makes sense to give people enough time to read the final version of the bill before they vote on it. Now, of course, you don’t need a full day to read a two-page resolution, but the rule still stands. The House can break their own rules with unanimous consent— in other words, if no House member disagrees with breaking the rule, a rule can be broken. But since they didn’t get that unanimous consent– the Republicans blocked it– they have to go to a full vote, and therefore have to wait until tomorrow, when the resolution will most assuredly pass.

Now, in theory, and at least as far as I know, they could also formally introduce the impeachment article or articles (more than one Congressperson has announced that they’re working on them, and I’m not sure who wrote the final text) today, and then again, in theory and as far as I know, they could vote on them or at least get the process started on Tuesday. They’re waiting an extra day to give Pence his 24 hours basically as a strategic measure, which … well, you can decide on your own whether that’s a good idea or not, given that Mitch McConnell has refused to bring the Senate back into session before the 19th. The resolution on Pence is something the House can do on its own. Impeachment is not. The only way to get that done any faster is if, oh, say, Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski were to agree to caucus with the Democrats for a while, giving them the majority immediately and making Chuck Schumer the Majority Leader. Otherwise, the Dem majority doesn’t actually kick in until Kamala Harris is Vice-President.

(EDIT: It does look like the impeachment articles have been formally introduced.)

(Don’t ask me what happens if Pence does invoke the 25th. I don’t even know if there are rules for that, or whether Pence is for-real President or acting President or what if the Beast is removed via that method. I have no idea who casts tie breaking votes in the Senate under those circumstances, but it definitely wouldn’t be Harris before the 20th, so it probably doesn’t actually matter.)

(I’m also not sure exactly how the 14th Amendment applies to all of this– I know the Senate and the House can expel their own members, and they’ve used this power in the past, but I have no idea how the law works regarding declaring that someone cannot run for office again. I’ll look into it.)

Anyway, hopefully this is helpful, and again– I’m not an expert, so if you see something I’m wrong about, let me know.

Go vote

Vote for the side that isn’t gleefully locking children in cages.

Vote for the side that believes climate change is real, and wants to do something about it.

Vote for the side that believes the coronavirus is real, and wants to do something about it.

Vote for the side that believes that health care, clean water, clean air and healthy food are human rights.

Vote for the side that wants the phrase “preexisting condition” to be something future generations have to have explained to them.

Vote for the side that wants your children to be able to retire eventually.

Vote for the side that doesn’t have actual Nazis and open white supremacists showing up at their rallies.

Vote for the side that doesn’t threaten gun violence every time they don’t get their way.

Vote for the side that believes Black lives matter.

Vote for the side that believes women are human beings and expects them to be treated that way.

Vote for the side that believes people of color are human beings and expects them to be treated that way.

Vote for the side that believes LGBQTIA+ people are human beings and expects them to be treated that way.

Vote for the side that believes immigrants are human beings and expects them to be treated that way.

Vote for the side that understands that trans women are women and trans men are men.

Vote for the side that isn’t represented in government almost exclusively by white men.

Vote for the side that respects knowledge and science.

Vote for the side that knows abortion is health care, and access to birth control is a right.

Vote for the side that doesn’t have racism, sexism and selfishness as the core motivating values of every single one of its policies.

Vote for the side that understands that the minor inconvenience of wearing a mask in public is worth it, because it helps to keep other people safe.

Vote for the side that believes that the ultra-wealthy shouldn’t exist and that the wealthy should pay their share of taxes.

Vote for the side that believes working people should be able to lead comfortable and dignified lives.

Vote for the side that doesn’t think that having a place to live and health care should depend on whether you have a job or not.

Vote for the side that believes access to the vote should be expanded, not restricted.

Vote for the side that believes every vote should be counted.

Vote for the side that doesn’t believe that the police should be able to beat and kill us with impunity.

Vote for the side that respects competence, expertise, and education.

Vote for the side that wants public schools fully funded and high-quality, not strip-mined for resources that could be channeled to wealthy white kids.

Vote for the side that hasn’t had the phrase “death tolls” applied to their rallies by major news organizations recently.

Vote for the side that believes that a healthy news media is a necessary feature of a democracy and not an opposing force to be coopted or silenced.

Vote for the side that believes we should be focusing on helping families during the pandemic, not corporations.

Vote for the side that hasn’t been openly calling on older people to be willing to die so that younger and poorer people can go back to work.

Vote.

On yard signs, again

I should probably feel at least kind of guilty about how I’ve handled my day so far. Under the current hybrid model my district has adopted while we pretend that our numbers in the state and the county aren’t skyrocketing, Wednesdays are days where all of the kids are home and the buildings are “deep cleaned.” We were instructed last week to keep these days asynchronous– in other words, there is to be no live instruction on Wednesdays, and thus I’m freed from having to spend my entire day in front of a computer screen. Furthermore, because of the aforementioned need for deep cleaning, even the staff that have been reporting to work are home today. I’d have been home anyway, mind you, but I’m super at home today.

Why is everything asynchronous on Wednesdays? Because they want to use those days for training. Which is why I was a bit surprised to learn that today’s training was a single hour in length and was not required to be viewed live. So rather than make sure to log in precisely at 10:00 to watch it as it unfolded, I went out and ran some errands, leaving the house for the first time in eight days. I voted, managing to hit the County/City building at a slow moment and getting in and out in 32 minutes, which didn’t seem too bad. Since I was downtown, I went to the Griffon and bought some dice, then hit the comic shop, got a flu shot, grabbed lunch from a drive-thru and came home. Now, of course, I’m blogging, and I guess when I’m done with this I’ll do the training module and get my lesson for tomorrow recorded. But so far it’s 1:41 on what is technically not a day off and I haven’t done a single thing for work. I kind of feel like I should feel bad about that. Then again, I wasn’t the one who told me to not meet with students today because of trainings and then only scheduled an hour of training.

(stares off into space for eighteen full minutes)

Anyway, I was going to talk about road signs. I was mostly along the same route I was last time I did this, so I can report a handful of changes:

  • There is now a single (1) Holcomb for Governor and a single (1) Myers for Governor sign, although obviously not in the same yard. Notably, Indiana has a Libertarian running this year who is expected to capture a nontrivial percentage of the vote because of Republicans who are disappointed that Holcomb’s actually attempting to take the virus seriously– enough so that it’s less unimaginable that the Democrat might win than it might be otherwise, given how utterly shit his campaign has been. I’ve seen no signs for that guy anywhere, though.
  • Overall the volume of signs has not changed notably, and continues to be primarily for state and local races.
  • Interestingly, and somewhat depressingly, I’ve noted a trend in yards that have signs for the presidential race in their yard, and it doesn’t appear to be a partisan trend: the lawn signs for President are usually placed much closer to the actual house than any others. I would guess that people are either actually stealing and/or destroying them or people are assuming that they will if they put their sign within reach of the street.

I voted pretty much in accordance with my earlier endorsements, although I’m a bit more irritated with the School Board today than I was when I wrote that post two weeks ago and I very nearly did not vote for John Anella. Rudy Monterrosa continues to have earned my vote. I also decided to vote for the Democrat in the county coroner race despite the Republican candidate having formerly been my doctor. Upon thinking about it a bit more, despite my history of not voting for this office and my strong contention that it has no reason to be 1) elected or 2) partisan in the first place, I feel like any doctor who has been alive to witness the science-denying, mask-refusing death cult the GOP has turned into in the last four years and remains a part of the party can no longer be trusted. Sorry, Dr. Jordan. I liked you when you were my doctor but this isn’t okay.

In which we’re gonna need a bigger boat

I’ll get to the graphic in a minute; this is gonna be another grab-baggy sort of post. Bear with me.

I just finished mowing the back yard, just in time for it to start pouring outside, so I’m sure all the grass will be regrown in a day or two. I have shared my distaste for lawn work many times before; in fact, bitching about my lawn was one of my first posts around here. My wife, who is more fond of working outdoors than I am, generally handles it; my job is to remove snow, and we collaborate on leaves. You may recall that she broke her foot a couple of weeks ago, which coincided with the weather being nice enough that the grass came back to life; to her credit, she waited for me to figure it out myself that I was going to have to mow the fucking yard and didn’t bring it up until I’d ruined my own day. Having mowed the full mess over the last two days, I have realized something: I feel basically the same way about yard work as I do about writing fiction. I absolutely hate doing it, but the feeling of being done with it is absolutely stellar. I love looking at a freshly-mowed yard. I just don’t want to have to create the conditions to be able to do that. If I ever figure out how to enjoy writing as much as I enjoy being done with writing I will be at Seanan McGuire levels of productivity in six months.


Speaking of mowing: I don’t wear headphones all that often, so it was already kind of weird that I shelled out so much money for the AirPods Pro that I bought a bit ago– but holy shit, am I impressed by how good noise cancelling works. I wasn’t even listening to music for a good part of mowing the yard; I just had the headphones in with the noise cancelling on and I could barely hear anything. Cue someone hopping into comments to tell me that’s going to kill my ears, of course.


Regarding yesterday’s addendum to yesterday’s first post: I think, based on comments, that it is clear that 1) I don’t know anything about Great Britain or their money; and 2) It is absolutely the way people write about their money that is bullshit, thus Option Two wins. I don’t feel like it is unreasonable to suggest that if you are going to spend a fair amount of your time in a book talking about people’s income levels and how much things cost, and the people you are talking about use a monetary system that is no longer in use and is not exactly intuitive, maybe put a chart somewhere explaining how it works? I’m willing to be accused of shocking ignorance on this, that’s fine, there are lots of things I don’t know, but part of the reason I was able to not realize that the shilling got phased out however many years ago was that nobody ever explains what the fuck a shilling is in history books. They just assume you know there are 3.2 shillings in a Cumberbatch and move the fuck on with the narrative. Put a damn chart in there somewhere!


The feasibility study has been returned, and it turns out I’m not actually able to watch the Snowpiercer TV series without spending additional money. I had heard it was showing up on Hulu, but apparently that’s only true if you pony up for some sort of “Live TV” add-on, and … nah.

I will, nonetheless, bow to the will of the interwebs and watch this program as soon as I can do so without spending money for it. That may take a while, however. In the meantime, Avatar: the Last Airbender is on Netflix and I somehow haven’t finished Season 5 of She-Ra yet so I need to up my TV-watching time as a percentage of my day.


I have seen a couple of different variations of the graphic at the top of this post floating around on the internet recently, as well as a couple of different NO NO THIS IS THE INTERNET BEING STUPID types of counter-posts. Folks, the official CDC “considerations” are right here; feel free to look at them yourself and compare them to whatever version of the graphic you’ve seen recently. The paraphrasing is essentially accurate, and the fact that the CDC, whether they’re calling them “guidelines” or “considerations”, doesn’t actually have the power to make their thoughts law doesn’t really matter. The point is, the fucking Center for Disease Control has effectively said that there is no way to safely open schools. Because these “guidelines” or “considerations” or whatever the fuck you want to call them are impossible, and every teacher and other adult who has ever spent any time in schools knows that. I am done for the year, effectively, and my son’s last day was yesterday (I still have some PD stuff over the next couple of weeks, and grades have to be finalized, but there is no further e-learning this year) and there is a lot of time for things to change one way or another between now and August, but the way things stand right now we are not going to be able to reopen schools this fall. Not safely, at least. I know the person in the White House doesn’t give a damn; that’s perfectly clear, but so far the governors have been more reasonable.


Speaking of governors, I had this conversation with my wife earlier:

For context, Woody Whoever’s last name is not Whoever and he is running for Governor as a Democrat, and he is running such a low-key, bullshit campaign that I literally didn’t know that there even was a gubernatorial race this year until seeing his name on my primary ballot. I do not at this time remember his last name and I’m not about to look it up. I did some quick research before I marked his name on the primary ballot (not that it would have mattered, as he was the only candidate) and he seems basically competent, but Gov. Holcomb is one of the few Republicans I’m aware of who I would also describe as “basically competent.” He’s shit on education, but so is everyone else in the damn world. Obama was shit on education. I’ve voted for one candidate who was good on education policy in the last fifteen years or so and she turned out to be a shitty politician and got voted right out again after her first term. It just doesn’t happen that damn often.


Regarding the headline to this post: when I initially wrote it I had plans to tie it into one of the parts of the post, and it was going to make sense and be at least moderately funny in the way my post titles occasionally are, and I have completely forgotten what the hell I was going to tie it into or how– something about classroom size, maybe?– but I’m not going to change it. “I am an idiot” is definitely a theme of this post so we may as well run that shit straight into the ground while we still can.


3:24 PM, Friday, May 22: 1,590,349 confirmed cases and 95,490 Americans dead.

In which this is exactly what I’m talking about

I say it every time I talk about local elections in South Bend: the actual election is the Democratic primary, particularly with respect to the mayoral race, because the local Republican party absolutely refuses to run anyone with the remotest shred of credibility. In the last several years their candidates include demonstrably crazy people and at least one person who was homeless while running for office. They’ve run exactly one credible candidate since I moved back here in 2007 and he spent his entire race running against the city. Turns out if you think a place is a terrible shithole where no one should live, the voters who live there don’t choose you to run the place! I know, it’s weird.

Seriously, this was an actual mailing by those fuckers. Forgive me, it’s the highest-DPI scan I can find and it’s not great:

… yeah, that’s even worse than I thought. It reads: RIP: Here lies South Bend, a once vibrant city now abandoned by business, overrun by violent crime, and driving people from their family homes because of high property taxes.

Now, put me in charge of this awful place that I obviously hate!

Yeah, good luck.

Anyway, I talked about Republican candidate Sean Haas’ shitty website the last time I talked about the mayoral race around here. I am compelled to let everyone know that I have seen my first Sean Haas yard sign, and this motherfucker, who supposedly is a teacher, has no fucking clue whatsoever how capital letters work:

There are ten total and six unique words on that goddamned sign and two of them need capital letters and don’t have them. I dunno, maybe some of you out there think I’m being superficial, but this is a level of don’t-give-a-fuck that I would find shameful from a middle school student. I have both a former student and a former co-worker in common with Haas, although I’ve never met the guy, and while they both say they won’t vote for him neither of them think he’s a terrible person. So, fine, I won’t cast aspersions upon his ancestry or anything like that. But if your damn lawn sign has two typos and only ten words you do not get to be Mayor. I need people who give a shit in that job, and this guy clearly doesn’t, and furthermore he doesn’t have anyone working for him who gives a shit either or this abomination would never have made it out of Photoshop.

Or, y’know, Paint.

It was probably Paint.

So, yeah: when whoever wins the Democratic nomination wins 70-30 in the fall, this is why: it’s not because South Bend is so monolithically Democratic that a Dem win is inevitable– South Bend is in Indiana, after all– it’s because none of the local Republicans give enough of a shit to actually put up a nominee who is worth the money spent on his campaign.

(EDIT: I think I’ve decided who I’m voting for, by the way, but I think I’ll save it for another post and not step on this one. Needless to say, it won’t be Haas.)