Category Archives: Politics

Planning Ahead

Given ALL that’s going on right now, you know, that whole “worst case it’s the end of the world” sort of thing, it’s often a serious roller coaster of emotions. It’s also tough to tell when you’ve come up with a truly funny idea or if you’re just borderline hysterical. (And about to slip over the border.)

Tonight, talking to a dear friend (as opposed to a “deaf rriend”) on social media I mentioned the new NEJM ethical guidelines that came out today. In short, when this COVID shit hits the proverbial health care fan in a few days (see Italy and Spain for example) there are going to be X number of ICU beds and respirators and X*Y dying patients, where Y could be a very, very large number.

It’s called “triage” and it means that the doctors and nurses will literally have to decide on the spot who lives and who dies. You. Can’t. Save. Everyone. So you have to figure out how to best utilize your available resources (time, ICU beds, respirators, drugs, medications) to save as many as possible as efficiently as possible.

It’s horrible. It’s not fair. It’s obscene. And it’s coming soon to an emergency room near you.

Having reached a certain middle age, I’m in a gray area at best when those decisions get made. To be blunt, if I’m a 64 year old with grown kids and I’m in a bed next to an otherwise healthy 24 year old who has young kids, the 24 year old is going to get a respirator and I’m going to get morphine to make me feel better, or not care.

(Time to really hop on that old hand washing routine with some enthusiasm, eh?!)

These thoughts and discussions in turn lead to filling out advance directives “just in case.”

So my thought was, “Where’s the box that says ‘either give me a fucking respirator and drugs or aerosolize me and spritz me into the HVAC system at the White House’?”

Maybe it’s the word “spritz.” Maybe it’s just been a really long couple of days. But that line is hilarious!

I’m not planning on going anywhere. But if I get dragged off by fate, I’m going to go kicking, screaming, and (hopefully) laughing. And wishing I could take a few of those evil GOP MFers with me.

No more fucks to give.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Farce, Health, Politics

Swearing

While the “President” was holding one of his “press conferences” today and demonstrating his complete and utter lack of any sort of humanity, intelligence, or leadership, I saw someone posting about how they were trying to cut down on swearing, especially online and in social media, but watching these pseudo mini campaign rallies masquerading as actual news events was making that difficult if not impossible.

Personally, ‪I have given up on even trying in these “special” times. If I’m not making sailors blush with my opinions of those responsible for bungling this situation so badly, the pressure would build up, my brain would explode, and who knows how many would be killed by flying skull shrapnel.‬

‪I consider cussing to be a public service at this point!‬

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Politics

Super Tuesday 2020

For decades California has had their primary in June, by which time the Presidential candidates had long since been chosen. Now they’ve moved the date up to Super Tuesday, so we got to vote today.

In addition, Los Angeles County has done a 52-pick up with the election process. Instead of having specific polling places with ink marks on paper ballots (and usually five to ten minute waits) we now have a small fraction of the number of polling places and they’re “Voting Centers” open for about ten days before the election. Piece of cake, you can vote any time in that ten days or so! Right?

Except they didn’t do a good job of advertising that, so 99% of us thought that today was the day. So we were all in line. Some of those lines got long.

The good news was that you could go to any “Voting Center” in the county, and it’s a big county. I didn’t have to drive all the way back home and get there at 7:00 or 7:30 and then wait for a couple of hours. I went to a place just a few blocks from the office, got there at 5:30, and then didn’t have more than about a 45 minute wait.

The process itself also changed completely. We got what was basically an almost legal-sized sheet of heat sensitive paper, which had some QR codes on it for security, which then got fed into a station with a touch screen about twice the size of my iPad. The touch screen process was easy, once it was done I got to confirm my choices, it printed out on the sheet, I got to review the sheet, then fed it back in to be stored. Interesting. Easy peasy.

Secure? Who knows?

But there were a couple of notable sights in the line:

A teenager with her grandmother. It looked like the teen was voting for the first time, while her grandmother must have been in her 80’s. Maybe it was her great-grandmother. But it was interesting to watch them go through the sample ballot and other materials to discuss the judges, measures, and the Presidential candidates.

There were signs all over for people who were just dropping off their mail-in ballots. No need to stand in line for that, so just bypass the line and go in. At one point a mom came in with a little girl. They were working their way through the crowded hallway and the little girl was real upset, worried that they were “cutting” the line and all of us would be mad at them. (We weren’t.)

Compared to other locations in LA County it was a breeze and not unpleasant. But let’s face it – it was a white, upscale neighborhood with a 35-40 minute wait. And our machines worked. Apparently there were plenty of other places where it was not so pleasant, the wait was 3-4 hours, and the machines didn’t work all the time.

Was it secure?

Good question.

Did my candidate win?

I’m sure she didn’t.

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Filed under Los Angeles, Politics

This Reality Has Some Serious Continuity Flaws

Can’t make this shit up folks.

Trump got acquitted today, as expected. It’s incredibly disappointing and depressing and it sucks to be watching the death of the great American experiment as we sink into authoritarianism under a fascist, criminal regime – but that’s a rant for another day.

Here’s the thing…

Turning on the 11PM local news tonight, four stations (CBS, NBC, ABC, and KTLA) the #1 news story of the night, the lead, the biggest news that they’re ALL going to spend the first five minutes talking about was…

…the death of Kirk Douglas.

Okay, it’s Hollywood, La-La Land. We’ll cut them some slack, maybe? The impeachment will be second, right?

Nope. Some of them had the coronavirus scare #2 (a Korean air liner had to divert to LA because people on board had been exposed) and a local measles outbreak #3 (the irony is delicious and lost on them, running back to back stories about a panic over a 100% preventable disease like measles vs the coronavirus, which could be a humanity killing pandemic or just another false alarm that kills in ten years fewer people than die from car accidents in the US in a week), and some had the measles and then the coronavirus, but NONE of them had the impeachment acquittal.

Story #4 after the second commercial break seemed to be all over the place – a murder here, a freeze warning there…

This is how we’ve been worn down and beaten into submission by the Trump cult. Something that would have been the “Story of the Decade!” in another decade isn’t even reported in this one.

Geez, the LEAST they could have done is shown the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory parade as the #2 or #3 story! If you’ve done the measles story, just do “Coronavirus – ditto!” and move on to something good!!

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Filed under KC Chiefs, Los Angeles, Moral Outrage, Politics

No Context For You – December 01st

A dark month, December. The days get shorter, the nights get longer, the temperatures drop, the winds howl, the rains arrive.

Is it any wonder that at the solstice we celebrate, no matter the religious or cultural justification?

Do we think we can frighten the night and the cold away with frantic noises and celebration? Do we as an “enlightened” people simply recognize the results of axial tilt and recognize the circumstantial passing of a defined point in the calliope of Newtonian mechanics? Or does it even matter?

We’ve made it through 11/12ths of this 2018 ordeal. Let us gather our strength to finish strong and bravely meet 2019 head on.

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Filed under Disasters, Paul, Photography, Politics

No Context For You – November 22nd

Thankful for many things on this American Thanksgiving Day…

…yet also conscious of how many items include the concept of “thankful that it’s not so much worse and hoping that this time next year it won’t be this bad.”

Adventures can be simple things and exhilarating.

The big adventures, the ones that make front page headlines day after day after month after year – technically exhilarating, but usually not in a good way. The Space Race fifty years ago was one of the good ones. The current political situation and climate change (in general – brush fires, hurricanes, blizzards in particular) are bad.

Let’s all hope that next Thanksgiving we can all be thankful that those crises are less threatening than they are this Thanksgiving. And let’s all spend the next 365 days doing what we can to make that happen.

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Filed under Disasters, Paul, Photography, Politics

My Voting Experience

No biggie, actually – but there was a unique experience.

At the old house, our polling place was usually at the elementary school that was literally 250 yards down the block. No hardship involved. Now it’s a mile or so away, so still not much of big deal.

It’s a big church auditorium, so there are actually three or four precincts voting there. You go to the pink table or the green table or the yellow table or the blue table… When I pulled up about 6:30 after getting out of work it looked like a 15-20 minute wait in line. Not so! That’s the line for folks who didn’t know which table they were supposed to go to or who wanted to get a provisional ballot. There were plenty of polling place workers who were more than happy to help steer those of us with our voting materials straight to the table we needed. It took 30 seconds to get to my table.

I gave them my information, signed in, got my ballot – and things got odd.

Behind me I heard someone talking to the polling place worker at the table. It was a young guy, maybe 20, asking if he could vote. But he didn’t know if he was registered or not. He didn’t think so, but didn’t know. I think it was pretty obvious that he was a first-time voter and very confused about what was happening and what he was supposed to be doing or have done.

The polling place worker was telling the guy that if he hadn’t registered to vote, then he couldn’t vote. Better luck next time. The kid was about to leave.

When someone intervened, interrupted, and got involved. Somewhat surprisingly, I realized it was me.

One thing that I’ve seen over and over and over in the last few weeks is that California is a state where you can walk up, register, and cast a provisional ballot on the spot. You just have to ask for it.

The kid obviously didn’t know that. Unfortunately, neither did the polling place worker. Fortunately, I did.

So I politely corrected the worker and pointed out what I had seen hundreds of times in the past week from reputable and neutral sources. He disagreed, said that he had never heard of that. So I went and got the supervisor for our section, who said, “OF COURSE that’s the law, obviously! OF COURSE this guy can vote with a provisional ballot!”

The supervisor was very helpful and quick to verify that the kid could vote and then walked him through the process.

I went and did my voting, and finished up about the same time as the kid did. As we were leaving I was repeatedly thanked for helping by both the kid and the polling place supervisor.

That felt great, but I don’t think that I did that much. Better than the thanks was knowing that this young man got to vote for the first time in his life. And that he was excited about it. And that despite his anxiety and uncertainty, he carried on anyway and got it done.

It was a good day to vote. I hope you did as well.

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Filed under Politics