Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Honestly, I figured he’d hang in until at least the end of May.

I guess it goes without saying today’s biggest news is the announcement from Bernie Sanders that he was suspending his 2020 campaign for the Democratic nomination for the President of the United States of America. I, for one, am a bit shocked. In 2016, he hung in until the Democratic convention, more or less, and waited until July 12 to endorse candidate Hilary Clinton.

Now, he hasn’t exactly endorsed presumptive nominee Joe Biden, but he has made noises towards reconciliation within the Democratic party. That is indeed going to be a tough row to hoe before all is said and done. There are a lot of bad feelings on the left over a contentious nomination process. Even worse, a whole lot of people are pissed off and I don’t think most of them really understand what they’re upset about.

Of course, the big question is why did Sanders’ campaign sputter out once the nominations left the caucuses. His ideas, when not labeled “socialist” by people who don’t know what “socialist” means, are not all that unpopular, even outside the Democratic party. Within the party, they’re really not all that radical. Howard Dean pushed for something similar to Medicare for all during his 2004 run. Even Hilary Clinton’s attempts at reform way back in 1992 during her husband’s first term. Hell, Nixon brought in employer-mandated health insurance back in 1973. These are not far-out, fringe ideas.

The biggest problem Sanders had during his run was attracting voters outside his base. The stereotype of the average “BernieBro” being a Millennial hipster in a Brooklyn coffee shop isn’t the whole story, not even close. He managed to bring together a fairly diverse group of folks; young and liberal for the most part, sure, but he pulled in a fairly diverse group. More women than men, more people of color than white, that sort of thing. For a “fringe” candidate, it’s not that bad.

That being said, the actual size and scope of his coalition didn’t really change to any appreciable degree from 2016 to 2020. The people he had then were the people he had now, and he neither lost too many nor gained too many. One thing that hurt that was the ginormous field of Democratic candidates who siphoned off support early on, particularly Elizabeth Warren, Andrew Yang and, arguably, Tulsi Gabbard.

Wait. Is she still in the race? Let’s double check. No, she dropped out back in March. Okay, then.

He really didn’t seem to try that hard to branch out, that’s the problem. It was like he and his followers just expected everyone to come along just because. You spend five years telling the party whose nomination you want to suck your dick and then expect them to “bend the knee” when time comes around, you’ve been drinking some bad buttermilk.  I’m not going to bother with his surrogates, really, but they didn’t help things all that much, either. Didn’t hinder all that much, for that matter, but didn’t help. They were just sort of… there.

Of course, the thing that really sunk him was the almost across-the-board rejection by African American voters, particularly on Super Tuesday and especially in the South. He did well with Latino voters, particularly in the Southwest, but everyone who expected him to do well with black folks were shocked when that all washed out. It’s not for me to say why the black vote went so strongly to Biden beyond trusting him to be the best shot to get rid of Trump, but there you go. The idea that he worked under Obama and that counts a lot is as good as any, I guess.

Of course, this doesn’t mean it’s totally in Biden’s pocket. There’s still the Democratic convention – if it’s even held due to COVID-19 – and all sorts of crazy shit could happen there. It’s been since the ’50s since a “brokered convention” went down, but Sanders had made some noise that he intends to bring as many delegates as he can still get to Milwaukee in August (postponed from July because, well, you know). The idea – and y’all, this is how this is supposed to work – they can bring as much leverage to the game to influence the party’s platform as much as possible.

Like I said, nothing Sanders brings to the table is all that off-the-wall, particularly for the Democratic Party in the past. And, as we noted, the Republican party, for that matter. The real problem is something called the “Overton Window“, the idea that what’s considered “the center” is pushed left and right by changing politics. Since at least Reagan, this country has gone hard right and Clinton’s “Third Way” politics really, really didn’t help.

So what Bernie Sanders has accomplished with his last two presidential runs, if nothing else, is to push the Democratic party back closer to the actual Left and force it to pay attention to people they’ve been trying to ignore. You saw this with Hilary Clinton’s campaign (if you were paying attention) and I’ve no doubt you’ll see it with Biden’s campaign. For all his faults – and they are Legion – he’s a cagey player in the political game. He has to feel which way the wind is blowing and the lessons we’re learning during this COVID-19 business is that “the way things have to be” ain’t necessarily so.

The one thing I hope the Sanders faithful do realize that not voting for Biden out of protest or what have you is really, really, really stupid. Two Supreme Court nominations are likely to happen in the next four years, and if Trump selects two more Brett Kavanaugh’s, you can forget any sort of progressive progress for the next two generations.

If nothing else, we need to get the guy that thinks Betsy DeVos and Jared Kushner should be in positions of power as far from the White House as  possible. I mean, come on. Do you really think it’s not going to get worse if Trump wins another election? If you’re “progressive politics” begins and ends with one guy, forgive me if I doubt your commitment beyond your ego.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Out of curiosity, I double checked just when the first case of COVID-19 was discovered in the United States. Turns out it was January 20, in Washington state, about two weeks after the Chinese government confirmed something heavy was going down. That means, depending on how you figure these things, tomorrow we wrap up three full months of dealing with this business.

Since that first case, after a few weeks of government hemming and hawing, along with the right-wing media claiming it was at best overblown by the press and Democratic party to “bring down” the President and at worst biological warfare from China, it has blown up. As of today’s count, there have been over 340,000 confirmed cases and we topped 10,000 deaths today. On the upside, a little over 19,000 people have caught it and recovered from it.

States that were initial hotspots – like California, New York and Washington – have announced they’re seeing some plateauing in cases/deaths. Andrew Cuomo said things are looking better for New York, and Louisiana governor John Bel Edwards has said the same thing. Recall, post-Mardi Gras New Orleans saw an explosion of cases.

That being said, the states that weren’t in among those hotspots are bracing to get the shit kicked out of them this week. Here in Mississippi, we’re bracing for a fierce outbreak that experts are saying will peak April 18. As we’ve noted over and over, Mississippi has the unhealthiest population in the country as well as the most number of uninsured people with a median income of just over $27,000 a year. A hundred new cases were reported today, bringing the number up to 1,738 with 51 deaths.

A lot of our problems is, to cut the nonsense, was the feet dragging by newly elected Gov. Tate Reeves. For the long time, he was solidly in the “no big deal” camp, as commanded by Trump, though he made the turnaround early last week. Coincidentally, that’s when someone convinced Trump that this wasn’t something to ignore, but I’m sure that’s not connected.

Interestingly, a lot of the right-wing media voices are still banging the “it’s all overblown” drum. Intellectual leaders Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity were all about the hoax theory early in March but eventually shifted narrative about the same time the President did. They’re outliers, though – and Fox has read the writing on the wall – and most of the howler monkeys are still calling it a “left-wing fabrication/overreaction to bring down the president/destroy the economy” or whatever goofy shit they’re tossing around. And that’s why you don’t pay them any attention. I just thought the Atlantic piece was a good read. So, moving along.

When it comes to cases and deaths, we’re not seeing a lot of breakdown by race. However, to the surprise of absolutely no one, African American communities are taking a disproportionate hit. Whether it’s Chicago or Mississippi, the country seems to be operating as designed. As we’re headed into a week that even Trump’s goofy ass has said will see at least 100,000 deaths, more than 300 hospitals are reporting being underequipped. Still, of course, Trump says that’s “wrong” even though the report comes from his own government.

Of course it’s still too early to say how this will affect Trump’s reelection chances come November. His numbers really haven’t changed to any great degree, maybe picking up a point here or there. Not unusual in a national crisis for people to want to rally around the president, but nothing unexpected. That being said, one of the bigger states that will be in play – because it’s always in play – is seeing him lose support fairly rapidly. That state is Florida, and while it went for Trump in 2016, the stumbling around from him and sleazeball Gov. Ron DeSantis in their response is costing him big league. Of course, the faithful that make up the Base haven’t moved an inch in their worship, but that’s what cults do.

And finally, something to tickle the funny bone. Remember Martin Shkreli? The scummy little douchebag “biotech engineer” who first entered the public consciousness in 2015 when one of his pharmaceutical companies raised the price of an off-patent medicine 5,000% and then smirked his way into prison two years later on an unrelated charge of defrauding investors? That guy. Well, he’s trying to use the whole COVID-19 thing to get out of jail.

Based on a paper published by one of his companies, Shkreli is saying he has the know-how to do what the rest of the pharmaceutical industry has yet to do and is asking for a three-month furlough to come up with a virus. He claims he won’t try to profit from it, even though he’s still running one of his companies from prison. Experts aren’t really all that turned on by a guy with nothing more than a Bachelor’s in business management and an “interest” in chemistry, none of which was made apparent during his initial brush with infamy.

Nothing will probably come of this, of course, but I did notice something disconcerting when I first came across this on Twitter. The guy has a lot of fans. I mean, hardcore fans who’re convinced he either “did nothing wrong” or what he did get caught doing was “how things should go”. And these people were hot about it. Ever see The King Of Comedy? They reminded me of Robert DeNiro’s and especially Sandra Berhhard’s characters.

We’re a country that put a total dingbat incompetent in the highest office in the land because he’s told us he’s super rich for the past 40 years, even though he really didn’t have much a hand in that. So this sort of behavior from the hoi polloi shouldn’t surprise me as much as it does, but it does. I do not get “stanning” for the super-rich. They’re not going to give you money for worshiping them and they barely think you’re human. Get off your knees, man.

The Weekend: April 4-5, 2020

Hey, kids, before we get started with the Weekend Wrap-Up, how about some juicy links. Over at Blogger I wrote about video games and science fiction Tuesday, while Thursday we concentrated on frustration with all aspects of COVID-19, particularly the washed horde’s insistence on being buttholes about it. At Tumblr, I had some nice pieces on John Prine, The Old 97’s and my particular love of the art and craft of Journalism. Do check it out.

Another weekend’s upon us, and it’s beautiful outside. Someone I know in New Orleans said that for the first time in years, the weather down there’s been incredibly clement but no one can go outside and the plethora of festivals have been cancelled. That’s a drag, I know, but Mardi Gras did more damage than good, so kudos for them fighting the urge.

In any event, here in Enon Holler the weather is fantastic. A bit on the warm side, maybe, and that portends a brutal summer. We’ve managed to hunker down fairly well and have fallen into a decent rut. Otis and I take a constitutional every afternoon, usually a mile or two, while B.C. (the little one) follows us for a while before wandering off ’cause he can. He tries to mess with Otis by bellying up in front of him, but Otis is all business on the walk. He just likes to go.

Outside Itawamba County, though COVID-19 continues to burn through and the Trump Administration has quit pretending it’s going to be no big deal. On one side, it’s better than them pretending it’d be a bad case of the sniffles a few months back, but really. Having the president say during his daily press conferences that there will be a “lot of death” in the next two weeks doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. It’s true, but not what the average schlub wants to hear from the POTUS.

Credit where credit is due, the federal government is getting its ducks somewhere near a row, almost despite itself. The states’ governors – apart from nine particular dipsticks – have really stepped up, particularly in Washington, Louisiana and New York, coincidentally the three hottest infection places. There have been problems with logistics, which is to be expected when you have a member of the Lucky Sperm Club running things.

Here in Mississippi, things are growing nastier. Tate Reeves shook loose his desire to pooh-pooh the problem that marked his initial response and is trying to prepare us for the absolute stomping Mississippi is liable to get before April is out. Glad to see he could take time out of his busy schedule proclaiming this as Confederate Heritage Month, because apparently we’re still being dicks about it. One thing I found funny from Donna Ladd’s story was that Reeves has gone from the “yeah, the South caused this” stance of previous governors to “both sides had good points”. He’s got a lot of ties to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, the little weasel, and that might wash out interesting before all is said and done.

And while it’s sort of been pushed out of the news, there’s still a Democratic Primary going on. Wisconsin plans on holding a vote Tuesday, despite being sorely underequipped when it comes to voting machines. Joe Biden still has a commanding lead over Bernie Sanders. In fact, one would say an almost insurmountable lead, and has announced he’ll start vetting vice-presidential candidates.

While he’s hanging in, it’s been reported that some of his own aides have been encouraging Sanders to throw in the towel. Apparently, he’s still kicking it around but it’s as likely as not he’ll call it a race by the end of the week. This has caused a portion of his faithful to announce they’ll vote for Trump despite endorsing Sanders, because they’re goddamn morons. This isn’t the majority and it seems to have been spurned on by podcaster Joe Rogan, who gets way more attention than he deserves.

Look, y’all, for all his faults, Joe Biden is better than Donald Trump any day of the week. One of Rogan’s dumbass reasons to be anti-Biden is that his cabinet will have too much pull. The fact that he thinks this will be bad – especially compared to the gang of two-bit crooks and boot lickers Trump keeps around him – goes to show that neither he nor anyone who pays attention to him know sheep shit from wild honey concerning American politics apart from pithy slogans.

Let’s ignore the Supreme Court for a moment. We’ll come back, but bare with me. This administration has actively and proudly overturned environmental and business regulations, partly because this is what Republicans want but mainly out of Trump’s petty spite that Barack Obama made fun of him that one time. The idea that he’ll shake up American’s foreign policy horrors holds no water when you remember he launched a missile strike against Iran forces in Iraq to buff his poll numbers, lied about the result and mocked American soldiers who reported injuries.

And there’s that little business concerning the southern border that he’s stirred up, stoking not only racist fears of a brown horde coming to take our jobs and stare luridly at our women, but also basically turning the Border Patrol into the Gestapo and making ICE even worse than it already was. Then there is the Supreme Court. I’m convinced that beyond the rest of their ignorance, the cod-socialist “left” are completely ignorant at what an ideological hitman and all-around awful human Brett Kavanaugh is. The whole “drunken fratboy rapist” thing is just the tip of the iceberg.

Two USSC seats are going to open up within the next four years. Ruth Bader Ginsberg can’t live forever, bless her old soul. A 7-2 conservative majority will not only put a halt to any progressive legislation for almost a generation, it will actively go after wingnut bête noires like abortion, voting rights and the ability to file suit against companies that, for example, continue to poison the water and foul the air. Granted, I’ve come to believe the vast majority of “brocialists” don’t really consider a woman’s bodily autonomy all that important and, despite what they say, they’re fine with corporations doing whatever their damn well please.

I get it, though. Joe Biden… man, who thought that was a good idea? People want to blame the Democratic Party for some sort of shenanigans, but the sad, sorry fact is he connected with the voters where Bernie Sanders did not. He had four years of Trumpism to do so, to bring the mushy middle into the fold, and failed pathetically, partly because he didn’t really try. I’ve said it before, you spend an election cycle telling a party to suck your dick and expect them to just trot along like loyal soldiers when you call on them, you’ve got no one to blame but yourself when it blows up in your face.

For what it’s worth, I don’t want Sanders to drop out until he feels staying in does more harm than good. For one, I align politically with him way more than Biden. Hell, he’s a centrist in my eyes. Secondly, Biden’s been in Washington way too long and has way too many skeletons in his closet. I don’t see Tara Reade being the end of it, and if nothing else, anyone who thinks the GOP will let that slide considering Trump’s own awful history is a goddamn fool.

I don’t think one is more electable than the other and the diehard “my guy or bust” are statistical minorities. Still, of the choices we’ve got, I see Sanders as our best shot and best to do the job, if he can get past his own nose. In any event, if there’s no chance of anyone toppling Trump, I’d rather go out with a big bang than a wet fart.

Make of that what you will.

Friday, April 3, 2020

A journalism professor of mine, quoting someone more clever than him, once said “journalism is the first rough draft of history”. That being the case, since apparently COVID-19 not only dominates the news, it pretty near pushes everything else out, here we go.

Of course, there is other news going on besides “the entire world is sick and can’t go to work,” but it seems everything is in one way or another tied to it. In case anyone forgot, the Democratic primary is still going on with a round of voting in Wisconsin Tuesday. However, for whatever reason, they don’t have their ducks in a row to deal with the new scenario and will have in Milwaukee just five polling places for the entire city. So, hopefully they can get that untangled by Tuesday.

An odd bonus to the pandemic is that less travel means less demand for travelling which means less cars at the pump. So, gas prices are as low as they’ve been in almost 30 years even though no one should be going anywhere. Well, we can’t have that. In collusion with Russia and Saudi Arabia, Trump has announced they’re coming close to an agreement between the three largest oil producers to throttle down production so as to drive prices up because, sure, why not. If anyone can’t take a slight financial hit for a short while, it’s worldwide energy conglomerates.

I’ve put off writing about Tara Reade to let the rest of the media can do its job, but it seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle. She’s accusing candidate Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her when she was his aide in 1993. Now, the reason the mainstream media tiptoes around these things is the fear of getting sued, especially when it comes to politically powerful men. That’s changing but obviously not fast enough. In any event, personally, I see the accusations credible enough to warrant investigation, especially if the guy’s going to be president.

Just like with his so-called cognitive decline, Trump’s people and fanbase aren’t going to see the hypocrisy in using that as a club, if that’s the issue and it shouldn’t be. In any event, it’s way past time the Democratic Party addressed its own problems not just with sexual assault charges but how it deals with them. Dudes, you can’t just ignore things anymore.

We’re a solid three weeks into this and the reality is sitting on our face and farting. As of today, there have been 6,057 deaths in the U.S. and today saw the highest single-day count at nearly 1,200. We’re still wrapping our heads around things, trying to figure out what to do next and how to do it. To be frank, we’ve sort of stumbled through it. Some of it’s been plain ignorance on our part, as in Mardi Gras, or youthful stupidity like during Spring Break. However, for all the hoo-hah people talk about “leadership” from elected officials, it’s been spotty to say the least.

While there have been some superstars like Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Jay Inslee of Washington, state heads like Kay Ivey of Alabama and our own Tate Reeves had to dragged kicking and screaming into acting right, finally getting around to it when cold, hard reality slaps them in the face. It’s less to do with party than action taken, as John Bel Edwards is having to deal with New Orleans as the fastest growing area of infection.

And don’t get it twisted, it’s not just the South and our famed thick-headed stubbornness. People in her state are begging Republican Governor Kim Reynolds to announce a state shut down. She is not and, indeed, is being kind of an asshole about things. Dr. Anthony Fauci has expressed dismay that everyone hasn’t shut down their state, which prompted Gov. Reynolds to call him divisive and wonder – out loud, where everyone can hear her – whether he “maybe has all the information”. I don’t know how far up Trump’s rear she is, but if Tate Reeves buckled under and told Mississippi to stay in this weekend, you know it ain’t just for play.

Granted, Reeves has had little choice but to act because, friends and neighbors, Mississippi is in dire straits. Per capita, we have the highest rate of people hospitalized. With 1,073 infected and 332 in hospital, that works out to around 31%. What’s really worrisome is Mississippi has the least amount of doctors per capita in the country as well as the most uninsured in the country.

With the per capita income so low here, the nationwide unemployment situation is bearing down hard on us. Over 700,000 jobs have been lost across the country and something like 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, joining the 3.3 million that filed two weeks ago. While the oil companies are getting their taste of that 2.1 trillion dollar stimulus, the rest of us are having to wait our turn. The administration doesn’t really want to say anything about it, but it could be August before the checks go out.

Of course, Trump and family are getting their taste. Having put his half-wit son-in-law in charge of the response, Jared Kushner’s company somehow stands to make out like a bandit thanks to the freeze on federal mortgages. Kushner Companies have over $800 million in federally backed loans allowing them to control low- and medium-income homes across the country. Known slum lords, the Kushners – father and son – could deal with people not paying their rent during this time by sliding the bill to the federal government and taxpayers.

But that’s not just the expected grift of the Trumps, but the blindness of the wealthy in general. One thing “social distancing” and everyone showing what they’re keeping themselves busy on social media, we’re seeing a lot of the upper crust’s complete inability to function without servants. It’d be funny if it weren’t so obnoxious. They’re making the case way better than Bernie Sanders could for a wealth tax if not a shot from the French razor.

While here in Mississippi, people who have to feed their kids and keep their lights on are having trouble navigating the filing for unemployment. Thanks to 31,000 people having filed for unemployment, the Mississippi Department of Employment Security finds itself overwhelmed despite more staff and longer hours. Even if someone is able to nail down unemployment, they’re looking at $235 from the state and $600 from the federal stimulus package.

My own cousin, a journeyman electrician, is experiencing headaches filing for employment, and his uncle’s business is having to shut down because of the statewide shut-down of the largest employers. The problem, as he sees it, if people are getting $800 from the government, why should they go back to work. Of course, no one considers the reality of that stimulus having a rather short shelf life, but maybe doing something about paying better wages would better induce people to work themselves to death.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Finally. Someone got through to Tate Reeves, the esteemed governor of Mississippi, and the tater-headed rascal issued a statewide shelter-in-place order. After starting last week with the arrogant announcement that we were “not China,” Reeves read the writing on the wall and did the right thing.

Of course, this is the “thing” he should’ve done this time last week and his arrogance has let the fire build to a point where we might not be able to handle it, but the past is past. Reeves also closed all places of amusement and recreation, including the miles of beaches along the coast. As we noted last week, Reeves came off as pretty cocky and massively misinformed about the dangers the state faces under the virus, especially considering the overall poor health of the citizens from the get-go and rickety health care system.

The intervening week saw him get a ton of criticism from mayors across the state. The same thing has happened in Florida, with Gov. Ron DeSantis getting his head out of his ass and shutting that state down long after the Spring Break meatheads all acted like Typhoid Marys. Again, spilt milk and I did dumb shit in my 20s as well, but like Reeves, DeSantis has been a dick about this the whole time.

One thing DeSantis noted – and this probably affected Reeves, as well, since he fights with the Florida governor for time on Trump’s shoes – that it was the president’s “somber tone” in yesterday’s daily rally. I can’t give him too much guff over that because the White House media collectively splooged their own pants at Trump’s “tone”. Now, I won’t watch the damn things, but he spent today’s railing about the drug war, warning about the “caravans” and waving his dick at Iran again while, of course, complaining about the media.

They’re still constantly looking for a point in time where, after three years, Trump “finally becomes presidential”. Yeah, I don’t know why, either, but I went into a bit about the overall problems with the media, especially at that level, at the Tumblr site this morning. In short, the press at that level isn’t going to shake up the Status Quo, even if they disagree with it, because they’re financially tied to it.

Furthermore, they’ve got a whole lot invested in the narrative that says a president is a wise and just leader, especially if he’s a really rich guy like Trump’s supposed to be. I go into more detail in the Tumblr piece, but that people are still shocked and dismayed over this instead of expecting it and adjusting accordingly is a bit silly.

It should be noted that Trump along with the rest of the GOP is trying to claim his recent impeachment on corruption and obstruction charges – the fourth president to do so and the first impeached before his first term was out, mind – is what kept him from adequately addressing COVID-19 in a timely manner. However, that’s obviously bullshit. Even worse, a quick look at the timeline shows that not only was impeachment in the bag well before the world started paying attention to what was going on in China, Trump spent plenty of time playing golf, holding his rallies and generally being his arrogant pig-headed self.

In an incredibly dick move, Trump announces that the Obamacare markets will not be reopened, thus cutting off who knows how many off from health care as over three million join the ranks of the unemployed. Now, it should be noted the normal market schedule will be hewed to – for the time being, anyway – but many have called for a special session so those recently let go from their work and, thus, losing their employer-connected insurance. That very thing, employer-connected insurance, has been touted as Too Good To Lose by folks who aren’t down with Medicare for All or single payer. I bet they feel like silly sausages now, huh?

In all seriousness, at the very least the government, state and federal, are finally taking this shit seriously. They’re admitted that at least 100,000 people might very well die. They’re acknowledging that despite the danger to the economy’s stability, people need to stay away from each other. Finally, they’re starting to own up that we need to listen to actual medical and scientific experts rather than partisan actors and dingbat New York Times journalists.

So there’s that there then. Once again, complaining about what should have been done by the “leaders” of the United States or the individual states to deal with this obvious problem, this worldwide epidemic really doesn’t help with going forward. With that all being said, one hopes we at least paid attention and can figure out who’s on the ball and who’s just worried about poll numbers and making money.

I won’t hold my breath, but hey… stranger things have happened.

Monday, March 31, 2020

I’m far from the first person to say this, but March has lasted forever. It’s amazing to think this month included Super Tuesday, and less than four weeks ago that was the main thing on everyone’s minds. Who would Elizabeth Warren endorse now that she’s dropping out of the race? Seems like a lifetime ago, and now we’re all going to spend the next 24 hours hoping everyone realizes that “April Fool’s” jokes are unnecessary.

And the ride’s just starting. After spending the bulk of the month pretending it wasn’t that big a deal, Trump started listening to Dr. Anthony Fauci and admitted we are in for a tough row to hoe. Where he once pretended we’d choke it off by Easter with around 500 deaths, our dopey president used his Daily Rally yesterday to extend virus protocols and saying if we can keep deaths to around 200,000, it could be considered a job well done.

Wait.

Do what now?

Two-hundred thousand dead people is a good job? That is… certainly a take from our dipstick president. This was confirmed as a real probability by Dr. Fauci, about the only person in the administration is trying to do anything beyond keep Trump’s ass properly moistened, and that’s enough of a stunner to wrap our heads around. As of right now, we’re just a few death’s shy of the number of people killed on 9/11 up from less than 500 this time last week.

I doubt it would come as a surprise to anyone who’s read much of this that my personal politics lean fairly hard to the left. Even so, after those planes flew into the Twin Towers, I was willing to give George W. Bush a little room. Remember how he sat stunned and glassy-eyed for about 15 minutes after one of his aides told him what went down? A lot of people gave him shit for that and still do.

I couldn’t find it within myself to bust his chops for that. For one, he was around a bunch of kids and if anyone doesn’t need to see the president lose his shit, it’s a bunch of kids. But that was a moment that I think we as a culture still haven’t wrapped our heads around. A little confusion was warranted, I think.

Of course, he managed to shit the bed not long after with the expansion of governmental powers and surveillance, the stoking of fear and loathing, and the general mess the War On Terror became almost from the get-go. I never would’ve thought a president would’ve handled a fundamental change in how we as a culture view existence worse than that, but President Trump again goes below and beyond. He’s spent more time pitching fits at Yamichie Alcindor, former New York Times reporter currently with PBS Newshour because she read his words back to him, words that downplayed the issue, and blaming nurses for stealing breathing masks for… some reason.

And he’s not doing any better today. He’s gone after Alcindor again because she fails to show proper deference. He also bragged about his hair. Who the hell knows? This is what we get for letting the silly fucker become president. Oh, you didn’t like Hilary Clinton or “neo-liberals”? Good job.

Anyhow, we’re seeing differing reactions from the various state governors. Guys like Gavin Newsom and Andrew Cuomo are dealing with runaway infections and deaths the best way they can, though some are being absolutely horrifying about it. Regular Trump targets like Gretchen Whitmer are going about it knowing no real help is coming from the federal government. Party state governors like John Bel Edwards of Louisiana or Ron DeSantis of Florida are approaching the reality that seasonal events turned out very badly. Of course, Edwards admitting Mardi Gras was a mess but had Washington D.C not dicked around, it wouldn’t be as much an issue (maybe). DeSantis is still just a dick.

Normal, non-governmental people are dealing with it in different ways. Some are being great, some are being as racist as one would expect. This is just anecdotal, but more people are moving around here in Mississippi. A mega-church pastor in Tampa Bay got nicked for holding services and a choir in Oregon held practice despite it being told it wasn’t a good idea. Dozens of people came down with COVID-19 and two are dead, so good job there.

Car companies are retooling their plants and General Electric workers walked off the job in Maryland and Boston, demanding the plants turn to making badly needed ventilators. Amazon and Instacart workers walked off the job because they’re being treated like shit and Jeff Bezos is a bastard.

One thing Trump did do was give up the Easter deadline for “getting back to normal,” pushing it back to April 30th. By June, he says, this will all be in the past and we’ll be getting back to making rich people richer, the American Way. Well… maybe. Most medical experts say that’s optimistic as is keeping the death toll under 200,000. We’re in for the long haul with this, neighbors, and it’s going to be worse than you thought it would be.

Blame the media all you want, but they did and are doing their job on this. As long as the President of the United States of America feels its necessary to say dumb shit in front of the entire nation, they’ll do their jobs and cover the goofy bastard. “Do your jobs,” I hear you tell them. Well, they are. You just don’t like how it’s being done.

Understandable, sure, but that’s just too damn bad. That’s journalism, baby. If you’re expecting bold, unflinching crusaders for Truth and Justice, you got the wrong message out of both No Exit and Kolchak: The Night Stalker.

The Weekend, March 28-29

So, we’re doing the Project this week and seeing how it works. So far, I like it. Still waiting on any outside critique, but hey. I’m not getting paid for this.

I’m still not sure how I should do the weekends, except I know I should write something. I do like having a break from the need to dig up something Newsworthy and I also like keeping the Gibberish compartmentalized, more or less. Reviews, maybe? Save the music stuff I usually do on Tumblr whenever the mood strikes me for the weekend? I don’t know.

With that in mind, this will be different from what I intend to keep on the WordPress. As I’ve said, it’s going to be straight News during the week and until I figure out some unique, it’ll be a one-two shot of Housekeeping with the Blogger site plus some Tumblr drippings.

Here’s Tuesday’s offering, where we rant a little more about the uber wealthy pretending they shouldn’t be guillotined and their assets seized, plus what I like out of my role-playing computer games. Thursday was mostly a rant about the massive incompetence of Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves as well as the surfeit of cut-rate wingnut babblers who don’t have to leave their basements to do their “jobs” screaming that the dirty plebes need to get back to work. That and more video games jibber-jabber.

We’re seeing another round of that wingnut boobery getting all bent out of shape because the average American cares more about their health and the health of their loved ones than some billionaire’s bottom line. It is what it is, and this is probably what we’re going to have to deal with until COVID-19 burns itself out. And, of course, they’re bosses are giving them a great reason to put themselves in harm’s way.

As for the President, he is inspiring confidence and calm by… bragging about the ratings of his daily rallies and claiming he won’t pay for the security Prince Harry and Megahn Markle haven’t asked for, turns out. I’m not sure where this comes from but it has given the drooling morons that worship him another reason to get a stiffy.

Those daily rallies are either showing what sort of punk the president is to normal folks or what sort of Great Man his is Base. PBS journalist Yamiche Alcindor read back Trump’s own words to a recent Sean Hannity fluff session concerning his threats towards state governors who don’t properly genuflect. He, of course, completely loses his shit and rages at her to “be nice” wondering why “you people” are so mean to poor little him.

At this point, we’re all used to the president being a petulant child as well as a blithering moron. That all being said, I remain stunned that so many of my fellow Americas worship the toilet he shits on to the extent they’re willing to threaten anyone who dares gainsay him. Yep, the loons have actually started threatening Dr. Anthony Fauci, the one guy on Trump’s team to not only cut the bullshit but also have the audacity to point out the president’s as full of shit as a Christmas goose. It’s gotten to the point that the right-wing media is getting in on the fun.

“Ah, but those are outliers, Matt,” I hear you saying. Bullshit. We live in a world where Jim Hoft’s dumb ass has White House press credentials. There is no “outlier” when it comes to conservative media, not anymore. And when push comes to shove, Trump will throw him to the wolves.

But that’s enough of all that. We’ll get back into the News tomorrow. Before I forget, here’s some Tumblr stuff: a little history of the excellent ’80s band The Bus Boys and an extended rant on the wealth gap in this country, pointing out that the extremely rich should count their blessings Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren were calling for a slight raise in their unearned income tax rather than the executioner’s ax they deserve.

Whoops! Got a little heated up there. Hugs and kisses, neighbors, let’s all hold hands and sing “Kumbaya”. Maybe buy the world a Coke, I don’t know. Country singer Joe Diffie died from complications due to the coronavirus. I was never a huge fan but did enjoy some of his stuff. Maria Mercader, a long-time journalist and news executive for CBS, also passed away this weekend because of COVID-19. She was 54 and he was 61. Far too many people are still passing this off as a big nothing. Maybe hitting close to home will get them to pay attention.

Okay, that’s that. I may have some good news by the end of the week. I’m not going to build up any hopes, especially mine, but if it does come through, it’ll affect how this mess is done. I do hope the teeming millions can adjust along with me.