Rollin’, rollin’ rollin’

18 04 2017

Grading, grading, grading. . . .

Okay, that’s not the only reason for my silence. I’ve been thinking about a particular post and what I wanted to say and it all just got bigger and more complicated and more. . . ugh.

I don’t really need to write it—others are writing on the same topic—and, honestly, I’m probably not in the best frame of mind to write it.

It’s about the election, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders.

(You get the “ugh” now, don’t you?)

I mean, I might at some point look particularly at the Trump campaign and what it did to burn through the Republican field and then to beat Clinton, but a big “Here’s the thing. . .” piece? Nope.

Why aren’t I in the best frame of mind to write it? Because I get really fucking angry even thinking about it, and anger and clarity do not mix well in my noggin.

It’s not even a reasonable ire at, say, the FBI and James Comey, or at the media—well, okay, a little bit at the media—but at the Berniesta dead-enders.

These folks are in no way the majority of Sanders supporters and, frankly, deserve no more attention that Jill Stein stans. But, goddammit, I keep running into them on Twitter and, yes, this means I should lay off Twitter but I kinda dig Twitter even though it drives me crazy so I won’t, and I keep getting pissed off.

God, even thinking about why these people piss me off is pissing me off.

Okay, lemme at this sideways. The particularities of the pissiness comes down to two, interrelated phenomena: the sanctification of the senator, and the bullshit illogic that the the only reason he lost to Clinton is that she cheated and the proof of this cheating is that Bernie lost.

That latter bit is bad sportsmanship, and I fuckin’ hate bad sportsmanship.

Yes, matches may be fixed and there is cheating in politics, but you have to bring, y’know, EVIDENCE of such cheating beyond an unhappy outcome.

And no, a party saying “you have to join the party in order to influence the party” is not evidence of cheating, nor is it unfair that long-standing Democratic politicians and activists would prefer, y’know, the long-standing Democratic candidate to the temporary-Democratic candidate.

Anyway, the bigger problem might be the former one: that Sanders is perfect and deserves no criticism, ever. Again, I don’t see this among most Sanders fans, but treating Sanders, or any politician, like some kind of savior is truly, madly, deeply wrong.

He’s a good and decent man, a good and decent senator who continues to pound on an issue which requires constant pounding: economic inequality. Good. Go Bernie!

But there are other issues, including ones related to that inequality, about which he doesn’t have much to say. That’s fine, really: no one can cover everything, and there are others who can air out those things. To mention this to Sanders-zombies, however, is to imply that He is Not Perfect, which is quite literally unbelievable. If Sanders must be right at all times and in all things, then any who disagrees or criticizes must be a heretic.

This is just shit politics. Like your politician. Love your politician. Volunteer for your politician—by all means. I really liked Obama, greatly admire him, and don’t think I will see a president as good as him in my lifetime. I think he is an exceptional man who failed well at an impossible job.

But there were things I didn’t like about his policies and questions I have about some of his decisions, and I am grateful for those good critics of his immigration, national security, and transparency policies in particular. And I think that some of the criticism he received regarding our carceral state helped to move him—alas, perhaps too late—toward some reform of our prison-industrial complex.

He was my president, and I was glad he was president. He wasn’t perfect, and didn’t expect to be treated as such, either.

I’m guessing that Bernie Sanders knows he’s not perfect and accepts that even those who quite like him might nonetheless wag a finger or two at him. Now, if only his worshipers could accept this as well.

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Oh, the dragons are going to fly tonight

6 04 2017

And so the president has launched 50 Tomahawk missiles against Syria tonight.

I’ll say the same thing I said when the previous president was considering launching airstrikes against Syria: “I don’t know what the hell to do about Syria.”

And when that previous president chose not to strike?

The situation in Syria seems to me a case of stumble-recovery. I didn’t think the drawing of the “red line” regarding  chemical weapons use was that big of deal, not least because there were multiple responses besides that of a military strike. (And as for the alleged loss of presidential/American credibility, well, christ, if actual air strikes on Qaddafi didn’t deter Assad, why would threats do so?)

Assad is a menace, no doubt. Did he gas (again!) his people? No doubt. Has he ruined his country in order to preserve his own rule? Yeah, he has.

It is not at all clear to me, however, that anything that the US may do, short of invasion, which would change anything. Sending missiles might make anti-Assadists feel better, might cheer the hawks, might bolster those who think the strike shows “resolve”, but beyond that, what?

Was this a one-off? If so, to what end? If not, then escalation?

Assad is supported by Iran and Russia, so unless the Trump administration is willing to take them on—and pray to Athena it is not—it is difficult to see that this will appreciably alter Assad’s behavior. He will continue to bomb his own people, continue to starve them, continue to kill them.

Chemical weapons are a horror, at a level beyond that of barrel bombs and blockades, but they are not the only way to kill.

So, we’ve “punished” Assad for his chemical attack, but it is enough to deter future attacks?

I don’t see it. I didn’t see it when Obama proposed it; I don’t see it now.





Ramble on

3 04 2017

Oh, hey, hi! Hi! ‘Memba me? I ‘memba you! Hi!

Yeah, no good reason for the light no posting. Reasons, yes, but not good ones.

So what’s new?

WELL. I bought a new coffee machine. An expensive, fancy-pants coffee machine that readers of a now defunct website (ie, Gawker) declared their favoritest coffee maker.

I’d bought a cheapo coffee maker oh, a year ago, and never really liked it. That it was cheap didn’t bother me, but it was too small (Heyyy, why not get a 5-cup pot?) and every time I filled the water re-cept-a-cle I dribbled into the filter.

(Yes, I could have filled the water, first, then plopped in the filter, but THAT’S NOT HOW I DO THINGS—at least, not coffee things.)

Anyway, I didn’t love it, but it worked, so, whatever.

But then I saw the defunct piece on the expensive, fancy-pants coffee machine and I thought about my unspent Christmas money (why yes, I’m middle-aged and my parents still send me Christmas money—don’t yours?) and it was on a little sale (i.e., under the threshold at which I’d buy it) and so I bought it.

And. . . it was fine, at first. It has an insulated carafe, which I thought Whoo-hoo, no more burnt coffee (burnt and flavored coffees are the only bad coffees), and that first cuppa was, well, it was really nice.

But the second was a bit. . . not hot. And the third, even more not-hot.

Huh, I thought. And then thought no more.

Next day, same thing. And then, instead of just staring out the window with my lukewarm mug o’ joe, I took a look at the coffee maker. Whereupon I noticed that there was no warmer.

Huh.

Makes sense, really: the carafe is supposed to keep the coffee hot. But it didn’t, not really.

No problem, I’ll just return for the one with the glass pot. At which point I began reading the Amazon comments which I apparently completely blanked on before buying the damned thing, and lo, there were the observations about not-hot joe!

Well, what about the glass pot option? Glass pot breaks. Many commenters: glass pot breaks.

Me: That’s no good.

And then the weird little shit about this model—the filter sits directly on the carafe, there’s no place to store the lid when the coffee’s a-brewin’, and then no place to store the filter when the lid’s on, the carafe realllllly likes to hang on to that last bit of coffee that I otherwise insist belongs in my mug—all of the stuff that I shrugged off in those first, delirious days of fancy-pants coffee making, all of that was no longer charming and do-able but annoying and oh-my-god-I-paid-how-much-for-this-fucker.

So, glass breaks and annoying shit? No. Next model, please!

An hour or so later, after checking this machine and that (all expensive), I landed on this one. It’s programmable, about which I care not one whit (which is good, given that commenters complain that the programming gets fritzy), but I do like the removable water tank (if only for cleaning purposes), and that I can adjust temps.

And yes, I got the red one. I’m not usually much for red—the color makes me nervous, to be honest—but I thought, Ohhh, that’s nice.

It’s still too goddamned much for a coffee maker, of course, but as this officially counts as A Splurge, I officially Don’t Care.

On the other hand, if I don’t like this one, I’ll go back to the cheap-ass options and spend the difference on a bottle of scotch.