Thursday began in the usual fashion.
With me walking into the kitchen in the dark, barefoot, and stepping into ... liquid?
It's pouring rain outside and has been for weeks. Is the roof leaking? Are we sinking? Women and beagles first! Get to the boats, Rose!
Turn on the light, ah it's a coffee machine malfunction and there's a half a gallon of this morning's brew dripping off the counters onto the floor. So, I got to clean that up before I had coffee. On the other hand, the dogs thought me crawling around on my hands and knees, cursing, and mopping up the mess with paper towels was hilarious.
I put them out in the rain. Not so funny now, is it, assholes.
They don't care. They like the rain and ran around gleefully peeing on things as is their wont.
So, that's my morning. We're all fine here. How are you?
I'm thinking somebody maybe did little too much LDS back in the 60s.
...and a bunch of people who claim pot makes you mellow got all kinds of soggy and hard to light about it.
DMs this morning are like the Klingon/Federation Neutral Zone.
Yeah, nothing gets by you. Except maybe all the clues.
Literally nothing I said yesterday was aimed at you personally. Any of you.
Eventually I got coffee. But things did not improve...
Lot of people mad today.
Specifically that anyone should be happy about the vote in California, such as the majority of people who live in California and voted the way they wanted to. Like, you know, democracy and such.
I mean, how dare people be happy about their win?
MAGAs would never do that. No, Sir!
Or post about it on social media. Endlessly.
Or hold rallies to cheer their victory. Or dedicate entire news shows to it. Or listen to their politicians crow about it. Over and over.
They are so much better than us. Less emotional. Reserved.
Here in Florida, Republicans are suing in federal court to halt mask, social distancing, and vaccine mandates. Basically Florida Republicans oppose any measure that would halt or mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in any fashion, and nowhere is this stance more hardline and outspoken than in Tampa -- well, I mean outside of the governor's office in Tallahassee.
Today, however, the head of the Hillsborough Country Republican Executive Committee informed the FEC that they would likely be late in filing their paperwork -- which as a Political Action Committee they are required to do on a monthly basis.
They will be late in filing the paperwork because the committee member responsible for doing so is unavailable.
The committee member is unavailable because he's dead.
He died from acute irony.
And in true job security fashion as taught in all the finest American business schools, the dead guy was the only guy who knew how to do the thing and he didn't give anyone else access to the software or train anyone as his backup. It just don't get any more Republican than that. And that guy, the linchpin, the critical guy in the process, that guy wouldn't wear a mask or get vaccinated or stay away from public places because, goddammit, you're not tellin' me what to do!
But then, these guys are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own kids (and yours too), so I guess it's not any great stretch to find them leaving their entire organization in the lurch with their stubborn selfish stupidity.
I see these guys and they idolize this ridiculous fake version of history and this weirdly twisted version of freedom, like Mel Gibson, an American playing a Scotsman, dressed in a kilt that the Scots wouldn't wear for another five centuries, face painted in woad that the highlanders hadn't worn in a thousand years, fighting a famous battle on a bridge with no bridge, having sex with a woman he probably never actually met, seeking revenge against tyranny what killed his father who was actually still alive and totally not dead, shouting Freeeeeeeeeedom! And somehow missing the fact that Braveheart's insurrection was an abject failure (warning, possible metaphor) and the guy ended up being convicted of treason (ominous foreshadowing music here) and for murdering civilians "sparing neither age nor sex, monk nor nun" and then was dragged naked through the streets of London behind horses, hanged, cut down before he could fully strangle, castrated and disemboweled alive, beheaded, and finally cut into pieces and had his head dipped in tar and placed on a pike over London Bridge. (I didn't say it was a great metaphor, but maybe we could play that part for those currently in jail awaiting trial for the January 6th insurrection just, you know, for fun).
Of course, it's not just America.
Hai Shaulian, a prominent Israeli anti-vaxxer died Monday. From COVID.
His final Facebook message Saturday explained to his readers how he couldn't breathe and that his condition was "extremely critical."
He said he was sure he'd recover "with God's help."
He was right on first two accounts, wrong about the last one.
Shaulian repeatedly called on his followers not to get vaccinated and said of his antivax stance, "It has nothing to do with the coronavirus. It has nothing to do with vaccines. It has to do with coercion" and "There is no epidemic. The vaccine is unnecessary and dangerous."
Turns out, it had everything to do with the virus and vaccines are pretty damn necessary.
Being smothered to death in your own snot is a hell of way to find out your god thinks you're an idiot, isn't it?
I don't know. Maybe it's just me.
As I've previously noted: maybe it makes me a bad person but I've just run out of any sympathy for these people. Everyday I read about yet another "prominent antivaxxer who died of COVID" and I smile. I shrug and say to myself, "welp." Look, it's bad enough they're killing themselves, but their boneheaded malicious libertarianism is putting us all at risk.
This pandemic would be over if it wasn't for these goddamn selfish assholes.
It's not the vaccines that are dangerous, it's the guy who refuses to get vaccinated.
This isn't freedom, it's deliberate stupidity.
Over at Fox News, the people who think they're qualified to count all the ballots and audit all the elections demonstrate their facility with basic math
Joe Biden kicking some ass here, I mean did Trump ever put in 101% on his best day?
But I digress.
And we circle back 'round to California.
I suppose this needs a bit of introduction.
A few days ago, the governor of South Carolina tweeted this:
Naturally, I said something about this on my various social media feeds. Because that's what I do.
Really? A nightmare? Like: Oh my god, America is a nightmarish dark radioactive wasteland of deprivation and devastation were capitalists are hunted in the streets like starving animals by radical gay socialist mobs waving torches made from burning copies of the Constitution and George Washington's powdered wig. A nightmare! It's a madhouse!
I might have been somewhat sarcastic.
And invoking Charlton Heston was probably uncalled for.
There was more. More sarcastic remarks about saving poor endangered capitalism and such like that. You get the gist.
Various readers weighed in and eventually the conversation worked its way around to California, as any discussion of the state of America that begins with "A nightmare!" inevitably must.
"Ca has the highest welfare takers highest poverty rate highest taxes highest homeless population. Failed state propped up by high tech"
Of course, the account that posted that particular observation is very likely a troll, software and not even an actual meaty human being. But the sentiment, that's a common meme, a common idea, pushed by Republicans (some of which are actually from California) and Russian bots alike -- and thus eventually by my MAGA hat wearing neighbors in a display of the only form of trickle down economics that actually works.
California is a hellhole of homelessness and taxation, a dark radioactive wasteland of deprivation and ... well, yeah. You know. You've heard this. Right?
But let's take a closer look, shall we?
If you actually care to pull the actual numbers, it turns out that California's welfare recipient statistics are basically the same as Texas, Florida, and New York.
Liberal states, conservatives states, all have about the same numbers of welfare recipients, those using SNAP benefits, homelessness as a percentage of their large populations, etc.
That is: states with larger populations tend to have a larger number of people.
Yeah, I know, but try to keep up.
And more people equals more homelessness, more people who need assistance, more crime, and more of, well, pretty much everything. This isn't a conspiracy. It isn't any pithy observation. It's just statistics.
If you want to talk real numbers that actually matter, like the ratio of people on welfare and SNAP to people who don't need government assistance then take a look at the poor conservative South where the per capita rate of government assistance is much higher than California on its worst day. And while you're at it, look into what states pay into the system. Because the amount states like California contribute is vastly higher than, oh, say Alabama. Something I note California's critics rarely, if ever, mention.
Saying California has more homeless people is like saying California has more electoral votes.
No shit, Einstein, you don't say?
California has the largest population of any state. Larger than the next most populous state, Texas, by 10 million. California also has the most benign climate (in every sense of the word: weather wise, politically, and economically) of any state. And that combination attracts the highest number of migrants (both domestic and foreign, including both legal and undocumented foreign immigrants) of any state. As such, California's large homeless population isn't so much a condemnation of its policies (which are essentially the same as any other state) as it is the predictable end result of several intersecting curves.
Homelessness, poverty, the need for assistance is a national problem that affects every state.
It's easy to point to California's homeless population as some political statement, because you see California on the news everyday.
No one broadcasts pictures of homeless camps in Iowa. Or Alabama. Or here in the Florida Panhandle, but they're there and they are the same exact problem here as in California, but you won't hear my asshole congressman Matt Gaetz complaining about them and demanding Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi do something.
Taxes pay for civilization.
More taxes, more civilization (yes, yes, up to a point).
California's large diverse population (most especially including its immigrant population) and its vast modern infrastructure and climate are what attract those high tech industries.
High tech industries with high paying jobs in cutting edge fields attract more high tech industry, more immigrants, more population, more infrastructure, more innovation, and more supporting satellite jobs like food, housing, transportation, energy, communications, education, entertainment, emergency services, government, etc.
AND also the associated problems of any large population -- such as taxation and homelessness to name just two.
California is the exact opposite of failed.
It's a major economy that literally drives technology trends, innovation, culture, entertainment, education, and so on, worldwide.
Not to mention California feeds about half our country and several others.
The very problems outlined here, "Ca has the highest welfare takers highest poverty rate highest taxes highest homeless population. Failed state propped up by high tech" are literally proof of this.
Again, you don't see this same guy shouting "Alabama has the highest percentages of farm subsidy takers highest rural poverty rates highest teen pregnancy rates highest COVID infection rate. Failed state propped up by NASA jobs in Huntsville..."
But you could.
You could say that, and it would be just as dumb as shouting about California.
High tech doesn't "prop up" California any more than agriculture does. Those industries, and many more, are part and parcel of the state. They are what help to define it. Just as cotton and peanuts do here in this part of the South or fishing, mining, and oil do in Alaska or cattle does in Texas.
The problems this meme points to are the problems of any large population. Because those are the problems created by success.
You don't hear about poverty and homelessness in Iowa, trolls and pundits don't point to it as some sort of gotcha, because the population -- and thus the resulting culture -- isn't large enough to drive national and global trends. And so no one gives a fuck about Iowa. But the state's problems are the same as anywhere else in America. Drugs. Homelessness. Poverty. Taxation. Infrastructure. Etc.
Civilization is complicated and messy and fraught with unexpected outcomes.
Go ahead and point to a "successful" state without the problems of taxation and homelessness and poverty around the edges of that success.
Go on. Where is it?
You certainly can't here the US. Not in Texas. Not in Florida. Not in New York. Not in Iowa. Not in Alabama. Not in any state.
You can in other nations, however.
But the solutions to those problems in those peaceful nations are the very systems conservatives today here in America decry as "socialism" and "tyranny."
"Ca has the highest welfare takers highest poverty rate highest taxes highest homeless population. Failed state propped up by high tech"
You can squint your eyes and maybe agree that everything this post says is correct. From a certain point of view.
But it's not the pithy gotcha the people pushing it think it is.
Instead it's a demonstration of a blustering ignorance and a shallow incurious mentality incapable of comprehending even the most basic complexities of modern civilization.
Here's a picture of a hummingbird making a highspeed approach with his eyes closed.
See you tomorrow.
Oh, man, going into the kitchen and finding a soggy mess that was supposed to be the morning coffee..ReplyDelete
And the usual interesting commentary. Biden adds up to 101%. Snerk.
At a guess, it was actually 52.5 (rounded up to 53) and 47.5 (rounded up to 48). This is part of why some math teachers have started teaching that when the final digit is five, round to the nearest even (or odd, but be consistent about it) number rather than always rounding up.Delete
Or, and bear with me here if I sound like the math teacher I am, perhaps they could actually proofread their work?Delete
Maybe post that extra digit as they do for the margin of error?
Maybe they could could, gasp, just correct the label?
Success driven high housing costs too.ReplyDelete
Right on the money, Jim. I was born and raised in San Fernando Valley, and any time I went out of state and people found out where I was from, they'd say the same thing every time. "California (or L.A.) sucks!" I'd say, "Really? How long did you live there?" Of course, none of them had lived there and damn few had even visited for more than a week. I'd tell them "Go live there for at least 6 months and then we'll talk about it, because you have no clue what goes on there beyond what you see on t.v." Nowhere on the planet is there more diversity, on any line you can think of, than there is in California. It's only the idiotic morons who've never been there that think it sucks. Just like any place where humans reside, it has it's issues. That's because there are humans there, and on the whole, we're inclined toward fear and insanity. Until THAT is resolved, no place will be free of it on some level.ReplyDelete
Have lived here 45 years and I agree. As Jim implies, many of California's problems are caused by the fact that too many people still want to live here. Hence the high price of housing.Delete
And the homeless problem is as much a result of NIMBYISM as it is a failure of government. Most people in California want to see the homeless housed, just nowhere near them, and not on their dime.
I was looking for a while for some less expensive places to retire. Housing in Texas isn't cheap, property taxes are high, and while gas taxes are lower, all the new expressways are toll roads, and the costs add up quickly.
I grew up in Santa Monica, where we made good natured fun of valley dudes. A great place to live. Problems just like everywhere, but where else can you have the ocean & Yosemite & Big Sur & the Mojave & Disneyland all within a day's drive, year round. Except Mojave in summer - even the Nat'l Geo Road Atlas says of Mojave "not in summer".Delete
I've lived here for 62 years (I'm 66). Grew up in Chino, joined the Navy to see the world, and they sent me to San Diego where I've been for 48 years. Beaches are great, snow in the mountains in the winter, great food (superb Mexican, Chinese, Japanese, and Middle Eastern), 2 hours from Disneyland. What more can one ask? I agree about the desert in the summer; it's a definite no. Chino was bad enough at 90-100 in the summer let alone the desert at 120-130+.Delete
I laugh when I read the ignorant comments on how BAD California is! I was born here almost 70 years ago, and my Father was born here in 1929! Now I know of one State that doesn't have homeless, but it's because its North Dakota! Only 780,000 people there, and they are NOT hospitable to the poor! Very little to almost zero social services, no homeless rescue facilities. What they say is if people can't afford to live there then get out! And this a State where you WILL freeze to death outside in the winter. So much for Christian charity.Delete
Great piece, Mr. Wright. As a native Californian, thank you. I am so tired of this knee-jerk response, even from some who live here. And the assertion that we aren't "real" Americans.ReplyDelete
Also, anti-vaxxers who die of Covid are suckers and losers! I like anti-vaxxers who don't die, okay? The 74yo fat guy survived Covid without the vaccine and the most strenuous things he ever did were swing a golf club and walk down a ramp without a hand rail.
Great work, Jim. In my case, sort of preaching to the choir, but you say it better than I ever could...ThanksReplyDelete
Texas had ambitions to be a high tech center like California and tried the low-tax give away to lure them there. But with their anti-science, medieval laws they are not only not getting people to move there, they are actually losing population.ReplyDelete
Don't know where you got those ideas. Texas added 4 million people over the last decade and has steady tech growth.Delete
But the glibiterians say (over and goddamn over) that there is a huge migration from Cali to Texas. These asshats who fail basic economics wouldn't lie, would they??Delete
My beagle mix drinks coffee. Absolutely loves it. Could be worse, or perhaps the dogs are plotting against you?ReplyDelete
Thank you for the analysis.
Are these recaps a new series? I stumbled on it on Twitter but don't see a link on Facebook. Any way we can get the links on Facebook?ReplyDelete
Ha! ~ somebody maybe did little too much LDS back in the 60sReplyDelete
Thanks! I needed that! Carry on Cap'n, missed ya' ...
Latter Day Saints?Delete
It's a line from a movie. I take it you're not a Star Trek fan? // JimDelete
Love that line from The Voyage Home. Funniest of the Star Trek films. My second favorite; favorite is Wrath of Khan.Delete
Usual excellent commentary, Jim. I'm also liking this daily recap on here on the blog. While you can have some interesting back and forth on Twitter, it's nice to have your whole commentary in one flowing piece, and without worrying about the bizzaro FB algorithms.ReplyDelete
In Montana, I was accosted by a man declaring that California (when I told him where I was from) was the land of fruits and nuts. He said it several times when I tried to explain how wonderful California was because of the fruits and nuts. He kept repeating it until I said, "It's better than being a redneck." He sped off at that point.ReplyDelete
"Fruits and nuts", referring to California, dates back to the 1980's when Euell Gibbons first used the phrase as part of his healthy eating talks. The man was quoting something 40 years old and thought he was being original!Delete
This is almost as great as yesterday's recap. And, yeah, lifelong Californian here, and I *love* it here.ReplyDelete
One of the best debunkings of the "California as Hellhole" mythology I have ever read. Thanks for that. It's funny how everyone not from CA thinks they know what life is like here. And you can't convince them otherwise.ReplyDelete
I'm from Montana, where through the "leadership" of a batshittery republican legislature, a vicious, ignorant governor, and a sizable constituency that is begging to be killed by Covid, things are going directly into the toilet. This essay had me standing and cheering. Thank you so much for the regular thread of sanity you provide, Stonekettle.ReplyDelete
I may nominate you for a Pulitzer for this post! Bravo!ReplyDelete
Of course ignorance isn't a virtue. Ignorance Is StrengthReplyDelete
Great post, says this California girl.ReplyDelete
Also, that picture is AMAZING!
Bravo. Take a bow Mr Wright.ReplyDelete
"(R)an around gleefully peeing on things as is their wont." I laughed out loud at this, because it neatly dovetailed with one of your other oft-recalled phrases about Republicans, dogs, and self-awareness.ReplyDelete
Not that I'd say Republicans are dogs, that would be a terrible insult to dogs.
I’m really enjoying the writing here over Facebook. I like the Jim unrestrained by arbitrary rules that are impossible to follow.ReplyDelete
If you want to see a steady stream of antivaxxers that have died from covid go check out the twitter account @HermanCainAward. It’s shocking, but not the least bit surprising.
And out here in California we see the same stupid things said about big cities by the rural idiots.ReplyDelete
While enjoying the benefits of being part of of the state as a whole, complain about being part of the state as a whole.
Loving the long form, Jim.
Also, Princess Isabella was probably between 10 and 12 when Wallace was executed, so I would certainly hope that he never had sex with her.ReplyDelete
Going back to long form may just wean me from FB !ReplyDelete
Small quibble, Mel Gibson is Australian.ReplyDelete
CA tops in welfare and population and in economic output and in tax contributions to the us treasury. Propped up by capitalist industry. What a stupid complaint.
Long form is great but so many topics in one post. Oh well, adaptation is what we need to do and your voice needs to be heard.
Nope. Mel Gibson is an American with dual Irish citizenship. He was born in New York. He did spend part of his youth living in Australia, but he is not now nor has he ever been an Aussie.Delete
Funny if hippies did too much LDS. Or maybe it was LSDReplyDelete
I take it you're not a Star Trek fan?Delete
The "LDS" comment was a line by William Shatner in a Star Trek movie. Thus the dig about "fascinating" which was Spock's catchphrase.
"The Gates of Hell"ReplyDelete
I think that every time I pass the "Welcome to South Carolina" sign on I-85.
"Being smothered to death in your own snot is a hell of way to find out your god thinks you're an idiot, isn't it?"-ReplyDelete
"The economy of the State of California is the largest in the United States, boasting a $3.2 trillion gross state product (GSP) as of 2019. If California were a sovereign nation (2020), it would rank as the world's fifth largest economy, ahead of India and behind Germany." I lived in CA in the 70s. Big Sur, Palo Colorado Canyon, Carmel. Head spinning beauty for a New England boy who grew up on the water. Conservatives are getting dumber, as per your point yesterday. They used to be a serious bunch, now they are hysterical. And your point of the position swap from the hippies in the 60s who were estranged from social constructs and thought tearing it down and starting over, to the current crop of conservatives emulating the same behavior is spot on. They're just pretending their cause is more important.ReplyDelete
Thanks Jim. This is way more entertaining than your FB posts used to be. Will be following daily.ReplyDelete
I giggled several times reviewing today's output... wish I could insert a giggle emoji as I read...ReplyDelete
(I must be well-trained from somewhere, oh well, hopefully I'll grow out of it someday)...
Larger populations would translate into a higher number of homeless, etc.?! I could see how that could confuse some people, NOT! Lol!
I worry a bit about liking your posts so much... you know, confirmation bias and all..., but when you can point out so articulately and hilariously that simple math topples their arguments, hard not to love that!!!
I think this kind of blog, with a link interface on social media, will probably be the way of the future...
Certainly if I relied on social media for any income, I would be setting up my own and linking social media entries to my site...
Good thing you are not keeping the lights on with FB... they would have just made you destitute...
Loving the long form. A lot.ReplyDelete
I appreciate the “too much LDS” reference, and yet I’d imagine “too much LDS” would involve white shirts, ties, and bicycles.ReplyDelete
I was, if not a hippie, very hippie-adjacent. I grew up 50 miles north of San Francisco, and a few miles from Morningstar Ranch, one of the biggest communes of the time. I certainly didn't take offence to the description of liberals in the 60s and 70s -- heck, the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers glorified the stereotype!ReplyDelete
On the mark, as usual.ReplyDelete
I'm saving this:ReplyDelete
Bluster isn't intellect.
Soundbites aren't wisdom.
Ignorance isn't a virtue and rage isn't patriotism no matter how self-righteous.
"And so no one gives a fuck about Iowa."ReplyDelete
Oh NOW you've done it, Jim. The millions of Iowans upset about this comment are going to boil out of the baseboard gaps.
Oh wait. There aren't that many.
Let me guess. Forgot to put the coffee pot in the machine. Been there, done that.ReplyDelete
And no it isn't just you? The way I look at it every anti-vax death is one less moron that can kill me.
That's precisely why I switched to Keurig. One too many times the hubs or I forgot the pot.Delete
"More taxes, more civilization" is a gem. Firefighters and libraries are the height of civilization to my mind, and both are paid with taxes.ReplyDelete
Having lived more than 50 years in California, a friend (California native) and I were cheering on the idea floating around at the beginning of the pandemic when the usual suspects outside of our state wanted to close California's borders. We kind of liked the idea. We said that it would be fun to watch the ensuing chaos, especially if we, as a state, decided that if the other states didn't want us, they didn't need our money either - California only gets back about 80 cents on the dollar of the money we pay in various Federal levies and taxes. We also effectively control a large portion of goods and services entering the country through the ports of Oakland and Los Angeles, as well as feeding a large portion of the country, as Jim mentioned.ReplyDelete
As for the recall, it was really a simple math problem, that Californians in the population centers (with most of the state's voters) understood - with slightly more than 10% of the population of the entire country, we had significantly less than 10% of the total COVID deaths - even though we got hit early, and hard. We were hit before vaccines, before monoclonal antibodies, and before most of the other therapies had been figured out. We did well because London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, was paying attention, and because Newsome listened to her, realized he was out of his element, and called the doctors, and did as the doctors advised. People bitched, but we lived. Telling that both Florida and Texas, which got hit hard late in the game (after the therapies were known and available), both lost more people total than we did, even though their populations are smaller (Florida's significantly so). That's why the recall failed. As nutty as people outside of the state may think we are, we're not stupid (well, most of us, anyway). And exit polls showed that roughly 60% of voters thought the pandemic restrictions here were either just about right, or not strict enough. The flaming liberals of the 60s and 70s all went to school, and made sure their kids did, too. We still have our MAGAts (most of them in an area that calls itself the State of Jefferson that wants to break off from California), but they have a tough time in statewide politics, both because their numbers are small (about 20% of the state's voters), and their financial resources are even smaller (the rest of the state has been supporting these areas for decades - if left to their own devices, civil society in those areas would cease to exist).
The progressives in this state have weird ideas about many things - the weirdest one being that we're all in this together, and that wealth is not a zero sum game. Yeah, we're weird, but I love it here, as do my friends.
It's not just bluster. It's hate filled bluster. Gotta put that hate for libruls in there somehow. Ignorance can have benefits like refusing to noticing that the state they are in is just as bad and sometimes even worse than those they lob insults at.ReplyDelete
California's Economy is the 5th largest in the world. Larger than that of the U.K. aka England. The GDP of California is 2.9 Trillion dollars but you won't hear conservatives mention any of that. Because to admit that would be to admit their own failure.
As a resident of Huntsville, Alabama, I have to say that your facetious assessment of Alabama is...not inaccurate.ReplyDelete
The Star Trek IV reference made me very happy this dreary Monday morning.ReplyDelete
The committee member is unavailable because he's dead. LOL!ReplyDelete
Why do all of these right-wing freaks always look like they're constipated? Maybe that's why they're always angry and crazy?ReplyDelete