Monday, August 22, 2022

Reading Burnout

 I saw a meme earlier (damned if I can find it now, of course), that mentioned something to the effect of "emotional support books," that would follow their owner to their grave without ever being read.

A couple of years ago, I would not have understood this at all, but now it makes perfect sense. Dearly Beloved, I fear I have lost the will to read!

Anyone who has known me for a long time will know that I have always been a voracious reader. Back in the day, I wrote my name on a card at the library, and the title of every book I ever read was on that card, along with the date it was due back. And my name was on another card that resided in a pocket in the book. One year, I filled up five cards, and there was scarcely a book in the school library that didn't have my name in it by the time I graduated. As well, I was getting books from the public library, and from the church and swapping them around with friends. 

I'm That Mom, who read the ENTIRE Lord of the Rings trilogy to her kids, a chapter a night for something like 2 years...I may be the only person you know who, upon finishing a book, might just turn it over and read it again, right away.

And yet...these days I just don't seem to be able to sustain interest in reading much of anything. I have several books around that I have started and set down. I think about them, and tell myself I really must finish them, but it hasn't happened. Throughout the lockdown, when I thought I would read a lot, I never did.

I hope this is a temporary condition, and that a lifetime of reading hasn't led to a permanent burnout.

Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Written AS IF by One of the Uvalde Mothers

 

2 June at 22:55 
"The chicken soup in her thermos stayed hot all day while her body grew cold.
She never had a chance to eat the baloney and cheese sandwich. I got up 10 minutes early to cut the crust off a sandwich that will never be eaten.
Should I call and cancel her dental appointment? Will the office automatically know?
Should I still take her brother to the appointment since I already took the day off work? Last time Son had one cavity and Daughter asked him what having a cavity feels like.
She will never experience having a cavity.
She will never experience having a cavity filled.
The cavities in her body now are from bullets, and they can never be filled.
What if she had asked to use the bathroom in the hall a few minutes prior to the gunman entering the room, locking the door, and slaughtering all inside?
Was she one of the first kids in the room to die or one of the last?
These are the things they don’t tell us.
Which of her friends did she see die before her?
Did their blood and brains splatter across her Girl Scout uniform?
She just earned a Fire Safety patch.
What if it got ruined?
There are no patches for school shootings.
Was she practicing writing GIRAFFE the moment he walked in her classroom, barricaded the door and opened fire?
She keeps forgetting the silent “e” at the end.
We studied this past weekend, and now she doesn’t need to take the spelling test on Friday.
None of them will take the spelling test on Friday.
There will be no spelling test on Friday.
Because there is no one to give it.
And no one to take it.
These are the things I will never know:
I will never know at what age she would have started her period.
I will never know if she had wisdom teeth.
(Or if they would have come in crooked.)
I will never know who she spoke to last. Was it the teacher? Was it her table partner? She says he is always talking, even during silent reading.
Did she even scream?
She screamed the lyrics to We Don’t Talk About Bruno at 7:58 AM as she hopped out of my car in the circle drive.
She always sings the Dolores part, her sister sings Mirabel and I’m Bruno.
“And I wanted you to know that your bro loves you so
Let it in, let it out, let it rain, let it snow, let it goooooo……..”
Did the killer ever see Encanto?
Could we have sat in the same row of seats, on the same day, munching popcorn?
What if my daughter brushed past him in the aisle? Did she politely say, “Excuse me,” to the boy who would someday blow her eye sockets apart?
Was he chomping on bubble gum as he destroyed them all?
If so, what flavor?
Cinnamon?
Wintergreen?
Was the radio on as he drove to massacre them? Or did he drive in silence?
Was the sun in his eyes as he got out of the car in the parking lot?
Did his pockets hold sunglasses or just ammunition?
These are the things I will never know.
There is laundry in the dryer that is my daughter's.
Clothes I never need to fold again.
Clothes that are right now warmer than her body.
How will I ever be able to take them out of the dryer and where will I put them if not back in her dresser?
I can never wash clothes in that dryer again.
It will stand silent; a tomb for her pajamas and knee socks.
Her cousin’s graduation party is next month and I already signed her name in the card. Should I cross it out?
That will be the last card I ever sign her name to.
The dog will live longer than she will.
The dog will be 12 next month and she will be eternally 10.
What will the school do with her backpack?
It was brand new this year and she attached her collection of keychains like cherished trophies to its zipper.
A beaded 4 leaf clover she made on St. Patty’s Day.
A red heart from a Walk-a-Thon.
A neon ice cream cone from her friend’s birthday party.
Now there will be no more keychains to attach.
No more trophies.
Surely they can’t throw it out?
Would they throw them all out?
19 backpacks, full of stickered assignments and rainboots, all taken to the dumpster behind the school?
Is there even a dumpster big enough to contain all that life?
These are the things someone else knows:
The moment the semiautomatic rifle was put into his hands--was “Bring Me a Higher Love” playing in the gun store? “Get off my Cloud” by the Rolling Stones? Maybe it was Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”
Did the Outback Oasis salesperson hesitate as they slid him 375 rounds of ammunition?
not my problem my kids are grown and out of school
Or I don’t have kids, so I don’t have to worry about their skulls getting blown across the naptime mat 
Or fingers crossed there’s a good guy with an equally powerful gun that will stop this gun if needed
Did they sense any danger or were they more focused on picking that morning’s Raisin Bran out of their teeth?
My Nana used to say, “Pay attention to what whispers, and you won’t have to when it starts screaming.”
But now I know there is a more deafening sound than children screaming.
More horrific even, than automatic rifles on a Tuesday morning.
I beg the world:
“Pay attention to what’s screaming today, or be forced to endure the silence that follows."

Saturday, January 09, 2021

Hillary Clinton's post that Facebook removed due to right wing noise


//More information continues to emerge about the events of Wednesday. They point to a broader conspiracy than it first appeared. Calls for Trump’s removal from office are growing. The Republican Party is tearing apart. Power in the nation is shifting almost by the minute.
[Please note that information from the January 6 riot is changing almost hourly, and it is virtually certain that something I have written will be incorrect. I have tried to stay exactly on what we know to be facts, but those could change.]

More footage from inside the attack on the Capitol is coming out and it is horrific. Blood on statues and feces spread through the building are vile; mob attacks on police officers are bone-chilling.
Reuters photographer Jim Bourg, who was inside the building, told reporters he overheard three rioters in “Make America Great Again” caps plotting to find Vice President Mike Pence and hang him as a “traitor”; other insurrectionists were shouting the same. Pictures have emerged of one of the rioters in military gear carrying flex cuffs—handcuffs made of zip ties—suggesting he was planning to take prisoners. Two lawmakers have suggested the rioters knew how to find obscure offices.

New scrutiny of Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally before the attack shows Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani, Representative Mo Brooks (R-AL), Don Jr., and Trump himself urging the crowd to go to the Capitol and fight. Trump warned that Pence was not doing what he needed to. Trump promised to lead them to the Capitol himself.

There are also questions about law enforcement. While exactly what happened remains unclear, it has emerged that the Pentagon limited the Washington D.C. National Guard to managing traffic. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser requested support before Trump’s rally, but the Department of Defense said that the National Guard could not have ammunition or riot gear, interact with protesters except in self-defense, or otherwise function in a protective capacity without the explicit permission of acting Secretary Christopher Miller, whom Trump put into office shortly after the election after firing Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

When Capitol Police requested aid early Wednesday afternoon, the request was denied. Defense officials held back the National Guard for about three hours before sending it to support the Capitol Police. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, tried repeatedly to send his state’s National Guard, but the Pentagon would not authorize it. Virginia’s National Guard was mobilized when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the governor, Ralph Northam, herself.

Defense officials said they were sensitive to the criticism they received in June when federal troops cleared Lafayette Square of peaceful protesters so Trump could walk across it. But it sounds like there might be a personal angle: Bowser was harshly critical of Trump [I think she means Pelosi, here] then, and it would be like him to take revenge on her by denying help when it was imperative.

Refusing to stop the attack on the Capitol might have been more nefarious, though. A White House adviser told New York Magazine’s Washington correspondent Olivia Nuzzi that Trump was watching television coverage of the siege and was enthusiastic, although he didn’t like that the rioters looked “low class.” While the insurrectionists were in the Capitol, he tweeted: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution, giving States a chance to certify a corrected set of facts, not the fraudulent or inaccurate ones which they were asked to previously certify. USA demands the truth!” Even as lawmakers were under siege, both Trump and his lawyer Rudy Giuliani were making phone calls to brand-new Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) urging him to slow down the electoral count.

After Trump on Wednesday night tweeted that there would be an “orderly” transition of power, on Thursday he began again to urge on his supporters.

With the details and the potential depth of this event becoming clearer over the past two days—Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’s wife, Virginia, tweeted her support, and state lawmakers as well as Republican attorneys general were actually involved—Americans are recoiling from how bad this attempted coup was… and how much worse it could have been. The crazed rioters were terrifyingly close to our elected representatives, all gathered together on that special day, and they were actively talking about harming the vice president.

By Friday night, 57% of Americans told Reuters they wanted Trump removed from office immediately. Nearly 70% of Americans disapprove of Trump’s actions before the riot. Only 12% of Americans approved of the rioters; 79% of Americans described the rioters as “criminals” or “fools.” Five percent called them “patriots.”

Pelosi tonight said that she hoped the president would resign, but if not, the House of Representatives will move forward with impeachment on Monday, as well as with legislation to enable Congress to remove Trump under the 25th Amendment. The most recent draft of the impeachment resolution has just one article: “incitement of insurrection.” As a privileged resolution, it can go directly to the House without committee approval.

In the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has no interest in further splitting the Republicans over another impeachment, or forcing them onto the record as either for or against it. Timing is on his side: the Senate is not in session for substantive business until January 19, so cannot act on an impeachment resolution without the approval of all senators. It can take up the resolution then, but more likely it will wait until Biden is sworn in, at which point the measure would be managed not by McConnell, but by the new House majority leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY). A trial can indeed take place after Trump is no longer president, enabling Congress to make sure he can never again hold office.

Whether or not the Senate would convict is unclear, but it’s not impossible. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), for one, is so furious she is talking of switching parties. “I want him out,” she says. Still, Trump supporters are now insisting that it would “further divide the country” to try to remove Trump now, and that we need to unify. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led the Senate effort to challenge Biden’s election, today tweeted that Biden was not working hard enough to “bring us together or promote healing” and that “vicious partisan rhetoric only tears our country apart.”

Trump, meanwhile, has continued to agitate his followers, and today began to call for more resistance, while users on Parler, the new right-wing social media hangout, are talking of another, bigger attack on Washington.

Tonight, Twitter banned Trump, stating: “we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.” As evidence, it cited both his claim that his supporters would “have a GIANT VOICE long into the future,” and his tweet that he would not be going to Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Twitter says that Trump’s followers see these two new tweets as proof that the election was invalid and that the Inauguration is a good target, since he won’t be there. The Twitter moderators say that “plans for future armed protests have already begun proliferating on and off-Twitter, including a proposed secondary attack on the US Capitol and state capitol buildings on January 17, 2021.”

Twitter also took down popular QAnon accounts, including those of Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his former lawyer Sidney Powell, who is having quite a bad day: the company that makes election machines, Dominion Voting Systems, announced it is suing her for defamation and asking $1.3 billion in damages. After taking down 7,000 QAnon accounts in July, Twitter continued by today taking down the account of the man who hosts the posts from “Q.”

While Twitter officials might well be horrified by the insurrection, the ban is also a sign of a changing government. With the election of two Democratic senators from Georgia this week, the majority goes to the Democrats, and McConnell will no longer be Majority Leader, killing bills. Social media giants know regulation of some sort is around the corner, and they are trying to look compliant fast. When Twitter banned Trump, so did Reddit, and Facebook and Instagram already had. Google Play Store removed Parler, warning it to clean up its content moderation.

Trump evidently couldn’t stand the Twitter ban, and tried at least five different accounts to get back onto the platform. He and his supporters are howling that he is being silenced by big tech, but of course he has an entire press corps he could use whenever he wished. Losing his access to Twitter simply cuts off his ability to drum up both support and money by lying to his supporters. Another platform that has dumped Trump is one of those that handled his emails. The San Francisco correspondent of the Financial Times, Dave Lee, noted that for more than 48 hours there had been no Trump emails: in the previous six days the president sent out 33.

This has been a horrific week. If it has a silver lining, it is that the lines are now clear between our democracy and its enemies. The election in Georgia, which swung the Senate away from the Republicans and opens up some avenues to slow down misinformation, is a momentous victory.//

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

New Reality

Well hello there, Dearly Beloved!

Are we having fun yet?

At Camp Runamuck, we are (so far) (knock on wood), not showing any symptoms of Covid 19.  

We are a mess, because nobody feels like cleaning.  The cupboards are groaning full of Emergency Preparedness, and we are ordering a lot of pizza and Panda, because nobody feels like cooking.  I have begun the following:

     paint by number
     macramé bracelets
     sort-and-chuck effort on closets
     several books
     4 knitting projects
     
What I'm actually doing:

     all things Facebook
     bingeing Midsomer Murders
     making costumes for shows performed for a virtual audience
     painting by number on my phone
     crying

You know, the reason we all cried after the election in 2016 wasn't because we were snowflakes sad because our team lost; it was because we saw the imminent destruction that has come to pass.

The question to ask in any presidential election year is, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

Whether you look at it personally or in terms of the country as a whole, the answer, for most of us, has to be a resounding "NO!"

We are stuck in our hidey-holes, hoarding toilet paper.  Every time we stick our heads out, the sickness numbers rise and we duck back inside. 

The economy is in the toilet.  Of course it is, because people have no money to spend.  Most developed nations are helping their citizens and their countries get through this by supporting people.  Here?  Our government is arguing that we should only pay 70% of people's pre-covid income in unemployment benefits.  It was hard to get by on 100% of what we were earning, because it wasn't enough in the first place.  They begrudge every penny of OUR TAX MONEY that they need to give back to us in this mess, but happily plan to throw billions at an already bloated military.  Who needs fighter jets in a pandemic?  I suppose it will be spun as an employment stimulus, but surely dams and bridges would be a better idea.

The murder of George Floyd, seen happening right before our eyes, was so shocking, that I feel a huge change coming.  This is one of the most positive things I am feeling, at present.  Even though the prez has as good as declared martial law, sending in a cobbled-together force of border agents and mercenaries to quell the protests.

I got news.  When you don't answer peaceful protest, you get riot.  Thus it is and thus it has ever been.

He can't run on the economy, and he can't run on his covid response.  All he has left is to try and persuade people he's for law and order.  Which, of course he is, for you and me, especially if you are a POC.  Not so much for him, though.

So yeah.  I have a lot of thoughts, but not much executive function happening to organize them.

How's errybody doing?


Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Accidental Hoarder

So, after several expeditions to line up outside the grocery store an hour before they open, in order to lay hands on ONE 4-roll pkg of toilet paper, I've taken to buying one package whenever I'm in a store that's selling them.  My latest score:  a 20-roll pack of Scott Tissue.  If you need some, hit me up.

Of course, the mere fact that there actually was toilet paper available during the day tells me that the TP panic is passing.  However, I do understand the mountain of the stuff we found in my MIL's unused hall bathroom tub.  She liked to shop at Walgreens, probably because it reminded her of the small neighbourhood grocery stores we all knew and loved.  You know, Dearly Beloved...the Piggly Wiggly and the A & P.  She would clip the coupons and there was always some sort of TP on sale, and she would always buy it.

The other thing I appear to be accidentally hoarding is coffee filters.  Picked up a package every time I went to the store in the past couple of weeks, and now we have 3.

We also have enough boxed mac & cheese to build a small fort.

And a slight surfeit of onions, along with enough garlic to ward off the vampire apocalypse.

Are we there, yet?

Friday, April 10, 2020

Coronavirus Day Forty-eleven

So we are still here, and still all right.  We haven't been evicted yet.  Power is still on, which is a Good Thing, because thence cometh air conditioning and Wifi.

I venture out almost every day, which helps keep me sane.  Even if it's just for a drive around to look at the spring leaves springing forth.  They seem to do this regardless of whether we are out noticing them.

We are all screaming at each other once in a while, and meals are pretty much what you would expect.  Kids eat what kids eat, so there's a lot of cereal and sandwiches being consumed.  Meals around here are snacks on steroids.  They are still happening every day, though.

We seem to be sleeping in segments...a couple of hours here and there.  I usually know what day of the week it is, but not always.

Ethan is doing pretty well at his computer learning, but this school district seems bound and determined to tax the kids past what any reasonable human should be required to do.  I guess they didn't get the memo that kids are going to finish the year with pass/incomplete instead of percentage and/or letter grades.

The Wee Heathens are the Wee Heathens, and hell on wheels.  Somebody got into the Dr Pepper, and everyone was caffeinated and sugared up yesterday.

Aidan is conducting daily arms practice in the back yard.  By the time this is over, they will all qualify as pages and I can foster them out to other castles.  Looking forward to that day.

However, we are devolving.  I can no longer form a lower-case "s" with pen and paper, and my lower-case "b" and "l" have become interchangeable.  Looking into purchasing a manual typewriter in case the Wifi goes away.

We need:  batteries, duct tape, bungee cords, and heavy duty hooks.

Don't ask.

Send beer and whisky.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Little History...Copied From Facebook


Copied from a Dan Hester’s post via his friend Lloyd.
Copied from a private group:
So I thought I would throw up a little history lesson for everyone on both sides of the political divide. I think it’s important that we understand the truth, especially come November when it’s time to vote. Forgive the length. But, hey we all have time on our hands to read, right?

In December 2013, an 18-month-old boy in Guinea was bitten by a bat. Then there were five more fatal cases. When Ebola spread out of the Guinea borders into neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone in July 2014, President Obama activated the Emergency Operations Center at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The CDC immediately deployed CDC personnel to West Africa to coordinate a response that included vector tracing, testing, education, logistics, and communication.

Altogether, the CDC, under President Obama, trained 24,655 medical workers in West Africa, educating them on how to prevent and control the disease before a single case left Africa or reached the U.S.
Working with the U.N. and the World Health Organization President Obama ordered the re-routing of travelers heading to the U.S. through certain specific airports equipped to handle mass testing.

Back home in America, more than 6,500 people were trained through mock outbreaks and practice scenarios. That was done before a single case hit America.

Three months after President Obama activated this unprecedented response, on September 30, 2014, we got our first case in the U.S. That man had traveled from West Africa to Dallas, Texas and had somehow slipped through the testing protocol. He was immediately detected and isolated. He died a week later. Two nurses who tended to him contracted Ebola and later recovered. All the protocols had worked. It was contained.

The Ebola epidemic could have easily become a pandemic. But thanks to the actions of our government under Obama, it never did. Those three cases were the ONLY cases of ebola in our country because Obama did what needed to be done three months before the first case.
Ebola is even more contagious than Covid-19. If Obama had not done these things, millions of Americans would have died awful painful deaths like something out of a horror movie (if you’ve ever seen how Ebola kills, it’s horrific).

It’s ironic that BECAUSE President Obama did these things - we forget that he did them because the disease never reached our shores.

Now the story of Covid 19 and Trump’s response that we know about so far:

Before anyone even knew about the disease (even in China) Trump disbanded the pandemic response team that Obama had put in place. He cut funding to the CDC. And he cut our contribution to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Trump fired Rear Admiral Timothy Ziemer, the person on the National Security Council in charge of stopping the spread of infectious diseases before they reach our country - a position created by the Obama administration.

When the Outbreak started in China, Trump assumed it was China’s problem and sent no research, supplies or help of any kind. We were in a trade war, why should he help them?

In January he received a briefing from our intelligence organizations that the outbreak was much worse than China was admitting and that it would definitely hit our country if something wasn’t done to prevent it. He ignored the report, not trusting our own intelligence.

When the disease spread to Europe, the World Health Organization offered a boatload of tests to the United States. Trump turned them down, saying private companies here would make the tests “better” if we needed them. But he never ordered U.S. companies to make tests and they had no profit motive to do so on their own.

According to scientists at Yale and several public university medical schools, when they asked for permission to start working on our own testing protocol and potential treatments or vaccines, they were denied by Trump’s FDA.

When Trump knew about the first case in the United States he did nothing. It was just one case and the patient was isolated. When doctors and scientists started screaming in the media that this was a mistake, Trump claimed it was a “liberal hoax” conjured up to try to make him “look bad after impeachment failed.”
The next time Trump spoke of Covid-19, we had 64 confirmed cases but Trump went before microphones and told the American public that we only had 15 cases “and pretty soon that number will be close to zero.” All while the disease was spreading. He took no action to get more tests.

What Trump did do is stop flights from China from coming here. This was too late and accomplished nothing according to scientists and doctors. By then the disease was worldwide and was already spreading exponentially in the U.S. by Americans, not Chinese people as Trump would like you to believe.

As of the moment, I’m posting this, the morning of March 22, 2020, we have 15,220 CONFIRMED CASES in the U.S. The actual number is undoubtedly much higher. (3 days later, March 25th, 65,000)But we don’t know because we don’t have enough tests. Why don’t we have enough tests? Remember back when Trump turned down the tests from the W.H.O. and prevented our own universities from developing them? Remember back when Trump had cut the funding to the CDC?

Every time Mr. Trump goes on camera and blames the previous administration for the mess we are now in, I scream at the reporters from FOX, CNN, and MSNBC - “Why aren’t you reporting the actual historical facts?!” How dare Trump tries to blame Covid-19 on Obama. He has no one to blame but himself.

I hear Republican pundits try to put the blame on China. And they are correct - after all, the disease started there. And the Chinese government handled it poorly and dishonestly. So it’s fair to blame the government of China for the EXISTENCE of the Covid-19 virus. BUT THAT MISSES THE POINT. Obama didn’t blame Ebola on Guinea. He helped them stop it. Trump let the disease invade the U.S.

And he is still not doing all he could to save lives. He keeps talking about invoking The Defense Production Act but hasn’t actually done so. He’s making the same mistake twice - waiting until it’s too late to take action.

Invoking that act would require factories with the right equipment and know-how to start producing life-saving ventilators for our hospitals, protective masks and other gear for our front line health workers. And the plus is it would actually employ people to do so. 

UPDATE: he just invoked it, FINALLY, way late.

Them’s the facts. Take them as you will. I’ll go back to trying to find toilet paper on-line.