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      From Saez, Chetty, et al So, unless you think that genetic potential is that unequally distributed (and can explain eras where this chart did not apply, as in the post-WWII decades), you can pretty much forget “meritocracy.” Meritocracy is just a way of saying “we test for the things the middle and upper class has […]
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Voting Stories

What are the polls like in your neck of the woods? Share your voting stories here.

I’ll go first.

I voted today at the Rosedale Methodist Church in Verona, PA. My township was recently excised from Mile Doyle’s district to a new district PA17, that technically doesn’t exist yet but has two incumbents running. All of this fun is courtesy of the PA Supreme Court, who was pretty sure that Republicans we’re winning way too many seats after they drew them congressional map in 2011. New maps were drawn. In my new district, Republican incumbent Keith Rothfus was running against incumbent Democrat Conor Lamb.

I got to the polls at 6:55 am and noticed that the parking lot was already busy. The polls didn’t open until 7 am but I saw that the doors were open so I went inside.

I was voter number 2 in my precinct. The poll worker was having a very hard time signing people in. The pages in the three ring binder were all stuck together so it took a lot longer to flip through the pages than it should have. That might be a problem, I thought, because the line behind me was already snaking out the door.

The machine operator reset her cartridge, started my machine and was going to flip it to the ballot but I told her I was one of those people who always reads the safety cards in the seat pocket in front of me on airplanes. So she left me to it.

It was easy as pie.

I voted straight D.

Sometimes I let Republicans get a small starter office just for diversity. Not this time.

For me it was Tom Wolf for Governor, John Fetterman for lieutenant governor, Bob Casey for Senate, Conor Lamb for PA17, Anthony Deluca for state rep.

I pushed the big red “VOTE” button, confirmed that I cast my ballot and immediately felt my blood pressure return to something like normal. I felt almost buoyant. To me, it was like having the opportunity to hit the reset switch and even if we don’t have a tsunami today, at least I got Conor Lamb in the House for a full two year term.

Then I walked outside into the rainy morning and saw that the church parking lot was completely full and both precinct lines were running up the stairs and out the doors.

It was 7:11am.

Your turn.

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Chocolate and Pittsburgh

Today is the day we have been waiting for since November 9, 2016. Remember the horror of that morning when you realized that the Congress, Supreme Court and Presidency were in the hands of ultra right wing lunatics? I was sick to my stomach. I had to take the bus to my job in downtown Pittsburgh and it felt surreal. Election Day had been beautiful. The sky was clear, the weather unseasonably pleasant and perfect for last minute GOTV canvassing. I voted at lunch, yelping with happiness that I got to push the button for the best qualified presidential candidate in this nation’s history who also happened to be a woman. And I was under no illusion that the country, Congress and media were going to make it easy for her but damn, it was so worth it. I knew she would prove everyone wrong.

Overnight, the weather turned and it was cold, dreary and wet in the dark morning. I stood under the bus shelter waiting for the P1 and a long line of black people looked warily at me as if to ask “Did you vote for him too? How can I ever trust you again?”

But my mind was on my own well being. What was it going to be like living in a country where the president thinks it’s ok to grope women, force them to find another job if they object to sexual harassment and take away their reproductive rights? What is it going to be like to regress even more in how seriously you are taken at work? How is that going to enhance my security if I can never find a decent job again or one that pays well enough for me to live an independent life? How does that help ANY family where there has to be two wage earners when one is treated like not quite a whole person worthy of respect?

If they can destroy Hillary’s career, what makes us think they won’t destroy the careers of any woman who gets in some white dude’s way?

We all knew what was going to happen if Republicans took over everything. Some of us were ok with it. They would be the white guys (#notallwhiteguys 🙄). The rest of us were well and truly fucked. And since white guys comprise only 38% of the population, that was going to mean minority rule. When it comes right down to it, they were the ones who practiced identity politics. The rest of us just want to live in a modern world.

Our fears have been justified. The Republicans have saddled us with so much debt to reward their donors with tax cuts that if they stay in office, they will take an ax to the deferred benefits we have worked hard for all our lives. They’ve gone out of their way to exempt young white guys from the affordable care act, making it Ok to gut it so that some 28 year old male in Kansas doesn’t have to contribute one dollar to the healthcare of women and children. They’ve anointed two additional white guys to the Supreme Court, using their slight majority in the Senate to saddle us with big business loving justices who have lifetime appointments. One of those justices occupies a stolen seat.

They have gutted Net Neutrality. They have ignore voting rights laws. They have looked away when their president separated children from their parents. They have given permission for the President to bar Muslims from certain countries from coming here. They are quiet about the plan to strip American born children of their citizenship. They are complicit in stripping regulations, making citizens vulnerable to safety violations and allowing what we surely will discover is graft and bribery in our various governmental departments. They have suppressed science, data collection, agency to do anything about climate change in order to reward their donors in the fossil fuel industry. They have obstructed investigation of the interference of a foreign power into the 2016 election and whether the president conspired with that foreign power to protect his financial interests. They have sanctioned the discrimination of gay people, transgender people and have interfered in how we relieve ourselves.

But the worst was yet to come.

It felt like it couldn’t get any worse. Day after day, we witness new acts of reprehensible bullying by white people on everyone else. People who call the police on barbequers in a park, scream at Spanish speakers, grope women because the president says it’s ok. The president himself lies about refugees and asylum seekers, making a substantial number of self-interested Americans frantic about a band of poor people asking for assistance at our border. We have laws to process them, track them. We can even take steps to track them more aggressively if we want to while they’re in our country.

This is the country that kicked the Taliban’s ass, who destroyed Al Qaeda, who stormed the beaches of Normandy, who built the most terrifying weapon in the history of mankind and then used it against two civilian targets and here we are, a nation where a substantial number of our citizens are peeing themselves over a few thousand poor, tired, hungry men, women and children come knocking at our door for help. We have to send thousands of troops to the border to stop them like they were hordes of the walking dead instead of human beings, no different from the human beings on this side of the border.

The destructive, obscenely unjust and incautious language used to scare the easily terrified among us has reached a dangerous crescendo resulting in “American carnage” in Pittsburgh.

Implied by the horrific act in Squirrel Hill is that Jewish organizations are welcoming criminals and terrorists into our country. And that lead to eleven Jewish worshippers being murdered in their synagogue, along with several police officers who were severely hurt.

It was a perfect storm of resentment of immigrants, white supremacy, anti-semitism and unregulated assault rifle violence in a city that takes pride in its friendly neighborly attitude.

Mayor Peduto, who witnessed the aftermath of the shooting and the chaos overtaking Squirrel Hill and tried to restore some order and security, took a badly timed call from the president who was seriously off message:

The three-minute phone call with the president jarred Peduto, 54, the popular second-term Democratic mayor of the Steel City, just as he was trying to get his head around what was happening. After offering thoughts and prayers — and pledging anything Peduto needed, including a direct line to the White House — Trump veered directly into policy, Peduto recalled. The president, Peduto said, insisted on discussing harsher death penalty legislation as a way to prevent such atrocities. Peduto was stunned into silence.

“I’m literally standing two blocks from 11 bodies right now. Really?” Peduto said, noting that he was numb and believed that talking about the death penalty wasn’t “going to bring them back or deter what had just happened. . . . I ended the conversation pretty quickly after that.”

Oh, if we could all just end the conversation with the president so quickly. But THIS congress will exercise no limit on this president. They will not hold him accountable for the hatred, instability and chaos that he has set in motion. They won’t hold him accountable for our diminished standing in the world, our lack of influence or his inaction when condemning the murder of a journalist, a permanent resident of the United States visiting Turkey.

They won’t hold him accountable for his speech, ineptitude or authoritarian tendencies. They will not hold him accountable for the hatred he has stirred up leaving us frightened of our neighbors.

So, we must hold them accountable.

Two years ago, I woke up afraid of what Trump would do but semi assured that the Congress would do the right thing if necessary. That confidence was entirely misplaced.

It wasn’t Trump we should have watching. It was his sneaky enablers, the true believers. Not the con man in the White House.

So now we all have a chance to set things back on the right track. Or force it back on the right track.

Before the planet gets too hot.

Before we strip immigrants of their human rights.

Before we separate any more children from their parents.

Before we lose the social security and Medicare we have paid for all of our working lives.

Before any black kids selling lemonade on the street are turned in by some stupid white woman with a cell phone.

Before another woman has to risk losing her job in order to exercise her right to determine when she wants to be a parent.

Before we harass a transgender person from using the bathroom.

Before we antagonize any more countries with destructive tariffs or immature, inappropriate school yard taunts and threats.

Before another school full of students is riddled with bullets.

Before another Jewish neighborhood is terrorized.

Before we allow them to highjack every conceivable way for us to vote them out.

Now, today, is the day we have been waiting two years for.

Let’s make a commitment to each other to vote today for ourselves and our neighbors and hold Republicans accountable for trying to pull this country down to the level of a third world country.

Vote them out. Then go have some chocolate. We need some relief from the trauma of the last two years.

And now a word from Preet:

And man in the hoody:

There’s a pornhub category for everyone.

Morning Music:

Come on baby, surf in the sea

I’m gonna take you surfin’ with me.

SURF’S UP!