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Sooner Diplomacy

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R Oklahoma) decided to grab a pile of cash (source?), fly to Tajikistan, rent a helicopter and fly to Afghanistan to rescue our allies that have been left behind. He called the embassy in Dushanbe for assistance and they told him “No“. According to WaPo, I Mullin’s actions were illegal according to the Tajik’s laws on cash transaction limits. Plus, it’s f\¥£ing dangerous.

Mini-Rambo had a meltdown:

Mullin was outraged by the response, the officials said — threatening U.S. ambassador John Mark Pommersheim and embassy staff and demanding to know the name of staff members he was speaking with.

The episode marked Mullin’s second attempt to travel to Afghanistan in as many weeks for an unauthorized evacuation effort despite the perilous security environment. Last week, Mullin traveled to Greece and asked the Department of Defense for permission to visit Kabul. The Pentagon denied Mullin’s request, an administration official said.

That’s right. It was his second time trying to fly into Afghanistan by helicopter. He’s not the only Congressional douchebag who has tried to be a hero In Afghanistan. Democrat Seth Moulton is another one. If I recall correctly, Moulton tried to unseat Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the house. He’s a shameless publicity hound whose ill timed trip to Kabul in his unsolicited offer to oversee the evacuation meant that security details had to be allocated to him when we were trying to evacuate desperate people from the airport. That’s reckless and selfish. At least Moulton has a military background and served in the marines in Iraq. Still, he, of all people, should have known better.

But the award for stupid hero tricks goes to Mullin and other Republicans who didn’t think the military was doing enough to save their constituents. They weren’t elected yesterday. Mullin took office in 2013. So he was well aware of his party’s policy of slowing down special immigration visas for all those people who couldn’t leave. Some of them have spent the last four years hobbled in their visa process by Stephen Miller’s insane resistance to immigrants of any kind, even the ones who put their lives on the line to help us. Then Annoying Orange made a deal with the Taliban to let them speed things up in their takeover of the government. So, the people that Markwayne was trying to rescue were caught between a rock and a hard place of the Republicans’ making.

I can forgive a lot of things but the cynical use of people’s lives by putting them in harm’s way and then using that eminent danger as an excuse to play Rambo is disgusting. Well, it’s not the first time that party has disgusted me. I’m sure it won’t be the last. But our media should be asking why it is that these people needed to be rescued, what held up their visas, who is really to blame for this clusterf#$&, and where the hell did Markwayne get all that money.

I’m not holding my breath.

It’s like shark week

Our Covid hospitalizations are at 100,000 and Florida is fiddling with its case numbers again. We’re holding our own here in PA. We are not seeing the stratospheric spikes that are common in the southern states but it’s still pretty serious out there.

I’m still impressed by the number of holdouts who claim to be fearless about getting Covid. Yep, nothing bad is going to happen. No sirree. A vaccine is just for sissies.

It’s a little like shark week where a bunch of people find themselves suddenly surrounded by sharks. The narrator breathlessly recounts how the swimmers waited with rising anxiety for the shark cage they could swim into. In the meantime, they tried not to make any sudden moves that would attract the nasties.

But there are always some people in the group who are hot dogging and making waves and drawing attention to themselves.

Meanwhile, a few people bob, shriek and go under, never to be seen again. The fearless make fun of them and keep making noise.

Then one of the last survivors of the Indianapolis describes the days and nights in the water where the sharks picked them off one by one while a shark behavior expert describes shark feeding behavior and bait ball frenzies.

The tension is rising in the viewers at home. Will the shark cage arrive in time?

It arrives. But there is only room for half of the people exposed. They get in quickly and their vital signs return to normal as they calmly observe the sharks close up but not, you know, from *inside* the shark.

Another shark cage arrives for another quarter of the original group. They start observing the sharks safely as well.

The noisy guys got their own expert. He’s the one holdout out of 100 marine biologists who says that sharks are no threat to humans and everyone is panicking over nothing and all anyone needs to get rid of the sharks is to eat asparagus because studies published in the Journal of Kyrgyzstan Marine Biology says they’ve never had a person die from shark bite after consuming a pound of asparagus.

Meanwhile, the sharks close in on the cageless while the caged calmly take notes…

Fitness INDY: warm up

Where to begin.

I like to warm up slowly but I also want to be ready to actually do something by the end of that warm up period. Think Proud Mary by Ike and Tina Turner. Except that one starts feeling a bit over the top by the end. Me and Bobby McGee, the Janis Joplin version, is also pretty good.

But the following two songs are my favorite warm up songs.

Everything Goes by Poolside is a cool, layered tune that has a moment where you just feel like everything kicks in.

Amazing Grace by Laura Love is a new take on an old classic. It starts very slowly but has a surprise ending that’s worth waiting for.

I’m going to do both today. I feel like a nice long warm up.

Followed by:

Zero-Sum Game

We all know the term, it is one of those which we have often heard in more recent times,, so much that it has become a cliche. But the concept still has import in certain situations.

A true “zero-sum game” would be if there were two players who are given the same amount of chips to start, and then they contest with them, perhaps by rolling dice, or playing poker, or even answering quiz questions. If you win a round, you get a certain amount of chips from your opponent. The game goes on until one person has all the chips. which means that the other person has lost. Every time you win chips, your opponent loses them, and vice versa. There is no situation where you can both win chips, or both lose them. One wins, the other loses. If you gain five chips, they lose five. Zero-sum.

Then this concept was expanded to include more complex situations which can be described as being similar enough to a true zero-sum game, for it to be instructive to perceive it that way. American politics and even governance are now very commonly described in those terms, particularly by Republicans. They have developed or devolved to a state where there is no middle ground, no “win-win,” there is only winning and losing. And any win by the other side is a loss for them, so they will do anything to prevent it. And if they win, their enemies lose, just like on a battlefield, which is how they perceive all of it.

The recent vote on the John Lewis Voting Right Bill would have been almost unimaginable forty years ago. Every single Republican vote in the House, all 212, was against the bill. There have been other recent votes where either every Republican voted the same, or at most two broke ranks. Otherwise, it is a regimented vote, where it is not various Congresspeople voting their views or their conscience, they are voting as if they were automatons.

Republicans have relentlessly moved in that direction, because of the nature of their party, which has as its only credo, “Winning and Holding Power.” They decided that they all had to vote the same way, to present a united front, for propaganda purposes. So we see most House and Senate votes being strict party-line votes; that is, completely predictable before the bill is even brought to the floor. The speeches are window dressing, a chance for TV time for the voters back home to see; and because the rules essentially require debate. But the positions, and the voting outcome, are already known, at least on the Republican side.

They are proud of that, as if they were the Confederate Army, vowing to never give an inch of ground. They are the Republicans of today, refusing to even accept that Joe Biden won the election. Well, a few of them did accept it, but it there were a motion which could have legally stopped Biden from taking office, they would have voted for it. They are planning on doing that in 2024, if they control the House.

We are literally looking at a prospect of a House Republican majority simply never accepting any Democratic Presidential victory. That is the essence of a zero-sum game, where you must either win all the chips, or you lose them all. Democrats don’t all see it that way, but Republicans all do. They think, and even say out loud, “We cannot ever concede anything, because then we will lose and they will win. And we can’t allow them to vote in sufficient numbers, or we will lose. This is war, and there are no compromises, we either destroy them, or they destroy us.”

That is a Manichean view of the universe: there is dark and light, and the two are engaged in unceasing battle. There is some question as to whether the Manicheans believed that “Light” would ultimately win, as the Zoroastrians did. But the conception is that there are two dichotomous forces, and there is no shading, no nuance. Good and Evil. Destroy or Be Destroyed.

That is what the overwhelming majority of the Republican Party, its leaders and followers, believes. They concede nothing, not even the outcome of elections. They do not give an inch. They vote as a rigid bloc. They see every issue or news event as either being good for them, or bad. Does anyone remember when one of GW Bush’s advisors said, “We just hit the trifecta,” when he heard the news of the attack on our country on 9/11? They don’t want you to remember, but I do. How can they turn it into a win for them, and a loss for their mortal enemies, the Democrats?, is how they see every event.

It used to be that we presented a fairly united front when it came to crises. Not now. Republicans could not wait for the Afghanistan withdrawal to start, when they were viciously attacking President Biden; pouring out faxes to their media arms, calling it a debacle, an impeachable offense. And then when the attack in Kabul occurred, you had them demanding the resignation of the Secretary of State Blinken, then of Biden. This kind of thing did not happen in Lebanon, or in the various mishaps which occurred in foreign lands to our troops or implements. It certainly did not occur on 9/11 or thereafter, regarding that event. But it does now, with utter predictability.

This is a major change in our country, although we can track its development over recent decades. I am not sure how we would have been able to fight World War II, if we were like this then. Of course, it is true that the isolationist Republicans wanted to stay out of that war, and to give no aid to embattled Britain, until we were bombed on December 7, 1941. If the parties were aligned the way they are now, the Republicans would have blamed FDR for it, tried to get him removed, and replaced by Charles Lindbergh. Come to think of it, that is essentially the story Philip Roth wanted to illuminate in his great novel, “The Plot Against America.”

So we see this, now on an almost hourly basis; so much so that we scarcely want to even follow the news stories, because we know that “the other side,” is so entrenched against us, that they will offer nothing to help, but will relentlessly try to turn every event into wins for them, as a quicker way to lead to the Armageddon which they believe in, and which they are certain will destroy all of their enemies.

How does one function in a democracy, when one of the only two viable political parties sees the world in that way? Aren’t we supposed to all be part of the same country? It is like we have two warring countries here, and I am certainly not the first one to say that. And their side does not want to seek any rapprochement, they want to destroy and conquer and subjugate, while they accuse us of that. They even change history at the drop of a hat; they are blaming Biden for the things which Trump and Pompeo did in Afghanistan, and figuring that there are so many people who don’t know better, that they can do alchemy, and turn anything in a win for them, in the deadly zero-sum game they are fighting.

So how do we respond? It is not easy to know how, because it is almost by its nature an inextricable morass at best, an endless battle at the worst. I don’t even think we can fruitfully deal with the other side any longer.. Again, maybe we can on a single bill or two, but they are never going to try to help us govern. They want calamities, they want economic failures, they probably want the pandemic to get worse, because that will help them win.

How else can one explain the absolute war they are waging against vaccinations and masks? They are not the same thing, either; they say that they are afraid of the vaccine, but how can one be afraid of a mask? Thinking about that, can help emphasize how they are dissembling and obscuring. They don’t want anything which will perhaps be a win for what they see is our side, Biden getting credit. They don’t want to submit, as they see it,; to give in, and admit that scientists know more than they do. They would rather get sick than do what they are advised and warned to do.

If I had read about some much earlier period in history where this kind of thing occurred in a civilization, I would be astounded. Oh, there were very superstitious or uneducated people who would not listen, but not the leaders, not en masse. This is something that has perhaps never been seen, at least in the modern era.

Back to what we can do, or at least try. I was glad to see that the new Governor Kathy Hochul of New York has seemed to support more partisan gerrymandering to help Democrats gain Congressional seats. We have to play this as a zero-sum game, at least the pragmatic political part of it. Every seat which we decline to gerrymander in our favor, is one that the Republicans likely get. If they gerrymander 30 seats in their favor, and we leave ours to bipartisan commissions, we lose. There are no participation or good sportsmanship trophies. This should have been figured out long ago, but somehow we did not want to admit it, or perhaps somehow didn’t even see it, because we were too occupied with solving problems. As commendable as that is. we have seemed far too unconcerned with actually gaining the power to be able to solve the problems; so much power that the Republican cannot use their deep bag of tricks and cons and wrenches to stop it.

Remember, at this point, it is a classic example of a zero-sum game. If we lose, they win. If they win, we lose Those are not the same thing, but the result is the same. We must do as much political calculating as they do. We have to beat them at their own game to invoke another cliche. We do not want to be as immoral and amoral as they are. But like any competition, it is ultimately won or lost on the court or the field or the gambling halls. Good values can only get you so far.

We have to win by the rules that the current Supreme Court has now set. Of course they were handpicked by the other side, but there they are. Either expand the Court, which is almost impossible right now, or realize that last year they said that they will not overturn any gerrymandering by any state. Rather than lament this, we must gerrymander, too. And we must sue in all the state courts, because their rulings could be determinative, if they find discriminatory intent or outcome, unless and until the Supreme Court overrules them.

There are things we can do, or at least try. But we must see this as a war to the political death. Those are the terms the Republicans have set, implicitly and explicitly. That is not the battlefield we seek, but it is the one we are faced with. You cannot always pick your battlefield. We cannot hope to get along,, they will not let us, they want to destroy us, at least politically. For them to lose, we have to win. There is no more time to waste in seeing this as anything different than a zero-sum game, where there is no other choice but to win, no matter how angry or threatening the other side gets, and how much their media enablers cheer them on. The best sports teams have players who actually like playing on the opponents’ field, they say that it motivates them.

Shock of the New

I can not imagine what they have been through. Think about what it must have been like getting to the airport, facing a crush of other desperate people, sitting on the floor of an overcrowded cargo plane, leaving everything you know behind to arrive at a strange place, in your strange clothes, or without shoes.

See the little ones having made a transition while in transit, arriving on American soil in jeans and T-shirts. What must have happened between Kabul and Washington. And they were the lucky ones. They escaped before the suicide bombers blew up the crowds where they recently stood.

There is a woman to the left flashing a peace sign while the man in the photo flashes his peace sign as he strides forward, the newest tempest tossed to arrive on our shores. We have forgotten in the past four years that that’s what this country is here for: to take in others and give them a new place to call home and for them to give us part of themselves in return in all their red and gold.

It’s heart warming. At least for now. Their struggles aren’t over. I once met a Syrian refugee in a Home Depot who singled me out to tell me about the anguish of leaving home, the difficulties his wife, a dentist, was having getting credentials to practice, his hours of work in his sponsor’s restaurant, his distress at the destruction of his home town of Palmyra. I thought he was going to have a breakdown in the carpet department. I often wonder about what happened to that man and his family as he struggled to adapt to his new country while he couldn’t and shouldn’t have let go of his old country.

So I wonder and worry about this family as they bring with them all the memories and traditions of their old country and learn to fit into the new. It’s easier for the younger ones. They’ve already been clothed by their new culture. But this just the beginning.

I hope they find peace here.

Our mayor says that Pittsburgh has been chosen as a place of resettlement for Afghan refugees. It was chosen for the resources, opportunities and reasonable cost of living. They probably couldn’t have chosen better. This is the city of bridges. It was built by the diversity of many cultures. It’s the home of Mr. Rogers. We welcome them to the Neighborhood.

The Jewish Family and Community Services organization of Pittsburgh, AJAPO Pittsburgh among others are aiding their transition.

Government in general

I don’t spend a lot of time watching TV but I love YouTube and podcasts. There are so many fascinating people with first degree experience on those platforms. But I have noticed an annoying pattern lately when I’m watching videos of lawyers talking about important cases they’re following.

They keep coming back to bashing on government. Government is bad. It interferes too much. Any legislation is poorly constructed. All politicians are corrupt. ALL. OF. THEM. It’s almost a prerequisite for running for office. The parties probably send out a questionnaire when vetting their prospective candidates and the first item on that form is a series of questions to determine how susceptible the candidate is to being compromised. They are all baaaaaad.

It has been a constant theme in law videos. I’m not even sure what the party affiliations are for these people. They seem so rational otherwise. Most of them can spot inconsistencies in court documents with a fluency that is really impressive. But the minute “government” is directly or indirectly tied to any case no matter the degree of involvement, there is a hair trigger explosive rant about how evil government is.

I just can’t.

My suspicion is that these lawyers are moderate/centrist/center right and they kinda sorta weren’t terribly opposed to Trump, probably for tax and 401k related reasons. You know, like they might be the kind of people who are compromisable when self-interest is at stake. Come to think of it, don’t lawyers make up a hefty percentage of members of Congress? So, maybe they know of what they speak and the anti-government tirades are just a formality of projection.

Anyway, I thought I’d mention it because it’s getting to be as annoying AF. Also, there are a pretty good number of their commenters who are repeating the idea that Biden is senile. Do I suspect a psyops campaign moving from Facebook to YouTube? Maybe. Anything is possible these days.

As to Biden’s alleged senility, I call bulls#%^. I can remember just about the time he took office and he was asked at a press conference about the various vaccines for Covid. He replied without notes and showed a very good understanding of the differences between mRNA vaccines and adenovirus vaccines. Granted, anyone with a pretty good head on their shoulders can learn the difference if they are given a couple of hours of instruction on how the immune system and vaccines work. You don’t need to know all about each cytokine or complement or even a whole lot of cell biology. You just need to have someone explain the system. It’s not all that complicated. No, really, it’s not. You don’t need to be an immunologist to understand it.

BUT you do need to be smart enough to be able to differentiate mRNA vaccines from Adenovirus vaccines. It takes a bit more work. Biden understands these differences. Someone learned him real good. The thing is, I never saw similar levels of understanding with Trump who for some reason thought that all we needed was a new flu shot to combat Covid.

My point is that Biden’s understanding of Covid and vaccines is well above average. He learned this information well enough to be able to make sensible decisions about vaccines. If you are suffering from senility, my guess is that would be pretty hard to pull off. It would be very difficult to talk extemporaneously about mRNA vaccines and storage and transportation logistics and differences between vaccine technologies. It’s not rocket science but you do need to pay attention and understand how the system works. You can’t really do that if you’re senile.

So, you might argue that he’s just got it memorized like Chatty Cathy doll. Pull the string and he spits out a selection of useful phrases that he’s been programmed to memorize. Except that also doesn’t make sense in terms of senility because memory is one of the first things to go.

No, I think we’ve got to credit Biden for actually being teachable and being able to construct abstract ideas and thought experiments from his knowledge. He’s also been pretty consistent about Afghanistan, as tragic as the end of the war there has been. In this case, we see pundits applying the “we didn’t say it was your fault, we said we’re going to blame you” strategy. Nevertheless, Biden is not showing any evidence of senility in this area either.

We need to keep an eye on this meme. It’s been out there since the previous resident of the Oval Office campaigned for a second term. Biden is no spring chicken. His body does show signs of aging. But he’s in remarkably good shape physically and mentally for a guy his age. That doesn’t mean he’s always going to do what we want or do it perfectly. But that’s not really the point of the senility meme, is it?

Hubris, Ignorance, Political Games, and Grandstanding

I would like to write something profound about Afghanistan, and our twenty years there, now ending. I am sure that books will be written about the entire history of our Middle East forays into nation-building, finding terrorists, revenging a tyrant’s efforts to kill a President’s father. Very obviously, there are no easy answers, or obvious rights and wrongs. But I think we can reasonably conclude some things even now; or at least I will provide a few of mine.

1. It has been a mostly futile idea to think that America could “fix” totalitarian Middle Eastern countries. We should have learned that from Southeast Asia. Some of what we have tried to do is commendable;, much of it is arrogant and doomed to failure. These countries in general do not want us there; and assuming that we are not going to blow them up, our military cannot effectively change the nature of the populace. Maybe we did effect some better leadership in Iraq, but at the cost of greatly destabilizing the entire region.

2. We have listened to our military too much. On the one hand, we admire and thank the very brave men and women of our military, who go to various parts of the globe to do what they can to defend and support America’s causes. But have we not learned that military leaders have mostly been wrong, often disastrously? They were wrong about the landing on the Bay of Pigs, and they caused an actual debacle. They were wrong about the great danger of a nuclear war in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and many of them actually supported one.

They were wrong about Vietnam, and actually lied about how we were doing ,and whether we could “win.” This led to our country being torn apart; 58,000 American deaths; and a refusal to admit “defeat,” so we stayed even more years, and finally left in ignominious fashion. They were wrong about the second war in Iraq. They were wrong about Afghanistan, where we spent 20 years. The first few years were valid, as we sought Bin Laden, and tried to remove the terrorists who were harboring him. But we stayed and stayed, ten years after Bin Laden was killed. The military leaders kept advising that we were doing well, we just needed to stay the course. And of course nothing improved, and we finally are leaving. So with all sincere respect, I am not impressed by the military people who come on TV shows, and complain about us leaving the country, and how it is being done. For whatever inherent reasons, they are wrong about most of it.

3. Call them “Hawks,” call them “NeoCons,” there is a class of so-called analysts and pundits who have been pushing for these involvements, and even more. We all know the names. And they haven’t changed; they think they are always right; and whatever happens is used by them to support their basic premise, which is that America should use its military might all over the world, to try to turn tyrannies into democracies, and also of course, to secure favorable oil deals. So when we hear some of them bitterly complain about President Biden’s handling of the withdrawal, we should always remember that these people always think they are right; still believe in their global agenda, and so will never admit that they were wrong; will inevitably try to deflect the blame onto Democratic leaders, as virtually all of them are Republican military hawks.

4. Republicans are far more interested in political gains, than in accomplishing anything worthwhile. Whatever happens under a Democratic president, they bitterly inveigh against. Every calamity is the Democrats’ fault, nothing is theirs. When the Marine barracks in Beirut were blown up with about 250 casualties under Reagan, it was because of the evildoers, and we must get revenge. When four people were killed in Benghazi, it was Hillary’s fault and they made “Benghazi” and five years of House hearings, a campaign and fundraising slogan. They never worry about their inconsistencies, hypocrisies and lies, it is all in the service of their lust for absolute power It would be helpful if they actually had any consistent positions to argue, but they don’t. They just hope things go wrong under Democratic presidents.

5. Republicans have profited for over 70 years with their portrayal of themselves as “strong,” and Democrats as “weak.” Virtually every Democratic candidate, from Stevenson, to actual war hero McGovern, to high-ranking Annapolis graduate Carter, to Mondale, to Dukakis, to Clinton, to Gore, to Kerry, to Obama, were all portrayed as weak. Hillary, they portrayed as a “warmonger.” Whatever works for them is what they do. Even to Bob Dole talking about “Democrat wars,” which of course contradicts the rest of it, but they don’r worry about such things.

But it is a trope which the ever-compliant media accepts, and thus does much of the public. GW Bush was AWOL, and should have been court-martialed, but the media portrayed him as a strong Republican; whereas Gore, who actually went to Vietnam, was a boring person who could not make up his mind about what suit to wear. Kerry, another war hero, was portrayed as a “Frenchified” person who shot himself to get undeserved medals. Trump, who got some doctor to diagnose him with bone spurs, and said that “his Vietnam was trying to avoid venereal disease,” was also portrayed as strong, in the way that some see Mafia figures and puffed-up tyrants as strong.

6. Trump, who wanted to take credit for leaving Afghanistan, and who let 5,000 of the Taliban including potential terrorists, maybe those who planned the terrorist attack today, out of prison, now apparently is claiming that he was in favor of us staying there. Trump and Pompeo are the ones who set the deadline for May, which Biden got extended into the the end of August. But apparently Trump and his cult get a pass on facts. And it has been speculated that once Trump knew that Biden would take office, he tried to make it virtually impossible for Biden to get this withdrawal accomplished.

7. The media has expectedly been mostly awful. I could write at length about this, but we all see it. They seem to see themselves as a combination of Inspector Javert from “Les Miserables,” and an overbearing trial attorney. They pepper Biden and any of his officials with accusatory questions, and are not very interested in the answers. They immediately portrayed the withdrawal as a “debacle.” They did not do this when Ford withdrew troops from Vietnam. They have a narrative, and they are going to purvey it, every day. And of course it has the effect of damaging Biden’s approval ratings. Why they do this, is an important subject; but more important is that they do it every single time. They tried to portray every action that President Clinton took in international affairs, as a mistake, or incompetence. And when it mostly all worked out very well, then they pivoted back to personal matters, which they had started their coverage of him with.

8, And those two Congressmen who decided that they would fly to Kabul to give their own personal assessments of things? Utter arrogance, grandstanding, and contempt for the Administration. And I think that the continued media narrative gave them some cover for this stunt.

9. What would people have preferred Biden to do? Stay? Bomb the country? This was going to be very difficult, getting all our troops out, but we probably will. We would like to help all the Afghans who fear a Taliban regime, but that is sadly, impossible. When do you leave this kind of situation? Why were we there for twenty years? Because Biden is a Democratic president, he gets the political third degree that Republican presidents never get with regard to foreign policy. He is supposed to withdraw, but in perfect fashion; getting all the Afghan people who helped us in some way, or want to leave, out; and yet not bringing them into this country. Just make it all go away. It is an impossible task. The horrible terrorist attack at the airport today upsets all of us. It is not Biden’s doing. Terrorism is a major threat to democracy and safety. The domestic terror threat inside this country is likely more dangerous than the rest of it.

10, So many people are quick to contend that we should do this or that; go to war, send troops to a foreign land. But they never seem to worry about the long-term consequences, or they cavalierly or irresponsibly misjudge them, and then they scurry away to either avoid being blamed for any of them, or try to deflect the responsibility to someone else.

Fitness Forever: INDY

Ha! You thought it was over?? It’s NEVER over.

INDY = I’m Not Dead Yet

FDA Approval: don’t get your hopes up

The Pfizer BioNTech Covid vaccine was fully approved yesterday. It has some ridiculous name that sounds like a mash up of words that a marketing major thought sounded “human” and “approachable” while still conveying a sense of the science, which I guarantee they do not understand. There is such a cultural disconnect between the labs and the executive headquarters up the street that it’s difficult to wrap your head around it sometimes.

You know what else is hard to wrap your head around? I don’t think that approval is going to make much difference to the holdouts. If you didn’t get the shot after 200,000,000 doses were administered in the US, if you thought that everyone who got the shot got sick anyway from side effects in spite of the dozens of people you know personally who experienced little to no reactions from it, if you actually believe that your immune system wasn’t able to fight off polio, measles and chickenpox but for some bizarre irrational illogical reason based on magical thinking ythat defies nature and experience will somehow be able to triumph over Covid, then you ain’t never going to get the shot. Ever.

I blame the politicians who have made a cynical calculation that the number of African Americans who die from Covid will offset the number of their own deluded constituents who will be sacrificed to the cause. They are expecting that the pandemic of the unvaccinated will fizzle out long enough before the next election to keep the Trump rally attendees who look and sound like dimmer versions of the Far Side cartoon characters firmly on the side of irresponsibility disguised as “freedom” and “Liberty”.

That comes at the expense of anyone not old enough to get the vaccine, the babies who didn’t get antibodies from their mothers and others with compromised immune systems. That comes with the risk of cooking the next deadly variant in their bodies.

The rest of us are counting on private businesses to enforce public health standards. We expect to go back to work with masks on and shot cards uploaded. I hope that gets extended to airplanes, restaurants, gyms. I hope the unvaccinated are as inconvenienced and furious as the rest of us have been throughout this whole ordeal.

You aren’t allowed to lie, steal or kill. And you shouldn’t be allowed to spread germs and misinformation in the name of freedom.

Backlash is coming for the unvaccinated.


Jordan Klepper interviews Anti-vax, Anti-mandate protestors in NYC.

Jeez, Americans are so effing stupid about science it’s embarrassing. And political ideologies. The confusion of fascism with communism is {{cringeworthy}}. Please stop, people. It’s making our ears bleed and our eyes stick in the upward rolled position.

Song of the Landlocked

This is year 11 of vacation disasters. One of these years, I will have a vacation that is not washed out or masked enabled and will be adequately funded. Otherwise I shall go maaaaad!!

In the meantime, I dream about it.