I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
April 05, 2016 - 11:52 a.m.
Wow I started to write this before 10 AM. I've had trouble starting before noon. Too bad I didn't do anything worth writing about yesterday. I have a topic in my idea bin I want to you and I just have to look to see what it is; my brain essentially has an external hard drive.
Yesterday was just the second day of the baseball seasons. Many teams have not played their first game yet. This means absolutely nothing but Nashional Batnoses will take what they can. Here are the Patriot League standings. That's my fantasy baseball league.
For the first 26 seasons the team was near the bottom the first week of the season. Last year we won the first week and we're off to a good start again. I don't know what that's about. We won't stay there. I did no prep this year. We don't deserve to win. What's sad is that I didn't even use the automatic pricing system I developed for players. It took me years to come up with the positional adjustments. Last year I finally figured out the right way to do it. It is league specific so it's not something you can find published anywhere.
Wow I've wasted an hour. It is no longer early. It's almost 11 now, I'm very good at wasting time. Getting mad at stupid things on Facebook is wasting time, right?
So instead I'll just point out something stupid that John Oliver said. His long piece was on the evils of congressional fundraising. One solution is public financing of congressional elections. He said it would cost half a billion dollars, "That's a lot of money." That's not a lot of money. He made the innumerate error of not giving context. Numbers are only large or small in comparison to other things. A seven-foot-tall person is huge, a seven-foot-tall giraffe is a dwarf. Half a billion dollars is $1.57 a person. It's a trifle in a country of 319 million people. This kind of thinking is what lets the right decry spending on social services. Numbers look huge on a household scale but on a national scale are small. We can't support that kind of thinking, it has consequences.
So now on to what I have written in my phone note as today's topic, Trumpkins. That's the term used by one of the leaders of the Wisconsin Republicans for Trump supporters. I have to admit, I like the sound of it. It's a clever formation. But the very thing that makes it funny is what makes it wrong. It makes the trump supporters seem insignificant and inconsequential. And now many of you are thinking, "but they are!" No they aren't. they are human beings. And human beings are not insignificant and inconsequential. Saying they are inconsequential empowers Trump. As many have observed he has mastered the politics of resentment. What are his supporters resentful of? That they are made to feel inconsequential and insignificant. It might manifest itself as racism, xenophobia, and misogyny but it comes from frustration. Every time they are mocked you increase that frustration. They feel that Trump cares about them and no one else does. An attack on Trump they take as just another attack on themselves.
So what are we to do? I've certainly been guilty of mocking Trump and yes I've mocked his supporters. And the latter is wrong. We need to let them know that we do care about them. We don't agree that their problems are caused by blacks and Mexicans, and Muslims, but we acknowledge that they have problems and that we want to help solve them. And then comes the really hard part. Avoiding demagoguery. It can't become about hating something else. It can't be about singling out enemies but finding solutions. We shouldn't aim at rechanneling the resentment but ameliorating it. I told you that my solution to all social clashes is sharing milk and cookies. I'm not asking you to love thy neighbor but to act like you love your neighbor. I'll try to do the same. We won't always succeed. But we'll do better than we would if we didn't try.
Oh, I should mention dinner last night. I tried the 67¢ Stop & Shop macaroni and cheese. I had very low expectations for it. I wasn't sure if I'd be able to eat it. I was pleasantly surprised. It was clearly better than the Trader Joe's! It was just as good as Kraft's. Too bad it's discontinued. That's why it was so cheap. I should have bought more. I didn't take anything out of the freezer for dinner. I might have to have it again tonight. I'll see if what I take out now thaws in time.
Annoying People - September 03, 2016
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