The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Lazy Weekend

Hello Widdershins! What a week. As usual, the Beltway press was salivating and the pundits were putting debt default countdown clocks on every show because McConnell Said The Republicans Wouldn’t Vote to Raise the Debt Ceiling OMG! We’re all going to dieeeeeeeee!

But that didn’t happen, mainly because the Democrats threatened to nuke the filibuster. Apparently, McConnell didn’t think Manchin and Sinema would withstand the pressure from the rest of the caucus, who all want to do SOMETHING about the 60-vote rule, in this very dire situation. McTurtle blinked, and 11 Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling. And some members of his own Party are shaking their heads. Lady Lindsey, Ted Cruz and (of course!) der Drumpfenfuhrer are calling it capitulation. On the Democratic side, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer mildly and rightfully criticized all Republicans for bringing the U.S. to the point of financial ruin to try to win some pathetic partisan advantage. [Thanks for facepalming behind him, Joe Manchin – I don’t even have words at this point.]

Upon receiving bad reviews from the left and the right, McTurtle went on offense to try to make himself look less weak. In an embarrassing letter to President Biden, he sputtered in hypocritical fauxrage, lambasting Schumer and making hollow threats. Yeah Mitch, we know. You’re very powerful. Do you need some warm milk?

“[Schumer’s] tantrum encapsulated and escalated a pattern of angry incompetence from Senator Schumer … this childish behavior only further alienated the Republican members who helped facilitate this short-term patch. It has poisoned the well even further.”

Democrats argue it was McConnell who poisoned the well by refusing to co-operate with raising the debt limit, a step they took repeatedly with Donald Trump in power. Experts say a US default would be catastrophic for the global economy.

McConnell insisted: “In light of Senator Schumer’s hysterics and my grave concerns about the ways that another vast, reckless, partisan spending bill would hurt Americans and help China, I will not be a party to any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement.”

This is, of course, complete Kentucky Derby horse pucky. I’m sure you all know this, but I feel compelled to point out that all of the spending McConnell claims to be upset about has already been authorized! Indeed, $7T of it came from the maladministration of The Former Guy, and even if the Democrats hadn’t passed ANY spending bills in 2021, the ceiling would still have to be raised. This means that trying to prevent the debt ceiling from being raised doesn’t have any impact on future Democratic spending. At all.

The way this went down proves that the Rethugs are indeed terrified that the Democrats will alter the filibuster in some way, robbing them of any power whatsoever, and that McTurtle, despite all the ink and screen time the pundits give him, is not immune to that threat.

Let’s see what happens when the codification of Roe v. Wade, passed on a party line vote in the House in late September, comes before the Senate. Will the Democrats have the same energy to protect these existential threats to the health of hundreds of millions of Americans, as they did to protect existential threats to the economy? Will they finally nuke the filibuster?

When women’s rights are on the table, McConnell is armed with thousands of years of white supremacy on his side to defeat them. The Beltway press and punditry are already saying the House bill has no chance in the Senate. I sincerely hope they’re wrong, again.

Open thread, as always. DYB, this musical selection is for you!

I continue to marvel at the media’s desperate campaign to legitimize TFG, his enablers and their insane actions. They miss the Mango Moron so very, very much, and they want him to run again because he was a ratings bonanza. His political future isn’t very bright these days, unfortunately for them, but they continue largely ignore this and to bash Democrats 24/7. Their Afghanistan coverage is a primary example of this. Check out this headline from the WaPo two days ago: Biden faces most acute crisis of his young presidency. Golly, did we forget about coronavirus already?

Speaking of the ‘Rona, the Delta variant is causing a huge amount of trouble among the unvaccinated (and breaking through for some of us who ARE vaccinated! Many hugs and well wishes for a continued recovery to you, D!). It appears to be both much more contagious AND possibly more severe than Alpha. But don’t worry, Republicans have some super-scientifical solutions to this problem! Oh no, not vaccines and masks – horse and cow dewormer, aka ivermectin! Because Covid-19 is a worm. Or something. I have no idea what is wrong with these #COVIDIOTS. Other weird science solutions include Republican governors trying to block federal mask and vaccine mandates before they happen. I say “trying” because #DeathSantis’s order attempting to block mask mandates was just overturned in court. Texas governor Greg Abbott will likely suffer the same fate.

Meanwhile, the real scientists have discovered a promising new potential treatment for COVID-19 – fluvoxamine. The good thing about this drug is that it’s already FDA-approved, cheap to produce and is a pill patients can take themselves – not an intravenous treatment like monoclonal antibodies, which must be administered by a doctor. Preliminary data suggests that it could reduce COVID-19 hospitalizations and need for ventilators by 31%. As the article states,

Here’s what we know: This is a large and well-designed study that affirms previous studies that pointed in the same direction. More research is needed, but the results from this trial might already start changing how we treat Covid-19. And the way researchers stumbled upon the drug as a potential treatment is a worthwhile story in itself about the scientific process and the unseen and often unheralded work that’s helping humanity fight the pandemic.

I couldn’t agree more. Thank the Goddess for real (not weird) science and scientists! Open thread as always.

Widdershins, today I’m going to take a break from politics and share something I’ve been struggling with personally.

Last May, I got a call from a dear friend’s wife. I missed it because I was in a client meeting and figured hey, I can call her back. I did have a brief flash of “that’s odd that she’d call me on a Monday morning, I hope my friend is okay” but then dismissed that thought because he was 54 and in good health.

When I called her back, she said he had passed away the day before. We both started bawling uncontrollably. Apparently the family (my friend, his wife and their two kids, who are 16 and 13) were picnicking in the park near their how. My friend was laughing one minute, then suddenly grimaced, clutched his heart and fell over. He was just gone. They tried CPR and heart massage, but there was nothing they could do, and the EMTs pronounced him when they arrived.

A bit of history about my friend (let’s call him BC). I met him, along with many of my closest friends, in college, my freshman year. BC was in the companion dorm to mine, right across a big common area called the Lounge. So many parties, late night chats, trips. We were all thick as thieves. BC and I kept in touch pretty well – his brother was in NYC, so he stayed with me and my roommates once when I was in grad school. We spoke on the phone. I even visited him and his then-girlfriend (who became his wife) in Hawaii when I happened to be there.

But once BC moved to Southern California, we started losing touch. My family was almost all on the East Coast, and my brother was in NorCal. He and his wife were becoming parents and building a life out West. I was building my career and life with my husband. And every time we talked, it was always at least an hour and a half, so we had to plan it out pretty carefully as we got busier and busier.

Flash forward to the pandemic.

The first week after we went remote at work (week of March 16, 2020), I coordinated a Zoom call with my college friends. At first, for me it was a check-in call to make sure everyone was safe. I couldn’t stand the thought of not knowing how everyone was, and I could see that with Drumpf in charge we were going to have a terrible time of it. After we talked for a while, I suggested the call be every week. At first people thought that was excessive, but I convinced them to try it and if we wanted to adjust, we could adjust. It turned out to be our bastion of sanity and connection during those very dark days, and we’ve continued it to this day.

I mentioned BC a few times, and then eventually decided I would try to reach out. I found his email on LinkedIn and he responded right away. I told him about the call and invited him, and soon afterwards he started showing up regularly, with his wonderful wife and kids dropping in to say hi frequently. It was just as though we had never lost touch.

I’m so thankful for the timing of that outreach, because we all had several months of being with him before that dreadful May day. My husband said BC was the funniest guy he ever met. It was the way he thought about things – so logical to him, but mystifying to everyone else. The classic example: he decided to go to Hawaii because he was a waiter in Rochester, NY – why not be a waiter somewhere warm? No worries at all about logistics or career – he focused on what would make him physically and emotionally content. His boundless curiosity and desire to understand life from every angle made ambition beside the point.

The last conversation we had was with a couple of my other friends and BC. We spent 45 minutes helping him talk through a decision he wanted to make about his daughter’s education – he was trying to figure out what to tell her about whether to take a class she didn’t want to take. In the end I gave him the advice he took – tell her the risks of not taking the class (she might not get into the college she wanted) and let her decide. She would ultimately bear the consequences of the decision, so it was best to give her the grace to make it for herself.

Five days later, he was dead. And so began the agony of figuring out who was going to call whom to break the horrible news, including the Googling of another friend we had lost touch with and talking to him for 45 minutes about BC, and making plans about how to honor him at his Celebration of Life (coming up next weekend). The whole terrible, awful, unfair mess of it all. A middle-aged man in the prime of his life, cut down in the midst of joy. The pain of it is brutal and sly, the tears catching me unawares before a meeting or in quiet moments at the end of the day.

What I want to say about this is, if there’s someone you love whom you haven’t seen or spoken with in a long time, don’t wait to reach out. Life is short, random and unforgiving. Keep your dear ones close. You’ll never regret it.

This is an open thread.

Happy Weekend Widdershins!

Another week, more social media outrage over the fact that Merrick Garland hasn’t imprisoned the Trumps yet. Look, I do get it. But he’s been the AG for 4 months. Nobody would have the Trumps in shackles at this point; at least not legally. We have no idea what Garland is planning to do with the Trumps and with their satellites (the Mnuchins, Barrs, Wilburs of the world.) We just don’t have any clue. We can only wait.

The Olympics have began! I think they should have postponed them again. It is simply not safe. Japan is having a massive Covid outbreak. And they are not mandating that athletes be vaccinated. Which is absolutely appalling!!! But they did not allow a deaf and blind Paralympic swimmer to bring her guide (her mother) with her because of Covid precautions. And that swimmer had to withdraw. They also initially did not allow breastfeeding mothers to bring their babies with them – until pressure forced them to reconsider. And then someone scheduled Team USA women’s soccer team to be practicing during the opening ceremonies, so they were not able to attend. And then there’s the ridiculous Ralph Lauren uniforms. The man’s been designing these since the Olympic Games first started in Greece. And they are ridiculously ugly. Is there no other designer with more interesting ideas than “frat party?” But at least Naomi Osaka got to light the torch.

This is an open thread! What’s on your minds?

This week was a revelatory one, wasn’t it? As the January 6th Select Committee sets its first hearing with law enforcement on July 27th, more and more scary-but-not-shocking details are coming out about the depth and comprehensiveness of Drumpf’s attempts to establish himself as the Dick-tator of the United States.

Here’s a story I read this morning quoting Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-MD, the extraordinary leader of Drumpf’s 2nd impeachment effort. Mr. Raskin is also a member of the Select Committee. The story contains some key nuggets about how Mike Pence’s refusal to do the Mango Moron’s bidding on 1/6 likely prevented the overturning of the election and imposition of martial law. And the way the Thugs would have done it, could have been inspired directly by “Veep.”

“All they wanted Pence to do was to rebuff the electors coming in from Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, lowering Biden’s total below 270, kicking the presidential contest into a contingent election,” Raskin said.

“In the event that no presidential candidate can reach 270 Electoral College votes, the next president is selected by the House of Representatives. This rare situation has not arisen since the 19th century [well…except on “Veep,” when an electoral college tie sent the election back to the House!].

“And there they wanted it because we vote not one member, one vote, but one state, one vote,” Raskin went on.

“And if they’d been able to do that, which would not have been really that much if you look at the different things Mike Pence did over the prior four years for Trump, they would have won it with 27 states to 22 for the Democrats and one tied.”

“And at that point, he probably would’ve followed the advice of Michael Flynn and imposed martial law and a state of siege, and this would’ve been the Reichstag moment,” he said.

Barring the martial law part, which is more speculative, it looks like Drumpf’s coup d’etat plan included elements that were similar to what happened on a TeeVee show about a corrupt politician doing anything and everything to claw her way to the White House and stay there. So on brand for TFG! And only Mike Pence stopped it from working.

I never thought I’d say this, but thank Goddess for Mike Pence. (Sorry, Beata!) Unlike in “Veep,” where the peaceful transfer of power was observed no matter how evil the candidate was, the US as we know it wouldn’t have survived the overturning of the election and the reinstatement of der Drumpfenfuhrer.

Brace yourselves for more of these revelations over the next several months, Shinners!

Open thread, as always.


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