Saturday, May 15, 2021

If you don't like my fire, then don't come around.

  I'm not going to lie. I'm still pretty pissed off about the Mississippi Supreme Court decision yesterday. The more I thought about it, the angrier I got. The more I contemplated the ramifications, the more infuriated I got. Ironic, isn't it, as I could've definitely benefitted from a joint right about then.

 In yesterday's News, I wrote about but to catch everyone up, the state supreme court voted 6-3 in favor of a lawsuit that invalidated Initiative 65, the medical marijuana initiative. Despite passing with an overwhelming 3-4 majority, the judges ruled it invalid because the initiative process requires signatures from all five of Mississippi's U.S. Congressional districts and we ain't had five since 2000. The lawsuit was issued by Mary Hawkins Butler, the mayor of Madison for the past 40 years. Madison is a white-flight suburb of mostly black Jackson.

 Butler's reasoning was that the initiative failed the five-district rule, but it's more likely that the city government of Madison gets a fairly solid chunk of any business' profits that sets up shop in city limits. From what I understand, most of it goes to the mayor's office side rather than the city council's side because the two hate each other. Of the judges, three are voted in and the other six were appointed by Republican governors but the vote was pretty bipartisan. That said, five of the six appointed judges voted against it.

 So, the judges decided that since the state legislature hasn't gotten around to fix the law or the districts, the initiative process was null and void from here on out. This is weird, because we have a Voter ID law that passed via initiative, and no one bucked on that. It will be interesting to see if that becomes an issue, but I'm sure the state government will tell anyone who does to skip rope.

 What makes things really interesting is there was an initiative going around to expand Medicaid coverage in the state and it's pretty popular, at least as popular as medical marijuana. That explains a lot, really. Voting in this state is extremely restrictive. One in nine citizens can't vote because they're ex-cons, and 60 percent of them are black. We can't do mail-in unless you have a "good reason" and a notary's signature. It's incredibly gerrymandered and up until last November, a governor had to win not only the popular vote but also a majority of the state's congressional district. That was an initiative, too.

 And that explains it, really. The state government was fine with initiatives until the folk that live in the state start voting for things that actually make their lives better. Voter ID is fine. It makes voting just a wee bit harder, so that's fine. But getting folks to a point where they can afford healthcare and not burn themselves out on opioids? That's got to be nipped in the bud.

 I said this on Twitter yesterday, but this isn't a bipartisan thing. Nor is a black or white thing or, for that matter a Protestant Christian or non-Protestant Christian thing. This state has a long, long history of wanting a Ruling Class and a Lower Class. It's burned into our cultural psyche. The whole country is like that, but Mississippi is worse. It's distilled down to its purest form. This is basically William Faulkner's whole oeuvre: people who step on folks to get to the top and the damage that causes for everyone.

 Of course, this gives the rest of the country an opportunity to shit on us while they don't actually do anything to help. I don't think people get that. Since the 1890 state constitution, the non-Elite of this state has been up against the wall and told this how it's supposed to be. Outsiders say move when they really can't understand that most people would if they could, but the thumb's down on folks. And not everyone wants to leave the only home they've ever known. Help or piss off.

 But I know they won't. Liberals or leftists, socialists or communists, none of them really, really give a shit about the people of Mississippi. White or black, doesn't matter, we deserve what we get because we can't push the thumb off us. I will say it again, but the most heartening thing I've seen since moving home is watching young people - especially young Black people - who are working to make the state a place to live rather than a place to be from. I just hope they realize there won't be any outside help.

 Ah, well. I was looking forward to buying pot legally on a regular basis come August but I'm not really surprised the state of Mississippi bent over backward to make sure it didn't happen. I just want to get high and get my head out of gear, I'll be okay. I'm not dealing with cancer or constant pain or glaucoma or opioid addiction. 

 It's a bummer but it won't kill me. Okay, before I go, let's get this week's News in. Monday was the Liz Cheney drama along with another way the state of Mississippi is making life harder for its residents. Tuesday was the fallout of the Cheney-GOP fight, which I hope completely destroys the party and every conservative politician.

 Yes, I am pissed off.

Friday, May 14, 2021

I had something for this, I swear.

  Well, I'll be damned. Here it is, 5:15 a.m. Friday morning, and I have nothing down for Thursday's Gibberish. I meant to do something. Even had a topic mapped out in my head, or at least something to ramble on about. But damn me if I didn't forget. I decided to go to sleep after supper and, whiff, that was it.

 I must've done this week before last. I usually try to get the News done by no later than 8 p.m. Central and usually shoot for around 5 p.m. Unless I have a topic, though, I generally let the Gibberish brew and bubble until close to midnight, and even then it's just to get something down on paper.

 And of course, whatever the hell I had bubbling is gone now. I have no idea what I was going to write about. I guess I'll just wing until I hit word count, if just for continuity's sake. I'm still on track thanks to last week's Actual Paying Work, so c'est la vie.

 Okay, so I'm going to dip my toe in one of the topics I try to avoid, and that's the Israeli-Palestinian business that's flared up in the past week. I avoid it because, as an American, that's got ethnic roots in neither group, I feel we - as a country - have said way too much about what's going on over there that nothing we can say now is of any help whatsoever. Indeed, I think our country's continual bickering does more harm than good.

 My basic stance is "quit being dicks and figure it out," it really shouldn't be that hard. That goes for whoever it applies to. Otherwise, this is something I stay out of. The question of why the U.S. pumps so much money into Israel is another third rail I'd rather not deal with, except to say we're pulling a lot of goofy bullshit in the Middle East and Israel is another pawn in that game. Far as I can tell, anyway.

 That being said, a lot of people engage in racism and antisemitism by picking sides in the conflict when they really don't give a shit about the day-to-day life of someone living in modern-day Israel, be they Palestinian or Jew. Antisemitism is, of course, an age-old sack of shit that we can't seem to shake loose no matter how resilient the Jewish people prove themselves to be. And we think all Arabs are shit even though Palestinians aren't Arabs, but no one ever said racism had to make sense.

 Okay. So much for all that. Again, my stance is "stop being dicks and figure it out," and if you want to pick at that until it turns raw, that's on you, bubba. Moving on, I got some feedback on my lost PowerDraw harp. The nice man is sending me a new one and hopefully, the screwed with postal service won't lose this one. Either way, I'm looking forward to playing with it.

 I've made a couple of strides in my re-learning process. Trying to build from the ground up, I think, was the right idea. I'm slowly shedding some bad habits and learning more about music theory. Same thing with relearning the guitar. It seems like I do better with feel than the technical side of things. When I played bass, I never went for fancy picking but always slipped right into that pocket. Same thing with guitar; I guess I've listened to so much slide guitar I can fake it, but don't ask me to play a scale.

 Okay, that's word count. If there's anything else, I'll save it for the weekend. Been playing a lot of Star Control, both the original games and the recent reboot. Lots of fun and all four are recommended. And that's that.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

To get caught now would be the death of us all.

 Man, I let the day slip on me. It's 10:20 p.m. and I'm just now putting stuff down. Unfortunately, I have nothing I feel needs to be said, so there you go.

 I can't seem to shake the blues. I was chalking it up to pulling an all-nighter writing last week - not just the time awake but the mental energy of putting down 3,200 words of Actual Paying Work - but I don't know. Grumpy and gloomy, and I don't know what's bothering me so I don't know how to do anything about it. Nothing major, just edgy and tired. There's no taste in anything. Staying in bed all day not because of needing the rest but because I don't feel like being alive.

 It's not a matter of suicidal ideation, mind. Just boredom and ennui that will work itself out eventually, I know. It doesn't make it any more fun to go through while it's going on, though. These are the times I desperately want something to get my head out of the rut and get stoned.

 So I don't know. I finished the third book of E.M. Powell's "Barling & Stanton" books. I don't know if it is indeed the last book in the series but it did have a sense of finality to it. In any event, it was enjoyable even if the reveal sort of threw me. I was quite surprised when the guilty party was revealed.

 I've read a lot of mystery and detective fiction over the years, from Auguste Dupin to Harry Dresden and all points in between. In well-written whodunits, I'm pretty good at finding the murdered. I'd say at least four out of five times. Again, that's if it's well-written and not just a cliche-filled story hung on a detective novel frame. I'm looking at you, Dresden.

 That being said, I don't put as much effort into it these days. One of the reasons I appreciate mysteries is that if it's done well, it brings a good story with good writing without a lot of plot and bullshit to get in the way of the tale. Don't get me wrong, there is definitely room for art in literature - I'm a Faulkner man, after all - but sometimes you just want to enjoy a good yarn to pass the time.

 I've gotten into the groove with Hand of Fate 2, far as that goes. Since we got the fiber optic, I've been giving some of the big-file games I've gotten from Humble Bundle a shot. Last night was Conan Exiles. Okay enough for what it is and what it is, far as I can tell, is another World of Warcraft wannabe. Nothing wrong with that, of course, if that's your jam. I don't feel I get the whole experience because I don't really care for the co-op aspect of it. If I wanted to be social, I'd live my life entirely different than how I do now.

 Alien Isolation was also given a shot. Again, first-person horror games really aren't my thing and I don't care for crafting mechanics in every-goddamn-thing, but it looks well done. Unfortunately, it kept crashing on me. Whether it was because it just does that or my machine couldn't cope, I don't know, but it wasn't enough to make me put much more effort into it than I already had.

 You know what? I'm tired and it's been a day. If something interesting comes up, yadda yadda yadda.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

Took a lot of courage to let the telephone ring.

  I let the day slip past me again. You know, I used to stay up all night all the time and be able to function just fine. Now if I do, it takes me a couple of days to shake the cobwebs loose and a couple more to get into some semblance of a normal diurnal routine. Ah, middle age, you are a rat bastard.

 I had some Actual Paying Work to do this week. It's why Thursday's offering is, shall we say, light. I sort of bit off more than I could chew, promising myself to 3,200 words rather than the 1,600 I thought I had. I think that gives me due to skipping a day's Gibberish. The News this week was pretty good, though.

 I did a lot on the sour weather the Deep South had this week because, well, there was a mess of sour weather this week. That was pretty much all of Monday. Wednesday started in on the weird civil war going on within the GOP, namely most of the party being pissed off that Lynn Cheney called out Trump and refuses to bend a knee. We followed that thought Friday with a little more on Alabama, Brett Farve continuing to be a sleaze, and the weird gathering of Dominionists Mississippi hosted this Thursday. Good week, check it out.

 Okay, then. I've been finishing E.M. Powell's "Stanton & Barling" series this week, or what there is of it. There might be more coming, I don't know. Long story short. he's a lusty but sensitive messenger who's good with horses, his fists, and the ladies. He's a rigid, straight-laced clerk for His Highness with a brilliant analytical mind and a dark secret that torments him. Together they solve crimes. You have no idea how long I've been waiting for a good time to use that.

 In any event, it's good stuff. I'm a sucker for historical mysteries and these are pretty good. It takes place during the reign of King Henry II after the martyrdom of Thomas Beckett and, as far as I can tell, it's a pretty accurate portrayal of the time. I don't know it's as quite as good as Ellis Powell's "Cadfael" series but it's pretty high tier. Check it out.

 I got yet another harmonica this week, this one a Suzuki Manji in B-flat. That pretty much completes me with the major keys I'd need if I were to consider playing in front of folks on a regular basis, which I am not. I probably could use an F-sharp but I doubt I'll fool with it. I got this because the Manji got good marks from several folks. I don't know, though. I don't like it as much as the Fender or Easttop harps and it's definitely more expensive than necessary. Sixty bucks to a forty-dollar Hohner.

 I'm still waiting on the PowerBend from China. It was ordered the March 9, and it's still not here. Monday's the last day, though, so maybe the second time will be the charm. I know there's no real point in me buying all these different keys, but it's given me a chance to check out some harps I never got to otherwise. You rarely see anything besides Hohners in music stories. Why that is, I don't know, but I imagine it's because they've got the name recognition.

 If I had to pick, I still favor Blues Harps and Marine Bands, but if I were to recommend a first-time harp, got with either an Easttop or a Fender Blues DeVille. A little under 30 bucks but a solid instrument, and you can't go wrong with that. The Fender Blues Deluxe is a pretty good buy for less than twenty, too, so keep that in mind. I do like the Lucky 13 and may think about getting another in a different key. After headache getting that one, though, I'm going to wait a while.

 Learning - or re-learning, possibly - has been fun. I'm trying to rebuild myself from the bottom because a lot of what I learned, I learned the wrong way or perhaps a way that could be easier done some other way. I find myself drifting away from practicing to having a good time with what I already know. I am picking up stuff that sticks, and that's a good thing.

 I don't know if there's anything else. I'm not really playing anything new. And I guess that's it. If you can, call your Mommas tomorrow.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Workin' for a livin'.

  I've got some Actual Paying Work to get done before tomorrow and, naturally, I've only dabbled with it throughout the week. I've got three articles due, all with an 800-word count, which puts me way over my own personal goal. So, since all my brainpower will probably be sucked dry by the time I finish them, this is what we're doing for today's Gibberish. If something clever just needs to be put down in digital print and isn't useful for the APW, I shall return. Otherwise, see y'all in the funny papers.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

If I had my way, I'd never get the urge to roam.

  I've put this off all evening because I just haven't been in the mood. But it's fifteen after eleven and I should see if I can't get something done before midnight.

 I'm a little burnt out on paying attention to things. Woke, cancel culture, critical race theory, should we be paying attention to Trump announcing he's starting a LiveJournal, blah blah and increasingly blah. I don't know whether this is a result of having a president who's still in the boring phase of his presidency and one who is, well, boring. I can understand a little the idea the Bigtime Press is having trouble dealing with Life After Trump.

 That being said, I can also agree with folks who make up said press' readership saying how goddamn tired they are of reporters trying to keep Trump in the news. Well, trying to make "Biden's people react to Trump" is what they're considering news, apparently. On the plus side, it's always a good laugh when Press Secretary Jen Psaki rhetorically smacks some overpaid goofball's hand for asking a dumbass question about Trump.

 Still, Trump is important to the GOP. They're trying the eviscerate Lynn Cheney and Mitt Romney for their disloyalty to that weird asshole. It's very, very silly. I knew he'd have an outsized impact on the future of the GOP, but this is ridiculous. The flipside of all this is everyone who wants to stay in with the base is a complete douchebag on Twitter while complaining on the Sunday morning television shows how Big Tech and Big Media are censoring them. That geek Josh Hawley actually said while being interviewed on tv by that the reporter couldn't "cancel, censor or silence" him which is what he considers "asking a question clarifying a statement" as he hawks his new "vote for me for president in 2024" book.

 Like I said, tedious. Even more tedious is the drawers-twisting outrage conservatives are having on critical race theory. Everything is CRT. Diversity training is CRT. History that puts forth the controversial idea that chattel slavery was "bad" is CRT. Acknowledging the systematic racism that affected the lives of African Americans throughout the 20th century still has an impact on culture is CRT. Affirmative Action is CRT. 

 It's so dumb. I'm not interested in debating the merits of CRT but, for the record, I don't really see a problem with it. It's driven white folks nuts, though, to the point where anti-CRT types have slipped right over the edge of common sense. I saw one goob claimed writers Ralph Ellison and Richard Wright disproved CRT, which tells me this person not only doesn't know what CRT is, he's never read a lick from the two authors' work. Guess they learned the name of another Black intellectual besides Dr. King.

 Okay. I don't know if I can squeeze out any more. I do have some Actual Paying Work this week, due Friday. I don't know how that will affect this week's output, but who knows. I've been playing The Witcher 3 the last couple of days and I think I've got into the groove of the game. I may have to take a break, though, the thing is so goddamn dense. I'm also bouncing around with a couple of books and haven't found one that holds my attention. Nothing but harmonicas these days, y'all.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

I would've joined the circus if I wanted to work with a clown.

  Man, May sort of snuck up on us, didn't it? I doubt I'm the only person to point this out, but it's an interesting stroke that May Day as a holiday to celebrate workers was due to something that happened in the United States but we've never celebrated it on a national level. Regardless, happy May Day, friends and neighbors, and don't let the bossman get you down.

 Anyhow. Let's get this News in before we get into anything else. I rarely note the Weekend News because more often than not, it's more of a filler-slash-wrap-up thing. Last weekend, though, I did something on Joe Biden's acknowledgment of the Armenian Genocide and what that's a big deal. It's worth checking out, I think, so please do so.

 Otherwise, it was a pretty ranch-standard week. We talked a little bit about the Census and possible gun legislation Monday. Wednesday was a look at the raid on Rudy Giuliani and Jackson's honoring Bobby Rush. I had a busy day Friday, so all I could do was clean up but we did explore the mess India's having with COVID if just a little bit. Good week, check it out.

 I said it there, but I'll say it here. I don't mind criticism or comments or dissenting opinions or any of that business, but don't come at me in bad faith. Don't pretend you're genuinely curious and paint what I've written in the most outrageous way possible. I don't have time to explain to you that me not trusting most gun owners who feel the need to be packing to go to Wal-Mart doesn't mean I'm a "gun control freak." Honest to god, life is way too short to put up with that bullshit for too long and, be real here, I probably don't give a damn what you think.

 And so much for all that. "Woke." That's become the conservative's go-to concept for what's Destroying America this week. Know this: don't pay attention to white folks who use "woke" as a pejorative. It doesn't mean anything beyond "giving me shit for being a butthole." It comes from AAVE use during the initial run of Black Lives Matter and means nothing more than urging black folks to be socially aware and vote accordingly.

 But like most things we do from Black folks, White folks have fouled it up. Conservatives are legitimately saying that we're having "woke corporations" doing stuff they don't like. It popped up when Coca-Cola and Major League Baseball criticized the unnecessary, poorly written voter restrictions recently shoved through the Georgia legislature. 

 Look. These are billion-dollar corporations and they care about nothing but the bottom line. You're a goddamn fool if you think otherwise. What's happened is these companies have run the numbers and figured there's more money to be made in "being woke" than is to be lost doing whatever the fuck conservatives want. Same thing with interracial or gay couples in cereal commercials, that's where the money is and they do not give a solid gold shit beyond that.

 What's killing me is these conservatives never stop and considered what this behavior by these Icons of Capitalism says about their politics and, frankly, them. Mississippi got rid of the Confederate flag because the NCAA and the SEC told them they'd boycott the state if we didn't. The weird anti-trans legislation we've passed and other red states are working on is causing the same sort of mumblings from these big-time moneymakers.

 None of this is new. Christine Jorgenson was in 1952, for cryin' out loud. And, no, I don't believe conservatives are really that concerned about the purity of women's athletics. After watching them spend 20 years trying to scuttle Title IX, you're going to have to try something else. For that matter, Georgia doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt when it comes to ease of voting, especially after an election when the Black vote flipped the state.

 My man Ashton Pittman has an excellent piece in the Mississippi Free Press about systematic racism in Mississippi despite our oleaginous governor claiming otherwise. The part I found especially interesting was the number of eligible voters disenfranchised due to felony convicts is massively greater than the margins of victory for both Tate Reeves and Cindy Hyde-Smith. It's 16% African American, too, and while those aren't all guaranteed votes one way or another, it is pretty telling, and it's all from the 1890 state constitution. Something to keep in mind the next time you feel like giving Mississippi shit. The game's been rigged against us from the get-go.

 Okay, what else? Well, apparently conservatives are losing their water because restaurants are having a hard time getting workers to come back. It's being called a "hiring crisis," but they get furious if you suggest maybe workers don't think it's worth the effort to work those shit jobs for shit pay. They want to explain the stimulus and expanded unemployment, but I really can't figure out why they refuse to wrap their heads around the concept of "supply and demand."

 And you know what? If it is thanks to government money that line cooks, servers, and dishwashers don't want to work, as we said, "shit jobs for shit pay," good. The COVID pandemic not only exposed the holes in our government's ability to handle emergencies but also revealed just how fragile the whole American capitalist structure really is. People scraping by on starvation wages are told to find something better and when they do, the exploiters pitch a fit.

 Maybe shit will collapse in on itself once the stimulus/expanded unemployment goes the way of the dodo and maybe nothing will really change once things resettle, but so what? Work to live, don't live to work, and anyone who tells you different is trying to screw you ought of the money you're due. Your boss is not your friend and you are overhead. Have a good time and enjoy life. If you can figure out a way to pay your bills doing it, right on.

 All right then. That's enough for tonight. Y'all take care and have a nice weekend.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

And every time I see him, he's just barely getting by.

  I don't really have anything today, so we'll just fill up space while we listen to Charlie Daniels. Too bad it isn't yesterday. I had a flash of inspiration and worked out the background basics of what I think would be a neat science-fantasy tale. It's essentially a Quantum Leap or Voyagers that doesn't involve making sure history goes "like it should" because history - and existence - is fluid. The Many-Worlds Interpretation plays into it, of course.

 Is Voyagers remembered at all these days? I loved that show. Brief synopsis for you kids. Male-model-as-pirate and Punky Brewster's older brother travel through history to make sure it stays on the right path. They have a little pocket watch-looking deal that glows green when everything's okay. It ran for 20 episodes back in '82-'83 and all I remember was the Pirate character (Bogg) saying something would work with "Does Marie Antoinette have great legs," and when pressed by the Kid he said "No, Marie Antoinette had terrible legs," and I've thought about that ever since anytime she comes up.

 It was actually fairly popular, particularly since it was up against the juggernaut known as 60 Minutes. Apparently, it was canceled so NBC could launch a competing news magazine show. The idea was something shifty had gone down at 60 Minutes as happens from time to time, and NBC thought it could snag that market. That 60 Minutes still broadcasts every Sunday evening shows how that worked out.

 Like I said, this was in '82 or '83, so I was seven going on eight when this broadcast. It's also roughly about the same time I saw my first Doctor Who serial - Pyramids of Mars, yes I remember - and the first time I saw Time Bandits. I'm assuming that's where my fascination with time travel and time, in general, came from. I'm currently reading a non-fiction book on the nature of time by Alon Halperin called The Network of Time. So far it's nothing new - to me, anyway - but it's been an enjoyable read, and I have a book featuring H.G. Wells as the protagonist on deck plus a non-fiction book that's particularly about the science of time travel.

 I have no idea why time travel has such a hold on me. I have no desire to revisit my own past and living in any historical time holds no allure. Maybe Nashville during the '70s, but that's about it. Also, one of the ways my protagonist realizes that history has gone awry is him noting that Hank Williams died in the plane crash that killed Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, and Hawkshaw Hawkins rather than due to alcoholism somewhere between Knoxville and Canton, Ohio.

 Anyhow. I've spent the last half-hour reading about the 1982-83 television year, so I guess I should wrap this up. I can't really think of anything too interesting to get into. I got my second Pfizer shot yesterday, and I think I'm feeling some effects from it. Nothing heavy, just a general achy/shitty overall feeling. I got in touch with the guy who sold me the Lucky 13 that apparently got lost in the mail, so he's sending me a new one. Hopefully, it gets here Friday. The PowerDraw says it's still stuck in China, but it's got until May 10. I also broke down and bought a Special 20 in F because the music store in Tupelo didn't have one, dammit.

 I've gotten further into Dragon Age: Origins than I ever have. Those games require a lot of time and dedication, and really don't allow for much else. Regardless, it's an exceptional game. That's enough of that.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Sometimes there's a part of me that has to turn and go from here.

  Another week's come to an end. I'm not particularly interested in recapping the week's News, but I do think it was a pretty good week. I did good work on Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Wednesday and the bill to make Washington, D.C., a state Friday. At least I think so, anyway, do check it out. Monday was basically more "cops shoot unarmed black people" and that shit's getting depressing.

 Another harmonica came today, a Fender Blues DeVille in G. Initial testing is positive. It's got a nice, warm tone and a good feel. Plus, the black matte looks cool. I'd recommend it, especially for a starter harp. It's pretty affordable, usually between thirty and forty dollars before shipping. The Fender Blues Deluxe is cheaper, between ten and twenty dollars, and it's a pretty good harp, as well, if your budget's tight. Honestly, I can't tell which is better. I still maintain the Marine Band or Blues Harp from Hohner is top of the line, but it's nice to have options.

 It should be noted these do have plastic combs, so if that's a no-go for you, something to consider. I'm coming around on quality plastic combs myself. I may break down and buy a Special 20 just to see how it matches up. That one the place in Tupelo has is an F, which is a key I don't have. I'm looking at about $300 in harmonicas on my desk and I'll probably never play the bulk of them outside my room.

 As a side note, my income tax refund and my stimulus check came in all at once. It's a decent bit of change I wasn't expecting. I hadn't received one and I figured since my work was all freelance, it just wasn't enough to make the nut. I figure when my buddy I'm writing for did his taxes and reported money paid to me, it tripped a something or other with the Treasury. So, yeah, a nice surprise and I don't feel as bad about buying harmonicas I don't need.

 Okay. I'm going to leave Biden's recognition of the Armenian Genocide for tomorrow. It is a very big deal, though, as it's been something that's been denied by the entire world's governments for over 100 years. Hitler used that as a reason to justify the Holocaust and it's been a sore tooth for the West's relationship with Turkey. That has always been a bone of contention, particularly since Erdogan took power back in 2003. Almost 20 years in the highest office in the country is never a good sign, I don't care who says otherwise.

 Finally, unless something comes up, I got around to playing Hand Of Fate 2 and it's a good time. I like that whole block-counter fight style like in the Batman games and it makes me want to give Shadow of Mordor another shot. I'm still working on Outward and the first two Witcher games, and I've dived back into Dragon Age: Origins to see if I can get more of it down. I have the first Mass Effect downloaded for the same reason, but these goddamn games are so huge. It's amazing how the technology has advanced, and not just from the Pac-Man or Frogger days. Crazy, man.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Mama, Mama, talk to you daughter for me.

 The House passed a bill to make Washington, D.C., the 51st state. The Republicans are losing their shit over this because they see it as just an attempt by the Democrats to put two more solidly blue seats in the Senate. For their part, the Democrats aren't really disputing it but counter that not only do the citizens of D.C. want representation in their government, there are enough folks there to make it worthwhile.

 First off, if it's just a power grab... so what? That's politics, isn't it? Are we supposed to believe that if D.C. didn't vote reliable GOP the Republicans wouldn't have a hard-on to make it a state? Because I don't believe that all and anyone who does only has themselves to blame.

 The arguments they give are fairly specious, too, whether it's the dubious claim that it'd require an amendment to the Constitution to the borderline racist jibber-jabber from clowns like Jody Hice and Tom Cotton. The actual government part of D.C. would fit into a ten-square-mile slice of land and they've got that all laid out. Conservatives are also suggesting giving the city to either Maryland or Virginia or splitting between both, despite none of the parties being down with that.

 Maybe the most specious argument is the whole "what the Founders intended" shtick. I want to go on record here: who gives a shit what the Founders intended. That was over 230 years ago and I don't think it's too much of a stretch of the imagination to say whatever the Founders intended would be unable to deal with today's reality.

 I will say this, though. The Founders knew change would come and wrote the Constitution to reflect that. We have 27 amendments that are basically saying, "Well, what we actually meant" after all. That may be the true genius of the document: it allows for something to happen the people who wrote it never considered as long as - and this is important - it falls within the rules of what the government can't do.

 And that's the thing. For the most part, the entire Constitution is full of things that limit the power and scope of the U.S. government. Twitter banning you isn't a First Amendment issue because they're not the government. That sort of thing. In fact, the one time the government tried to use the Constitution to ban something, they had to go back and reverse it because it was such a clusterfuck.

 That's what it boils do to for me: does the Constitution specifically forbid it. If not, I say go nuts if that's what the people of D.C. want. Same thing with Puerto Rico or Guam, and if Republicans are boo-hooing because they won't get the votes from these new states, perhaps they should step back and ask themselves why.

 So much for all that. Until I hear otherwise, it goes into my "haven't heard a good argument why not" pile with expanding the Supreme Court, national legalization of marijuana, and getting rid of the Electoral College. Whatever the "Founding Fathers" meant is an appeal to tradition fallacy in my book and just will not swing.

 Anyhow. Epic dropped its weekly freebies today and one was Hand Of Fate 2. I've been intrigued by it since seeing a Zero Punctuation episode about it, but since I have no background (or interest) in card games, I never pulled the trigger. A Lucky 13 harmonica I order on eBay from a place in California will be a solid week late tomorrow, and I'm starting to get irritated. It's been well over a couple years since I ordered stuff like this and it's striking just how bad Louis DeJoy has fouled up the Postal Service.

 I reckon that's good enough for now. I've spent more time reading some truly dumbass arguments against the whole statehood thing. I'm going to go play some video games and leave you with what Momma said after I told her about the bill passing:

 "Oh. The Mets are giving this game away again. I wonder why the announcers are in different booths?"