Steph's letter to Isthmus

I'm slowly slogging my way through the living room, packing some of the mess, tossing a lot, and boxing up bundles for charity. It's taking longer than I'd guessed, because much of the room is my wife's stuff, so when I pick anything up, chances are it's a memory. Gotta think about it, cry a little, maybe write about it.

#105  2/23/2022

Found a thumb drive of hers, and of course plugged it in to my laptop. It had Stephanie's notes for a podcast we were going to do together but never did, and a few recipes I remember and loved but will never try cooking myself, and a letter to the editor of the local weekly paper, Isthmus.

I'll run the letter here, because it's smart, and it's kind in a way I never was, and also because I love her.

The background: Stephanie was responding to an Isthmus writer who'd called voters stupid, for electing Scott Walker (Republican) as Governor of Wisconsin…

Bill Lueders and his friend are wrong when they say the electorate is stupid. The electorate is working multiple jobs, staving off foreclosure, and paying outrageous amounts of money to stay marginally healthy (and those are the "lucky" ones with jobs and health insurance). The electorate is making superhuman efforts every day just to keep their lives together. They do not have the time, energy, or morale to take on a new project.

And these days, staying reasonably informed is indeed a project — most local media are obsessed with violent crimes and cute little animals, while national news outlets run a non-stop parade of Republican talking points. Not every city has an Isthmus.

My mom, who is over sixty and works 12-hour days in constant terror of being laid off and losing her health insurance, is supposed to come home and look up online articles about high-speed rail? What she knows about politics is what she sees on television commercials for a few minutes before collapsing into bed. I wish that wasn't true. Then again, so does she.

Yes, it's easy to get discouraged by the recent elections, but let's place the blame where it belongs. We're not doing our side any favors by insulting people who are our natural allies. It's true, defunding education boosts Republican vote tallies down the road. But not because it leaves people stupid. Because it leaves people struggling.

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Also found some chocolates my sister had sent me for Christmas! Woo-hoo, chocolate! I'm on a diet, but unexpected, un-purchased candy isn't my fault or my responsibility, so I sat down and gave myself a treat.

I was wearing an ancient, stained but once-white t-shirt, so the crumbs dripping onto it were obvious, but no worries. Nobody judges me by my appearance. Nobody ever sees me.

Unwrapped a few more candies and popped them into my mouth, and then I noticed that two of the crumbs on my shirt were wriggling. They were worms, alive, half a centimeter long, and quite possibly more worms were inside the chocolates I'd just consumed.

A closer look at the box revealed that my sister had sent it for Christmas, 2019. OK, that's on me — I've always thought housekeeping is a waste of time, and without my wife needing wheelchair clearance, absolutely nothing has been cleaned over the past few years.

There's been no vomiting yet, so let's say the worms are just extra protein. Probably good for my health. I tossed the last few chocolates into the trash, though.

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Notes indicate Nixon interfered with 1968 Vietnam peace talks 

Basically, Nixon's people told the Viet Cong, "Don't make peace with LBJ. We'll give you a better deal when I'm President."

Though the Johnson administration debated going public with the information before the election, they decided against it because they lacked “absolute proof” that Nixon was personally involved, writes Farrell. Taylor reports they were also afraid of revealing that the FBI was intercepting calls from the South Vietnamese ambassador and Chennault, a U.S. citizen, and that NSA was also monitoring communications.

It's treason. Nixon (or possibly, just his lackeys) traded many lives, American and Vietnamese, for his chance to be President. I'd heard the rumors for years, then saw this article in Smithsonian a few years back, which confirms it.

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Oh, a discovery better than rotted chocolate — found my resumé. Having no records of my life except my memory, it took a lot of headscratching and a touch of fiction to construct my work history nine years ago. Glad I won't have to recreate it from scratch when it's time to start looking for a job again. 

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AT&T 3G shutdown today will kill connected features for millions of cars 

In the ancient world of analog, you bought a device and used it until it broke, then decided whether to repair or replace it. That made sense to me. This does not — with modern gadgetry, you buy something and (hope) it works until the seller pulls the plug, like this. Looks to me like the manufacturers of everything tech-related are selling time-loaded booby traps.

I'm immune to such shenanigans; modern trinkets don't interest me so I rarely buy them, and my car predates electronics. 

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Attempt to 'clear' homeless encampment is thwarted by advocates 

Sunday was supposed to be moving day for two encampments on 4th Avenue between James and Columbia Streets. But the Seattle Protest Network made good on its threat to stop it.

Seattle Protest Network, eh? Sounds like the good guys. When I'm settled in Seattle, I'll drop in and say hello.

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There's a whole lot of Russian-backed propaganda swirling around 

"The pandemic provided a huge opportunity for Russia propaganda," said Marcus Kolga, director of DisinfoWatch, a project of the MacDonald-Laurier Institute. "It is fueling the movement we are now seeing in downtown Ottawa, and it is scary stuff."

Kolga told The Tyee that Russian state media has aggressively published conspiracy theories and anti-lockdown/anti-vaccination narratives over the last year. The disinformation is all geared to legitimize movements or radical groups that can inflame and twist protests. The aim is to harness public anxiety and fan it towards chaos and even sedition.

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A Socialist representing Queens — New York State Assemblymember Zohran Mamdani 

Democratic socialist politicians like Mamdani don’t have it easy. Not only are they opposed on the ballot (often by candidates with nearly bottomless resources), but once they’re in office, they’re stymied by limited resources and the enormous scale of the challenges their constituents face.

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UPS tops in new Sedition Caucus donations 

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Academics analyze the signs and iconography of the 1/6/2021 attack on the Capitol 

Though symbols of Christian nationalism were dominant — “Jesus Is My Savior, Trump is My President” — the Capitol that day was a pluralist carnival. There was the Jewish shofar, the Catholic Infant of Prague, the Crusader’s Deus Vult cross, a man dressed as the Mormon Captain Moroni. There were QAnon symbols, memes native to 4Chan, and shamanism, combined with white supremacist slogans.

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This California farming town has a toxic carcinogen in its water. Why are solutions so slow? 

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How long-COVID exhausts the body 

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The moon trees 

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Trump’s social network app launches without a social network 

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The Paris of tomorrow that thankfully never was 

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One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...

Paul Farmer

 Mystery links  — Like life itself, there’s no knowing where you’re going:


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♫♬  Sing along with Doug
Cranky Old Man is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...

Cranky Old Man
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