A clean start, long overdue

Nearly four years ago, I suspended my regularly scheduled Beards for New Years annual beard growth in favor of a protest beard.Yesterday, I shaved it off for the clean start I’ve been waiting for. To be honest, I didn’t think It would go this long. I thought for sure he’d be done sooner. We’ve lived with it for too much time, the idea that someone so completely odious could win. The clean start isn’t nearly as clean as I’d like.

Nearly 250k dead, wasted. And more to come.

The Senate narrowly still possibly up for grabs but far from conclusive.

The results should have been a tsunami of refutation. It’s a testament to the strength of it that it was still decisive even through all of the various kinds of voter suppression put into place, the closing of polling places, the purging of rolls, the stripping of voting rights from felons, the mail slowdowns.

With the calling of the election, support for this administration seems to have crumpled overnight like the empty facade some have seen it for all along. I wonder if we could have taken the wind out of the sails earlier, but I’m relieved the rats are finally fleeing the sinking ship. There’s reckoning to be done, but for now, just a sigh of relief, another day tomorrow, and remorse for those we were too late to help.

Of course there are challenges ahead, but it still feels like a new day.

We have to use the indefinite article, “a base”, never … “your base”.

The current modern era of disgusting politics is inextricably linked for me with the use of the term “the base”. The first time I heard it, my body reacted with a bit of revulsion, as if someone had just spit in my food. I still shudder a little every time I hear it used. It is the embodiment of every nasty partisan impulse to overlook actions that might otherwise cause the viewer to pause and reflect on their shared humanity, to go too far in forgiving those hypocritical transgressions in the course of wielding what limited power exists only for the purpose of getting your way.

It has brought us to this.

A Climate Change Embarrassment at the NYT

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Bret Stephens wrote his first op-ed column for the New York Times this weekend, and it’s worse than I feared.

Here’s the argument in a nutshell, peppered with sophisticated-sounding words like “traduces” and “overweening” that are meant to distract you from it’s vapidity: Climate Change may be right, and hey – on the other hand, it is right and we all know it’s right, but because Hillary Clinton’s team lost the election, nobody can ever actually be right about anything.

The problem, he says, is that we’re all so gosh-darned certain about things. If only we’d have some doubt, we could maybe convince people who already have doubt to give up their doubt. (Yes, I’m scratching my head at this point.)

No, the problem here isn’t that people trust the conclusions of the data and use that to form a viewpoint, even if they’re really sure it’s correct. It’s that people who are once faced with an incorrect conclusion lose all trust in everything. Let’s say this again: just because someone is wrong once doesn’t mean they’re always wrong about everything. Granted, there’s historically been a bit of an arms race here, and presumably some people have raised their alarm higher because raising it a little bit only had the effect of people ignoring it and thinking it wasn’t a big problem. More hysteria, such as there is, is a response to lack of response to rational discourse. “None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences.” he writes, and naturally all of it does.

But even if all of that was accurate, I’m having trouble seeing what the argument here is. What’s the upside to climate change denialism? Mostly increased profits for petroleum companies and the people who own land with petroleum deposits? The desire to prove those dastardly scientists wrong once and for all? For everyone else, not so much. Sustainable energy, if we concentrate on it and develop it, shows every indication of being not only cleaner, but also better for the economy than petroleum ever was. Sustainable energy already provides more jobs. And it’s just getting started.

Why are we fucking defending pollution again? We can have cleaner air and water, and better economic growth. Let’s do that. Happy Loyalty Day!