The Devaluation of Gold

I haven’t actually paid too much attention to the CPAC conference. Trump spoke. Lots of very conservative people were there. No real surprises that I’ve heard of. So, I probably wouldn’t be commenting on it at all except OMG, that statue. A golden statue of Donald Trump, over six feet tall, carrying a magic wand and wearing a jacket and tie on top and U.S. American flag boxers, looking for all the world like Rocky Balboa. And sandals for some damn reason.
This seems a bit over the top. A life size, or maybe a little bigger, gold (well, fiberglass painted with gold) statue seems the kind of thing one would make to mock Donald Trump, not to seriously praise him. And the boxer shorts. I mean, seriously, that’s mockery, right? Well, it doesn’t seem that Donald Trump minded at all, and the crowd loved it.
Donald Trump would have fit right in, would have made a totally normal ruler, in like ancient Egypt or Babylon or something, putting up gold statues of himself all over the place. He could have gone ahead and married Ivanka, and had a whole brood of retarded offspring. Ancient history’s just full of that shit.
But, no, he is, and remains, a very real element in 21st century American politics. To everybody’s shame and embarrassment.

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What’s in a Name? Potato.

Farewell, Mr. Potato Head. Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. They’re changing the name of the product to Potato Head, so it will be in a box that has Potato Head in really big letters, but there will still be a Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head as actual characters, so I kind of can’t see the point, it’s like Prince using a symbol for a name with no clue to pronunciation just to fuck with people’s heads.
It’s Hasbro’s choice, of course, and they weren’t even under any pressure to do this, so I suppose it’s to their credit. You could say they are being proactive, or that they are just keeping with the current trend. However, it has stirred some controversy, because damn near anything does any more, we are all secure in our positions and firing outward, and the marketplace of ideas has been transformed into a battleground of ideas by the internet. So, all the pronoun people are praising the decision and all the rednecks think this is PC gone wild.
(I don’t actually know which side this is going to support, but I’d just like to point out that neither Mr. or Mrs. Potato Head is anatomically correct or endowed with genitalia of any kind)
Anyway, I kind of find myself siding with the rednecks on this one, and that does not happen often. Mr. Potato Head has always been Mr. Potato Head and should continue to be, just like Mr. Clean (or, as the Brits call him, Mr. Proper) should not just be Clean (or Proper), Mr. Brown’s Iced Coffee should not just be Brown’s Iced Coffee, which doesn’t have anywhere near the pizzazz, and poor old Mr. Bean should not just be Bean.
But, whatever. It’s still a great toy.

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Senate Parliamentarian?

When I read that the Senate Parliamentarian had advised against a $15 an hour minimum wage being included in the current ‘budget reconciliation’ bill, which I put in single quote marks because I imagine that is a misnomer, a euphemism if you will, because most government bills are. Like an ‘economic stimulus package’ that just gives a bunch of money to rich people, or a ‘defense budget’ which is almost all spent on offense, but hey, we’re only one sentence in and I’m digressing already. When I read that the Senate Parliamentarian had advised against $15 an hour, my first reaction was “What the fuck is a Senate Parliamentarian and why have I never even heard of this position before?
Technically, the Senate has 100 parliamentarians. It sort of seems redundant that they should need somebody to inform them of what they can and can’t do. Somebody who, in fact, is not elected, but appointed. (I’m not sure if she’s appointed by the Senate, or by the President, or by some secret office of the deep shadow state)
I’ve never heard of any legislation being blocked by any Senate Parliamentarian before in my life. People have threatened to take legislation to court, and sometimes the courts have ruled against legislation (not often, especially not recently), but that there’s one person with this kind of power, and we’re just hearing about it now, is kind of mind boggling.
This particular Senate Parliamentarian, Elizabeth Macdonough, has been the Senate Parliamentarian since 2012 and if she’s blocked anything before this, she’s managed not to be blamed for it, because I’d never heard of her before.
Happily, she only has an advisory role – which I’m not really against, btw. I think congress should also have a body of scientists to tell them when one of the bills they are writing is totally stupid and likely to destroy the planet. So the Democrats, being aware that something like 2/3rds of the country is in favor of raising the minimum wage, knowing that it would be a huge economic stimulus to people who need it most and will spend it fastest and thus stimulate the economy overall, and that if they don’t give the voters something, they may lose control of congress in the next mid-term elections, will just ignore Ms. Macdonough’s suggestion, and use their majority status to force this bill through, right?
You would think so. But, if you’ve been paying any attention to Democrats over the last few decades, they will just throw up their hands and say “Well, we would have raised the minimum wage but the Senate Parliamentarian wouldn’t let us, what are we supposed to do?” Almost fucking guaranteed.

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Blog Topic Blog

Well, I truly must crank out a blog today because I missed yesterday entirely, but I don’t have a single, compelling topic. I asked my wife this morning what I should write about and she said “Spring” which I think is still a bit premature although all of the snow from last week is totally gone and then I looked out the window and saw a couple of little girls sitting in a tree, much more of a Spring than a Winter thing to do, but still, not much more to say about Spring except that it will be here soon, it’s not here quite yet, and I’ll be happy when it is.
I don’t want to write about the news because the big news here is that they’re becoming even more restrictive on the quarantine criteria, certain regions within the country are even sealed off from all other regions, and the news from the U.S. is that everything still sucks and will probably continue to suck for the next 4 years at least. That’s part of the big problem with writing a daily blog, and has been for almost a year now. It can start to sound incessantly negative because if it isn’t, it’s not true.
So, I’ll just talk about the movie we watched last night on Netflix, but I don’t want to do any spoilers, because it’s a great movie and you all should watch it. “I Care a Lot” is the name, and it is the story of a con artist who manages to get legal guardianship over vulnerable elderly people, lock them up in an old age home, and then sell off all their property. Then, she messes with the wrong old lady. It was billed as a dark comedy. My wife disagrees, but she liked it because she loves all these very dark police procedurals. I thought it was very funny in parts, but she has a point. It was more crime thriller than comedy.
Classify it however you like, but it’s definitely worth a watch.

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Simplicity v. Complexity

Normally, I try to keep my comments on Facebook posts reasonably short, because I know that I, myself, don’t always read comments if I can’t even see them all at once (there are exceptions), but when I saw the headline from the Guardian “People with Extremist Views Less Able to do Complex Mental Tasks” it touched a nerve and I was off to the races.
After an extremely long (for me) comment, I went back and actually read the article. So, I added the second comment. Then, of course, I realized I had my blog for the day, so I’m just going to copy my two comments here and that’s that. Simple.

First comment: Some people think I have extremist views, but that is just from their point of view. I believe we need to have electric cars, and electric trains, and to cover the planet with solar panels and wind turbines, and ALL garbage should be recycled, and that we should plant about a gazillion new trees, partly because that would clean up the atmosphere, and partly because I really like trees. I believe everybody on Earth should have a home, and hot and cold running water, and electricity, and internet access. I believe that the U.S. government should spend about ten times as much as it does on NASA, and about 50% less than it does on the military, and all overseas military bases should be converted into refugee centers, complete with schools (especially schools for girls) and job training programs. I believe all drugs should be legalized and marijuana should be prescribed for anybody who feels too stressed.VBNMW plonkers and people who like describing their views as centrist say I am over simplistic, and the issues are much more complex than I think, but I’m not buying it. It seems to me the powers that be want us to be overwhelmed by complexity, so we will submit to whatever the powers that be want, unable to argue with what we don’t understand. Simplicity, in decision making, is a good thing. Reducing things to their lowest common denominator is a touchstone of mathematics. Science is dedicated to posing, and solving, binary problems.As to the scientific validity of this, maybe. I hated Gravity’s Rainbow, couldn’t even finish Ulysses, but loved the Harry Potter books. So, it’s true that I have what most people think are extreme views, and it’s true that I prefer simplicity. But, I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

Second comment: O.K., having read the article now, it seems by ‘extremist’ they meant ‘conservative.’ There is a difference, and they could have been clearer.

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