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The Black Hole

Posted on May 12th, 2022

Dave!News was made when astronomers released a blurry photo of the super-massive black hole in the middle of our galaxy.

You've probably seen it.

It's a blurry orange donut shape with three bright spots on it...

A blurry black hole!
Photo by EHT Collaboration

If you take a while to actually read why this is so significant, it's mind-bogglingly amazing.

But if you'd rather have an explanation that won't melt your brain quite as much, Derek at Veritasium has done his usual incredible job of boiling things down to brass tacks...

Remarkable.

It's almost as if God is going to show up and say "Howdy!" any minute now...

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Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few.

Posted on April 17th, 2022

Dave!Bullet Sunday will return next Sunday. Because I have something more important I want to share. It's something nice from an unexpected source, and it's all I can think about today (after seeing a woman read the letter on TikTok), and I have to share it. Because there's just not enough good news lately.

It's a letter from the Republican Governor of Utah, Spencer J. Cox, which addresses his veto of the anti-trans bill which bans transgender athletes from participating in girls' high school sports. The proposed bill was horrific on its own. But in reading this letter you'll see that there was currently only one transgender student in girls' sports in the entirety of the Utah School System.

One.

I wish that I could say that this was the end of the story. That the bill was vetoed, kindness prevailed, and a girl got to kept playing the sport she enjoys. But that's not the world we live in. The veto was unsurprisingly overturned a week later and the bill was made into law.

It's Utah.

Despite the outcome, I still think that there's good news to be found. A Republican Governor risked political fallout to confront the bigotry in his party to stand up for that one trans girl who is just trying to get along in her life with the cards she was dealt.

And that ain't nothing.

Even if it does vividly illustrate how fucking bankrupt the asshole legislators are who would vote for such trash. They read their governor's heartfelt letter and voted for bigotry and hate anyway.

   

March 22, 2022

The Honorable J. Stuart Adams
President of the Senate
and
The Honorable Brad R. Wilson
Speaker of the House

Mr. President and Mr. Speaker,

I believe in fairness and protecting the integrity of women’s sports. I know both of you are committed to these same ideals and that we have worked very hard together to resolve the many issues surrounding transgender student participation in sports. Unfortunately, HB11 has several fundamental flaws and should be reconsidered. Because the bill was substantially changed in the final hours of the legislative session with no public input and in a way that will likely bankrupt the Utah High School Athletic Association and result in millions of dollars in legal fees for local school districts with no state protection, and for several other reasons below, I have chosen to veto this bill.

The transgender sports participation issue is one of the most divisive of our time. Because there are logical and passionate arguments by many parties, finding compromise or common ground can be difficult. Sadly, there is very little room for nuance in this debate. But I hope you will permit me an opportunity to explain my reasons for vetoing HB11.

Utah has a history of trying to approach complicated issues in ways that bring collaboration and fairness. From immigration and criminal justice reform to LGBTQ protections and religious freedom, Utah has often shown an unusual willingness to find new and compassionate ways to solve the most toxic debates of our time. For this reason, I was heartened and encouraged to see legislators sitting down with LGBTQ advocates to work on a compromise that would both protect women’s sports and allow some participation for our most marginalized transgendered youth. No other state has done this, and we hoped that Utah could be the first. As you know, the negotiations centered around the potential compromise of a commission of experts that would help decide on an individual basis which kids would be able to participate.

The concept was fairly simple. For the very small number of transgender kids who are looking to find a sense of connection and community–without posing any threat to women’s sports–the commission would allow participation. However, the committee would prohibit participation in the rare circumstance of an outlier who could pose a safety threat or dominate a sport in a way that would eliminate competitive opportunities for biological females. Unfortunately, over time, the negotiations got bogged down debating the makeup of the commission and some of the language in the bill. While we were not able to reach an agreement on the commission, the bill sponsors did agree to remove some of the most troubling language. As the hallmark of a good compromise, neither side was thrilled, but there was a path forward. And while I admit it was not perfect, there was general agreement that we could pass the bill and continue tweaking the concept during the next year as necessary.

On the last day of the legislative session we began hearing rumors of a 4th substitute of the bill that would implement an all-out ban, with the new commission only coming into play if a court prohibited the ban. While it is not unusual to have legislators propose changes to bills, it is unusual to have major overhauls proposed at the last minute on significant policy issues that had been the subject of so much negotiation. It is even rarer to have these pass, especially with no communication with those who had been negotiating the issue. So, you can imagine my surprise when the 4th substitute was revealed late on the last day of the session and debated and passed just a few hours before midnight.

It is important to note that a complete ban was never discussed, never contemplated, never debated and never received any public input prior to the Legislature passing the bill on the 45th and final night of the session. For this reason, many legislators who might have otherwise supported the policy felt compelled to vote against it.

I believe in process. How we make policy matters almost as much as the policy itself. An opportunity to participate is a critical component of public trust. While changes are inevitable, this was more than just a cosmetic change. This was a complete reversal of every discussion, public or private. Every article written by the media on this issue was about the commission and a compromise. Every answer given during press availability was about the commission and a compromise.

Much of the debate that night centered around the difficulties of bad process and a lack of time to get constituent input. This lack of time and input has serious legal and financial implications as well (more on that below). And while I appreciate the apologies I have received from legislators involved in the truncated proceeding, I feel a veto is necessary to improve the process and to better allow the public an opportunity to weigh in.

One of the worst results of that process was the inability of legislators to understand the financial impacts that will be forced upon the Utah High School Athletic Association (UHSAA) and local Utah school districts that will inevitably get sued under this bill. The UHSAA is a private organization and runs the real risk of insolvency and bankruptcy, putting our entire state athletics program in danger. Having just completed a lengthy and very expensive lawsuit, the organization does not have significant reserves on hand. Furthermore, the UHSAA has been clear that if the state ever attempted a ban, the state would also need to provide indemnification to hold the organization harmless in the forthcoming lawsuit.

Unfortunately, HB11 provides no financial protection for the UHSAA, only an explicit invitation for a lawsuit. With several lawsuits already being litigated across the country, why would Utah insist — even encourage — expensive and debilitating legal action with no recourse for the organization that serves our own student athletes and schools? I hope you can agree that if we want to protect women’s sports, bankrupting the institution that is responsible for their participation is a bad place to start.

To make matters worse, shortly after the introduction of the 4th substitute there was a hastily adopted amendment to explicitly exclude Utah’s local schools from indemnification. Because the 4th substitute was so quickly introduced and at the very end of the session, there was significant confusion at the time about the reason such a clause was necessary and the impact it would have. Clearly, the reason for the amendment was to avoid a fiscal note that could not have been funded at such a late hour without nullifying the bill. However, during the discussion on the Senate floor it was incorrectly argued that government immunity would protect schools from a lawsuit based on the ban. Because these lawsuits would involve potential civil rights violations, they would not qualify for governmental immunity. This means that schools would inevitably face costly litigation and the potential for significant damages.

For this reason, many schools across the state of Utah have reached out expressing concern. Had they been aware of the language of the 4th substitute with enough time to comment, they undoubtedly would have shared a similar message with legislators who were forced to vote on the bill with no public input. Again, why would we risk significant legal exposure for some of our poorest schools with no financial support when other states are already funding identical legal defenses across the country? If the state insists on a policy that encourages significant litigation, I believe the state should pay for the litigation. It is my understanding that you have polled your members and that you have the sufficient two-thirds majority to override a veto. Should this occur, I will immediately call a special session to change this section of the bill in order to avoid bankrupting our athletic association and local schools. A simple veto override will not resolve this fundamental issue.

I also think it’s important to address some of the arguments that came up during the passing of the 4th substitute of the bill. Many legislators brought up the trans swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania, who has recently dominated women’s swimming, setting records and lapping the field. I agree with those who are concerned with this egregious example. I believe this is terrible for women’s sports. There are natural advantages that come from our birth sex, which is the very reason that we have men’s and women’s sports in the first place. Setting records and taking scholarships away from biological gendered women should give everyone pause. It’s bad for women and it is bad for the LGBTQ community, as it turns allies and reasonable people into opponents. I don’t believe that this type of participation is compelled by the Constitution, but that decision will be left to the courts in the months and years to come.

However, there are a few problems with this example being the reason for a complete ban in Utah. First, this bill would do nothing to prevent that example, as HB11 only applies to high school and middle school and does not impact collegiate athletes. And second, if there was a similar example in a Utah high school, the proposed commission would prevent it from happening. Indeed, that is the very purpose of the commission: it would attempt to both protect women’s sports and allow our most vulnerable an opportunity to participate. Interestingly, the very legislator who introduced the 4th substitute of the bill called the commission concept “brilliant.” I do not know if the commission would completely solve this divisive issue, but I appreciate the innovative and respectful approach that it offers.

I also believe there is broad misunderstanding around the current rules regarding transgender participation in sports. In particular, from the testimony of many, there seems to be a belief that any biologically-born male could simply say he was transgender and begin participating in women’s sports. This is incorrect. For many years now, the UHSAA has had in place a rule that only allows male-to-female transgender participation in women’s sports after a full year of difficult transition hormone therapy and in consultation with a health care professional. This has likely prevented some participation and helped to even the playing field. As a representative of the UHSAA stated: “As we read the science right now, we like our policy. This year we have four students who have gone through our paperwork and we have not had any complaints from any other students or families or school administrators.” I should note that while I have some reservations about a policy that requires or incentivizes these transitions, it is the policy in place. Finally, there is one more important reason for this veto. I must admit, I am not an expert on transgenderism. I struggle to understand so much of it and the science is conflicting. When in doubt however, I always try to err on the side of kindness, mercy and compassion. I also try to get proximate and I am learning so much from our transgender community. They are great kids who face enormous struggles. Here are the numbers that have most impacted my decision: 75,000, 4, 1, 86 and 56.

  • 75,000 high school kids participating in high school sports in Utah.
  • 4 transgender kids playing high school sports in Utah.
  • 1 transgender student playing girls sports.
  • 86% of trans youth reporting suicidality.
  • 56% of trans youth having attempted suicide.

Four kids and only one of them playing girls sports. That’s what all of this is about. Four kids who aren’t dominating or winning trophies or taking scholarships. Four kids who are just trying to find some friends and feel like they are a part of something. Four kids trying to get through each day. Rarely has so much fear and anger been directed at so few. I don’t understand what they are going through or why they feel the way they do. But I want them to live. And all the research shows that even a little acceptance and connection can reduce suicidality significantly. For that reason, as much as any other, I have taken this action in the hope that we can continue to work together and find a better way. If a veto override occurs, I hope we can work to find ways to show these four kids that we love them and they have a place in our state.

I recognize the political realities of my decision. Politically, it would be much easier and better for me to simply sign the bill. I have always tried to do what I feel is the right thing regardless of the consequences. Sometimes I don’t get it right, and I do not fault those who disagree with me. But even if you disagree with me, I hope this letter helps you understand the reasons for my decision.

Sincerely,
Spencer J. Cox
Governor

   

PermaDST. Maybe.

Posted on March 16th, 2022

Dave!The big news from yesterday is that The Senate unanimously voted to put us on permanent Daylight Saving Time. It just has to pass The House, then be signed into law by President Biden.

After showing just how fucking useless they can be, politicians are finally waking up to the fact that they had better be doing something so it looks like they actually work for the huge amounts of money we pay them. And I guess this is as good as anything.

Of course, this Seanate vote doesn't mean shit until something is actually made into law.

The US government has a long, very long history of appearing like they're getting shit done... only to bail at the last minute because some lobbyist owns them, or they're being paid millions of dollars, or they don't bother to show up for the vote because it's Taco Tuesday, or there's money for them to be made opposing legislation somehow, or whatever the reason. Fuck Yankee Doodle, we know what the real symbol of this country is: politicians endlessly fucking us over for a buck.

Regardless, I still have hope that we'll finally be done with this stupid fucking bullshit of dicking with the clocks twice a year. There are few things I fucking HATE HATE HATE HATE more than the idiocy of going off DST come Fall every fucking year.

And you benefit as well, dear reader. You won't have to read my rants about stupid fucking time changes any more.

   

Normalizing Evil

Posted on March 11th, 2022

Dave!I've been watching a lot of these docu-series about the rise and fall of powerful people.

Those who obtain sudden wealth by serendipitous circumstance but then fall because they weren't smart about maintaining their money I actually feel kinda sad for. I mean, that's the dream for all of us, right? Come into some money? Alas, if you're not born into money, then you can't really be blamed for not knowing how to keep your wealth because you usually have to do some sketchy shit that they're just not prepared to do. But these people are villainized and we are made to think they're stupid.

Those who obtain sudden wealth by devious means or have generational wealth get treated very differently by these docu-series when they fall. They are humanized and we're made to feel sorry for them.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I watch the news.

Which is essentially a never-ending docu-series at this point.

Television has always been a reflection of reality. This is no different.

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THE ACCURACY!!!

Posted on March 10th, 2022

Dave!BWAH HA HA HA HAAAA!

Yeah, I was around during the 2008 gas crisis. I somehow managed to survive.


   
If there's a more accurate representation of media manipulation, I haven't seen it.

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Bullet Sunday 753

Posted on March 6th, 2022

Dave!Don't let life distract your from what's truly important... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Homemade! The last French rolls I bought were $4.80 for six, were small, gummy, and didn't taste that great. So this time when I wanted an Old Amsterdam Old Cheese sandwich roll I made my own big, beautiful, fluffy rolls...

My fluffy buns!

My fluffy buns with cheese on them!

Cost me less than $1... and they are unbelievably good. So good that I can't stop eating them. I've had three. It will take all my effort to not to eat a fourth.

   
• Welcome to My Nightmare! Had I seen Nightmare Alley in 2021, it would have made my best-of list for sure. The story is interesting enough, but it's the visuals and atmosphere that makes the film so special. It's a work of art. Its every scene is gorgeously and meticulously constructed...

Nightmare Alley Poster

And the performances! Bradley Cooper can act, sure... but it's Cate Blanchett who drives this bus home. Then you get Willem DaFoe, Rooney Mara, Toni Collette, Ron Perlman, Mary Steenburgen, and an utterly brilliant and pivotal character by David Strathairn. It's too good. The fatalistic destiny which haunts everybody is palpable.

   
• Good Bye. Dang. Dieter Bohn is leaving The Verge. He and Marques Brownlee are the only two tech reviewers that I actively seek out because they are just so good at their job. In his farewell video, Dieter talks about his online handle, "Backlon," which is something I can very much relate to. Online I'm "Blogography" for everything because it's my blog name and how everybody knew me. So it became my handle everywhere. As Dieter says, "The choice causes a cascade of associations for whoever sees that handle." And it's 100% true. This is a fascinating video about our online identity... and everything I will miss about Dieter Bohn...

Best of luck at Google, sir.

   
• Dave! There have been a lot of great guests on Hot Ones, and Dave Growl is right up there...

And here's a bonus bit of Dave for you...

He is hands-down one of the most fascinating people on the planet.

   
• Depot-Free! It only took three months, four phone calls, and a dozen messages to get The Home Depot and Citi to credit me the $50 I was promised when I opened my account... but here it is! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? I can't believe it. I just made the full balance payment, so I'll believe it when it's posted, I have a zero balance, AND I CAN CLOSE THIS FUCKING ACCOUNT. I wish to God I had never messed with the Home Depot Credit Card which has been a complete nightmare from the very beginning. If you are going to promise a customer "Up to $100 Off" if they open account... and their purchases qualify for a $50 credit... THEN GIVE THEM THE FUCKING MONEY! How difficult is this? Apparently very difficult, given what I've been through. Do they expect people to just give up so they never have to pay what was promised? Well, you got the wrong guy for that.

   
• Say Human! Florida's "Don't Say Gay" bill is disgusting. The inhumanity of this horrific decision sickens me to my very core. And all I can think about is what happens to those kids in school who have two moms or two dads or a trans parent or a sibling who identifies outside the absurd artificial construct of binary sexuality. Their family members no longer exist while they’re being “educated.” Which is to say that they’re not being educated at all. They’re being discriminated against. Fuck those grotesque mockeries of humanity who would be so overtly bigoted and cruel. I’ve long since given up hope that our lawmakers will be decent human beings who want to represent all of us... but I do kinda cling to the hope that I can count on them to be selfish. That they’ll look at friends... family... neighbors... and other people they know... even actors, musicians, writers, and such... and say "I can’t possibly legislate against these people who mean something to me." But of course they can. Because they’re absolute garbage who don’t care who is hurt no matter who those affected may be to them. Appealing to bigotry is how they stay in government, and the money and power they get for that means more to them than anybody or anything. And also? Fuck the heinous assholes who vote for these repugnant pieces of shit. Fuck them twice.

   
• Just Die Already. And speaking of fucking assholes... this decrepit piece of shit wouldn't know the Bible if it sat on his face...

It defies belief that people believe his idiocy. Has he even actually studied the Bible? I sincerely have my doubts, because most everything he has ever said is not supported by Scripture. These are just his unhinged, demented fantasies. Counting the days until he's sent to hell for his shameless false prophet money-grabbing.

   
See you in seven days, true bullet believers.

   

22022022

Posted on February 22nd, 2022

Dave!When I woke up this morning, half my feed was pointing out how todays date of 22 February, 2022 is both a palindrome (reading the same forwards and backwards) and an ambigram (reading the same right-side-up and up-side-down). And half of those was pointing out that it happens to be a "Twosday" on top of it all.

It really only works on digital clocks though...

Personally, I'm not impressed.

Wake me up on 22222222.

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Bullet Sunday 750

Posted on February 6th, 2022

Dave!I'm tired, but not ready to give up on my Sunday just yet... because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• SHE GOT MONEY! If you aren't watching Abbott Elementary you are missing out. I've shared so many of Quinta's videos over the years... it's so very cool to be able to share her TV show, which is amazing. I was thrilled to find out that it's been such a big hit.

The cast of Abbott Elementary

Plus... Sheryl Lee Ralph is in it!

   
• The World May Never Know! Was it Hershey or Reese That Made Peanut Butter Cups Great?

   
• Darwinism. It's what's for dinner! Three Kids Tried To Get Spiderman Powers By Letting A Black Widow Bite Them. — I mean, the spider that bit Peter Parker was a RADIOACTIVE SPIDER! If these kids wanted super-powers, they would have had to have made the spider radioactive first. Sheesh!

   
• ADOBE IN 3D! The new 3D "technology preview" tools in Adobe Illustrator are choice. I sure hope that they continue to add features before they get rid of the old tools. Not being able to map user textures and control camera perspective is a major problem. And half the time when I add a cap, it doesn't appear on my extrudes. — At the rate that Adobe is adding 3D apps to their Creative Suite, I sure hope that this is an indication that they will be dropping a full-blown 3D modeler soon. How sweet would it be to be able to craft models with the same tools you already know and love?

   
• Credit Card Doubt! Five messages and two phone calls later and I *might* have finally gotten The Home Depot to credit the $50 I was promised on my purchase when I opened an account. I say "might" because I was told it will take 24 hours to a few days for the credit to be applied. So... yeah... I'm dumping that credit card the minute my $50 comes through so I can pay the shit off. I cannot BELIEVE that companies are allowed to try and scam you like this. I clicked ON A BUTTON that said "Up to $100 Cash Back" and yet I was given some kind of "12 Months Same as Cash" deal with NO $50 that I never even knew existed. It would be my fault if the button said "12 Months Same as Cash"... BUT IT DOES NOT! And it STILL doesn't. How fucking hard is this? You promise me $50... just give me the $50. This is not fucking rocket science. And yet... five messages and two phone calls...

   
And on that happy note, buh-bye Sunday.

   

To Webb, Perchance To Dream

Posted on February 4th, 2022

Dave!There's several government programs that I'm happy to support. One of the best, in my humble opinion, in NASA. The volumes of "stuff" we've learned from it have resulted in all kinds of technological advancements that have made our lives better. Not to mention the cool stuff they are doing.

One of the most current projects that I'm completely obsessed with is the WEBB Telescope. It's going to be able to see further back into the origins of the universe than we've ever been able to before, further understand planets outside our solar system, and all kinds of other amazing things. Every once in a while I drop by NASA's website to see how the project is going and read up on any new information available.

Every time I visit I marvel at how cool the WEBB logo looks. Somebody at NASA got a very good designer to boil the project down to this awesome graphic...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

While I was at the site, I spotted the "NASA Eyes" project, which has various interactive toys to play with.

And promptly fell down a rabbit hole of exploration for over a half-hour using their Solar System Viewer...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

After the solar system appears, you can click on objects to explore them. Naturally I started close to home with Mars...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Then various asteroids...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Then I started clicking on various man-made objects...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Some of these things are utterly fascinating, and are out there doing things I never knew were even happening...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Still others I knew about, but didn't know what was happening with them. Like OSIRIS-REx, that little probe that landed on an asteroid a while back and is currently heading back to earth with specimens...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

After a couple objects I got to DART... Double Asteroid Redirection Test...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

This cool-looking thing has the thankless task of crashing into an asteroid to see if it can redirect it. This is the first step in building a defense against an asteroid hurling towards earth. I figured that it must be the size of a frickin tank to have any hope of making a dent, but it's actually quite small. Something you can verify by comparing it to earth objects. As you can see here, it's only about the height of a human scientist...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

But slightly wider than a school bus...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

Though considerably smaller than the Rose Bowl Stadium...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

There's all kinds of information available to say how the mission was set up, what it hopes to accomplish, and how it aims to accomplish it...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

The poor thing is on-target to crash into the smaller half of a double-asteroid called Didymos. And if you zoom back a bit, you can see exactly where it's located in relation to DART...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

So there he is out there seeing the sights and thinking that he's got some really cool exploring ahead of him... when the entire time his purpose is to crash. Sad.

And because I just couldn't help myself, I started looking for Voyager 1, the first man-made object to leave the solar system. At least that we know of. I had to zoom out quite a bit to see that...

NASA EYES ON Solar System Viewer

From there I kept poking around the solar system until I had to get back to work.

Fascinating, fascinating stuff. If you've got a little time to kill, there are far worse ways to spend your time than exploring the solar system . Enjoy!

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Trapped In A Game We’re Losing

Posted on February 2nd, 2022

Dave!This morning I awoke to the news that Milltown Mel the Weather Predicting Groundhog died just before Groundhog Day. He's the New Jersey companion to Punxsutawney Phil, who was made famous in the movie Groundhog Day. I have no idea what in the hell this means in our post-apocalyptic world, but it cannot be good.

And speaking of our post-apocalyptic hellscape...

I am one of those people who straddles the fine line between Conservative and Progressive ideals. I truly believe that politicians who profess to adhere to either are liars, because our political system is designed so politicians really only adhere to money, power, and self-interest. Even the best, most honest politicians who are into public service to be public servants have to be a little corrupt just to exist in the system. The trick is them trying to be just corrupt enough to survive while still being a force for good. And those who are able to resist temptation and stay a force for good are far and few between.

Which is why I detest politicians and our political system with the burning passion of a thousand suns.

Which is why I am loathed by both fanatical Democrats and fanatical Republicans.

Because I can't be fanatical about any of this shit. It's all too fucked up for me to like anything about it. I am firmly in the middle of the extremes and honestly don't care if people hate me for not picking a side. I voted for President Biden not because I love the guy... heck, there are many things about him I can't stand... I just voted for him because he wasn't President Trump. Period. So go ahead and scream your "Let's Go Brandon!" chants because it doesn't irritate me in the slightest. He was never my candidate (though I do find it amusing that people are too afraid to just come out and say "Fuck Joe Biden," but you do you).

It has gotten more and more difficult for me to understand the mindset it takes to love a politician so much that you are wanting to build your entire identity around them. They're just people. And while one politician may adhere more closely to what you want out of government, in the end the vast majority of them are just in it for themselves. And they are willing to drag people from the common things we all want in order to build the fanaticism which gets them elected. Each side whips people into a frenzy about denying the other side what they want (even if they want it too!), so it's a never-ending game of extremes where nothing gets done to make our lives better. Just worse.

It's all-or-nothing all the time.

It's more important to see the other side lose than to see the country win.

Take the whole Carhartt fiasco that's currently in play.

Carhartt is a clothing shop which produces some fantastic work gear. I've owned a number of items from them over the years because I love how tough and long-lasting their stuff is... and I love the fact that it was made in America. At least it used to be. Over the years they've sent most of their production off-shore, just like everywhere else, so they can be competitive. But they still make some items domestically and know they have customers who shop with them because of it, so you can display only those few items made in the USA if that's how you want to shop. Ultimately they are a fine American company who stands behind their products while providing American jobs.

That's something we can all get behind, right?

Not so fast. The company is currently being used to score points because Carhartt has mandated vaccinations at their company. If you want to work at Carhartt, you gotta be vaccinated. Naturally some people are losing their fucking minds, burning their Carhartt gear in YouTube videos, and generally lambasting the company from every conceivable angle. All because their political idols have conditioned them to do so.

And, to be honest, I just don't get it.

First of all, there are many, many companies which have mandatory vaccination. Take Ford, for example. They are mandating vaccination for most of their workers. But do you see people lighting their Ford pickup on fire in protest? Of course not. Political parties and their fans realize that nobody is going to torch a $30,000 truck, so they put a $170 jacket in the crosshairs, because they know that's something they can use to build up hate and stoke their fanbase with fewer consequences.

Second of all, do you know how many Americans are suffering right now? There are many who can't afford a good winter jacket. Maybe they have a cheap one that's falling apart. Maybe they can't even afford a cheap one. So if Carhartt offends you so much that you can't bring yourself to put on your jacket... then instead of lighting it on fire, why not donate it? Except you won't hear political hit-squads telling you to donate your jacket instead of burning it. That doesn't build the fanaticism politicians covet. So instead people laugh and share videos of Carhartt gear being lit up because that's what they've been conditioned to want to see. And they do not give a single fuck that there are Americans suffering who could have used that damn jacket.

And once again I find myself in the middle.

One of the things I like best about Conservatism is the ideal that government should stay the fuck out of our lives. There are limits, of course. I don't think companies should be able to kill their customers, destroy the environment, or do anything that makes them a detriment to society... that's where government should be involved to protect the public good... but, outside of that, I don't think the government has any fucking business telling companies how they should operate. That should be up to them. So if Ford and Carhartt want to mandate FDA-approved vaccinations because they feel it will create a safer work environment? More power to them. And conservatives should be applauding these companies for enacting their freedom to run their business however the fuck they want... regardless of whether or not they approve of the vaccines!

If you don't want to wear the uniforms they make you wear at McDonald's, don't work at McDonald's.

And if the uniforms offend you so much that you don't want to eat there, feel free to not eat there.

But buying a pile of McDonald's hamburgers and setting them on fire in protest while there are Americans who are hungry doesn't make you a patriot... it just makes you an asshole.

If you don't want to be vaccinated then by all means don't work at Carhartt. And if you hate the idea of companies telling their employees to get vaccinated so badly that you can't wear a jacket you purchased, then feel free to donate it. And if you are positively enraged that a company would dare mandate vaccines, then go ahead and tell people how you feel. I support all of this. That's what freedom is about. But, for the love of God, don't let politicians manipulate you into using fanaticism to treat this American company as a pawn to manipulate others! Carhartt looked at the data and decided that vaccines are safe, vaccinations saves employee lives, vaccinations keeps employees out of hospitals, and vaccinations keeps their workers working more-so than if their employees were unvaccinated. And so they decided it was in the company's self-interest to mandate an FDA-approved vaccine. And they made this choice all on their own and without government interference. Yay for them.

But do I support mandatory vaccination of US citizens? Not really, no. This is a tricky one because spreading disease is not in the public interest (which is why I do support mandatory vaccination to attend public schools or hold a government job), but I don't think that the government has any fucking business telling an American citizen that they have to get a vaccine or be deported. At least not when it comes to COVID. Not yet, anyway (who knows if it will mutate into a strain which kills motherfuckers on contact and we have no choice).

Ultimately those who oppose vaccination are citizens just like everybody else, and if they want to form their own schools and build their own businesses for the unvaccinated, then this is America and they should have that freedom. Yeah, it sucks that they will be out there spreading COVID unchecked and gestating further mutations that put everybody at risk, but that's the price you pay for living in a free country. Hopefully, eventually, people will stop buying into the misinformation being used to manipulate them. Because I'm sick of this COVID shit. And our health care workers need a break. And because if I have a heart attack I'd like the emergency room to have a bed for me. And because I'm tired of people dying over bullshit they've been conditioned to believe.

But, in the meanwhile, I've prepared myself to see more ultra-conservatives lighting their shit on fire because a company mandates vaccines... and I'm prepared for ultra-progressives to start lighting their shit on fire once companies start saying that they will not hire vaccinated workers. If they haven't already.

Because that's where we're at now.

We're trapped in a game that we're all losing while politicians tell us we're winning.

And for some reason we keep believing them.

   

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