Daily Check-In 11/02/2018

Friday, November 2, 2018

















It is not written in stone that the United States of America must always exist. It is not guaranteed that the country that goes by that name will always be a democracy. You cannot assume the greatness or strength or stature we have grown accustomed to will always endure.

Throughout our history we have been reminded of the fragility of the American idea and of the country it inspired. We got off to a fitful start with an ill-conceived system. We have seen civil war and foreign despots committed to wiping us off the map.

We have been compromised to the point of negating the good that has gone into our heritage by slavery, genocide, corruption, suppression of the basic rights of women, racism and greed that has literally divided the country into one in which the 99% largely work to enrich the 1%.

At each of those junctures, we have reached deep into the character of the nation and found the fortitude and judgment to correct our course or repulse our enemies. But that should not provide too much comfort. We only have to fail to do so once for the entire experiment to end.

We are at another such juncture where the risk to the idea of America so many of us grew up with is so great that we can see if vanishing before our eyes. I’m not talking about some impossible idea of some flawless nation.

Realistic Americans understand that there are always flaws that must be attended to, that our greatness is not rooted in perfection but in our ability to work, to struggle to perfect ourselves, to correct our errors, to get better. That’s what great countries do.

Their greatness is both in their resilience and in their willingness to reassess and to struggle to get ever greater. But now, we find ourselves at a moment when there are those in high positions of power who would defeat our best impulses and serve ideas that will destroy us.

Donald Trump, as evidenced by his appalling behavior in the final weeks of this campaign, his lies, his fear-mongering, his racism, his narcissism, his defense of murderous foreign despots, his minimizing of acts of domestic terror, his doubling down on his own worst acts…

has presented himself with each passing day as not just a failing president or a profoundly damaged person, but as a threat to the very idea of the country he was elected by a minority to run. He was compromised from the start. Not just by his ties to foreign enemies…

…but by his record as a con-artist and a champion of bad ideas. But he was empowered and joined in his endeavor by a Republican Party that accepted his defects as their own, that would do literally anything to achieve a narrow agenda benefiting a few special interests.

There was not one square inch of the foundations of this country that they would not rent out or sell off or tear apart if it might serve the richest Americans or big companies or the NRA or a handful of evangelicals and their misogynistic agenda.

And so we come to one of those turning points as we did during the civil war or the World Wars or the McCarthy era or the era of Jim Crow or the Cold War when we are being tested. What is at stake is not just how we are perceived as a country, or who we are…

…but whether America as we know it can continue to exist. Don’t take everything you have grown used to for granted. Don’t take democracy in this country for granted. Don’t take progress for granted. Don’t assume our institutions will work to serve us.

All of that is open to question because of this depraved and dangerous president and the craven cabal around him. Who can save us? Only we can. How? Only at the voting booth. The time has come to make a stand against these bastards, this enemy army within.

Vote next Tuesday. Make sure your friends vote. Make sure your family votes. Help the elderly to vote. Canvas your neighbors. Drive people to the polls. This is the greatest test America has faced since the end of the Cold War.

Vote. Vote. Vote like the very idea of America depended upon it.

























Early voting numbers compared to 4 years ago.


Early turnout is much higher than previous years.  But how did the turnouts look in those states in 2014?  Let’s find out.

According to this site by Elections Project, here’s the voter turnout for 2014.  All but Texas are the total number of ballots submitted.  Texas didn’t have that number available, so I had to use the number of ballots cast for the highest office in the state.

  • Arizona – 1,537,671
  • Florida – 6,026,802
  • Georgia – 2,596,947
  • Indiana – 1,387,622
  • Montana – 373,831
  • Nevada – 552,546
  • Tennessee – 1,430,117
  • Texas – 4,727,208

Wow.  So far, more people have voted early this year in Texas this year than in all of 2014.  Nevada and Tennessee have almost surpassed those numbers.  Arizona is over 80 percent of the way there.  The only state listed from that list that hasn’t eclipsed the halfway point of the 2014 total turnout is Indiana, and they’ve tripled their early turnout from 4 years ago.

I don’t like to make predictions on results or turnout, but this is promising.



You know something that pisses me off…

The same mother fuckers that scream “fuck your feelings” or call me a snowflake for asking them to not be racist, sexist shitheads freak the fuck out because there isn’t enough of their religion on a coffee cup.  They’ll lose their shit because how dare they have to acknowledge that people with other beliefs exist.

To the people who don’t think there’s enough Jesus on their coffee cups, I’d like to sincerely wish them “Happy Holidays.”



*Dispatches from Operation Faithful Patriot* [Day 1] “Dearest mother, I have arrived at the border. Solitude and dirt surround us. The men are in high spirits. We have been told our deployment will be short. I dug a trench today. I saw a lizard. Will write again soon.”

[Day 9] “Dearest mother, It’s been over a week. We haven’t seen a single migrant. We set up C-wire. I dug a second trench behind the first trench in case we get overrun. It’s lonely here. My battle buddy keeping singing ‘All my exes live in Texas’ over and over. I miss home.”

[Day 16] “Dearest mother, I think it’s been two weeks. It’s hard to tell. Time has no meaning here on the border. I’ve dug three more trenches. I’ve started pooping in the first one bc I forgot where the porta John is. I killed a gopher. My first kill. Felt good. Send smokes.”

[Day 31] “Dearest mother, Haven’t seen the caravan yet. We expect it any day now. The officers say they’re almost upon us. I’ve dug 14 trenches. The first three have poop in them. The fourth one is filled with Burger King wrappers. I hope this ends soon. The men are restless.”

[Day 50] “Mom, I can’t take this much longer. We’ve dug so many trenches they’ve come up to the Wal-Mart parking lot. I’m sorry I missed Thanksgiving, but you know how important this mission is. Can you buy me new pants? I’ve gained 20 pounds from eating so much BK.”

[Day 63] “Ma, We had our first deserter a few days ago. Doug ran off last week. We found him in the garden section of Wal-Mart the next day. He was eating the perennial bulbs. I won’t lie to you, morale is low. On the bright side, we filled in 5 trenches and re-dug them.”

[Day 89] “Mommy, I wanna come home. It’s hell out here. The Wi-Fi shut off. The Burger King ran out of chicken fries and I can no longer fit in my uniform. I’m wearing a bathrobe I bought at the Bed Bath & Beyond down the street. I don’t know why we’re here anymore.”

[Day 125] “Mem, I kant due this no mor. I stare @ dirt all day wating fur a dangerus cavaran to appoch. My e tool broke and I kant dig mor trenchs. I pooped in my helmet today. Are they saying we’ll be comin home soon? Nobode tells me anething. I hate Texes.”

[Day 199] “…poop. poop. poopie. doop. doop. doopie. i ate a cactus.”

[Day 365] “🦐🥔🎳🖼🔬



That’s it for today.  Yes, I said today.  I finally got an article posted on the day it’s supposed to be due.

This weekend I’m writing an article about voting, and saying how I think people should vote.  I’ve never been comfortable with telling people what to think, but with how to think.  Those are two vastly different ideas.

Telling someone what to think is not the same as telling them or teaching them HOW to think.  Telling someone what to think takes away their ability to make decisions in the future.  Sure, it’s easy to let someone else make the decisions, but that’s a violation of the basic tenets of critical thinking and logic.  It’s also how we ended up in this mess in the first place.

Teaching someone how to think is far more important.  Giving a person the tools and abilities to spot bullshit, to avoid bullshit, and to fight against bullshit has a far greater payoff.  That’s part of what I do here.  I’d like to think that I’m not telling people what to think, but giving them the information and tools to reach their own conclusions.  I don’t make a claim unless I have evidence to back it up, and even those claims I hedge.

Yes, even when I call Trump a traitor to the United States, I’m pulling my punches, and only making claims that I can back up with evidence.

But this piece this weekend will be a little different.  I’m due for something a little different.  And a glass or 3 of wine.


Thank you, and have a good one.


“Without Journalists, it’s just propaganda.”

– Katy Tur

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