Relatively Civilized, Relatively European

In my last post, I warned against getting involved in a major European war. I purposely avoid saying “World War III” because it strikes me as racist, as if only wars fought by white First-Worlders can rise to the level of a world war.

Does anyone remember the wall-to-wall 24/7 coverage of the Second Congo War, also called the Great War in Africa and Africa’s First World War? No? Neither do I. I guess we were busy talking about the Kardashians when that one was raging.

I can’t help mentally comparing TV footage of bomb-damaged apartment buildings in Ukrainian cities to photos and videos of hollowed-out, rubble-filled ruins of cities in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, and Palestine, and wondering why the suffering of people there doesn’t rise to the level of concern we feel for Ukrainians.

Trevor Noah says it better than I can:

It took nearly six years, but California authorities finally charged Sherri Papini with making up the story of her 2016 abduction and defrauding the state of $30,000 in victim assistance money.

I commented on Sherri’s risibly phony tale of being kidnapped and tortured by two mysterious “Hispanic women” when the story originally broke, back in November 2016, noting a 2007 blog post she’d written about fighting off Hispanic attackers at a high school football game, which she concluded with this:

Being white is more than just being aware of my skin, but of standing behind Skinheads — who are always around, in spirit, as well — and having pride for my country. Being white is my family, my roots, my way of life. It’s always there. There’s no denying it. It’s nobility. It’s strength. It will be there to lift me up when I really need my pride, when I need to “keep walking.”

All of which makes me wonder. Are there any “good” racists, that is to say people afflicted with that one moral flaw but not others, or does racism go hand in hand with other kinds of badness? If you’re a racist, are you also the kind of person who’ll lie, cheat, and steal? Would you run a GoFundMe scam, steal the wallet someone dropped, pull a hit & run after clipping a bicyclist?

I’ll go out on a limb here and say Sherri would.

I noticed President Biden repeating the phrase “living paycheck to paycheck” in his state of the union speech the other night. I’ve been hearing it a lot lately — for the past few weeks Senator Mark Kelly has been running TV ads in Arizona, describing how he grew up in a family living paycheck to paycheck, and talking about the toll financial anxiety takes on people.

It’s probably safe to assume Democratic Party politicians are running similar ads in other states, and that “living paycheck to paycheck” will be a major theme of Democrats running in the 2022 mid-term elections. Which is fine. It resonates. Living paycheck to paycheck is something we all understand.

But wait a minute. Why does it resonate? Why do we all understand? Because except for the top ten percent or so, we all live paycheck to paycheck. Always have, always will. It’s how capitalism works. Electing Democrats isn’t going to change that.

You want that kind of change, break the two-party monopoly and vote for a Socialist. Good luck finding any on the ballot.

Here’s a new one on me, from an article about a Toronto to Mexico City flight that diverted to Houston to unload three unruly passengers:

Police met the flight, and all three were removed from the aircraft. Two passengers were transported to Houston’s Sobering Center, a facility where people can be transported without being arrested to avoid a criminal record for public intoxication.

A sobering center? What the hell is a sobering center? Oh, so that’s what it is.

I’m okay with the thought behind sobering centers — alternatives to jails and hospital emergency rooms, safe & supervised settings where drunks can sleep it off — but I’d add a caveat to that: non-violent drunks. Violent drunks, as far as I’m concerned, should be booked, jailed, and prosecuted. Being so disruptive on an airline flight that the crew decides to divert to the nearest airport and turn you over to the police is hardly a non-violent offense. “Transported without being arrested to avoid a criminal record for public intoxication,” my ass. Throw the book at those assholes.

As president of my homeowners’ association, I correspond regularly with different HOA board members. One has a complex email address with a mix of upper- and lower-case letters, interspersed with digits that look like the letters they represent: “1” for “l,” “0” for “o,” “4” for a capital “A.” The only part with recognizable words is the “” at the end.

No one has ever gotten this man’s email address right on the first attempt, and I regularly get calls from HOA members telling me it’s wrong on the neighborhood roster (it’s not). Well, I’ve never gotten it right either. My problem is somewhere in my iMac’s memory. The first time I entered his address into my contact list I swapped an “o” for a “0.” When my first email to him bounced I deleted the old address in the contact list and entered the correct one. Never mind, every time I compose a new email to the guy, autofill steps in with the incorrect address the second I start typing his name in the To line and I have to manually backspace and correct it.

If I deleted the incorrect address in the contact list and entered the correct one, where and how does Mail keep finding the original incorrect one? It must be lodged in memory somewhere.

Talk about a first world problem, huh? Still, I want to grab my neighbor by the collar and explain that tricky combinations of letters and numbers are for passwords, not email addresses … but then I realize he probably knows that, and designed the address so as to ensure his inbox stays empty. One has to admire that.

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