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Welcome to The Peculiar Madness
Writing is part of the daily diet. Information is chewed well and ingested. The digestive process scrambles the data, breaks it down and when it’s excreted, it generally looks like shit.
Editing is the filtering and refinement that makes it far more presentable. Good and practiced writers are skilled at disguising the offal. Some present it as kiln-baked clay in pretty shapes. Others mix it with soil to fertilize future flowers.
Lately, as you’ve noticed, this writer hasn’t done shit.
The reasons are obvious. A manymonthslong search for a new place to live is reaching for fruition. Packing for two is half complete. Rental storage contents have been fully moved. It was necessary to locate and purchase a used vehicle and invest time and money into making it whole, while my brain and central nervous system are being assaulted by brain-eating bacteria. Or so it seems.
There is too much to do and in the midst of this process, unexpected decisions have had to be made. For decades, I’ve downsized to minimal essentials: clothing, efficient household appliances, an array of artsy stuff, books, photos and tools. Some tools for gardening, a key source of delight and meditation.
Three years ago, planning was underway to spend the self-composting years in a cottage environment with my best friend. When the Universal Chaos stepped in to remove her from the surface of the earth, plans were abandoned and a subsequent abandonment of new plans has become an ongoing feature.
Curse you, Universal Chaos!
With this move, 95% of the tools will be surrendered. The cottage life is surrendered so gardening will be 100% abandoned. Everything ahead will be a return to apartment living that I thought I’d left forever 16 years ago. Giving up tools will make me feel incredibly vulnerable. Quitting gardening feels dangerous to my health and well-being.
I try to mollify these fears by reassuring myself that there still are community garden possibilities. Visits to human and natural gardens will have to do for the necessary meditation. I’m not sure if there’s anything that can replace the feel of soil in my hands.
I have 26 days left to complete this deeply unsettling transition: 19 days of packing and moving two households and then 7 days of erasing every trace of me and my roommate - all our dust and dirt - from the current premises.
Writing will necessarily be scarce till August shows its face.
In 12 to 18 months, if the Universal Chaos permits, I’ll move again, into a subsidized apartment that better humans thoughtfully provide to some of us whose previous life plans have crashed and burned too many times before.
I optimistically think my writing will improve with far fewer distractions. I’m not complaining as I know or have known so many with far worse interruptions and intrusions into their lives, disease & death & assorted commercial interruptions.
But I’m really gonna miss the tools. And the bees.
I continue to ingest the news in smaller doses during this transition. Without adding a lot of opinion, consider these links as highly recommended reads.
Meanwhile, back on the battlefronts, book bans continue.
Moms for Liberty, the leading group of book banners, keeps quoting dead Nazis they admire. Nazis were good at propaganda, the short term censorship tool, but notably bad at stopping ideas. And ideals. Not all women are good at being Moms either.
Nationally, homicides have declined this year at a record pace despite the shocking rise in mass shootings. And there’s clear signs that public safety is improving in some marginalized communities because of the attrition of lots of really bad cops.
It’s reassuring to see that no amount of money can fix stupid. And that no amount of money can fix stupid.
Unlike many of my peers, I’m not alarmed to read that a Trump-appointed Louisiana judge has blocked the US government from contacting social media companies in its effort to stop the misinformation that cost so many extra lives during the covid pandemic and to stop the propaganda of the powerful and the conspiracies of the wackadoodles that continues to shake the foundations of our democratic republic. Because social media that overlooks the necessary task of filtering out such bullshit to enhance greater socialization ultimately puts itself in peril. Such suicide ain’t painless, but it’s certain. Twitter’s the obvious example of a media company certain to become obsolete.
Sure, government agencies aren’t perfect at disseminating useful and important information, but they can improve. It’s critical that they adapt to improve their laudable public safety functions. It’s absurd to destroy them to satisfy the paranoia of a small percentage of the population convinced that there’s a Deep State cabal of government employees who plan to destroy us. Certainly government, like most Big Businesses, has its share of incompetents bent on annoying us.
But the greatest risks there are, have been, and always will be, are in our foreign policy agencies.
Because those agencies, in every country, can’t rely on science nor assure the collection of all the accurate info, so they have to make decisions based on educated guesswork. That’s been evident in most governments worldwide for centuries and has been imperfect in every presidential administration in our own. That’s not a conspiracy; it’s simply an inherent flaw in intelligence collection.
Jill Lawrence provides a pretty full and fair overview of where our country is now.
As for the Court Formerly Known As Supreme, they ought to remember this moment in history:
"The Court in addition to the proper use of its judicial functions has improperly set itself up as a third House of the Congress—a super-legislature, as one of the justices has called it-reading into the Constitution words and implications which are not there, and which were never intended to be there.
"We have, therefore, reached the point as a Nation where we must take action to save the Constitution from the Court and the Court from itself. We must find a way to take an appeal from the Supreme Court to the Constitution itself.
"We want a Supreme Court which will do justice under the Constitution—not over it. In our Courts we want a government of laws and not of men. I want—as all Americans want—an independent judiciary as proposed by the framers of the Constitution. That means a Supreme Court that will enforce the Constitution as written—that will refuse to amend the Constitution by the arbitrary exercise of judicial power—amendment by judicial say-so.
"It does not mean a judiciary so independent that it can deny the existence of facts universally recognized."
( Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in 1937 at the depth of the Great Depression)
A professor of law, Scott Lemieux, updates that to define the once great court’s reductions in evidence today, with a notable dissent.
Finally, my friend, author/blogger David Neiwert was warning us more than 3 decades ago about the rise of the radical, criminal and violent rightwing groups. Considered a leading expert on their motives, methods and likely dangerous actions ahead, here’s an overview excerpt from his newly published book, ‘The Age of Insurrection.’
A supremely talented and personable artist does such a great cover of this classic that a brand new judge makes an error (each judge is only permitted to provide one golden buzzer per show)
And here’s a spot of humor