Dr. Kaczynski at his most Florentine never had such an obnoxious Ted Hour

Closed-circuit video kills the radio star all day every day on Bombers’ Row, harder than the BOP ever killed Lauryn Hill, the nonwhite who was the new black, and certainly harder than he did with his song. Paul Tanaka and Michael Slager are compulsory Coloradans now, too, so there’s no reason not to bring them into Michael Rudkin’s sallyport for a mass Colorado Rocky Mountain Hahaha, I’m allowed to leave whenever I want, bitch. I feel bad about associating Slager with these shitheads, but not too bad; he and the Rod Unspared are neighbors (beautiful day, Rogers!), and they’re both accomplishing more with their silver hair than I am with my brown hair. Never let anyone tell you that the systemwide ban on hair dye means that FCI Englewood isn’t just for men.

That was terrible. So are those three words (TM), which say too much (TM): Robert Philip Hanssen. *Defiant Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab voice* I don’t know what’s wrong with any of you infidel assholes, but I’m only here because I tried to blow up my shorts.

At least Mr. Explodeypants isn’t getting all up in your face to chronicle NPR. I am, though. You should have known by now that this thing wasn’t about to get any less fucked up. I don’t know whether Guy Raz has a great face for radio, and I don’t care to check, but he sure has an awful voice. Even as House Voice goes he’s a stinker. Maybe that’s why he now hosts a weekly show of neoliberal enrichment seminar excerpts. It’s a great way to get lectured by some bumptious dipshit who at least nominally has expertise in whatever field they’re examining and then get T-boned every ten minutes by the discovery that that useless simpering son of a bitch has his own urgent thoughts on the same subjects.

Today’s sic theme was “adaptation.” First they had some dude on to talk about lost Indians in deepest Mexico who were hella good ultramarathoners into their eighties because they never had running shoes, the point being that you, Bruce, Wendy, and I were all born to run. Baby. Then they brought in a blind guy with a story about how his parents let him learn to echolocate like a bat and find his own independent way in the world instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for himself. It sounded like wise parenting, but I got the feeling that the St. Elmo’s Fire shit was really aimed at people whose challenges were a lot more artificial and deliberate than being blind. It did not, for example, explain why Joe Dirtbag never pays anyone for heavy farm labor, which doesn’t exactly consist of lollygagging all day and having a sad. The episode ended with some artsy-fartsy bullshit about how metal can be hung from the ceiling in a sheet instead of like, sitting on the ground in a big solid block. That segment was so obviously fucking retarded that I needed only ten or fifteen seconds to turn the radio off and revert to my usual habitat, On Line.

The most ridiculous and offensive segment was about Rich Benjamin and Whitopia, his book about the American Whitey Rez. The problem wasn’t that they aired his talk; ever since I heard of Whitopia it’s been on my long-term reading list, and the material I’ve come across about it has always been interesting. What I did not care to hear was their sanctimonious, passive-aggressive framing of white people, many of them also White People, being unable and unwilling to adapt to life as minorities in an inexorably darkening land. Great job making me have common cause with every paranoid authoritarian asshole who cashed out the better part of a million dollars in Prop 13 home equity to buy an unduly large woodlot and a toy barn 45 minutes from Sandpoint.

It’s fucking majestic: here’s another starve-the-beast CalPERS shithead with an ax to grind about the Negroes while he watches Fox News all day in his compound, and I have to take his side 100% in this dispute because this time the liberals really are out to get him, not to mention rubbing me the wrong damn way. I’m a shitposter who drives a used Focus. I’m writing this from Sacramento, one of the most racially integrated cities in the United States. I know full well that the California diaspora loudmouths in rural Idaho are as viciously aggrieved as they are privileged. I’m not down here wistfully seeking an unattainable full communion with Whitey. A lack of white folk isn’t the problem on and around Joe Dirtbag’s farm. That property and that part of the country are plenty honkiful. It doesn’t matter, though, because as much as I enjoy the work I can’t stand the grab bag of dipshits who may or may not be risking their lives by living without heat on property that I’m funding, depending on the time of year and their personal interests. My interests don’t include Into the Wild stunts, but who am I to say that total strangers who don’t have any particular interest in or aptitude for farm work shouldn’t wander onto land that I’m funding, perhaps to live another day, perhaps to die?

There’s no shortage of grandstanding back-to-the-land assholes in the Pacific Northwest who are cordially invited to lose me with their insane bullshit. NPR has made me side with a prominent group of them in a stupid culture war because NPR has once again pulled defeat from the jaws of victory and made itself look absolutely disreputable and pathetic in its over-the-top opposition to a community that is pretty much morally bankrupt itself. When I was in Boise and Idaho City for the eclipse and saw “toy barn” crop up repeatedly in the real estate listings, I lost whatever vague, inchoate opposition I had possibly had to taxing the shit out of those motherfuckers. I’m already in California often enough to be paying significant amounts of sales tax towards their pensions, so I don’t fucking mind the idea that they might be hosed for their fair share of the upkeep for marginal, quasihoused people such as myself, take or take. Cry me the Payette over this tragedy. Hey, I just said “Pay!” That’s freshwater right there, but don’t let it stop a cracker from getting salty.

NPR never thinks in such terms. Doing so would mean questioning affluence and the behavior of the affluent, and we all know that NPR does nothing of the sort. It’s there to challenge explicit bigotry, as opposed to its politically correct implicit forms, and if possible to accuse bigots of being poor. It would be ridiculous to accuse golf-fancying property owners living in gated communities where they resettled for lifestyle reasons of being poor, and even NPR’s capacity for self-ownership has its limits, but it’s technically accurate to accuse them of moving to hella white counties where there aren’t any black and brown folk and waaah, that’s, like, all problematic-like. They’ve got sheer geography on their side: Washington County, Utah and Kootenai County, Idaho are–Wow Very Explain–counties. Adams-Morgan is a neighborhood. Does House Voice live in PG? Hell no. That would be too much Community in the community. This crew lives in Arlington and Wicked Northwest, but not being all pick a bale by sundown and mercy I do declare where’s the General Lee with the heavily black and brown help that runs the physical plant inside the Beltway allows them to play woke. That’s enough for them to pretend to socialize with the local color without giving the average casual listener a tangible reason to call bullshit. Realistically, these sermonizing assholes spend as much time on social calls in Anacostia as retirees in St. George spend at cookouts with Polynesian airport rampers in Salt Lake City, but from thirty thousand feet one sees a lower albedo, so they must be super evolved. #KeepClimbing.

This is how we find ourselves with the most annoying possible Angeleno, who moved to Washington as an adult for his own professional advancement in the imperial center, accusing everyone who moved from Simi Valley to Coeur d’Alene of being maladaptive. By the way, I just accidentally beheld that bastard’s cursed image. The morals of this story are to stay off the internet and, yes, that fucker is about as ugly a dork as you’d expect. Mark Fuhrman hasn’t aged too well himself, but he looked way better than Guy Raz ever has and ever will back in the glory days of the McGrilled Chicken Sandwich Deal. *Monty Robinson transmission incoming, on the radio* Sometimes on a Friday I’ll stop by and have a few drinks, then hit Tsawwassen in my Jeep.

Uh huh. This is a shitty Southland food fight that for some reason needs national airtime, a Jew indulging in a beef with a rough squad of retired Shabbos Goyim for not saying enough nice things about the duskies among whom none of them choose to live. Upon information and belief, Stephanie Lazarus is a Jewess, and a credit to Los Angeles Jewry. We know that Monica Lewinsky makes the tribe look solid in the same way that the Kardashians excuse the Armenians for being the Jews of Fresno. *Warren Zevon, coming back in on all three chords* Lawyers, guns, and my God, this fucker hasn’t even heard of me. Sometimes NPR tries to be subtle. This shit about demographic change and adaptation has all the tact of Detective Suchenfuch talking about the black invasion of Westwood with that amateur she-videographer dipshit. They say that everyone in LA wants to be famous. Furhman was a rare one who pulled it off, like, I totally don’t trust that cunt Captain York, but this broad who showed up in town to be a movie star seems all right.

Send me picture postcards, tough guy. Look, parts of my family are, (((YOU KNOW))), so I’m well within my rights to wonder what the hell anyone at NPR was thinking to have a passive-aggressive Jew go on the record to bitch about how career LAPD cops are maladaptive losers for retiring to Northern Idaho. For crying out loud, Furhman was raised in Washington State, and Raz is a shanda in the best of times. Someone thought it was a good idea not just to give that dorky Hebrew two successive national anchor positions and then use one of them to diss the gentiles at length for having the wrong reaction to their discomfort with nonwhites. Do they even teach logic at NPR? Lol no. It’s adaptive for a simpering dweeb to move across the country for career advancement but not for people who are sick of LA to move inland for lifestyle reasons intersecting with their openly retrograde thoughts on race.

This is the exact level of intellectual maturity and honesty that has our elected blowhards calling every inconvenient mass shooter and jihadist suicide bomber a coward. Anything that we disapprove of is weakness, while everything that we approve of is strength. We might as well give Pot-o-Shit Friend national Saturday evening airtime to denounce Kevin Vickers as a filthy weakling, because, yes, you fucking betcha I just said “turd.” I’m honestly baffled that Guy Raz was able to hack it as a war correspondent. In a way, it’s even worse that he’s merely playing an insufferable wuss, that it’s just an act. It’s like they’re calibrating the whole shtick for maximum alienation of the provincial gentiles. What better than to put a grating Semitic pussy on the air to narrate a story about how a community of street-hardened Heinz 57 honkies are a cultural and demographic cul-de-sac for being such losers that they moved somewhere else because they didn’t like the scene where they had been living?

It isn’t my fault that I’m siding with Daryl Gates and Chateau Heartiste here. NPR forced my hand. I can’t find a citation, but I recall hearing that whitopias are always near polo clubs. On the Millington-Robinson spectrum of horsemanship, polo is definitely closer to Sauce Boss falling head over heels into the creek, which is also the drink. If they aren’t careful, they’ll have me defending fancy shitheads who drink mint juleps at Churchill Downs. Northside Juice never did anything so stupid with a horse, and that storytelling buddy made it through Depot, so we know he wasn’t on track to do anything sensible with one. It isn’t my fault that I’m defending the very worst crackers that I haven’t seen with their pants on the ground on the light rail through Rancho Cordova. It’s the fault of NPR, an organization of blindingly White white people who are even worse.

Good grief, Ghomeshi, there’s no reason to choke only Canadians.

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Will I see you tonight?

Some thug spent most of ten minutes trying to beef with me on the light rail last night on the way into–this is a real station; look it up–Watt-Manlove. I deliberately tuned out most of his screed, on the theory that depriving him of an audience would deprive him of the fun he was hoping to have and that deescalation would be safer than waiting for the police to respond. It was when he blocked two different doors on his way off the train, opening the second one from outside to berate and glare at me after blocking the first one on his way off the train, that I confirmed for sure that he was a thug, not just a loudmouthed punk. He was within seconds of the operator getting on the PA system to order passengers away from the doors by the time he finally walked away, to menace God knows whom else on the streets. That takes a stouter set of stones than it takes to nurse the remnants of a split of champagne on the trolley while freestyling about how the guy across the aisle is a “fat cracka” in a society unfortunately beset by a proliferation of “bitch-ass niggas.”

There are those who would insist that this was a racial problem, but really it was a crime problem. There’s hardly a person in Sacramento whose admiration I cherish less. I don’t give a shit about this jailbird’s thoughts on what a fat white bitch-ass nigger I am. I do mind that he tried to put me in fear for my safety. It takes more than some fool mumbling racial slurs on the trolley to get my guard up: say, repeatedly raising one’s voice and making erratic movements from immediately across the aisle while I ignore the performance as studiously as I can. This dude reflected on nobody but himself and a few dozen or hundred other of Sacramento’s worst parolees and ex-cons, and that’s irrespective of race. I’m not the fool who’s cool with a white guy behaving like that right in front of me in close quarters. That shit is not okay on anyone’s part.

#TeshTips: Some riders have the social proof to licentiously use America’s most reviled racial slurs on common carriers. They’re usually from Rancho Cordova. You and I aren’t. Let us give thanks. Or, as that cashier at the Safeway on Alhambra told the other customer, “He lives by the light rail station in Rancho.” I didn’t need to be reminded, but I guess the other guy did, and I’d volunteered the information myself. Also, I was the one who had made the decision to *STAY, NOT LIVE* out by Sunrise, immediately next door to the guy who called me “sir,” “dog,” “boss,” and “man” right after he got done trying to whup another dude’s ass on the platform for having sold meth to his kid sister.

I have no fucking idea how Lester Holt is from Rancho. #TheMoreYouKnow, the more you realize that not everything in this world makes any goddamned sense. I guess there’s some kind of middle-class community in the neighborhood that’s off the train by seven every night and also isn’t in the news for murdering anyone on Routier Road. The latter, thank God, is who rides the bus in Land Park and Pocket. It would be nice if any of those lines ran on weekends, or, depending on the clientele extended service would encourage, not nice.

The deeper problem here, of course, is that Sacramento can’t figure how what the hell to do with its intersectional criminal, behavioral health, and substance abuse communities. Turning Rancho Corvoda into the banlieue works great for anyone who isn’t also priced out to fucking Rancho. Somehow last night was the night that RT didn’t have any security officers on the train to simmer my boy the fuck down. This didn’t stop the Rancho Cordova police from parking two cruisers on the platform at Power Inn that afternoon while their sworn drivers did some unexplained shit on the trains. Love too have a police force that is allowed to park on the sidewalk in nonemergency situations but not expected to deter street crime on the transit system that it patrols.

I’m still convinced that there are awfully few people who belong in jail, but my swing shift trolley buddy isn’t necessarily one of them. If the Menendez brothers were on the trolley, they’d probably try to teach me chess. Ione isn’t that far away. Stephanie Lazarus, whose doppelganger I saw in a floral print house dress on the Gold Line a few years ago, is all right. Hey, Wettlaufer, you ought to try getting a date with the Ruetten fellow; I hear he’s quite handsome and charming. That was unfair; other than serial murderers, most murderers are pretty reformable. Plenty of others are discharged from prison without hardcore criminal proclivities or behavioral problems. The trouble is with the ones who aren’t, such as the one I got to ride with yesterday evening. I don’t know for a fact that he was in the system, but I can’t see how he wasn’t. CDCR does sweet fuck-all to rehabilitate its problem inmates. If they’re too much trouble to put on a work crew, they’re stashed on some hell yard until they reach their release date and converted into some hapless local government’s problem. That’s why we’ve got this thug on the loose who, let’s face it, is on the fast track back to jail if he keeps getting up in other riders’ faces on the light rail. In the meantime, innocents are in unnecessary danger because no level or agency of government in California is able and willing to control him. Is it any wonder, though, that the judicial apparatus that insists on keeping the Menendez boys in hoosegow for life as heinous dangers to society doesn’t know its ass from a hole in the ground when it’s time to release someone with manifest behavioral problems?

This is the sort of thing that makes me miss Philadelphia, a city of broad shoulders and vigorous natural law whose drivers and private citizens police bad characters on the bus so effectively that the formal police hardly ever have to be called. That is reserved for the aftermath of the knifepoint groping attacks and hammer murders that are traditional on the subway system.

Gotta love any jurisdiction where the security apparatus is overbearing and yet ineffectual. In this context, it’s hard to resist the appeal of foothill towns that basically exclude the rough street element. It’s bad praxis and ethics, but for those lucky enough to be able to get up the hill, it works. Whose place is it to tell anyone else who’s competent enough to get out of Dodge to wait an unforeseeable number of additional years or decades for the dysfunctional valley towns and the even worse state criminal justice system to finally do something about the inadequately supervised assholes who fuck up the light rail system ten hours a day and all day on weekends? Victor Davis Hanson is right: woke and idealistic though one may be, the ground is just more defensible up there.

Good luck getting any transit-oriented development into actual transit-oriented use in a city with a teeming, entrenched transit-oriented unemployable underclass. Sacramento Regional Transit isn’t a public transportation agency; it’s an outpatient psychiatric and social services pavilion. It’s one thing to convince people that trolleys are fly as shit as an ideal; it’s quite another to convince them that it’s worth their time and patience to put up with an expensive system whose ridership is otherwise the hardest cases off every skid row and Section Eight complex in the service area. It takes a big-ass lot of normies to push a system back over the tipping point that turned it into a fleet of hell of wheels loser cruisers.

I’m not complaining that poor people ride RT; that’s the case with every local transit agency everywhere. I’m saying that it has a number of lines, including its entire light rail system, whose riders are routinely drawn exclusively from the most shambolic, disreputable, menacing, hardened, criminally inclined, and flamingly mentally ill people in the entire fucking county. I’m saying that it is not uncommon to step aboard and see no one else in the entire vehicle who is capable of behaving normally and appropriately in a mainstream professional setting for five minutes. Exhorting people who can afford alternate means of transportation to take RT means badgering them to allow extra travel time in order to be the only normal, functional people on a likelier than not dirty vehicle otherwise full of horrific cases that they’d otherwise see only in extreme institutional settings. I’m rarely the least bit afraid for my safety on public transit, but I’ve often come away from trips on RT wondering what in all hell I was doing wasting half an hour in the midst of such incorrigible, unreachable losers. San Diego MTS is another good agency for such experiences, especially during off-peak runs through downtown, not a particular surprise for a city that has been hosing its streets down with bleach in an effort to stop a shitborne Hepatitis A outbreak.

SEPTA is nothing like this. Like the city it serves, it has some serious failures of cleanliness, but I don’t recall ever being on a SEPTA bus or trolley where most of the other passengers didn’t look normal. The old 100 high-speed line, running between shitty termini in Norristown and Upper Darby on a diagonal through a very pleasant and fancy swath of the Main Line, notwithstanding the locals along the way, experiences socioeconomic and racial pole reversals in its ridership between rush hour, which adheres religiously to bankers’ hours, and off-peak, but the off-peak crowd is mostly normal, functional, upstanding people commuting to work or going to medical appointments or the like. This has been the case on every trip I can recall taking anywhere on the SEPTA system. It’s pretty much people who look like they have or indisputably have a sensible reason for traveling across town on the bus, and the one guy who’s occasionally blurting out that he used to have family on Torresdale Avenue (“Dayyum! Shee-yut!”) is sitting somewhere conveniently out of everyone else’s way, peaceably and still.

A bourgeois supremacist might object to contamination by the poors on SEPTA. A person who’s perfectly at ease around the poor in general might become completely fed up with RT’s off-peak services because of the ubiquity of people who are unable and often enough unwilling to function halfway normally in society. It’s a shitshow: some guy opening the slit window above his seat to throw an orange peel out of a moving train, a homeless guy with anger management problems yelling at the fare inspector and anyone else within earshot while lunging around in the stairwell, assholes blocking the doors while the operator barks at them over the PA system to get out of the way so the train can depart, some sauntering yardboy with a jumpy look in his eyes whose pants would be around his ankles if he didn’t have them cinched up with a length of burlap rope for a belt, the front half of the lead car taken up by roller gimps doing electric bumper cars in the aisle every time they board and alight, but not all of them too disabled to get up out of their scooters with a healthy-looking gait and range of motion, like, cool, I’ma stand all the way up like a more or less able-bodied adult and then sit down on this-here seat, so as my rig can have its own parking space right behind the only wheelchair-accessible door on the whole dang train.

#TIMMEH is canon, guys. This is what they call * CLEAN * SAFE * CONVENIENT *. It’s always great and not at all Communist Chinese to reify a public transit system worth riding by putting a ridiculous slogan on the side of the trolley. I guess the budget line item for that happy horseshit is less than the combined line items for actually making the system good enough to attract riders who look like they have somewhere to be at a specific time sometime in the rest of their lives. There might just be a ten or twenty percent chance that a given RT run on one of the bad lines will be colonized against normies, but every other form of transportation in the region, including walking and bicycling in neighborhoods that aren’t overwhelmed by the hopelessly down and out, consistently wards off the third-party dipshits.

On the positive side, a single-ride light rail ticket used to be valid for two hours of this shit, but now it’s valid only for an hour and a half. First prize: one week in Toledo; second prize: two weeks. This is an excellent model for passengers who were hoping to run errands or some shit without fishing out another $2.75 for a return ticket. It’s a disgrace that this city and its transit system are so fucked up, but the $19.50 that I’ve contributed towards the clusterfuck this week is less taxing than my efforts to chronicle the mess. Fat Cracka out.

A fellow might do better to study an actual broad

One of the neat things about NPR is that it is radio of, by, and for those who know quite well what’s wrong with this American life and seek to learn ever more about our wretched national condition but reliably will not do a fucking thing to remedy the horror show that they so obsessively observe and catalog. Speaking of the devil, Ira and, shall we say, the posse are all woke with the social consciousness about how some schools in the Bronx are worse than others.

Before we proceed, we must have, I believe this is called a prologue, about how I came to hear this episode. In general terms, it was a function of my warm homelessness, not that having a stable place of my own will necessarily stop me from continuing to pull over at Donner Pass on Friday night in preparation for a morning of Chicago Senpai and alpine hiking. That’s not what I was doing for Episode 550. I don’t know who the fuck Enoch Christofferson was, but I was at his rest area, where the local NPR affiliate had the nerve to terminate the Weekend Edition Saturday broadcast at 9:00 to clear the air for Rick Steeves. I’d have set my alarm for 7:00 and dealt with the fatigue later in the day if I’d known that these shitheads had the nerve to commit such a vicious crime against #SPORTS.

What did that fucking American Tourister dork have to say that was more important than Scott Simon? I slept through most of it, in an act of self-mercy, but the opening teaser included a clip from a lady who was all impressed in retrospect with how much she had retroactively learned by reluctantly going on a family vacation to (where else?) Europe in her teens, the point being that expensive international vacationing is never wasted on the callow young.

Staying behind to spend the MyPanera points before they expire sounds wiser all the time. If a teenager is going to be a blame fool regardless, the blame foolish shit will be less costly and disorienting if it goes down right here at home. The only downside I can see is that it might deprive one the opportunity to hear, “Maybe I should take a picture of this plane. Actually, on second thought, I’m not gonna do that. I don’t wanna take a picture of this British Airways fag airline thing that screwed us so royally!” I had to fly to Paris to hear that, from a fellow member of the Lancaster County mental and behavioral health community who had even less business than I had spending spring break in France. The royal screw job in question had amounted to our group’s lead chaperone having to yell at the Irish/Canadian/whatever gate agent at Heathrow when she absentmindedly tried to split the group onto two connecting flights until, five or ten minutes later, she got the lot of us reticketed on an Air Liberté Mad Dog to Orly, i.e., HM Fag Airline Thing. #TheMoreYouKnow #AllonsEnfants!

This was the same kid who got spazzed out by some low-grade bullies and threw a textbook into the guidance counselor’s office window. The window was reinforced with a hexagonal grid of wire mesh, so it was sturdier than Homeskillet, but I wasn’t the steady as she goes on my own overseas trips during high school. I can count no fewer than four trips to Europe when I had acute bipolar episodes, as well as a destabilizing effort to set up a dumbass Stacey’s Mom situation with an American MILF in China and, in college, a dumb haole flash-in-the-pan quasi-romance with a classmate in Hilo. What I got out of these trips was in spite of all the personal and interpersonal bullshit, and against the odds. I was a fucking idiot, but instead of being a fucking idiot in Brussels or Bergen or at 41,000 feet chasing the March sun around the goddamn top of the world, I could have stayed home and been no less ridiculous in Lancaster, a cultural and geographic environment that I basically understood.

The dork who was obsessed with me in college, the one who needed help following me into the student union and staring at me for five minutes straight, had the right idea: she did that shit in Carlisle, which is a super fucked up town, but she only had to drive, like, 90 miles back home to Allentown to spend the following summer bitterly complaining on her DeviantArt page about how much she hated all men. (I assume this excluded the he-dork in the safari hat who helped her follow me into the student union, but who the hell knows.)

The longwinded point here is that our boy from Barstow (the ones who get out are even worse) is either full of shit or out of his mind with his notion that, why, of course the young’uns will be duly enriched by their family vacations in Europe. How that twee, earnest motherfucker is from the same town where I watched a homeless guy haul a trash bag full of deposit bottles from truck stop to truck stop at 3:30 am is beyond me, but being based in the North Sound allowed him to be the respondent in the greatest Dolezal-free internecine fight in Washington State’s White Community when Timothy Egan’s pre-teen son, according to Timothy Egan, blurted out, “Rick Steeves has to be stopped!” *Fluently Florentine Amanda Knox Voice* You said Italy would be a nice place to get to know more deeply, you lying, smirking sack of shit.

Personally, I prefer to cross Florence at Normandie. Never mind, I did the opposite in my parents’ rental car last month. Granted, Perugia isn’t exactly Florence, but neither was Foxy Knoxy exactly the killer, and that didn’t stop the trial court or the British gutter press. The same affiliate that exhorts us not to consider whether maybe international travel is a foolish idea right now for one’s adolescent brat wants us, immediately in the next hour, to try to see things from the perspective of kids from the South Bronx who can hardly function in Riverdale. This is exceptionally incoherent. It isn’t exactly gaslighting, but it sure feels like it. This was why they had to deny my tired vagrant white ass a rebroadcast of #SPORTS: like, European vacation is cool, and here are some poor brown kids who resent the rich white kids for vacationing in Europe, and you, too, can be both a high-volume traveler to Europe and woke as fuck about life in Mott Haven. Let’s get rich and buy our parents houses in the South of France and/or buy our poories full scholarships to Wheaton, receivable upon completion of the fourth round of competitive cuts.

There are two Wheaton Colleges, so of course the one in question here is the secular Masshole version. As they say in the other Wheaton, we’re just simple Christian folk who don’t know John Dennis Diddly about that New English hauteur. A relevant SVU concordance here is the episode about Manor Hall, which sounds a lot like Horace Mann, the one in which the ginger failson living in the guesthouse had gone all Kato Kaelin on his Dick Cheney-looking old man because of his exposure to one of the numerous faculty pervs at *THEIR OLD SCHOOL*, rather than for more general reasons of intersectional wealth, mental illness, and ennui. I guess I’d be a whore-ass man myself if that had happened to me, whatever that may mean. Really, I’m just trying to put off the inevitable renewed confrontation with what utter shits America’s in-your-face preps are. The calmer, cooler, more modest ones can be chill as all hell, but they aren’t the ones who are needed to prop up alumni donations and cocaine sales. Some guy who’s mostly wearing a pink sweater around his shoulders on his grandfather’s spare yacht probably isn’t doing fuck-all for society in any tangible positive sense, but at least he isn’t running FIRE sectors scams on the rest of us like his supposedly productive classmates. I’ve personally met close variants of these characters, and believe me, the Xanax Lacoste crowd is all right. The trouble starts when the Vineyard Vines set comes across its ambitions and its uppers. That’s when I start wondering why Teddy didn’t have room for them, too, on the Ducks ride to Chappaquiddick.

Oh, Matha, what a fine vineyahd! What sawt of grapes do you grow heah? Think about the project that Posse undertakes, sending earnest kids from public schools in the ghetto to fancy-pants residential colleges in New England. How could this possibly go wrong? I went to college about an hour from home after four years at an explicit college prep school, and by sometime in my sophomore or junior year I became overwhelmed by how fucking insufferable the dominant preps, including public high school alumni, were towards anyone who didn’t admire them for their bullshit. I knew a number of Posse students at Dickinson. They were cliquish and reserved, but they were also too decent and focused on their schoolwork to start shit with anyone. If only the preppy asshats had kept to their goddamn selves to the same extent, they’d have spared those of us with interests other than being belligerently haughty pieces of shit, but far be it from Bill Durden and his admirers to spend their free time quietly drinking soda in the Quarry with two or three close friends.

I wasn’t particularly surprised, then, to hear from a Posse alumnus at Wheaton about his academic difficulties, social isolation, and eventual expulsion on account of bad grades. The kid’s heart was in the right place, but he was in over his head. His story about being unable to afford the required textbooks made me wonder mainly about why students with full scholarships are nickel-and-dimed for textbooks. He obviously had exceptional difficulty finding his way around academic settings, including a profound unfamiliarity with libraries, but how did anyone organizing a scholarship program for students from indigent family backgrounds assume that they’d be able to afford the highway robbery prices for shitty instructional materials that lawyers’ children are expected to pay on top of full tuition? Posse is missing some nuts and bolts. Somehow it puts its beneficiaries through multiple rounds of competitive interviews and cuts, akin to reality television, and yet fails to orient them in the campus library. What the fuck?

Of course, the Insurance Schmuck never thought of the library in terms of books, either. Dickinson has a full-service coffeeshop in the library lobby now. I had to drive to Messiah to pick up A World Lit Only By Fire, but at least no one still has to walk around a couple of corners and across a courtyard for immediate bougie snacks any longer.

What I can’t help but wonder is whether some of these kids wouldn’t have done better in the CUNY system or, say, at Stony Brook than going out of state for a proper New English college experience in the Village of Whitey Green. I don’t mean to be a concern troll here, although I can’t object to the accusations. I often think that I’d have done better at Chico State, Humboldt State, or Rutgers than I did at Dickinson, a position that supposedly scandalized that dipshit who was all sore on account of his own hick-ass upbringing in Missouri. For the hell of it, just in case he lived on the same block as Sam Dotson or something, I performed Zuckerbergian Google-fu on his ass, and sure enough, he’s from fucking St. Louis County. More of a Wilsonian background, then, as in Spradling. Bully for him. What an insecure dipshit, though. That explains the Main Line-passable accent: he isn’t actually from some clearing thirty miles out past Branson. This calls to mind Day Quayle’s comments about his own childhood: “I love California. I was practically raised in Phoenix.” This doofus must have figured that I assumed St. Louis County to be one big hickfest. Meanwhile, I spent the summer of 2014 feverishly trying to figure out what was wrong with the police in the county where he was raised, which I took to be an urban policing problem, just as everyone else did. I wouldn’t expect anyone from a hundred miles away to have heard of my grandmother’s hometown of eight hundred in rural Kansas, but metropolitan St. Louis? Maybe our next project can be a debate between Jack Cashill and Emma Sullivan: Kansas City: A city in Missouri, or a city in Kansas?

Honestly, I’m floored that this fuckjob passed himself off as a hick when he went to high school, like, ten miles from the St. Louis Zoo. Good grief. I can’t imagine I didn’t spend my teens around more hicks than he did. He has a Facebook cover photo of a boathouse in the Hamptons, where he claims to summer, and I guess he considers that a step up from St. Louis. I’d hate to have been raised nowhere near a famous TWA hub with nonstop service to multiple airports on the East Coast. What a childhood of deprivation and want.

This is the sort of shit I face from other White People from affluent backgrounds. It’s impossible that most of them aren’t worse to black and brown kids from poor families. Dickinson College won’t stop currying favor with belligerently highbrow shitheads who have a chip on the shoulder because their yachting buddies seem to think that everyone in St. Louis County lives in a tarpaper shack with an outhouse in the backyard. Maybe, just maybe, enrolling first-generation college students from the poorest parts of the Bronx in exclusive private colleges where the socially dominant constituencies consider the entire state of Missouri to be an underserved rural community will have an unintended, and pernicious, disorienting effect on them at a time when they’re already overwhelmed by a process that upsets even students from wealthy, highly educated families.

As peevish as I got about the steevish, my last trip through the San Joaquin Valley exposed me to a certain F&M Bank, its corporate colors a tasteful blue and white, and I’m feeling the space in my wallet for another debit card. This is starting to sound like the worst possible Cee Lo Green number, but it’s true. Say it loud, say it proud, and God willing piss some crackers off:

GO DIPLOMATS!

Like Lynn Majors, sexual harassment can be sexy, and it can happen in nursing. Unlike Lynn Majors, it probably won’t kill you.

If I ever go through with nursing school, or with Canadian residency, it will most likely be, like Elizabeth Wettlaufer, as a Canadian nurse. This is actually a true story. Hoosier source for the dumbass idea that we’re better at medical care down here? Eh? Starting a screed with a sexy male nurse Lynn Majors/Thick Lizzie doubleheader was one of the least disgusting things I could have written about nursing, which is a great line of work to spend listening to sick people cough all shift. A few minutes of that makes me wonder whether I wouldn’t prefer to have agitated patients pelt me with their own shit. Get you a profession that can do you both, such as nursing.

This, friends, is why we take refuge in our memes. Where were you when Jian Ghotmesi, on that September day? I was Online. And I’ll #NeverForget where I was the day they Sad Jordaned Mark Saunders: again, Online. I failed to provoke anyone from the KMTR flame war thread about Donald Trump’s visit to Eugene into calling me a faggot when I chimed in with an endorsement of Kwesi Millington for President (“As they say, he’s electrifying”), probably because everyone assumed I’d made some shit up, so maybe I can convince some hypervigilant authoritarian #TCOT creeps that I consider the Sad Jordaning of the Chief and accusations that his fellow erstwhile Englishman had choked a commissioned air force officer other than their third mate Colonel Underpants seminal moments in my life. Lord have Mersey upon me, but I don’t even mind an occasional Gerry and the Heartstoppers fishing ditty, if I do say so myself. Hand me a government horse and I, too, will be ready to rundel in the jungle.

Any of you still bitching about Nickelback?

Milton Street was a serious politician before he was a possible Philadelphian who didn’t mind being accused of New Jersey residency during his mayoral runs. Home doesn’t have to be where one lays down one’s head, but it might as well. I guess I’d try to be more serious and stay loosely on topic if I didn’t look out on a churning sea of extreme political and cultural dysfunction. It’s negligent but not particularly unreasonable to wonder what in hell is the point of trying to fix this mess. I’d probably like to be more than just a raging freak show as a political observer, but I couldn’t possibly count the number of times I’ve seen some self-serious, moralizing professional who always plays it straight make Milton Street look like the more reputable, sane, and sensible party. That’s pretty much our political class. The Fifth Estate should do an episode about this. It might even be as much fun as the meta-Ghomeshi retrospective.

As an Anglo-American culture, we might determine that sexuality ought to be discussed with some discretion and decorum and proceed to do exactly that, by not constantly talking about sex. We might discuss a lot of things that we don’t instead of those that we do: Benedict Option shit, that kind of thing. In a more refined society, Rod Dreher might not have published an essay devoted to his disappointment at Ariel Castro’s shortcomings as an incarcerated religious contemplative. Or he might have published it away from the auspices and imprimatur of a magazine explicitly devoted to American conservatism. The Cullen Quarterly must not have paid as well.

Then again, are we not an entrepreneurial, materialistic people? The profit motive behind sexually coarse content is obvious, and there’s notoriously a huge amount of utterly mercenary behavior in the entertainment industry. It’s easy to overestimate the degree of coordination and coherence driving our programming and to imagine elite conspiracies that don’t quite exist. Don’t these guys all attend the same synagogues? Yeah, sure, but we oughtn’t write off the chance that their fellow templegoers consider them irredeemable fucking putzes. One’s values do not always sing in perfect harmony with those of everyone else in the parish. There could always be, hell, some blowhard RWNJ general contractor or dentist who aggravates the priests week in and week out but buys regular time to do church business with them by advertising in the bulletin, that kind of thing. Muh temporalities. It’s probably just the affluent congregating with their own kind as it bleeds up into rather extreme forms of wealth and privilege. That is, free association, bitch. The poors would be yuckier, or something.

The point here is that the impossibly contradictory messages may actually be coming from divergent elite factions that clash when they come into direct contact. Reconciling feminist sex positivity with mass fainting episodes over everyone from Brock Turner to Garrison Keillor to Geraldo Rivera is a real headscratcher: are the coeds strong, confident women who can make their own decisions about sexual engagement with men or wilting hothouse flowers, little girls whose hands must forever be held? Does feminism even know what it wants? It’s neater and easier to assume that all this contradictory messaging comes from an incoherent and hypocritical but massive conspiracy by meddlesome elite social engineers than to consider the likelier scenario of a number of influential factions, loosely classified as liberals because we’re led by people with a middle school social studies-level sophistication of political thought, many of which are at significant cross-purposes with one another. If it’s liberal to respect and defend sex workers and also liberal for meddlesome #LeanIn scolds to accuse sex workers of not having an adequate “female perspective,” what is liberalism? What is Aleppo? Who do we have running for the presidency and still not spoiling the election for Hillary? #WithHer? Who “her” this is, bitch?

It isn’t just a huge, amoral, callous, bonechillingly cynical cabal. Wide swathes of our popular culture, news media, and politics are directed in such a fashion, but there isn’t a single cathedral for the rebel forces to storm. There’s no key citadel whose capture will suddenly enable a systemic cultural about-face. The upward mobility of Jews in the entertainment industry from Adam Gellin-ass back-of-the-house songmongering by Irving Berlin for Bing Crosby in the midcentury to the Weinstein brothers at the turn of the Millennium had profound aesthetic effects but embarrassingly weak ethical ones. Basically, the (((invasion))) of the WASP nest resulted in more sex on screen, different sorts of violence, and less Wilsonian highbrow academic racist horseshit, but no general improvement in moral tone. The big studios were releasing garbage then, and they’re releasing garbage now. With some attention and discrimination we can find the occasional pearls in this lagoon of hogshit, but that’s our own independent project to pursue at our own expense.

This is why I have so much sympathy for campaigns like the Benedict Option and the homeschooling movement. Modern society is not on a moral arc towards terminal depravity, and it’s sentimental ahistorical nonsense to say that it is, but it’s hard for an attentive person to miss the recurrent situations in which authority figures provide grossly, wantonly irresponsible advice and cultural models that will inevitably lead the vulnerable into untenable, dangerous, even ruinous traps.

Take songs like “Superman That Ho” and “Blurred Lines.” First off, if a woman asked me to go full Soulja Boy on her, I’d find the idea ridiculous. That it occurred to anyone is a sign of sexual dysfunction; aside from the evasion of consent to degrade and humiliate an unconscious party, the practice isn’t particularly broken as fetishes go, but it’s pretty far out there and not all that self-actualizing. Like, yeah, I could nut in your cunt, or in your ass, or on your tits, or smear it different places around your crotch, or you could suck me off, but, nah, come to think of it, I’ma jack off into a T-shirt and stick it up around your shoulders, in the fashion of a cape. Because it’s so lurid and out there, it’s a great tune for people who don’t actually have sex. It’s classic porn for incels and autists. “Blurred Lines,” by comparison a gentlemanly tune, is an explicit inference of implicit sexual consent. To say the least, it’s ballsy for a man to speak so forwardly to a strange woman who has asserted her own sexual modesty and caution. To say the most, as many have, it’s a wee bit rapey.

This caliber of raunchy entertainment spontaneously emerges out in the streets without any outside prompting, and I leave it to others to clutch their pearls like a covey of maiden aunts at this discovery. Out in the street. Say, have they yet electrified the Avenue? The real question is why the likes of “Blurred Lines,” which might be halfway mentionable in polite company, and “Superman That Ho,” which absolutely is not under any circumstances whatsoever, ever got record contracts. There are gatekeepers in the music business: record companies, DJ’s, promoters, club owners, and so forth. Why do they tolerate this crap? Do none of them notice that the prevailing sexual mores are rather tense and fraught and therefore reconsider this shit on account of the pernicious effects it might have on the socially inept and the impressionable?

Of course not. The thought’s nice, though. If some dude’s hanging out on the corner (cue the fucking CCR, if you must) hollering his word about how sweet and decorous it is to perform upon the nearest passed-out lady a Wet Franken, he’s just some guy on the corner. Nobody sensible expects the street corner symphony or whatever the fuck bullshit Rob Thomas is back up on not to include some blame-fool rude nonsense now and then. Plenty of sensible people would reasonably ask that club owners, entertainment executives, and the like refuse to do business with soi-disant artists who carry on like the trashiest passenger on the 61 Local through Strawberry Mansion. I wouldn’t go out shopping for used cars in Bakersfield using language like that. It’s perfectly consistent with the corporate standards of any imaginable Fortune company not to enter into business deals over songs about rubbing one’s ejaculate on a passed-out woman for shits and giggles. Hell, it’s consistent with the prevailing community standards of most everyone else on the bus. No bitch has the consent to cut me.

This is just another catastrophic failure of leadership over the past few decades, and frankly not an awfully impressive one as the dereliction of our elites goes. American broadcasters are forbidden to broadcast verbatim the pay-for-play comments of Rod Blagojevich, who is actually in fucking Littleton, because that’s somehow indecent in a way that ads for casinos, bogus prescription drugs, and for-profit career colleges are not. There’s hardly a thing that can’t lawfully be advertised to the public under the regulatory auspices of the FCC. There’s effectively no duty not to defraud, let alone not to mislead. To judge from advertising conventions, gambling at second-tier Indian casinos, erectile dysfunction, and opiate-induced constipation are all activities of sexual potency and allure.

Buyer beware is always sage advice, but it doesn’t mean that the federal government has a duty to allow every two-bit con man in the country to air fraudulent advertisements under government-issued and regulated licenses. Or, I have to assume, to allow shitheads to run ads with explicit references to bowel problems at mealtime. There’s no public interest in hearing about how some guy who supposedly can’t shit because he’s such a junkie talked to his doctor about this miracle cure, and so should you, though funny thing, he’s a Mike Rowe-looking hunk who’s gotta be taking TWO mistresses out cruising on PCH in his midlife crisis car after work tonight. Just because Pot-o-Shit Friend would enjoy the programming doesn’t mean that the rest of us care for it. That fucker was a newsworthy threat to public health and safety; I took too much dope to shit is not.

The idea that anyone in a position of power under this regime would choose not to give social proof to sexually gross content on account of the arbitrary, ever-shifting, and weirdly touchy community standards on sexual displays is fucking quaint. Noblesse oblige must have run off to the same places where I keep fruitlessly looking for the labor theory of value; I suppose I’ll let you all know where that is once I figure out where it is myself. That shit is gone, baby, gone.

And yet we’re expected to believe the elites when they insist that they’re looking out for us in the matter of sexual harassment. The first clue here (ooh, are you getting one, too?) is that the only form of harassment that’s ever discussed in the mainstream media is sexual harassment. There are countless other ways to commit harassment, some of them harrowing to the victims, but the one that keeps getting the attention involves sex, and we all know that sex is fun.

This is why so many of these situations just don’t look distressing. It’s no wonder that “hostile work environment” has become a popular euphemism for greatly wished-for situations involving the boss lady showing up with a sexy teacher act and maybe a ruler. The actors in sexual harassment training materials are suspiciously good looking: good teeth, good posture, well dressed, well groomed, freshly showered, handsome, adequately fed but not overfed (I do hella farm work and hiking but I’d be too thicc), overtly mentally healthy. White, too, as a rule.

This shit isn’t training materials or investigative reporting; it’s soap opera escapism. For crying out loud, look at how many fuckable men have been coughed up as abusers. Sure, Weinstein is a fugly, and Keillor looks like a bulldog whose vet botched the last Botox treatment, but Matt Lauer pushing the button to lock his office door at the Rock is an R-rated remake of Fifty Shades. It’s all really suspicious when the same society that’s all upset about these scandals recently threw a gigantic shitfit about Brock Turner but hasn’t heard of Daniel Holtzclaw. If we were looking to understand deeply bad acts and prevent their recurrence, we wouldn’t be worried about that one time back during James Blunt’s club days when Bette Midler got poppered and groped by Geraldo Rivera, that sexy Judeo-Latin beast.

Ariel Castro was Latino, too, but he was just some weirdo who drove for the RTA. We like our abusers affluent to wealthy, handsome, well-groomed, preferably on the swim team, and definitely not driving a damn bus. We can’t let these harassment and rape scenarios get, like, physically uncomfortable or low class. Every woman who got groped or propositioned by one of these entertainment industry sleazeballs and ended up in the news was trying to hack it as a big star, the usual Rachel the waitress shit, for the same reasons that everyone who had a past life was a princess or a queen. Meanwhile I’m over here like, uh, I think I was flailing rice on Borneo or some shit, but I’m not sure. (The she-tweaker who bent my ear in Seattle the other day swore she was a new soul, but I don’t know what all wasn’t getting through in the speedy delivery.) We don’t care to hear about the grievances of peasants.

Okay, the NYT did have that piece on the black female auto workers in Chicago, so there’s that, but we’re still waiting on their wedding announcements.

Crystal Harris really is a sign of our times. We really do enjoy fun stuff and not enjoy not fun stuff. Truly the young lady bears witness to our spirit and proclaims what is in our hearts. Dealing with an actual culture of actual harassment would require maturity. We have such a culture in a bad way, but even thinking about it would require maturity. Civic and social responsibility is too much adulting. Thinking about how damsels in distress were made to feel slightly uncomfortable in air-conditioned office buildings, but in an unspeakably sexy way, often by unspeakably sexy bosses, is fun stuff. That’s more fun than thinking about what I do for, oh, why don’t we call it a living. Help a cracker out with the framing. I quite enjoy working with fruit, which doesn’t spend all night coughing its lungs up in our nursing homes, but it’s some kind of recurrent set of religious vows for laymen, emphasis not on lay, if you know what I mean. Giggity, or not. If you’ve been paying attention, you can see by now why I consider Cousin Gigolo a fucking visionary.

Quite a bit of the sexual harassment carrying-on works out to complaints about a roaring drunk Dagmar Midcap violently pinching my nipples, an unfortunate scenario that is somehow richer and fuller than one in which my nipples go unmolested. I could retell the Lieutenant Tittytorque story, but that was just fucking pathetic, and about as heterosexual as Larry Craig. Supposedly there are embarrassing videos of me online that were taken without my knowledge. I am not going to help anyone find that shit, but I’m also not going to have a Jennifer Lawrence-style high horsemanship session about how offensive and unconscionable it is that anyone would dare look at those pictures. I don’t want to be another one acting like my own shit smells dainty and everyone else’s stinks, even if I can’t come anywhere near the Riveran gold standard of you bet I thought I looked damn good for a seventy-year-old.

And, just like last time, I still haven’t gotten paid for any of this shit. I guess that’s what happens to those who try to do civics from time to time.

 

Kasich, you uppity bitch

Pittsburgh has a fancy-ass airport express bus, the 28X, to get the fancy highlanders downtown and back in a hurry. The 28X sticks to the busway and the freeway and the mall perimeter and shit (okay, a bit of West Carson, too), in the interest of expediting the good bougie voters with their jobs and all between the islands of good stuff at an adequate altitude above the hardcore flyover country.

Muh fuckin Port Authority 24 Local, tho. What can I say? It came first this afternoon. Hey, that could be a working sociosexual allegory about the riders, too. The poors are certainly said to be less sexually dysfunctional. Giggity. But no kidding, Rogers, there’s some gritty, gritty shit awt there past Mawnt Warshington and the Inclines, dawn in the old mill tawns, and it seems our Buckeye boy Johnny K. didn’t stick arawnd to fix any of it.

When I got into teh dawntawn myself, I double-checked with Google-Fu, and sure enough, that fucker is from McKees Rocks. It’s inconceivable. I’ve seen much, much worse American neighborhoods; McKees Rocks looks poor and seedy but pretty socially functional, maybe even more than average. The bizarre part is that its most famous native son (I have no fucking idea who, if anyone, it’s contributed to our varieties of sportsball) is the Republican presidential candidate who carried Manhattan and only Manhattan. That’s like Sargent Shriver and William F. Buckley running for the presidency and winning only the bad parts of Cincinnati, pretty much just Scott Parlier, Mack the Pipe, and the $20 carside blow-and-go crowd.

I know, I know, that silver-spoon second-generation developer oaf from Queens with the flagship properties in Midtown Manhattan who won all the backwards constituencies in the general election because that crazy bitch smeared the lot of them as comprehensively immoral and implied that they’re all hot-bunking in the same basket.

John Boehner was brought up in even poorer circumstances in an equivalent inner suburb of Cincinnati. The GOP has a real thing about elevating guys who grew up closer to the railroad tracks than they’d have liked and now deplore and look down on their own hometowns. They must bring some bogus air of authenticity to the party’s ongoing campaign to loot the commonweal until it’s flat out of lootables. I’m all too familiar with the self-loathing Staten Islander thing, and I’ve now met that alumni council dipshit with the Hickenlooper-on-steroids Main Liner act and the chip on his shoulder for being from hick-ass Missouri (I’ll shit bricks if it turns out that he’s from Columbia or fucking St. Charles). I’ve basically learned how to deal with the occasional feeling of embarrassment before the normies on account of an early childhood in Palo Alto, and my very aggravating collegiate background has exposed me to plenty of insufferable assholes who use their own proud privilege to shit on anyone and everyone who doesn’t comply with their gross efforts at social control, so I don’t know what the fuck degree of extra latitude I’m expected to accord some toolbox who’s been salty for a decade or five about the petty slights that came from earning consistent six-figure incomes for years on end after an upbringing in a solidly middle-class part of New York City or Joplin, or alternately as Mr. McFeely’s son.

To my knowledge I’m the only party to this bullshit who regularly sleeps in his car. Then again, Palo Alto has to be a much better and likelier place to feel like shit for sleeping in a car as a fully employed and taxpaying member of society than Donner Pass is for doing so as a once again unemployed guy who’s planning to go for a hike after Weekend Edition Saturday. There’s a real failure of perspective here, and it starts to look willful. These shady mofos love them some class restratification and bigotry, with the proviso, of course, that only a bleeding-heart tax-and-spend commie leftist would ever wage class warfare. They don’t want to be on the hook for government services for the losers they or their recent ancestors left behind back home, losers who aren’t necessarily so utterly impoverished or unskilled or dysfunctional and who would tend to converge back on broad middle-class norms with assistance more modest than what the wealthy exurbs routinely demand of their public officials.

An upper middle class and national elite dominated by fifth-generation lawyers who are much because they are Dutch would expose the economic hard right wing to some glaring credibility problems. The hard right will look bad and lose a critical mass of voters if there were obviously no social mobility, and a generationally entrenched, ethnically denominated upper crust would drive home the obvious. (Don’t tell anyone that our current Second Great Depression is making the same point even more grotesquely and horrifically.)

That’s why the GOP enjoys regularly pipelining fresh ethnic talent up from the ranks of Expanding Whitey. What, do you still think we’re all swooping in here from the WASP nest? Why, here’s a wetback’s kid who worked at the family taco stand into his twenties, and here are some other NPR-ready members of Pueblo’s Hispanic Latino community who don’t look too closely at how they closed the mill down and also the bus system is fucking useless, and here’s a shanty kraut with a baker’s dozen of brothers and sisters, and from another few hundred miles up the river, czech it out, here’s a guy who climbed his way out of Hunky Hollow, the point being that every one of these enterprising ethnics believes in our private-sector job creators, and there’s no way that any of them enjoyed a stable home and neighborhood life growing up because dad was a union postal worker.

The great uncrackable nut in this bowl, of course, is America’s established local color, the ones insufficiently blessed by the rains back home. Or, as the drill instructors ask of the new arrivals at the Atlanta Police Academy, do they listen in the Motherland? The Republican Party keeps thinking up and then abandoning schemes to win over African-Americans, but with rare exceptions, the Community doesn’t bite. That’s what happens when partisan hacks use patently insincere and cheap talking points about self-reliance on the one constituency that has most reliably gotten a rough ride in their rodeo; it’s also the last constituency to turn down stable public-sector union jobs, because it knows from painful experience that the alternatives are straight out of hell.

All God’s other colorful people, not to mention everyone who automatically gets the Whitey Sign these days, are useful fodder the GOP’s classic #TCOT argument by anecdote. This includes African immigrants, who presumably become African-Americans while our ethnic rhetoric definitely slouches toward gibberish. No, I don’t mind accusations that I’m more bork than bite. Congress has never refused me the opportunity to rule. Ooh, we’d better airlift the judge to Lehigh Valley, because he just got BURNED.

I can’t blame John Kasich for wanting to move somewhere more prosperous than McKees Rocks or get away from neighbors who live vicariously through the Steelers instead of trying to actualize their own lives. It’s easy to see how an environment like that could get depressing, stifling, and limiting. This is a free country. There’s nothing inherently objectionable about moving somewhere else domestically, or expatriating, for those who feel driven to leave it because they love it. (Muh HRSDC shiznit, eh. *Headdesk* *St. Jean de Brebeuf voice* Oh, you think YOUR eyes hurt after reading all that? Ha!) The dispiriting fourth-turning truth of the matter is that the broad prosperity of postwar Pittsburgh, won at such cost by the unions, was what allowed so many people in the postwar generations to move out into the suburbs and turn into reactionary starve-the-beast nutjobs.

But what’s the problem with reminding Kasich of his own roots? He’d certainly remind me that I was a bougie Palo Alto boy if he caught me saying nice things about socialism and shit. Free market extremism wasn’t what gave Pittsburgh a middle class. Anyone who acts like that was the case is either a lying sack of shit or flaming nuts. Andrew Carnegie was a hideous thug who belatedly made concessions to the employees he deliberately kept in poverty only after they took on his subaltern Frick and their Pinkerton goon squads. A dear friend from Allison Park gave me a blunt assessment of Carnegie’s charitable motivations: late in his life he realized that he was going to hell and wanted to belatedly atone for his depredations in an effort to secure his own salvation. Getting his name plastered on a whole bunch of shit probably didn’t hurt; there are apparently those who get their jollies from such enterprises–say, the current Oaf of Office.

A sensible person has to wonder about someone who was raised on the Allegheny County waterfront in a household headed by a mailman and came away thinking that government and labor unions were the problem. Kasich’s complaints aren’t, like, geez, the city never filled the potholes on our street and that son of a bitch Hoffa was such a racketeering disgrace to the rank and file that I hope they buried him somewhere deep and far away. Having been raised in the stable prosperity nurtured under robust government and high union membership, he’s here to burn some shit down. It’s almost less disturbing if he’s just a garden-variety crook; imagine how sad it would be for a man raised in such an environment to actually believe that smallminded, ungrateful nonsense in the depths of his heart.

True story: I’ve seen Randian RWNJ Republicans brag about their “Pittsburgh Values.” This raises questions, including where in all hell they came up with such an idea. Pittsburgh and quite a few of the nearby older towns are solidly Democratic, anywhere from about 60-75%. There’s an outback of hardcore Republican strongholds surrounding the urban riverfront core and the other Democratic-leaning suburbs (including Castle Shannon, I recall); this outback extends hundreds of miles into the wooded void, practically to the edge of the Main Line and the outskirts of Scranton. But none of this exurban and rural swath is fucking Pittsburgh. “Hey, I’m in Chicago. Okay, I’m actually in Gary. But didn’t that sound nice?”

This is where we get into the realm of Republicans flat-out making shit up. John Boehner is proof of the great opportunity that is America. Look at him, raised by humble kraut barkeepers in a beyond-full house, and he made Speaker. That proves that anyone, with enough hard work and determination, can become the Speaker of the House.

Uh, no it fucking doesn’t. How many speakers does the House have at a time? Hint: the office is called “The Speaker of the House.” (I know, the whole lot of them can’t be induced to stop speaking.) What the hell does Boehner’s success mean even for his own siblings? That’s one position at the top of a national legislative body of only 435, plus some hanger-on delegates from the colonial territories. Not a whole lot of room for contenders there, Brando. Every individual Congressman represents a district of something like 680,000 (look it up for your fucking selves if the precision is that important to you; that’s why we have the internet until next Thursday). That still isn’t awfully many slots for America’s enterprising.

Pathetically, the same people who act like Boehner is a success story for having been so successful in politics, and Kasich too, I guess, if he’s extreme enough for their taste, also get up on their high horses about how the only appropriate venue for job creation is the private sector. They fucking venerate the “job creators” in so many words. What I have to wonder is, if the private sector is so majestic, why don’t they go look for some damn work in it? None of these assholes waxing obnoxious about job creator bullshit in Congress has worked exclusively in the private sector. I have, though. Their fellow travelers in the Randian think tanks and on the opinion pages aren’t a hell of a lot more free-marketed. What in the bloody hell would Megan McArdle have to offer in a competitive free market? Wingnut welfare has many such cases. What self-respecting person who has ever held down a proper summer job would take these useless, bumptious assholes seriously?

If these toolboxes think government is so awful, why do they keep competing for additional terms of paid government employment every two to six years? I’m not over here demanding the abolition of the private sector, and frankly neither is anyone else who isn’t absolutely ridiculous. The fucking Norks barely managed to destroy private enterprise for a few decades, and once the disappearance of their Soviet subsidies along with the dissolution of the USSR blew the shit into their fan, they mostly stopped trying. That’s what the world’s most belligerent and deranged extant totalitarian regime has achieved against the private sector. The infamous Slow Ghomeshi on the American private sector is fictional. To the very small extent that it exists in some greatly attenuated form, much of it is actually the doing of landlord rent extraction. What we hear about, though, is the chronic saltiness of pissant entrepreneurs who think they shouldn’t have to do basic bookkeeping and compliance work instead of getting however shady they damn well fancy come payday and tax time.

Could government be less burdensome and more helpful to small businesses and sole propietorships? Sure. The flip side is that assholes like Joe Dirtbag could start paying their damn sales taxes and stop making up crappy post hoc stories about why they didn’t pay up and shouldn’t have to do their part because reasons. That creep alone blew a good chunk of my goodwill towards the noisy beleaguered entrepreneur with his series of little tax-dodging stunts. I don’t try to buy shit off the books to dodge sales tax, so I don’t appreciate a deadbeat who also doesn’t pay me or anyone else who helps him run the farm cheating the city because reasons.

Let’s not stay so parochial, though. Here’s the Galaxy Brain take: robust government services like the Port Authority and a paid professional fire department can facilitate more private enterprise, not less, by maintaining a functional, reliable public infrastructure that anyone can use without a second thought. That seems to work for the Pittsburgh urban core. The Pittsburgh firefighters’ pension may still be underfunded, but at least the PFD doesn’t have its head up its ass about bringing new hires on board to cut back on the overtime, unlike, say, BART. Then again, BART vs. the Port Authority may well be a case of getting back what we pay in, for what it’s worth. Trolley time isn’t quite make-believe around here, but it’s pretty fucking unintuitive, and its delivery none too speedy.

I’m sure I could find plenty of #TCOT dipshits out in the North Hills and Butler County and shit who assume that the City of Pittsburgh has a private sector every bit as vigorous as Moscow had in the forties, but that’s because our national politics are insane. Our recent habits of stratification and sorting don’t fucking help. Hell, just look at our known Yinzer boy John moving up to Columbus and digging in. He’s got a case of the accent, but it’s too bad he doesn’t have a case of something other than the projectile ignorance of his own hometown’s history to go with it.

At least he won New York, New York. Not Brooklyn, Queens, or the Bronx, and God no, not Staten Island, but our boy from McKees Rocks cracked the cultural barrier of Radio Deluxe Country. That earnest socially climbing dork couldn’t even get a plurality in Allegheny County, and now that I’ve taken the bus through his old neighborhood with a dozen or so neighbors (Hello!), I can’t begin to convey what a glorious thing it is that he carried Manhattan and choked everywhere else. John Kasich is special just the way he is, and it’s a beautiful, beautiful fucking day.

 

Down on the Motherfucking Farm

Strangers often assume that I went to Stanford when they see my ballcap. It’s a fair point, but the cap was a gift. All I feel like saying about the details is that I have some family connections to their old school, not mine, and if these details seem so compelling, you’re free to figure them out for your own damn self. Legacy admission? It ain’t me, lawd, and sweet Jesus it ain’t me with that dang drawl of an acksayant after a chahldhood in El Cerrito and shit.

The colors happen to closely align with those of, you guessed it, *MY OLD SCHOOL*, whose swag I in fact would be ashamed to wear, because *GO DIPLOMATS!* For real, I’m routinely on the verge of buying F&M gear out of pocket just to hurt feelings. As they say on the SEPTA 61 bus, I ain’t gonna do any damage, but I’m gonna cut that bitch. I guess I’ve got an awfully fancy education for someone who’s voluntarily stepped onto the 61, but remember, education isn’t the same thing as intelligence, because it’s only with luck and usually some countermeasures that the two overlap.

The Stanford cap, then, doesn’t embarrass me precisely because I didn’t go there. It seems to be my one good cap these days, the only one that I haven’t stained and halfway worn out with excessive farm work and hiking, and it roughly matches my red sweater, which seems to be my only current sweater, period. Heh. Period. Red. Huh huh. Bunghole de Cornholio. Etc.

The Big Dick again Goes Hard. The manager of a diner outside Pittsburgh just asked me whether that was a Stanford hat. I wasn’t expecting anyone there to have a clue (ooh, did you just get one in the last paragraph? I did, too!). I didn’t catch all of what she told me after I confirmed her guess, but I’m thinking she was probably familiar with Stanford on account of the athletics. This is the school that admitted Chelsea Clinton but actually tries to fill its teams with reasonably literate, cultured, well-mannered youth, so that isn’t the worst reason to come across one’s interest. I don’t like to be the pretentious, arrogant asshole who goes around pronouncing others my intellectual inferiors; let’s just say that it doesn’t sidwell with me; but that smug, dimwitted, Arendt-abusing horse’s ass is my fucking intellectual inferior. Oh, yes, I’m sure she was admitted to her fine alma mater on sole and exclusive account of her academic and personal merit, and that I’m St. Thomas Aquinas.

There’s presumably a socioeconomic level above my parents’ at which legacy admissions start to leaven the matriculant pool, even at the Junior University. Far be it from me to disbelieve in the Steyer Shortcut, the Gates Go-Around (to go around the usual gates!), or the Clinton Cutoff. Hillary’s impertinent comment about how her buddy-old pal Mike Bloomberg is a real billionaire was actually obnoxiously pertinent to her gross worldview and to the no less gross corruption that it infused into her 2016 campaign. That’s a bad sign right there: looking back wistfully on 2008 as a time of Clintonian modesty. Most professional observers seem to think that the Clintons are worth mid to high eight figures, but they obviously punch well above their weight, due to the whole Clintonworld government-access thing (public service my fat white ass), so I consider it reasonable to assume low nine figures as a ballpark. I don’t know what the fuck the Trumps are worth, maybe more, maybe less, but they’ve got the presidency now, so regardless of how deep that clown crew is into debt, it’s golden for generations now, and for roughly the same reasons that the Clintons are.

The rich aren’t different from you and me and the Sanderses just because they have more money. That sounds nice, but it just isn’t so. Bernie and Jane have basically the same middle-class values as any number of doctors, nurses, cops, electricians, railroad engineers, and engineer engineers. A combination of thrift, decent luck in the housing market, and high earnings boosts plenty of people into a net worth in the low millions by retirement age. It’s harder for most people today than it was in the midcentury (thanks, guys!), but it still isn’t out of the question for young people who have high earnings and low debt, especially low student debt. (Of course, the relative percentages can still get bad enough to fuck a society up, and we’re already there.)

The Clintons were on track to top out as fairly run-of-the-mill yuppie shitheads, probably in the low millions, until that irresistibly charming little mischiefmaker with the infamously wandering schlong wormed his way into the presidency against an opposition divided between Giant Sucking Sound and Message I Care. That was when Billary was able to diversify from mercenary law, commodities speculation, and two-bit Arkie real estate cons into the good stuff. Wee Billy got the two of them into some legal debt towards the end of the administration by upsetting Gateside Downlow, J. Denny Dundiddly, Friar Dorkemada, and the whole crew with that little something-something with the plump Jewess, but that was perfectly easy and quick to overcome. They were the fucking Clintons. Retired from the White House, they were also freed from the meddlesome, sexually preoccupied oversight of their enemies in Congress, who incidentally cast aspersions on them for their seedier stunts, like their Lincoln Bedroom payola guesthouse deal.

The Clintons have successfully slashed and burned their way into a rarefied stratum in which the prevailing values get really warped and grotesque. Theirs have always been shit, even for the least reputable and most amoral swath of yuppies, but since their time in the White House, or at the latest a few months after their departure, they’ve been wealthy enough to amass riches halfway commensurate with their own avarice. Okay, half is probably a huge exaggeration, but I don’t feel like showing up out of nowhere with a word like “hundredthway.”

This is not a normal environment. The ambient levels of irresponsibility and unaccountability are stunning. Most financial millionaires have regular contact on a more or less equal basis with normal people from a fairly wide swath of the socioeconomic spectrum. They have no real choice in the matter, even it they’d like one: if they tried to buy their way out of this exposure to reality, they’d quickly go broke and ruin themselves. By somewhere around the Clintons’ level, the wealthy are able to permanently surround themselves with servants and sycophants, to bully or directly buy their way out of legal trouble, and generally secede from real life. Most financial millionaires would be aghast if they peeked inside.

A normal, healthy, sensible, well-balanced person would realize by somewhere in the mid-seven figures of net worth that that’s enough money to live securely and well, that more money might be helpful but that the existing foundation is rock solid and it’s worth giving some thanks. Billionaires, at least public ones, never seem content to enjoy their fucking money. They keep butting into our business. The DeVoses have their charter school hobbyhorse, while the Gateses lit a fire under everyone’s ass about Common Core. Hizzoner Michael Bloomberg couldn’t help himself when the poories upset him by drinking too much soda. Sheldon Adelson strives to be God. Tom Steyer has a compulsion to somehow unseat Donald Trump. Various obscenely rich shitheads like to get up on their high horses about bogus schemes like the flat tax.

What’s striking about Donald Trump in this context is his modesty. He didn’t claim a right to rule the rest of us on account of his wealth or credentials. He laid out a platform, incoherent and contradictory though it was, and encouraged Americans to give him a shot. When he did refer to his own wealth, it was often to admit that he knew the whole game was rigged because he’d worked it and watched it from the inside. If any rich jerk showed up on the political scene without an air of entitlement, it was Trump. This was refreshing.

Hillary Clinton sure as hell didn’t do that. Her entire campaign was premised on the assumption that everyone had a solemn duty to vote for her because she was the most qualified person in the race, how can you possibly not see that, and also a woman, you misogynistic prick. Between these pretensions and the Bernie ratfuck, she forfeited every possible residual bit of goodwill on the part of a huge-ass swath of the voters she needed to win the general election.

The class angle only made her look worse. She screwed over an opponent who was a normal guy with ambitions as normal as any presidential candidate’s and then made that crass comment about how her buddy Bloomberg was a real billionaire, in contrast to the poseur Trump. Okay, but what the fuck is that supposed to mean? I didn’t figure that Trump was a real billionaire myself, or that he necessarily had a positive net worth, but he looked less arrogant and more public-spirited than Hillary, who came with plenty of disreputable family baggage of her own. The possibility that a famous blowhard was bullshitting us about his wealth wasn’t going to cost him my vote under circumstances that included the grotesque corruption, rapacity, and spite of his main opponent.

The ruling class had obviously decided that Trump was a usurper; the bias was unmistakable. Watching him be accused of being worth less than he claimed, i.e., not totally loaded, just super loaded, didn’t help the bipartisan establishment’s case. For the same reasons, it was totally whatthefuckular to watch these stuck-up pieces of shit throw under the bus a normal guy with a normal wife who got along great with normal people and really appeared to feel a genuine respect for them, and then publicly suck up to this droning billionaire nutrition busybody whose shtick is basically to accuse poor people of being slovenly, ill-disciplined, and fat.

The kicker here, of course, was that Trump, uniquely among billionaires of whatever actual net worth, seemed to relish mixing it up with the little people and to maybe be sincere about having their best interests at heart. It’s hard not to wonder what the hell the Democrats thought they’d accomplish with this line of attack. “Oh, that rich piece of shit you deplorables are supporting from your basket? Yeah, well, he isn’t actually a stuck-up, out-of-touch rich guy; he just plays one on TV! Suckers!” That quite nicely complemented the Democratic stance that maybe he doesn’t hate the shit out of you and want you to all die, but we sure do.

This is the same crowd that acts like Americans still admire Warren Buffett and love him long-time for being a famous billionaire. What the fuck, y’all. Socialism is becoming more popular because the economy has been ruined by and at the direction of the very wealthy and an increasing number of us would rather leave less of the total wealth in the clammy hands of some miserly old cunt who takes his grandchildren out to Dairy Queen and acts like he doesn’t know the McDonald’s menu when NPR is along for the ride even though he claims to get his morning Egg McMuffin there every day. Yes, we and/or the government would spend Warren Buffett’s money better.

These rimjobbers are all like, oh, but he still lives in an old house in Omaha. Uh, yeah, BFD, homeys. Bully to that Congressman’s son for buying railroads and shit. Anybody working in the Union Pacific dispatch center is more admirable and useful than that, and Nebraska is also home to the Drought Monitor crew and Irakli Loladze. Who’s next up as an exemplar of heartland values? Sexy male code enforcement officer Lynn Rader? Our old boy Bill Thomas did all right for a fellow who never really left Wichita.

This is the kind of shit we get under leadership that can’t imagine anyone whose interests aren’t dominated by the doings of overhyped rich blowhards and the faint possibility of someday personally becoming filthy rich. Okay, let’s check in from New York on the part of the country where they still have morals and stuff and see what’s doing. Oh, cool, here’s some sermonizing geezer who owns BNSF and doesn’t treat his own children to lunch at Denny’s because he’d be expected to tip.

Stanford pulled the same shit with my Chinese-made hat. A guy passing me on a trail in Nevada City (yup, Wow Much Travels) called out, “Go Tree!” He assumed, reasonably enough, that it was my school as well as his. Yeah, well, Tree ain’t got the roots to support no American textile jobs. From my perspective, a cap is a cap as long as it doesn’t rep Dickinson (I am NOT doing free advertising for those shitheels), but that’s a funny situation for marketing swag for a school whose endowment is well into the tens of billions of dollars.

Will anyone at Stanford stand up to this and ask the development and licensing people, for the sake of decency and community, to have their marketing shiznit made in the USA? Not bloody likely. As Tom Friedman has told them at such tendentious anecdotal length, globalization is good for everyone who deserves good things and also inevitable and shit. It’s why olive farmers in the West Bank all own Lexuses. Every harvest is a December to Remember. Surely the cabbies who always have such interesting, and I do mean uninteresting, things to say to him wouldn’t tell Ami little fibs.

True MAGA, then, isn’t in buying some F&M swag off the shelf, but in hand-stitching and embroidering that shiznit all bespoke-like. Don’t count on my ever doing that, since I don’t have the best follow-through, but don’t count me entirely out, either. Firehat cross-stitched a Fuck Yo Titties doily, so there’s a precedent. Mine, I guess, is Fuck Yo College. I can’t afford to move back to Palo Alto on my own steam after what Stanford has done to the Mid-Peninsula, nay, the entire Bay Area, but I can afford some damn needles and thread, and God knows I’ve usually got the time.

What damn bus, Willis?

The PBS NewsHour recently ran a piece about a kitchen gardening program for preschoolers in none other than the sweet home of Kirk Siegler’s Latinos who actually identify as Hispanics and by the way the bus system shuts down at 5:00 pm. When I heard the teaser for the segment at the beginning of the broadcast, I assumed that the town in question was some hella remote washed-up dump of twenty-five or fifty thousand on the High Plains or doped-up mill town in Kentucky the width of its hollow. That is, a place small enough for a physically fit person without a tight schedule to manageably navigate by foot. It never crossed my mind that a city the size of Pueblo would have such a shitty bus system. Based just on its population and geography it should easily be able to support service until eight or nine in the evening, and all day on Saturdays and Sundays if the local authorities give a shit. A city as poor as Pueblo should have an especially easy time keeping ridership high enough to justify the system. What else are the pobrecitos gonna do? Hump forty pounds of shit a piece back across town from Walmart?

Instead, Pueblo has a transit system that easily vies for worst in class, as well as an obesity rate high enough to alarm the public health types and a barrio without a supermarket. One of the guys the NewsHour interviewed pointed out a Dollar General and described it as the main shopping spot in the neighborhood because there’s no longer a grocery store on the East Side. Again, this is in a city of 110,000. We aren’t talking about the east side of Holdrege or Limon or fucking Nicodemus not having its own King Soopers. We’re talking about a entire heavily populated sector of a middling city not having a supermarket. Taking a look at Google Maps, I can tell that dude wasn’t exaggerating by much. I’m finding a taqueria, an Asian market, and, a couple of miles away, on the other end of the Lower East Side, something called Mea’s Edibles. That’s it. Google-fu exposes the opportunity to go grocery shopping at a taqueria.

That’s a genuine food desert. It must be inconvenient for older women living in the Badlands to haul carts full of groceries from the Reading Terminal Market onto the 61 bus, and it’s a shame that their neighborhoods don’t have decent grocery stores, but at least they’ve got SEPTA. At least they’ve got a comprehensive, basically adequate city bus system to get them to and from better neighborhoods so they aren’t stuck buying overpriced shit from some ramshackle corner store. Other shit can go wrong in Philadelphia, and there are some real war zone neighborhoods where it reliably will, but at least they don’t have to worry about the bus system closing down for the evening right around when the farmer’s market does.

We have in this country no telling how many government programs to arrange, subsidize, and guarantee business loans, waive property taxes for allegedly crucial businesses, and so forth, and yet no one at any level of government with jurisdiction over Pueblo has figured out how to get their thumbs out of their asses and structure some arrangement to backstop the operations of an established grocer in what would be, practically, a captive market of thousands of residents. The half billion plus that Sacramento dropped on that fucking downtown arena would pay for the effectively perpetual operations of City Market in the City Part of Town. That episode was about a kid getting a damn job already. A supermarket would bring in local jobs. Besides, a grocery store will inevitably have revenue if it doesn’t just give all the food away for free, so any government subsidy would be only partial.

Of course, I’m missing the key points here. The Lower East Side isn’t the kind of neighborhood where City Hall takes constituents’ grievances seriously. It’s the kind of neighborhood where City Hall seizes and bulldozes pobrecitos’ precious homes to make way for the new ballpark. I’ve seen that movie before, in York. *Ed Weinstock Voice, narrating the local traditions (TM)* Rootin’ for the Revs, because we live here, too. No, more like Ed Whinestock, am I right.

It’s urban renewal, bitch. It isn’t vitalized if the poor are the ones walking around the hood with vital signs. The Supreme Court has ruled that it’s lawful for the redevelopment authority to seize your house so that some mobbed-up sleazeball can cobble together the space for a downtown casino, whether or not anyone actually has the funding and the coordination to actually build it. The real process isn’t the formal one in which some retired school janitor whose rowhouse is needed for the new arena gets dogpiled by the developers and its pet city council in court, but the openly equity-optional political process, in which the neighborhoods with the money, the voter turnout, and the overall juice to clearly articulate their promise to seriously fuck shit up for anyone who messes with their neighborhood. These loudmouths are the font of recall elections, and City Hall knows it.

Pueblo theoretically could have decent bus service. Instead it has a program to impress toddlers into child agricultural labor so that they can have some lunch. I’m mainly being descriptive here. I’m not trying to wax all OMG think of the welfare of the precious children or suggest that the little ones are working on a chain gang, but it was striking to watch children who have barely figured out how to walk being taught to pick corn because otherwise they won’t have a decent thing to eat.

Getting them into gardening early isn’t necessarily a bad idea, but then again, I didn’t really learn my way around a grapevine until I was in my twenties, and I know what the fuck I’m doing on farms. I have no fucking idea if the gardening education will keep the kiddos from getting fat. Crunchy moralists in the Palo Alto public school system feeding us creamy peanut butter on celery sticks didn’t stop me from filling out at any number of ages, since I licked the sweet stuff out of the crack (as he, she, and shit said), threw the celery in the trash when the authority figures weren’t looking because I didn’t need to discover anew that it tasted like shit, and ate, like, half a dozen mini Kit-Kats tonight after a triple helping of tofu and eggplant curries for dinner. The only thing I’m blaming the Palo Alto schools for here is the fucking celery, not because I’m now fat, but because assholes who pretended to understand nutrition tried to make me eat one of the world’s shittiest vegetables. I’m fat because of the Kit-Kats and the Tsingtao, among other tasties. That, and I tend to be Extremely Online and have recently been living under a family dynamic not so conducive to exercise.

What the hell is early childhood intervention worth, then? Probably jack shit. I mean, we don’t want our brats looking like little One Child Policy Chinamen, so it makes sense to see if they can’t handle some exericse and stomach some vegetables, but there’s nothing wrong with a cracker telling Jamie Oliver to pound sand and take his healthier-than-thou act back to the Home Cunties. Gee, did I just write something in error? I think nut! The Pueblo thing, though, is frankly kind of sad. The funding is there to staff up an operation to hold children below any possible age of moral responsibility by the hand through a bunch of gardening exercises but not to staff up a damn neighborhood grocery, and that’s pathetic. That’s a blatant sign of a dysfunctional, unresponsive, unaccountable government. The school district having its act together on early childhood education doesn’t excuse the rest of the city and county government for being a dumpster fire. They’re failing grievously on public transportation, urban planning, economic development, and who knows what all else.

These kids will graduate, or drop out, into the jurisdiction of governments that won’t do jack shit for them as constituents. They’re getting the early childhood enrichment, but then what? I graduated from a prep school and then from a college that keeps injuring its neck from looking down its nose, and I’m recurrently in some state of homelessness and poor job prospects. Agree however earnestly you like with Melania Trump about the children being our future, but try for a moment to think through what’s so fucking impossible about providing a similar level of services to the grown-ass adults, our present.

Then again, if the local government is funding Head Start stoop labor studies for kids who aren’t exactly mature enough to stand up straight instead of its bus system, we’re probably dealing with a crippling scarcity mentality. And in this case it is a mentality. Four levels of government and the dozens of agencies operating within them don’t all run out of crosstown bus money and seed money for some neighborhood grocery stores. It isn’t like, gee, looks like I need to sleep in my car because I just spent $500 on airport parking, but maybe I can go up to Donner Pass and get a hike out of the deal. Not a damn chance. If the City of Pueblo is insolvent, it isn’t stuck with a $2,500 limit on its credit card plus whatever it can get month to month from mom and dad. Why do you suppose we have Congressmen?

My bad; that’s so the Democratic Congressional leadership can insist on paying Saudi Arabia to bomb Yemen into the stone age. Grit is what it takes to turn a country into grit. Values: Pass It On.

What we’re looking at in Pueblo is a perfectly soluble government funding shortfall entrenched by a chronically insoluble political problem. The money is damn well there; it’s just that those who need it don’t have the political organization and muscle to name it and claim it. The NewsHour touched on the extreme dysfunction involved but didn’t look closely at it. NPR, of course, did ever so much worse by dispatching Kirk Siegler to discover Latinos who are actually Hispanics because, being Hispanics, they really believe in hard work and let’s not think about what happened to the steel mill.

At least if I go up to Addison and get called a white motherfucker, it’s because a very other brother by a very other mother wants to get me on the train for free. That isn’t racism; it’s state-subsidized small business. I hate ripping off transit agencies that run trains all night every night, but I’d sooner fly the W for Free Fare for Whitey than for a home on the range transit agency that isn’t even worth ripping off. Rahmbo and the gang milk the hell out of Chicago, but that’s because Chicago is healthy enough to be milked.

It’s time to get Blagojevich out on furlough for the swing shift.