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 further inducement to perform sweet oral romance upon my balls, Tate

Good grief, this sounds like a lifestyle fit for Oral Roberts University, where one is sternly admonished in the name of the Lord to cease the oral, Roberts, and be chaste. So help me, that’s a real university. This stuff can be impossible to make up.

In the course of banging out (heh) my screed about NPR going to Muncie to yuk it up with the local business elite and make an ass of everyone involved, I forgot to mention my closest personal connection to Muncie, not a close or direct connection but still one seedy enough to merit a dedicated discussion of how academia can turn on a dime into a total shitshow and there’s no reason to move to Indiana just to act like that.

This fuckhead was a religion professor whose course I was taking exclusively to fill a ridiculous, intellectually meritless distribution requirement. He was on a two-year contract to cover for a tenured professor who had been sent overseas to run one of Dickinson’s study abroad programs. By every account I heard the tenured prof was either respected or beloved, but academic service (#ThankYouForYourService) had required him to fly thousands of miles away for some Year in Provence shit, and this guy they’d hired to replace him was a fucking lemon. There were all of nine or eleven of us enrolled in the class, and he had us sit in a fucking circle for excruciating roundtable discussions of reading assignments that all but one or, on a good day, three had completed (not me, because they sucked ass), getting increasingly impatient and hostile with us when he realized that we didn’t know what the fuck we were supposed to talk about because we hadn’t done the work.

In spite of our recalcitrance when ordered to read terribly written academic literature about obscure religious imagery and history when most of us didn’t know shit from Shinola about the general cultural context of what we were “studying,” this inept asshole was either unable or unwilling to change the class format to anything resembling an impromptu lecture whenever it became clear that we were hopeless to handle our end of an halfway informed discussion. Every time I stepped into that cursed classroom, I assumed that this asshole was going to get hostile with us again, and as a rule of thumb he did.

Most people would walk out of a free evening class at the public library if it were run anything like that. It was a clusterfuck. With its idyllic setting on the main quad, in the hallowed limestone halls under the mighty shade oaks, it inspired wishes for Sherman to come back to life and burn down New England. Sure, this was happening in the Pennsylvania we never found, but there was no reason not to start the festivities of warmth in the Heart of Whiteness. We’d gotten stuck in an art house film from hell week after week, and it was obvious that not only this emotionally volatile shithead of a professor but everyone involved in approving his course and suggesting it as a distribution requirement (somehow three-in-one for my purposes) was beyond redemption. The very existence of this godforsaken class was an indictment of the residential liberal arts model. We were not going to become educated by showing up like whipped little bitches two or three times a week to have this whiny, sanctimonious, hostile piece of shit insult our academic fitness until he felt the faint, transient calling to fucking teach us something. Neither were we going to walk away uneducated for not having put up with this shit.

Since this was college, and our parents were effectively paying several thousand dollars per capita for us to be verbally abused by this dipshit we would have abandoned like hot garbage if we’d come across him hosting a free walk-in Q&A at Barnes & Noble with that attitude, we had writing assignments, too. I barely gave a shit about the first one, so I half-assed it. This asshat told me to see him in his office after he’d graded our papers, and against my better judgment I complied. He pulled mine out, waved it at me almost violently, and barked, “What the fuck is this?” I mumbled some shit, barely trying to defend myself, and he barked some more insults at me to the effect that I was a fuckup and he didn’t want to see that again and that’s why he’d given me 7/20.

Again, I was not the one who complained to him about his giving me a poor grade; it was he who menacingly confronted me about the failing grade he’d issued. I was stunned, hurt, and, although I tried to conceal it, quite angry. That was a completely unacceptable way to treat a student. I would have cut him some slack if he’d gotten worked up and cursed out a student who had just barged into his office to demand a passing grade for failing work, and I would have been fine with him getting hostile with a parent for choppering in to demand a good grade for precious Taylor’s shitty work. That is not what fucking happened. I have never in my life even calmly asked a teacher to consider revising a grade upward. If I’d had reason to believe that I’d been given an unfairly low grade I might have considered protesting, but from ninth grade onward I never had any suspicions that an instructor was sabotaging me or anyone else. What happened was that this motherfucker summoned me into a small room away from witnesses and screamed bloody murder at me for fucking up a completely pointless undergraduate writing assignment. Did I care what devotion to the minor Hindu gods meant to some Swedish blowhard whose writing would have put you to sleep as well? Hell no. Did I give a shit that I’d scored 7/20 for not giving a shit, instead of 5 or 10 or 12? Again, not a fucking chance. It hurt a tiny bit for a few seconds, but I knew that I’d spent too much time on that dumbass paper, not too little.

What complicated things for me was that by the time this bumptious, out-of-control piece of shit called me into his office to bark his word at me, the withdrawal period had already passed. Dickinson’s academic rules dictated that I was stuck in that course, and I didn’t see how I’d be able to convince anyone in the administration to waive the rules. I’d considered withdrawing in the first two weeks, when it was already clear that the quality of instruction was abysmal and the professor’s tone towards us routinely unprofessional, but I was eager to get the three-in-one distribution requirement out of the way, I’d never withdrawn from a course, and the roundtables, as excruciating as they were, didn’t seem egregious enough to stop attending when the upside for completing the course was so big. I did not have the nerve to complain to anyone else in the department or the administration that this guy was a hopeless instructor with no ability to keep his course on track for ten minutes. They were going to be rid of him at the end of the academic year regardless.

A professor calling me into his office to start a shouting match with me because he was mortally insulted by my having half-assed a five-page research assignment was egregious enough to complain, but I let myself get intimidated. The provost’s office probably would have dismissed me as a snowflake if I’d merely told them that a professor had made me uncomfortable, but I would have had leverage over them if I’d filed a police report, filed suit against the professor, or had him and the school officials with supervisory authority over him served with a cease-and-desist letter from an attorney demanding that he never raise his voice at me or demand to speak to me in private again. I probably could have sued the school into allowing me to withdraw from the course, the rules be damned, not because this guy was kind of a jerk but because he had become out of control in a private meeting that he had called for the purpose of verbally abusing me. No college administration wants to get exposed in open court over something like that.

There’s a good chance I could have gotten this dipshit fired, too, not just on account of my own he-said-he-said allegations but by prompting an administrative review of the prof’s teaching history, which might have shown that his courses were train wrecks and he routinely failed to behave appropriately around students. His yelling might have been barely justifiable coming from a professor who had already been mentoring me in some fashion, but homeboy wasn’t doing that. I’d never taken a class with him before, was not majoring or minoring in his department, and did not have an established academic relationship with any other professors in his department. It was not his place to say, oh, come on, I’m only saying these things because I keah about you, because I’m yaw stehyaff seahgeant, Mahky Mahk! Feeling salty about a student one barely knows turning in a shitty paper for a class he’s taking for a distribution requirement does not excuse ordering the student to come into one’s office for a foulmouthed, hostile, menacing shouting fit. That’s all there is to it.

Just because parents and students complain about rigorous grading and other petty academic gripes too often doesn’t mean that they don’t complain about serious grievances often enough. There’s a lot of bad behavior lurking barely under the surface in academia. It doesn’t just involve professors or their academic departments, and it encompasses a hell of a lot more than just salacious sexual outbursts.

Dickinson College Residential Life was a slumlording clusterfuck in its own right when I was there. It’s become popular to complain about colleges spending too much money on luxury housing for their students, but Dickinson more often made incompatible roommates shack up in conditions verging on the squalid. Circa 2003, it tried to make light of something that it called the “Morgan Crunch,” when Admissions fucked up its guess of how many accepted students would matriculate and Res Life made a number of students triple up in double rooms in Morgan Hall. The reasonable response of both students and parents to a mess like that would have been to tell the school to go to hell for the rest of the academic year and get back in touch if it lined up adequate dormitory space. Instead, everything I heard from classmates sided with the school, like, oh, it was just a well-meaning goof and besides, it was a great bonding experience. “I Survived the Morgan Crunch!” Yeah, and I survived a night at the Motel Six over by the Turnpike and another night on a couch at the Delta Sig house because the creep I’d been assigned as a roommate was showing above-baseline violent ideation whenever we were both in the room.

Nobody had any reason to trust or count on the derelicts who ran that clown show. Ultimately, that was just more cult brainwashing. If a prestigious liberal arts college is too disorganized to provide minimally adequate dorm space, which would arguably be uninhabitable under any other auspices other than a prison, and also fails to line up enough off-campus housing to fill the shortage that it caused by its own ineptitude, that’s obviously just a lovable institutional foible, not cause to sue for the reimbursement of all rent payments made to date and release from all outstanding financial liability for the remainder of the academic year. After all, only a whipped little bitch would tolerate anything of the sort from any other landlord.

Hey there.

What I ultimately did in response to that hotheaded religion professor’s tirade was half-assed and mostly disreputable. I continued to go to class, entirely because one of the other students was one of the Insurance Schmuck’s abrasive lunch buddies and I didn’t want to explain the mess to him, but I resolved never to do another word of writing for that class, and that, at least, is one resolution that I fucking kept. That motherfucker hadn’t had the self-control to show me a lick of civility or orderliness for the five or ten minutes that my shitty work had possibly been on the agenda, almost all of that time his sole doing, so I damn well wasn’t about to give him another opportunity to disrespect my efforts to do the intellectually and emotionally deadening busywork that he kept assigning us. That is, I deliberately failed his course for the purpose of setting some minimal boundaries with him. I don’t think I ever told anyone about what I did or why.

To wax all terminally Paul Harvey on a cracker, this out-of-control fuckjob with the projectile midlife crisis left his temp job at Dickinson for a tenure-track position at Ball State. That’s what the mutual lunch buddy told me. He seemed to regard that as a good explanation for everything that was wrong with our professor and his wasted life. And now you know PART of the REST of the STORY.

I felt just a bit bad for this shithead because he was from Los Angeles, and I hated the idea of a fellow Californian being forced to bounce around from shithole to shithole back east in pursuit of a desultory, unrelentingly bleak academic career. Just a bit, though. I enjoy meeting the California diaspora when I’m out of state, but not if they’re just a bunch of frustrated assholes who take out their existential anger on whoever is within yelling distance. Besides, it was his own damn problem if he didn’t like chasing mediocre academic appointments around the country in a series of unsettling backwaters in Appalachia and the Midwest. Nurse Majors was born in a small town, I was raised in a different small town, and you never know when one of these stories will get suddenly sexy in a third small town, such as Red Bluff. That’s right: I slept in my car again last night, but I slept in my car in the fucking promised land. And my parents paid a lot more per diem for me to be verbally abused by a wandering Angeleno whose doppelganger and spirit animal patrols Manayunk for the Philadelphia Police Department (true story) than they’re paying for me to camp out in my Focus under the savanna oaks.

The REST of the REST of the STORY is that academia is a disgrace too deep and intractable to be believed if you haven’t laid eyes on it. GO DIPLOMATS!

 

Shithole. Shithole. Shithole. *PISSHOLE* coming out of Donald Trump’s *ASSHOLE*

The only reason I’d be embarrassed by that title under my nation’s present political circumstances would be if I’d reverted completely to verbal reflex and blamed Tom Perez for the Levitical emissions in question, but I was careful enough not to do that. I’m aware that I’ve wagged the rude finger at Bill Durden for quoting himself, but when I licentiously paraphrase myself, at least it’s fun.

So, we might concede, are our national politics, in a grand decline of Rome sort of way. Is this, at last, the final fall, or is there a trapdoor lurking beneath the shithole of our national discourse, ready to plunge us without notice into an even deeper and dirtier shithole? I’m happy to learn that Mr. Trump’s comments were translated into Croatian as “vukojebina,” retranslated into English as “place where wolves like to fuck.” “Wolffuckery” has a certain crisp Anglo-Saxon ring to it, if I doo say so myself, but keep in mind that this is fuckery in the fashion of a nursery, a place, not in that of nursing, the profession of Charles Cullen, Elizabeth Wettlaufer, and sexy male nurse Lynn Majors. Since we’re off the subject, I might as well mention how much fun it is to learn of the death of convicted murderer Edgar Ray Killen. That’s living poetry unto Joey Buttafuoco.

I hardly know where I’m going with this shit (into the hole?), but neither do Congress or our fourth estate. Ooh, please let’s have an episode of the Fifth Estate aboot this incident; I can’t wait to hear the Canucks self-seriously recrapitulate it in their crisp highbrow accents. But I’m just a shitposter with a free WordPress blog. A bunch of professionals who draw solid six-figure salaries either to run or to report on the federal government have been thrown into a foaming crisis over the president basically saying, dude, Nigeria isn’t a place where anyone wants to live.

Context matters, of course, and Trump’s context was ugly, as well as idiotic: that foreigners should be denied the opportunity to immigrate to the United States precisely because they’re trying to flee their impoverished, dysfunctional homelands in search of something better. To the extent that humanitarian concern is a value in our immigration policy, this is ass backwards. The whole give me your tired thing can be overblown and used disingenuously by capitalist overclass shitheads to justify the importation of scab labor, but even so, it has admirably and very reasonably been a point of pride for many Americans that our nation has welcomed so many foreigners from so many troubled countries, often with great success for the immigrants and their native neighbors alike. This is one of the things that foreigners most admire about the United States; hearing good things about America from relatives who immigrated here does a lot more for our international reputation than bombing the shit out of our recalcitrant imperial holdings in the greater Middle East because we’re governed by people who can’t resist an opportunity to rape a hornets’ nest.

The stray thoughts that I have about this shit over the course of five or ten minutes contain more nuance and detail than everything I heard about this dumbass scandal on NPR today. Governmental dysfunction and corruption in the Third World drives much of the immigration that has Trump’s tighty whiteys in a bunch, but instead of hearing about how we’re getting the brain drain and humanitarian flight from these countries, we heard about how African leaders are offended. Just because that’s true doesn’t mean that it’s germane. There was a great deal of hot kabuki outrage on behalf of our hard-working immigrants, too, which inevitably missed the bum fight that the overclass has orchestrated between immigrants and the native stock. In spite of, or rather because of, everything NPR tendentiously tells us about our government, it very rarely tells us how we are actually governed, i.e., by master psychopaths. Thanks to this furor over the president’s recurrently salty mouth, we got to hear about how Paul Ryan respects the shit out of African immigrants in Janesville and will never forget that he’s the descendant of shanty micks. Excuse me, but that motherfucker does not care about the poor of any national origin. He’s a scion of local wealth and power who catfishes as a scrappy bootstrapper in an effort to rob his entire nation of constituents blind on behalf of the serious money that sponsors him.

Here’s another fun item that slipped into the ATC broadcast in between longwinded discussions of the president’s scandalous mouth: an objectivity-boner interview with the bumptious governor of Utah about how a Medicaid work requirement is imperative because Utahans believe in work. That’s nice, but Mormon Madoff affinity scams for latter-day suckers and multilevel marketing rackets aren’t work. I might put partial stock in this happy horseshit if I didn’t know that the FBI’s second largest white collar crime squad is based in Salt Lake City. NPR guests are basically allowed to make up whatever the hell they want. Gary Herbert, our gubernatorial Utard, had a great deal to say about the states as the laboratories of democracy, which anyone attentive and honest would have cut short by reminding him that Medicaid is a fucking federal program. Does this gasbag think he should be allowed to make Amtrak switch to a three-foot gauge at the state line to comply with his construal of Utah’s idiosyncratic railroading culture, too? Notwithstanding the operational and political problems with devolving the administration of Medicaid to the states and their moralizing governments, the feds have no duty to allow the states to torpedo federally mandated and funded social services programs out of devotion to the spurious cultural origin myths of their grandstanding elected officials.

Serious question: does this kind of shit happen in Canada? Feel free to chime in in the comments if you know anything about this. I haven’t researched it in any depth, but what I have read suggests that the provincial options exercised over Medicare administration mostly have to do with things like which specific cutting-edge cancer treatments each province authorizes on its formularies, not whether Albertan values demand the impressment of the poor into workhouses, in contrast to BC values of lounging around on a nude beach all the live-long day and Saskatchewan values under which it’s your own fault if you missed free afternoon chow at the social services center because you were otherwise occupied getting piss-ass drunk in a sod ditch. It appears to be regarded pretty much across the country as an assault on the national social contract to use cool stories about provincial culture as an excuse to deliberately weaken social services. At the very least, the provinces are not given the local option to make up their own human rights and criminal due process standards, as our states are licentiously granted on a fairly routine basis.

Torpedoing Medicaid to spite the workshy poor doesn’t get NPR up in arms, but calling Nigeria a shithole does. They won’t lower the boom on behalf of truth and decency toward the native poor, but for the wounded pride of aspiring foreigners they enthusiastically will. Reading “shithole” above the fold on the New York Times homepage was a salacious joy. If It Fits, I Shits; Hit “Print!” NPR sanctimoniously let us behind the scenes to learn about the process by which it determined that there was a public interest in broadcasting Dick Durbin’s uncut hearsay about Donald Trump’s unutterable comment. Other than having to do its own independent reporting to corroborate the story, it amounted to because reasons. The Cubs will win the World Series before NPR explains why the same standard of newsworthiness and candor did not apply to Rod Blagojevich’s “fucking golden,” which strongly implied his attempt to sell Barack Obama’s former seat in the US Senate and got the Mayor sent off to fucking Littleton, which they aren’t gonna let him leave for fucking nothing. Fly the Fucking W, bitch. It’s also good salacious fun that NPR’s admitted standard for the utterance of “shithole” amounts to only once an hour and only from Durbin’s lips, not their own. Love too use a sitting United States Senator as a shabbos goy for the purpose of repeating the heinous comments of the sitting President.

Damn the FCC; full steam abreast! Ew, that again. It’s true, though. NPR isn’t ready to die on this hill of broadcast indecency in service to the unvarnished truth; it is ready to kill on this hill and fully hold its ground. In a way, it’s like Halloween in Southeastern Michigan for egging the neighbors’ houses, or the strike of midnight in the New Year in Manhattan for flashing one’s tits in front of Nicole Papamichael, or Mardi Gras for flashing the Who Dat on the Horse Squad in exchange for a strand of plastic beads and God willing they won’t pump your torso full of duckshot on the Danziger Bridge. It’s a special time when one is allowed to say “shithole” on CNN, have Dick Durbin say “shithole” on NPR, and/or print “shithole” in the Grey Lady. We can put the eggs back in the fridge on All Souls Day and reclothe our knockers come Lent. Or something like that. *Gary Johnson, tongue all over the place again* What is “Lent?” An extraordinary feast day has been decreed; gaudeamus igitur, bitches.

But to think that this is what it took to convince the chickenshit mainstream media to pull out all the stops and let the word, singular but repeated, fall out. No official policy is heinous enough, but the president mouthing off about how a number of countries that are notoriously abandoned by their most successful citizens, by way of trying to taint the brain drainers by association, did the trick. That was what it took to make the bigshots stop cowering before the FCC: hearsay about the POTUS blurting out one of the Heavy Seven at a meeting with legislators who have pretensions of acting as checks and balances on him. No bullshit, Bareilles, that’s what got them to stop cowering in their hole and be brave for once.

This is an example of the elite pushback that I expected against Trump more than against a second President Clinton. To that extent, at least, I’m still relieved that he was elected and not, so to speak, #Her. But this shows how frighteningly superficial these avowed watchdogs are. A loudly anti-immigration president got into hot water for some uncouth comments about his racially inflammatory reasons for wanting to restrict immigration and the bigoted mechanism that he wished to impose in furtherance of this restriction. Meanwhile he’s the one grandee who seemingly can’t be fired for sexual assault, not to mention for abetting police brutality.

This is a political problem, but Trump is a symptom more than the disease. When push comes to shove, impeachable offenses are whatever Congress construes them to include. In the 1990’s, this was an adulterous office affair. Today? Who the fuck knows. Congress could stand up and say, listen, asshat, there are standards of presidential decorum that we are going to enforce, and going on social media to accuse the leader of a hostile nuclear superpower of having a small penis is a violation of these standards. Congress can make it clear to Trump that the acceptable scope of his duties does not include impulsively mouthing off at foreign leaders in fits of grandiosity and disparaging entire nations in order to dogwhistle to white supremacist lunatics about how he’d rather have more immigration from Norway. Congress is not a body that has the moral credibility to stand up to the Donald for being viciously childish and give him one last chance to act like a fucking adult, but it has the constitutional authority to do so.

We may not be a decadent people, but we’re certainly governed by a decadent leadership. God help us, because we may be on the verge of having a crew of national embarrassments including Chuck and Nancy finally hold Donald Trump accountable for, of all things, insulting black and brown people by rudely denigrating the homelands that so many of them are so eager to flee, not because this is an appropriate process, but because it’s the only politically viable process under our current atrocious leadership.

As they say, Secretary of State Rebukes President; Moron This Later.

Kaiser Permanente makes me want to expatriate

Bear in mind that I’m not one of the loudmouthed whiners who bumptiously threaten to emigrate every time the electorate coughs up a butthurtful president. As the Founders would agree, the President is merely the presiding executive. Yes, Wow Such educational Much insights Omg beth ruyak Very explain. Never mind that this does have to be explained to the brainwashed hordes who stumble around our republic on an endless contact high from the presidency’s inflated, bogus majesty. Presidents come, presidents go, and Trudeau, Canada’s mentionable Justin, is something of a weaselly little shit himself.

US healthcare policy is grotesquely wrong in ways that transcend our presidential administrations. Employer-based insurance arose as a wartime contingency that industrial firms used to woo employees without falling afoul of federal wage controls. Let’s spell it out: that’s “wartime” as in World War II, exactly the war you had in mind. WWII ended in 1945. The UK established its National Health Service before it completely ended wartime rationing. Tommy Douglas rolled out Medicare in Saskatchewan in the early sixties and took it national mid-decade.*Very Gary Johnson voice* What is “Saskatchewan?” Hint: it’s closer to the United States than Tommy is by blood to Kirk and Michael.

There is something deeply, embarrassingly wrong with a country that cannot, over the course of more than half a century, replicate the very successful and popular national health insurance system maintained by the country with which it shares its longest land border and predominant language. (Sorey, mes putains, mais c’est comme ça exactement.) This is not a cultural foible; it’s an utter fucking national disgrace, not to mention a relentless attack on the constituents who are forced to make do with a deliberately sabotaged insurance system. It’s not like we used our national sovereignty to come up with a novel healthcare system that actually fucking works. What we did was take a lame ad hoc arrangement whose very origin was disingenuous, kept it halfway functional for twenty or thirty years, and then spent another thirty or forty years deliberately wrecking it before finally making a half-assed, piecemeal effort at reform that still arbitrarily allowed a large minority of the citizenry to fall through the cracks. We yoked our healthcare system to a labor market that we then deliberately destroyed. On what planet is any of this shit reputable?

My dealings with Kaiser Permanente are a result of the scandalously feeble reform effort mentioned above, euphemized as, LOL, the Affordable Care Act. I don’t want to hear a damned word about how I could have applied for Medicaid instead; in a decent society, I’d have Medicare by now, and you would, too. Those of us who so much as dabble in payroll employment already contribute deductions to Medicare for the care of the elderly, the disabled, and so forth, so why in all holy fuck can’t our federal government figure out how to expand the same system, which bloody well works, to everyone, and stop fucking siloing us into dipshit narrow-eligibility plans for which we may suddenly become ineligible for no good reason? This shit shouldn’t even exist. It’s fine if KP or whatever wants to pitch specialty services to people who are already covered by a functioning national health insurance system, but the patchwork that we have now is criminal. The extra disruptions that it imposes during changes in work status alone are proof of its criminality. The neoliberal weasel pack obviously relishes its use of employer-based insurance as a cudgel to get Americans to seek and hold down jobs, but Medicaid beneficiaries face the prospect of losing eligibility precisely because they responded as intended to this incentive to work, but fuck all y’all, we’re living in an Uber economy now. Say what you will about Tim Hortons being run by absolute shitheads; at least they aren’t in a position to fuck up their employees’ healthcare every time they dick around with their hours or employment status. #TIMMEH!

Thanks to advance premium tax credits whose mechanisms I can’t face researching, I’m now able to pay my premium bills without financial hardship. This would feel like something resembling customer service if I could figure out what in the everloving fuck KP will be charging me if I, you know, need medical care. But for the grace of God, etc., I don’t have any conditions necessitating examination or treatment on any sort of timely, let alone emergency, basis, but I do have some minor complaints that would be worth treating. My blood pressure, on the high side, probably alarms others more than it alarms me. I guess I could use some psych services, but like hell do I have any plans to seek psychiatric care in the United States ever again; that much I WILL be taking abroad, if I take it at all.

More pertinently, I guess, I have a small lesion on my forehead that I’d like to have excised. It’s mostly just a nuisance, but it can be painful to the touch, and it seems too big to prudently excise myself, as I’ve done with skin tags. This is how I know what shits run Kaiser. I researched the cost of getting the damn thing removed through KP’s patient portal, and I couldn’t come up with a fucking price quote. They’ve got half a dozen or a dozen or fuck if I can accurately say how many pissant codes for different dermatological procedures, but they don’t have anything like a standard outpatient dermatological excision cost. It depends on what the doc thinks about my lesion.

If I go to a private dental clinic for a cleaning, the dentist doesn’t tell me afterwards that I’m on the hook for $100, not the standard $75, because my teeth are kind of big and funny, not like normal teeth. Dental care in the United States is a classist clusterfuck, but at least it generally has transparent price schedules. Not being formally trained in dermatology, I don’t know what exactly I have on my forehead; that’s why I’d like to have someone who does know about dermatology identify and remove it. In an accountable system, this would be done by someone whose network doesn’t have a kickback arrangement with the pathology lab, not a presumption of innocence that I’m ready to grant Kaiser Permanente. There might be a compelling medical reason to have the lump put under the scope, but I wouldn’t trust KP to make that decision with my interests in mind rather than its own, or to refrain from soaking me for the path workup just to pad its own bottom line, not when I can’t tell what it plans to charge for the five or, liberally, ten minutes needed to lop it off in an outpatient clinic. Healthcare in the United States is increasingly devoted to the arbitrary hosing of vulnerable patients with junk bills, and I have a $6,500 annual deductible to exhaust before I’ll stop being a profit center for Kaiser.

One of the points of being insured is that it should make more sense to get medical treatment at home than to go abroad. That is not what we have in the United States. It probably makes more sense for me to seek routine medical care in Mexico than from “my” doctor in Rancho Cordova. I can more accurately say that Bob is “my” conductor on the Lakeshore Limited from Buffalo to Rensselaer, since I’ve ridden with him twice. KP’s patient portal gives me the option to e-mail “my” doctor, so theoretically I could badger him with demands to be told exactly what his practice will charge me for treatment, demands that I do not have to make of Amtrak, which discloses the full cost of its fares upfront. I’d expect much less, and probably none, of this sort of blindside junk billing from a clinic in Tijuana, and I know that there isn’t any on Amtrak or MTS. The trolley goes right to the city gates, mostly (muh fuckin Ped West), so it’s mainly a scheduling problem, as in, when does the train leave. I may be wrong, but I assume that a Mexican clinic, private or public, would charge less than Kaiser for exactly the same standard of care, and that a private clinic would probably have a shorter wait time.

William and Mary certainly won’t do, now, but Guadalajara might. Guad is said to be home to one of the crappiest medical schools in the Americas, but I don’t know how much of that is just the snobbery of docs who were admitted to medical schools stateside. Regardless, love too militarily restabilize Grenada on behalf of the US expatriate student body. I’m waxing a bit flippant here, but I am not kidding. We have one of the worst healthcare systems on earth, including the Third World. We’re starting to fall behind Rwanda on primary care. True story: Rwanda has taken advantage of Western foundation money to scale up comprehensive home visits for HIV patients, and meanwhile American hospitals have security guards wheeling freshly discharged patients out to bus stops in the snow while they’re still wearing hospital gowns. This is anecdotal evidence, but try accounting for the existence of these anecdotes. I’m n0t pulling these stories out of my ass. We’ve got a bunch of extremely bad processes and extremely bad outcomes, coupled with the highest costs for patients and insurers. None of our First-World peer nations can compete with what we spend on healthcare as a percentage of GDP, and the rest of the First World consistently beats the shit out of the United States on patient outcomes. How hard do we really think it is for Mexico, with its halfway functional and accountable government, to also smoke us across the board?

And of course Canada leaves us in a cloud of dust. When Canadians come to the United States for treatment, it’s usually affluent ones bypassing the waits for elective treatment at home by purchasing it at a premium from American hospitals. Don’t ignore for a second that they also bypass all the obstructions and traps that American hospitals, often the very same hospitals, set in front of American patients. They pay enough to be exempted from the red tape and extortion. If one of our hospitals even tried to screw them over, they could summarily repatriate and have the Canadian courts order the scumbags to get fucked. US hospitals have stronger incentives to treat Canadian patients well than they have to treat American patients well, precisely because these Canucks have more options at their disposal, notably including the quite adequate hospitals back home.

Let’s not compare Canadians who get their medical care at the Mayo Clinic with Americans who get screwed raw by whatever shitty rent-seeking community hospital happens to be nearest by when they take sick. The Rwandan accompagneteur program, which provides regular home visits to indigent patients living in huts, is a much more apt comparison. I’m not trying to preemptively argue that the Canadian government has never run a useless shitshow of a clinic on an Indian reserve, since that’s plausible enough, but we can’t take at face value the White Whines of Canada’s most affluent medical tourists when they, or whatever stateside shitbirds are defaming their provincial and federal governments from a think tank perch, complain about wait times. Besides, it’s not like I was ever told that I’d have to wait a month and a half to get a bunion examined by a podiatrist in Lebanon, PA. We totally don’t have wait times for non-emergency care in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, or atrocious maternal and child mortality rates.

It’s harder to get an answer from Kaiser Permanente about how much it will charge to lop that fucking lump off my forehead in a ten-minute slash-and-dash than it is figure out from the immigration and HRSDC websites what I’d have to do to obtain legal residency in Canada. This speaks much better of Canada, which is not my home and native land, than it does of the United States, which is. This ain’t a case of love it or leave it. I’m not a loud patriot, but I’m a patriot. I’d consider an offer of Canadian citizenship a high honor, much higher than OBE or OC or some shit, but I would not accept an offer of Canadian citizenship lightly. Expatriating while remaining registered to vote in California, as is my right as a US citizen with established residency ties to California, and using expatriation as the basis for an exemption from the Obamacare individual mandate, is a completely separate matter. That’s no failure of patriotism. Patriotism does not demand submission to the most boneheaded and corrupt dictates of an unaccountable, bought-off government. Neither did patriotism demand submission to the draft and deployment to Vietnam to hold the line against communism in Southeast Asia, or, as this mission was reinterpreted in the enlisted ranks, to kill the fucking shit out of the fucking gooks. Canada came through for us when Lyndon used that fool’s errand to get his constituents killed for the aggrandizement of his Johnson. Canada came through for quite a few of my country’s fugitive slaves, too. I don’t see how it didn’t treat them better than my own people did.

No, I’m not trying to start Canada Day celebrations five and a half months early. That’s not why I maintain the internet’s treasury of Sick Willie, Sweet Melissa of the Maritimes, Colonel Underpants, and Northside Juice and the Shady Blues memes, even if Thick Lizzie is no sexy male nurse Lynn Majors. I’ve heard of a number of serious complaints about communal tensions and problems with the police affecting Afro-Canadian communities in Nova Scotia and Ontario. I’m not about to get up on Monty Robinson’s high horse and insist that Canada is the perfect community for the Community, although, if I did, I wouldn’t get drunk and fall off, and I’ve never committed a fatal DUI. It was fun when Kwesi Millington sued the CBC for defamation, and it would be fun if Sauce Boss sued me for accusing him of constantly falling off his horse. All of this is more fun than health policy in the United States. Canada has its shambolic intersectional creeps, murderers, perjurers, bus cannibals, and drunks, but it also had Tommy Douglas. We had FDR, the half-measure Douglas who left behind the employer-based health insurance system that we still can’t fix. Frankie Boy couldn’t have known what a clusterfuck we’d make of this ad hoc wartime arrangement that was directly not his doing but the doing of Business Plot industrialists who had been brought only partly to heel by popular and government pressure in the midst of a systemic economic collapse.

I don’t feel like dignifying any Merle Haggard-ass blowhards who would like to impugn my patriotism. This is my country, but it’s a deeply sick and dysfunctional country. It’s unreasonable to assume that we’ll somehow magically keep this whole deal together and heal ourselves in due course of time when our national track record of reform is so poor. Go figure that the love-it-or-leave-its cheer on everyone who bails on Venezuela or Cuba on account of grievances with socialistic central planning. This isn’t really about loyalty to place. Michael O. Church is right that America as a concept has historically meant many things, but what’s worrisome is that so many of these things have been powerfully destructive and evil. Our healthcare system as it has evolved for most of living memory is no result of national virtue.

And we’ve damned most of a continent by our very political culture and geography. Canada and Mexico are the only sizable countries that are within close range for expatriation, and they, plus a number of Central American countries, are within firing distance of one of the most insanely grandiose empires the world has ever known. This is one of the really disturbing things about healthcare policy in the United States. This chronic dysfunction and extortion isn’t being codified by the corrupt government of some tinpot dictatorship, but by the world’s sole extant imperial hyperpower. This arguably ignores China, but the Chinese politburo is more pragmatic and less grandiose. Whatever is wrong with the United States will inevitably threaten its neighbors. We aren’t a backwater like Honduras or El Salvador. Those countries have stumbled into national disaster, and we’ve rarely been bashful about giving them a good hard push, but they don’t have the demographic capacity to overwhelm their neighbors. We do. This can’t be good news for North America long-term.

As Juarez said, Mexico is so far from God and so close to the United States. Canada, for its part, has been aptly described as a pimple on the American ass. The saving grace, perhaps, is that Kaiser Permanente can’t begin to work out the billing code to remove it.

Rooms into which Lucretia walks: a disgusting tale of violence and extreme prejudice

From time to time my Facebook feed burps up a reposting of an old saw by Mark Twain about how travel is fatal to prejudice and shit. I believe “fatal to prejudice” is a verbatim excerpt, but I really don’t feel like looking any of that shit up for accuracy. It’s a twee, insipid, foolish sentiment, one of the great Victorian self-owns. Living in the bizarre hellworld of our current gilded age is excruciating, but at least we don’t have Mark Twain, a wildly successful novelist, directly lecturing an audience made up overwhelmingly of his socioeconomic inferiors about its duty to travel–basically, yo, get out and broaden your horizons, doggy–instead of considering the possibility that intractable circumstances having to do with their limited means prevented them from leaving town, meaning that one can’t necessarily afford to travel, nigga. At least I must hear of this happy horseshit only secondhand, a century and change after the fact.

No, I will not be looking up the date, either. I can place Twain’s gross, meretricious utterance in the correct part of the American socioeconomic cycle and opposite the correct suite of transportation technologies, and that’s enough. It was a time when one might have traveled to Cleveland by steamboat, or by train, also a steamer. You could have a water-level speed train, if you’d just lay down the tracks. *Peter Gabriel, one hand on the wireless, other hand caressing the emergency brake* Good God, this guy makes me sound normal. It was also a time when Cornelius Vanderbilt had his wife committed to an asylum for refusing to leave Staten Island. She must have preread Momma Leone’s Note.

This was not a healthy, balanced society. Mark Twain condescended to the homebody poor about the virtues of travel in the midst of a quite full human lifespan of intensifying vice and social dysfunction in his country. It’s my country, too, but it doesn’t always feel like it. Love it or leave it? I was looking into the Canadian immigration process under Harper and Obama, friend. By some measures, it took the Great Depression and the Second World War to put a stop to an orgy or elite rapacity and meddlesomeness that started around the time that the Erie Canal was completed. The precise dates are only vaguely important. Historians, such as I theoretically am at the bachelor’s level, get too fucking intellectually invested in idiotic trivia, basically chiding their peers and the noncredentialed about how the madman’s subway screed started at 17:35 on the Uptown 6 train, not at half past five on the 2 Train, while missing the part about how he wasn’t just muttering rudely about all the bitches he’d bang but was also explicitly threatening to gut his enemies with a bowie knife.

Direction notwithstanding, will I see YOU tonight? Just yesterday afternoon I saw a guy on the LA subway who was so violently insane, yelling at the top of his lungs on board the train about how there is no God and no Devil and he couldn’t find his daughter, that I flagged down a passing cop after we both got off, me for some extra space and him God only knows why. The cop thought that what I described sounded utterly routine (“We always have that”), but he came back a few minutes later to tell me that he’d shown the fellow the way out of the station. It was a fair enough point for the cop to think that I must not have been used to the neighborhood, but the guy on the train had been 1% of the 1% batshit insane, a blatant threat to the safety of anyone within lunging distance. He wasn’t just sitting on a bench muttering, “Smashed in his knees with a two-by-four; smashed in his knees with a sledge HAMMA!” In that case, I’d have found another bench, for some love away from my brother. I was, for better and worse, not his keeper, and the LAPD didn’t know what to do about our old boy yesterday other than to usher him upstairs, to be the Hollywood Division’s street beats’ problem. The subway was historically the LASD’s turf, but I guess, to paraphrase a lady on the Blue Line who was booked into jail not six hours after she showed me her citation for jumping fare, po lease think they the motherfucking sheriffs.

To be clear, I didn’t witness anything that looked remotely like police misconduct in the midst of this mess, and the cop I flagged down comported himself excellently. I wouldn’t have been as eager to alert him if he hadn’t looked so levelheaded. At the same time, I don’t think the department dealt with this guy as effectively as it should have. Casting him out of the darkness and bouncing him upstairs got him out of the confined spaces, and since it’s an especially bad idea to physically corner people who are so agitated, that was a big help, but there’s still an unaddressed public safety problem when someone who is so acutely agitated in public is turned into a departmental hot potato and bounced around from division to division and watch to watch until some cop who doesn’t mind the extra paperwork (and, let’s be honest, the overtime for filling it out) dumps him on Men’s Central Jail, turning him into the Sheriff’s Department’s custodial problem. Realistically, that’s where dude was headed and still is headed every time he’s out on the streets. It just isn’t likely that anyone, sworn or not, will reach out to offer him the psychiatric care he so urgently needs and divert him from the revolving door at Men’s Central.

Come to think of it, I’d be interested to hear the thoughts of Dion Joseph or someone else with equivalent experience on Skid Row about whether or not this guy was in fact way above the baseline for street crazy, as I thought. I know there’s some really gritty shit out on the streets, and I don’t assume that I have a comprehensive sense of how bad it gets. Maybe our friend from the subway isn’t out of the ordinary on Skid Row. In that case, it’s a damn scandal, because there are peaceable, decent people who are trying to get by there, and they don’t deserve to be menaced by the most violently insane people in the county any more than peaceable, decent people living in Westwood or Burbank or the Hollywood Hills.

Let’s not forget that this chaos, squalor, and privation isn’t festering in Lagos or Manila or Tegucigalpa, but in developed parts of Los Angeles. This is the situation in the second largest city in the United States. We have no fucking idea of how to address our national poverty problem. And it is a national problem. LA doesn’t have a homelessness problem just because it’s a wicked city that fails to take care of its own or tolerates vices that other places don’t. It’s a prime dumping ground for people from across the country who have been abandoned by their local governments and communities. It’s the Law of the Westbound Bus: that bus is headed west, and you, a bum, are getting on it. Wesley Willis, pray for us. You can bet the oil patch that the Kern County authorities send their undesirables over the hill when they can. (The Bay Area works, too.) In Capitalist Inland California, Grapevine hears it through YOU!

Those who can afford to travel out of town and overseas can afford a shitty crosstown bus transect. You’re interested in exploring the cultures of, like, Bali and Phuket and maybe Puerto Vallarta? How about Silver Lake, bitch? I have a number of first- and second-degree contacts who are into something that they like to call “Deep Travel.” Oddly, or not, it does go as deep as Florence and Normandie. I drove my parents across Normandie the day before Christmas Eve. The GPS suggested it. As a guy from Huntington Beach by way of Aliso Viejo said at Christmas dinner, wow, that’s deep LA. He’s right about that. Maybe the 405 is so backed up for a reason. Every asshole who wants to defund Metro has a cool story about how the automobile democratized Los Angeles, in contrast to rich New Yorkers in their cabs and limousines. LA not having mass transit or cabs must be why I took a cab ride and traveled another one or two hundred miles by Metro this calendar month.

Not knowing John Dennis Diddly about squat and cough about the most famous cities in our own country, we’re totally gonna learn lots of interesting shit about other countries if only we spend a week or two at a time visiting their luxury resorts. This is what the upper crusts and those catering to their travel interests mean by travel and cultural immersion. We can tell that they’re full of shit about cultural immersion, even if they aren’t deliberately bullshitting anyone, just by looking at the Indonesian prison system. That has to be one of the most genuine cultural immersion programs on the face of the earth. The Bali Nine weren’t planning to travel that deep, but, hey, two of them got to visit Nusakambangan as well. You wouldn’t believe how degraded the experience of air travel has gotten. Myuran Sukumaran was initially known to the police as “the negro,” but they shot four Nigerians alongside him, in addition to others in other midnight mass executions, plausibly enough because they were black.

The Southern Cross thing rattled quite a few Australians, and for good reason, but Americans (okay, not Frank Amado) are distant and sheltered enough from this particular violence to continue not giving a shit. Who is Frank Amado? Let’s put it this way: from a parochial American perspective, “Who is Frank Amado?” is worse than “What is Aleppo?” Indonesia, which has condemned an expatriate US citizen to death for drug trafficking, isn’t even our worst ally. It’s in the second or third tier for human rights violations among US foreign military aid recipients.

This is why Fat Leonard should be president. Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, the United States: name the country, and he has a better human rights record than the incumbent.

Those who don’t and won’t learn about other cultures in their hometowns won’t learn jack shit about foreign cultures by swooping in, hanging out for a few days, and then launching back out, but we don’t often hear about how fucking ignorant the jet set is because it’s a set that’s basically never told point blank that it’s full of shit. No one has the nerve to tell these people, uh, no, you’re wrong about that. Who’s around them when they travel abroad? The local intelligentsia (Lenin: “The intellectuals are not society’s brains, but its shit”), other Westernized elites (Lenin again), merchants, and servants. This is not a representative cross-section; it’s a fucking Tom Friedman column. Friedman isn’t surrounded by people who tell him that he’s full of shit, either. #TeshTips: Hotel staff are recruited and paid to put up with bullshit from ugly Americans. Construe to apply to other nationalities as needed; we aren’t the only ones.

God is it a surreal elite conceit to believe that servants are honest about touchy subjects with those they serve and that they aren’t actually servants anyhow. Sure, your Uber driver is your social equal, and I’m Junipero Serra.

Travel doesn’t inherently broaden horizons. That’s as insane as thinking that one’s daughter may be on the train, so maybe one should open the door and lunge into the next car while that fine-ass rolling socialism is swaying around at 70 miles an hour. For most bourgeois travelers, let alone the hardcore elites, it narrows perspectives and confirms prejudices. Like, Van Nuys and Compton are gross, ew, so let’s go somewhere overseas where the poors aren’t so uppity. Why can’t America’s lower classes be more like our waitstaff at the Sandals Resort? People actually think like this, maybe not explicitly but definitely to an extent that warps their perceptions of reality, and then they turn out at elections.

The greatest sin here, the greatest affront to truth, is that most of them won’t admit that that they’re trying to get away from unpleasantness, and in some cases won’t even admit that there is anything unpleasant that they might possibly want to flee. I’ll admit that I’ve been holed up in Starbucks for a couple of hours because Starbucks isn’t all fucked up like 7-Eleven or the average bodega. I try to do business with companies that aren’t all fucked up. That’s a little itty-bitty something to make the world an imperceptibly better place. One reason why I so appreciate this joint is that I got coffee the other day at a 7-Eleven in Twentynine Palms and I do not feel like doing that again.

Is it too much to ask my fellow Americans to pay some fucking attention to our own godforsaken society? Is it too much to ask people who are mentally capable of paying attention to get their heads out of their asses and do so from time to time? Instead of engaging the world, maybe we should engage our own fucking society. That was unfortunate but inevitable; I can’t forget the sorts of internationally meddlesome dipshits who studied alongside me at *MY OLD SCHOOL.* Great, another fool who goes on service trips to the Caribbean but never takes SEPTA at home. There’s no end to this crap. Can’t we at least, though, admit when we’re fleeing something unpleasant? I suppose I’d rather go hiking in upcountry Mexico than watch the mentally ill wander around Silver Lake in a state of chronic disorientation and collide with street thugs who never deal with their own severe behavioral problems. That’s why I take the subway when I’m in town. I know, that went just great yesterday.

Could we have some humility, though? Ivan Illich was openly working through some profound psychological and existential problems in his writing, but he was onto something when he got all, like, hey, feel free to come down here for a hike, but for the love of God don’t come here to lecture us. He would have loved the deal where Busboy’s girlfriend had to pay rent to live in a school bus under a slumlord’s authority in order to save up money to go volunteer at the women’s collective in Nicaragua or wherever the fuck she meant to do that. That’s why she had to live half a stone’s throw down the hill from Pot-o-Shit Friend’s all too humble abode. I’m the one who complained to code enforcement about that clusterfuck. In English. In the same county. Near where I often drive for a lengthy coffee break from shit that I don’t have the energy to fix.

I suppose Illich would have needed another handle of tequila for the story about my cousins who flew from San Francisco to London to Accra and then drove north for hours to show the Mohammedans the “Jesus film,” instead of maybe staying home in Humboldt County to try to socially orient the tweaker problem in a way that they might possibly do something positive about it. We never care to bless our own damn rains. This was the same crew that boldly decided not to cancel its travel plans after its local contact, from the Christian South, was beaten nearly to death over a fatal road accident. If that’s Christianity, lose me with that thumper shit. Oh, and this is fun: most of the congregation and even most of the mission group described the heavily English-speaking country where they had gone to minister to non-Anglophone Muslims in the rather near aftermath of sectarian violence “Africa.” I don’t need to bless anyone’s rains when I can instead bless the efforts of any interested Ghanaian to describe Reno as part of California. That’s beyond fair.

I’m on the road yet again, so I’m in no position to lecture other Americans to learn to be still, but learn to be still, bitch.

This actually happened

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Oh, are we doing insufferably twee poetry now, are we? Well, then, here’s a “poem” of my own:

The dress uniform is red,

The field uniform is blue;

Millington killed a dude,

And Robinson did, too!

If I must be the sole originator and curator of the internet’s Benny and the Jolts memes, so be it, but I would fucking like to not have vile, dimwitted, corporatized garbage such as that photographed above polluting my Facebook feed and capturing two dozen likes. Forget safe for work; “work,” as we see above, is not safe for anything decent in our society. The sentiment on that card is utterly fucking repulsive: “Merry Christmas [Infer some fucking punctuation, bitch] Roses are red, policy wallets are blue, you are a CFP and an MBA too!” Infer some additional punctuation, and please to enjoy English composition. The only decent thing on that shit ticket piece of paper is a hand-drawn cartoon of a Christmas tree. O fucken Tannenbaum.

In spite of his weird and sometimes abusive behavior, the Insurance Schmuck is a dear friend, but I can barely hold my peace before his posting of that disgusting card on Facebook for maximum omg plz like. That’s an execrable affront to the community standards of any community worth sparing Sherman’s Burn. Our wintertime observances, whatever reasons we discern for the season, are routinely profaned straight to hell for marketing purposes, but using Christmas as an opportunity to preen about one’s MBA and CFP license is a special assertion of college boy hauteur.

We’ve got a lot of conflict-averse chickenshits running around on Facebook, and I’m one of them, moral cowards weaseling away from situations that cry out for someone to assert some goddamned standards of public manners on the yuppies. The yuppie swarm didn’t become so forward by being meek; that has taken decades of unbridled aggression, decades during which quite a few of us lacked the courage to bridle these fucking assholes.

Hell, not even that: the prevailing environment allowing this dogshit preening to go unchecked is conciliatory to such a fault that hardly anyone will even assert, okay, you have your right to be an absolute piece of shit on Facebook, and I have my right to publicly call you out for that as rudely as I goddamn fancy until you shut the fuck up. Allowing the profanation of Christmas for spam-boasting about fancy degrees and summertime preening about #yachtlife to receive only positive feedback is moral hazard. These guys get away with their wretched behavior because they’ve built a Mr. Rogers-grade fantasy world around themselves, a world without laundromats in which it is appropriate to brag indiscriminately to mixed-income audiences about how they’re supremely educated gentleman who yacht. Normal people who recognize that their online bragging is gross and a touch antisocial are too scrupulous to be critical about it. We hope against hope that our forbearance will yield incremental improvements in their shitty prep-ass behavior as they recognize our modesty and goodwill and respond in kind, but time and time again the quarter that we give them is the quarter that they seize.

And so here we fucking are, graced by peers who can’t see what’s wrong with going online to brag about hanging out on yachts. How the fuck did we get to the point that this has to be spelled out? What’s even crazier about this cuckoo-bananas pile of shit is that the Insurance Schmuck went to public school, and not in the jolly old English sense. He isn’t the only such case; the asshole with the cool story in the alumni update section about Bill Durden and Charles Nisbet is one, too. How on earth have these motherfuckers not gotten a clue that normal people do not live like that because they cannot afford to do so, and may resent having it rubbed in their faces?

How am I the conscious one here when I went to a fucking Country Day School? Are we looking at everything through a funhouse mirror? There was no shortage of privilege at the Day School: kids whose parents had naming paperwork for their estate driveways on file with the Post Office, others whose parents had, like, ten billion dollars under management at the family brokerage company or owned Turkey Hill. Somehow this student pool ended up producing a lot of down-to-earth adults, in contrast to all my college mates who graduated from mediocre to downright shitty public high schools as insufferable high-hat turdblossoms. (Good public schools seem about as believable as Bigfoot.) Did our teachers actually get us to realize that we were privileged? Holy shit.

Should we care that noxious bragging is driven by insecurity and consider that a mitigating factor? I don’t fucking think so. If that isn’t why these assholes are assholes, it’ll be because no one has ever told them no over anything meaningful or important, or because they have frank personality disorders. What difference does it make? Besides, sincere psychosocial anxieties and dysfunctions produce all sorts of obnoxious language and behavior that few people will let go unchallenged. If you go out into socially mixed company at an elite school and mouth off like, damn, doggy, tap that skanky ho, nigga, ya feel me, no, not you, Hastert, nobody’s going to figure, aw, shucks, the only reason he’s gone from standard gauge to Phineas Gage is that he’s feeling awkward. Kind of like that sentence, come to think of it. There are lines of commentary that are entirely off limits, and the limits are set zealously by vigilant assertions of authority, monitoring, and peer pressure. Racially charged coprolalia definitively is not on the agenda, cracka. What do you think this is, the San Diego Trolley?

Doggy?

Love too educate college graduates who can’t imagine how bragging about their immense success and privilege to mixed-income audiences could possibly be offensive. Headdesk. The liberal arts are what Gandhi said about Western civilization: a nice idea, and a shame that there isn’t such a thing. What trolley have they been riding?

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Not this fine ride, I have to assume. This is too deep in the real world for any of them. Say, this one has a Red Line, which is red, and a Blue Line, which is blue. Like roses and violets. Hello, neighbor. Let’s learn some shit on this beautiful fucking day.