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On “Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Miseducation Edition

Fuck parents, I guess?

It's not like COVID-19 doesn't spread between kids, or between kids and their parents.


I'm also in Texas. If you note, we're having a bit of a COVID-19 problem at the moment.


I know. Kazzy asked what I based it on. That was it. I laid out my thinking.

Most teachers I know view the idea of returning to school pre-vaccine with horror -- and their worries are pretty much what I just said.


Basic knowledge of how schools operate, how kids operate, and how disease spreads.

Schools are not designed for social distancing. Ever seen a hallway between classes? Wall to wall students. Classrooms hold 25+ students, and you cannot space 25 students six feet apart and fit them into existing classrooms. You can't reduce class sizes in half, because you'd need twice as many teachers and twice as many rooms -- and those don't exist.

Younger students are incapable of maintaining masks, handwashing, and social distancing. I'm sorry, 8 year old's are just not capable of that. Older students can understand it intellectually, but are just incapable of doing it -- I saw a "social distanced" graduation. Everyone was distanced -- until the second it ended, when it turned into a sea of suddenly maskless 18 year olds hugging and running from group to group, as all the adults -- limited attendence and carefully staged by the school to avoid lines leading in -- did the SAME THING.

The closest I've seen to an actual "Let's acknowledge the resources and problems" involved rotating a third of the school through at a time (1/3 one day, the next 1/3 the next day, so on), so you'd have teachers teaching to 1/3 full classrooms for face-to-face instruction.

Of course, teachers and staff are still working indoors in close proximity to kids who will not properly social distance and will have to be constantly nagged into masks, and an infection WILL spread to staff -- but at least it's physically possible to socially distance and technically possible you won't cause an outbreak.

And of course, that still means your kid is home 2 days out of every 3, and is distance learning 2 days out of every 3. The risk has been somewhat mitigated, but are parents actually going to be any happier? Will students learn all that much better?


I foresee school openings as follows, if COVID-19 is still happily percolating away looking for any opening to get back into community spread. And since contact tracing seems to be, like metric, something distinctly unAmerican and thus to be ignored, I suspect it will be.

First few weeks of school: Social distancing and masks are a joke. Little kids can't do it, older one's do it half-heartedly and it all flies out the window in the chaos between classes and when socializing during lunch and before/after school, and it's impossible to social distance 30 kids in a classroom unless that classroom is the gym. And guess what, school's generally just have the one. You can't triple your teachers because, well, where would you put them? Schools aren't also not built for triple the students they currently have.

Second month of school: COVID-19 begins to spread. Kids get sick which -- despite some claims -- is not exactly a great thing for them. Moreover, teachers start to get sick.

Third month: Parents are getting sick -- turns out even if kids immune system laughs at this illness (it doesn't), they actually do live with their parents. More teachers are sick -- and subs are in short supply, forcing more students into each remaining classroom. Worsening the problem. Worst yet, half the teachers from the first wave are still recovering -- recoveries which might last months.

Fourth month: We close schools, because too many teachers are sick, too many kids are sick, too many parents are sick, as are grandparents and random people who had the misfortune of being around these little disease vectors.

Net result: We're back to distance learning, except we got a lot of people sick and some unfortunately died. Millions and millions in healthcare bills, long-term and permanent health damage, and for what -- a month of classroom instruction, and then two months of half-assed instructions as staff and parents deteriorated and students got sick?

Congratulations -- a massive cluster of COVID-19 for absolutely no reason, which did nothing for children's education. Hooray.

The secret that dare not be spoken, that no state wants to admit? They cannot open schools with COVID-19 in community spread, and it's clear that at least half the nation will still be struggling with community spread in September.

But if you say that out loud, people get pissed. better to put it off.

On “Do All Lives Matter?

"Black Lives Matter Too."

Anyone paying even the slightest modicum of attention and acting in good faith knows that's what it means. "Black Lives Matter" is saying "Stop treating us as if our lives don't matter. They do matter, just as much as yours".

The problem, of course, is the people who like it how it is -- either through fear of change or abject racism or whatever idiocy prompts them to response to a simple cry to stop killing blacks for no effing reason with "Durr, all lives matter, moron!"

On “Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth Edition

Trump quitting would certainly be no panacea for the GOP's ills. Trump is the figurehead and very loud, popular spokesman for a chunk of the GOP base that has felt abused, unheard, and taken for granted.

Do you think for an instant they would accept Trump -- who loudly and proudly proclaims their cause, without the wishy-washy dog-whistles of those RINOs -- lying down? That they would turn out for Pence, or Romney, or Ted Cruz or anyone else?

Of course not. They'd scream "stabbed in the back", blame "RINOs'" and stay home. Having had a taste of the adult's table, they are highly unlikely to go back to the kiddie table without fuss -- and certainly wouldn't turn out in record numbers.

And losing Trump off the top of the ticket would not, I'm afraid, lower Democratic ire. Deprived of Trump personally to vote against, they'll take it out on the GOP as a whole -- as they did in 2018. Trump might be the figurehead and the standard bearer of the GOP, but Democrats are very angry, and seem to want to send a very large message. (Sadly, it does not seem to occur to some of them that if one voted EVERY election, not just when angry, one might not ever get so angry. But alas, "we've won and everything is fixed forever, I'll sit out the midterms because [X]" is apparently writ into Democratic DNA).

On “Conservatism Beyond Trump

Strangely enough, Democrats might be the problem.

2006 and 2008 were brutal losses. But 2010 saw Democrats stay home, secure in the knowledge they'd fixed everything forever. Which saw a crop of newly minted Tea Party Republicans take office.

Then of course the GOP lost in 2012 -- and notably lost several winnable Senate seats thanks to candidates who were too extreme.

It's well known that GOP turnout, mid-term and Presidential years, is fairly static. It's Democratic turnout that varies widely -- and often decides election.

Unfortunately, it's very easy to construct a pattern where "unapologetic" Republicans win and "sell-outs" lose. But that requires ignoring Democratic turnout entirely, and then ignoring all the cases where "unapologetic" Republicans lost.

I have no doubt that most GOP politicians -- or at least their advisors -- know the score. But it's rather hard to sell to your voters, when they see "tea party" years where extreme conservatives win hard, and then see Mitt Romney come along and lose. (And now of course see Trump win). Turnout numbers are nebulous, distant, and kinda intellectual. The Tea Party won, Trump won, Romney lost -- those are easy to see and to draw patterns from their politics.

It's got to be frustrating from the GOP perspective. The base sees the "elite" keep selling them out for moderates, and the "elites" keep seeing the base toss away elections on long-shots that, best case, win for a few years and heavily damage the brand further.


They better do something fast -- their support is elderly and shrinking. Their numbers with the under-30 crowd are atrocious, and their primary demographic (non-college white males) is really shrinking. They might still hold non-college white women long-term -- Trump clearly makes them unhappy, but they might come back after only four years.

That really doesn't help though.

What's pushing younger voters and minotiries away from the GOP are the deeply entwined strands of racism and bigotry in the GOP. Anti-gay marriage, anti-trans, outright white supremacy, and of course Donald 'Dog Whistles aren't loud enough' Trump getting all that applause as the rest of the party bows down to him.

But those racists and bigots are a large chunk of the GOP's own base. Jettison them, and the GOP can't win. Keep them, and the GOP's ability to win will continue to shrink .

Offhand, their best hope is for some sort of vast realignment. Ditching the Southern Strategy and the racists on the right, and the left splintering along the progressive/moderate split. The GOP could embrace technocratic policy approaches, moderately regulated capitalism, and a robust foreign policy. But if your best hope is "I hope the other guys break up too so we can cobble something together", it's not a great plan.

On “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Stephen Miller is -- and I am not kidding -- currently writing his speech on race and unity. STEPHEN MILLER.

I'm absolutely sure it'll sound great in the original German.

On “Confederate Monuments Are Everywhere in the South. Why?

Well, as noted, the size was there to remind blacks in the 1920s that while they might be "free", they still weren't real people.

They weren't there for subtlety. They weren't there to honor Confederate generals. They were there for intimidation.


That's an awful lot of nuance for a guy who went with "Kneeling on someone's neck is medical treatment for seizures".

On “Morning Ed: Covid-19

"From what I have seen, America seems to be holding at a plateau, where we aren’t experiencing the steep drop like other nations have, but are just continuing to experience it as it moves slowly through all the rural areas previously unaffected."

Texas is seeing a fairly sharp increase -- and not from "more testing". I'm certain this will be blamed on the protests, despite the actual math indicating the seeds for this were sown in May.

Personally, it appears to be a combination of Abbot lifting the lock-down carelessly -- not only not adhering to guidelines, but moving through phases too quickly for the results of the previous phase to even be seen -- and the general mixed response in Texas to masks.

I'm coming around to the conclusion that public mask wearing, although with work-from-home when applicable -- to reduce lengthy exposure -- is mitigating things far more than anyone had dared hope. Unfortunately, we need 80%+ to be wearing masks and in Texas it's a good day if it's 50%.

On “Harsh Your Mellow Monday: Mission Creep and Opposite the Editors Edition

FWIW, it seems it was widely noticed that the cops were pre-occupied tear gassing peaceful protesters and beating up old men, and let looters run wild.

Especially once enough videos surfaced showing the looting and arson didn't seem to be coming from quite the same people as those protesting.

It really does make people ask the question "Why were you beating the hell out of peaceful protesters and ignoring looters?" and none of the possible answers for that make the cops look good.

On “Unqualified: The Winding Road of Qualified Immunity

To go ahead and add to this: No police officer, EMT, public servant, or person in the whole US is trained, taught, encouraged, or in any way told that "holding someone down so they don't have a seizure" is a thing one does.

What you just said was the equivilant of Chauvin cutting Floyd's throat on live TV, and then claiming he was only trying to get the drugs out of his system "by letting all the drug tainted blood out. It's sad he died, but I was only trying my best to help him medically"

THAT is how effing stupid that statement is, and I don't think you believe it's true -- yet you're pushing that BS anyways. Pathetic.


"If Chauvin did tell his fellow officer that he was holding Floyd on his stomach so he didn’t go into seizures,"

Hi! I have seizure disorder, and have had it my whole life.

What you just said there? That is such absolute BS that I cannot fathom anyone smart enough to spell their own name falling for it.

One does not "hold someone down" to prevent seizures. It won't prevent seizures. One does not hold someone down to "help" with seizures -- you're just going to make the damage worse. (For the record, you also don't put something in their mouth). Restraints for seizures are ONLY for when the patient might injure themselves worse than the injuries they will sustain from you holding them down (such as falling from a height, seizing near moving machinery, etc) or to hold them down for an injection -- after which they're released to let the medicine do it's work.

No one in the midst of a seizure can speak. Floyd was speaking. There is no mistaking a seizure. Floyd was not having one.

I really cannot stress enough how incredibly, deeply, amazingly stupid the phrase " he was holding Floyd on his stomach so he didn’t go into seizures" is, and how incredibly, deeply, amazingly stupid someone would have to be to believe that someone meant it.


The incestuous relationship between police and prosecutors is a problem. I'm not entirely sure how to solve it, unless you build an entire police and prosecutor force whose sole job is to police the police.


The problem isn't unions, the problem isn't even local governance. The problem is American culture. The police do this because we, as a society, wanted them to. For generations.

We wanted them to put the boot in to those who 'forgot their place'. Minorities, hippies, dumb college kids,gays, etc. They were the enforcers not just of laws, but of cultural norms. Those beatings and occasional murders were meant to send a message -- keep your heads down, respect your betters, do as you're told.

Problem is, they're supposed to do it in dark alleys, where the occasional accident can be covered up.

Can't do that anymore thanks to cellphones -- we all get to see the ugly -- and society has changed so much that there's no monolithic 50's idyllic white society cultural norms to enforce -- the white wall of silent approval, of "he had it coming, he shouldn't have done that" is far less powerful.

So police brutality is popping up more and more, and drawing more and more anger from the groups that traditionally could be called upon to support the cops, because cops were enforcing those traditional social norms because those groups are splintering on not just what those norms are, but over the very idea that people should be forced to adhere to them (laws yes, cultural norms NO).

Which has folded into the militarization of the police, who feel under assault -- not just by criminals (they've been trained to be more and more afraid of criminals and to act more and more violently from the get-go, a policing culture of fear) but by the folks that "should be supporting them" -- so they're lashing out at the 'disrespect' and 'challenge to their authority' because they're feeling pressured in ways that they're not used to, and they don't like it.

The problem with American policing is that we trained them, for generations, to use these methods to enforce unspoken rules of society. Then we stopped agreeing on what those rules even were, and started getting mad they were doing it at all, and started criticizing them -- a group whose training tells them they are heroes whose lives are under 24/7 danger from every human being within 20 feet of them at all times, and that they are all that stands between America and chaos. Which is why they're getting a new tank.

On “Integralists: America’s Would-be Theocrats

" don’t know the history of Richard Spencer’s political development."

Yet you strangely were able to name-drop him as the founder of the term 'alt-right', which you made claims about what it meant then and how divorced it was from what people mean now.

Except...Richard Spencer, whom you named dropped, was an open neo-nazi and white supremacist back then. Which is what people equate the term 'alt-right' with now.

People equate the 'alt-right' with 'neo-Nazi white supremacy' because it was founded by one, was filled with them, and has been since the term originated.

I am deeply confused as to how you know Spencer's foundational role in coining the term 'alt-right' over a decade ago, but strangely never realized he is and was an open neo-Nazi and white supremacist.

I mean he wasn't a skinhead -- as Veronica noted, he try to make white supremacy cool and hip.


Richard Spencer? The neo-Nazi, white supremacist Richard Spencer?

Unless you mean a different one (and it's not an uncommon name I admit), it seems white supremacy and fascism are baked into the pie there.

On “Cities Burning: Stories of Riots from 1992 and 2020

So yes, Trump actually commandeered a Church -- or at least it's courtyard -- and violently drove off pastors and priests to do so?

Seriously, how is that not the penultimate scandal? How is that not infuriating Christians across America? That the President decided to handle peaceful protests by inflicting violence on clergy, and violating a church for purely selfish, partisan purposes?

What next? Is he actually going to have FEMA create re-education camps?


"The cops claimed they were under assault from water bottles."

Oh, that truth has been replaced with a new one. Now Barr is claiming he personally ordered the park cleared. It's amazing how totally contradictory the truth can be!

I do wonder if he also ordered those meddlesome priests removed from their own property, so Trump didn't have to share the stage.

it wasn't like St. John's was informed the President was coming by, much less gave permission. I'm sure tear gassing priests so you can seize their property is just one of those cute little accidents of life.


I cannot reiterate this enough -- he literally appears to have used violent means to seize a church. For a photo op.

Actual priests or pastors (I don't know which Episcopalians have) were tear gassed and driven off, the Bishop said they were never informed the President wanted to be there (which means they weren't asked for permission) and he was clearly in their courtyard on their property.

This is literally the evangelical nightmare scenario. Jackbooted federal thugs! Invading a church! Committing violence against the faithful! All for purely worldly gain -- and not even much worldly gain!

How is the religious right not on fire in fury right now?


Offhand, is St John's owned by the city? The Feds?

Because I was under the impression it was an actual regular church. Who, as I noted above, had it's pastors or priests driven from it by tear gas and rubber bullets and commandeered by the President.

If it's actually federal property, some sort of historic deal, perhaps that's only heavily egregious and not as blatant and clearly over-the-top mustache twirling villainous as it looks.

Because it looks like federal agents violently seizing a church and driving off it's pastors, for no other reason than it was the closest church to where the President was and he wanted it as a backdrop for some photos.

Which, now that I think about it, was probably a plot point in the Left Behind series.


I don't think anyone is really able to grasp what Trump did last night. Not it's fully, Trumpian glory.

Under orders from the President, federal officers employed violence to drive off citizens and commandeer private property from it's owners, who were also driven off via tear gas and rubber bullets.

Federal agents, acting under order the President, seized a church by violence, drove off pastors and priests, all for a photo op that lasted maybe ten minutes.

That church was chosen because it was "nearby", people dispersed via violence because it was convenient, and at no point were the rights of protesters or the owners of the property taken into consideration.

Sure, it was only for "ten minutes". It's still not only illegal, but blatantly unconstitutional, and literally the embodiment of every conservative terror dream of the last 50 years -- the big bad federal government came with guns to seize a Church. To steal private property, assault good, god-fearing Christians, all for minor political gain.

How is this not a political shitstorm to end all shitstorms? Like the whole "Commandeered the church" bit is just sort of...glossed over. The fact that, of the people 'driven off' by tear gas and rubber bullets, were pastors of the church.

Instead, the focus seems to be on "who authorized tear gassing and rubber bullets on protesters before curfew", which is a whole crime in of itself, and the whole bit were -- and I cannot stress this enough -- a house of worship was seized by armed federal agents solely on Presidential whim, it's priests driven away -- is just sort of...ignored.

Maybe it's just too unbelievable.

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