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September 22, 2020



That video is horrifying! And, a couple of minutes in the giant microwave will certainly kill the virus (and its host).

One thing that I have come to believe is that a very large percentage of the U.S. population is suffering from psychotic paranoia. They remind me of family members (diagnosed and occasionally hospitalized) who sound just like (and are) Trump voters, ie. loud, angry, and often rude about lots of things--not just politics. They are minimally educated and certainly not well-read--don't believe reading is important. But, they are always right!

I wonder if this 'national psychosis' is the result of the very unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity making life just too much of a struggle. It certainly can't help that public education in many cases is a totally inadequate to what is needed in our increasingly complicated world. That's aside from the misinformation spread by Russian trolls. I can't see how we avoid a civil war if Biden wins, but the alternative???


Yeah, see, I have direct access to Still Republicans, both of the "well, some of it isn't good, but at least..." variety, some who are enough on "Republican Party Over All Else" and can't see that they're actually destroying it, and one aunt who is 100% off the Q deep end. These are obviously over a wide range of worrying/problematic.

(I also have no idea how the "myth" works, given the excess deaths documented by the CDC https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/covid19/excess_deaths.htm - but it's probably "if you hear/repeat something enough, then actual evidence has a really hard time changing your mind" stuff, which happens to everyone, so there's that, but auuuuugh.)

I also have direct access to some "neither of these buckets fit me at *all* anymore and it is very uncomfortable" people, which is nice, because that is near where I am and it feels very lonely to object to behavior/values/ideology on both sides (but, uh, Trump & co. 100% and totally "wins" the "Worst Behavior, Speech, and Effects").

I don't know them personally, but also there's our senators, one of whom has been generic Career Republican Going Along With Things all the way, as far as I can tell, and the other who has gone from objecting when the president does something egregious like the travel ban early in the presidency (while still voting in line *but* at least sending Letters of Objection), to publicly going "augh, this makes things harder" and wishing that he had some sort of smoke bomb so that no one *notices* when the president says/does something particularly egregious (yes, he said that), to now just la-la-la not objecting and repeating lies himself, willy-nilly. I suspect this is "loyalty marinade" effect time (possibly combined with preferring to only be yelled at by *one* sector of his constituency rather than all of them), but don't really know - but also REALLY don't like it.


Arlene - seems to be a lot of populist manipulation. Preying on people with poor self-esteem. ‘You might not have all the advantages, but at least you are white.” That type of thing. If I had little standing in society I’d like to hear that type of thing, probably.
KC - well, at least Schumer hinted tonight that there might be some stalling shenanigans. At least some of the senate are trying.


There are also all the single-issue-abortion voters, who he has mostly locked-up unless 1. some of them decide to not be single-issue any more, given All The Other Problems, or 2. he somehow screws that up before they vote. (the two I know seem have had their viewpoints Deeply And Personally Informed by miscarriages of very-much wanted babies. If you've been very emotionally following along the "today your baby started to develop fingernails!" info chart things [what size as compared to a fruit! what tiny developmental milestones happen about this time!], then abortion at any age you've visualized your future child at is just ghastly and appalling and murderous, and the numbers for total abortions in the US are large, and there's a heartbeat before 8 weeks. I don't personally think making abortion illegal is actually a very good way to reduce abortions, and I do think that the Republican priorities are more likely to increase abortions than reduce them, vs. Democratic priorities like access to contraception, health care, worker's rights which 1. reduce the overall number of unwanted pregnancies and then 2. of unexpected pregnancies that do occur, make it more feasible to bring them to term without jobless bankruptcy being the result. But I can see how "but it should be ILLEGAL" could have a strong draw, and the numbers are large, and before abortion was legal, the numbers were invisible. So. I don't like it; I don't think it's consistent with a Christian moral framework to ignore everything else in the [probably vain] hope of making all abortion illegal again in the US [which I don't personally think is a really good idea anyway]; but I think that's how it works?)


KC - I can see how, given all the nuances and complexities of when life begins, that it certainly would be easier to look at black and white and have a simple answer. I think setting benchmarks like fingernails suggests that there is a sliding scale for life and death, which is what I believe is true (today, anyway). It would be heartbreaking to take a brain-dead person off life support, but not illegal. Do the life-begins-at-conception crew gather around hospitals protesting that?


Actually, sometimes, depending on whether everyone involved agrees on brain dead vs. not. (see: Terry Shiavo, although there it was... complicated... because she sometimes moved, and whether that was volitional or responsive or not was the big question, I think?)

I think the "your baby has started to grow fingernails!" things actually emphasizes to many people the continuity/inevitability (barring miscarriage or something weird) of the process: once *this* has happened, all the rest (very slowly but along a specific schedule) falls into place, which means that the end hoped-for result (a live baby) is seen to be starting from the beginning (in some cases, people go for "fertilized egg" and in others "implanted fertilized egg" - more rarely, "when you miss a period"). (as a teenager, I didn't actually have an opinion on whether "emergency contraception" was ethically problematic because I didn't have an opinion on, basically, abortion-before-remotely-identifiable-as-going-to-be-human, *but* I remember having a long conversation with someone who thought emergency contraception was just fine *but only as long as you weren't quite sure whether you were pregnant or not* because then eh, you weren't trying to kill anything at all and I was like, that makes no sense, if you think the neighbor's dog is hiding in your shed and you shoot the closed shed full of holes *in case* the dog is hiding there, you are *definitely* trying to kill the dog if the dog is there and it is not a neutral action)(obviously it's totally different if, say, you have an exterminator in to kill roaches with a very-toxic fog and someone's hiding in your house and you don't know it and the person hiding in your house dies; in that case, it's not an action taken exclusively to conditionally accomplish the specific person-killing purpose!)

The question re: whether flinching is an "automatic" function (akin to poking certain bits of a definitely-dead frog and getting a leg to move) or "fetal pain response" indicating pain sensed messes with things, although also I don't remember at what fetal age that has been detected (well, with a lot of stuff, there's "this group detects it at this age" and "this other group doesn't think it happens until this later age" with many of these, which does NOT HELP agreement). I'm pretty sure that that's a *whole* lot later than 8 weeks, but again, "it's on its way to being a baby, therefore it is a baby" thing means that particular development stages, after whatever specific "starting point" they agree on, do not really matter except in making it even more objectionable (see: many people who hate abortion *really really really* hating late-term abortion).

I guess, yes, I definitely have had access to more conservatives than you have. :-) (there are also those, albeit fewer, who argue that with the huge number of miscarriages that occur before 8 weeks, it's reasonable to have abortions before 8 weeks. And those who argue back, whether accurately or inaccurately [we don't have the data in most cases], that spontaneous miscarriages are only of *non-viable* pregnancies whereas abortions are of pregnancies which might or might not be viable, so again, they decide no on the before-8-week abortions.) (basically; do not judge the whole conservative population by the skeezeball politicians and Rush Limbaugh; there are at least a bunch of people who do think things out to some degree of coherence; whether or not there are bits skipped or data missing or "gut feelings" involved, at least some people do try to get to logical conclusions.)(that said: I thought the "Evangelical Voting Bloc" was a myth until it was demonstrated otherwise to me in my mid-twenties. So growing up in a liberal city may have resulted in disproportionate number of interactions with conservatives and Christians who had actually *thought through* their positions rather than getting the laundry list of All The Right Positions handed to them and nodding along, which was more of a thing for many of the liberals in liberal city who I interacted with [although, again, I ran into a lot of thoughtful people; there were just *more* liberals who were knee-jerk on positions that they couldn't explain or defend].)


KC - “nodding along” - I like that. I think a lot of people would be surprised if they were to google “fetus week 4” and look at the images. Not a bland round cell, not a peanut-shaped baby. Kind of monstrous.

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