Category Archives: Politics

twitter thoughts

I look at Twitter occasionally.  I never go to to start, but sometimes I’ll read a news article and there will be a tweet.  Because of the privacy settings, I have to go to Twitter to see said tweet.  I probably do this less than once a week – maybe once or twice a month.  However, I decided to stop by and see what all the fuss was about.  I started scrolling through and reading tweets and I found myself getting pissed off.  Everyone is very loudly and often offensively expressing their opinions, which I often don’t agree with.  These obnoxious tweets are interspersed with “interesting” posts about this or that arcane thing that I find not interesting in any way.  Wow.  Yuck.  I vowed not to visit Twitter again any time soon.

With that said, lots of other people visit Twitter.  It’s kind of alarming that the Twitter addicts have such an outsized influence on life and politics.  What kind of personality traits lead someone to spend a lot of time on Twitter?  And do we really want people with those personality traits (eg Musk) affecting our lives?  In any case, needless to say, I fully agree with Musk that censoring major newspapers – Covid origins, laptop story, etc. – is utterly unacceptable.  Let’s consider Covid “misinformation.”  Who gets to decide what is misinformation?  The CDC?  I personally think the CDC is probably about as good as it gets in terms of government organizations in terms of health advice.  With that said, it’s an arm of the government, and letting the government decide what is “misinformation” is seriously sketchy.

In Russia, media organizations that aren’t in line with Putin are suppressed and put out of business directly.  Things aren’t that bad in the US.  But if major newspapers, like the New York Post, cannot share their articles on Twitter because a government organization of any kind deems them “misinformation,” that is a serious problem.  Here in the brave state of Washington, our governor wanted to make it a crime to claim that an election was “rigged.”  Sounds great, right?  That would prevent all that nonsense in 2020 when Trump’s cronies claimed the election was unfair, right?  OK.  But what about when the election actually *is* rigged?  And anyone who points that out is thrown in jail?  Luckily, the legislators in WA declined to pass the bill.  For me, it’s just not possible to have a neutral arbiter that decides what’s truth and what’s misinformation.  You have to let people make up their own minds.  Otherwise, you’re no better than Putin.

If I were in charge, I’d only allow people to post on social media under their own names.  If you compare the comments section on the Seattle Times or really any newspaper other than the NYT and the Wall Street Journal, Seattle Times and the like are filled with insults, vulgarity and poor behavior.  The Wall Street Journal makes people post under their real names, and the comments section is a different animal, with relatively civil discourse.  (The NYT also has polite discourse but they review all comments before posting, something which most newspapers and forums cannot afford.)  I’d like to see ALL online communities require people to post under their real names.  How to verify real names?  A credit card would be a pretty good option, or government ID for those who lack credit cards.

Groups are a problem.  I’d really like to stop “groups” from posting as a group without a name.  You could still allow groups, like say a newspaper, to post, but require under the group header to be the name of an actual person affiliated with that group.  So, if the New York Post, or a local road race, wants to post, fine, but there had to be an actual human putting their name out there.  In other words, no anonymous posting, ever.

spending our kids’ money

Biden has a giant expensive bill he’s trying to pass – 1.75 trillion.  My basic problem with it is not its contents but the fact that he’s not really paying for it.  Balance the budget – then spend.  Otherwise you’re taking on debt that your children will pay off.  I’m not 100% sure what’s in it, but it mostly sounds like a bunch of malarkey.

Here’s what’s not in it: three months of maternity leave.

Here’s thing.  We’ve had literally decades of democratic rule since 1980.  And yet – no maternity leave.  Why not?  It’s almost like the Democrats bully women into voting for them by pointing at anti-choice Republicans and then, over and over, fail to prioritize things that matter to women – like maternity leave.

And no, 4 weeks of maternity leave is not acceptable.

There are roughly 4 million children born every year in the US.  To pay the parents of every single one of those children $10,000 for leave would cost 4 million * $10,000 = 40 billion per year.

So what if the Democrats had done this one tremendously important thing instead of messing around with this giant bill that, as far as I can tell, doesn’t really do anything great?  It would cost less than 2% of the proposed price tag.

Biden’s original plan called for expanding universal preschool.  Basically, they want to extend public school down to age 3.  I am EXTREMELY opposed to this.  Public school is a failure in many low income areas.  It’s a failure for the most needy kids.  And 3 year olds shouldn’t be in “school” anyway – they should be experiencing play-based learning, Montessori at most.  Want to help parents with child care?  How about giving them money to pay for whatever childcare THEY want to use?  Universal preschool will be a massively overpriced, underperforming boon for teacher’s unions.  You could give parents with children under 5 – ages 0-4 – all $10,000 per year per child for childcare to spend as THEY please – for 160 billion per year.  Less, actually, since a lot of families have at least one non-working parents.  (Call the difference administrative cost.)  So the total cost of the O’Meara plan is 200 billion.  I wouldn’t include anything else.  Keep it simple and actually provide something meaningful we can afford without indebting our great-grandchildren.

But if I were a senator, I would vote against Biden’s crazy bill.  Too expensive, and no maternity leave.

I actually think taxing billionaires net worth is a good idea, but I think it’ll be tossed out in court, making the bill even more responsible from a fiscal perspective.

school closures

Biden just proposed a massive expansion of government.  One of the main components is increased funding and support for childcare.  I can’t say that I’ve reviewed his plan in detail, and I’m not sure if the execution is right, but in terms of worthwhile things to spend money on, helping lower and middle income families afford high quality childcare seems like a great choice.

The incredible irony, though, is that we currently have a system of high quality childcare for children five and up.  It’s called *school*.  Unfortunately, that system is still very much broken in many parts of the country, with schools in “hybrid” mode.  In Washington, that means kids in grades K-5 attend school less than 50% time – four half days a week.  A “half day” is two hours and forty-five minutes.  And older kids attend 20% time – two half days a week, so 5.5 hours of total in-person schooling.   In summary, kids are mostly still at home around here, and hence this system of childcare is broken.

This is inconvenient for the affluent, but it’s devastating for people on the edge.  This is a story about a woman in Mississippi whose son is struggling with hybrid learning.  There are a lot of problems with this story, including that his mother is struggling to live on $12 an hour working nights.  But here’s the thing.  School, five days a week, was one of the ways we used to support low income individuals in this country.   And it’s also how people were supposed to be able to get a better job than their parent.  The system has always had serious problems, but it just got a hell of a lot worse.

In Washington, they decided not to test students this year.  Convenient!  We won’t be able to measure how much ground has been lost.


Anticipated vaccination date: 1.4 years / June 2022

So far, 2021 has sucked.

1.) My uncle died on 1/1.

2.) We are experiencing record Covid deaths, with an excruciatingly slow pace of vaccination.

3.) Saoirse cut her finger due to my negligence.  Blood gushed everywhere, and we almost went to the ER.  (Arranged a babysitter, etc., before we finally got the bleeding stopped and our pediatrician recommended staying home.)

4.) Attempted insurrection at the White House.

I mean, it’s only 1/9.

It will be interesting to see if the impeachment succeeds.  There is no doubt it’s justified this time.  (I felt the last impeachment was political theater, not justified, and in general, bad form.)  I will honestly be encouraged and hopeful for our future if it succeeds.  We’ll see.  I can’t imagine that he would run again, but stranger things have happened.  The best thing about impeachment would be preventing a future run and diminishing or eliminating his role in the party going forward.

We attempted to go play in the snow at the pass today, drove 60 miles (one way) and sat in crazy traffic jams and couldn’t find a place to park.  Anywhere.  There are just way too many people here and with literally everything closed, people are dying to get outside.  So “outside” is turning into a city.  And getting off the beaten path is challenging when you have three kids, the youngest of whom is one.

anticipated vaccination

I’ve decided to start tracking anticipated time to vaccine for my husband and I, based on an expectation that we’d get it when 50% of our state has had it.  This is based on about 30% probably refusing the vaccine plus being ahead of children in line.  Obviously guesswork.  Time to vaccine is based on how many have been vaccinated and rate of vaccination in Washington state.  (Surprise, surprise, we are near the bottom in terms of both % vaccinated and % of doses received distributed.)

Update – I changed my algorithm to use a 7-day running average, which shortened the anticipated vaccination wait.

Anticipated date of vaccination: December 2021 (0.9 years from today)

I feel the country is in a very perilous situation over the next week and a half.  We are intensely vulnerable to any kind of internal or external attack.  (Obviously, we already had one internal attack.)

I am very supportive of removing Trump from office, if possible, but if it is not possible, then Democrats should resist the urge to grandstand and, for the love of God, be pragmatic.   Pragmatism over self-righteousness and scoring political points, please.  (I know even asking for this is futile.  In this desperate time, politicians of both parties will likely still be more concerned about their personal political futures and their party than the American people.)

I should add that I think Trump should go to prison for this, but I believe the process to make that happen is completely unconnected from the process to remove him from office.

While I understand the urge of the various members of the cabinet to resign, I’m also not sure that’s the right step.  We need to continue running this country and protecting its citizens against chaos and foreign attack until Biden can take office.  That can’t happen if there is no cabinet.

Counting the days.

two more weeks

Two. More. Weeks.

A lot of people are saying they’re not surprised by what happened tonight, including my husband.  I guess I must be naïve, because I am not only surprised, I am shocked.  (And horrified.)

Those voting against the results of the American election in Pennsylvania were: Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Rick Scott of Florida.

Those voting against the results of the American election in Arizona were: Mr. Hawley, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Tuberville, Ms. Hyde-Smith, Mr. Marshall and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

Take note of those names.  Are you a resident of one of those states?  Can we get rid of these guys?  Is that possible?  Democrats just took Georgia – not one seat, but two.  So anything is possible.

“Those who choose to continue to support his dangerous gambit by objecting to the results of a legitimate, democratic election will forever be seen as being complicit in an unprecedented attack against our democracy,” Mr. Romney said.

In the House, Representative Chip Roy, Republican of Texas, received his own standing ovation from Democrats as he outlined why he would not object.

“That vote may sign my political death warrant,” Mr. Roy declared. “But so be it.”

I’d like to think that the Democrats took Georgia in part because many people in that state, both Republican and Democrat, were swayed by Trump’s unacceptable behavior since the election.

For me, our political system feels like an unstable control system, with the social media echo chamber being the factor that increased the gain and pushed things over the edge.