Category Archives: Politics

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.

2021

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.

Political rant

I am sick to death of the Democrats.  I am sick of the grandstanding (impeaching Trump), threats to change our Democratic process because it doesn’t favor them (pack the Supreme Court, get rid of the electoral college), sick of the ancients running the party.  I am sick of living in a one-party state, where Democrats control the executive, the legislature, and the judges decade after decade.  I am tired of the identity politics.  I am above all disgusted by the low priority placed on children and education during the pandemic, a prioritization which will most greatly increase income inequality, income disparity and opportunity gap between races, and just generally hurt the poor and marginalized.

I am ready to vote Republican.

But I just can’t.  Leave it to the Republicans to one-up the Democrats by a significant margin for being terrible, awful people.  Are there any good politicians out there?  I can’t bring myself to read the articles about what is basically a coup attempt on Trump’s and his cronies’ parts, but I will never, ever vote for any politician associated with this in any way.  This is shameful, and I cannot believe the number of politicians supporting it.  I cannot wait until Biden is in office.  And I am in the process of renewing my passport.  Not the blue one.

I still believe in the US.  The pandemic didn’t shake my belief.  Neither did the civil rights marches and accompanying unrest.  On the contrary, I’m glad to live in one of the few countries in the world where you can actually demonstrate.  Try that in Australia!  There are young people who care enough about our country to try and make a difference!  Trump’s ridiculousness throughout his term didn’t really shake my belief.  He actually did a lot of good things which were underreported.  (It was past time to address China’s bad behavior, for example.)  But people trying to dismantle our government?  It’s a bridge too far.  We need Republicans to stand up and do the right thing.  We need Republican voters to look past the end of their nose and declare this unacceptable.  Or God help us all.

justice and justices

What the Republicans did in not confirming Merrick Garland was egregious.  By comparison, rushing to confirm Amy Barrett Browning seems fair and reasonable.  The real sin was failing to confirm Merrick, not rushing to confirm Amy.  But – here we are.  The Democrats seem powerless to stop Browning’s confirmation.  I’m pretty opposed to screwing up our Democratic institutions, and packing the court definitely falls under that umbrella.  I’m so opposed, I’d be hesitant to even vote for Biden if he fails to state that he won’t pack the court.

And yet . . . adding two justices to the court would null out Trump’s pick that replaced Garland and add the Garland equivalent that should have been added to the bench.  Which seems fair.

Again, RBG could have averted all this.  So I kind of blame her.  But mostly I blame the Republicans for failing to confirm Merrick Garland.