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CSotD: With the Fringe in the Driver’s Seat

On the Fastrack (KFS) took a detour last week from office politics to the larger kind as Dethany’s military mother came by to warn her about being tracked on her phone. The story arc begins here, with Dethany deleting information, but then her mother reminds her that simply getting rid of the obvious “tells” won’t keep you safe from determined snoopers.

Dethany is normally the epitome of a hip young digital native, but, in this case, harsh old-school Mom is more in tune with things on this level of the virtual world, as well she might be. She’s high enough up the chain of command to know what’s possible, even if she’s not one of the people doing it.

I’m not a huge fan of cellphones in the first place, doing my work on a desktop and only taking the phone with me literally “in case of emergency,” but, as a guy, I don’t care if you track me.

However, if I were a woman, I’d leave the thing behind when I went to a doctor or to any place within two blocks of a Planned Parenthood office.

I might even pay cash for certain items at Walgreen’s, if I could get the self-righteous Puritan behind the counter to wait on me at all.

And speaking of self-righteous Puritans, Jennifer Rubin heard from a lot of them over this tweet, lots of whom recommend condoms or celibacy — because condoms never fail and nobody has ever been raped — while others chimed in to tell her it’s “Indiana University,” because of course they did.

She also got a great deal of support in light of Indiana’s harsh new forced-birth law, but she sure took some hits.

 

Democrats would do well to campaign on the issue of choice, but you’re fooling yourself if you think there aren’t a lot of people out there eager to burn witches and stone adultresses.

 

Juxtaposition of the Day

(John Deering)

 

(Kal Kallaugher)

 

(Ann Telnaes)

Despite my carefully curated Twitter and Facebook feeds, I haven’t been able to avoid short videos from the CPAC Convention, which, back in 2013, was described by Steve Schmidt thusly:

Look, this CPAC convention is increasingly the Star Wars bar scene of the conservative movement. I mean all that’s missing at that convention is a couple of Wookiees.

The analogy was a lot funnier back when CPAC was just a gathering of outrageous screwballs, but Deering illustrates how the lunatic fringe continues to be lunatics but is no longer just a fringe. And, however screwy and immune to facts and logic they may be, it has also been observed that, “A clown with a flamethrower still has a flamethrower.”

Kallaugher notes that, while they hosted and cheered Hungarian strongman Victor Orbon, they still had time to hear from their hero, who embodies their paranoia, their racism and their longings for a dictatorship.

As Telnaes points out, he isn’t bringing anything new to the game, but as the tune goes, “It’s the same old song, but with a different feeling since you’ve been gone.”

Meanwhile, some inspired patriot in Albuquerque is murdering Muslims.

 

Michael Ramirez (Creators) suggests that maybe the Republicans should put up candidates who aren’t obvious raving loonies, but he may be a little late, as so many of the primaries have been decided, and Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel and his cohorts are already ensconced on the GOP side of the ballot.

We can take heart from the Kansas referendum, but those folks aren’t going to come vote in other states. Turnout and passion will matter.

Because remember: In the sketch, the candidate of the Silly Party won.

(If you’re keeping score, that’s two Monty Python references today, neither of which is funny when played out in real life.)

 

Juxtaposition of the Day #2

(Gary Varvel — Creators)

 

(Joel Pett)

Gary Varvel trots out a venerable gag line usually employed by someone campaigning for a rise in the minimum wage, though I think he’s only using it to attack Biden and the latest jobs report.

I could be wrong. Maybe he’s riffing on the disconnect between housing costs and what people earn in crappy jobs.

Here’s a quick look, and you can delve into more detail, including an interactive and more in-depth map, at this link. It’s pretty depressing, particularly since, for a lot of us, it doesn’t come as news, simply as confirmation.

There are “Now Hiring” signs on every corner in our little city, and nobody dares pay the $7.50 minimum wage New Hampshire clings to. Then again, nobody is paying burger-flippers and store clerks the $26.29 an hour this map indicates they’d need to keep their rent in the 30-percent-of-gross target.

As Joel Pett points out, desperate employers are willing to try to make your life more pleasant, but only to the extent it doesn’t intrude on their own. At the moment, both Starbucks and Chipotle are closing down stores that just happen to be unionized or in the process of unionization.

This graph from the Government Accounting Office is admittedly from February, 2021, but absent some astonishing update, I’m presenting it as a refutation of the idea that people on relief are lazy bums: At that time, 70 percent of aid-recipients were working a full-time schedule. I doubt it’s changed much.

Which switches the topic to “Corporate Welfare,” since it means the government is supplementing the pay that these private employers offer.

It’s an interesting variation on the current anti-Biden cry that the new Inflation Reduction Act increases “indirect taxes” on the middleclass because higher taxes on fat cats will be passed along in higher prices to consumers.

I think it’s appalling that a burger, fries and drink is now $10 or more, but it’s a voluntary purchase. If it goes up, I’ll still be able to decide if I want to pay it.

Nobody’s ever asked me if I’d like to pay a little extra in taxes so that the chain restaurants and stores can pay their employees less.

Though there’s this bright spot: If these workers have a diabetic child and stay on Medicaid, they’ll be able to afford insulin. If they get health insurance through their employer, the GOP has blocked the attempt to cap that cost for them.

 

Community Comments

#1 Nicholas Merritt
August/8/2022
@ 8:19 am

It would also be interesting to see how much of that ‘1-49 weeks’ segment is still working rather close to full-time, as I’ve heard it’s pretty common to be scheduled just few enough hours to not be eligible for benefits. I would be surprised if the median value were closer to 1 than 49.

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