How I’m doing: 2016 election edition

It’s been a hell of a week, I won’t kid you. I spent the entire elec­tion sea­son being pret­ty con­fi­dent in Hillary Clinton’s vic­to­ry. I guess, I fell into the trap of believ­ing my expe­ri­ence of the world was shared by every­one. Clear­ly, I was wrong. And intel­lec­tu­al­ly, it seems stu­pid of me now.

But I believed she’d win, she’d be the first female Pres­i­dent, and that much of the progress we’d made under Oba­ma would con­tin­ue. Because, you know, the alter­na­tive was too unbe­liev­able to imag­ine. But on elec­tion day, with no real rea­son, I began to get ner­vous. By evening, as the polls were clos­ing, I couldn’t stop think­ing about elec­tion night in 2000, when we were at a bar watch­ing the returns, and some­one looked up at the TV and asked, “Hey, where did Flori­da go?”

It seems a small mer­cy now that Tues­day night’s returns were con­sis­tent­ly dis­ap­point­ing, with a long slow slide into a Trump vic­to­ry, no false hope moments to raise us up before dash­ing us back onto the rocks. (The Neva­da win was too late in the evening, at least for me.) But I felt numb, and kind of… blank. I was up until 1 am, just after John Podes­ta announced that Hillary would not be speak­ing. I went to bed know­ing the out­come, but when I woke up at 4:30 am, I checked any­way.

I work in pol­i­tics, albeit at the state lev­el, and I live in Kansas, so I’m pre­dis­posed to crap­py polit­i­cal news. I have spent the last few days read­ing and read­ing and read­ing, and think­ing, and talk­ing and think­ing some more. I think this immer­sion in the reac­tions of oth­ers, like a sort of shock ther­a­py, has replaced my mourn­ing peri­od. I’m not much of a mourn­er any­way (I’ll call it “wal­low­ing” when I’m pis­sy), and I just didn’t want to dwell on it.

Now I find myself itch­ing to do some­thing. I’m work­ing on under­stand­ing, and under­stand­ing will reveal the things that need to be done, I know. But until I get there, I need some­thing tan­gi­ble, some action, some dif­fer­ence to make. I feel, ener­gized.

It may all come crash­ing down, I sup­pose. Some day I’ll break down in the mid­dle of walk­ing the dog, or at the bus stop wait­ing for my kid. But there’s just so much to unpack, I think I’ve got some time.

Don’t get me wrong, if I sound blasé. This out­come is hor­ri­fy­ing to me, in every way. If I stop to con­sid­er the real con­se­quences, to peo­ple, to our coun­try, and to the world, I can feel the gib­ber­ing pan­ic creep­ing in at the edges of my vision. But these last cou­ple of days, I feel great. Like I have pur­pose, like I’m coiled and ready to spring. It’s weird. It’s inter­est­ing. And I intend to take full advan­tage of it.

I’m unfriending you, Internet

My dar­ling wife alert­ed me to a post on Face­book, by a Friend of a Friend (so I can’t com­ment there, since I’m not Friends with the Friend… ugh), a post that began with, “This just in: ADHD also diag­nosed as ‘child­hood’” and linked to a blog post at the Psy­chol­o­gy Today web­site about how the French (of all peo­ple) don’t have any ADHD cas­es, because they (are enlight­ened?) diag­nose the root caus­es: mal­nu­tri­tion, poor par­ent­ing, dumb­ness, etc.

The com­ments on this post (to which I can­not com­ment) cov­er the range, but are most­ly fol­low­ing the lead of the orig­i­nal poster, fun­ny quips pre­sent­ed as insight, opin­ion mas­querad­ing as fact, and assump­tions pre­sent­ed as research.

I have a child with ADHD (inat­ten­tive, not hyper­ac­tive). He is bright, fun­ny, cre­ative and dis­tract­ed. He is on med­ica­tion, and it has done won­ders for him. At one point before he was diag­nosed, my bril­liant lit­tle boy came to us, after watch­ing a com­mer­cial on TV, and told us that he thought he need­ed to go to the Syl­van Learn­ing Cen­ter. The look on his face, that defeat­ed, but pathet­i­cal­ly hope­ful look, stomped on my heart.

If you know us, you know we do noth­ing with­out research. Our child was test­ed, diag­nosed, seen by doc­tors, sec­ond opin­ioned, and final­ly med­icat­ed. He has gone from being a reme­di­al con­cern to excelling in every aspect of his life, because he can pay atten­tion to the things that are impor­tant to him.

But the ADHD diag­no­sis issue is just the trig­ger that got me going this morn­ing. I now know a lot about ADHD, about the process of diag­nos­ing, about how it affects my kid, about the ins and outs of med­icat­ing my child, about the “cock­tail” need­ed to help him con­cen­trate then help him sleep. I see how he feels when he lets him­self down because his brain doesn’t work, and how he feels when he tops a test or a con­test or fin­ish­es a project or a book. I know what ADHD looks like, to me. This Friend of a Friend does not know what it looks like to me, but that did not pre­vent him from lump­ing every­one in togeth­er, damn the shades of grey, in the ser­vice of his clever com­men­tary.

Here’s what I want­ed to add to this guy’s Face­book post, but couldn’t:

Hi. This post is so insen­si­tive, thought­less, and knee-jerk that I am inclined to answer in kind. With­out know­ing you, your chil­dren, how you par­ent, or what you are like, I’d like to take this oppor­tu­ni­ty to be an ass­hole to a per­fect stranger, because online, there are no reper­cus­sions. Ready? Here goes. ‘I bet, since you’re so into respon­si­ble par­ent­ing, you beat the fuck out of your chil­dren if they mis­be­have. You cretin.’ What’s that? I’m sor­ry, did I over­step? Did I say some­thing with­out know­ing shit about what I was say­ing? Why, yes, I did. You’re wel­come.”

There’s been some dis­cus­sion online about com­ments on arti­cles, how they rarely add to a dis­cus­sion, being either trolled or face­tious or down­right harm­ful. I agree, and would like to add to that the sug­ges­tion that all of Face­book (et al.) is one big com­ment thread full of mean­ing­less pan­der­ing and hate­ful, irre­spon­si­ble, self­ish com­men­tary.

This is what is wrong with Inter­net com­ment­ing.

There is no space for com­pas­sion, for empa­thy, for under­stand­ing.

I know I am also guilty here of over­sim­pli­fy­ing the issue. The Inter­net is a tool, after all. There are places set aside for thought­ful dis­cus­sion and grate­ful heal­ing. There are nice peo­ple online, even on Face­book, and I like being con­nect­ed to them in a way I nev­er could in Real Life. I appre­ci­ate and love them.

But the rest of the Inter­net can seri­ous­ly fuck off. I don’t have time for you any­more.

Just shut that down

Today we heard that Pres­i­dent Oba­ma called up the Speak­er of the House John Boehn­er and told him, and I quote from Bren­dan Buck, Boehner’s spokesman, “The pres­i­dent called the speak­er again today to reit­er­ate that he won’t nego­ti­ate on a gov­ern­ment fund­ing bill or debt lim­it increase.” Source: Roll Call

Hel­lz to the yes.

The pure unadul­ter­at­ed gall of the thir­ty or so Tea Par­ty cra­zies who a) think their minor­i­ty is in the major­i­ty, b) are direct­ed and fund­ed by a con­ser­v­a­tive oli­garchy, and c) do not under­stand the most basic func­tions of gov­ern­ment is only sur­passed by the spine­less wheel­ing con­trivances of the mod­er­ate Repub­li­cans who refuse to stand up for their con­stituen­cies, their per­son­al beliefs, and their intel­lec­tu­al under­stand­ing of what is actu­al­ly hap­pen­ing in gov­ern­ment today.

Afraid of the Koch Broth­ers mon­ey? Wor­ried you’re going to get Tea Par­ty Pri­maried? Well, it’ll hap­pen any­way, so you’d best just grow a spine and stand up.

It appears that the Demo­c­ra­t­ic lead­er­ship has found theirs.

Time to shut down the Tea Par­ty. Time to shut down the nar­ra­tive that what­ev­er you believe is true because you believe it. Time to stand up to the bul­lies.

I am glad my Pres­i­dent appears to be doing so.

Enjoying the hell out of iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio is a rev­e­la­tion to me. Not that I didn’t know what it was going to be like, I mean, intel­lec­tu­al­ly. I’ve used Pan­do­ra, after all. But Pan­do­ra was annoy­ing, brows­er-based, finicky, and I nev­er used it very long. When I first tried iTunes Radio yes­ter­day, while try­ing to write, I picked some of their pre-pro­grammed “sta­tions” and was all, meh. Their “iTunes Top 100: Alter­na­tive” has too much Killers in it. Which is to say, any Killers is too much. My taste is def­i­nite­ly Alt, but I like my alt more eclec­tic than that. And that Fall­out Boy song (Alone Togeth­er) sounds like Rihan­na in drag.

But today I made my own “sta­tion” based on a song in heavy rota­tion in our house, Lit­tle Brass Bear by Rachel Goodrich.

And it turns out, basi­cal­ly, that iTunes Radio is like Genius, but with the entire iTunes cat­a­log as your library. Which is freak­ing awe­some.

Of course, it also turns out that iTunes Radio is just like Pan­do­ra, Rdio, etc., but with­out the has­sle of using some­thing added on to my ecosys­tem. I am, as stat­ed else­where, ful­ly entrenched in the Apple ecosys­tem, and in here I am as hap­py as a bug that is snug in a rug.

My playlist so far:

Jay­may (one of my favorite songs, Gray or Blue!)
Woody Guthrie
Matthew and the Atlas
Kimya Daw­son
Lang­horne Slim
Lau­ra Veirs
Lind­sey Ray
The Col­or­ful Qui­et
Malv­ina Reynolds
Lucy Wain­wricht Roche (dang there are a lot of Wain­wrights, no?)
Cast Spells
Rachel Goodrich

I’ve heard of… six of those artists. I own one of the songs I have heard so far. New music! Which is what makes this so awe­some.

A near perfect tweet

I don’t do this often (enough?) but this tweet from Won­derel­la is so pitch per­fect on the top­ic of the Oxford Dic­tio­nary and Miley Cyrus, that I can’t help myself:

The best elections links of the day (if you’re happy right now)

Here we go:

My thoughts on the election

So, the elec­tion is over. And I am pret­ty pleased with the results. I don’t have any­thing real­ly grandiose to say about it, no procla­ma­tions or pre­dic­tions, but through­out the night (I was up until 1 am local) and this morn­ing I have had some ran­dom thoughts.

There may be pro­fan­i­ty below. There will def­i­nite­ly be Lib­er­al bias, so you have been warned.

  • Dur­ing his con­ces­sion speech, I real­ized that I have no ani­mos­i­ty towards Mitt Rom­ney. I think he is an ambi­tious man used to suc­cess, and he real­ly, real­ly, real­ly want­ed to be Pres­i­dent. I think he real­ly is a mod­er­ate, and I don’t think he believes half of what he “stood for” in this cam­paign. And while it dis­turbs me that he would be so glib with his val­ues, I don’t hate him for it.
  • But Mitch McConnell can take a fly­ing leap onto the near­est free­way. Here is what he said this morn­ing, “Now it’s time for the pres­i­dent to pro­pose solu­tions that actu­al­ly have a chance of pass­ing the Repub­li­can-con­trolled House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives and a close­ly divid­ed Sen­ate, step up to the plate on the chal­lenges of the moment, and deliv­er in a way that he did not in his first four years in office. To the extent he wants to move to the polit­i­cal cen­ter, which is where the work gets done in a divid­ed gov­ern­ment, we’ll be there to meet him half way.” (Source). That is such bull­shit, com­ing from a Repub­li­can Par­ty that delib­er­ate­ly, explic­it­ly, and ulti­mate­ly unsuc­cess­ful­ly stonewalled the Pres­i­dent on every­thing he tried to do, even when he moved to the right of the polit­i­cal cen­ter. I call bull­shit, Sen­a­tor.
  • I con­fess that lis­ten­ing to Oba­ma last night, I felt a lit­tle of the hopey, changey thing from four years ago. And it felt good.
  • I may have gloat­ed a bit on Twit­ter last night. But seri­ous­ly, the GOP spent the last four years active­ly deny­ing Oba­ma, try­ing to cast him as a failed Pres­i­dent, and last night they got their ass hand­ed back to them by the Peo­ple. Fuck yeah.
  • Where has Boehn­er been? Isn’t he from Ohio? Rob Port­man was pop­ping up every­where like an eager gopher, but not John Boehn­er. Curi­ous.
  • Last night, only one per­son I vot­ed for was actu­al­ly elect­ed, even all the way down to the local school board. Not the worst bal­lot expe­ri­ence I have had (that was 2004 in Oma­ha, Nebras­ka, when nobody I vot­ed for was elect­ed). I may be liv­ing in the wrong place.
  • The next gen­er­a­tion has arrived. Gay mar­riage passed in two states (after los­ing 33 times in pre­vi­ous elec­tions). Pot is (or will be) legal in Col­orado. (Source). And the youth vote car­ried Oba­ma again, just like it did four years ago (Source). So fas­ten your seat belts, Boomers, your young tat­tooed Lati­na barista is about to take the wheel.
  • Fox News, et al., was not only wrong, but dis­hon­est with their view­ers, all sea­son long. This arti­cle in the Atlantic is (lib­er­al and) very inter­est­ing. And they call us sheeple. (The Atlantic)
  • And final­ly, this. “I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re will­ing to work hard, it doesn’t mat­ter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t mat­ter whether you’re black or white or His­pan­ic or Asian or Native Amer­i­can or young or old or rich or poor, able, dis­abled, gay or straight, you can make it here in Amer­i­ca if you’re will­ing to try.” (Tran­script source)
    See the video

Good TV tonight

I absolute­ly love it when my wife claps at the tele­vi­sion. It express­es a kind of deep-felt pas­sion that my… what, my per­son­al­i­ty, won’t let me deliv­er. I fall instead at the snarky end of the spec­trum.

Tonight, she was in fine form as William Jef­fer­son Clin­ton deliv­ered (what might have been) the best speech of his career. He made all the argu­ments we have des­per­ate­ly want­ed some­one to make against the Repub­li­can plan, and in a very pub­lic forum. He crushed, as the kids put it these days.

Let me just say, I’m glad Bub­ba is on our side.


Universal Solvent for the win

Yes­ter­day was Fathers’ Day, and it was nice. I got toast in bed and a few presents.

I got a new umbrel­la to replace the one I bent when I slipped in the snow last Win­ter. I fig­ured the peri­od of mourning/humiliation was over, and I could stop using it. And I got a copy of the new­ly mint­ed ver­sion of Wiz War, a game I played in col­lege (twen­ty years ago, now) and have held on to ever since. You may know that I got my eight year-old son to play the orig­i­nal with me a few times this past year, and yes­ter­day, we played the new one.

Old and bust­ed, Wiz­War cir­ca 1990

The new hotness, WizWar circa 2012

The new hot­ness, Wiz­War cir­ca 2012

It was long (about two hours, what with learn­ing the changed rules and pop­ping out all the mark­ers for the first time) but we had a lot of fun, which end­ed abrupt­ly when I real­ized I could use the Uni­ver­sal Sol­vent to melt the wall between me and the win­ning square. At which point I did just that, and my son gra­cious­ly accept­ed defeat. He had me on the run until that moment, and I am ever so proud of him for his very mature reac­tion.

Hope­ful­ly that made up for my vic­to­ry dance around the table. (No, I did not actu­al­ly do that.)

So, old Wiz War: awe­some. New Wiz War: prob­a­bly actu­al­ly more awe­some, though we should play it a few more times.

Also, Wiz War, both old and new: total­ly geeky and fid­dly and long and intri­cate and full of mag­ic and silli­ness and spell cards and things like a Uni­ver­sal Sol­vent card. So, ymmv.

How I [watched] WWDC 2012

Inside base­ball here for peo­ple not inter­est­ed in Apple, but if you are: WWDC starts in half an hour, and here is how I am going to start out “watch­ing” the cov­er­age. Reminder, Apple hasn’t offered a live video stream of this event for years, and will not do so this year, either.

(The live­blog­ging is over, and this list is less rel­e­vant now, but it includ­ed Engad­get, C|Net, gdgt, The Verge, Phillip Elmer-DeWitt at For­tune, and Mac Rumors.)

And now it is over. You can catch the video(s) over at Apple’s web­site. Here’s a direct link to the keynote.

In the end, I was switch­ing between three cov­er­age sites, gdgt, C|Net, and The Verge, with an hon­or­able men­tion for Mac Rumors. Engad­get kept cramp­ing up and forc­ing me to reload the page. Kudos to gdgt, for con­sis­tent­ly pro­vid­ing the best feed, and to C|Net for sur­pris­ing me with their sol­id, and dare I say, Mac-friend­ly cov­er­age.