Weekly Update, October 26, 2020
Greetz internet friend and welcome back! I’m running late this morning so how about we just dive right in on this weekly update, shall we?
I tweeted about this yesterday in a reply to a thread, but I am really upset about the United States Senate moving forward to confirm Amy Coney Barrett and I will be for quite some time. There are many reasons, but the biggest is Merrick Garland. I cannot believe that the Republicans, the so-called Grand Old Party, thinks the American people are so stupid that we forgot about Merrick Garland!
If you never heard about this let me bring you up to speed. In 2016 there was a vacancy on the Supreme Court and then-President Obama moved to nominate Merrick Garland. However, Republicans like Lindsey Graham blocked the nomination because they said it was inappropriate to nominate a new justice eight months before the election.
Now here we are less than two weeks before the election, when more votes have been cast early than we cast in all of the last election for President, the Republicans are going back on their word and cramming through the nomination of a Justice with such contempt for the American people that she didn’t even prepare and could not remember all five protections of the first Amendment to the Constitution – but yet wasn’t disqualified.
Republicans have tried to make this horrible argument about how 2016 was different because the Republicans controlled the Senate and the Democrats controlled the White House, but if the argument about it being wrong to nominate Merrick Garland was because of the time proximity to the election, why does it matter which party was in which office, unless the people making the argument think very little of the people listening to it. Put another way, it is insulting to our intelligence to think that this flimsy argument is enough to justify a lifetime appointment to one of the bodies that decides how laws are interpreted and enforced!
It’s not like this is just a six month gig, or dog catcher of a small town – this is a lifetime appointment to the highest court in the land, and even things that should disqualify like the aforementioned, and I’m sorry to yell here, but A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE SHOULD KNOW THE LAW BETTER THAN FIRST YEAR LAW STUDENTS AND BETTER THAN ME, A DUDE WITH NO FORMAL LEGAL TRAINING.
I am sorry to yell here, internet friend, but I am really hot under the collar about this. I grew up in a Republican household and was told they did the right, moral, and ethical thing. I was taught it was the liberals and the Democrats who were immoral, unethical liars. Between this and the support of Donald Trump despite his racism, xenophobia, and hatred of all Americans, I hope the Republicans never win another election in this country again. My sincere hope is their hypocrisy will be a stain that will tarnish their reputation for a generation to come.
I want it to be crystal clear that I am not thrilled with the Democrats either. I have more to say on the subject, but it is important for me to move on and not rage too much about this because, unfortunately, there is nothing that I or anyone else in this country can do.
What a nice, final parting gift from the Republicans – something we don’t want, cannot say no to, and will be stuck with for life. Thanks a heap! USA! USA!
One last thing – people always said as you get older and made more money that your politics would get more conservative. For the record, both of those things have only pushed me further to the left! Getting more doesn’t make me want to pull the ladder up behind me, and I think people just say that to justify why THEY did it and sacrificed their values. I believe it was just a projection but it’s not been my experience, in fact quite the opposite (as mentioned above). I’ll have much more to say on this subject when I start writing about the new left, but let’s put a pin in that for now and move on to something more relevant for today.
Black Lives Matter
I’ve mentioned before, and you can see in my Twitter bio, that I live in Indio, California – which is located in the Palm Desert on territory belonging to the Cahuilla for time immemorial. If you are unfamiliar or didn’t know, there are some really nice houses and very rich people that also live out here. It isn’t just rich people, there are also working class people as well, as with any community. One thing that I don’t know if I’ve mentioned before on this blog is that my wife and I are both artists. I play eight musical instruments, I write fiction, poetry, and music, and I also enjoy drawing and painting. My wife plays four or five musical instruments (although she is modest about her skills) and is an amazing artist! She can paint, draw, and probably sculpt as well as build theatrical sets and is one hell of a writer. Unlike me, she is also interested in photography and has been going out Sunday mornings to take photos of some of the amazing landscapes in the desert.
She has a new Polaroid camera, a digital camera, and she recently found a vintage film camera at an antique shop on a date with me. As I mentioned above she goes out early Sunday morning to catch the golden hour (which is the first hour after sunrise and also the last hour of light before sunset, but she takes pictures in the morning) – the time some photographers contend is the best to shoot.
When she was out, she came across an art gallery with a giant Trump 2020 banner in one of the windows. In the other window were a bunch of black mannequins wearing shirts that said, “white lives matter” and pro-police slogans.
According to this article, “almost twice as many Democrats have voted early compared to Republicans” and the same article indicates that as of three days ago, more people had voted early than voted in the entire 2016 election. My very brief research indicated that early voting does not really favor one party or another, but this article that interviewed a political science profession in George indicated that he thought, “’Most of the scholarship on early voting is just they’re people that were going to vote anyway. So it’s just banking votes early,’ said Smith.” You can find that quote in this article
What does that have to do with Black Lives Matter? I write that to say that some racists feel comfortable enough to display garbage like that in the windows of their business. My sincere hope is that Donald Trump is voted out and that the Democrats don’t squander their last chance to do the right thing and fumble the opportunity that (I hope) they will be given soon! Doing things like voting Nancy Pelosi back in as Speaker of the House, despite her failure to stop Donald Trump or Bill Bar, or provide much meaningful resistance whatsoever to the rising tide of fascism.
I really hope that some progress will start to happen soon on Black Lives Matter because the way things are going now is just not sustainable – morally, ethically, or otherwise. Something has to give, and I really hope it happens soon. In the meanwhile, this week I suggest you just go out and follow a few non-white people on Twitter and just listen to what they have to say. Expand their audience and amplify their messages. Don’t do it for any reason because it’s the right thing to do!
Last weekend I did a really bad job of disconnecting. Here is a list of what I studied on Saturday night instead of relaxing:
- Learned some surf rock guitar licks
- Studied music theory on the bass
- Watched a tutorial on the 12 bar blues
- Spent an hour watching a really in-depth tutorial on this old drum machine I’ve had for a few years but never used
- Studied Latin
I was also going to play with Docker but instead I went and watched the first few episodes of Cobra Kai, which I really enjoyed! Sunday I ended up spending too much time on Twitter and my computer in general. My point is that the weekend before I kept my computer off from Friday night until Monday morning. This weekend I don’t think my laptop was off at all.
Internet friend, I want to share a really badly-kept secret with you. I am a workaholic, and going back a few generations the men in my family have been affected with this issue. While it can be good for career, it is terrible for health and personal life.
However, just because I have some genetic disadvantages, I do not think I am doomed forever. My wife encouraged me to shift my personal reading from somewhat depressing (alright, VERY depressing) classic Russian literature to Gestalt Therapy so I can start working on some issues.
This book, which you can find more information about here although the page is pretty bare and just provides some external references. Paul Goodman is a figure I’ve written about before and will be the subject of a future series on figures from the New Left, because I think it is instructive to look at the era that was able to impact massive change and learn from the anti-war left about how to shut down the war machine.
That tangent aside, I want to share the first exercise that the book offers so you can get an idea of what the practice looks like. It encourages the reader to be active in the moment and describe everything they are feeling and thinking using “now” and other similar words. This exercise has two main focuses – the first is described above and the second is to analyze within oneself why it is that you stopped. Was it because you were frustrated, and if so, why? Gestalt Therapy seeks to extend on psychoanalysis and other area of psychological study to remedy the things that Freud and others got wrong.
Anyway, I think it has been really beneficial to me and I would suggest anyone who is struggling to get their hands on a copy and try to work through the exercises yourself. It’s been really helpful for me and, although Gestalt Therapy has somewhat fallen out of favor, ask yourself if it is possible that it was just successful and there is less money in a cure than a treatment? I’m not saying that is the case, or trying to be conspiratorial – it could be that Gestalt fell out of favor for different reasons, I haven’t done enough investigation in the subject, and perhaps it is just not so popular in the United States? Regardless, things are going well for me so I am going to keep going! I will share future updates in the coming weeks.
I also finished the first rough draft of a fictional short story I’m hoping to share later this week, so check the hell birb site later this week or check back in later to read that, I am really stoked with how it turned out! It also means I’ll be able to announce something I’ve been sitting on for two months and really looking forward to writing about!
Last week I got to do a little work on a web application penetration test and a bunch of cool automation stuff. I’m learning Terraform, and a different part of that project that required a little more knowledge about Docker and containers. In addition to transcribing some notes, I also started working on documentation for the project which, while not necessarily all that exciting, something that writing these weekly updates prepares me to do.
I’m about a week away from putting in more time at work, and I am going to do my best to make sure that I keep coming with the content. Not only the weekly updates, but I have a growing list of articles that I want to write and next month is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month, which you can learn more about here. I have wanted to do NaNoWriMo for about the last decade but this year I have cheated and written an outline and I am ready to give it a try!
Anyway, at this point I am really running late, so I am going to end the weekly update here. Update – I was running so late I had to post this after work. But it still counts!
People to follow
As I do every week, here are some tech and non-tech people you might consider following on Twitter.
Martin Luther King III - The son of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Bernice King - The daughter of Dr. King
@cetolyne - great friend, awesome programmer, super helpful!
@blenster - cool maker, very positive, well worth a follow!
@GWeessies - very smart person doing interesting research!
Marley - first place champ! Marley is one of the best on Twitter!
Null Coder - another awesome person to keep an eye on!
@EvilMog - creator of the DC MUD and an interesting person to follow.
TrakoZG – an internet friend who tweets excellent things
Sofia Rune – brilliant scholar who shares things that are both insightful and valuable
Click here for the previous post and click here for the [next post](../../post/2020/11-2-weekly-update