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Sympthsical's Journal
Sympthsical's Journal
February 1, 2022

John Fetterman is about to ruin a conservative talking point

One of the things we often see in Democratic primaries is this line: "I'd love to nominate someone more liberal, but they just can't get elected statewide. That's why we must put forth more moderate and Blue Dog candidates."

And that may be true in certain areas of the country.

However, Fetterman won his statewide election over the Republican 58.7% - 41.3%.

The early push by the power structures in the party to promote the more conservative candidate Conor Lamb seems to poke quite a few holes in this, "We'd really love a liberal, but . . ." angle of attack during this primary.

So now something else will need be found. And boy howdy, it's already starting. We're going to enjoy months of creative attacks on liberalism. Because, you know, reasons. I'm sure we'll be told why we have to opt for the more conservative candidate when the more liberal one is perfectly capable of winning.

January 24, 2022

That mass grave of Indigenous children in Canada may not exist

It was a major story last year, and I think we were all pretty horrified and outraged about it. We know the history of what governments have done to Native populations and the treatment and conditions on reservations.

However, this is interesting. A history professor from the University of Montreal dug deep to research what happened. He came to some conclusions. It's a long article with over two dozen footnotes at the end.

But still, interesting reading. Even without the initial story, it relates a lot of information about how things operated in the early 20th Century.


January 23, 2022

Cable news is dying, but older viewers won't let it go

I wanted to discuss this a little bit, because it seems like many people are watching cable news nonstop and placing great importance on what is said on it. I'm using CNN as an example, because I happened to see their 2021 ratings this morning.

Overall, CNN averaged 1,078,000 total viewers in prime time, 268,000 adults 25-54 in prime time, 773,000 total viewers across the 24-hour day and 185,000 adults 25-54 across the 24-hour in 2021

Let's look at this. CNN in prime time is getting less than 300k viewers under 54.

You know what gets over 300,000 views? Reaction videos on YouTube. ASMR artists. Pam's Home Cooking 'Splosion Extravaganza. (She mixes folksy with ramen!)

In a nation of 340 million people, 300,000 viewers is 0.08%. Even mixing clips on YouTube or shared on websites, this is a vanishingly small number of people under 54 bothering about these overpaid, know-nothing talking heads.

Cable news importance is probably one of the most imbalanced things in our media ecosystem. Who is paying attention? Politicians and other media figures. It's a tiny little bubble they all exist in. When someone retires from politics, here's your cable news paycheck. Back scratches all around.

So all the drama, nonsense, bloviating, "Hey, this person on my tv is wrong!" angst doesn't really mean anything. No one sees it. It's a niche TV show you're watching. It's the Matlock of politics.

If people would stop watching, it would die. If people would stop spreading it, it would die.

And it deserves to die. It serves this country not at all. No, not even the ones we like.
January 22, 2022

COVID death celebration evokes memories of HIV death celebration

As a young gay man, I had a very formative impression instilled in me in my developing years. When people on the Right (and sometimes not so much) were happy when someone they hated died of AIDS. And I'm not talking about the 1980s when HIV wasn't understood well, when transmission was a bit unknown, when the risks weren't fully understood.

I'm talking about in my lifetime, in my adolescence during the 90s and beyond. Rush Limbaugh had several infamous remarks about it. "I hope you get AIDS and die," was something still said when I was a teenager and trying to shape my identity and struggle out from the clouds of Catholic guilt and shame and society's broad disapproval of what my life would be.

It's inhumane. The people who engaged in it had no empathy. They barely saw the afflicted as people. They were the bad people, the people who deserved it. And yes, a lot of people in my community ended up getting it through bad choices. Risky sex. After they knew better, they still made those choices.

Ask yourself, were you there clapping when those people died from poor choices? Were you clapping when people who lacked sex education or received misinformation wasted away from a disease they walked into?

Maybe it's me, maybe I'm wired differently, but HIV and AIDS have existed my entire life. That cloud of death, that lost generation shaped and formed who I ultimately became as a gay man. I remember, when I was preteen or teen, nearly every gay movie I could find (which wasn't easy when sneaking into the local Blockbuster), was about death or grief or about whether or not a positive man and negative man should date. A sadness hovered over everything, that life and love were fleeting and always would be, because the plague coated everything in a dangerous film. Even in a happy film like "Jeffrey" someone had to suddenly die of AIDS by the end.

And the Right loved it. High five! Another one of those dead. Could you imagine if there was a subreddit called the Freddie Mercury Awards? Would you be ok with that?

I won't celebrate death and suffering. Even if that person thinks differently than me about politics. Even if that person made a poor decision that resulted in getting disease. Death to me is a sadness. When a terrible person dies, it's still a sadness, because I think about what that person's life could have been had they made different choices or had different opportunities.

Celebrating the death of the Other is something I grew up with. It's not something I'll ever share in. And when I see others do it, I think lesser of them.

Being a lesser person is always a choice.


January 21, 2022

Sens. Klobuchar and Feinstein tussle over tech anti-trust bill

Legislation like this is going to become increasingly important in the coming years. I already think tech has far too much power and monopolistic aspects. Sens. Padilla and Feinstein are Silicon Valley's representatives, so of course they're going to have "concerns" about it. Seems like Feinstein was attempting a "Some people say . . ." defense.

I can only copy and paste a limited portion, so reading the full link is useful to understand the full exchange.


California Sen. Dianne Feinstein got into a tense exchange with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar during a Thursday Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over bipartisan antitrust legislation.

The legislation in question was introduced by Klobuchar and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and bars large tech companies such as Apple, Google and Meta from favoring their products and services over competitors while also giving more power to antitrust enforcers. It has support from senators across the ideological spectrum, including Cory Booker, Mark Warner, Lindsey Graham and Josh Hawley.

. . .

At another point in the hearing, Feinstein said she had heard that members of the Biden administration did not support the legislation, which sparked the run-in with Klobuchar.

. . .

“Are you implying, Sen. Feinstein, that the U.S. government — that the administration — is against this bill?” Klobuchar asked. “I would like to know if you have some knowledge that I do not know that the administration is against this since they have made antitrust enforcement — as has the Justice Department — a major priority,” Klobuchar added.
January 7, 2022

That 5 day COVID isolation guidance feels strange

So given we were both positive, neither of us have gone to public areas since last week. However, staples have been getting a bit low, so it feels like a trip to Costco is in order this morning. I went to the CDC guidance page to see what could be seen.

The guidance for isolation is 5 days after symptoms start. The way omicron has been running with us and our friends/family who have also tested positive, it has taken almost five days just to have it run its course. I didn't feel approximately ok until Day 5. It was the first day I didn't take advil. CDC guidance says five days, and you can end isolation after that if you don't have a fever or heavy symptoms.

It's Day 9 for me, and I think I'm fine. Light run of the mill winter/cold air congestion, no fatigue. Partner has a persistent but occasional cough - once or twice an hour there's some of that deep chest action he's had since he started.

I'm skipping gym for another week, because it's an enclosed space with a lot of breathing. Doesn't feel quite responsible to go yet. Just walking and bike riding until then. But I do need to go to the store.

But 5 Days. Even though I didn't need advil by Day 5, going out in public does not feel like it would've been at all responsible. I think the store is fine. Mask, way social distance out of caution for others. But if I didn't work from home and had to go back to the office on Monday? I don't think anyone would've been entirely safe around me. Literally the day after symptoms, we're all good with being around co-workers?

The thought feels very strange.

December 31, 2021

About those "mild" symptoms

Well, everyone in my household and beyond has it. One thing I've noticed in the media is, "Oh, if you get symptoms, it's mild."

102 fever, great reluctance to get out of bed (I rolled off the thing the first morning), feeling like someone shot your head with a snot cannon, and the sensation your lungs are being gently flayed from the inside out aren't really a "mild" experience.

Day One was totally and utterly miserable.

Here's the trick though. We're boosted, so those really heavy symptoms have only lasted a day or two. I'm at Day Three, and really just feel like I have mild bronchitis. That rawness in the chest with a very occasional sharp, painful cough. No difficulty breathing at all.

But Day One was not mild for me. Nor my partner. Nor his friends. Nor his family. Everyone's been miserable. The symptoms are incredibly varied. I basically had an experience like bad bronchitis without the chronic cough. Partner and nephews have coughed like crazy. His best friend felt like he had a bad sinus infection. His father feels like the flu.

What I'm saying is, the vaccine really helps. But despite the, "Oh, it's so mild if you're vaccinated," drum pounding, you still want to do everything to avoid it.

It's no fun. (Unless you're asymptomatic, in which case, enjoy)

Has been allowing me to play a lot of video games though.

December 7, 2021

CNN's Don Lemon warned Jussie Smollett of police investigation

So . . . this came out at the trial yesterday.

CNN host Don Lemon is getting blasted for covering his pal Jussie Smollett’s trial on his late-night show — without mentioning his own central role in tipping off the “Empire” star that he was being investigated by police.

As he took the stand Monday, Smollett, 39, had told the court that he first knew that police doubted his race-hate attack was real after getting a text message from Lemon, saying that was key in his decision not to hand his phone records over to cops.

The testimony quickly sparked comparisons between Lemon and his former CNN love-“brother” Chris Cuomo, who over the weekend was fired for his own meddling in his brother Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s sexual harassment scandal.

But while Cuomo refused to report on his brother’s scandal, Lemon ended his Monday night show with a report on the latest news from the ex-“Empire” star’s trial — with no mention of his own involvement.


Sorry about the NY Post link. The only other option was Fox News.

Not sure how someone can ethically report on this and not mention their own role in interfering with an investigation.

What is going on over at CNN?
December 4, 2021

The Jussie Smollett trial is getting just plain weird

So this happened:

A defense attorney called for a mistrial in the Jussie Smollett trial Thursday, after a wild few moments in which she accused the judge of lunging at her.

As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, this happened during a sidebar conversation with attorneys from both sides and Cook County Judge James Linn. Defense attorney Tamara Walker asked for a mistrial because of a comment that Judge Linn made, and then she began crying and accused Judge Linn of physically lunging at her in the courtroom.

Judge Linn denied the accusations, and also denied the motion for a mistrial. But it all amounted to some chaotic moments in the courtroom.

. . .

Another attorney for Smollett also accused Judge Linn of snarling and making faces throughout the testimony.

edit: Whoops, forgot the link. https://chicago.cbslocal.com/2021/12/03/jussie-smollett-trial-defense-suggests-abel-osundairo-who-said-he-was-paid-to-help-stage-attack-had-secret-romantic-relationship-with-smollett/

Been paying some attention. Apparently everyone involved may be gay. The defense is claiming a romantic entanglement with one of the attackers, visits to a bathhouse, a pic of one of them on a Pride float.

The defense is losing. So now there's this attempted mess. I mean, it's entertaining, but still.
November 19, 2021

The Rittenhouse verdict should not have been a surprise

The evidence was plain and present.

- Rosenbaum was an aggressive, unstable man all night, making threats and trying to start fights with people and starting fires. This is on video. He chased Rittenhouse. This is on video. Rittenhouse retreated. This is on video.

- After shooting Rosenbaum, Rittenhouse again retreated. He told people, including the third person shot, he was running to the police who were fully visible and not far away. This is on video. He continued to retreat until he was chased down and attacked. First by an object to the back of the head, then by a man kicking him in the face, then by Huber with the skateboard.

This is on video.

- The third victim pulled back, raised his hands, then pulled his gun forward towards Rittenhouse after Rittenhouse pointed his rifle away.

This is on video. The victim testified to this under oath.

If people are angry, blame the media. They misled us on all of this from day one. What we were told was not true. That Rittenhouse was the one chasing Rosenbaum. That Rittenhouse was randomly shooting people. That he crossed state lines with a gun and driven by his mother. Again and again - for over a year, and with the video evidence available for all to see - we were told lie after lie, mischaracterization after mischaracterization by the media.

Why? Ratings. Partisanship. Polarization. Right now, they're salivating at the prospect of riots. "Oh no, wouldn't that just be the worst for us?!" And we let them do this, because we get lazy and readily believe what fits with our politics, beliefs, and narratives without questioning as vigorously as we should. And I include myself in this. I do it sometimes, too.

When I first started watching this trial, I had assumed Rittenhouse was guilty. I knew little. Only stories here and there. What got repeated on social media. Look at DU. Even during the trial, all kinds of false information was posted again and again, despite efforts to correct it. People thought the victims were black. A year after this all happened, still it persisted.

Justice cannot be about partisan teams. It can't be "We lost this one. Maybe we'll win the next one." People cannot be guilty just because we dislike them and they're on the "other team." They have to be guilty because of what the law and facts say. That's it.

The law and the facts prevailed here. There was no way reasonable jurors - unanimously - looked at all the available evidence and didn't have at least reasonable doubt in their minds. They had little choice but to acquit based on what was presented in this trial.

The judge had nothing to do with it. All this, "He's biased, a right-winger, a white supremacist, etc." came from the times he ruled for the defense. But he ruled for the prosecution plenty of times. He gave the prosecution plenty of leeway. The biggest point of contention - the video the defense wanted scrubbed from the trial - went the prosecution's way. He could've dismissed the trial at multiple points because of the prosecution's bad behavior. He didn't.

I'm sorry people are upset and surprised. I'm not happy, even if I agree with the legal outcome. People are still dead. People will still fight about this. Some will feel emboldened to worse behavior. Some will feel an injustice was done that will justify future violence.

No part of any of this is good.

But it shouldn't have been a surprise.

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