I Don’t Know What To Do

There’s been yet another school rampage shooting, and I don’t know what to do except weep. Best I can tell, nobody else does either.

Oh, there’s a lot of noise and a ton of blame being thrown, and I’ve heard the phrase “common sense gun control” more times than I can count. It’s a meaningless string of words; if there were any effective way to stop rampage shooters with a simple, common sense approach, we’d have done it by now.

Whenever I say that, there are two responses:
“Well, at least do something!”
and
“Just ban guns! Ban them all!”

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The Not Fake News Update, 23 May 2022

Hello, good morning, and welcome to another edition of the Update!

There’s tremendous excitement this morning about several developments in the Ukraine that nobody has any clear picture of, and the 24-hour infotainment channels will tell you all about all the things they don’t know. They’ll bring in experts and have lively discussions and it’ll be a lot of fun for them, so we won’t spoil it by getting involved.

Instead, here are a few things that have happened recently that you might have missed:

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It’s Give Me Your Money Season

It’s campaign season again, and the candidates are out for your money — but you might have noticed that, despite the millions they got in 2020, nothing much has changed. This is because the difference between the Democrats and Republicans basically boils down to which color necktie the president wears. They’re all funded by Big Oil, Big Sugar, Big Pharma, Really Big Healthcare, and Enormous Insurance, so that’s not really a surprise; what’s shocking is that you still give them a dime. With all the corporate juice they’re getting, you need the money more.

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Limbo Take Two

Anyone else remember April of 2020? Here’s a hint: We were all waiting.

Some of us were waiting idly at home, teleworking as our society crumbled. We put in the same soul-deadening hours in useless meetings that we always had, only in pajama bottoms.  A few of us embraced pretense, continuing to go out without regard for mandates and masks, and pretending that stubbornness and a refusal to engage their brains was the same thing as courage.

Funny thing is, now that we’ve reopened, we’re all doing that last bit. So much for thinking that blind ignorance was for Republicans only.

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On Having COVID. Again.

There’s now no way to tell if the horrible flu that I contracted in Chicago in the earliest days of 2020 was COVID. There was a particularly nasty H3N2 going around at the time, and the list of symptoms is nearly identical, including loss of taste.

But we’re quite certain that my wife and I contracted COVID back in August, not long after getting our second-dose vaccinations. And now we have it again. (She got boosted in between; I didn’t.)

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The War Is Over. We Lost.

“You might as well appeal against a thunderstorm as against these terrible hardships of war. War is cruelty, there is no use trying to reform it; the crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman

EDITORIAL

Doing this is hard sometimes.

When I started The Not Fake News, I set some ground rules. One of them is to always tell the truth as I see it, however painful that might be and without regard to the number of readers it will cost us. From time to time, that truth is harder to write about than not. This is one of those times.

Because the truth is that Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has won his war. And we lost.

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Gerrymandering and 2022

In late March, Maryland saw its proposed Congressional map thrown out by a judge, citing “extreme partisan gerrymandering” against Republicans. These maps are redrawn every decade after census results come in; the one released a decade ago was carefully engineered to remove one of the state’s two Republican congressmen, and this new one would eliminate the last.

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The Not Fake News Update, 12 April 2022

The Ukraine War dominates headlines everywhere. This is doubtless a good thing, since it’s probably the single most important event in the world today, and likely to have even more far-reaching long-term consequences than even the ongoing COVID epidemic.

Unfortunately, this headline dominance has a tendency to drown out other useful stories. There are always important things happening all over the world; it hasn’t stopped spinning despite Russia’s invasion of yet another neighbor. This is why we do these Updates, after all, so let’s take a look:

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Fake News, Pearl-Clutching, and Ukraine

Some of the most inane fake news I’ve ever seen has been coming from pro-Russian media.

Bear in mind, both sides of the war are quite capable of propagandizing; in fact, Zelensky’s shown himself to have a natural talent. The more official Russian outlets have, by all reports, been quite competent at keeping their own nation focused on Putin’s talking points, and the formal separation of East from West information feeds, be they television or internet, have made this much easier. If it’s moderately difficult for citizens of the western world to get the official Russian party line, it’s harder by far for most Russians to access, for example, CNN.

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