Sunday, June 17, 2018

Thoughts from a hot time in SW Tennessee

A few quick observations on the things I've noticed in Memphis over the weekend.

1. The city is trying to make a comeback, with the typical gentrification of certain run-down areas and local brewpub/eateries. Given the cultural/musical/food history of the place, it fits reasonably well, even though the overall metro area is economically stagnant with high levels of crime and poverty. It's worth the trip.

2. Memphis Summer heat is not like the few hot days you get in the Upper Midwest. It's been 95 all weekend with an unforgiving, higher sun, and no wind. Very occasionally a pop-up storm hits for a few minutes, and then it starts all over. And unlike Wisconsin, every day is like this for 3-4 months. No thanks.

3. The "sales tax on food" thing is a real difference when you go to a grocery store. Or even when you go to a local Farmers Market, where everyone has to give change since the 7.75% tax is thrown in on everything.

And you can bet Wacko Macco and Koo-Koo Kooyenga would try to do some version of "broadening" the sales tax to food under the guise of "tax reform" should the voters of Wisconsin be stupid enough to keep the GOP in power past November. Gotta pay for more income tax cuts to donors in some way, right?

4. There are yard signs and ads everywhere for state/Congress primaries and county elections. I figured this meant they were happening in the next week or two. No, they don't vote until August 2, less than 2 weeks before we vote in Wisconsin.

Governor, Senate, and House races are all open seats in these parts for November, so there are a lot of people running, especially on the GOP side. Almost all the ads you see are GOP ads, and almost all of them consist of some version of these themes.

1. I hate abortion (cue picture of baby)

2. I hate illegal immigrants (sometimes the "illegal" part is left out).

3. I'm a businessman/woman who has conservative values/Jesus in my life. With 1 and 2 hinted at as well.

You know what you don't hear? One thing about policy on any other issue. This includes the GOP Tax Scam, which is doubly odd because Tennessee comes out great in that one because they have no state income tax, so they don't get screwed by the SALT changes. Tells you how hated that Tax Scam really is.

It also shows that the typical 2018 GOP HAS NOTHING TO OFFER other than the hates, fears, and self-superiority of mediocre white people. And it's sickening that so much of our politics is held hostage by this fraction of a fraction of a fraction. They really need to be put out of power and sent to the wilderness for a while.

Back to more serious manners when I get back to the North and back to work tomorrow. And a Happy Father's Day for those of you that are in such a status.


  1. It’s easy to be held hostage by this fraction of people when there are millions of adults in this country who do not vote at all. Even relatively intelligent individuals who should know better but simply cannot be bothered because politics doesn’t interest them.

    My all-time favorite comedian was George Carlin. Back in the 1990s, he had a routine in which he claimed that he never voted because voting is pointless, elections are meaningless, and all political candidates are basically the same.

    Sorry George, but I beg to differ. I have always voted, not just in Presidential years, but in midterms. Not just in national and statewide elections, but local...right down to my aldermanic district. IT MATTERS.

    Also, things have changed quite a bit since the ‘90s. The Republican Party has gone batshit insane. This has to every level...or we are doomed.

    Thanks for the Father’s Day wishes, Jake. If you’re landing in Milwaukee, you may think you’re still in Memphis. A high of 94 and a dew point in the 70s!

  2. You are correct that the apathy of the average American is a big culprit in this. If people disqualified candidates for relying on hate and fear and dishonesty, and if more than 60% of them FREAKING VOTED, you wouldn't see half these clowns in office.

    But it also feels like there is a fundamental problem with having a democracy based on the world of the 1780s where "a few noble men" were supposed to make decisions for the public good. Today, the modern world allows for communications to be so segmented that people live in Bubbles, or so low-info that they have no clue about policy or issues in a campaign. But they're the ones who are deciding which people are in Congress and StateHouses, and voting in people who do things that they don't believe in.

    Add in the corrosive effect of money in politics, which often leads to the worst people rising to prominence because they are willing to sink to the lowest levels and give up any semblance of independence or a soul (Scott Walker, Robbin' Vos, Leah Vukmir). And now you have the disaster that is 2018 "American democracy."

    And it's frustrating that it takes the apathetic, low-info types to catch on and care for it to have a chance of changing.