So this is Christmas / And what have you done….
At the start of November 2020, at the height of the pandemic, I packed up our old apartment mostly by myself and moved us to a little college town apartment. It was a short term solution–we were working on buying a house, were well into a mortgage application process for a first time buyer program, and there were lots of places available in town. It meant putting even more stuff into storage, where most of our books have been for over a decade at this point. It meant squeezing in to a college town apartment. But it would only be for a couple months.
This is our third holiday season in the place.
The mortgage program was bogged down with people, and it took far too long for us to get over the last couple hurdles. (That’s the very short version.) And then the housing market had gone from lots of quick turnover to houses getting all cash offers and waiving inspections. We’ve put six offers out over more than a year. Two went to all-cash no-inspection offers below our offering price. One we just lost out on. One (that we loved) the seller decided at the last minute they weren’t actually going to sell. The fifth one was actually accepted, but then the home inspection revealed that the guy that had done some major work on the house had *almost* known what he was doing and it was falling down in slow motion. The latest was a place that would need a lot of work, and the current owner…well, lets just say they haven’t accepted the most recent adjustments in the housing market and thinks he can still get prices that were flying around this time last year.
And now here we are at the holidays again. Last year, there were no new houses up between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, just a couple of very expensive ones that were out of our reach. There’s a a little activity in town this year, and two magnificent houses that I can’t afford (both updated Victorians) and a handful of places that are just…too awkward for one reason or another.
Another year over / And a new one just begun
Judge ‘Troubled’ by DOJ Position in Drone Strike Case
The government argued the court should dismiss a lawsuit brought by the families of American citizens killed in Yemen in 2011 by targeted missile strikes. Justice Department lawyers argued the court was barred from hearing a case that would require an assessment of sensitive military and political issues far outside its purview and ability to review.
U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer repeatedly expressed concern that the government’s position would essentially strip U.S. citizens abroad of their constitutional rights. Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian Hauck argued there was a difference between having a constitutional right—which he said could be protected by the executive and legislative branches—and being able to make constitutional claims in court.
I am appalled.
The government’s argument here is basically “you have whatever constitutional rights we decide you get to keep.” Given the administration’s history of dodgy answers to the “would you strike at US citizens on US soil” question, that statement can’t even be qualified with “when overseas.”
Lets be clear here: all the evidence points to Anwar Al-Aulaqi being a very bad man, and for all I know the two kids with him were to. But all I know is what the administration has agreed to talk about *after* they blew them all up.
The US “War on Terror” has become an exercise in terror, killing people we don’t like without warning, without due process, without an imminent threat.
We have to be better than our enemies. Otherwise, what’s the fucking point?
Good Idea: coming up with a drug to help women with sexual dysfunction, even if it’s inevitably going to be branded as “Viagra for chicks.”
Bad Idea: doing it with a drug designed to make women horny and lower their inhibitions. Because that won’t ever end up spiking someone’s drink.
But that’s what some idiot is trying to do, according to this article. Better yet, said idiot decided to make drugs because he got dumped. “The breakup inspired a lifelong quest to comprehend female emotion through biochemistry and led to his career as a psychopharmacologist.”
There are so many things wrong with that sentence, I don’t even know where to start. But somewhere, there’s a woman torn between knowing she got out while the getting was good and thinking maybe she should have taken one for the team.
Even better is how they want to make sure that their drug to make women want sex and not care about the consequences only works so well. “Companies worried about the prospect that their study results would be too strong, that the F.D.A. would reject an application out of concern that a chemical would lead to female excesses, crazed binges of infidelity, societal splintering.”
Because it’s OK for women to want sex, but they can’t want it too much.
…don’t even talk about me on Facebook.
I know, Facebook isn’t alone in collecting and collating data on people. But they’re the most obnoxious about it, and the only ones known to keep collecting data on people even after they’ve been told to piss off. Someone tagged me in a photo on Facebook once, so Facebook ‘helpfully’ emailed me about how I should log in to the account they created for me and see who else had tagged me, etc etc. My only option was to tell them to stop emailing me about it; there was no option to delete the account, or to stop them from collecting and using information about me.
 I’m actually in the process of breaking my Google Habit as much as possible: “customized” results for searches are just about useless–I actually had one customized result that hid the result I was looking for–and while Google+ does a lot of things better than Facebook, they also do some really annoying stuff like not let me turn chat off, and have taken the “minimalist interface” theory to absurd extremes.
Today is Barack Obama’s second inauguration day. Four years ago, I sat in a McDonald’s watching it online and wrote this. Today, I’m in a bagel shop (or at least I was when I started this), but I’m not watching. I’m not celebrating. And I’m not hopeful.
Those of you who know me may have noticed that I was pretty quiet during the election, not just on the blog, but everywhere. The simple fact is, that while he was orders of magnitude better than Mitt Romney, I simply couldn’t bring myself to support Obama. So I didn’t go out and knock on doors. I didn’t pass on much in the way of political information.
I didn’t even vote.
Here’s the bald simple truth: Obama’s political career should have ended in disgrace today. He shouldn’t have even been the Democratic nominee. His and his administration’s failures in policy and action are too numerous to give but a partial list of here, and range from disappointing and astonishing to comical. But ultimately, my decision was made by his failure to close the Guantanamo detention camp, and his failure to conclusively put and end to the United States’ use of torture, and to prosecute those individuals who committed it and those who ordered it.