Arithmetic

“I only have two dresses left,” Klara says. “The horsey dress and the angel dress.”

“You also have the birthday dress,” I remind.

“This means I have 3 dresses,” she says and lifts up three tiny fingers.

This is not me. This is her mathematically gifted father who is teaching her arithmetic.

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Why Opioid Crisis Won’t Be Solved

The opioid crisis won’t be solved because a workable solution has to be two-pronged. On the one hand, pharmaceutical companies need to be smacked down hard and kept in check. And Republicans will resist that to the death. On the other hand, drug cartels need to be prevented from flooding the country with heroin from across the border. And Democrats will resist even recognizing that this is happening.

The “solution” both sides compromised on is to hand over the addicts into a lifelong bondage to the same [fucking evil disgusting piece of vile shit monsters fuck them from here to the moon] pharmaceutical companies that got them addicted in the first place. The pharmaceutical companies switch the addicts from the oxycodone or fentanyl that will kill them very soon to suboxone and Co that will keep them just as addicted but alive to keep bringing in profit.

When you hear about victories in the war on opioids, that’s all it means. Taxpayer money is going straight into the pockets of pharma CEOs to keep crowds of people eternally addicted.

Everybody is so in denial about this that it’s scary.

Nothing Is Enough

I hate seeing the articles which point out that fewer people live in flyover states than in places like California and Co, so these states shouldn’t have as many Congress representatives as they do now.

I live in the most abandoned state in the country. More people leave Illinois than any other state. And I’m thinking, God, these folks have accumulated all of the economic, technological, and ideological power. They have won every culture war. They have done everything to make our states unlivable. And it’s still not enough. They still feel slighted. Now they want to take away one last thing that won’t even out the score in conditions of the erosion of the nation-state, which is their number one cause.

Nothing is enough for them. They won’t rest until they drag everybody into their loony-tunes fluid paradise.

Hopeful

This is the kind of Democrat I want to support:

Some top Democrats already see Trump as a potential ally in an infrastructure push.
Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said he has a $500 billion proposal “with a revenue source” ready to go.
And Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who’s in line to chair the House Ways and Means Committee, said he sees infrastructure as an area where Democrats can work with the White House.
“Clearly, the administration might be able to move to do some infrastructure work with us,” Neal said.Some top Democrats already see Trump as a potential ally in an infrastructure push.

Instead of moaning and wailing, they are trying to use Trump’s openness to a deal on infrastructure to make it happen. And that deal would benefit voters a million times more than grandstanding and beating on the Senate door like a maniac.

More McCaskill

Claire McCaskill has released another batch of ads that could be titled “I love Republicans.” The ads list all of the Republicans who have said something nice about her over the years. The word “Democrat” is not used in the ads at all.

I support McCaskill in what she’s doing. What people from elsewhere don’t realize is this is how you win in Missouri. And believe me, you want her to win. She’s good for the state, she’s good for the region, I’ve been following her work for years, and she does a lot. Her opponent is ridiculously bad.

As a Democrat, you just don’t win in Missouri, Illinois, West Virginia, etc by screaming like a banshee how much you detest Republicans. The winning word for a Democrat in these states is “bipartisan.” She’s not trying to appeal to voters in California. She’s trying to reach her voters in a language they respond to.

I’m writing this because I see people pile on her for this because they are not in touch with the realities of Missouri. So let’s lay off McCaskill, let’s lay off Manchin, let’s lay off all the folks who are working their tails off to flip the Senate in difficult circumstances. It’s easy to be ideologically pure when you don’t have to face voters in rural Missouri every day of your campaign.

God, everybody is so judgmental because a person is trying to reach the voters she’s got and not the spoiled pricks in a completely different part of the country.

What I Liked / Didn’t Like in Europe

Obviously I was only in two small corners of Europe, so the post is about them and does not aim to generalize.

Liked:

– a lot of nightlife both in a big city and a small town but it all feels extremely safe and friendly.

– no street harassment.

– smartphones are a lot less present in daily life, even among the young. I saw no kids with devices in public, and young people at coffee-shops would sit and talk without a phone in sight. There is a negative side to this, though. There are no places to charge your phone in public. People don’t even understand the concept.

– doner stands that are a refuge because the places I visited didn’t have amazing local food. There was a Turkish gentleman next to my hotel who was literally a savior with his great, great doner (shawarma in Russian.)

– fresh raspberries at a farmers’ market. They cost so much I almost had to take out a second mortgage on my house but they tasted absolutely divine.

– there are no children or young people who are even slightly overweight. There’s nothing like the US problem with child obesity. On the other hand, everybody smokes like a maniac, especially the young people. I haven’t seen people smoke this much in forever. Even the Spanish colleagues were shocked.

– young people don’t speak a whole lot of English. Most speak none at all.

– many young moms with babies everywhere in public spaces. Every biergarten has an army of high chairs for toddlers. But no daddies with babies in public places unless accompanied by mommy.

– European bedding is amazing. Blankets are heavy, not flimsy. Real duvet covers! None of that atrocious and unhygienic wrapping of a blanket in a sheet that tortures me at US hotels. (Do you realize that nobody washes the blanket after every guest leaves? They just wash the sheet. Your blanket was touching all sorts of places on all sorts of folks. Probably for months.)

– nobody talks about Trump. Nobody is apocalyptic. Even academics ridicule speech codes and PC culture.

Didn’t like:

– in Germany, people are weird about immigration. “In Dresden, where I live,” said one colleague, “there are so many immigrants. There are more immigrants than locals. And that’s fantastic!!! I love it! There should be more!!” she suddenly wailed with a nearly religious fervor. It would have been just as weird to hear her vociferate in the same fraught voice, “And that’s too many!!! They should all go away!” Unwarranted intense emotionality is creepy on any issue.

– food wasn’t great anywhere I went. It wasn’t horrible but I can eat better (healthier, tastier, cheaper) in my tiny town in Southern Illinois. And no, I didn’t go to tourist places. Locals took me to the most typical, everyday places far outside the tourist area.

– the railway system needs to be friendlier towards European travelers. Isn’t the whole point of the EU supposed to be that it’s easy to move between countries?

– Germans are unwilling to hear other Europeans when they say that the EU is not working for them. There is a tension here that’s not going to lead to a good place. Non-German Europeans feel dismissed and slighted on this issue.