Wednesday, December 26, 2012

2012 Year End Review: Part 2

Oh I'm not finished yet.  2012 offered an embarrassment of riches when it came to batshit-craziness.  To wit:

Most Baffling Cultural Phenomenon:  Gangnam Style.  Not that I follow popular culture all that closely (yes I do), this "Gangnam Style" thing completley blindsided me.  Apparently some South Korean rapper (and I can't quite wrap my head around THAT concept) named Psy came out with this song and accompanying spazzy dance moves which has swept the nation and the world too.  I just read where the YouTube video of this has just passed one billion views.  That by itself is astonishing and worthy of some kind of recognition, but everything boils down to the question of "Why this?" and not something else?  The music is not that remarkable, and the pretend-pony-riding dance step doesn't seem all that inspired, either.  In fact, "Gangnam Style" makes the Macarena look like the Bolshoi Ballet.  So I'm left scratching my head wondering what the hell is going on.  I'm sure this Psy person has had a field day being the center of the world's attention for more than his alloted 15 minutes, but now he's facing the unenviable, Herculean task of coming up with something new and better to surpass this big splash he just made (not likely), or getting thrown on the next bus to oblivion and never being heard from again.  We will see if anyone remembers what Gangnam Style is in a month or two.

Most Hysterical Meltdown of 2012:  Has to be Karl Rove's total schizophrenic breakdown on Faux News' election night coverage. Things started going south early on for the Mittster, as state after state went into the Obama column.  But when the race in Ohio was called and thus the election, Karl Rove crapped his Depends undergarments right on camera and had some sort of grand-mal seizure that made him get all flustered and bug-eyed like a walrus getting a prostate exam.  He looked like he was going to pop a sphincter blathering about two or three Republican votes not being counted in some hinterland Ohio county, even though several HUNDRED THOUSAND votes in heavily Democratic Cuyahoga county were still outstanding.  But the piece de resistance was when some siliconed Fox newsskank toddled off backstage on her stripper heels and confronted the numbers geeks at the "decision desk" where the Ohio call was made.  The math nerds were NOT HAVING any of this "Are you reeeeally sure?" whining, and bitch-slapped that newstrollop (and Karl Rove, by proxy) back to whatever passes for reality on Fox.  In the end, Obama won, Karl Rove got banished (for a while) from spewing lies on Faux News, and I had a big ol' glass of chocolate wine.  Now THAT was a good night!

The "You Want To Do WHAT?!" Award for 2012:  Okay so, there's this dude, right?  And he has this balloon thing with a space capsule attached to it and rides it up to over 120,000 feet, which is like 700 miles or something, I don't know.  And he opens up the capsule and he's like, right on the edge of outer space!  No kidding, it's like the Starship Enterprise could run his ass over if he's not careful.  And it's like 500 degress below zero, too.  So he starts to crawl out of his space capsule like he totally wants to jump out or something!  I KNOW!  This other camera shows him looking downward probably thinking either, "Yeah, I can do this, no sweat!" or "This is one of the most f**ked-up things I've ever tried."  So he says YOLO and jumps out!  On the way down there's no air resistance and he hits over 800 miles an hour, and my cousin told me that's like four times the speed of light.  Dude starts to spin and twirl around until he finally remembers to press the SAVE MY ASS button and his parachute opens.  Believe it or not he lands safely, but I don't care how many dry cleaners he goes to, he will never get the puke and nasty B.M.s out of that space suit.

Biggest Buzzkill of 2012:  Climate change.  People keep screwing up the climate and most are completely oblivious to what they are doing.  This summer saw the biggest ever melting of Arctic ice, and that by itself has world-wide consequences, mainly in the disruption of long-established weather patterns and warmer-than-normal sea temperatures, which generate bigger, meaner and more destructive storms and hurricanes (hello, Hurricane Sandy).  The shape of things to come?  Yeah, most likely. Is anything going to be done about it?  Not until it's too late.

Best Things of 2012: "The Walking Dead," chocolate wine, Greek yogurt, board game parties with friends, sushi, "Sons of Anarchy," vegetarianism, desert sunsets, more states approving same-sex marriage, clear dark moonless nights, and of course RABBITS!

Worst Things of 2012:  Republicans, conservative trolls on Facebook, Fox News, the NRA, religion, terrorism, bigotry, hillbillies with guns, animal abuse, murdered children.

Proof That Some People Still Live in the Dark Ages in 2012:  The astonishing, unrepentant and deliberate ignorance of some Republican legislators regarding rape.  The very idea of "legitimate" rape, and the belief that a woman's body can "shut down" the pregnancy process after a rape clearly shows that they are beyond any kind of help or redemption.  The fact that they are anywhere near a public office shows that their supporters are equally pathetic and worthless, and they deserve nothing but the highest contempt and most strident condemnation.

Extra Credit for Scientific Achievement in 2012:  The landing of the Curiosity Mars Rover.  Sheer joy, and an absolute, unmitigated triumph.  The fact that they were receiving photographs from the surface of Mars within SECONDS of landing is completely mind-blowing.

Mr. "No I Can't Keep It In My Pants and Thank You for Noticing" for 2012:  Gen. David Petraeus.  Really?  Are you that desperate?  You just threw away your marriage, your career, your reputation and your legacy.  I hope it was worth it, but I'm sure it wasn't.

Loathsome Disgusting Toilet Scum of 2012:  Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Jim DeMint, Orrin Hatch, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, Allen West, Michelle Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, that token Negro in the Republican primary debates, Sean Hannity or anyone on Fox News.  Sadly, this looks like last year's list.  Nothing changes.

Ultimate Obnoxious Blowhard of 2012:  Donald Trump.  Once again, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that a huge amount of money can't buy even the tiniest iota of class.  He truly is a national embarrassment and a disgrace.

Best Reason To Remain Hopeful in 2013:  Rachel Maddow said it best in a short promo-segment on MSNBC.  She said that in the last election, we had an opportunity to defund Planned Parenthood, institutionalize bigotry by outlawing same-sex marriage, continue giving outlandish, obscene tax breaks to people who already have so much, privatize Social Security and Medicare, pack the Supreme Court with right-wing creeps for decades into the future, and listed a number of other horrible legal consequences of electing Romney president.  She said we had the opportunity to do all that... AND WE SAID NO!  That fact, that the American electorate finally said enough of the extremist conservative bullshit and decisively kicked the Republican party square in the crotch, means that there is still hope for our democratic form of government.

I'd like to think that 2013 will be better than 2012, but I'm starting to realize that these days, the best you can hope for is that 2013 won't be quite as awful.

2012 Year End Review: Part 1

2012 was a year dominated by politics, from beginning to end.  The batshittery started early, like on January 1st, and did not let up through the November elections and beyond.  2013 looks like it's going to do much the same, as scary as that sounds, but for right now let's review shall we - Why 2012 Sucked:

Theatre of the Damned (Presidential Election Edition):  The Presidential election this year was a galaxy-class train wreck, populated by the creepiest characters this side of a zombie apocalypse.  It was like someone loaded up your DVR with the most badly-written, incomprehensible, nonsensical, parallel-universe, bad-LSD-induced, four-month-long psychodrama imaginable.  Possibly the zenith (or the nadir, if you prefer) of that whole passion-play-from-hell was the Republican National Convention.  Almost derailed at the beginning by a hurricane, even devout atheists like myself knew that was a big "thumbs-down" from the Old Man Up In The Clouds.  It most certainly did not disappoint when it came to utter, total disappointment.  Spectacularly boring, this celebration of fat, old, white people had something to offend and annoy everyone.  The most unbelievable thing of the whole convention was aging, grizzled movie icon Clint Eastwood having some sort of bizarro-world conversation with a chair.  Once revered as the ultimate big-screen tough guy in edgy, stylized westerns (like High Plains Drifter or The Outlaw Josie Wales) and shoot-the-uppity-minorities cop potboilers (the Dirty Harry series), it was more than a little disconcerting seeing him degenerate into a disheveled, wild-eyed, crazy old man who could easily be mistaken for a deranged old coot having a political shouting-match with his dish of lime Jell-o in any cafeteria in this country.  It showed once again that mental illness is not at all pretty, and I can only hope when I turn into an unkempt, babbling, glassy-eyed old geezer, I can hopefully get caught talking back to a radio or something.  At least THAT would make a tiny bit of sense.

2012 Douchebag of the Year:  Hands down, the leader in this sorry category has to be Willard Mittens Romney, The Asshole That Roared.  Republicans have this uncanny talent for choosing the most repellent, unattractive and unelectable candidates for national office, and we didn't think they could do any worse than John McCain, the goofy, senile old dickhead they nominated for President in 2008, or the execrable Queen of the Inbred Sarah Palin, but damned if they didn't top themselves this year.  Apparently they base their choices on the highly questionable premise that if you stick around on the political radar for years and years, losing more primary elections that you can count, eventually that will make you look supremely qualified for the highest office in the land.  Romney's candidacy was its own worst enemy, and it was very entertaining to watch him torpedo his own chances at every turn - the leaked "47%" comment, his disastrous European visit - the list goes on.  At nearly every instance he came across as a creepy, awkward, socially inept douchenozzle with a very unfunny sense of humor, and I think a lot of Americans decided early on that they did not want to put up with his weirdly stilted persona and scary, sexual-predator smirk for four long years.  Dishonorable mention in this category has to go to anyone who participated in the Republican primary debates, a veritable smorgasbord of everything that's wrong with American politics, but the mildly-surprising runner-up to Mitt is his own wife, Ann.  Ostensibly brought into the campaign to "humanize" her husband to wary, unfamiliar voters, she managed to hammer the last couple of nails into the coffin of his candidacy by coming across as nasty, imperious, short-tempered, sharp-tongued, condescending, bitchy and elitist.  I find it endlessly amusing that Ann Romney turned out to be the one who needed "humanizing," and I'm just waiting for all the tell-all post-election books that will document her sloppy-drunk (I wouldn't be surprised if she has a drinking problem, Mormon or not), profanity-laced, behind-the-campaign-scenes tirades.  You just know she used the N-word a lot.

Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends: Gun violence is like a big ugly wound across the heart of America. Gun violence in this country left its mark in a big way on 2012, most horribly on December 14th when 20 young children and 6 adults lost their lives to one deranged, monstrous murderer with a semi-automatic rifle.  Earlier this year another psychotic loser shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.  There was also a smattering of mall shootings and workplace violence incidents and incredibly, on Christmas Eve, some scumbag shot to death two firemen responding to a building fire.  But, the 20 dead children in Newtown, Connecticut, seem to have really set people off, maybe because of the sheer immensity of the horror or the fact that it has happened so close to the holidays.  Not surprisingly, the NRA held a news conference in which they blamed everyone and everything in the world for what happened, without even touching, however tangentially, on the fact that some of the blame just might be due to the easy availability of ridiculously powerful assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition delivery systems.  Even for a bunch of ignorant douchebags like the NRA, it was an astonishingly stupid, arrogantly defiant, self-serving, tone-deaf non-response to a really critical national problem.  Their "solution" is to place armed guards in every school in the United States, at an estimated cost of nearly $7 billion a year.  Yeah, I'm sure the Republicans in Congress are going to pass THAT appropriation.  According to the NRA, the answer is guns, guns, and more guns.  It's really amazing that the NRA can't see what everyone else can - what hopeless, pathetic assholes they are, and what spineless, evil cowards the members of Congress are who buckle under it like wet cardboard.

Death We Regret The Most:  Lots of notable people passed away this year (Michael Clarke Duncan, Neil Armstrong, Whitney Houston, Phyllis Diller, Donna Summer to name a very few), but one passing hardly anyone noticed was the death of representative democracy. We learned this year that Congress does not give a single crap about doing its job - which is representing their constituents and working to, you know, get stuff done and accomplish things.  Instead, we learned that they prefer to spend their time manufacturing financial-Armageddon events in order to scare themselves into doing something (i.e. THEIR JOBS), and then when they do nothing and the contrived financial-Armageddon event actually begins to draw near and - much to their surprise and horror - MIGHT ACTUALLY HAPPEN, what do they do?  Bail out of town on a Christmas break, leaving the rest of us to peer over the edge of the so-called "fiscal cliff" they created and wonder how the hell we got into this situation.  It's pretty easy to understand - Congress is utterly and totally devoid of integrity and courage, does not give a rat's ass about what's best for this country, and would much rather postpone uncomfortable decisions so they can screw stuff up not only in the present but in the future, too.

More vicious slander and blatantly biased criticism in 2012 Year End Review Part 2, coming up next!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winter Solstice 2012

It's the longest night of the year, the night of the winter solstice.  Today was a pretty nice day, with the high temps in the upper 60s and lots of sunshine.  In honor of the solstice I hiked up Squaw Peak this afternoon in my shorts and a tee-shirt, and I was keenly aware that I live in a a singularly fortunate part of the country.  Most of the rest of the country was grappling with a strong winter storm wreaking havoc at airports in the midwest, and moving eastward just in time to screw up the most heavily-traveled weekend of the year.  Me, I was hanging laundry in my backyard and enjoying the view from on top of a mountain.

This evening I'm sitting on my couch at home, all snuggly and warm, a houseful of happy, healthy bunnies, watching my fabulous new television.  I have it very good, and my life is very comfortable and full of riches and blessings.  The winter solstice lends it self to such self-reflection and contemplation.  I think about how many people, in various cultures around the world, over the millenia since mankind first started noticing things like solstices and equinoxes, have taken note of this particular day of the year.

The winter solstice occurs in the dead of winter, when the world seemed the most lifeless, although you would never know it where I live.  In European cultures everything was usually covered with a thick blanket of snow and locked in the icy vise-grip of winter.  The fields were barren and desolate, and the trees devoid of any leaves, looking as if they were dead.  But people also understood that this is the day when light and life would begin to return to the world, for buried deep in the dead of winter are the seeds of spring, and soon enough the world will be blooming and fertile again.

Yes, the days will start to get a little bit longer from now until next June, and six months from now I will be griping and moaning about the horrible, ghastly heat which threatens to kill us all.  But right now, I am very happy to contemplate the cycle of the seasons, and enjoy the chilly weather outside.  As I get older I become more sensitive to the passage of time, and the cold realization that I will not alive on this planet forever.  We only get a limited time to live here, and I realize more and more each day that all of us have a responsibility to live a good a life as possible.  I want to live my life kindly and intelligently, to leave the world in a better shape than when I entered it - a life marked by kindness, empathy, defending the rights of animals in a world where they are so often abused and devalued, and wisely using the resouces this planet provides to us.

That is what I'm thinking about on this night, the longest night of the year.  When my time is over, I want to feel like I have accomplished something, and I have made a little bit of difference in the lives of the people and animals who have graced my life with their presence.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A Monstrous Evil

A monstrous evil has again been visited on the country.  And again, it comes from of the unholy, explosive nexus of guns and mental illness.  And as always. the most innocent among us are the tragic victims.

I'm not going to detail the Sandy Hook school shootings of December 14th.  That has been and still is being reported by the media.  Rehashing the details in my head is far too debilitating and difficult.

In the supreme, ultimate act of cowardice, the shooter took his own life after gunning down 20 children.  Someone told me that was good, he deserved to die.  Obviously that's true but he needed to ANSWER for his horrific deed.  He had to stand up in a court of law and tell the world why he did what he did.  He needed to look into the shattered, hollow faces of the parents and be made to realize the incalculable damage he wreaked on totally innocent families.  He had to understand that he not only took 20 lives who had not yet reached their eighth birthdays, he destroyed the lives of their mothers, their fathers, their siblings, their grandparents and extended families, their friends and neighbors, and those of the community in which they lived.  For many families, the holiday season will be forever stained by the memory of this act.  The total damage will be incomprehensible and will be felt for decades, maybe even generations.

I can't help thinking that for everyone in that town, December 14th was just another day.  Kids got dressed and hustled off to school, parents went to work or tended to their household chores.  Maybe the kids were getting pre-occupied by the approaching holiday season, and were resolutely counting down every single day until Christmas Eve.  I know I did when I was that age; December seemed to drag by achingly slow and it felt like Christmas would never get here.  I would run to get the newspaper every evening and check down in the lower-left corner of the front page where they would have a little cartoon box that said, "11 Days until Christmas!"  Then after what seemed like a whole year, the next evening's paper would declare, "10 Days until Christmas!"  Thus it went until the little cartoon finally said, "1 Day until Christmas!" and I knew the excruciatingly long wait was almost over.

These 20 children will never have the joy of tearing into Christmas presents, of spending time with their families, of running in joyous abandon through a snowfall, feeling the entire world was a big Christmas card.  They will never dance, laugh and sing again.  They will never feel the love of their favorite pet, or feel their parents' embrace.  They will never feel like they are so filled with love they are about to burst.  They will never see a beautiful sunset, a dark night sky glittering with countless starts, the first blooms of spring, endless warm summer nights, swimming in the ocean, or watching the scarlet, gold and orange leaves of autumn fall and cascade and spin down from the trees and pile up on the sidewalks.  All that was taken away, by one deranged, cowardly individual, and the gun culture which puts the "right" to own an assault rifle above any sort of common sense or interest of public safety.

There were also adults massacred in this horrendous tragedy, and one must take care to ensure their loss is noted.  They were doing what they loved to do and many died while trying to protect as many children as possible from the rampaging evil.  Their loss would have been terrible enough, but there's something awful, horribly, incredibly wrong when a child is murdered.  People who know me know that I am not particularly fond of children, but this incident had me choking back tears.  No one in their right mind would inflict such a soul-killing, life-destroying horror on anyone, but that's the whole point, isn't it?  No one in their right mind would do that.  But we're not talking about someone in their right mind.

I've read a lot of second-amendment gun fanatics, isolated from this tragedy by distance and just plain luck, sitting a home with their families around them saying that the problem is not with too many guns, but not enough mental illness treatment facilities.  The bottom line is this:  if the gunman's deceased mother had not had an excessive number of high-power weapons, readily available to her son whom she knew full well had mental-health issues, these 26 people would still be alive.  I don't care what anyone says, citizens do not need high-powered automatic weapons or high-capacity ammo magazines, whose only purpose is to kill as much as possible.  By attempting to deflect the blame for this outrage to the mentally ill, the gun lobby in this country is showing that they care absolutely nothing about the death of innocents, but only about their "rights" under the second amendment.

Everyone is calling for stronger measures to keep this from happening again.  I have no hope that anything will be done.  Over the next week or so, other news stories will push this awful, still-unfolding story off the front pages, and everyone will get swept up in the holiday hub-bub.  Members of Congress are far too cowardly and beholden to the gun lobby to ever pass any kind of legislation which would make something like this even marginally less likely to occur.  We will never be rid of the scourge of mental illness, and we will always have guns, because that is an immutable part of the American culture, but the very least we can do is try to make it much more difficult for the wrong kind of weapons to fall into the hands of the sick, the damaged and the psychopathic.  But I really don't think anything like that will happen.  That would be too sensible, and the gun nuts believe any measure to control their gun ownership is about as acceptable as widespread, government-sanctioned child molestation.

Much air-time and print will be used up trying to explain the inexplicable, comprehend the incomprehensible, and fathom the unfathomable.  We've already started to see sad, painful stories of parents remembering their dead children.  We will be seeing photos of impossibly gorgeous little girls, and handsome, bright little boys.  So much promise, so much potential - utterly squandered.

Where an answer will be found, if at all, is impossible to know.  Is the answer down one of the endless, dark corridors of the lethal labyrinth of mental disease?  Or is it a peculiar twist of American culture that innocents are sacrificed so someone can exercise a "right?"  Would our freedoms be so diminished by re-instating a ban on assault weapons?  The world didn't end the first time, and it won't happen again.

It will be only a matter of time before some other slaughter of innocents will push the Sandy Hook incident further down the list of horrible, awful crimes, involving guns and mental illness.  The critical question is, have we learned anything at all, and have we gained the courage to do something about it?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Words Of Our Lives

Apparently words have expiration dates on their usefulness or popularity.  An august journalistic body known as the Associated Press came out with some changes to their style guide, which a lot of other journalists and even normal people use as a reference for spelling, grammar, etc.

It seems they have decided to drop the words "Islamophobia" and "homophobia" from their roster of Mighty Fine Words.  The reason that they gave was that the "-phobia" suffix was too close of a reference to a psychological disorder and they don't want people to think the words have anything to do with mental illness.

I've always felt homophobia is a mental illness anyway, so I don't understand what the issue is.  It really irritates the life out of me that people discriminate against gay people only because of their choice of who they love.

Gay marriage is not a threat to any form of traditional "heterosexual" marriage.  I'll tell you what are threats to traditional marriage:

Stupid people who have no business getting married and spend the rest of their time fighting each other are a threat to traditional marriage.

Idiots who get married and divorced multiple times like they are changing socks or something are a threat to traditional marriage.

Serial baby-makers with minimal or non-existent parenting skills who bring way too many innocent children into their crazy dysfunctional world to abuse, neglect and abandon, thus ensuring the next couple of generations will be equally as screwed-up, are a threat to traditional marriage.

Disgusting pigs who cheat on their spouses at the drop of a hat are a threat to traditional marriage. The 50% divorce rate bears this out.  Compared to them, the lesbian couple down the street who have lived together for 30 years is not a threat.

Some people are against gay marriage because of their religious beliefs.  To them, I say keep your religious beliefs to yourself.  Anyone is entitled to believe in whatever god-delusion seems to complement their personal agenda, but what one is NOT entitled to do is inflict their beliefs on their fellow citizens.  Believing in something doesn't make it true, and it doesn't give you the right to dictate to other people what they have to believe.

Fundamentalist Christians would scream like stuck pigs if someone tried to pass a law making them believe in Buddha or the Easter Bunny.  Idiotic brain-dead Tea Baggers howl that Sharia law is being imposed in various parts of the United States.  They would pronounce it an abomination if someone tried to force the teachings of the Qur'an on them, but think it's perfectly okay to force the teachings of the bible on their neighbors.  So much for their "love thy neighbor" crap.

Fundies also like to assert that their bible is the literal word of their god and it contains specific prohibitions against homosexuality.  The book of Leviticus is most frequently cited in this case.  Leviticus also contains a lot of other preposterous nonsense about shellfish and wearing certain fabrics, but the fundies pay no attention to that.  This cherry-picking of what you are (or are not) going to believe from the bible shows the worst kind of selfish intellectual cowardice there is.  Either you believe in the bible completely, 100 percent, or you don't believe it at all.  There is no middle ground with religious faith, especially when you're trying to ram it down other people's throats.

Since I'm just as qualified as anyone else, I'd like to throw out a couple of popular words and phrases which have outlived their usefulness and relevance, assuming they had any to begin with.  So, these are things which shan't be said any longer, thank you very much:

"YOLO" - or "You Only Live Once," a cryptic tag line which is used to justify any manner of unacceptable or obnoxious behavior, under the premise that life is short and we should be allowed to try anything once.  Basically a free pass for stupid behavior that doesn't involve death or widespread destruction, YOLO takes its place next to the execrable "It is what it is," a vile little Mobius-strip of circular anti-logic which is the linguistic equivalent of throwing your hands up in the air and passively surrendering to the idiot gods which rule this life.

"Double down" - or actually, lying again.  This came into prominence during the last presidential election when a Republican made a completely absurd, blatantly untrue statement, and when called on it, merely repeated the same bullshit more emphatically.  It is a consequence of Republican supporters who freely and willingly release themselves from the confines of logical argument - which has been used successfully for thousands of years since the ancient Greeks - and instead embrace the stupidest lies and fabrications imaginable because they sound good to them or at least, on the surface, appear to agree with their agenda.  Repeated endlessly on faux-journalistic crapfests like Fox News or by repulsive mountains of sweaty flab like Rush Limbaugh, Republicans and Tea Baggers discard facts as if they were articles of clothing soiled in a septic tank explosion, and will gleefully endorse any kind of ridiculous claptrap as long as it seems to reinforce their personal prejudices.  As someone once said, "You are entitled to your own opinions, but not entitled to your own facts."

"Fiscal cliff" - Hopefully this is something we won't have to hear about after December 31st of this year.  Completely fabricated, man-made and unencumbered by any form of reality, it is not really a "cliff" but rather a slope or slide.  Come January 1st, 2013, the entire country is not going to plunged into a dark, fearsome recession.  The banking system won't collapse and the internet won't go belly-up.  With no action from our wonderful leaders, taxes will go up and everyone will start screaming poverty, especially the so-called "job creators" (who, by the way, have been really incompetent in creating jobs over the last two years), but the cliff is really a stepping-stone to the next Armageddon-du-jour in modern American life, the debt-ceiling negotiations upcoming in February.   That will be another round of batshit-crazy political posturing and self-flagellation which serves no useful purpose other than to deceive the low-information majority of American citizens into believing that Congress is actually doing something valuable to justify their existence.  Which is the biggest scam of all.

And no, I'm not getting rid of the term, "batshit-crazy."  I still love using it and it's so very appropriate for almost any occasion.