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Recipe for Disaster

Recipe for Disaster

So now we can add “Buffalo” and “supermarkets” to the long list of instantly recognizable words associated with mass shooting incidents in America. At this point, I don’t even know how to feel about it. Disgusted? Disillusioned? Distraught? All of the above?

It’s certainly not optimism. Although, at least the Oxford, Michigan School Board came to its senses and is allowing a third-party investigation of their shooting incident (keywords: “Oxford” and “school”). It’s a pretty low bar, but when it comes to gun violence in America, at least it’s something. But is it something we can build on?

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End of School Mask Mandates

End of School Mask Mandates

Nearly two years into this pandemic, I remain mystified at the intense emotions around masks.

I mean, I get that people in general do not like to be told what to do, and when something is added that was previously not on the list, pushback is inevitable. It is somewhat comforting to know that 100 years ago there was over-the-top vitriol directed at mask-wearing in the last major flu event.

But it’s also disheartening to realize that we haven’t progressed beyond folks who thought prohibiting alcohol was a workable idea and giving women the right to vote was a difficult decision.

Mask mandates are quickly coming to an end at schools all across Michigan.

The happy news — the news we should all be focusing on — is that the omicron variant is quickly dissipating, which means FEWER infections and FEWER health issues. So there is less need for masks, especially for those who are vaccinated. Huzzah!

Instead, much of the news is framed as a pro- and anti-mask mandate issue. Who won? Who lost? Will this fire up the base? How will this affect the elections? How will we know who to scream at next time we’re at Meijer?

It would be nice someday not to consider public health decisions as some sort of sport REQUIRING US to choose sides. But in the great flu pandemic of 2122, I suspect it will be exactly the same.

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This Is Exhausting!

This Is Exhausting!

Ben Folds’ song “All You Can Eat” is a scathing critique of human behavior, specifically the American variety: 

See that a—— with the peace sign on his license plate?
Giving me the finger and running me out of his lane
God made us number one because he loves us the best
Well he should go bless someone else for a while
Give us a rest

The thing I like best about it is that Folds doesn’t pull any punches. He’s not going after a particular “side” — he’s just listing out his grievances, whether it’s professed peaceniks lapsing into violence or the self-righteous who confuse tribalism with holiness. He’s calling us out on our, um, stuff.

And that’s kind of the theme for this week’s cartoon. This particular example happens to be about the shortage of semiconductor chips that could cause 100,000 less vehicles to be built in North America this year. The same people who extoll the virtues of free market capitalism seem to be the first to demand government intervention. But only if it won’t provide a political advantage to somebody they don’t like.

We all have done stuff like that at one time or another — say one thing, do another. Truly, it can be exhausting.

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Rights and Responsibilities

Rights and Responsibilities

I have a life hack for you. It applies mostly to guys (at least that has been my experience), but I think everybody could find it useful. Here it is: If you are ever in a situation where people are encouraging you to do something by telling you “don’t be a p—-y,” then don’t do it. In other words, never do what they are encouraging you to do. Simple, right? Not following their advice is 100% always the right choice.

Now, there will be instances in life when you’ll be advised to step up, take responsibility, even “be a man.” Sometimes those giving the advice will have your best interests in heart, and you can at least consider taking it. But if they say “don’t be a p—-y,” yeah, they don’t care about you.

Here’s a similar one: People who talk only rights but never responsibilities are better off not being listened to. What they are saying is all about them and nothing about you (or anybody else really).

I didn’t come up with the rights/responsibilities life hack myself. It’s from a podcast I heard recently, but it might as well have been from a high school civics course. Citizens taking care to exercise their rights responsibly is a basic tenant on which democracies depend to function properly. 

Also, don’t drink bleach. That’s another good one.

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Mr Snyder Goes to Washington

Mr Snyder Goes to Washington

Have you ever had to endure an interview for a job you knew that you were not going to get? Or an audition for a part in a show that you were certain was going to go to somebody else? You had absolutely no chance but you were obligated somehow to go through the motions anyway.

That’s how I imagine it was for Governor Snyder when he was in Washington DC recently trying to convince his Republican colleagues to keep the Medicaid expansion of the ACA (Obamacare). In Michigan, that expansion is known as Healthy Michigan, and there are approximately 650,000 Michiganders who depend on it for insurance. The current Republican plan, the ACHA (Trumpcare), would be the end of Healthy Michigan, and Snyder was trying to point out the social, economic, and political costs of doing that. It’s pretty clear nobody had any intention of listening to him.

But points to Governor Snyder. I mean, I’m not letting him off the hook for the Flint Water Crisis (that’s obvious from the cartoon), but I appreciate the effort. It was good to see him sticking up for Michigan citizens, especially some of the more vulnerable. And even if it was all about money, it was still good to see him playing what used to be a traditional Republican role — defending the option that makes the best economic sense.

It may have been all an exercise in futility, but there are worse fates. I’d much rather be Rick Snyder as a voice nobody is hearing than Paul Ryan as a voice nobody is believing.

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