11/25/2014

The Obligatory Blog Post About Michael Brown

This is the obligatory blog post about the grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department on any charges related to his shooting of Michael Brown. It is obligatory because the author feels he has to write about it for himself, not for anyone else.

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author rages about the injustice of the grand jury's decision. He expresses sympathy for the rioters without saying that he himself has never been in a riot. The author gives some sociology of the act of rioting as justifiable protest. He questions the decision to make the announcement at night. He quotes terrible things conservatives said about the decision and the protests after, just as a way to make you, the reader, angrier. However, the author adds that he has more sympathy for Michael Brown's family and friends because, of course, he does.

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author demonstrates that he has spent time reading the testimony given to the grand jury. He points out inconsistencies that appear damning, like that Wilson told a detective that he didn't grab for his mace because he couldn't get to it, but Wilson told the grand jury that he didn't go for his mace because he was afraid it would spray back at him. The author talks about the dehumanizing way that Wilson described Michael Brown, as a "demon" or "grunting," how Michael Brown's size was brought up numerous times, as if the 6'4" 210 lb. Wilson was facing a giant. The author wonders how Wilson could have gone through the thinking he claims he did while he says he was being beaten by Michael Brown. The author bemoans the potential for cops to lie, giving examples of when it has happened before. He informs you that the best way to figure out who is lying is through a trial, not a grand jury proceeding.

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author expands his focus to include many different subjects, like the statistics on grand jury indictments in cases where the police have shot someone versus the statistics on crimes in general. He delves into other cases as points of comparison, like Eric Garner or Kajieme Powell, both killed by cops. The author then quotes Wilson's testimony on how the neighborhood where he shot Michael Brown is "antipolice," and asks if the police are killing people, why would it not be anti?

In the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown, the author talks about racism in the United States, how the unbridled id of the internet allows it to flame like the cars burnt last night in Ferguson. He brings up Fox "news" as an example of the mainstreaming of hate, and then he transitions to the other news networks, demonstrating how their anticipation of the violence that would follow a failure to indict was a kind of bloodsport for ratings. The author gives cursory comments on how President Obama's words last night could have been much stronger.

The obligatory blog post about Michael Brown ends with a call to action and a call to fight. Against what or against whom, the author fails to note.

The author publishes the obligatory blog post about Michael Brown. He posts it with a heavy heart, although he is unsure why, a feeling of impotence overwhelming him. Later on he realizes that it's because, no matter how much he sympathizes with the protesters and with the Browns, he, being white, will never know what they feel. He knows he will never understand what it is like to look at the police and wonder if they are going to make him a target. He will never know that fear, the fear that Michael Brown no doubt had in the back of his mind, followed by the useless yet constant belief that if you resist, if you don't submit to their power, if you fight back, you might win, even though, time and again, we are shown that you won't.

11/24/2014

Republicans Can't Give Up the Benghazi Lust

You can't unfuck yourself. Once you've fucked, you can't go back. You can claim you are a virgin, sure. You can even make some kind of magical pledge to your god, who has nothing better to do than wave his wand, like the Wizard of Oz, and say, "There. You're unfucked." But you know the truth: you've fucked and been fucked. So the best thing you can say is that it was a mistake and hope everyone moves on. Or you could just claim that, despite all evidence to the contrary, you remain unfucked and always have been.

Republicans can't unfuck themselves on how they've used the events of September 11, 2012 at the United States's temporary mission facility in Benghazi, Libya. They have crowed endlessly about how the deaths of four Americans is the product of incompetence, a cover-up, or outright evil. They have come up with conspiracies about why then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice dared to use talking points that were based on incomplete intelligence when she spoke to Sunday talk shows in the aftermath of the attacks. Republicans have been fucking Benghazi for over two years. It hets up the blood of the base over how that nigra president personally ordered the murder of our Libyan ambassador or something. And it makes Hillary Clinton look like she's some kind of America-hating supervillain.

Except report after report has said the whole thing is bullshit, a political game. But, in the wake of the latest report by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, at least we know the rules of the game. They're something like, "Never give up. Never surrender." Truly, with seven reports now saying pretty much the exact same thing - no cover-up, no intelligence failure, nothing beyond a few preventive security fuck-ups that will be corrected - Benghazi is like climate change for Republicans. No matter how many facts are proven, the true believers will never say that reality is real.

This one, released Friday, was an actual bipartisan effort, led by Republicans and the committee's chair, Mike Rogers. You know how everyone supposedly wants a golden age of hand-holding in accomplishing something in DC? This report is it. And it's blissfully clear in taking on all the bullshit that has been flogged by Benghazi-bungling believers. There was no stand down order, no denial of air support, no intelligence failures because there was no intelligence of a specific attack. "The CIA received all military support that was available," it says on page 23. No officers were forced to stay silent or polygraphed. No super-secret CIA activities, including a "no" to Rand Paul's allegation that the CIA was using Libya to ship arms to Syria.

The worst things you can say are that the State Department should have provided more security (always a solid hindsight conclusion) and that the intelligence was such a clusterfuck right after that anyone speaking about the incident was going to get shit wrong. Was Susan Rice supposed to say, "No comment" on the attack? The report says, "In fact, intelligence assessments continue to evolve to this day, and investigations into the motivations of the individual attackers are still ongoing." You got that? We still don't know everything. And, to remind you, that's in a bipartisan report from a committee with a majority of Republicans.

So, of course, in his individual statement on his own committee's report, Mike Rogers keeps the conspiracies going, especially as they relate to Susan Rice and the State Department because, well, as you can read above, you can't unfuck yourself. So he blames the Obama administration for not providing enough security (the budget for which was cut by the Republicans in Congress) and for having a "failed" foreign policy (although you might want to check the scorecard on dead Americans in Libya with Reagan). Sure, Rogers says, all that shit we said you did is demonstrably false, as my committee's report shows, but, fuck it, "there is responsibility for the tragedy," which somehow involves telling David Gregory what you were told happened.

The report prompted the Senate's prettiest debutante, Lindsey Graham, to go full Scarlett on CNN yesterday. Calling the report "full of crap" and "garbage" and "a lousy job" by the House committee, he said that everyone is being lied to by the CIA, that people were told to stand down, and that Susan Rice and those talking points are the gravest threat to the nation since the Great Taffeta Shortage of 1985. Graham added (and if you believe certain things about Graham's personal life, you will be delighted), "If the things I'm saying about this episode fail to bear fruit, it will blow up in my face. But I know Benghazi pretty well. And I can tell you that the people who have been looking at Benghazi in a stovepipe fashion have not come up with what I think is a reasonable explanation for all the shenanigans and the lack of being prepared on 9/11."

Don't worry, dear, sweet Graham and all the conspiracy theorists. There is still another report to come from the House Select Committee on Benghazi. You don't have to worry about unfucking yourselves until that one clears the Obama administration, too.

11/21/2014

Things That Wouldn't and Won't Happen in the Wake of President Obama's Immigration Action

Last night, President Barack Obama announced a compassionate, legitimate executive action for undocumented immigrants in the United States. Predictably, as happens when any politician acts to take care of the poor and disempowered, Republicans lost their fucking minds or were just lost and confused, predicting all sorts of doom for the future for Obama. Please, bitches. Stop being such obvious liars.

1. Republicans were never going to pass immigration reform. It wasn't going to happen. They had a chance to pass the Senate bill, which had megabucks for "border security," but House Speaker John Boehner, fearing the base of his party, wasn't ever going to vote on it, nor a future bill unless it's a bullshit, worthless one.

2. On NPR yesterday, Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, made all kinds of possible threats. Again, fucking please. Cole said that Republicans, when they run the Senate, might not approve of any of Obama's nominees for anything. Motherfucker, Republicans blocked most of that when they were the minority. What do you think was gonna happen now? They were never gonna approve shit.

3. South Carolina's Jeff Duncan said that the Republicans could force Obama to veto spending bills (and somehow convince people that Obama shutdown the government). If immigration was not an issue, Republicans would threaten a shutdown over something else. It's not your regular tactic.

4. Texas Senator John Cornyn said that Obama "poisoned the well" for cooperation. Man, you bastards poured arsenic into that thing in 2009.  Stop acting like your best buddy betrayed you. Stop acting like, if Obama hadn't done this, it was gonna be two years of grab-ass and giggles between the President and Congress.

5. As far as what won't happen, the House might impeach Obama, sure. But they won't get him out of office. You're not gonna arrest him, and you're not gonna successfully sue him. What the GOP is gonna do is figure out how the hell to save face with Latinos while keeping the crazies who vote in the primaries satisfied. So that probably means huffing and puffing and not doing a goddamn thing.

6. By the way, as far as prosecutorial discretion goes, most Republicans sure weren't upset when the Justice Department didn't pursue charges against Wall Street investors and bankers who nearly tanked the economy. That was fucking amnesty. This is a simple, humane act. It's not being dicks, something the right just can't imagine.

11/20/2014

Who Cares How Much You Love Bill Cosby?: An Exorcism

If the Rude Pundit could write a letter to anyone who still defends Bill Cosby, it would go like this:

"Dear Friends of Cosby,

"In my apartment somewhere are two scratched up, worn out copies of two of Bill Cosby's earliest comedy albums, Bill Cosby...Right! and Why Is There Air?, purchased when they first came out by my father. When I was a kid, I listened to those endlessly. I could still to this day recite large chunks of 'Hofstra,' Cosby's routine about the weak men from his school, Temple, being destroyed by the big, dangerous men from Hofstra on the football field. Cosby's comedy, not his generic TV shows, not his crappy movies, his comedy was as influential in the development of my humor - no, my thinking - as any person who I didn't call 'Dad' or 'Mom.'

"Fuck Cosby. Fuck him hard.

"I know you want to defend him. I know you want to join with Whoopi Goldberg or Rush Limbaugh or any of the people who are begging that their beloved Cos, their Fat Albert progenitor, their surrogate TV father not be a serial rapist. Who gives a shit about your feelings? Who gives a shit about mine? The only people who matter here are Cosby and his alleged victims, now numbering at least 15, all with disgustingly similar stories, the MO of someone who knew exactly what he was doing.

"You say you can't possibly think about him in that way? That, for some reason, he might not be capable? Let me give you another way to think about the man:

"Bill Cosby invited your mother back to his room. It's possible. Many of these allegations are from a generation or two ago. Bill Cosby invited your mother back to his room at a hotel and, because, hell, this was Bill Cosby, your mother went. In his room, Bill Cosby offered your mother a drink. Your mother said, 'Sure,' and Bill Cosby mixed something at his bar while your mother sat down on the couch. Bill Cosby handed your mother the drink, which she thanked him for. While Bill Cosby watched, your mother downed the drink. Then your mother passed out in front of Bill Cosby. Bill Cosby picked your mother up and put her in the bed. Bill Cosby undressed your mother. Your mother woke up and tried to tell him to stop, but she was too drugged to do much more than weakly resist. Bill Cosby held your mother down, pulled down his pants, took his erect cock, and fucked her, even as she told him not to. Bill Cosby got off on that, on the struggle. When he was done, Bill Cosby pulled his pants on and left your mother naked on the bed with Bill Cosby's semen dripping between her legs. When she got up and left, your mother, who was very young at the time, who was living in the 1960s or 1970s, when many rapes were treated like they were part of a sexy game or what sluts deserved (times haven't changed that much), decided that there was no way she could possibly accuse the great Bill Cosby of having raped her.

"If you read that, I want that every time you think of Bill Cosby, you think of your mother being fucked by him. I want you to think about what your mother would have thought as she realized what was happening. I want you to think about your mother grappling with the actions and with the consequences. I want you to think about it because, if even one of these women is telling the truth - and, you know, one or two, maybe not, but 15? C'mon - that's what Bill Cosby did.

"Yes, you can make the argument that someone is innocent until proven guilty. And, legally, that's true. But we're not in court. And you can either believe that fifteen women are deranged liars or that Bill Cosby is a rapist. You can either believe that these allegations, which were first made over a decade ago and were mostly forgotten, are true or you can believe that fifteen women want to defame America's Pudding-Pop-pushing, Kids-Say-the-Darndest-Things hosting, sweater-wearing uber-Dad, who had to bury his own murdered son, for kicks and a bit of cash.  Who you choose says something about you, not the women.

"At this point, Cosby's got only a few options left. He could sue someone. Perhaps the women. Perhaps Hannibal Buress. If everyone is lying, he needs to sue someone. Celebrities do that all the time when someone tells lies about them. The easiest thing would be for him to go away. For good. You'll be okay without him. You didn't even know he was still around until the last few months. Unless there is someone more recent, he won't be prosecuted. Bill Cosby could just go away.

"And, yeah, he would have gotten away with it, for so very many fucked-up reasons. But the one that's making you who defend Cosby queasy is the one that those of us who say, 'Fuck Bill Cosby' already had to deal with. It's because you feel complicit. You watched him as it happened. You loved him as it happened. You laughed at his jokes as it happened. You bought his Kodak film, his sweets, his books, his recordings. God, it sucks for you, doesn't it? Fuck you.

"Chances are Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. That's a tragedy. Not for you. Not for Bill Cosby. Not for comedy. Not for America. But for the women he raped."

"Most sincerely,

"The Rude Pundit"

11/19/2014

Republican Ethics: Teach Someone to Fish, Then Fuck 'Em

It's really one of the dumbest, most meaningless things anyone can say and other dumbasses will think it profound: "Give someone a fish, and they’ll eat for a day. Teach them to fish, they’ll eat for a lifetime." What the fuck? How is this still a thing people say? Because, see, as the Rude Pundit has explained before, how is that poor bastard going to fish without a fishing pole, a line, perhaps a net, and, in most places, a license? Are you sure that this newly-minted fisherman is living near a body of water that has edible fish? And, while he's getting all that shit straight, what the fuck is he gonna eat? The knowledge you gave him? You're just setting someone up to starve to death, but you can pat yourself on the back and tell yourself, "Goddamn, I'm a good person 'cause I taught a dude to fish."

The asshole who repeated the parable of the damned is Governor Mike Pence of the stinking hellscape of Indiana. Pence was speaking to Fox "news" special needs hire, Brian Kilmeade, whose form of mental disability makes him lick the assholes of the cruelest Republicans while spitting his shit-flecked saliva at anyone who has compassion for the poor.

See, Pence wants to reinstate work requirements for childless, able-bodied food stamp recipients that had been waived during the recession. Now that everything is so hunky-dory with job hiring in Indiana, according to Pence, it's time to put the work rules back into place and kick up to 65,000 freeloaders off the dole. Never mind that some areas have recovered more than others. Never mind that job training programs - you know, teaching someone to fish - are in limited supply. Never mind that, nationally, there's 2 people for every job available. Never mind the number of people who aren't in the unemployment figures who because they gave up looking for work.

(By the way, shouldn't Pence and other governors refusing to extend the waiver be thanking President Obama for the economy improving to the point that they can feel free to do so? Huh. Funny how that works.)

If this isn't dickish enough, Pence offered this non-angling explanation for the good he's doing: "I’m someone that believes there’s nothing more ennobling to a person than a job...And to make sure that able-bodied adults without dependents at home know that here in the state of Indiana, we want to partner with them in their success." He's a mensch, that Pence. He wants to ennoble you by starving you unless you get a job. If you're someone in Gary, Indiana, and you have to beg for scraps from your neighbors because the city itself doesn't have enough jobs, you will be ennobled. Oh, and if you make more than $15,170 at this job? Fuck you. You get dick in food stamps. Eat shit and go ennoble yourself.

The issue here is not just the employment rules for recipients of benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. It's the continued abject cruelty of conservative ideology. Cutting people off food stamps? Wanting to eliminate the minimum wage? Motherfuckers, we tried all this. We have a fuckload of evidence that the cruel approach fails. It's called "Almost All of Human History." What happens when that childless, able-bodied person can't eat? She'll go to charities that are already stretched thin. She might beg. She might lose her home paying for food so that she can have the strength to look for a job. This is not overstatement. This is what has happened and what will happen.

Tell you what, welfare reform lovers. If the government steps up and gives jobs to people who can't find ones in the private sector, you can go right ahead. Let's invest in some big damn infrastructure projects that need workers. Pence says he wants to teach people to fish. Well, paying them to fish for all of us seems awfully fucking fair.

Oh, right. Government employees don't "produce" anything.  Well, some definitely produce bullshit.

11/18/2014

Random Observations on the Push to a Vote on the Keystone XL Pipeline

1. Fuck you, Canada. (Or maybe just certain areas of Alberta.)

2. Someone at The Daily Caller (motto: "Twisting news stories like they're bowties under Tucker Carlson's fifth chin"), Michael Bastard or something, must have thought he was oh-so-very-clever for writing this: "Environmentalists argue that Keystone will harm the environment and contribute to global warming. So they bundled up to withstand the frigid blast of Arctic weather and protest against Democrats who have pledged to vote in favor of legislation approving the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline." Oh, dude, fuckin' burn. You made those protesters and their "science" look totally gay. You were able to ignore that we just finished the hottest October on record and focus in on a single couple of days of admittedly weird-ass weather to fuck some shit up, bro. You can have an evening with the office blow-up doll all to yourself as a reward. Treat her nasty. Who are we kidding? Of course you will.

3. In his continuing effort to show that he can still go to the Cato Institute Christmas Party, New York Times columnist David Brooks says so many demonstrably false, naive, or shitty things in today's "column" (if by "column," you mean, "A deep huff of a bottle containing Reagan's filthy underwear") that it's impossible to know where to start. Is it that he uses the debate over the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline as a way to bash Barack Obama for being too "partisan" while ignoring the incredibly partisan bludgeoning done by Republicans with the pipeline in the election two weeks ago? Or maybe it's this quote: "The economic impact isn’t huge, but at least there’d be a $5.3 billion infrastructure project"? No, it's not a fucking infrastructure project. It's a pipeline for TransCanada's tar sands oil from Alberta. It'll be paid for by the company, not the American taxpayers, so it's not for the public. It'll create a total of 35-50 permanent jobs. It might poison an aquifer. It is most definitely not infrastructure, generally defined as "shit we need," not "shit a big-ass corporation needs to squirt out a few more drops of profit." So, yeah, Brooks can sit on this pipeline and rotate.

4. Everyone doing political calculations on this is wrong. Its passage would not save Mary Landrieu in Louisiana because, symbolic though it might be, it ain't gonna do shit for Louisiana and Landrieu is done. The GOP in Congress wouldn't take Obama's support as a sign of cooperation. They'd just crow how they defeated the President. Oh, and it won't lower gas prices one fucking cent. So what's the point?

5. There is an argument to be made that goes like this: "Oh, fuck it. It's not gonna add much to climate change anyway. Use it as a bargaining chip for something else." An even more cynical version might be: "Oh, fuck it. We're fucked already on the climate. What does it matter?" It's easy to fall into those moral dead zones. Instead, the Rude Pundit thinks, "How about giving a win to the people who are trying to save the fucking earth, huh? How about giving them a boost, a way of saying that we actually do give a happy monkey fuck what happens to the globe?" This ain't just a climate change argument. There's very real and present danger to the water supply that irrigates huge swaths of farmland and provides the drinking water for the Sioux Indians in South Dakota.

6. One more argument for blocking its passage: Fuck the GOP on this. They have made "Keystone XL" some kind of imbecile's shorthand for "Obama hates oil," which Obama quite clearly does not. So fuck them, along with Canada.

7. One twist: What if Obama agreed to the pipeline in a bill that also reduced carbon emissions in an enforceable way? How much does this mean to you, Republican motherfuckers? Yeah, thought so. David Brooks would end up shoving his head so far up his own ass to justify Republican refusal to bargain that he'd be able to eat his own heart.

Helping Out Jessica's Family

Many of you were moved by the story of Jessica, my former student who died this weekend, to ask where you can donate money help her family pay her debts and for her funeral.

Her brother has set up a Go Fund Me page for her. He tells a fuller story of his sister's life and gives more details about what happened at the end, including why the page is even necessary.

Her story is an object lesson in how the inhumanity of our politics affects actual humans.

Don't worry. Later today, I'll return to your regularly scheduled rudeness. But, in this case, you don't need obscenities to say something is obscene.

11/17/2014

The Rude Pundit on Today's Stephanie Miller Show

"It was a roller coaster of emotions," said the Rude Pundit's pal about today's weekly talk orgy with Stephanie Miller on her radio/internet show. So cry, laugh, and let your nipples get hard:



Oh, and the Rude Pundit is giving serious thought to the audiotour idea. Listen in to find out what that means.

A Letter from a Dead Woman

On Friday, I told you about Jessica, my former student who was dying. She had been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer that had spread to her uterus. The treatment came late because it was just in the last year that she had health insurance for the first time in her adult life. She smoked, so that no doubt contributed to her condition, but many people smoke and many of them do not die at 43 of lung cancer because they couldn't see a doctor until it was too late. Jessica passed away yesterday afternoon.

I bring up Jessica again not to merely update you about her end. Last week, one of her closest friends sent me an email that Jessica had written in June 2010. It offers a picture of what it's like to be working paycheck to paycheck and not able to get medical care until it's too late, as well as the long-term cost of even doing that. You want to know just how cruel this nation can be towards the working poor? Let's hear from Jessica, who was writing to explain why she would not be able to attend her friend's wedding:

"As it turns out, my body made my decision for me, and I am taking it as a sign of hope and rejuvenation. I am fine now, but last week I had a sore throat. I didn't think much of it, since there weren't any accompanying symptoms (except exhaustion, which I'm used to). So I drank tea and used echinacea drops, etc. and slept a lot. Monday, I lost my voice and called out from my night shift to rest. That night it became difficult to swallow, and the nodes in my neck became enlarged and very hard, very quickly. Tuesday morning I went to my doctor and she sent me immediately to the Emergency Room. Turns out I had an abscessed strep infection that pushed my uvula into a position that blocked my airwaves. Very scary. They treated me with steroid & antibiotic drip and, thank God, it worked because they were preparing me for emergency surgery to drain the abscess, which I hear is not a fun procedure. I was discharged last night around midnight, and aced my follow-up appointment today with flying colors.

"I have energy and am not in any pain or discomfort, and my fever broke last night. However, I was put on home-rest until Monday, which means I will have missed a good 55 hours of work, total. Sometimes we have to be at our lowest in order to push past certain hurdles, and, while missing work will be an additional hardship, I am actually looking forward to the time to take care of other essential needs in my life, so its a mixed blessing. I have a positive outlook and am grateful that I received such good care in the hospital; although, as sick as I was I was rather horrified that there were so many sick people and very few beds, or rooms to put them in. I was in a chair in the hallway for a few hours before they got me a cubby/room and that was only after a team of doctors flipped shit because my (beautiful) attending doctor demanded that I receive immediate attention & I started to pass out a little.

"I became a teaching tool as the Head of the ED brought by another group of attending doctors & triage nurses so they knew what to freaking look for--right in the hallway, as people groaning & carrying oxygen tanks, were crammed everywhere! I also had a whipper-snapper of a young, pregnant triage nurse who pushed me through because another gum-snapping beauty would've kept me in the waiting room. Actually, I give all the ED personnel a lot of credit. They were bombarded, and they see all sorts of stuff, including the underbelly of human existence. A sore throat doesn't sound like an emergency when you're filling out a chart. But, those snap decisions are really the difference between life & death in many cases & even though it was hard to speak, never-mind advocate for immediate attention, I showed them the paper saying my doctor sent me, etc. I thought I was being 'dramatic' when I pointed to the paper that said, 'blocked airway' and said, 'Yeah, I think that means difficulty breathing!' Scary stuff. But, as I am fine now, I'm remaining positive and thinking of it all as a blessing.

"Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend your wedding, and I am very sad...

"Please do not feel obligated to respond point by point. I type fast and re-reading this, the only point I want you to take from this is: Everything will be much better soon! No worries! We can discuss the deteriorating state of healthcare in our once great nation at a much later date and fulfill my desire for drama to be kept onstage at a later, but hopefully sooner date. Until then, I am going to scope out your FB page. I can't remember if you set up one of those 'bride blogs' so I can see pictures of your dress, and flowers, etc. Oooooh! Have fun sweetheart!"

I was talking to my pal Neil about Jess on Friday. Neither of us has ever gone without health insurance. We said we couldn't imagine what it must be like, to know you're sick, to know you probably need help, but having to make a calculated decision to let yourself suffer and hope it doesn't get worse because missing work and going to the hospital would screw up your income? That's just alien to me. It's not, even now, for too many Americans.

On TV, recently re-elected Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin actually said of his decision not to allow Medicaid expansion in his state, "Why is more people on Medicaid a good thing? I’d rather find a way, particularly for able-bodied adults without children, I’d like to find a way to get them into the workforce. I think ideologically, that’s a better approach, not just as a conservative, but as an American. Have more people live the American dream if they’re not dependent on the American government."

Jessica was an able-bodied adult without children who worked, at times, two jobs to pay the bills. This was after she had been an able-bodied adult without children who had worked full-time and gone to college full-time. It's great that you want to "get them into the workforce" through some kind of conservative magic, I suppose, although I'm also not sure what your definition of "workforce" is. But how about making sure that those adults stay able-bodied so they might enjoy the imaginary fruits of your mythical workforce? Because, Gov. Walker, your version of things is this: "If you stay healthy, one day we might be able to make it possible for you to have a job that might have health insurance." Walker should have Jessica's cancer shoved down his vile throat.

Conservatives always say that liberals want people to be "dependent" on the government. That's one of their favorite arguments for getting rid of the Affordable Care Act. I thought that, at least in theory, the government is us. It is the means through which we take care of each other; you can think of it as the contractor who makes all those programs we might want to make our lives possible. See, the difference is that liberals want us to depend on us; conservatives want people to depend on them or their corporate masters. We want to make a government that responds to the needs of people. They want to keep people on their knees and convince them they're walking upright. If you really give a damn that people might "live the American dream," you might give them the tools to do so and not just toss them like feathers into the capitalist winds.

The part of Jessica's email that hits hardest is her unending optimism. She always believed things were going to get better, that a corner had been turned, that this job interview would be the one. She spent the last two years of her life living that optimistic, almost never cynical view of the world. She was helping the homeless and the sick. She wanted to give back, even though the world had never given her anything other than the many friends she made along the way.

So we'll be there at her funeral to talk about how sad it all is, how helpless we all were. Are.