Kate's Queen City Notes

Blundering through Cincinnati, laughing all the way


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What Does The Fox Say?

I have been at the gym in the mornings watching CNN and Fox side by side. Boy. Is that illuminating. We don’t understand each other, because we are literally living on two different information planets. Skip to the bottom for a summary. 🙂
 
Here’s what CNN was talking about yesterday morning.
-The CBO’s findings on the Trumpcare and features of the bill.
This will will effect most Americans, and it is rightly taking up 20 min of the 7am hour.
-The intelligence community announcing they have no evidence of 45’s claims on being wire tapped.
A sitting president has accused our past president of illegal activity. Seems that is rightly taking up the 7am hour.
 
Here’s what FOX covered the same morning.
-A full fifteen minutes was spent interviewing a man whose wife died in a car accident with an illegal immigrant.
Without question, this is sad, but by having this at 730am for fifteen minutes it implies it is one of the most important things that has happened today for everyone in the US rather than a very very sad thing that happened to one man. It also implies that most motor vehicle related deaths are due to illegal immigrants. Spoiler, they are not.
-Allegations that HRC’s people had contact with Russians
I assume they covered this to avoid everything RE 45. Except, again, spending 10 minutes on this at 730am implies this one of the most important things happening today. But who has more power to impact every American, a sitting president or a citizen who is holding no office?
-Obamacare’s inventor complains about Trumpcare.
I think they covered this to avoid the CBO’s release. This man’s complaints were consistent of what I have heard from multiple sources, but by having these words come from *gasp* a filthy Obama cohort lots of Foxers can just dismiss everything he says as biased.
-The deficit. PBS was mentioned and it was said in a way that implies that if PBS is de-funded it would resolve the deficit.
Spoiler, not even close. They failed to mention anything about how 45 is gonna pay for his wall, the additional ICE agents, or his extra 60 billion to defense. I assume this too is to combat the negative feedback about Trumpcare. And in a number of online conversations conservatives are suddenly talking about the deficit, and that we need to cut Meals on Wheels because the deficit. Except Meals on Wheels is like a fraction of a percent of the deficit… As is PBS. If cutting the deficit is the goal then either medicare, medicaid or defense has to be cut or probably all. Or we raise taxes. But you would never know it watching Fox because their discussion didn’t show the discretionary or non-discretionary budgets. Not once. Seriously that pie chart is everywhere, but they don’t want their people seeing that.
 
TLDR Summary: If all you watch is Fox News you think illegal immigrants driving cars are your greatest bodily threat. HRC colluded with Russians too so it’s cool. Obamacare people say things about Trumpcare no conservative cares about. The deficit will destroy us but we can fix it by taking away PBS. If you watch CNN you know the numbers the CBO came out with and that 45 doesn’t have wire tapping evidence. NOTE: I think part of this is because Fox considers their AM programming commentary and not actual news. But how is that obvious to anyone? It all looks like talking heads.


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100 Books While 40: THE GIVER

Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Published: 1996

The summary for this book is ignorance is bliss. And if you find ambiguous endings insufferable don’t read it. Most of the population in this diytopian future community is blind to history and blind to differences. They cannot see color, and they are not allowed to make choices. 

The benefit of not experiencing differences or making choices is the inability to make a bad decision. There is no bad choice when there is no choices to be made. The culture has fully normalized killing unsuitable babies and old people. But really the same point could be made with brown people or those with minority religious views. 

There is one keeper of history and knowledge of difference and he selects a young boy to take over for him. The boy questions the way things have always been leading the keeper to reconsider his own part in the transfer of knowledge. 

Life is in the choosing. Making the choice is more important than if the choice was right or wrong. Knowledge can be hard to live with. When injustice is shown to me I feel compelled to act against it. The exhausting aspect of that is that there is so much of it in this world.


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100 Books While 40: THE SUN ALSO RISES

Title: The Sun Also Rises
Author: Ernest Hemingway
Published: 1926

It is ok to have feelings if you are always drunk while fishing or watching bull fighting. I guess it is manly to feel but only when you do incredibly manly things like watching bulls gore a horse to death. Where I a man, I would not find this reassuring.

Once you have seen the carnage that was WWI, I imagine it difficult to get excited doing your desk job. What is the point after you have seen how indiscriminately lives are destroyed? It would be difficult to come to any other conclusion than this one: the only thing that matters is that you enjoy your moments. Apart from that, we are promised nothing.

When I think about life through this lens, I know exactly why Hemingway lived as he did. He took joy from the things that he could. He wrote because he enjoyed the struggle. He drank, watched bullfights, and traveled because these things brought him pleasure. The end.

Maybe it’s hubris that makes many of us think there is anything else. That we agonize about meaning, or strive to build businesses or homes, are all folly unless we take joy from the effort itself. Investing in the future at the expense of the now, assumes something. It assumes that life is fair.

These moments of reorientation happen for me periodically. There is a paradigm shift, and then I struggle to make sense of the implications of it. If I had to summarize 2016 it would be thus. What I perceived as indulgent, incorrect actions resulted in excellent outcomes. What I perceived as the hard, correct actions resulted in horrible outcomes. Maybe I need to take up bullfighting and smoke more cigars.


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Out West

We spent Thanksgiving in Denver visiting Jeannine’s brother and his family. We ate. We hiked. We ate some more. We experienced flight delays on Frontier, which seems the norm. 

I am still having nightmares about going into hiding. But here’s these pictures. Who knows how long I have this ability.

Frozen Bear Lake

Bear Lake is in Rocky Mountain National Park. I joked it will be the sight of the next Trump hotel. For a mere 2000 dollars you can play golf there. It will be great.

Bear Lake in Colorado

We climbed some rocks there, and it was great.

Falcon Mountain

This is on the trail up to the top of Falcon Mountain. I don’t know it it looks like a falcon or was home to many falcons. Or none of the above.

John Brisben Walker house ruins

John Brisben Walker built a 10 bedroom stone chalet there. It burned in a fire, and he said fuck it I am out.

John Brisben Walker house ruins

It was super cool to wander the ruins. Apparently the fire places needed to be brick and not stone. Also, the brick aged better.

John Brisben Walker house ruins

That fence is hampering my freedom to casually destroy the ruins. Don’t tread on me fence!


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100 Books while 40:THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS

Title: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Author: Rebecca Skloot
Published: 2010

Who is entitled to our genetic material? If my cells enable a drug company to create a profit generating drug should I get some of the proceeds? As the laws are today, I couldn’t. Sharing the profits with me would cause drug companies to stop making drugs, or so they say. That last sentence is so absurd I laughed a little while typing it. 

Henrietta Lacks signed off on giving her cancerous cervical cells to research. Years later her cells have been reproduced enough to encircle the world. They were used in developing several cancer treatments. In essence these cells were the precursor to billions of dollars of medical services and treatments. Meanwhile Henrietta’s children and grandchildren cannot afford healthcare.

Something is deeply wrong with this. Although I am not of the opinion that The Lacks family should be millionaires off their mom’s genetic material, it does feel unjust that her children cannot afford the treatments that their mother enabled. At the core of this book is the conflict inherent in capitalism as our caretaker.

We are engaging with a set of economic causes and effects, all the while pretending there is some morality to it. There’s nothing moral in supply and demand, it is better a display of amoral power. Those that have can extort those that do not to greatest degree possible. And when they do so we consider that “good” business. 

If we question the outcomes of this blind system, we are always scolded with the dramic choice between no healthcare and a more equitable system or healthcare for the wealthy. This either/or proposition has been demonstrated as false by Britain’s NHS and Canada’s healthcare. But we still believe that to control morally bankrupt capitalist forces in our healthcare is to handover our decisions to a soulless government minion. But a profit-seeking insurance agent is just peachy.

Lifting this rock a bit more reveals our unspoken, toxic adoration of wealth as being synonymous with right and good, and poverty being only a moral failing rather than a systemic feature of capitalism. Most of the rich people I know have overcome less barriers than the poor people I know. If what we really value is hard work, my time waiting tables should have been better than my time spent in my cushioned office chair directing project meetings. But that isn’t what my pay says. 

Meanwhile I will enjoy my yearly checkup in a few weeks. I will get my teeth cleaned with no out of pocket expenses. And I will think about a those years waiting tables with no healthcare. And I will consider that I must have become more morally good since then.


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100 Books While 40: DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL

Title: Diary of a Young Girl
Author: Anne Frank
Published: 1952

I always wondered why my fundamentalist school didn’t have us read this book. Now I know.

I already had these kinds of feelings subconsciously before I came here, because I remember that once when I slept with a girl friend I had a strong desire to kiss her, and that I did do so. I could not help being terribly inquisitive over her body, for she had always kept it hidden from me. I asked her whether, as proof of our friendship, we should feel one another’s breasts, but she refused. I go into ecstasies every time I see the naked figure of a woman, such as Venus, for example. It strikes me as so wonderful and exquisite that I have difficulty in stopping the tears rolling down my cheeks. If only I had a girl friend. 

Anne Frank in The Diary of a Young Girl

It would be unacceptable to normalize same-sex attraction. More darkly, the strict obedience that’s enforced in fundamentalist communities is authoritarian in nature. Further the Jews are pagans just as much as Satanists, so fostering empathy for their marginalization and mass murder doesn’t serve their interests.

Anne Frank shares her deepest struggles to embrace true connection and to assert her independence from her parents all the while hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. Her immediate family shares a set of hidden rooms in a warehouse with a few others for over two years. It’s after D Day when they are discovered, and unfortunately only Anne’s father survives their internment. Her last entry she shares her choice to believe in the goodness inherent in us all in spite of her keen understanding of the atrocities she’s attempting to escape. And then. Silence. 

We have been pointedly reminded that we are in hiding, that we are Jews in chains, chained to one spot, without any rights, but with a thousand duties. We Jews mustn’t show our feelings, must be brave and strong, must accept all inconveniences and not grumble, must do what is within our power and trust in God. Sometime this terrible war will be over. Surely the time will come when we are people again, and not just Jews. 

Anne Frank in The Diary of a Young Girl

Are we any better now? Are homosexuals people? Are Muslims people? Our vice-president elect attempted to redirect funding to treat AIDS patients towards conversion therapy, including shock treatment, to make gay people straight. Our president seeks to prevent Muslims from immigrating to the US. He has promised to register them, the first step that Hitler took in his campaign to eradicate The Jews. Are we any different now? 

I don’t believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone, are guilty of the war. Oh no, the little man is just as guilty, otherwise the peoples of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There’s in people simply an urge to destroy, an urge to kill, to murder and rage, and until mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated, and grown will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.

Oh, it is sad, very sad, that once more, for the umpteenth time, the old truth is confirmed: “What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Jew does is thrown back at all Jews.”

Anne Frank in The Diary of a Young Girl

It is enraging and comforting to know that this false narrative persists: when someone from the majority commits horrible acts it is only a reflection of himself while when a minority commits horrible acts it represents all that is wrong with the entire minority population. This false generalization has been with us for ages. Resisting it is an old struggle. But that it still persists suggests I will die with it continuing to hold power.

History is sitting here telling us everything we need to know. The power hungry among us will continue to flatter and build resentment. And like those before us we will foolishly listen.

Stealing value from one life steals value from us all.