Kirsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, the two ‘Democratic’ senators who have done everything within their power to undermine the Biden administration’s agenda and the will of the majority of the American people, are once again telling us we can all go fuck ourselves.
Instead of doing everything they can to uphold a woman’s right to abortion, they again choose to uphold the filibuster, the means by which the Southern segregationists could prevent any type of civil rights legislation from passing. Isn’t it ironic that this most unusual circumstance of taking away a right will disproportionately affect women of color and those without the means to travel to the states who actually care about the health and wellbeing of their residents with uteri?
I don’t know who is paying Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema to repeatedly refuse to do the right thing for the American people. I hope that whatever they are being paid for this abandonment of their duties to represent their constituents’ best interests is worth it.
Joe Manchin in particular has spent his entire time in the Senate as a giant conflict of interest. His coal company makes his refusal to enact any reasonable climate legislation blatantly self-serving, while the citizens of West Virginia, listed as the 47th out of the 50 states in terms of health care, 45th in education, 48th in the economy and dead last in infrastructure, are denied the benefits that Manchin doesn’t feel they are deserving enough of to vote for them. He instead thinks that his constituents are all drug addicts, spending their child tax credits to get high. He holds his fellow West Virginians in very low regard.
In fact, Manchin and Sinema’s refusal to eliminate the filibuster for Biden’s Build Back Better agenda further shows both their distain for the value of women and the things that women need for their lives. Much of the BBB included the biggest investment in the care industry in history, most of which would have benefitted the women in the country to whom these care activities inevitably fall. Child care, elder care, universal pre-school and the child tax credits helped raise millions of children and their families out of poverty, yet neither of these senators could find it within themselves to eliminate the filibuster in order to let the majority, voted in by the people, do what they people want them to.
Arizona is poised, upon the overturning of Roe, to ban most abortions after 15 weeks without any exceptions for rape or incest only to save the woman’s life; providers could face up to five years in prison. Kirsten Sinema thinks that this is just fine for Arizona’s women.
West Virginia recently passed a law outlawing abortion because the fetus may develop a disability, meaning that anyone who has abnormal genetic testing results would be forced to carry that pregnancy to term. The state is going to make abortion providers ask women if they are having an abortion because the fetus might be disabled, then turn in those women who say that they are. Providers who do not do so could be subject to losing their licenses to practice medicine. Joe Manchin wants his constituents to be forced to give birth to babies with disabilities in a state that is at the very bottom of the rankings for healthcare, education and infrastructure, all things that a disabled child and their family needs in abundance. But sure, Joe, uphold the filibuster at the expense of the women and their forced children.
We are at an inflection point that I never thought I’d see again in my lifetime. The Republicans have gerrymandered and schemed successfully to allow them to wield minority tyranny over the majority who voted against them. They have fully given themselves over to the Evangelical White Nationalists they courted for decades, finally allowing them to let their freak flags fly. There is only one thing left for us to do.
Vote like our lives depend upon the results, because, for half the population of our country, they really do. Vote in every election, because it is the state governments who are enacting these state-by-state abortion restrictions. Vote on every election, because they are not going to stop here. They are already attacking marginalized groups, including trans kids who in any one state can be no more than a couple of dozen kids at most. They’ve been doing this because we’ve let them get away with it. No more.
I am a straight White woman, a mother, grandmother, and former nurse. I will not sit idly by while a minority of mostly White, mostly male religious zealots try to force their beliefs on the rest of us.
You cannot sit idly by, either. Because one day they’re going to come for you, too.
In an earlier post, I’ve shared my abortion story.
Without Roe v. Wade, I would not be where I am now, with my two grown children and new grandson Luke.
I would have become a single mother at the age of 16, without a high school diploma or the assistance of the father. He was my boyfriend for months before I became pregnant, but, like most males, deemed the pregnancy and it’s outcome as not his problem or his responsibility.
It is of course obvious that the extremists who have been pushed onto the court by Republicans over the last several decades, especially the last 3, have now reached the critical mass that will allow them to force their theocratic views onto the majority of Americans who DO NOT AGREE WITH THEM.
For years, the Supreme Court (which is neither supreme, nor a court. Discuss.) has gradually pushed this platform to the front. With the Masterpiece Cake case, the Roberts’ court decided that it wasn’t discrimination to refuse to provide your service to a same-sex couple because your magical sky god says its a ‘sin’ versus being none of your fucking business. Apparently, the Roberts’ court has no recollection of the churches that used to say black and whites intermarrying was also a sin.
This is the same “Supreme Court” that is also poised to tell a school district to reinstate a coach who was encouraging his players to join him in prayer on the 50 yard line, although his case claims he was just praying silently alone. That isn’t what it looked like when he brought in the media and local politicians to join him, but maybe it’s just me.
It’s been clear to those of us not under the thrall of right-wing media that there is one fundamental issue that should be driving all of us to the polls, and that is this:
Republicans will not stop until they have rolled back all of it. Contraception, same-sex marriage, interracial marriage, and any other rights that have been explicitly or implicitly enjoyed by all of us until now are under threat by a radicalized, extremist, theocratic Republican party bent on holding and swinging their minority power to squash all dissent & maintain their illegitimate grip on power.
A vote for any Republican is a vote against the rights of women, LGBTQ people and frankly anyone who does not agree with their draconian proposals. If anyone who reads this cares about someone who has or used to have a uterus, you have no excuse for continuing to cast your vote for “low taxes” or “small government” for any candidate with an “R” after their name.
I do not want to live in a country where a small, radicalized and extremist group of unelected, lifetime-appointed ‘judges’ can chose to take away rights that they don’t like because of their religious beliefs. These ‘originalists’ claim their reasoning is based on the fact that the word ‘abortion’ isn’t mentioned in the Constitution, which exposes once again their rank hypocrisy. Automatic weapons aren’t mentioned in their hallowed document, either, but the court said that they were legal anyway.
This is blatant religious misogynism, a dystopian Handmaiden’s Tale of a future where any male can decide to impregnate any female with impunity, forcing rape and incest victims to carry their rapist’s baby to term. They are forcing all people with uteri to suffer the consequences to their bodies that pregnancy causes against their will. Those of us who chose to terminate a pregnancy also chose to avoid those consequences; this outrageous decision by these religious zealots says that their religious dogma holds more sway than the freedom to chose what happens inside our bodies. Ironic, given their refusal to uphold vaccine or mask mandates to protect everyone from a deadly pandemic.
Those of us who can become pregnant should all have the individual liberty to decide when, or even if, we want to be or remain pregnant. This is one of the most important decisions anyone makes for themselves; for these extremist, Catholic judges to impose their religious belief about when they think that life or “personhood” begins is not the American way. We are a country founded on the belief that there is a separation between church and state. With the extremist super-majority placed on the court by Republicans, that separation isn’t just erased, it’s reversed.
Freedom of religion is not the goal for Republicans; their ultimate dream is to force their Christian White nationalism on all of us. While the population as a whole has grown less religious, with the majority choosing “None” when asked their religion, the Christian White nationalist part of the Republican party continues to shove their beliefs down the throats of the rest of us.
We need to fight back for freedom from religion. It is imperative that we do whatever we must to put into office people who are professed to be atheists or agnostics, without any religious affiliation at all. It is too easy for those who profess to be religious to use that religiosity as a shield they can later claim prove that the liberties they’re trying to claw back from millions of Americans are just ‘moral issues’ or ‘not mentioned in the Constitution”. What they are, to be honest, is full of shit.
Justices Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Coney Barrett should be impeached and removed from the court for lying during their confirmation hearings about ‘stare decisis’ and ‘Supreme Court Precedent’ as something that they respected and would abide by. Thomas should be impeached for refusing to recuse himself from January 6 cases that he knew his wife could be entangled with. And Alito is another example of why there needs to be term limits in the Supreme Court.
All of us who acknowledge that the overturning of Roe is an absolutist stance against the bodily autonomy and liberty of every person with a uteri and those who love them to decide their future. Therefore, it’s mandatory to remind everyone we know who plans to vote for a Republican that their vote supports the destruction of our democracy and the subjugation of women into forced pregnancy and motherhood.
George Carlin, whose death I still mourn a little, had a bit back in the day about the “preborn”, and how the religious right was so very worried about the lives of the preborn right up until they take their first breath. After that, “you’re on your own”. That’s still the case – no Republican will vote for anything to help support these babies or their mothers – not child care, SNAP benefits, or anything else that could help those without the means to raise their children.
They prefer to force them to have the children, then watch them all suffer. Apparently, the cruelty really is the point.
If your birth control fails, that’s your problem. If you’re a teen without the maturity, financial support or life skills to successfully raise a child, well, maybe you should have thought about that before you opened your legs. If you’re a single mom who’s barely able to provide for your already born children, well, I guess you should have considered that before your new boyfriend ‘stealthed’ you against your wishes and without your consent, impregnating you against your will. If you went to a party and had too much to drink, then discovered after the fact that you were raped, well, get used to the fact that you’re going to have a baby.
We have so much to do to fix this, and it’s going to take way more time than people are often willing to invest; we didn’t get here overnight. In order to bring our government and the Supreme Court to heel, we have to vote all Republicans in all elections out of office. Their party has become an extremist organization determined to impose their White Christian nationalism on the entire country, and the only option we have left is to eliminate them from politics and power.
Only after there is no longer any ability for the minority to continue to force their beliefs onto the majority of Americans can we hope to move our society forward in a way that benefits all of us, not just the few at the top who cling to power corruptly. Then, we may have the opportunity to right all that is wrong to move forward with a ‘more perfect union’.
If not, we will descend into something we will not recognize, with a resulting anarchy not seen in our lifetimes. This must not stand.
It is impossible to comprehend why Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema believe that keeping the filibuster, designed specifically to prevent Black Americans from being treated equally, is more important than preserving our democracy itself.
Their claims that the filibuster somehow fosters bipartisanship are based on fantasies, or distant memories of what once was but is no more. Since 2008, the Republican Party (while providing almost no legislation that benefits the many rather than the few) has made it nearly impossible for Democrats elected by the majority to follow through on the mandates that those elections had given them to do the peoples’ work. Moscow Mitch has said repeatedly in public that his “Number one goal is to block the Democrats’ agenda”.
Joe’s and Kyrsten’s continued insistence that bipartisanship is made better by keeping the filibuster makes me wonder if they’re on drugs – or maybe they’re both suffering from some type of dementia or delirium – because the Republicans have made it clear they no longer have any interest in preserving our democracy as we have always known it to be, and have no intention of doing anything that will reflect well on the Biden administration.
Not only have Republicans lost all interest in actually governing or legislating for the good of the country or the people within, they are now hellbent on returning to power BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, including by extreme gerrymandering and passing laws giving them the ability to overrule the voters if they lose. Republicans in 43 states are passing voter suppression laws specifically targeting voters of color and those in areas known to vote Democratic.
Despite Biden winning the election, most elected Republicans continue to spread lies about the 2020 election results in order to undermine our entire election system and enable states led by Republicans to steal future elections. Those few willing to speak the truth are being pushed out of the party (although many like Liz Cheney continue to insist they still support the Republican Party and “election integrity”), and the new ones coming in to take the place of those leaving the party are more extreme and even less likely than McConnell to “reach across the aisle”. People of the caliber of Marjorie Taylor Green or Lauren Boebert have no interest in anything other than spreading their conspiracy theories and increasing their visibility on social media.
Joe Manchin has capitulated to the Kochs, insisting that preventing Republican-led legislatures from passing voter suppression laws and election rigging is “partisan” because there are no Senate Republicans who will vote for it. To call this circular reasoning gives circles a bad name; NO bill will get Republican support if it is in any way going to derail their states’ plans to prevent “urban” voters from having their voices heard. Kyrsten Sinema, with her misplaced belief in allowing the minority to obstruct everything seems, frankly, clueless, and needs simply to be voted out of office and replaced by someone with some common sense and a realistic view of what is actually going on in this country.
These two are providing cover for other Democratic Senators who aren’t ready to do the right thing and eliminate (or at least reform) the filibuster to allow the things that they were elected into office for in the first place; because Sinema and Manchin are so loud and proud in their refusal, the others can hide their acquiescence to that view. They also allow the Republicans, who have no worries that Manchin might in fact be willing to consider something more drastic, to just stonewall everything the Democrats try to do. Then the Republicans can use the lack of progress under the Democrats in their attack ads, benefiting at the ballot box from their complete and utter abdication of their role as representatives of the people.
A review of Joe Manchin’s voting record reveals an old, white man who is against many of the things that Democrats stand for – Medicare for all, background checks for gun purchases, funding for SNAP/food stamps, sanctuary cities. He has voted for Brent Kavanaugh & Neil Gorsuch, Mike Pompeo, Scott Pruitt, Steve Mnuchin, Tom Price, Jeff Sessions & Rex Tiillerson.
Joe Manchin wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post declaring his unrelenting support for the filibuster. A holdover from Reconstruction and Jim Crow, the filibuster has been used by the Republicans not as a means of fostering debate but rather to obstruct almost all the legislation that the Obama administration hoped to enact to help the American people. The Senate, no longer ‘the world’s most deliberative body’, has instead become an example of how the minority can hold the majority hostage.
Debate requires people actually speaking about a subject. The filibuster as it now exists does not require anyone to do anything that remotely resembles debating. Instead, they threaten to filibuster and then demand that the majority find ten of them to end the no-debate debate. What a joke!
If Joe Manchin believes that the filibuster is beneficial to the Senate, and the population as a whole, then he needs to explain how it benefits the majority at all. Even when the Democrats don’t have a single vote majority in the senate, those senators who were elected to represent Democratically led states represent millions more citizens than those senators elected from states like North and South Dakota (there shouldn’t be two Dakotas), the Carolinas (ditto), the Virginias (same), Wyoming, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Iowa and all the other states with low population density.
It is now obvious that the Senate is no longer able to function as a governing body while the filibuster is available to give the minority an oversized ability to block and obstruct legislation that is favored by a majority of the population. It is no longer realistic to expect that Republicans in the Senate have any desire or intention to do that which benefits the populace because most of these things are in direct opposition to the desires of the donors who support the Republicans.
Audio tape from a phone call from an operative from Koch Industries has been leaked revealing how desperately they’re trying to find some way to make HR1, the bill introduced in the House to strengthen our election system and eliminate dark money from politics, unpalatable to the citizens, and they can’t find anything. The bill is intended to keep the wealthy from influencing the outcome of elections, allowing all of us to donate small dollar amounts that are then matched 6 to 1 by the government with funds obtained by fees assessed against the criminal and civil fines and penalties or settlements with banks and corporations who break the law. Koch Industries doesn’t understand why everyone agrees that keeping dark money out of politics and having campaigns financed by the people is a better way of doing things than what we have now.
If Joe Manchin really believes that the filibuster needs to stay as it is, then maybe it’s time for him to consider going into another line of work. Given his support for the Keystone XL pipeline and other fossil-fuel industry behemoths, maybe he can get a job working for them. At least then, no one would expect he would do what’s best for the rest of us.
Not everyone wants to live in a state with the lowest minimum wage. If Mr. Manchin thinks that $15 an hour is too high an hourly wage, he should explain to us how he expects those making the lowest wages to survive and feed themselves and their families. Joe doesn’t want student loans to have lowered interest rates. He’s voted to take away funding from nonprofits offering family planning, reproductive healthcare and abortions, to decrease funding for food stamps, and to defund Planned Parenthood.
Manchin voted against: allowing the Social Security Administration to implement restrictions of gun purchases for Social Security recipients who have been deemed incompetent to manage their finances; sanctuary cities; amending the system for background checks for gun purchases; increased funding of fresh fruits and vegetables for elementary students; and importing FDA-approved drugs from Canada.
It is time for the Senate to change. Senators are being paid $175,000 per year, and Joe Manchin’s net worth as of 2021 is somewhere between $3.4 – $11.8 million. He, and his Senate colleagues, are doing almost nothing to earn the money they’re being paid, given the gridlock that the right started under Newt Gingrich and perfected under Moscow Mitch. If the Senate as currently constructed cannot be changed to make it function for the people, then maybe it’s time to do something differently. What that would be is above my pay grade, but it’s clear to most of us that what we have now is broken.
Joe Manchin – if you want those of us on the outside to believe that those of you in the Senate give two shits about our lives and our children’s futures, then DO SOMETHING!!!!
Bring ten Republicans over to vote with the Democrats for things that there is overwhelming support for all over the country. Get them to vote for Biden’s infrastructure bill, instead of quibbling about the definition of infrastructure (which, per the OED, is the basic physical and organizational structures and facilities needed for the operation of a society or enterprise). Republicans have for decades underfunded or ignored crumbling infrastructure all over the country in order to give their donors tax cuts.
Republicans are morally and philosophically incapable of putting the good of the country ahead of their own craven partisan needs – Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Matt Gaetz, Marjorie Taylor Greene, to name but a few – and clearly do not give a damn about the country as a whole. What they do care about is their own petty grievances and their perceived victimhood. They refuse to acknowledge that their white supremacist worldview is wrong, and will continue to make out those of us who are pushing for change as the ‘other’ in order to fire up the worst of their base. They are culpable for the insurrection on January 6, 2021, and all need to be held accountable for their behavior.
Are these the people that Joe Manchin believes should have the power to force lengthy debates? Those who are content spreading the Big Lie and using it to support sweeping voter suppression laws all over the country? The same ones who spout Russian disinformation in Senate committee hearings? Those who voted to overturn our election?
This is what Joe Manchin says he wants – allow the minority to prevent the majority from passing legislation poll after poll has shown is overwhelmingly supported by the majority of the people. That is just not acceptable. Someone needs to tell Joe Manchin that what HE wants doesn’t matter. It’s what WE THE PEOPLE WANT that needs to be honored. And WE THE PEOPLE want our government to work for all of us, not just for the privileged or the well-connected.
We all know there are exactly zero Senate Republicans with the guts to do what’s best for the country. Joe Manchin has got an uphill climb drawing ten of them out from the dark side. I wish him luck, but I won’t hold my breath.
I’ve been a whole-hearted and enthusiastic user and consumer of electronics and computers since I got my first portable tape recorder when I was about 10 or 11 years old. As the only child of a single mom, living in a home with her parents, I was precocious and had access to tools; an invitation to take shit apart that I embraced early on.
When my little reel-to-reel tape recorder stopped running, of course took it apart to look inside. When I did, I found a little broken belt. I McGyver’d it with a rubber band and was back in business! Sure, whatever I had already recorded sounded a little weird, but any new stuff was fine so long as the rubber band lasted. Who knows whatever happened to that thing?
When Pong became a thing in the 70’s, my brother bought it for our Dad for xmas (sure he did!). He attached it to the TV in the living room, and Dad and Scott played it for a little while, but it was Pong. I don’t ever remember seeing Dad play it again, but Scott and I loved it.
In 1979, I bought my husband an Atari 2600 for xmas, and we would have our friends over and play games on the weekends. Looking back at the games we were so obsessed with compared to the complexity that is available today shows how the technology itself was at least part of the fascination. My favorite game for a long time was Adventure, which consisted of you, represented by a square, moving through assorted mazes that never changed from game to game. Despite this, we’d sit on the floor gripping that rudimentary joystick, practically ripping it apart in a futile attempt to make that square move faster!
Later, we upgraded to the Atari 5200.
Then, we had babies.
We bought an Adam sometime in the mid 1980’s. It was marketed as a computer, but in reality was a glorified word processor/video game chimera. Although it did come with its own printer, it was sold without any kind of monitor so needed to be hooked to a TV like a video game. It had no operating system or GUI Windows or iOs, and BASIC came included on a memory tape. I was trying to learn to code using a book I bought, essentially learning BASIC while raising toddlers. My big success – using about four lines of code, I instructed the printer to print the word “PRINT”. Not exactly the start of a coding career.
Next was the Commodore 64 with its own monitor, floppy drive and dot matrix printer. An 8-bit computer (this Lenovo IdeaPad is 64-bit) with a whopping 64 k of RAM (Lenovo = 1 TB), it had it’s own monitor, so at least I could work on it while everyone else watched TV, and it was the computer I used when I first started nursing school. It was probably the last computer I had without any internet access.
By the mid 90’s, I had the good fortune of having a close friend who was a general manager at CompUSA, which at that time was THE place to get computers and peripherals. Because of his help (and discount), I was able to get several computers over the years with working memory, storage and assorted bells and whistles. Lenny strongly urged me to buy the extended warranty with every computer purchase, and I took his advice for years. His advice was spot on, because every one of those computers had a major problem that ended up with them being replaced with a new one during the extended warranty. All told, I must have had at least 6 of my computers totally or essentially replaced by the manufacturer. Those computers were relatively more expensive for what they did, especially compared to newer ones, so having them replaced a couple years in was generally a good thing. Sadly, it hasn’t made me any more likely to back things up (it seems I like the challenge of figuring out how to access information on drives contained inside bricked computers?).
Since the early 1970’s, I’ve had my hands on or in hundreds of electronic devices, often at the direction of someone in a Customer Service department. There have been occasions when I’ve contacted a company long after the warranty has expired, and in fact recently had what can only be described as my most amazing experience in recent memory. It involved an incredibly expensive universal remote I bought in the early 2000’s made by Logitech called the Harmony One.
The Harmony remote was designed to be programmed while connected to a PC or laptop. At $300, it was a big purchase for an unnecessary item, given I had individual remotes for all the stuff I had, but I was excited at the prospect of having one remote control everything because we have always had ‘components’: stereo receiver, cassette deck (it still works!), CD player, Blu-ray player, VHS, Fios. I hooked it up and made multiple attempts to program it to do what I wanted it to do, then got frustrated. Within a few months the display went white, essentially making it a paperweight, so I wrapped everything up and put it in a plastic bag on a shelf in an unused bedroom, where it sat until late last year.
When I came across the remote, I decided to see if it was fixable. If so, I’d get it fixed; if not, why was I still holding on to the stupid thing? After the holiday crap was stowed, I started searching online and eventually ended up contacting Logitech customer service to inquire about my inability to remove the battery from its compartment inside the remote. Over the course of a couple of emails exchanged between myself and Logitech, I found out that in fact the battery in my remote was defective. Apparently, when the remote was left in the charger for extended periods of time, the battery swelled up and became stuck inside. Because of this, despite it being over 15 years since I purchased that remote (and 14 1/2 years since I put it up on that shelf), I am now the proud owner of a brand new Harmony Elite remote control.
When I read the email advising me I was getting a replacement from Logitech, I misunderstood and thought she was telling me I’d be getting the exact remote I already had, albeit one that was working. I wasn’t as excited about that as I thought I’d be, since it had been so difficult for me to program when I got it all those years ago. I am not, however, an idiot, so I thanked her for sending me a new remote. Now, I can control all the entertainment equipment in my family room from anywhere in the house using my iPhone or the remote, so it’s essentially like having two new way-more-than-a-remote remotes, and I can add other IoT devices to it (when I have nothing more important to do!).
I wish I could give the same high marks to Netgear, whose products I’ve used for years. Last August, my friend Mike bought himself a new Nighthawk X65-AC4000 Tri Band WiFi Router R8000P. After using it for less than a day he believed that it made his WiFi worse, so he offered it to me to try at my house. I (as noted above, not an idiot) of course graciously accepted his offer and brought it to my house to see if it made my WiFi faster than the Verizon-supplied router.
It took a few days and several new lengths of ethernet wire, but eventually I was able to get the router up and running. Since it was still a brand new, less-than-90-days-in-service-router, I was still within the timeframe that Netgear claims it will provide “complimentary technical support, but because Mike had registered the router in his name, they wouldn’t even answer a question until Mike emailed them to change the owner from himself to me.
I could see from the GUI that there was a new firmware update available, and tried unsuccessfully to download and install the update on the router. I used my laptop, my iPhone and my Kindle Fire over WiFi, then hardwired my laptop to the router, and still couldn’t get the firmware to update. I contacted “technical support” at Netgear, and was given instructions on how to update the firmware that I had already told them hadn’t worked. Despite my contacting them over and over using their messaging system on their website (because email would be too easy, I suppose), no one from Netgear ever fixed my inability to update the firmware, although they certainly made sure to tell me when my 90 days of “complimentary technical support” had expired, advising me that any other help from them would cost me money.
So here I sit, using a WiFi router that cannot update its firmware by any of the means available. Judging by the comments on the Netgear community boards, I am not the only one with this problem, yet Netgear has done nothing to address the issue – unless, of course, I want to pay them extra money to provide support for a WiFi Router just six months old. This leads me to wonder if this problem is a bug or a feature. Why would Netgear provide a free fix to users of their expensive paperweights when they can instead charge those willing and able to pay for the privilege of obtaining the secret information instead?
I have a collection of my previously-used networking devices; most of them are Netgear. I still have them because I’m unsure what to do with them, since they still work. I’m sure someone somewhere not here could use them, but figuring out how to get stuff from here to there is part of the problem. Regardless, my point is that I have used Netgear products for my home for years, but never before have I needed to pay an extortion fee in order to get their equipment to work as promised.
If companies like Netgear are unwilling to support their products for their warranty period, then the buying public should decide that Netgear products are no longer worth the price. While three months is more than enough time for someone to work out the kinks of a new installation, problems still come up with devices that are unrelated to the customer and only addressable by the manufacturer. Netgear’s hard cut-off time period puts all their customers in the position of replacing an expensive item still under warranty because Netgear will not provide technical support for the entire warranty period.
It would be foolish for anyone to invest in equipment from a manufacturer like Netgear with a proud and public-facing policy of taking their customers’ money while refusing to support products under warranty unless it is paid for as an extra fee.
The least Netgear could do is to update it’s ‘warranty’ period from one year to three months; it does no good to have a product that remains under warranty without technical help for a technical (and widespread) defect. Otherwise, what’s the point of the other nine months? The only other alternative is to make it super-convenient to replace the entire unit by sending the replacement out first so the customer isn’t further inconvenienced. Of course, the warranty is only good for the original purchaser and cannot be transferred.
Addendum: As I got ready to post this, I decided to see how much it would cost me to purchase a service contract from Netgear (since I didn’t pay for the router in the first place) to get my router firmware to update. Guess what happened?
I couldn’t even buy support from Netgear.
Update April 16, 2021
I decided to go to Netgear’s Facebook page, where I sent a message about my Nighthawk router. Almost immediately, I received a response from someone at Netgear. By the next day, I was on the phone with their tech support (a nice young man named Jayson, one of the level 2 techs out of the Philippines) who, over the course of three separate calls, determined that my router was defective. I was shipped a “certified refurbished” one that works, including updating the firmware, so I have to give Netgear kuddos for doing the right thing and standing behind their product.
In 1990, I was 31 years old and had been married for 11 years to my high school sweetheart (my first attempt at trying to get a man to meet his own potential despite his lack of interest in the whole project!). We lived in a large single home in the suburbs across the river from Philadelphia in South Jersey, with two kids and two dogs. By that year, I realized that the man I married was NOT someone I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and I told him to leave in March. He finally did so that June, and I got my friend’s sister and her toddler to move in as my roommate. She worked days, I worked nights, so perfect, right? Not so much.
Anyway, one thing led to another and I found myself in the unacceptable position of needing to apply for public benefits – food stamps, welfare and Medicaid – for myself and my children. My father took me there to fill out the application (no internet in 1990, sadly) despite my distaste of the whole idea (I had my own prejudices about ‘assistance’), because I was entitled to it. He was right – I wasn’t able to work because I was recuperating from surgery and my estranged husband (in rehab after a drunk-driving accident that caused him some serious frontal lobe damage) wasn’t working either, leaving us with no actual income.
I was way more fortunate than the majority of women in similar circumstances – single parents without financial support from the noncustodial parent – because my parents were fairly well-off. In addition, due to a legal settlement, and a bargain ‘fixer-upper’ of a house, I had no mortgage payment. Unfortunately, this did not mean I lived there for free – real estate taxes, utilities, cable and such put my monthly expenses conservatively around $1,500 before food. Adding groceries to that total for just myself and two young kids (7 and 10) brought that total to around $2,000.
When I was approved by the state for assistance, I was granted Medicaid for myself and my children (limited to those providers who agreed to accept the meager fees paid for their services) along with cash assistance/welfare and food stamps. The monthly cash payment I received was $475, and in food stamps, $256, about 30% of my monthly bills and about half of my grocery expenses. Of course, those grocery expenses include more than just food.
The non-edible things purchased at the grocery store are (in large part) also necessities and should be included in the benefits. Who among us can manage without laundry products, paper products, feminine hygiene products, health and beauty aids and cleaning products? How much of the average American’s grocery budget includes non-edibles like toilet paper, tissues, etc.?
When I pointed this out to the welfare worker I was assigned to, I was told that this was the purpose of the cash benefit. How I was supposed to pay my bills after I used my cash benefit for my non-edible groceries was not her problem. The only reason I wasn’t forced to sell my home in order to live off the proceeds was because of my parents’ financial support.
It is long over due for the food assistance system to be updated to reflect that actual needs of real families, including the fact that the least expensive food items are also those least healthy for us to eat. Fresh fruits, vegetables and proteins are significantly more expensive than the non-nutritious prepared foods available in the middle aisles of most grocery stores, and produce is almost nonexistent in food deserts where the only ‘grocery’ store is a dollar store.
Once again, we have to ask ourselves – if people who work 40 hours or more every week for a minimum wage job require government assistance for food, housing, healthcare and other necessities, why aren’t their employers required to raise their pay to a living wage?
Taxpayers shouldn’t be required to supplement poverty-level wages, to make workers whole; employers should be forced to provide a minimum living wage that is above the poverty level. Put the burden for this disparity where it belongs; on the companies that pay too little. Republicans (along with Sinema and Manchin) who refuse to address this do not deserve their place in power. Period.
My Republican friends have to explain to me why they aren’t outraged by the hundreds of voter suppression laws being passed by Republican legislatures in 43 states across the country. They must convince me that their silence about this isn’t a sign of their own complicity in this “Jim Crow in new clothes”, to quote Senator Raphael Warnock (D, Ga).
Over the short history of this country, it has been understood that political parties attract voters by virtue of their platforms, which were usually designed to show how much the party plans to do to help their voters when they are elected to office. When a political party loses an election, those in charge of said party have historically reviewed their platform and met with their voters to ascertain what changes could be made to attract more people to vote for them in the next election. Until now.
In 2021, Republicans have concluded that they cannot maintain their minority hold on government if all those eligible to vote are permitted to do so. They instead believe that making it as hard as possible for those they believe will be voting against them to cast a ballot is their only means of remaining in power, and have wasted no time in putting every roadblock they can in front of their own citizens, particularly those with Black and Brown skin.
Those in the Senate who purport to be liberals have to stand up for what is right, and that means immediately doing whatever is necessary to bring SR1 to the floor for a vote. Because Republicans have chosen voter suppression to platform modification, they will do what has worked for them since 2008 – invoke the word ‘filibuster’ followed by a demand for a 60-vote majority to pass any legislation. There is really no other way to go – the filibuster must be not simply changed,, but eliminated. Claims that the filibuster permits the minority to obstruct legislation they do not like and therefore “be careful what you wish for” is proof that the filibuster is designed as a means of obstruction.
A functioning democracy is always at risk of having a reversal of the party in power; that’s pretty much the point, right? In the United States, the minority has been given way too much power to stand in the way of majority rule, which is supposed to be the way our democracy works. While it is reasonable to allow those in the minority to express their opinion about legislation they disagree with, it is ridiculous to allow the party that lost all three branches of government in the last election to decide which legislation is going to pass and which is going to die because they don’t like it.
In fact, Republicans have used this ability to prevent Democratic administrations from enacting anything that the Democrats were elected into to office to initiate. Why is the losing party able to hold the winning team hostage by denying them the mandate they won in an election simply by stamping their feet and plugging their ears while repeating “La, la, la, la, la, I can’t hear you….”? The Senate, formerly considered ‘the world’s most deliberative body’ has been transformed into a two-headed monster; the one on the left has the only functioning brain, while the one on the right is a whiny little bitch.
The citizens of this country spoke loud and clear last November. We voted for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to lead us out of the mess that Trump and decades of Republican obstructionism brought us to. The Republicans need to get over the fact that they lost and deal with the mandate the American People gave to the Biden Administration. If they cannot do that, they should be drummed out of existence as a political force for decades to come, if not forever.
Joe Manchin (D, WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D, AZ) need to put on their grown-up pants and stop acting as though the Republicans have a shit left to give about anything other than their donors and their stock portfolios. If Senators Manchin and Sinema give a damn about the American people, they’ll stop pretending that the filibuster is anything other than a holdover from Reconstruction used to stymie any attempt at civil rights. Why do they and most on the right find it unacceptable to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour? Have any of them tried today to live on $290 per week (at the current federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr for a 40 hour work week)? That income may allow a high school student to put some funds aside towards college, but there is no independently living adult who can survive on under $1,200 per month in total income. Of course, those who are only making $7.25 per hour have the opportunity to apply for government subsidies for food, rent, heat (in the Northeast) and cash assistance, but why are the taxpayers forced to lift these folks out of poverty instead of requiring their employer to pay them a living wage?
The social safety net programs have been in the sights of Republicans for as long as I can remember, and it’s particularly galling since many of the working poor who need these programs to survive would be lifted out of poverty if they were simply paid a wage that met their cost of living. Why do so many in the Senate refuse to acknowledge that the below-poverty-level federal minimum wage is directly responsible for every dollar of social safety net funds needed to bring those families to a livable income?
No one working a full forty hour week should need government assistance to survive. Allowing businesses to pay so little to their employees benefits the business owners at the expense of their workers. Requiring all businesses to pay their employees a real, living wage lifts everyone up, freeing up trillions of tax dollars to fund infrastructure, climate remediation, green energy, healthcare and so much more. We all do better when we all do better.
Of course, many smaller businesses working with a smaller profit margin may be required to raise prices, and those who are the least profitable may end up closing, but we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Not all businesses are destined for success, and holding down workers’ pay for the exclusive benefit of the business owners perpetuates disparities that have effectively transferred massive wealth from the many to the few. The fact is, none of the people currently taking up seats in the Senate have any relevant experience within their own lives that compares with trying to survive on too little income week after week, month after month, year after year, without any reasonable expectation of a change until you die or retire, often on too little Social Security income. Apparently, Republican Senators (along with the two Democrats noted above) no longer have any capacity to empathize with those less fortunate than themselves. They lack any real ability to fathom what it’s like to live in a world that doesn’t include a huge inheritance or the good fortune of having your way paved by your predecessors without any input or talent on your part. These character flaws make them the wrong people to represent the vast majority of their own electorate. Their ivory towers have blinded them to what it’s like for the rest of us down her on the ground.
In order to lift the folks at the bottom of the income ladder up, those at the other end of the scale have to pay their fair share in taxes. Trillions of dollars in tax revenue are lost to loopholes, tax shelters and both legal and illegal tax avoidance by the top 0.1%. It is no longer tenable that the majority of IRS tax audits focuses on those claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Why not focus all that energy on those filers most likely to bring in the most in taxes, fees and penalties? Surely auditing one fraudulently filed 1040 by someone with billions in income would be more financially beneficial to the IRS than auditing thousands of low-income filers who did their own taxes and made an honest mistake?
Republicans have used their obstructionism in the Senate as proof that the Democrats can’t do anything when they’re in charge, convincing the slimmest of ‘majorities’ with the help of the tilted electoral college and Senate to put them back in charge. Once there, they prove again that they lack the intellectual and moral authority to actually govern, preferring instead to use rhetoric to keep their base engaged while doing nothing to benefit the citizens of the country. Power for the sake of power, as a means of maintaining power without regard for the will of the people, or majority rule. Republicans have gone all in on the Big Lie, and they’re using it to do everything possible to prevent anyone they deem undeserving from casting a ballot, especially people of color. They have to obstruct because they know that the people will keep Democrats in charge because Democrats get things done.
This is who the Republicans are. Racist to the core. Interested only in themselves. Those who chose to remain within their ranks need to acknowledge that this is their underlying reason for being there; taxes, abortion and guns notwithstanding.
Since I was a little girl, my favorite cartoon character has been Pepe Le Pew. I looked at him as a poor, rejected little skunk who just wanted Penelope to love him.
After learning today in WAPO that Pepe is on the block to ‘exit, stage right’, I’m both saddened and disturbed. Sad, because I there won’t be any more Pepe Le Pew Hallmark ornaments to add to the ten or so I already have for my xmas tree. Sad because that little bugger was a big part of my childhood TV viewing, and he was cute. And sad because the reality is hard to deny, when you take a cold, hard look at those old cartoons through adult eyes.
What bothered me more, however, was realizing how I never really thought about the underlying theme of every one of the Pepe and Penelope cartoons – that men force themselves on women because they want to, and that women can do nothing but accept this as the status quo. Sure, as a little girl this wouldn’t have crossed my mind, but that’s the problem; repeatedly exposing little minds to these images, children absorb the lesson that it’s okay for a man to force himself on a woman. They take that out into the world, along with all the other media exposure of women as playthings for men, and it’s no wonder that so many of us have at least once in our lives been sexually harassed or abused.
I say this having been sexually assaulted by a friends’ cousin when I was in eighth grade. I played hookey one day with her and her brother, so during and immediately afterwards I told myself it was all my fault. It didn’t cross my mind at the time that the fact I was wearing my catholic school uniform when he came to pick me up should have been enough to make this grown-ass man make tracks and drive off as soon as he saw me. Or the fact that he knew I was 13 years old and in elementary school with his cousin. I was precocious, as an only child in a home with three adults, and so sounded older than I was. I have no idea how old he was.
When he was done, he drove me back and dropped me off on the corner of my street. Walking home, I contemplated telling my mother what had just happened. As I imagined the conversation in my head, I got as far as this:
“Mom, while Sue (not her real name) & I played hookey today, I got into a car with her cousin and went to his house somewhere where he took me to his bedroom and made me play with him until something squirted out of his penis.” (I was physically mature, but emotionally not so much.)
“If you hadn’t played hookey, this wouldn’t have happened.” Nope, not gonna happen.
I didn’t tell anyone about it until I was 28 years old. Mom, aghast, asked me why I didn’t tell her then. When I told her what I’d thought at the time, she admitted that I was probably right. I know she felt really bad about it, but there wasn’t much that could be done at that point. Ironically, I think I was prompted to say something after we’d watched the Bill Cosby stand up video that was so big back in the late 80’s. Weird.
Anyway, I think it would be better if Warner Brothers would revamp Pepe Le Pew into something less creepy, like maybe have Pepe and Penelope in a consensual relationship. I’m not sure what that could end up looking like, but it could show how people are supposed to treat someone they really care about, and how no means no. But with humor. Kinda like a Looney Tunes cartoon.
On 3 separate trips to 2 different Whole Foods Market locations as well as a Wegman’s, I was confronted with the idiocy of humans. First, there was a young Black man at the Wegman’s in the produce department, talking on his cellphone with his mask protecting his chin. I took a deep breath, then got his attention, asking if he would please cover his nose & mouth with his mask. He complied without complaint, and I thanked him for doing so.
A few days later, I ran into the Whole Foods and came across a twenty-something White man whose mask barely covered his mouth, leaving his entire nose exposed. Emboldened by my positive interaction at the Wegman’s earlier, I called out “Excuse me!” to get his attention, and then asked him to pull his mask up over his nose.
This time, what I got for my trouble was his snappy reply that “A mask ain’t gonna save your life”.
My mature response, of course, was to tell him to stick his mask up his ass then.
Maybe that wasn’t the best way to encourage mask mandate compliance, so I decided to make up some business cards with friendly reminders about how not to wear a mask (see photos above) with factual information about the benefits of using them to stop the spread of Covid on the back.
The benefits of masking go both ways – the person wearing the mask & those around them are safer. Universal mask wearing can help avert the need for future lockdowns, especially when used with social distancing and good hand hygiene.
We are all in this fight together, so please consider it your patriotic duty to cover your nose & mouth in public. Your freedom to do as you please ends where it meets someone else’s freedom not to be infected in the store.