Five Things, 1/28/21
Oooohhh, let’s look at what’s out there today:
Republicans decide to double down on craven know-nothing fascism: Well, I mean, this isn’t really a surprise, now, is it? A few weeks ago I wrote about how the general GOP plan, with regard to even relatively simple moral and ethical issues, is “But… what if we didn’t?”, and predicted that when confronted with the necessity of turning away from the sort of dipshit authoritarian populism of the Trump years, would revert to form. I guess my only real surprise it that it only took a week; I thought they might eke out a couple of weeks, or even a month, before they reverted to form.
Look, I’ve said it before, and you should probably get used to me saying it a lot from here on out: The Republican party as it stands today is a morally bankrupt political tool for white supremacy with no other motivating ethos. It will throw aside actual democracy at the first opportunity — we know that because it already tried — and it will lead the country to ruin because fascism doesn’t play nice with either facts or competence. They couldn’t even pretend for a week that they are anything other than this.
On one hand — cool, we have that out of the way, and the rest of the nation can plan accordingly. On the other hand, well. It’s a shame, isn’t it.
The Gamestop stock drama: Small investors ganged up on the hedge funds to drive up the stock price of Gamestop and other distressed companies, forcing the hedge funds to cover their short positions, and predictably the forces that be put a stop to that, because it’s one thing if you can’t cover your rent, and quite another thing if rich people lose money betting on the death of a retailer.
As an observer of this all, I’ve had two thoughts: One, it really does go to show that there are two different sets of rules for the truly rich and for everyone else; two, as someone with fairly significant stock holdings, this shit is complete madness. I was asked if I had been participating in this stock run-up, and my answer is “hell, no” — my investments are in (relatively) safe and (definitely) boring index funds, and I’m not tempted to day trade in any way because it’s a very fine way to lose all the money you and the next six generations of your family will ever have. Call me conservative, if you like. When it comes to money, I don’t mind.
The New York Times editorial board thinks Biden is making too many executive orders: Which a) is bullshit, b) shows that the New York Times editorial board has the luxury of not living in the real world. I don’t mean this as a generalized diss on the New York Times or its editorial board; I’m a former journalist and I’m usually more than willing to give editorial writers (and the newspapers they work for) the benefit of the doubt. The gig is literally to make hot takes. But the reason this hot take is bullshit is that the majority of Biden’s EOs are reversing the terrible EOs of Trump, and the ones that are not are generally understood to be an immediate action that will hopefully be followed by congressional action; i.e., Biden offering an EO doesn’t preclude congressional action later.
Those latter type of EOs also tend to be ones that benefit the poor, working class and marginalized folks. The NYTimes editorial board is more diverse than it used to be, but ain’t none of them broke at the moment. Basically, the editorial board was making a busy work editorial, and it was foolish.
Sandman series casting: Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer? Yes, please! The rest of the cast also looks pretty good so far, and it’s nice to see that they’re willing to fiddle with the roles in the comics to get good people into the parts. Looking forward to seeing who else gets cast (and also, the series in general).
Google fixing Night Sight on Pixels: Most of you are aware that I really like my Pixel 5 phone, more even than I expected to, but a regular frustration of mine was Google’s decision to let the camera decide automatically when to switch into “night mode.” The problem with that was the camera is super-aggressive in switching over to that mode (much of the time it’s totally unneeded), and in that mode the camera can take up to several seconds to take a picture. You can turn it off, but that takes time. Basically between the camera turning on Night Mode automatically and/or me trying to turn that shit off, grumbling whilst I did so, I missed a whole bunch of photos I wanted to take. It significantly mars what is otherwise a really positive phone experience.
Now Google’s updating so that users can permanently disable automatic switching into night mode, so guess what I’ll be doing as soon as I get that update? Seriously, I think this may be the thing that makes me the happiest this whole week. What can I say, I’m easy.