America The Current Situation

Recent COVID-19 deaths and “sadopopulism”

Recent COVID-19 deaths

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From the New York Times article, U.S. Coronavirus Death Toll Surpasses 700,000 Despite Wide Availability of Vaccines:

The recent virus deaths are distinct from those in previous chapters of the pandemic, an analysis by The New York Times shows. People who died in the last three and a half months were concentrated in the South, a region that has lagged in vaccinations; many of the deaths were reported in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. And those who died were younger: In August, every age group under 55 had its highest death toll of the pandemic.

The article points out that of the 100,000 who died of COVID-19 since mid-June, only 2,900 were vaccinated. Or in other words, more than 97% of the people who died of COVID-19 since June were unvaccinated.


You may have heard of the term sadomasochism: It’s getting sexual jollies from inflicting pain or humiliation on someone else (sadism, derived from French noble the Marquis de Sade) or yourself (masochism, derived from Austrian novelist Leopold von Sacher-Masoch).

The word sadopopulism is a play on sadomasochism, and it’s used to describe a government body that operates without policy and causes pain in its citizenry.

It was coined by Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale, a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, and a specialist in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. Simply put, he’s a student of self-inflicted human misery.

In a December 2017 video (it’s the one above), Snyder uses sadopopulism to describe the way Trump and Putin operate. He puts forth the idea that they only pretend to be populists and in reality create policies that hurt their bases, all the while convincing their bases that they’re hurting those bases’ perceived enemies.

That’s why one of the defining quotes of the Trump administration was one (Florida) woman’s lament: “He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

Synder has this to say about the Republicans in the Trump era:

These are policies that are deliberately designed to administer pain, to add to the total amount of pain in American society.

If you hurt people you create a resource of pain, of anxiety and fear which you then direct against others.

If, in the long run, the way that you govern is by hurting people who don’t mind being hurt because they think other people are hurting worse, what you will tend to do is take the vote away from people who expect more from government, what you will tend to do is try to suppress the vote and keep the vote down to the people who accept that government can do nothing except for administer pain. And then that moves you away slowly from democracy.

Part of the reason that COVID-19 still progresses despite the fact that masks and vaccines are cheap and plentiful is that the sadopopulists have taken these common-sense health measures and reframed them as a signifier of “belonging to the wrong tribe”. As a result, they’re killing their very own supporters, and convincing them that it’s a good thing.

Music The Current Situation

A T-shirt for live performers in the age of COVID

Thanks to Byron Sonne for the find!

I should get one of these. In case you’re looking, RedBubble has a version of these T-shirts for $20.

The Current Situation

Did you know that there’s a general election in Canada today?

In case you didn’t know, let me say it right now: There’s a general election in Canada today.

Do you know who the current leaders of Canada and Mexico are?

Here’s what might be a trick question for Americans — but shouldn’t be, given the fact that the U.S. and Canada share the world’s longest undefended border, and the fact that the U.S. and Canada are each other’s largest trading partners:

Who is the prime minister of Canada?

While we’re at it, since we’re asking about neighboring countries:

Who is the president of Mexico? (Bonus points if you know that president’s nickname.)

How do general elections work in Canada?

Elections are managed by the federal government, and no matter where you vote, there is just one type of ballot: A paper ballot, with the names of the candidates and a circle in which to put your mark beside each name. A Canadian federal election ballot is pictured above.

Canada’s government follows the Westminster parliamentary system. You don’t directly vote for prime minister. You vote for a local MP (Member of Parliament), who belongs to one of the federal parties and represents your riding (electoral district) in the House of Commons (think of it as the parliamentary equivalent of the U.S. House of Representatives). There are 338 seats in the House of Commons.

The prime minister is the leader of the party with the most elected MPs and therefore has the most seats in the House of Commons. You could say that there’s not one — but 338 — elections happening in Canada today.

If a party wins the election with 170 or more seats out of the total 338, they have a majority government, which means that they can singlehandedly pass laws without a single vote from any of the other parties.

If a party with less than 170 seats, they have a minority government, which means they now need cooperation from other parties to pass laws. A minority government can also be unseated by failing a confidence vote, which dissolves Parliament and starts an election.

Who are the candidates and how young are they?

Here in the U.S., we had an election last November, where the two big candidates were 75 (Donald Trump) and 78 (Joe Biden). Keep in mind that the average life span of American males is 78.5 years.

The Canadian candidates are whippersnappers by comparison and considerably not as uniformly White…

Justin Trudeau is the current prime minister and the leader of the Liberal Party, which occupies 155 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. He is 49 years old.

Erin O’Toole is the official leader of the opposition and the leader of the Conservative Party, which occupies 119 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. He is actually one year younger than Justin Trudeau — 48.

Yves-François Blanchet is the leader of the Bloc Quebecois, which occupies 32 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons.. He’s 56.

Jagmeet Singh is the leader of the New Democratic Party, which occupies 24 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. He’s 42.

Annamie Paul is the leader of the Green Party, which occupies 2 out of 338 seats in the House of Commons. She is 48 years old, and is the first Black Canadian and Jewish woman to lead a federal party in Canada.

Maxime Bernier is the leader of the People’s Party of Canada, which is a new group that broke away from the Conservative Party in the same manner as the People’s Front of Judea from Life of Brian. He’s the oldest of the candidates at age 58.

Where can you find out more?

Florida The Current Situation

DipShantis logic

America The Current Situation

Just in case you thought horse dewormer was going to be as silly as things got…

Tweet from “The Hill”: Brazilian viper venom shows promise as drug to combat COVID.
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They called it

America The Current Situation

Sign of the day

Sign on shelf at veterinary supply store: "Ivermectin will only be sold to horse owners. *MUST SHOW PIC OF YOU AND YOUR HORSE*"
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Some background info: