James's blog

Day 30

Dan Forest's tenure as North Carolina's lieutenant governor has required little more than an empty suit. He gets almost $200,000 a year and his only real duty is to gavel the Senate to order when it's in session. I've witnessed his performance on many occasions; he has never started on time.

But such irrelevance has been good for Dan because he gets to do the one thing he's good at: mugging for the cameras. We call him Photo Op Dan and he's really quite accomplished. On any given day for the past year, you could find Forest kissing white babies, pretending to care about farmers, sucking up to veterans, and more. If a pretty boy is what you want in a governor, Dandy Dan fits the bill.

Day 29

I hit a hard spot today, not sure why, just one of those spells. I was lucky I didn't slip into depression.

To stay distracted, I spent four hours weeding. Down on my hands and knees, slogging along. That's what we're going to have to do next year to clean up the Republican hellscape growing around us. Dig up the toxic weeds, roots and all.

The big question is what to plant instead. Decency is at the top of my list. Throw in a big dose of fairness, and I'll be pretty happy.
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Day 28

My dad worked as a letter carrier for the US Post Office for 15 years after he got out of the Navy. He personally walked the entire route of Fort Monroe, Virginia, pictured here. He loved it. He got to see hundreds of people every day, and always kept an eye on things. It was a good job with an organization that performed an extraordinary government service.

And now a privileged bunch of Republican jerks led by Donald F. Trump want to shut the post office down. It makes my blood boil, especially because they're also trying to stop voting by mail.

An important new book by Gene Nichol

I didn’t want to read Gene Nichol’s newest book, Indecent Assembly. I didn’t want to confront the truth about North Carolina’s hard lurch toward right-wing extremism. But I had to read it, and so should you. We’re all living in Republican hell; we should know how we got here.

Day 27

Whether you're Christian or not, Easter Sunday arrives each year with the trappings of death. Though I've long since left the church, this holy day still resonates with me. Especially this year, when a microscopic life form, a new coronavirus, is ravaging the human population. Death is all around us.

Day 27

Lots of politicians are out appealing to their religious followers this weekend. Thom Tillis and Dan Forest both have been especially pandering on social media, celebrating the idea that Jesus was dead and buried for three days before he came back to life. Some see the story as metaphorical, but true believers take it on face value. Regardless of what you think about resurrection, there's a related story that must be remembered:

Day 26

One thing we've learned from the coronavirus is this: many of our assumptions about how life should work are not valid. We used to think everyone needed to go somewhere to be productive. But we're learning that many jobs can be done effectively from home. I've been telecommuting for 10 years. Now millions more are doing the same. One of my friends is a fraud analyst for a bank. Although it took her employer much too long to authorize teleworking, they finally made the call. Everything in her department that needs to get done is getting done.

Day 24

I realized this morning that isolation doesn't bother me. I finally understand what it might be like to live with me. It's a good thing Jane has a duck to keep her company.
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