About greg

Just another bozo on the bus.

stuff is happening

Three things, in reverse order.

Third, the FBI seized the cell phone of Congressman Scott Perry. This is what Perry his ownself had to say about it.

“This morning, while traveling with my family, 3 FBI agents visited me and seized my cell phone. They made no attempt to contact my lawyer, who would have made arrangements for them to have my phone if that was their wish.”

Dude, c’mon; the FBI just didn’t want to give you the chance to destroy whatever evidence you probably have stashed on your phone.

Now, you may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, just who in the buttered popcorn fuck is this Scott Perry of whom you speak?” Perry is your basic MAGA fuckwit of the Pennsylvania variety. He had a successful military career, then went into business. While a businessman, he was criminally charged with conspiring to falsify state-mandated sewage records (no, I’m NOT making that up). But because he was a white corporate Republican donor, he was “allowed to complete a diversion program” which let him skate without a criminal conviction. I’m not saying his criminal history helped his political career, but PA voters went and made him a Member of Congress anyway. In Congress, he became a big hat in Comrade Trump’s attempts to steal the election. He was instrumental in the attempt to install Jeffrey Clark as Attorney General, and he was a proponent of the Dominion voting machine conspiracy theory. He was also one of the GOP members of Congress who explicitly requested a pardon after the 1/6 coup failed. (SPOILER: he didn’t get one.)

So yeah, the FBI wanted his cell phone and they didn’t want to take the chance that Perry might accidentally drop his phone in a wood chipper. I mean, they almost certainly already know what’s on his phone (that’s how they justify a search warrant), but having the instrument of criminality right in your hands is a LOT more compelling when presented to a jury in a criminal trial. So Perry, who was ignored by Trump during his Pardon-O-Rama, might feel a wee bit less loyal now. I’m sure the 1/6 Committee is anxious to chat with him. So, good times ahead.

Second, today Comrade Trump finally had to testify UNDER OATH during a deposition by the NY Attorney General, who is investigating Trump’s business practices. She’s looking into allegations of fraud. Trump TOOK THE FIFTH and refused to answer questions. Just to be clear, the Fifth Amendment can be invoked when somebody (like Trump) believes a truthful answer would incriminate them. This is a civil matter, not a criminal matter, BUT unlike a criminal case, taking the Fifth in a civil case allows a judge or jury to make the appropriate inference (SPOILER: which is that the motherfucker is guilty). So, more good times ahead.

“Do I have to answer that question? I don’t want to answer that question.”

But first, hey bingo, the FBI’s unannounced warranted search of Mar-a-Lago. Obviously, we don’t know WHY the FBI showed up and went rifling through Trump’s stuff. All we know for certain is that the FBI gave a judge enough information for the judge to believe that a specific crime had taken place, and that evidence of that crime could be found in fairly specific places in Trump’s resort/home. At this point, we don’t know what was in the affidavit supporting the search warrant. And it would be unwise for us to speculate.

LET’S SPECULATE ANYWAY!

If it was small beans–like, say, Trump or his aides had failed to return documents that rightly belonged in the National Archives–it seems likely that Trump or one of his many attorneys would release the search warrant. They have the authority to do that.

They haven’t. Which suggests to me that it’s not small beans. The fact that this happened a couple of days ago, but no reporter seems to have been able to get somebody in the FBI or DOJ to leak even a hint of the underlying crime alleged in the search warrant also, to me, suggests it’s not small beans. There IS, however, some reporting indicating that somebody dropped a dime on Trump–that somebody was aware a serious crime had happened or was about to happen.

It seems improbable (to me, at any rate) that this would be related to Trump’s attempted coup. I mean, we basically know the fact pattern of that crime, and the 1/6 Committee very likely already has all the critical documentary evidence they need. So why would the FBI feel the need to act quickly? And why isn’t Trump releasing the search warrant?

I’m speculating like a motherfucker here, BUT I’m thinking the boxes of documents the FBI seized included stuff that foreign governments would love to get their hands on. And I’m thinking Trump, being Trump, not only took classified shit that didn’t belong to him, that he had no right to take, also couldn’t be bothered to keep that classified shit safe from all the MAGA assholes and foreign visitors who wander around Mar-a-Lago.

And that, oh my droogs, is a BIG fucking crime under Title 18, Chapter 37 of the US Code. And now you’re wondering, “Greg, old sock, what is this Chapter 37 bidness?” I’m about to tell you.

18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 – ESPIONAGE

This isn’t to say Comrade Trump is a spy, or even that he (or somebody near him, like, say Jared Pencilneck) is/was planning to sell classified documents. It just means that Trump possessed classified shit that didn’t belong to him, that he had no right to have in his possession, and that he wasn’t protecting it.

Again, this is just me speculating. And in the interest of honesty, I should also remind you that I also speculated that there was no way in hell that Donald Trump could ever be elected President of the United States. So my speculating record isn’t exactly stellar.

Oh, and stop calling me ‘old sock.’

what i need

I went to the market to buy beer. I was wandering up and down the aisle, looking at all the local and near-local craft beers, and one of the employees looked at me, smiled, and asked, “Whaddaya need?”

What do I need?

I need some relief from the heat. I need a rain shower. I need a thunderstorm. I need to feel that storm. I need thunder and lightning. I need to go outside in the storm in all my clothes, outside in the wind and the rain, and get soaking wet. I need to run around and around the house barefooted in the thunderstorm, like I used to do as a kid (to my momma’s horror). I need to be able to run again, run like I could when I was 16 years old and still had knees that worked. I need to run and jump like a pagan in a storm. I need to run through the woods at night. I need to be alone in someplace very big and very wild. I need to feel the tension of being near a large, wild animal, holding my breath, trying to be still so it won’t know I’m there. I need to leap over bonfires. I need to leap over stone fences. I need to run and scream in wild delight and know that I’m still part of a natural world where wonderful and awful things can and will happen.

What do I need?

I told him I needed a simple summer lager from a semi-local craft brewery. Or maybe a local ale. Something that could hold its own against a sandwich made with provolone, ham, prosciuttini, cappacuolo, salami, and pepperoni.

I left with a six-pack of Backpocket Brewery’s Tipsy in Tijuana and a four-pack of Mistress Brewing’s Daisy Ale.

inert, but lethal

I confess, I’m fascinated by military tech. Always have been. It’s awful, of course. So much military tech is about killing people, and, well, you know—killing people, by and large, is pretty much wrong, right? Yeah.

And yet, there it is; I’m still intrigued by military technology. I mention this because over the weekend the US, at the order of President Uncle Joe, killed Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda. They killed him with a modified Hellfire missile fired by a Predator drone (and yeah, there’s a whole deeply weird, perverse taxonomy at work here—a Hellfire missile from a Predator drone). They killed him “as he stepped onto the balcony of a safe house in Kabul.”

Him. Just him. Just al-Zawahiri. Nobody else. No so-called ‘collateral damage’.

They were able to do that because the Department of Defense, in conjunction with the CIA and engineers from Lockheed Martin, modified an AGM-114 Hellfire missile and turned it into an AGM-114 RX9—basically a hundred-pound laser-guided Ginsu Knife Bomb. Instead of explosives, this missile has—and I’m NOT making this up—six sword-like blades that pop out of the sides of the missile moments before it strikes the target (and by ‘target’ I mean ‘the person the CIA really seriously no-shit wants to kill’).

Smaller than a six-foot-tall human (not sure why that’s important).

The idea, of course, is to limit the number of casualties. Most versions of Hellfire missiles involve explosives, which are notoriously indiscriminate. When shit blows up, anybody in the blast radius is going to get fucked up. That’s a problem. I mean, if the person the CIA really want to kills is, says, standing on a balcony in Kabul and you fire an explosive weapon at him, you’re going to see a lot of kinetic damage to the building and anybody in it (and anybody near it). Kinetic damage is a nice way of saying blown the fuck up.

When a hundred pounds of inert steel with half a dozen blades hits a target on a balcony, the damage is significantly more limited.

Okay, maybe not a Toyota—I dunno. But still.

This missile is so precise that it can target a specific side of a moving vehicle. When the CIA decided to kill Abu Khayr al-Masri, who was riding in the passenger seat of a Toyota (okay, I’m not certain it was a Toyota) the missile hit the passenger side of the Toyota. And yeah, it also killed the driver, because we’re still talking about a hundred pounds of metal WITH a half dozen sword blades flying at mach 1.3, so it’s not like the driver could duck and escape. And sure, anybody in the back seat probably got dinged up and will very likely require years of serious therapy. But still, that’s better than a fucking explosion, right?

Let’s face it. The Hellfire AGM-114 RX9 is a monstrous weapon. We should look on it with horror. And yet, I’m fascinated by it. I have deep, contradictory feelings about the US (or any nation, for that matter) conducting extra-judicial assassinations. But I also think terrorists like Ayman al-Zawahiri (and yeah, he was a terrorist) can’t be allowed to roam around free to plot acts of terror. Given the option, I’d prefer they get a fair trial and, if convicted of a crime, incarcerated. But that wasn’t really an option, was it. So I’m perversely glad that some heinous engineers put this Ninja Ginsu missile together.

What was it Walt Whitman said about containing multitudes?

riding slowly on a bike, looking around me, enjoying myself

Half of the US on fire–unprecedented wildfires are destroying homes and businesses and live in the west. Half of the US is under water–unprecedented flooding is destroying homes and businesses and lives in the east and south. And half of the US is suffering from an unprecedented heat wave.

So I went for a bike ride.

The early part of my ride was through the woods…

For some perverse climatic reason, the local weather has been absolutely gorgeous this week. Temps in the shallow end of the 80s, low humidity, light breeze. It’s like we’re in a pocket of beautiful weather surrounded by nightmare climate change. It’s temporary, of course. I know that. Assuming the weather forecasters are correct (hush, it could happen) next week promises to be miserable.

So yeah, on Thursday I went for bike ride. Didn’t feel at all guilty about the good weather. It wasn’t a long ride. Just under 20 miles. And I took my time, stopping periodically to shoot a photo or take a drink or indulge my curiosity. In other words, it was a nice, leisurely ride. I didn’t have any destination in mind; I just wanted to be on the bike.

…and then through a semi-industrial area that was home to lots of groundhogs…

That’s my usual approach to cycling. I don’t ride for exercise or to keep fit; I don’t ride to save gas or limit my carbon footprint. I ride because it’s fun, because it makes me happy, because it makes me feel like I’m twelve years old and skipping school. That’s why I like to ride on weekdays, when all the decent, employed people are hard at work.

Riding on weekdays also means I often have the bike paths and trails all to myself. When I do encounter other cyclists, they’re usually folks like me. Relaxed, lackadaisical riders who are maybe retired, maybe unconventionally employed, maybe skipping work. Only occasionally do I encounter stern cyclists wearing spandex and riding serious road bikes, putting in the grim miles in the name of…I don’t know, physical fitness or time trials or something that is amenable to measurement. I’m confident they’re also riding for the pleasure of it, just like me–but it’s a radically different sort of pleasure. I slow down and let them zip by me.

…then into what I call the Valley of Enormous Warehouses, a favorite hunting ground for hawks…

It’s not that I believe my approach to cycling is better than the serious cyclists. Well, maybe I sorta kinda DO believe that, but only because I personally find more value in connecting with the world at large rather than focusing primarily on yourself. I’ve been a serious, spandexed cyclist; I like to think I’ve outgrown it (which I recognize is arrogant as fuck). I had a good road bike and I rode it seriously, as fast as I could, focused on the road ahead of me–sometimes just a few yards ahead of me, sometimes a more expansive view. But I gave little attention to what was on either side of me. Part of that was because of the way road bikes are designed–the rider leans forward in an aerodynamic pose, which limits your vision. It was also partly because road bikes are designed for speed, and the faster you go the more you have to pay attention to the road.

…and along a marsh, where I saw herons and red-winged blackbirds…

Then, many years ago, on a whim, I bought a mountain bike. The riding posture was more upright, which allowed me to…well, look around as I rode. And I had a moment of clarity. There was stuff happening around me as I rode. And that stuff was interesting. Birds and animals. Buildings and people. Scenery. Colors. The whole damned world, right there all around me all the time, and I’d given it no attention at all.

I started riding more slowly. I started looking around. I started smiling and laughing when I rode. Riding became more enjoyable, more fun, more pleasant.

…and I came across this abandoned building for sale; I rode around it a couple of times before stopping to peek in the windows, but some wasps encouraged me to get back on the bike…

I got rid of that road bike. Now I ride a massive fat tire electric bike. It’ll go fast if I want it to, but I’ve little interest in going fast. I generally just cruise casually along, probably around 10-12 miles per hour, looking at stuff. Sometimes I just enjoy the motion of the bike, and I’ll glide along as long as I can without stopping. Sometimes I stop fairly often. To look at something, or to sit on a bench and drink some water, or to feed peanuts to crows (yes, I have a bag of raw peanuts in a pannier for those times when I encounter crows–and yes, I also keep a crow caller in the same bag in case I don’t encounter crows but want to). Sometimes I stop to shoot a photo or buy a cupcake or pet a stranger’s dog.

…then I stopped by a pond and for a few minutes sat on a bench; I had a drink while watching an old guy fishing with (I presume) his grandson…

Frances Willard, the 19th century women’s suffragist, wrote that learning to ride a bicycle helped her find the courage and determination she needed to lead a movement. She said,

“I found high moral uses in the bicycle and can commend it as a teacher without pulpit or creed. She who succeeds in gaining the mastery of the bicycle will gain the mastery of life.”

I agree with her that cycling is a great teacher, though I think the notion of trying to gain mastery of life is a mug’s game. Cycling is fun, but it hasn’t given me mastery of anything. What it has given me is genuine pleasure and moments of joy. There’s a certain purity in the joy and pleasure that comes with cycling. It’s unalloyed pleasure, undiluted, uncontaminated and unblemished because it’s so simple.

…and near the end of my ride, I stopped at the Wade Franck Plaza, named for a cyclist killed by a negligent driver. It has bathrooms, maps of local bike trails, a bike repair station, and fresh water.

A couple of weeks ago I rode my bike through a gaggle of Canada geese. These large birds gather around the many ponds here; they’ll casually step aside as you ride through them, but they are completely unimpressed by bikes (or cars and trucks, for that matter). As I was riding slowly through them, some of them took flight. For a moment–probably no more than six or seven seconds–the geese and I were moving at the same speed. I was surrounded by half a dozen flying Canada geese. It was glorious.

That will probably never happen again. It only happened because I was riding slowly on a bike, looking around me, enjoying myself.

i’m glad you asked

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. In other words, Comrade Trump is slouching back to Washington, DC for the first time since he skipped out on Uncle Joe Biden’s inauguration. You’re probably wondering, “Greg, old sock, why would this canker on democracy revisit the scene of his crime?”

I’m glad you asked. He’s going to be in DC to–and I’m NOT making this up–deliver a ‘policy speech.’ Stop laughing. That’s what he says he’s going to do, deliver a ‘policy speech.’ You know, a speech on policy. At the America First Policy Institute. Now you’re probably wondering, “Greg, old sock, what in the popcorn fuck is the America First Policy Institute?”

Comrade Policy Expert Donald J. Trump

I’m glad you asked, The America First Policy Institute calls itself “a non-partisan nonprofit research institute” although it’s totally partisan and designed to grift off MAGA boneheads. It’s staffed entirely by Trump fluffers and considers itself to the the next Trump White House-in-waiting. The AFPI’s mission is “

…to advance policies that put the American people first. Our guiding principles are liberty, free enterprise, national greatness, American military superiority, foreign-policy engagement in the American interest, and the primacy of American workers, families, and communities in all we do.

You’re probably wondering, “Greg, old sock, what does that mean?” I’m glad you asked. It doesn’t mean anything at all. It’s just an amalgam of buzzwords and patriotic-sounding phrases collected in one place for the purpose of sounding like a real policy institute. The AFPI has collected “reams of research that build on the Trump administration’s successes.”

Reams, you guys. They have reams of research. You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, just what successes did the Trump administration…uh…succeed at?” I’m glad you asked. Also, don’t ask, on account of the AFPI doesn’t really say. Instead, they encourage ‘patriots’ to sign on as co-complainants in (former) President Donald J. Trump’s class action First Amendment lawsuit against social media companies. Except that the link for ‘patriots’ to join the class action suit takes them to a fundraising page for the Constitutional Leadership Partnership, which is coincidentally staffed by the staff of the AFPI.

You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, what policies will Comrade Trump address in his speech?” I’m glad you asked. Apparently, he’s going to talk about law and order. Trump is allegedly in favor of law and is quite fond of order. He may find time to comment on the last election as well.

You may be wondering, “Greg, old sock, will you be watching this policy speech?” I’m glad you asked.

No.

And stop calling me ‘old sock.’

an inspiration?

At the end of Thursday’s hearing by the House Select Committee, Liz Cheney made a point of praising the women who testified before the committee. She named Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards and Georgia election workers Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman, as well as Sarah Matthews who had testified moments before. But Cheney singled out Cassidy Hutchinson for particular praise.

“She sat here alone, took the oath and testified before millions of Americans. She knew all along she would be attacked by President Trump, and by the 50, 60 and 70-year-old men who hide themselves behind executive privilege. But like our witnesses today, she has courage, and she did it anyway. Cassidy, Sarah and our other witnesses, including Officer Caroline Edwards, Shaye Moss and her mother, Ruby Freeman, are an inspiration to American women and to American girls.”

Yes. And no. And yes again. Yes, all of these women deserve praise for doing the right thing. But let’s look at the totality of their circumstances. The two Georgia election workers were just doing their job like tens of thousands of election workers in every precinct in the United States. It’s an important job, but not an especially demanding one; it took no courage for them to do the right thing. Their courage was tested afterwards, when they were vilified for having done their job properly. Partisan politics didn’t play a role in their jobs.

Officer Edwards at the fist barricade

Officer Edwards was doing her job as well, but on January 6th her job put her in direct physical danger. She was one of a handful of officers who were the first line of defense at the Capitol building. They were quickly overwhelmed; she was knocked down, knocked unconscious, suffered a traumatic brain injury–then after she regained consciousness, she went back to work and for several hours fought in close combat with rioters. That clearly took courage and dedication. Partisan politics didn’t play a role in her job.

Partisan politics is why Sarah Matthews and Cassidy Hutchinson had their jobs. They each made a deliberate choice to work in the Trump administration. They supported the Trump administration. They knew who Donald Trump was–how he behaved and how he treated others. They knew his history. And they chose to work for him They directly witnessed how he ran the White House, how he reached policy decisions, how frequently his staff quit or were fired, how he demanded loyalty without returning it. They knew Donald Trump and they willingly supported and represented him.

That makes them complicit in Trump’s behavior. They worked for him diligently for four years, during which they were willing to disregard or condone his bad behavior. It wasn’t until he actively urged an angry mob to engage in a violent insurrection in order to illegally retain power that they decided he’d gone too far.

It’s to their credit that they were willing to draw the line at sedition and insurrection. And it’s to their credit that they were willing to testify against Trump. That took courage, because Liz Cheney is right–they both knew how Trump and his supporters would treat them. Because they’d see him do it to others. Because they were okay with him doing it to others. It took courage for them to step up; but it doesn’t make them heroes.

Officer Edwards, unconscious.

So yes, the courage of these women should, as Cheney said, be “an inspiration to American women and to American girls.” But no, there’s nothing inspirational about being willing to work for corrupt, cruel people until their corruption and cruelty becomes intolerable. And yes, it’s better to draw the line too late than not draw it at all.

They were all just doing their jobs. Cassidy Hutchinson and Sarah Matthews aided a corrupt White House until the corruption became too much for them to accept. Shaye Moss and Ruby Freeman simply processed ballots according to the rules, and were unfairly vilified for it. Officer Caroline Edwards helped provide security for the Capitol Building and protect the people inside.

You want inspiration for redemption, look at Hutchinson and Matthews. You want inspiration for honesty and integrity, look at Moss and Freeman. But if you want a hero, look at Officer Edwards.

EDITORIAL NOTE: Just a reminder that patriarchy is a social structure kept in place by ordinary folks. Pay attention to how people in power treat people with lesser power. Call out assholes, even if they’re people you generally agree with. Support decency, even if it comes from people you disagree with. And every chance you get, add a match to the fire that will burn the patriarchy to the ground.

it’s not going to stop them

A headline in my morning news feed:

Judge blocks Biden admin directives on transgender athletes, bathrooms

Judge Charles Atchley Jr., appointed to the Eastern District of Tennessee in the last weeks of the failed Trump administration, “temporarily blocked Biden administration directives allowing transgender workers and students to use bathrooms and locker rooms and join sports teams that correspond with their gender identity.”

Here’s what happened: twenty GOP-controlled states have passed laws allowing (or requiring) discrimination against trans students and workers. President Uncle Joe’s directives, in effect, said, “Hey, it’s your state, do what you think you have to. BUT if you do that, you’ll lose some federal funding.” The Attorneys General of those states said, “It’s not fair for you to deny us some of that sweet federal cash just because we think trans people are icky and want to punish them.” The Biden position is, “Dude, our cash, our rules.”

But here’s the thing: bigots can hold power and punish trans folks, but it’s not going to stop them. I mean, just think about how much courage and determination it takes for trans people to identify themselves as trans. City, county, and state governments pass laws that are specifically and deliberately cruel to trans kids–and they still stand up and say, “I’m Spartacus!” Bigots and assholes physically attack and murder trans folks–and they still stand up and say, “I’m Spartacus!”

Do these judges and attorneys general really think trans kids will stop being trans just because the government puts an end to inclusive bathrooms? They’ve been beaten and publicly humiliated and murdered and disowned by their parents–and NONE of that has stopped them from being trans because that’s who they fucking are.

A couple of days ago on the news, there was one of those classic ‘hero citizen’ reports. Guy spots a house on fire, alerts the people inside, gashes his arm breaking a window to rescue a child. Everybody cheers this guy, because he’s a genuine hero.

Trans folks–and especially trans kids–run into a burning house every damned day just by living their lives. They risk their lives every damned day just by going out in public. They are quietly heroic every damned day.

Ain’t no judge or attorney general going to stop them.

more about assholes and libraries

In my last post, I wrote about assholes and Carnegie libraries. I didn’t expect this to be a theme. But this is the United States in 2022, and Comrade Trump has turned the Republican Party into a smug nationwide collective of aggressively stupid, hate-fueled, authoritarian bullies.

So, there’s a Carnegie library in the small Iowa town of Vinton, population of about 5000. Dedicated in 1908, it’s one of the smallest Carnegie libraries in the US. It operated to the benefit of the community for over a century.

That pretty much ended last week, when the library was closed. Why?

Because of assholes.

It began in May of 2020 when, Virginia Holsten, the Director of the Vinton Public Library for 35 years, resigned. She was replaced by Janette McMahon, who’d been a librarian in both Iowa and Wyoming.

You may remember that 2020 was an election year. Some library patrons complained about books written by Kamala Harris (who, by the way, had visited the Vinton Library and read from her children’s book) and Dr. Jill Biden being on display. They also complained that there weren’t enough books about Comrade Donald Trump. McMahon explained the rigorous process by which books are selected for the library. She said, “I can’t buy what doesn’t exist, and there weren’t quality books about Trump. We pay attention to reviews and publishers and our collection needs as a whole. We don’t just say what looks good on Amazon.”

Library patrons who objected to the Biden and Harris books began checking them out, then refusing to return them. In effect, they stole the books.

Eventually the attacks against the library became personal attacks against McMahon. She resigned.

In November 2021, Renee Greenlee was hired as Director. She had a long, respected career as a librarian in Iowa. She was one of the librarians given the 2022 I Love My Librarian award, which is bestowed by the American Library Association. Only ten librarians in the country win the award each year.

Vinton library patrons objected to the fact that she hired some LGBTQ staff and that there were book dealing with LGBTQ topics on display in the library. At a library board meeting, one of the patrons read a statement, saying:

It appears that there is a slow, quiet agenda moving into our local library culture through the staff hiring decisions and the books that have crept in our children’s section of the library. I don’t believe the library is representing our town well with hiring a majority of staff who are openly a part of the LGBTQ community.

Another said,

We would like to see more balance in the offerings of books for children. For each book promoting the LGBTQ lifestyle, there should be a book on display that discusses how God created and designed people as either male or female from birth, for life.

Greenlee reported that of the 5,779 children’s materials the library holds, only three books had a subject heading of ‘LGBT’, only two books had a heading of ‘Gay’ and only two books referenced ‘transgender’ issues. In addition, there were 173 books in the library collection that were based on Christian life.

Following the next library board meeting, which was apparently a repetition of the previous one, Greenlee resigned. The interim Director, a gay man, resigned shortly afterward, leaving the Vinton Public Library without any full-time staff.

This is NOT to say that Vinton, Iowa is a town full of assholes. It’s to say that the people of Vinton allowed their local assholes to disrupt a public service that’s been supporting their community for over a century. They’ve turned a lovely gift–a Carnegie library–into an open, festering wound of resentment and hate.

This is happening all over the United States. It happens because the assholes show up while decent people stay home and watch television. In small towns throughout the nation, a minority of bitter, ignorant, self-righteous religious bigots terrified of imaginary enemies have begun to impose their mean-spirited agenda on the rest of us.

And we’ve let them do it. We can’t expect them to be better. We have to DO better ourselves.