Political Betting Sites for 2020 and How to Bet on
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Boeing Company (BA) - Air Lease (AL) updated on its order book deliveries, sales and new significant financing occurring in Q2; at the end of the quarter, its fleet was comprised of 301 owned aircraft and 81 managed aircraft, with 398 new aircraft on order from Boeing and Airbus (EADSY) set to deliver through 2026; it delivered one new Airbus A320neo aircraft from its order book, and sold four aircraft. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) is facing calls from over 170 nonprofit groups to stop selling its talc-based Baby Powder worldwide, over concerns that it contains cancer-causing Asbestos, while some are also calling for the clearing of existing inventories. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) Q3 20 (USD): Adj. EPS 0.83 (exp. 1.17), Revenue 34.6bln (exp. 34.36bln), FY20 Adj. EPS view 4.65-4.75 (exp. 5.42); Suspending share repurchase programme, raises quarterly dividend to USD 0.4675/shr, a 2.2% increase. US Retail Pharmacy SSS +3.0% (exp. +1.2%). Most significant COVID-19 impact was in the UK market which required a review resulting in a non-cash impairment charge of USD 2bln. Boots (UK) will be cutting around 4,000 jobs. Annual cost savings to be in excess of USD 2bln by FY2022.
Alphabet Inc (GOOG/GOOGL) said it has shut down its cloud project named “Isolated Region” and added that it was not weighing options to offer its cloud platform in China; earlier reports had stated that GOOG had shelved the project in China and other politically sensitive countries in May, partly due to rising geopolitical tensions and the pandemic; GOOG, however, added that the project’s shutdown was not due to either of those two reasons and that it has not offered cloud platform services in China. American Airlines Group (AAL) / United Airlines (UAL) have temporarily halted flights to Hong Kong after its government-imposed coronavirus testing requirements for airline crews, according to Politico. Costco Wholesale Corp. (COST) June sales update saw comparable sales (ex-gasoline and FX) rose 13.6% in the June five-week period, accelerating from the +9.2% seen in May, beating forecasts for around 9% growth. Facebook, Inc. (FB) announced it is starting a chat with a business using QR codes, where people can scan QR codes businesses show at stores, product packaging or receipts to start a chat. It notes there are over 50mln WhatsApp Business app users globally every month. Gilead Sciences (GILD) plans to make more of its drug remdesivir available for Germany and Europe from the fall, and will decide how much each country gets based on the rate of infection; it added that it could increase its worldwide monthly production from currently 190,000 treatment cycles to two million treatment cycles in December. Remdesivir is currently the only drug granted a conditional marketing authorisation by the EU for its use in COVID-19 patients.Oracle Corp. (ORCL) (Information Technology/Application Software) has been awarded a cloud services agreement by the Canadian government.
S & P 500
Carnival Corp. (CCL) Aida cruises are to recommence sailing vacations in August. Ford Motor (F) said its China vehicle sales increased 3% in April-June from a year earlier, its first quarterly sales rise in China in almost three years; China sales grew by 158,589 units in Q2, attributed to the rise to a stronger vehicle line up and “strong demand following the lifting of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions”. Mylan NV (MYL) announced it received FDA approval for its Hulio, a biosimilar to AbbVie Inc. (ABBV) Humira, for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Twitter, Inc. (TWTR) has been accused of being biased against conservatives and demanded information about its reactions to two tweets by President Donald Trump; two GOP lawmakers allege TWTR’s content moderation was not neutral. Meanwhile, analysts at Citi note its shares overreacted to the potential subscription service reports yesterday. Analyst Jason Bazinet says although it makes sense, there are many unknowns, such as the price and whether or not it will have advertisements. The analyst highlights that a consumer survey shows roughly 10% of its respondents were willing to pay for a USD 5/mth plan without ads and more analytic services. Citi estimates if such a service were to occur, it would be priced at USD 20/year internationally and USD 60/year in the US, assuming a 5% penetration for base case and 10% for its bull case with advertisements, the analyst believes the revenue contribution would be limited. Citi maintain a neutral rating. United Continental Holdings (UAL) expects to recognise USD 300mln in employee separation charges in Q2, with USD 50mln to be in cash. ViacomCBS (VIAC) reached a deal to stream all the UEFA Champions League and Europa League matches starting in August.
Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) Q1 20 (USD): Adj. EPS -1.96 (exp. -1.22), revenue 1.31bln (exp. 1.39bln). Announced it is to close 200 stores over two years as sales fell around 50% during pandemic; BBBY said it was not reporting comp sales due to temporary store closures. DocuSign (DOCU) had its PT upgraded at Wedbush to USD 240 (prev. USD 165, prev. closing price 206.35). The analyst “continues to believe DOCU’s deal flow is holding up well/stronger than expected in this Covid-19 pandemic environment which bodes well for strong underlying metrics/headline numbers during FY2Q”. DraftKings (DKNG) and Twin River Worldwide (TRWH) Mardi Gras Casino announced the opening of DKNG’s temporary sportsbook at the casino in Black Hawk, Colorado. Guests can place bets at the sportsbook from 10th July. Energy Transfer (ET) provided further clarification around news reports regarding the operations of the Dakota Access Pipeline, stating that it has never suggested that it would defy a court order. Rather, Dakota Access Pipeline was seeking appropriate relief from that order through the established legal process. Japan Display (6740 JT) : FY group net loss JPY 101.42bln (prev. net loss JPY 106.59bln), operating loss JPY 38.54bln (prev. loss JPY 27.23bln), recurring loss JPY 57.76bln (prev. JPY 40.37bln). Moderna (MRNA) announced a collaboration for large-scale commercial fill-finish manufacturing of its vaccine candidate with Rovi. PTC (PTC) expects to deliver fiscal third quarter 2020 ARR growth of 9% year over year, 10% in constant currency; and also expects to deliver double-digit revenue and free cash flow year-over-year growth for the fiscal third quarter 2020; it will report results on 29th July. Restaurant Brands (QSR) Burger King in the UK is warning of 1,600 potential job losses as it could close up to 10% of its restaurants SAP (SAP GY, SAP) – Q2 prelim: total revenue EUR 6.74bln, +2% (+1% non-IFRS), operating profit EUR 1.28bln, +55% YY (+8% non-IFRS), non-IFRS cloud revenue EUR 2.04bln +21% YY (19% non-IFRS). At present, cloud backlog seen at EUR 6.65bln, +20%, cloud backlog remains strong but cloud revenue in Q2 was impacted by lower pay-as-you-go transactional revenue given COVID-19. Reiterates FY20 outlook. For FY20: confirm non-IFRS revenue EUR 27.8-28.5bln vs. Prev. EUR 27.6bln, cloud revenue EUR 8.3-8.7bln vs. prev. EUR 7.0bln, operating profit EUR 8.1-8.7bln vs. Prev. EUR 8.2bln. Have seen a strong sequential improvement compared to Q1 regarding software license revenue. Q2 & H1 results will be released on 27th July. Siemens (SIE GY, SIEGY) – Are to spin off 55% of Siemens Energy to shareholders will equate to 1 Siemens Energy share for 2 Siemens shares. Initial listing of new shares is scheduled for 28th September 2020, will commence with a BBB rating at S&P. Siemens will retain a 35.1% stake in the spin-off and the Siemens pension trust an additional 9.9% stake, as such Siemens no longer has a controlling share. Further stake reductions could take place at a significant scale in the next 12-18 months. Separately, Co. are not planning any job reductions from COVID-19. For reference, in FY19 Siemens Energy generated revenue of circa EUR 29bln according to Siemens AG combined statements.
Additional US Equity Stories
Of note for Social Media names (FB, TWTR, SNAP), ByteDance is reportedly considering a change in the corporate structure to distance the app from China, and is also considering a TikTok HQ outside of China, according to WSJ. Peloton (PTON) new product will probably not be a rowing machine or exercise bike, its CFO announced, but it could potentially be a lower price treadmill. The CFO stated the co. believes “the running and boot camp category is two-to-three [times] the size of the bike category”, adding it is first and foremost on their minds, reports Barron’s. Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) CFO says towards the end of Q3 online volume sales reached Black Friday levels on a daily basis, and May sales increased almost 120%, with June sales growth even higher. Tesla (TSLA) CEO Musk announced the automaker was "very close" to developing fully autonomous vehicles and could work out the basics of that technology as soon as this year; he reiterated that the electric vehicle maker has solved most of the essential challenges toward achieving fully self-driven cars that needs no human behind the wheel. The Tesla and SpaceX chief was reaffirming a goal first expressed in 2019. Delta AIrlines (DAL) CEO reiterates urge for workers to consider voluntary departure., and announced it flew 20% of customers over the July 4th weekend.
Megathread: William Taylor, envoy to Ukraine, testifies Trump tied Ukraine aid to politically motivated investigations
The top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine testified on Tuesday he was told that President Donald Trump made the release of security aid to Ukraine contingent on Kiev publicly declaring it would carry out politically motivated investigations that he sought, according to a copy of his statement to lawmakers. Link to opening statement
Day Two Here Day Three Here Gettysburg is by far my favorite battle of all time. First, it is an all-American battle in an all-American war, and myself being an old school nationalist it carries significance that other battles simply don’t; I may find Austerlitz or Stalingrad nifty, but nobody there was my people. More, it was an extraordinarily clean fight. At any point, a soldier on either side could hurl down their rifle and grab some sky and be reasonably assured of having their surrender accepted without reservation, and for that matter their captor could rely on their new POWs to trudge back to the rear under light guard in good faith. Even though much of the fighting took place in an urban environment with embedded civilians, only one civilian died in the fighting. Let me tell you, the more military history you read up on, the clearer it is that massacring civilians before, during, and after a rough fight is par for the course. One might even say that butchering unarmed men, women and children of the enemy tribe is the de facto military objective more than half the time; it might be some weird, half instinctual, proto-game theory going on: “We told them to surrender or else. They didn’t surrender, we won anyway, and now there’s gotta be an ‘or else’ to persuade the next batch of holdouts that we mean business.” In the long run, butchering the first village usually made it morelikely the next three villages would get the message and surrender without a fight, saving the invaders men, materiel, and time. Or perhaps it’s that killing civilians has always been pure bloody-mindedness. But not at Gettysburg. Gettysburg is where the American platonic ideal of soldiers fighting soldiers and leaving the civilians be actually happened. Another aspect to the battle that fascinates me is how utterly unplanned it was. Neither army had intended to fight there, and between the scale of the brawl, the rapidity of developments, the intransigence of their subordinates, and the communications lag, neither the Confederate general Lee nor the Union general Meade had a grip on the situation at all until the second day of the battle, and neither could enact their ideal plans until the third day. It was something of a clusterfuck for both sides, and the course of the battle depended on the initiative and guts of small unit commanders with little idea of what the big picture was. Gettysburg tends to be remembered as the turning point in the war, when it stopped being a gallant passage at arms between roughly equal powers and started being a slow, painful inevitable grind towards Union victory. This is not exactly accurate; only with years of hindsight could anybody construct a narrative that framed this fight as the turning point, for at the time Gettysburg was seen as just another grisly slaughter yard in a long series of them. Still, between this fight and the conquest of Vicksburg out west, this does appear in hindsight to be the high watermark in terms of Confederate progress towards successful seccession. Certainly it was the last time any Confederate army went on the strategic offensive. For diehard secessionists (both during the war and in the years after), this was the last hurrah before the war started being truly hopeless. It is also, I should mention, a place of spiritual significance for me. Myself being secular humanist with a vaccination against Protestantism from my younger days, I don’t have much in the way of codified religion. But when I was a youngin’ visiting relatives out east, I got to visit the battlefield. I found myself standing in front of a monument on the field on the north end of Herbst Wood (where the right flank of Iron Brigade stood and charged on the first day of the battle). It described how a Michigan regiment of about a thousand men stood on that spot and suffered two thirds casualties over the course of the day. I read the details on the monument, and stared up at the mustachioed rifleman staring defiantly to the west. Looking left and right, I saw more monuments every fifty yards or so in a straightish line, spreading out to mark where a human line had once stood and bled. And I turned my back on the monuments to face away, and behold, I saw an opposing line of Confederate monuments stretched out horizon to horizon about a hundred yards away. Two lines, violently opposed but unmoving; courage and horror frozen into place forever. And the world there seemed very big, and very grand, and I felt very small and unworthy. The air was at once colder and hotter than any air I’d ever felt. The wind cut through my clothing and reminded me that flesh was mortal but spirit was eternal. This was holy ground, soil consecrated by blood. Shi’ite Muslims have Karbala. Catholics have the Road to Calvary. Australian aboriginals have Uluru. I have Gettysburg. ———————————————————————— BACKGROUND A brief note- I will be including maps periodically to show the progression of the fighting. These maps must be taken with a grain or three of salt. They are intended to show relations between the armies and the terrain, not to mark the exact positions or dispositions of the units, nor to show an exact proportion of numbers involved. This is because I am not an expert mapmaker, and I thank you in advance for your understanding. First, a map of the northern part of the battlefield. Note how many roads lead there, and note the high ground of Cemetery Hill and Culp's Hill to the south of the town. The Battle of Gettysburg happened because Lee needed to go on the offensive, and Lee needed to go on the offensive because of the big picture. I shall cover the broad outline just so the significance doesn’t pass anybody by. The Confederacy in the Spring of 1863 was in a terrible dilemma. The leadership had two urgent problems, either one of which could (if unaddressed) destroy their enterprise, and to make things worse they didn’t have the resources to solve either of them alone without a miracle. One, the Union was fixing to shove yet another army down Richmond’s throat. Two years of failed invasions into Virginia had been brutal to both sides, but the North had immense reserves of cash, food, industrial output, and manpower with which to replenish themselves, and the South simply didn’t. The Army of Northern Virginia on which every invasion thus far had broken was underarmed, underfed, and undermanned, and if these issues were not fixed then they’d be seeing Union soldiers in the Confederate capitol before Autumn. There had already been a push that year, which Lee had staved off at Chancellorsville. There was plenty of time left before winter for a second attack. And two, Vicksburg, the railway hub that sat on the Mississippi River, was under dire threat. The Union had already grabbed New Orleans at the south end and pushed north up the river, and had been pushing south down the river since day one of the war, but Vicksburg prevented the whole river from falling in to Union hands. Vicksburg alone let the South shift resources and information from its Western half to its Eastern half. Losing it could be a death blow. The garrison of Vicksburg was also underarmed, underfed, and undermanned. The fresh crops taken off the farm and the fresh host of new recruits also taken off the farm were middling at best. Even throwing all the resources they had at either problem and letting the other develop as it would might mean losing on both fronts. Splitting the resources in half to prop up both didn’t seem promising either. Lee, being something of a strategist, developed a third option. There was no point (he reasoned) in trying to prop up Vicksburg at this point- it would take weeks to shift reinforcements that far west, and by then it would be midsummer. If the siege lasted that long, either the garrison would fold or disease would rip through the Yankee army and drive it back home, as it had the last two years running. In either scenario, further support would affect nothing. Therefore, he proposed a bold plan- don’t sit around waiting to get hit in the face. Invade north. Take the fight onto their turf. The more the Confederate leadership considered it, the better it sounded. Northern land hadn’t been ravaged like Virginia had- it would be easy to live off of the enemy’s food for once, thus lessening the headache of their constant supply problems. It was also an election year, and the anti-war Democrats were raging at the ocean of blood and gold being wasted on bringing States back into the fold who very clearly wanted to go their own way. One good, solid victory on Northern soil could tip the balance, drive home the point that that war was unwinnable. Get the Black Republican warmonger Lincoln kicked out of the White House, get a reasonable Democrat in, and next year they just might get a negotiated peace that would lead in time to true and recognized independence. To which end- Lee snaked his newly reinforced army of about 75,000 men up through the Shenandoah Valley, using the mountain range to mask his movements instead of using to well-worn direct route that the Union was camped on. He would end up north of the bulk of the Army of the Potomac, simultaneously threatening Washington D.C., Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, which for a guy trying to score a symbolic victory to discourage the enemy voters put him in a pretty nice spot. Lincoln freaked out, told Hooker and his Army of the Potomac to go out and beat Lee, to utterly destroy his army, and also not leave any weak point undefended, which are just the kind of orders one enjoys receiving. Hooker, having a bit of an ego and a poor history of getting his ass kicked by Lee, got into a feud with Lincoln’s advisors and impulsively offered his resignation as Commander of the Army of the Potomac following some stupid spat with the bean counters back in Washington. Lincoln called his bluff and fired him three days before the battle, putting General Meade in charge of the whole damn army with almost no prep time. I should cut the narrative here to cast moral aspersions right quick. The Union were the good guys, and the Confederates were the villains. That said, the North made for really terrible heroes, and the South had more than its fair share of virtues. This was not a grand crusade of freedom-loving Yankees tearing down the moral abomination of human bondage. This was a brutal, no holds barred death struggle between the efficient new urban Industrial Revolution and the rural Cavalierlatifundias. Only a smallish segment of New England Puritans and bleeding heart Quakers hated slavery on moral grounds- the rest of the North either hated it on financial grounds, didn’t give a fuck one way or another, or were actively supporting racial slavery. And on the flip side, most Southerners who fought in the war perceived quite accurately that outsiders were coming into their world to demand submission, and had decided to give these invaders the William Wallace treatment. This is a normal and admirable response that every healthy society should have in its toolbox, and in my not-even-slightly humble opinion it is a damn shame that so many people endured so much agony in support of so un-American a cause. For you see, when Lee’s army reached Pennsylvania, they kidnapped every black person they could find, free or not, and sent them all south in chains. There was no attempt to ascertain their status by some legal due process, no splitting of hairs. The bare skeleton of Confederate ideology, the great Truth that would have snuffed out by continued political loyalty to the Union, had been that all men were not created equal. To be more precise, men had white skin, and anyone with black skin was not a man and did not have the rights of man. As such, anyone with black skin was to be sold into slavery and threatened with torture and death if they refused to labor in the cotton fields. The army that invaded the North was, in practice, the biggest slave-hunting gang that had ever set foot on American soil. The side wearing grey were staunch defenders of a country based on the Ideal of Ethnic Supremacy, and the side wearing blue were fighting for a country based on the Ideal of Equality. There were a million nagging features of material reality in the South and the North that challenged both of these Ideals, but there were no Ideals to challenge these Ideals, save only for each other. We know that this is true, because as the war shifted away from a Federal attempt to rein in wayward states to an all out assault on the institution of slavery, more and more Northerners balked at the idea of dying to set niggers free; men who had fought for years to bring the rebels into the fold again threw down their rifles and went home in disgust after they heard of the Emancipation Proclamation. And as it became clearer that poor whites who never owned slaves were expected to die for plantation owners’ right to stay rich, fewer and fewer Southerners were willing to jump into the meat grinder feet first; many of them deserted to go home and form Unionist bushwhacker gangs instead. Speaking of the draft, a higher percentage of southerners dodged the Confederate draft than in Vietnam, yet Vietnam is remembered as a deeply unpopular war while the Lost Cause has painted the South as a unified bloc striving as one against the Yankee oppressor. Also, the Confederacy had a draft imposed upon the states by its federal government. So, yeah, State's Rights. Tell me how that worked out. To reiterate. Both sides are not the same. We are rooting for the Union. Slavery. Etc. Pushing on- The two armies surged northward, on parallel tracks with Lee on the west side of the Appalachians and Meade on the east side. Being critically low on recon drones and spy satellites, the only ways to find the enemy army was to send guys out on horseback to physically look at them before riding back, and to talk to locals whether they’d seen anyone wearing the other team’s uniform recently. Clouds of skirmishers, cavalrymen, and small detachments of infantrymen from either side scattered themselves in all directions, straining to catch a glimpse of the other army. The first side to locate the enemy, amass sufficient force, and maneuver against them would probably win, without regard for right or wrong. ———————————————————————— JULY 1st, 1863 Early Morning General John Buford had a 2,500 strong brigade of cavalrymen patrolling southern Pennsylvania, being one of dozens of detachments sent out to find the enemy army. Using human intelligence from locals in Gettysburg, he learned that there was a column of rebel infantry marching down the Chambersburg Pike. And indeed there was. Advance scouts from Buford’s brigade made visual contact with a column marching south towards Gettysburg. The ball was now rolling. The story goes that the Confederates were looking for new shoes and heard that there was a stockpile in Gettysburg. As far as I can tell, this is a baseless legend- inspired by the true fact that the rebel army didn’t have enough shoes, but baseless nonetheless. The three Confederate commanders marching towards Gettysburg (Archer and Davis with a brigade apiece and Heth as division commander coordinating them), were simply doing what their counterpart was doing- reconnaissance in force, hoping to develop a lead for the rest of the army to follow. 7,000 infantry under Archer and Davis were about to pick a fight with 2,500 cavalrymen under Buford. The currents of this morning fight would provide the grooves for the next three days to follow. Buford’s men fought as dragoons; the horse let you scoot around to where you need to go, but you got off it and fought on foot. They Union cavalry broke into tiny little four man teams to bloody the approaching Confederates’ noses. The terrain was a bushwhacker’s paradise- plenty of rocks and trees to hide behind, and plenty of low, rolling hills to speed off behind to break line of sight. One man would hold the horses while the other three crouch-ran forward under cover to pop off rounds into the enemy column from the sides of the road. When the enemy infantry redeployed from a fast moving but harmless column formation into a slow moving but dangerous line, the three shooters would run back to their buddy to mount up and retreat to a new position. The cavalrymen were outnumbered nearly three to one, and their carbines had less range and power than the rebel rifles; then again, the terrain was working for them and their breechloading carbines could shoot much faster than the enemy’s muzzleloading long rifles. It was very close to being an fair fight, as long as the cavalry could stay mobile and keep their distance. Buford and Heth both had unclear, contradictory orders- “Push forward aggressively to locate the enemy, but do not enter into a general engagement until we know what we’re up against.” It was an order that must have made sense in the tent when Lee and Meade sent their own versions off. You wouldn’t want to force a battle until you knew the enemy’s location and disposition and the terrain you were going to be standing on, any more than you’d want bet it all on a poker hand before looking at your cards. But to the guys on the front line, it meant “charge forward, but do not charge forward. Attack, but do not engage. Show some initiative, but don’t pick a real fight.” Heth decided they were up against a skeleton crew of skirmishers, and he had orders to check out Gettysburg. He send riders back with a quick report and a request for reinforcements. Buford decided that if the whole damn rebel army was heading his way, he needed to delay their advance for as many hours as he could to give the rest of the Union army time to get to Gettysburg- the high ground south of the town looked like ideal terrain to fight from and he wanted his buddies to get there before the rebels. He too sent riders back with calls for help. And meanwhile, the murderous, hazardous stalking of the rebel column continued as it trudged towards Gettysburg. Meanwhile, in the Rear with the Gear Imagine running a marathon- 26 miles and a bit from start to finish. That’s how spread out a Civil War army is, from vanguard to rear guard. You can’t really concentrate 75,000-100,000 people together that closely. Disease starts killing people off really fast, feeding everyone is a headache, and if you have to march out, the lead element will march all day before stopping for the night, while the rear element hasn’t even left camp yet. It’s unwieldy. So they all spread out to grab some real estate and forage easier and not choke on each others’ dust and crap. The riders from the Chambersburg Pike were spreading the word through the marathon length of the armies. Units were halting, turning around. Captains and colonels and generals were consulting maps to figure out what roads to take to get south or north to Gettysburg from where they were now. Regiments were putting their heads to together to figure out whose company oughtta go in what order. The movements were slow and and ungainly and awkward, but they were starting up. Mid Morning to Noon The rolling hills on either side of the Chambersburg Pike stopped at McPherson’s Ridge, a grand place to make a stand- plenty of cover, steep incline. In any case, there wasn’t much further to retreat to. Archer and David pushed the cavalrymen, Archer on the south side of the road and Davis on the north. Thoroughly annoyed infantrymen backed up on the Pike behind them, eager to get at the enemy but without frontage to occupy. Buford dug in on McPherson’s Ridge, and the full force of Heth’s division slammed into him. Denied their mobility by the necessity of holding territory, the fair fight turned into a meat grinder for the dismounted cavalrymen. When Confederate artillery set up on Herr’s Ridge, it turned into a bloodbath. Buford, at last, got in contact with somebody who outranked him. General John Reynolds, second in command of the whole Union army, rode ahead of his division to get eyes on the situation. The two struck a deal in the middle of a firefight. Buford promised to hold to the last man, and Reynolds promised to reinforce him. It was an exercise in trust; if Buford’s men held firm and Reynolds let them down, they’d be swamped and slaughtered to a man, and if Buford’s detachment broke and scattered, Reynolds’ reinforcements would march directly into a line of hills held by an entrenched enemy force of equal size. Failure on either side would be fatal. Reynolds rode south again, leaving Buford and his dwindling cavalrymen to fend off 10% of the Confederate army all alone. Meanwhile, Buford’s thin line was cracking. Outnumbered, outgunned, and unable to advance or retreat... That which was inevitable to start with was happening now. Davis’ brigade was pressing against Oak Ridge on the Union right, and Archer's was taking Herbst Woods tree by tree. Buford’s men were giving ground they couldn’t afford to lose. Confederate artillery was blasting giant holes in the ranks of the defenders. That’s when the relief came- two fresh brigades of infantry coming up the Emmitsburg road, under generals Cutler and Meredith. Cutler got there first, taking up positions on Oak Ridge and straddling either side of the Pike with cannons. Their massive volleys disrupted Confederate momentum and silenced some of the rebels’ big guns as everyone scrambled for cover. Grateful and exhausted cavalrymen sidled off to the flanks to safety. Meredith’s brigade is still lagging behind- that’s the problem with columns, only the guys in front can do anything. If Buford and Reynolds expected everything to be right in the world once reinforcements arrived, they were very much mistaken. Those men out there attacking up Oak Ridge were some of the finest infantrymen in the world- dedicated, disciplined, contemptuous of death. They did not stop being efficient killers just because they now fought peers instead of the hornet-like cavalry skirmishers. Cutler’s brigade was facing a small tidal wave of battle-maddened Southern veterans, and had no time to dig in and situate themselves before the moment of impact. Davis’ men ripped into them like a pack of starving wolves. Cutler’s men fell back to safety on the top of Oak Ridge. In pieces. Meanwhile, Meredith’s brigade was finally in position to retake Herbst Woods on the south side of the road. Now, Meredith’s brigade were the absolute elite of the Union army. They were the grizzled veterans, the old crew, the best drilled, the most experienced, the hardest of the hard. They were nicknamed the Iron Brigade, and the Black Hat Brigade, because they were authorized to wear dashing black foraging caps to signify their status as the best of the best. With their comrades north of the road falling back, it was imperative that the Black Hat Brigade protect their left flank. To which end, Reynolds frantically snapped orders for them to line up and charge Archer’s men who were occupying Herbst Wood. Their charge was met by a storm of musket fire that churned the Iron ranks into blood and guts. But this was the Black Hat Brigade. For them, taking ten percent casualties in a single minute was just another Tuesday. They got in close to the rebel line to return the volleys with a vengeance, and then charged with the bayonet. Archer’s men saw the distinctive black hats come for them through the musket-smoke. For the first time, they realized that these were no mere cavalry skirmishers, no half-assed militia company facing them. The best of the best of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them at terrifyingly close range. Archer’s men cracked and scattered. The ones who stood firm, died. The ones who threw down their rifles and grabbed sky were allowed to live as prisoners. The ones who ran, lived, but found the Iron Brigade hot on their heels. Meredith’s elites carved through Archer’s brigade like it wasn’t even there. Reynolds was a good leader. A great one, in fact. He was decisive, experienced, competent. Many thought he should have gotten command instead of Meade. As his men retook Herbst Wood, he turned behind him to check on how close reinforcements were, some rebel rifleman did his cause a world of good, and shot Reynolds in the back of the head. Now the situation got pretty weird- Davis’ brigade had kicked the shit out of Cutler’s brigade and was pursuing them on the north side of the road, and the Iron Brigade had kicked the shit out of Archer’s brigade and was pursuing them on the south side of the road. Neither victor was aware of what had happened across from them, and soon enough they would pass each other by almost touching the edges of their lines. The first one to figure out what was happening would get to win. As it so happened, General Doubleday (in command now that Reynolds was dead) saw the danger and the opportunity first. He broke off an Iron regiment from his reserve to swoop in and protect the flank just in time, setting them up in a defensive stance facing the road. That regiment was joined by another broken off from the Iron assault, and yet another from Cutler’s brigade, who had seen the maneuvering and joined in on its own initiative. It was like a ballet, all three regiments coalescing into a single front facing north across the road, as though they’d spent the last week rehearsing. Under their protection, the rest of the Black Hats gave chase to their prey. When Davis finally turned and attacked, they were chopped down by a mass of highly accurate fire from the newly entrenched men. Confederates died by the dozens and were maimed by the score. As they reloaded, the Black Hats were astonished to find that the whole Confederate brigade vanish into thin air, like magic. The firing stopped; no more targets. It was bizarre. The three regiments advanced cautiously. And were gutted by a close range surprise volley by the hidden Confederates as they tried to scale the fences on either side of the Pike. It turns out that there was a cut in the side of road, deep enough for a man to jump down into with only his head able to peek out. Davis’ men had leapt into it as a source cover when the firefight started and found it was a grand place to shoot out of. But it was also a death trap. Once the Union regiments figured it out, they got in close enough to fire blindly down at point blank range into the milling mass of men. Davis’ men surrendered, thousands of them all at once. Unable to move, unable shoot back, it was really the only choice. And with that, the first round of Gettysburg was over. Oak Ridge and Herbst Wood had held, and about 150,000 odd soldiers were converging on Gettysburg to shift the tide of war this way and that. AFTERNOON The rest of the first day was not free of drama, and heroics, and mass suffering. But it was free of surprises. The iron laws of physics had decreed that more Confederate units would be on hand for the fighting in the afternoon, and so it was. Fresh rebel troops swept down from the north and from the west, relieving their exhausted comrades and preparing themselves to assault Oak Ridge and Herbst Woods. Fresh Union troops arrived from the south to reinforce what they had and to extend their line out east, protecting their right flank and screening off the town itself. Hours passed without a shot being fired. Everybody was reorganizing themselves, resupplying, carting the wounded to the rear to let the surgeons saw their shattered limbs off. Two small things happened that delivered a Confederate victory on day one, and a Union victory on day three. Union General Barlow pushed his brigade out to occupy Blocher's hill, and Union General Steinwehr plopped two of his brigades on top of Cemetery Hill. The first created a huge gap in the Union right, and the second secured the invaluable high ground for the rest of the battle. Meanwhile, three Confederate divisions set themselves up for a concerted attack- Heth would press into Herbst Wood on the Union left, Rodes would assault Oak Ridge at the center, and Early would swoop down the Harrisburg road to threaten the Union right. When the big push came at around 2 p.m., it was badly organized and mismanaged. Southern commanders couldn't get it together and attack at the same time. Individual units charged at Oak Ridge alone, like a mob of Hollywood henchmen attacking the hero only to be smacked around one by one. Cutler's men didn't just fight them off; it was closer to mass murder. General O'Neal's brigade swooped down off of Oak Hill only to be cut down by musketry and cannon fire, and they did it without O'Neal, because O'Neal stayed in the rear while his men died. When O'Neal's brigade fell back having suffered heavy losses, Cutler shifted his men to greet the new threat from Iverson's brigade, who also charged without their commander. Iverson's men marched in parade perfect order across open ground, without so much as a molehill for cover. The story goes that during the assault, Iverson looked out from safety and saw half his men lying down on the ground. Iverson was pissed off because he thought his men were surrendering. In fact, he was watching his brigade die in droves. The issue wasn't morale. The Confederate troops were eager to get at the enemy. The problem was purely organizational in nature. The men in charge of telling people what to do were simply too confused and disoriented to work out the solution in real time. While O’Neal and Iverson were getting bloodied, Barlow’s men on Blocher Hill were getting slaughtered. Barlow’s desire to hold the high ground on the defense was understandable- high ground being a grand place to fight from- but he was about one mile ahead of any friendly units. This meant that it was trivially easy to flank and destroy his brigades. Georgia men under generals Early and Rodes linked up to flank and destroy Barlow’s isolated brigades. A thick stream of filthy, bloody, and terrified Union men flowed back to the town of Gettysburg, leaving a gaping hole in the Union line and spreading their panic like the plague. Victorious Confederates whooped and hollered. As the men to the north of town trade massacres- the failed assault on Oak Ridge being roughly balanced by the disastrous dissolution of Barlow’s brigades- Heth finally attacked the Iron Brigade still occupying Herbst Wood in the west. He’d been delaying it all afternoon, stymied by the contradictory orders from Lee. Lee, who was several miles away and not at all in touch with the situation, still wanted to avoid a general engagement. But now, Heth has been let off the chain to avenge Archer’s brigade. Heth’s full division attacked Herbst Wood. It was a slow, hot, gory fight. The attacking rebels are aggressive, but also methodical and well-organized. The Black Hats made them pay for every tree they seized. But there’s only one outcome for a fight like this. The Iron Brigade has the ghastly honor of having the highest casualty ratio of any Civil War brigade, North or South. Out of the 1,885 men in their ranks that morning, 1,153 (61%) were be dead or maimed by nightfall on the first day. The fates of individual units from within the brigade are even more gruesome- in the 2nd Wisconsin regiment, 397 out of 496 (80%) were killed or wounded. But despite the horrific losses, they didn’t break. They gave ground slowly and in good order, but they gave ground nonetheless. Iron does not break, but it does bend. By late afternoon, the dominoes fell as they were always going to. With the debacle at Blocher’s Knoll, any hope the Union had to hold the right was lost. The Black Hats were being ground into sawdust on the left. And Rodes has finally gotten his brigades to charge at the same time, overwhelming Cutler’s defense. Every Union man was running now, some in a blind panic, some withdrawing in good order like professionals. The open field battle turned into urban warfare as the Confederates chased the Union army through the streets of Gettysburg. Companies blocked the streets to hold off the enemy advance long enough for the comrades to scamper. Marksmen played sniper games in the windows, either shooting men in the back as they ran away or ambushing overly aggressive platoons, depending on the color of their uniform. The Union men were desperate to reach Cemetery Hill, south of the town. High ground and the reinforcements already stationed there promised safety. The Confederates were just as desperate to catch them first and seize that invaluable terrain for themselves. Nightfall A great deal of “woulda coulda shoulda” ink has been spilled over the orders that Lee gave to General Ewell, the man in charge of Rodes and Early: “Take Cemetery Hill if practical”. But Ewell saw two brigades with a lot of artillery standing on top of what appeared to be a natural fortress designed by God to repel infantry, and his men were exhausted to boot. Ewell decided it was not practical, and so did not try. Just one of those things, I expect. In any case, the day was a Confederate victory. Every spot on the map the Confederate troops wanted to go, they had went. They had crushed all resistance, had even gone toe to toe with the cream of the Army of the Potomac and won. Their enemies were in flight before them. There was, possibly, a certain amount of disquiet because the enemy had merely been driven from one ridge into another ridge, one even steeper and with more cover than the last. And rumor had it the rest of the Army of the Potomac was coming at them. But that was a problem for the next day.
I Read It So You Don't Have To: Secrets of the Southern Belle (by Phaedra Parks)
I hope the past few days have been restful and rejuvenating for you all, but -- as I'm sure you must have learned by this point -- the journey to personal betterment is an eternal endeavor. We haven't got a moment to waste, so let's bid adieu to the sunny serenity of the California coast and settle in down South with Real Housewives of Atlanta's Phaedra Parks, as she descends from her ivory porch swing and illuminates the esoteric in Secrets of the Southern Belle: How to Be Nice, Work Hard, Look Pretty, Have Fun, and Never Have an Off Moment. True to the title's descriptive and straightforward sentiments, Phaedra begins the book with a concise synthesis of the worldview she hopes to present:
I believe every woman should be a Southern Belle or minimally aspire to being more ladylike, charming, and intelligent, because we should all be treated well.
As she continues, we get our first glimpse of the deep well of compassion that underlies Phaedra's mission to improve the lives of those around her.
Honestly, I sometimes feel sorry for women of northern persuasion. There they are rushing around in their baggy, drab clothes, doing everything for themselves and looking like they just rolled out of bed. They don't seem to understand there's a better way.
Thankfully, I no longer have to count myself among that witless horde. I feel like, until this fateful moment, I have been living like one of those people from the black-and-white "before" footage of an infomercial -- haphazardly bumbling through the most menial of daily tasks with no way of knowing how much brighter my world could be. Phaedra has freed me from Plato's Cave, and I have no choice but to follow her instruction and strive to shape myself in her image. A true Southern Belle is known -- first and foremost -- for her fundamental kindness and compassion towards others, so it is only appropriate that the book's first section is succinctly titled, "Be Nice." However, even this simple directive has been trampled by the corrupting influence of the modern world. As Phaedra laments,
Unfortunately, as we see more migration from other parts of the world, we also see an increase of poor manners and rude behavior.
She elaborates, providing specific examples of the personal injuries incurred as a result of these unmannered interlopers.
I find it particularly odd in business, when the salespeople or tellers don't speak or thank you for your patronage. Don't they realize that without customers they would not have a job?
I, too, find it offensive when minimum-wage workers have the nerve to act like actual human beings rather than automatons at the mercy of my personal whims, and I appreciate that Phaedra is bold enough to ask the question that has undoubtedly been on the tip of our collective tongue. Yet somehow, she still remains humble enough to freely admit where she has room to learn; here, she lets the reader in on "something I've never quite understood about non-southerners:"
They're suspicious of basic southern warmth because they're worried it's insincere. But at the same time, they will tell you the most inappropriate things! They tell you stuff about their health that you don't want to know. They launch into crazy stories about their terrible childhoods and how misunderstood they are. They complain about what happened long ago, and they fret openly about the future. Then they tell you what they paid for things and you want to crawl under the table. Frankly, that's not very attractive.
What is attractive, then, you may ask? Effusive compliments, for one thing -- "I don't know why some people are so concerned with being sincere, when being nice is so much more effective." We also learn to "never contradict anyone, even if you know they are wrong." Phaedra illustrates this particular lesson with the following example:
If someone tells you that your taxes are due on April 30 instead of April 15, you look puzzled and say, "Goodness, I had no idea. Did they change the date?"
And what happens after that? Either the person says yes and you're forced to play along with whatever bizarre delusion and/or power-play your companion is currently indulging, or they say no and you say -- what? "Right, of course, I knew that the whole time!" Or, "Gotcha! It's April 15th, you incompetent fraud!" Or maybe, "I don't even know what taxes are -- money is for menfolk!" I just can't imagine any of those scenarios playing out with less discomfort than a simple correction, but after four years living in New England, I can only assume that's just northern negativity clouding my vision. We are next presented with a list of "compliments that come in handy," a few of which I've transcribed below for immediate incorporation into your own phrasal repertoire.
What an interesting way to think about it. (Good for a point on which you disagree with someone.)
You thought of every little detail; I love a meticulous lady!
Wow! That is so original. I would never have put it together like that. (In this South this might mean, "I hate it," but in a polite way.)
Boss Babe is out -- Meticulous Lady is in! Phaedra reminds us to keep health concerns -- "especially female issues" -- far from polite conversation, then shifts gears to a much-needed lesson in verbal comportment. It's not just their "attractive regional accents" that distinguish Southern Belles from their less-attractive northern counterparts; they also devote great attention to evoking grace through their cadence and tone.
Sometimes northern women can sound awfully abrupt. It's just a habit they have, poor things.
If you'd like to take your place amongst esteemed gentility, however, I urge you to change your ways! For one thing, when speaking, "slip in something affectionate so that a very harsh reality doesn't come across as rude or abrupt." For example, see how much unpleasant confrontation is avoided with the following turn of phrase:
Darling, don't you know you're too smart and pretty to be the town drunk?
Silly girl, haven't you heard? Addiction is for ugly people! You should also feel free to use these compliments liberally throughout conversation -- "You don't have to mean it, you know." As an example:
If you can tell that someone has put a lot of effort into a particular aspect of her outfit, just draw attention to it. Sparkly stars-and-stripes high heels could be terribly tacky, but you bet they're supposed to be noticed, so go ahead and do it. "Those are certainly patriotic shoes!"
Let me take a crack at it -- This book certainly has a lot of words in it! Writing a book is such an impressive achievement -- I'm sure it feels so rewarding to finally see it In print! And I love the way you occasionally use infinity signs as bullet points -- it's so evocative! I think I'm getting the hang of this! "Another southern difference?" As Phaedra informs us, "we try not to make direct requests. It just sounds so forward and frankly unpleasant if someone comes right out and says what they want from you." Phaedra's Starbucks barista must really despise her -- If it isn't too much trouble, could I bother you for something to drink? No, anything's fine -- I wouldn't want to impose. Almost like a modern-day Rosetta Stone, the next passage introduces us to the nuanced connotations that pervade a true Belle's vocabulary. For example, Phaedra tells the reader that "if I tell someone 'Goodness, you must have spent all day on your hair. I am so impressed!' it really means I hate it." Before I manage to convey how impressed I am by the book before me, I read on to learn that "when you're discussing a homely girl, you generally say, 'She's so smart!' The general thought is you can't be both ugly and dumb. God wouldn't be that cruel." Please excuse me while I take a few hours to re-analyze every compliment I've ever been given in my entire life. Now that that's done, here are a few more translations to help you decipher the Belles in your life.
Belle-Speak: She's a nurse-in-training. Unvarnished Truth: She dates only old men.
Belle-Speak: She's a butter face. Unvarnished Truth: Everything looks good but her face.
Belle-Speak: Hope he's got money. Unvarnished Truth: He's unattractive and pays for affection.
The second one is not even really a euphemism so much as Phaedra trying to demonstrate her knowledge of hip modern slang, but I digress. We transition into advice for conversation starters -- "don't throw them complicated or controversial subjects like politics, animal rights, or local zoning." Truly, I can't tell you how many times I've been approached at a party with an opener about municipal ordinances, and it just kills the mood like nothing else. Worried about how you'll ever find something to talk about under these restrictions?
Don't worry about sounding interesting. "Interesting" is an overrated notion. Just fill the empty air.
That…explains a lot, actually. Our next lesson is in reference to dinner parties -- "don't make a fuss, unless you're complimenting the cook." In case you're confused as to how this guidance should be interpreted, Phaedra clarifies with some examples -- "'Is there meat in here? I'm a vegetarian' is the wrong kind of fuss." Since I typically ask this question while flailing my arms wildly and making intermittent whooping noises, I completely understand how it could be disruptive amongst refined company. Although I'm starting to get a bit nervous that I won't be able to keep track of these seemingly countless rules, Phaedra's next assurance puts my mind at ease: "If all else fails, remember the secret weapon of the Southern Belle is delicate helplessness." In the next passage, we learn that, "if there's any characteristic that defines a Southern Belle, it's her habit of firing off little notes on any occasion." Just as with verbal compliments, these notes require little to no basis in factual reality -- "obviously it's perfectly all right to exaggerate." But while truthfulness is more or less dispensable, your choice of writing implement could have grave repercussions. As Phaedra exhorts, "Never, ever write a letter in pencil. You might as well not bother at all." Within the realm of pens, however, "blue and black are perfectly acceptable, even if they do lack panache." We return once again to the topic of appropriate subjects for conversation, and are cautioned against asking anyone their age. Of course, wild speculation is encouraged, "as long as you're out of earshot." In the next tip, Phaedra declares: "Don't discuss the cost of anything. Any discussion of cost is just in poor taste." I just can't help picture how much of a nightmare this woman must be at a fast-food drive-through. Our final instruction?
Don't discuss hair color. Men always pretend they don't dye their hair, so you just have to go with it.
At first glance, this seems reasonable enough, especially in the context of the social graces espoused by the book so far. However, Phaedra's attempt at further explanation quickly begins to careen off-course.
For women, it's a little bit more complicated because you have the question of whether the drapes match the carpet, so to speak. And I do know some who dye the carpet to match -- that was the big thing in high school. Now with all this weird waxing, you don't have to do as much dyeing, but that's another thing you don't talk about either!
Let's see if I've got this straight: I should always believe a man about his purported hair color no matter what, but if a woman tries to lie about hers, she'll get caught…because I will inevitably be forced to confront the realities of her pubic hair? An intimate partner, sure, but I just can't imagine this situation arises with enough frequency to merit even the few lines its given in this text. And honestly, at this point, I don't even think I want to know what Phaedra means by "weird waxing." This section of the book concludes with a final catalog of "the 'She did what?' mistakes." The list starts off strong with "wearing white to another woman's wedding." However, by the time we end on the most unimaginable of atrocities -- "drinking beer from a bottle" -- I'm beginning to wonder if this list was actually supposed to have been titled "things the sexy homewrecker does in a bro-country music video." The following section is titled, "Work Hard," and I am immediately inspired to do exactly so by the implicit challenge thrown down in Phaedra's opening lines, in which she coquettishly asks, "Who always delivers a presentation on time, with the printed materials perfectly written and proofread?" I'm usually quite good at taming my most pedantic impulses, but contrarian passions I never knew I had are foaming at the mouth to find an upcoming typo and self-righteously call her bluff. Although perhaps I should find a more feminine way to phrase that; as Phaedra cautions, "we don't like to think of ourselves as driven, because that sounds so neurotic and unpleasant." We next learn that "you cannot be a Southern Belle unless you understand what it is to be ladylike." But unfortunately, it is all too easy to be caught up in the ways of the world and lose sight of this primary calling.
A lot of women today enjoy being the feisty, brassy, foul-mouthed kind of gal who drinks with men and shows a lot of flesh. They think it's cool.
Phaedra continues and reflects that, "I've heard the argument that this is progress, from the feminist point of view, but I don't necessarily agree." I can never remember -- which wave of feminism was the one with all the feisty gals? But clearly, their agenda has gone too far! How, in contrast, does a delicate Southern Belle behave?
She looks as if she's heard of sex, probably has had sex, but has no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings.
I'm not sure exactly how to convey this highly specific sentiment in any other way than purchasing a t-shirt custom-printed with the phrase, "I have heard of sex, have probably had sex, but have no plans to have sex with anybody in the immediate surroundings," so I hope that approach will suffice for now. Phaedra follows up by cautioning us that,
A lady never puts in the shop window what isn't for sale.
Personally, I like to think of myself as more of a museum than a gift shop, but to each their own! We next learn more about the delicate balance a Southern Belle must achieve in order to maintain her esteemed position. For example, while "she doesn't cuss and doesn't talk dirty," frigidity is similarly unbecoming -- "if somebody tells a good dirty joke in her vicinity, she'll laugh." I'm barely a third of the way through this book, and I'm already exhausted at the prospect of having to remember all of these hyper-specific edicts. It's no surprise that the Southern Belle has to remain consistently vigilant; as Phaedra intones, "coming from a Pentecostal family, I hate to see a woman down more than two drinks." It seems to me like the simplest way to avoid such emotional turmoil would be to simply refrain from compulsively tallying the beverage intake of strangers, but I soon learn there are far more perilous hazards lurking around every corner. Phaedra shares her personal strategy for avoiding the very implication of incivility in the following excerpt:
I don't ever go to the bar at a party; I think that just looks terrible. If I must have a glass of wine or crave a fruity adult libation, I'll ask a nearby man to procure it for me.
Sir! Procure me a fruity adult libation -- tout de suite! But I would hate to diminish the male gender by implying that they're only good for the acquisition of potables; no -- men can be leveraged in an increasingly broad array of day-to-day tasks. As Phaedra shares:
I have friends who have never in their lives pumped gas for their own cars. They will ask a complete stranger to do it for them. One of my besties from New Orleans will flag down a man, give him her credit card, and have him pump and pay for her gas.
Honestly, I can't help but wonder if this might actually be some kind of avantgarde performance art, in the tradition of Marina Abramović's Rhythm 0. Because the idea that this gambit has never gone horribly, horribly awry truly strains credulity. As I read on, however, I learn that my current train of thinking is sorely misguided.
Sometimes when I'm at a grocery store the fellow bagging the groceries will ask if he can take them out to my car. Why would you say no to this? But sometimes women do. And I look at them and sigh and think, "Poor thing. She has a lot to learn."
Thankfully for my personal development, the next chapter — titled "A Crash Course in Being (Selectively) Helpless" — promises exactly the sort of content that I so desperately need to understand. As Phaedra explains, a Southern Belle is "never intimidating, because some things she just can't do on her own." She goes on to offer concrete examples of how to incorporate this ethos into your life on beginner, intermediate, and expert levels.
Experts: assume help will arrive. Flat tire? Pull over to the curb, and don't sweat it. Can't figure out which wrench to buy at Home Depot? Or how to program your DVR? This is what former boyfriends and other gentlemen are for. Believe me, the age of chivalry is not dead.
Rent due? Don't sweat it -- a gallant gentleman likely already has a check in the mail. House burning to the ground around you? You should know a Belle doesn't walk down the hallway on her own two feet! Bear attack? I'm sure a male bear is just around the corner, ready to jump in and defend your honor! Without a hint of irony, we transition to Phaedra's advice for the workplace. We learn that the quintessential gentlewoman is savvy, competent, and always at the top of her game. For instance, at her workplace, "she figures out how to work the coffee machine and the copy machine." With that kind of go-getting attitude, the Southern Belle will be bound for the C-suite in no time! Provided, of course,
She never does that thing I hear of in the North sometimes of telling you how little she paid for something. Why would you brag about bargains?
I can't hear the phrase that thing I hear of in the North in anything other than the voice of Tinsley's mother, Dale. Except she would probably use it in reference to something like "giving compliments to your daughter" or "weight gain." Regardless, a more appropriate question at this juncture might be, "Are you sure this book was proofread quite as judiciously as you claimed?" As I scan the page, my eyes happen upon the line:
10 percent for tithing, if your religion encourages tithing, which mines [sic] does.
Of course, it would be entirely uncouth for me to brag about my typographical superiority in this context, so now seems as good a time as any to exercise some of my newly acquired techniques. Oh, Phaedra -- bless her heart! I suppose we can't all be detail-oriented, can we? It must be nice to be so casual and carefree when you express yourself! Without further ado, however, we move along to our next lesson -- "People don't know when you're hungry, because they can't hear your stomach growling, but they definitely know when you're homeless." To be honest, the more I think about this statement , the less sense it makes to me (people…can hear your stomach growling?). Luckily, with the jam-packed schedule of a Southern Belle, I simply don't have time to dwell on the issue for a moment longer! Our next tutorial? "If you have one fabulous pair of shoes, you will wear them to church. It is the very least you can do for Jesus." As we all know, Jesus appreciates sweet kicks, so he loves nothing more than to see you rock the newest styles when you drop by on Sunday. And besides -- the higher the heel, the closer to heaven! Phaedra summarizes the Southern Belle's can-do attitude with the line: "We all may not be sitting around big ugly Formica boardroom tables, but we get things done." As someone who has only ever attended meetings held around moderately sized tables, I find this to be a validating sentiment. When it comes to extracurricular pursuits, "beauty pageants are important." However, "as much as she loves performing, the Belle will not take to the stage: some of those theater people are just too peculiar, bless their hearts." Honestly, Phaedra and I come down on the same side on this one. But I will have to heartily disagree with her next passage -- with respect to traditions of stepping within Black Greek Life -- in which she states,
The traditionally white organizations don't have anything comparable.
Um, excuse me? Have you never seen this iconic video?! However, Phaedra does reassure us that she's far from ignorant in the ways of the world. As she states, "I have read about hookup culture and known a few easy women." Of course, easy men don't exist -- or at least, that's what I've read in all the most prominent textbooks regarding hookup culture. But don't mistake Phaedra's awareness for acceptance -- "that doesn't mean I like any of it." However, this sentiment is belied just a few paragraphs later, when our author recalls:
I offended the mother of one of my best friends once by booking some exotic entertainment at this friend's birthday party. My friend loved the anatomically exceptional dancer, but her mother was livid.
I'm sure that it was only your friend who loved the "anatomically exceptional" dancer, and I assume this must have been one of your aforementioned token "easy" friends, besides. A Southern Belle, in contrast, is interested in serious, long-term relationships. And for this purpose, "it would be much better to marry a young man that you can train. I have always said that I would rather be a babysitter than a geriatric nurse." Yet even these kinds of discrepancies seem trivial in comparison to the boundless passions of eternal love. As Phaedra shares,
I want Apollo and me to celebrate our fiftieth anniversary, so I try to overlook momentary annoyances.
That aged well. Bless her heart. We're soon treated to a cheeky list of "what her husband doesn't know," which echoes several key themes from earlier in the book -- most notably in its bizarre fixation with pubic grooming.
He doesn't know what her true hair color is, because the curtains always match the carpet.
He doesn't know how often she waxes, or exactly what waxing entails.
He doesn't know that she has her own credit card, her own savings account, and a safe-deposit box.
I've got to say, that last one hits just a little bit different with hindsight. Always timely, however, are Phaedra's views on the importance of the homemaking arts. In this evocative passage, she describes the primal horror of an encounter with a woman tainted by an unimaginable curse:
A nice lady from another part of the country recently confessed to me that she doesn't know how to do any crafts. In fact, she said, she gets all nervous and antsy in crafts stores, because they're so full of things she doesn't understand. I laughed like I thought she was joking, but really, I felt bad for her. Imagine not knowing how to make all those cute objects that brighten up lives in the South! I shudder to think what the inside of her house looks like!
With that fable still ringing in my ears, we transition to the next section of the book: "Look Pretty." Phaedra reflects, "I am always shocked when I leave the South and encounter the enormous number of women who don't seem to understand how their clothes should fit." Now feels like an appropriate time to draw attention to the book's back cover, in which an open-mouthed Phaedra swivels her torso in such a way as to create a bulging protuberance across one half of her chest. In awe of her commitment to inclusivity, I now realize this could only have been an intentional choice to make herself seem more approachable to us northern oafs, and for that I am eternally grateful. Phaedra goes on to inform us that, "personally, I prefer skirts and dresses over pants." However, although "high-waisted pants and pants with visible hem cuffs are quite elegant and ladylike," one should take care never to forget that "minimalism and menswear looks are just puzzling and not appealing to a Belle." I, too, must admit that I find menswear looks puzzling -- a girl? in boy clothes? I just can't make heads or tails of it! And this is far from the only contemporary fad that baffles the true Southern Belle. As Phaedra continues:
I've never understood the appeal of the natural look. It's so easy to improve your appearance; why wouldn't you take advantage of the many beauty aids available to you?
In a frankly unexpected dig against the ceramic arts, Phaedra notes that "unless you are a professional potter (and I don't think Southern Belles generally are), your nails need to be clean and filed." More generally, your physical proportions should remain mild and inobtrusive:
Ever since voluminous behinds became fashionable, I often see these lumpy, huge derrieres on women with legs as thin as a chicken's, and I think God would never put a rump roast on toothpicks, so why did you do that?
That's why I always caution my friends to pair their butt implants with a battery of leg implants, in order to really round out the overall contour of the body and mimic that structurally stable, God-given look. After all, as Phaedra quips: "'Knowledge is power' -- that's my motto." But this knowledge doesn’t come without a price; being as world-wise as Phaedra often requires direct confrontation with the atrocities of today's world. As she recounts, for example: "I was astonished to find out that not every woman possesses a lint roller." It's truly a tragedy to learn how the other half lives! We are next informed that, "you have to have your ears pierced, but only one hole in each ear." The consequences for an infraction of this critical edict are left unvoiced, from which I can only assume that they are swift and merciless. Any self-respecting Southern Belle has a taste for the finer things in life, and Phaedra is no exception. As she remarks:
I love diamonds; I'd have a diamond duvet if I could afford it.
Because I am less fiscally endowed, I have had to settle for stuffing my duvet with assorted Swarovski crystals, at least for the time being. However, I'm eager to upgrade -- I can only imagine that the extra hardness of the diamonds will add a satisfying acupuncture affect to my nighttime regimen! Phaedra moves on to fashion advice, and cautions the well-heeled Belle to remain conservative in her fashion choices. But don't worry -- there is a time and a place to let loose and express your more artistic side. Or, as Phaedra says, "something a little funky or ethnic may even be appropriate from time to time." To further illustrate this principle, she explains: "If I were going out West, for example, I might wear some turquoise bracelets." But some things are a bridge too far! Any woman with a modicum of dignity would know never to be caught dead in "polar fleece," "a naughty-nurse costume," or "footed pajamas." We are also encouraged to carry around a hand fan -- "the elegant way to stay cool" -- as well as a "small leather-bound notebook for jotting down inspirations." I lose my train of thought for a moment, caught up in a daydream about the ingenious wonderings that must be contained within Phaedra's hallowed journal. But I'm brought back to reality by a declaration of "what's not in my purse," beginning with the stern pronouncement: "any kind of contraband substance." Our pilgrimage to polite society continues with a comprehensive exploration of the monogram's social gravitas. As Phaedra intones, "I've even seen cars with a very discreet monogram on the driver's door." But with light must come darkness, and the next chapter bravely confronts an issue many others would fear to face: "Looking Like a Tramp" ("There, I came right out and said it," Phaedra breathlessly gasps below the harsh text of the passage's title). She gathers herself together and courageously reports, "some women look downright sleazy." Alas -- even more tragically -- couture catastrophes are not restricted to those of legal majority. Phaedra heroically pulls back the curtain on a nationwide epidemic of wardrobe misconduct being perpetrated against society's most vulnerable:
I saw a picture not long ago of some hippies or hipsters or whatever you call them from some remote city. The parents looked the way you'd expect them to look, a little bit bedraggled, but the worst thing was they had this adorable little baby all done up in a black onesie. And as far as I could tell, it wasn't even Halloween!
How to combat this terrifying trend? Phaedra offers words of wisdom: "Little Southern Belles always look sweet and appropriately girlish." Specifically, we are encouraged to incorporate design elements like "tasteful, conservative rickrack." By way of further explanation, she clarifies that, "what they don't do is dress like Lady Gaga in dresses made of butchers' best cuts of beef." I'm disappointed to learn that my idea for an Etsy store selling bespoke meat-based children's clothing might be a nonstarter, but I suppose I appreciate our author giving it to me straight. Another childcare commandment?
No costumes outside the house. Of course every little girl loves to play dress-up. But I truly dislike seeing Snow White or a fairy princess trailing along behind her mother at the Piggly Wiggly.
As she sits in her living room, most likely waiting for a man to come to her aid for some reason or another, Phaedra is struck by a sharp, blazing pain. As the flash of blinding torment subsides, she catches her breath and shakes her head wearily -- another costumed child has gone into a grocery store. Forgive their guardians, for they know not the harm their actions have caused to our author's delicate and genteel sensibilities. But it does us no good to dwell on the darker side of life! Rather, we'll move right along into the book's final section, "Have Fun." However, this does not seem to be exactly the same kind of "fun" colloquially mentioned in mainstream circles. Rather, the Southern Belle defines fun with the principle, "everybody needs to know that you made an effort." For example, "if you're pouring punch into paper cups for a gaggle of seven-year-olds, put a spring of mint in it." My previous experiences in the general vicinity of children lead me to believe that at least 75% of the seven-year-olds in this group would respond to this elegant enhancement by dumping the punch out on the ground because it has a gross plant in it. Maybe that's part of the fun? No analysis of Southern culture would be complete without a discussion of that most hallowed of pastimes -- college football. And although "only a really unusual woman watches football alone," it is imperative that a Southern Belle attend the social events associated with the on-season. What's more, she should take care to do with impeccable style. As Phaedra laments:
Sometimes I see pictures of women in store-bought football jerseys and I feel sorry. A store-bought jersey does nothing to flatter the feminine body.
As for the game itself, minimal understanding is required -- "Naturally a Belle knows how much men enjoy telling her things, so she isn't shy about asking questions." True to her generous spirit, however, Phaedra nevertheless provides a basic primer in the rudiments of the sport:
Basically each team is trying to get the ball through the tall H-shaped goalposts at the end of the field. […] The problem is that the ball can look awfully little from pretty much anywhere in the stands. There's no shame in watching the video replay to see what really just happened.
As a final tip, Phaedra suggests that "belles whose husbands have season tickets might even invest in matching linens and china." Our next unit of instruction concerns the arrival of a newborn bundle of joy; as we learn, "the birth of a baby is a big deal in a southern family." It's so interesting to learn all of these unique cultural details! I don't know if I've ever heard of another culture that places such importance on birth -- I'd love to get an anthropologist's take! There are also strict guidelines to which one must adhere regarding the naming of a debutante-in-training:
A Southern Belle's name: -- is obviously feminine. -- is two syllables or more (names like Ann or Joan seem abrupt, like so many Yankees). -- is a real name, not a geographic feature like Sierra. -- means something. Preferably something nice.
Once born and appropriately christened, children should be painstakingly shielded from the contaminating influences of the world at large. Phaedra explains that "pop culture is full of children behaving disrespectfully." Without the slightest suggestion of self-reflection, she goes on to declare that "besides, we think TV characters are basically tacky." Phaedra reiterates a few of the courtship commandments mentioned previously, most concisely in the adage, "Belles don't date losers." And, as any suitor worth his salt should know, "a date with a Belle is no time for a boy to experiment with 'alternative' clothes or grooming either." Instead, a Southern Gentleman takes care to keep his language clean from distasteful or offensive language -- "For instance, why say 'liquor' when you can say 'adult refreshment'?" As we near the end of the book, it seems only fitting that we take a few pages to cover the traditions and rituals associated with life coming to a close. Buttressed by her extensive knowledge of mortuary science, Phaedra instructs us:
Postmortem is no time to experiment with cosmetics. No one wants their sweet aunt Gertrude looking like some ashy Jezebel when she meets Jesus.
The passage concludes with the brassy observation, "we don't usually cremate in the South; we figure if we wanted to burn we'd just live recklessly and go to hell." Before the book closes in earnest, Phaedra shares a few of her special, meticulously developed recipes. The most evocative of her culinary optimizations is a recipe for sweet tea, in which she thoughtfully informs us, "sweetness can be personalized by adding more water or ice to the tea." The book's final pages contain an instrument designed to measure the effect of the preceding 252 pages on one's essential courtesies, charmingly titled "The Belle-O-Meter Quiz." As Phaedra explains:
So, ladies, how are you doing? I'm sure you've all been very attentive to my suggestions and are amazed by the results. You're probably totally used to a steady diet of compliments and flirtation and invitations. But here's a little quiz in case you feel the need to measure how far you've come.
If you'd like to take the full quiz, you can do so here. But if your busy Belle schedule doesn't permit you to devote that much time to something so self-indulgent, a few example questions are provided below:
Your routine greeting when you meet a new person is: a. A surly glare. b. "Hi." c. "Well, hello! How are you today?"
If your gentleman friend brought you a corsage to wear on a date you would: a. Put it in the refrigerator. Nobody wears corsages nowadays! b. Pin it to your coat collar and check your coat. c. Pin it in an unusual spot like your waist or behind your ear, after extracting one little blossom to put in his lapel.
The answer key informs us that answering mostly C's means that "you are a genuine Southern Belle." As Phaedra goes on to suggest, "maybe it's time to share your new skills with a friend and pass along this book. I hope it's been helpful to you." As a book hoarder of the highest order, I will have to skip that suggestion, but I am nevertheless thankful to move one step closer to self-actualization with the help of another Real Housewife. Until next time! Upcoming plans in comment below!
Hamilton's problem with vehicle noise (modified muffler/exhaust)
**EDITED*\* (edit notes at the top, for visibility) EDIT 1: It's been brought to my attention that this post reflects a relatively privileged perspective (given the more serious problems so many people are facing), and that some of the language used is immature and unhelpful. I'd like to acknowledge that both of these are true. In the case of the language, I believe (hope) that it reflects temporary frustration more than actual immaturity. So while I stand behind the tone and general content of the post, I am somewhat ashamed of some of the wording choices. EDIT 2: Regarding "car culture" — I have no problem with it, and in certain ways it's quite interesting. I will admit to not properly understanding it. But my view is that we shouldn't need to. Most of us don't understand knitting culture or beekeeping culture or skydiving culture either, but this lack of understanding isn't problematic, as none of these cultures are nonconsensually injected into our daily lives. Car culture is a bit different in that sense. So the argument is not against car culture, or even against the simple existence of modified vehicles; it's against selfish behaviour, and it's about the impact of this behaviour. (For this reason as well, whether an exhaust system is 'legal' or not has no bearing on the discussion.) And the post speculates (perhaps misguidedly; Hanlon's Razor likely applies here), about the reasons for the behaviour. ----- Oh, this may go a bit long. (TL;DR at the end.) Apologies for length, but I have so many thoughts & questions about the vehicle noise problem in this city. (And an unreasonable amount of free time today.) The proposed initiative by city council to target drivers with modified mufflers/exhaust systems is long overdue. It's a step in the right direction. But the actual problem starts long before a vehicle's exhaust is actually modified, and this is what I hope to end up discussing here, along with whether or not it's a real problem for Hamilton.(Although the adult discussion follows a bit of a rant, if you'll entertain it...) Example: HDB In our neighbourhood, there is one guy a few of us have come to refer to as the Head Dbag (HDB), if you'll forgive the salty (while perfectly fitting) nomenclature. In my mind, at least, when all the DBs gather, HDB brings the meeting to order, collects DB dues, proposes key motions, reprimands lower-tier DBs for being too quiet or too thoughtful, and so on. Frankly, I don't envy the responsibility. Anyway, he is dubbed the HDB because his car is the loudest car. Excluding official vehicles with sirens and various commercial aircraft and those rock crushers used in diamond mining pits (though, to be fair, at this point we're toe-ing the 'vehicle' line pretty liberally), it is easily the loudest vehicle I have ever heard. The volume is almost magnificent in its ridiculousness. He wins. HDB completely wins. If you live around here, you know him. You've heard him. He drives a Mustang (because of course), which he paints seasonally, likely whenever he feels his personality has gone stale. Currently bright orange, though in the past it's been bright blue, black/white, camouflage (because of course; war is cool), other colours. Not only will you know when he's in your neighbourhood, you'll know when he's on the nearest highway. And he gets that sweet puppy from 0 to ~90 (my guess) on the residential streets around here within about 4-5 seconds. Every single time. Really, every single time. Because true morons have this wonderful superpower — they're capable of being entertained endlessly by the exact same thing. I can only imagine he plays a solitary Michael Bay movie on infinite repeat at home. Anyway, I have no idea where he goes, but I know he is needed there fast. I imagine either Taco Bell coupons are expiring faster and faster these days, or the courthouse closes early a lot. Hamilton cops of reddit: If you want to bag (or re-bag) a prime DB trophy for your mantle, sit near the intersection of Mt. Albion Rd & Greenhill Ave on any weekday between 7:30 & 8am. I can guarantee a speeding violation, and likely a number of other violations as well. Listen for the sound of an angry, coked-up lawnmower. When you hear it, you'll have at least 3 minutes to compose yourself, prep the radar gun, stretch your ticket-writing hand, and so forth. Then be on the lookout for a bright orange prosthetic ween in the shape of a Mustang. You're welcome. (And then return the next morning to repeat, please.) This guy doesn't strike me as the fast-learnin' sort, but once we get up into double-digit demerit point level, the light may start to dawn. Anyway, I digress. This isn't really about HDB. He's one of hundreds of such dimwits in the city. So it's about the problem in general. And in fairness, I suppose we should assign these people a better acronym. Perhaps not all of them are true, card-carrying DBs? We'll use the less judgmental GwMM ("Guys with Modified Mufflers"). Are you a GwMM? So many questions... (if you'renota GwMM, scroll way down below for the adult discussion) Let's turn the tables for a moment. A genuine curiosity: GwMM, if you lived next door, and I consistently practised my yodeller's rendition of Mongolian throat-singing at 180dB, outside every morning at 3am, what would you do? What would you want me to do? Really, try to imagine it: You've just polished off the last Coors. You've flipped off the TV after watching the evening's top-rated MMA fight. You're all caught up on your Fox News feed. Your tracksuit and gold chains have been removed and set aside for the night. You're exhausted. You finally drift off to sleep, and are mid-dream (you know, the one where you're being interviewed on E! for your world-renowned pickup artistry skills), and then BAM! — I interrupt you at 180dBs. Every f-ing night. Sincerely — what's your move? What would you do? Who would you talk to about it the next day? Which authorities would you involve? Something must be done, right? It can't go on! If you're one of these people, a GwMM, do you... almost get it? Kinda-sorta? (Yes, I know most of the actual GwMMs won't read any of this, or will read it but won't be able to absorb it. But maybe it reaches just one GwMM, a guy who's modified his exhaust but is otherwise on the fence between being a normal adult and a flagrant purveyor of doucheism. Maybe just one person.) GwMMs, you should understand something — the impression you think you're creating, and the one you're actually delivering, are vastly different. As you drive by, here is what most of us think about you (a non-exhaustive list):
You need attention. This is the easy one, the most obvious, and I would think the most inarguable. You need it badly enough to actually pay for it — with your time or your money, or both. Those mufflers aren't free, and they don't install themselves. Know that the need for attention is a weakness. Watch American Gangster. There's a great scene in which Denzel's charater explains that "the loudest guy in the room is the weakest guy in the room". It's a weakness because you're always in need of something from other people: you need their approval. But in your case, GwMM, you don't just need it from your family or friends or colleagues, which is relatively normal; you need it from absolute strangers, from everyone you pass as you drive. This is unbearably sad. The need for attention makes you desperate, and therefore to be pitied.
You're compensating for someting. This one writes itself. You may or may not be. But you should know that many of us strongly suspect this, as you drive by. I would bet on it being one of the highest factors. In fact, I bet it would have actual predictive value in a formula. The higher the number, the more likely to be a GwMM:
none (i.e., female) = 0 (I know, I know; more on this below)
large = 1
medium = 2
small = 3
teensy = 4
"button on a fur coat" = 5
You're emotionally under-developed. You are using toddler-level social signaling tactics. You're flashing your loud, shiny toys around in a bid to earn friends or mates. Trust us on this: As you roar by, there are precisely zero women thinking, "Ooooooh, get me an Uber, I am just way too wet to walk home right now. I need to bear your offspring! Enter me now, I require your seed!!" And so on. Also, no man is thinking, "I need to be friends with that guy, like, yesterday!" You may, admittedly, be impressing the odd teenager.
Your relationship, if you have one, isn't going well. Because of a combination of the three points above, it simply can't be. When you're that self-focused, there's no mindspace left to give your partner what they need. When your need for attention is that high, any relationship will be lopsided. And in general, most halfway intelligent women have little interest in being with emotionally needy, socially embryonic 'men'.
You're uneducated (or under-educated). There is nothing inherently wrong with this. I'm sure you've done the best you could. But it's not something most people are eager to shout from the rooftops (/tailpipe). And feel free to be angry about the assumption, and the stereotype, but let's be honest — your average pediatrician, for example, isn't driving a Civic Type R with a plastic 6ft spoiler and 150dB-tuned exhaust, or a lifted pickup with six chrome XXL tailpipes for "performance"\. We know you could tell us your favourite athlete but not your favourite author or documentarian. We know you think a Monster Energy Drink and a hot dog is a valid adult meal. In short, you're a halfwit. And halfwits, well, tend to be poorly educated. And again, while there's nothing *necessarily wrong with this, it's a sad thing to want everyone to know, as you drive around the city.
\* I hate this argument. GwMMs, you can stop pretending you need the modified exhaust for better "performance". I don't doubt the improved airflow can maximize horsepower or whatever, but for what purpose? You're not rescuing a herd of Chechen refugee infants from a burning orphanage; you're trying to meet your bros at Jack Astor's before all the 'good' sides get defrosted and sold out.
You're probably not doing well financially. This is related to the one above, but isn't quite the same. When you put a $2,000 aftermarket exhaust on a car worth $8,000, you're signalling to most of us that you're probably a financial moron. When you drive a lifted $90,000 truck with an obnoxiously loud exhaust, we know you've financed it at 7.99% over 96 months and can barely afford the payments (and we think that before we see you idling it outside Cash Money) — because low-grade behaviour in general usually correlates with dumb financial behaviour. As with the item above, doing poorly in this area shouldn't be a source of shame for anyone, but you should know that when you rev by at 150dB, you're undermining your attempt to look 'money' in that $90k truck.
You're on your way to do something imbecilic. I promise you, no one is left with the impression that you're racing off to perform surgery, or to re-test your lab results, or to refine the last chapter of your treatise on human rights abuses in Malaysia. We know you're racing off to pick up Skyy vodka and a tub of hair gel.
You're an asshole. Or, less dramatically, but no less critically, you're selfish. This should bother you more than it might. If you can't stretch cognitively enough to see why this is a bad thing for others, and for society at large, consider that you'll probably (continue to) have a terrible, striving, unfulfilling life. Until you calm down and recalibrate your viewpoint, you will remain in that desperate, cringy mode in which most assholes of a certain particularly douchey variety seem to be stuck. And yes, as you scream by, we all know you're in that place — that hustling, scraping, gonna-get-mine place that almost no one ever climbs out of. So you're sad. A sad, unenviable asshole.
(non-GwMMs, have I missed anything?)
And again: These impressions created with your loud 'performance' exhaust would otherwise be fine, not so bad at all, in fact, if you weren't tryingso goddamned hard to create impressions painfully opposite to most of these. So you're wasting your time, energy, and money. Sad. GwMMs — more to consider:
Someone woke up today and thought, "During the peace summit this afternoon, we must tailor our opening commentary so as not to alienate our counterparts in Belgium, the country closest to switching their vote on this important resolution."
Someone woke up today and thought, "The protocol for freezing leftover genetic material in our lab needs to change. The last experiment's results were invalidated due to the material being degraded just a hint beyond the acceptable temperature threshold, and this is an unacceptable waste."
Someone woke up today and thought, "The code needs to be rewritten to use atomic rather than non-atomic loads; the thread calling the primary variable is competing with a thread on a different core."
Someone woke up today and thought, "If we're to have any chance of enacting behavioural change in this patient group, we'll need to examine the collective antecedents of their self-efficacy beliefs."
You woke up today and thought, "I'm gonna be the loudest, fastest fuckin' guy on the way to the jobsite! (/mall/salesroom/etc.) They'll all fuckin' know who the boss is."
You see the difference, right? You're a moron. But that's not even the core problem. The core problem is one of focus: Most of the thoughts above are about solving a problem, making a contribution, being an adult member of society. Your tiny-brained thoughts are mainly about yourself, about getting yourself noticed. They're low-level thoughts. You probably drove past people today in your screaming micropenis-mobile who were thinking thoughts just like those above. You didn't notice them, though — in part because your brain was occupied with whether they were noticing you — but more to the point, because many of them were driving practical, nondescript, quiet cars. But why? Why would they do this? How could they make this mistake? Don't they know they should drive the best, fastest, loudest phuckin' ride they can get their hands on?? They must not be able to afford one, right?! Er, no. It's because they don't source their self-esteem from their vehicle. You didn't notice them because they don't need you to notice them. They're not as weak as you are. And they have adult brains, which allow them to focus on others at least as much as on themselves. Hopefully you'll get there someday. (Alright. At this point if you're a GwMM and you're still pretty sure of yourself, and aren't convinced that you are indeed a low-functioning twat, I beg you, look up the Dunning-Kruger Effect.) Non-GwMMs: Why should the rest of us care, beyond the temporary bouts of noise? Is this a real problem for Hamilton? I think it is. The Y-Combinator venture capitalist and essayist Paul Graham has an interesting piece about the "message" a city sends. For example, New York, by its collective actions and values and signals, 'tells' you that you should be richer; Los Angeles tells you that you should be in better shape; San Francisco tells you that you should be healthier and/or in tech; Cambridge (MA) tells you that you should be smarter. And so on. Part of the impact of these messages is that citizens will naturally tend toward the mean of that message over time — and so a city as a whole continually becomes "more like itself". I've lived in a fair number of cities, in Canada and abroad; some sophisticated, some less so. I had so hoped Hamilton would be "the one". But it can't be, at least not for me. Hamilton's ADBpM (Audible Dbag per Minute rate) is comparably quite high — I'd peg it at somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5, in most areas of the city. In other words, the sound of an obnoxious, low-grade human, usually a GwMM, enters my auditory field roughly twice per minute. At this rate, it becomes a 'constant', something reliable; a perpetual reminder of the type of people I'm surrounded by. And so at least for those attuned to it, Hamilton's tone is largely 'off', at least for the city it claims to want to become. The message it sends, as Paul Graham might put it, through its ADBpM and a few other factors, is to be tougher, louder, more aggressive. The GwMMs embody and reinforce that message. Now, some of you may be proud of that. (Though I'm guessing anyone who's read this far is likely not.) I've noticed a trend here, a collective defense mechanism really, of referring to the city as "gritty", or "down-to-earth", or (my favourite so far) as "keeping it real". None of these are proper synonyms for the aggressive dudebro culture incubated and enabled here. The proper term would be 'dumb', or better, 'underdeveloped'. The feel is of being in a cognitively adolescent place. It's obviously nothing to be proud of. The cities that prize blatant aggression are those in which no developed person wants to live. Fort McMurray and Gary (IN) come to mind — teeming jockstraps of aggression, with predictable results — higher rates of alcohol & drug abuse, domestic violence, and violent crime in general. Any thinking person wants their city to have the opposite of these phenomena. The GwMMs don't, of course, have these effects directly. But they do reinforce the vibe. And if aggression and/or general doucheyness is the (or a) pervasive vibe in Hamilton, this is a giant turn-off for all sorts of people who might otherwise move here and make a contribution. So, intelligent, progressive contributors will leave, or will avoid the city. Not all, but certainly some. Possibly many. And the Troglodytes will stay, because they feel at home, especially as their behaviour goes unchecked. The city may thereby, over time, become more like itself. Of course, Hamilton is in many other ways a wonderful place. But in any "on the cusp" or "on the way up" or "improving" city (do we agree that's what it is?), there is always a sort of invisible balance between civility and rampant douchebaggery that could tip in either direction. And the tipping factors aren't always perfectly obvious. Large, dramatic factors like affordable housing and business grants and infrastructure get most of the attention, as rightly they should. But resolving a mishmash of seemingly small other factors, of which I think the GwMM issue is one, can have a large impact as well. All of this to pose a serious question: As mature, intelligent Hamiltonians (non-GwMMs/DBs), what should we actually do about the problem? Do you think Council's initiative will make a difference? If not, what would you propose? A coordinated social-shaming effort? Vigilante action? Nothing?Something else? ** GwMM HELP SECTION *\* Are you a GwMM enraged or offended by this post? Allow me to assist. To save you time, I've taken the liberty of crafting several predictable answers, and translating them into the dudebro vernacular. Modify or copy & paste directly, as you prefer:
"go back for Toronto you leftweng snoeflake, fuck yor self!"
"did you even look at a Mustang b4 you post this LMAO!!"
"elistist phart, prolly wear a covid mask too"
"I get 468 HP in my ride bro you cant compeet your golf cart sucks ass lol"
Okay, this did go a tad long. TL:DR - When you modify your muffleexhaust to be louder than the original, you reveal to most of us that you're weak, sad, likely mini-penis'd, un- or under-educated, emotionally underdeveloped, lack a personality, and are generally a selfish asshole. Of course, if this is the impression you're going for, by all means, continue. TL;DR, polite version - We really do have a problem with vehicle noise pollution in this city. What should we do about it? TL;DR, honest version - I have a recurring dream wherein I learn that all of the clinically retarded philistines in this city have somehow passed away, all at the same time, each by crashing their [Mustang/Ram1500/InfinitiG35*/CivicTypeetc.] into a separate lamp post. If your catruck/SUV/etc is purposely extra loud, you are a certifiable Grade-A douche, and you should be aware that you are among the lowest-functioning members of society.
\* about which — what a shock to learn that that poor woman and her three daughters were killed in Brampton by a 20-year-old male in a bright blue Infiniti G35 with black rims and blacked-out windows. I know I was shocked. At first I guessed maybe a 60-ish woman in a Corolla. But no — I was way off. Incredibly, young guy in a modified Infiniti G35. (Worthless douche, may he rot in prison with others of his ilk.)
- - - - - Footnotes I'll later regret:
Motorcycles — In my head somehow, the motorcycles are a separate issue, despite often being even louder than the modified cars & trucks. It's an old, embedded culture, with the choppeHarley-type bikes typically being ridden by diabetic old men. That fight is lost. That group is largely beyond change, so it's a waiting game (for a traffic accident or lung cancer or cirrhosis or the elegant cascade of symptoms that comprise metabolic syndrome, or a nursing home; whichever). This, and I suspect many cops are (reasonably?) fearful of pulling these guys over.
The "police crackdown on yahoos" — Another reason I'm less than optimistic about this working is because I suspect a Venn diagram of cops and GwMMs may be narrower than we'd like. Dudebro culture in both camps.
The gender thing... <giant sigh> It appears that a few people in earlier discussions have managed to contort their thinking enough to view this issue through a 'gender-equality' lens, as they no doubt view virtually every issue these days. It's not that this isn't adorable; it most certainly is. But it distracts, and threatens to prevent us from getting to the root of the problem. The 'data' aren't hidden, in this case — just look in the cars, and use your counting skills. This is overwhelmingly a guy thing. These are mostly males (or if you prefer, individuals who would appear to be of the sort that traditionally possess a penis) and are usually on the younger side. As humans we are pattern-spotters; we are hard-wired to spot patterns in our environment, in order to make sense of it, and to reduce cognitive load. We can't help it. So yes, most of us will notice that the loudest, fastest cars are driven by traditional males. If you claim not to have noticed this, I have a polygraph machine here and $10,000 with your name on it, should you hardly move the needle when I ask whether you've noticed it. You've noticed it. And (traditionally-)male insecurity leading to aggression is a well-known, well-studied problem. But, reasonably enough, you may point out that male vs. female isn't really the issue. And I would agree. Masculinity, specifically toxic masculinity, as one of our councillors pointed out, is more to the point. I would agree with that as well. But it so happens that most toxic masculine behaviour is exhibited by those who are traditionally male. Is this really a controversial statement?? Will knowing it (under the decidedly safe assumption that it is true) help with vehicle volume enforcement? No, and nor should it. Let's target the behaviour, not the driver, when the behaviour happens. But might knowing (acknowledging) the heavy male-masculine correlation help in getting to the root causes of the aggressive, asocial behaviour, possibly before that behaviour occurs? I think it might, as it hints at who may require help/treatment/intervention/education/etc. We have neither the time nor the resources to address the problem entirely at random, in the name of political correctness.
Tldr: speed make brain go vroooom, but wish brain went vrooom on normal basis instead of vrm :( . This post is lowkey trash but I recommend reading my quotes from psychosis, they’re italicized down there. Funny shit. Last three paragraphs are cool too :P Ever since drugs entered my life, they have made me a better person. They have made me kinder, more compassionate, more understanding, more loving of life, and accepting of others. Almost every drug I have done has taught me something important. I am sure I’ll share with these with the community later. But today, we’re talking about my two experiences with Adderall. Now, I don’t have adhd or anything like that, at least I don’t think. But fuck man am I depressed and have huge issues with motivation. I am a fool that is for certain but I’m not stupid. I know what it takes to get myself out of this rut in life but its so fucking difficult. I wish I could reset the pattern my brain has gotten itself into. To stop putting the important things off and seeking pleasure instead. But I don’t. I just don’t. I know I should. It’s logical, it’s reasonable, it’s NESSECARY. But nah I would rather eat some dope food and play some kick ass games. The worst part is when I face a serious failure in life, it hurts my soul, I cry, and swear to change. But I never do. The last time I faced one of those episodes was a few months ago. The last week of my second semester of college(a blast this whole college thing is no cap). Classes had not been face to face for several weeks due to corona. Not that I was going to too many classes anyway but once shit went online, I didn’t log on to canvas for fucking weeks. Just vibed, smoked hella weed almost every day and just had a good ass time with my bros. Of course, this would come to bite me. I kept letting all my work pile up and up. Until I had a damn mountain of shit to do. Nothing new to me though, Ever since the latter years of high school I had gotten accustomed to putting things off, back then to play cs:go or some Minecraft lmao. Great games. Then the day before assignments were due I would blast some Eurobeat and get to grinding. This ridiculous habit followed me into adulthood. This time it was different though. This time serious financial investment was on the line and could possibly fuck up my life if I failed all my classes like I was on the verge of doing. However…. This time I had a secret weapon that a year prior would seem ludicrous to me. Drugs! I had tried Ritalin but found it to not affect me too much. Adderall was what I was looking for it for a while and I found it just in time. A week or two before finals. I could procrastinate even more knowing I had the secret weapon to fuck this mountain of work up. Oh boy did I overestimate their potential. I bought like 7 15mg xr and planned on doing half a semester of work in a few days. When it was time to rock and fucking roll I popped two of those boys and started with my favorite class: Philosophy, Politics, and Economics(yes one class, not to flex if you’re interpreting it that way just clarifying lmao. Man, I’m fucking silly lol). I began reading the works of Karl Marx, and Cohen. Exploring communism. Fuck was I INVESTED in what I was reading. It was incredible. I was glued to my computer, taking awesome notes that connected all the main ideas into a coherent framework that I could use to clearly and effectively answer the prompts I was also given. I was having an absolute blast. After I finish with the Communist and Counter Communist literature, I decide I’m going to smoke some dabs because why not. What awaited me next was absolute euphoria. The Adderall gave me SUPER LUNGS that allowed me to take the biggest hits I have ever, and to date, taken in my life. I am almost certain that night I smoked more thc/dabs than I ever had in one sitting. Dab after dab. Keep em coming. Pure bodily euphoria. But that wasn’t even the best part. The best part was I was learning. I was learning so much. Taking in so many new perspectives and seeing the world in new lights. The bourgeoisie gained their wealth and power through capitalism, and through their seemingly unstoppable expansion of influence, managed to dismantle the feudal system. Marx believed that the proletariat must follow in the steps of the bourgeoisie and overthrow them the way they overthrew their feudal lords. I can say in retrospect it is a super cool idea with lots of truth to it but I’m not sure if it’s entirely true. But fuck was that mind blowing. Every piece of literature had dense mind-blowing information in it. Even Martha Nussbaum making an argument for legalizing prostitution(something about giving women control of their own sexuality’s financially or some shit) introduced brand new perspectives to my head that I would have never even considered before. Halfway through that course I notice something. I’m having too much of a good time taking these notes and immersing myself within the literature. Every assignment(piece of literature, and 5 prompts) was taking me two to three hours, and those were hours I could not afford to spend. I was saddened by this realization because the fun would have to be cut back on a little. It felt as if I had been missing out on what a true educational experience really was like. I wanted to take this feeling back with me to sobriety. This idea would ingrain itself in my head until it was all over. So, I stop taking notes trusting that my GODLIKE memory and IQ from this drug would be more than enough to answer the prompts. I was not totally correct as it did take several glances back at the literature. I also redosed a few times this night every 4 or 5 hours. I decide to take a quick break. Talk to my roommate for a little. Fuck could I talk and talk and talk and talk and talk. It was so much fun! Just how my studies were so incredibly interesting, everything I said and heard from my roommate was so fucking interesting. But I knew I had to stop, I had not the time to waste. This saddened me a bit as well, but no matter. Onward! Many many hours pass and I am almost done with that class but I know I have to make some intelligent decisions if I want to salvage my overall grades. I stop with what I was doing and decide to take my American Government final which I didn’t study for, barley showed up for class, and definitely barley read anything posted online. To my luck, all the information was stuff I already knew. The exam was easy and I fucked that bitch up in under an hour. A true blessing. I thanked childhood me for being super into history : D, kiddo saved my life. What comes after that? A euphoric shower where I jerk off for half an hour, only to realize a nut is miles away and I’m wasting my PRECIOUS time. I get out and back on the grind, just to pick my phone up and loose another 20 minutes staring at girls on snap. I just couldn’t get enough, they looked like such sculpted works of Art. Absolute perfection. Wow. That’s all I could say. But fuck, I was running out of time. Only a day and a half left and several classes left to go. I was taking two student success seminars because my dummy ass failed first semester. But fuck one of them wants me to do a fucking project that involves taking all the information we learned over the semester(didn’t learn any of it cause I barley went!), so here I am scrambling through this dummy project trying to put the pieces together just to find out that I need to attach next semester schedule to it? FUCK. I procrastinate everything. Even that. I didn’t even make my schedule until a few weeks ago lmao. So that class was a lost cause but I just accepted it and moved on. I open geology and see another mountain of fucking mountains. I’d rather just fail I told myself. As my mind began to tire, I lost motivation to keep going in that moment. I needed to rest for a while. So that is what I do. I go to my bed, and somehow fall asleep for about 5 hours. Maybe the giant amounts of thc(probably a good amount of cbd in the dabs too) in my body were overpowering the amphetamine. Idk. All I know is I slept, woke up, took two more addys and got back on my crusade. At this point I half about a 30 hours left or something. I knew my fate had been set in stone. I explained to my roommate that it felt like I was getting surrounded by 7 zombies, and I had a gun with only 5 bullets. Was I going to go down swinging? Hell yeah. Was I going to go down? Yeah… I have 3 classes left full of work to do. I say fuck it. I’m going to have fucking fun and continue working on my PPE. I work the rest of the day on that, finish all of my addys, continue to take hella dabs and work until the night. I had lost but I was high as fuck and didn’t care. I was literally just vibing. As it became dark, I had only some 8 hours left(grades were due in the morning of the next day or something I think). But, something happened while I was chugging away. I went into fucking psychosis. As I was trying to finish my favorite class, I end up typing two pages of nonsense throughout out the night. Philosophical nonsense clearly influenced by the information I was soaking up. I’ll probably post it sometime on its own but here are some quotes: “Lmao. Hello all, and self, much love, and best regards to all. Since all of humanity, which makes sense that it is possible for warping of perception and fantasies of man to not only effectively desire, the desire of being filed inor at least a reasonable amount of reasonable and awesome showerthoughts.” This was the opening line lmao “Followed very close to the given how amazing they really are. Besides, by the comibation ogreat on weed crashes It make less sense to those of humanity with little matter regarding just the polar music of Weezers, greatest strengths are true experienced art.” I guess I was listening to weezer right then lmao, awesome band haha “Really to inspect not only my person relationship of maintaining the happies selft, or guest, will more likely bet by relating to my fellow man about what it means to live a fulfilling life” Damn. Feel like I was really on to something LMAO. Aight one more. “Your child hood, may have been particularly if they were not meerley the seeker or pleasure, orThe potential. . . for abuse. . , no matter the differences or nuances of us all. The past two days, and I know not if I shall leave in unshared, and unprofitable producing legacies of particular amounts of fine art I have understood the artistic boost that is clearly boost” I feel like the first sentence is getting at the themes I talked about in the beginning of this post. I grew up a pleasure seeker, looking for the next dopamine rush. Whether through the vidya games, porn, or shitty food that tastes awesome, rather than doing things that require discipline. The second sentence if I had to guess, and I do, is reflecting on the amphetamine binge I was coming off of then. The artistic boost stuff sounds legit, I definitely could have made some dope art if I had any idea how to do so. Mind was for sure in artistic boost mood though fr fr. I remember sitting down and typing this out. Remember it making more sense in the moment though. I think I thought I was writing in my journal. Well anyway, I was in this state for about the whole night. Some 6-8 hours. Thank god I didn’t fucking submit this. Some other things I felt/experienced while in psychosis. It was like a delirious psychedelic trip. Never had one but I bet that’s what I would feel like. I think(I think), I was aware of being in psychosis but I’m not sure I’m just projecting that into my memories. I definitely remember being chill af. I knew it would be over and I just had to hang on. My entire body felt how a limb that is very asleep feels like. It felt sorta good, but not as godly euphoric as I felt before. At some point I manage to go pee, and it was ODD, my pp felt fucking weird, but I was just vibing. I had a difficult time breathing and was breathing manually the entire night. The only scary thing that happened, or kept happening, was this flag that I can see from the window in front of my desk. I’m not sure if it was moving in the wind, or my mind was imagining it but every time it moved it fucking spooked the shit outta me. Like a jump scare. Well once the sun began to rise, I began to regain most of my normal consciousness, my breathing is still heavy and manual, my body still feels asleep, and it takes me a solid minute at least to stand up out of my chair, but it was a challenge that felt kind of good. The first thing I do is take a fat dab. Instantly after exhaling my breathing returns to normal, and I am back to normal at this point. I had failed most of my classes but fuck, that was a battle and I’m a fucking veteran of it. Had a good ass sleep after that. Deserved it. So, what comes after that? (before we get into that lemme tell you I was orange! I looked in the mirror after I woke up and I was orange like Donald trump. I thought that was funny but was sure it would pass. It did. Aside from that I didn’t really feel a comedown or crash post psychosis, I sort of had an afterglow where I was motivated to turn my life around.) What comes after my miserable failure as a person? A fucking fight that’s what. No way is that shit happening again. I start researching motivation issues, focus issues, shit about the brain, stuff about diet because I was tired of living in this shitty body. The next months would consist of research, research, research. But the patterns I had ingrained in my life were like castle walls. Impenetrable without serious gunpowder(metaphorically). I found myself burning out after giving different self-improvement techniques out, going back to seeking pleasure rather than improvement. Well, I signed up for a summer economics class to boost my gpa after that giant tank(!corona virus saved me from getting kicked out! : D ) Just to end up running into internet issues that would spiral into procrastination to both fix them, then get to work. So about two weeks into the class and few 0’s. I finally just fucking did it. Got my internet fixed and got to working. However. I had overestimated my sober abilities to focus and work. I had not applied myself in so long that attempting to actually do something was difficult. Reading, analyzing, and problem solving? Borderline painful. So I bought more amphetamine! My second two-day binge is coming to end as I type these very words. But damn, has amphetamine revealed some very important truths to me. The first is that dopamine is very important chemical for motivation and hard work. My personal theory is that since my whole childhood and adolescence was about doing what was fun and not what was hard, I am used to not having the dopamine to difficult task. If you search “dopamine detox” on youtube you will find some super interesting videos about how dopamine helps us accomplish tasks. Rather than being the “feel good” chemical in the way we think about it, its more of a “feel good enough to motivate you to do a task the brain thinks is worthwhile” chemical. Rather than being released in the face of pleasure, it is released in anticipation of a reward. And theoretically(haven’t tried it yet but probably in the next few days) if you starve your brain of typical dopamine releasing activities(browsing social media, playing vidya, nuttin, doing most drugs, watching Netflix, listening to music, etc) for a day or two and your brain will release it while doing activities typically considered, or experienced, mundane. Such as reading a book, doing schoolwork or exercising (lots of people feel great while and after they work out but I don’t and can barley do it without hardcore high energy music propping my soul up). Amphetamine makes doing boring shit easy and exciting because of precisely the same principle. Dopamine! While I highly doubt amphetamine levels of dopamine activity are possible. I’d like to aim for more dopamine, more of the time. At least this will be my first attempt to drastically change the bad habits I have. I really hope, and am going to give it my best shot to pick up the pieces of my broken life and piece it back together in a way that makes me stronger and better than I was before. I shall will it into existence. Well. If you read this, awesome lmao. If you didn’t. I don’t blame you like wtf am I talking about haha. Ima go to heckin sleep. Gn, stay safe, and stay lit!
Grand Haven Pronto Pup owner freaks out on Facebook.
This was posted on the Grand Haven Pronto Pup Facebook page. From the owner of Pronto Pups in Grand Haven, MI Have a seat. This is going hurt a little. Today after playing phone tag with the Ottawa County Health Department regarding the Executive Order to wear a mask while working, I discovered some things. An "higher" education does not make you capable of critical thought. It makes you educated, not smarter. (Yes there is a difference). When a rule/ordedirective is issued, it has a blanket policy. Period. I am referring to standing over a 395 degree cooker of oil, INSIDE an exhaust fan and trying to reason with our book learning inspector (Over the phone) why a mask is irrelevant and useless in this particular case. This is the issue with no real word experience in working. No thought process. The inspector just sited from the current Executive order. I am told my reasoning was presented to the board but I hope it nots true or the board is right at the inspectors level intellectually. That scares me. My personal opinion is to have the Health Department shut me down. (This looks better for me in the future law suite) However, as a business owner, I have to look out for the best interest of our co-workers. My hard head would cost them income. Not fair to them. I did present the option to continue maskless and wait for the inevitable Ottawa County Health Department shut down or to wear the mask. Majority choose the mask so Here we are. We will remain open until someone claims the color of the building is offensive. (White). If any of you believe this is a health issue, unfriend me. Please. This is 100% political. We are witnessing a school yard bully fight between the right and left. Period. To think anyone would support these morons destroying our nations economy is just mind boggling at best. Don't hit me with the "rise " in cases. I call bullshit. You test more, you find more. Yes, covid19 is real. The American Journal of Medicine defines coronavirus as "The common cold". FACT. There is soooo much misinformation out there. Mask work, then they don"t, Save them for the "Front line" (Oh, don't even get me started on that attempted glorification and honor robbing of our Veterans.) Sunlight kills it, just wait for summer. So many smart individuals out there with facts that the mask make no difference. Problem is , the Fucking Media controls all we see and hear. (Good Job HITLER). If my Dad or Grandfather were alive today they would beat the shit out of me for standing by and letting this happen to our state/nation. Freedoms gone that they gave their lives for. But, todays kids don't understand what it takes to keep our freedoms. This is why the schools haven't taught Civis in decades. They do not want informed person that knows their rights........ If you are under 60, your govt class taught you the three levels of govt and how a bill becomes a law. Period. None of that have any of us actually used. Our government has gotten so big and out of control that none of us know how to retake it. i am going to grab a good friend (Jerry) and make 12' stencil patterns and paint WHITE LIVES MATTER down the first the blocks of Washington street. Any bets on the outcome? BLM has absolutely nothing to do with racism. Its funded by Soros and the Democratic part to destroy our economy. Its working. On that note, why isn't that asshat Soros dead?... He openly admits this. Gimmie his address........ I believe it will take fire power. Period. That is a shame. People in local, state and federal positions are Fathers, Mothers, aunts and uncles but they have also neglected their SWORN duties to up hold our constitutional rights. This is why some Sherrifs in the state will not enforce the latest "order". Good for them. I am curious of the MIchigan Militias stand on this act of Treason that Michigans governor is putting us through. Maybe I run for president of the militia...... In closing my small rant, I believe it is time to make a statement that we are not tolerating this over reach of government any longer. We, as a people, need to band together and restart this great nation. There is no such thing as reparations. Period. It is time for everyone in the United States to be self supportive. If you want 7 kids, be sure you can afford them or pay for your own abortion. No social security number, no check. If you don't pay taxes why should I support you? Enter the United States legally through the proper channels and I welcome you but be ready to support yourself and your family. The first one that says White Privilege gets an ass Whooping. My Dad never owned your Dad. Native Americans killed many White people in the early days of our nation. ts time Churches pay their fair share of taxes. Besides, since when does a house of worship need an indoor basketball court, high tech light show, Full band P.A. system to worship the lord? My Dad always stated: Some of the most religious people in the world have never stepped foot in a church. Its also time to scale back the police departments. NOT defund, but trim the fat. While does the GH Department of Public Safety feel the need for a patrol car to hide in the bushes on Coho drive and try to catch vehicles that don't stop for the rail road tracks. (Yes, I stop).... Are ya fuck'n kidding me? Thats my tax dollars getting pissed away. Start enforcing these assholes with the loud cars, bikes etc for the noise ordinance and Exabition driving. I don't mind a good rumble but shits goon out of hand. Oh, and call 911 once and see how that process works. I can unload faster than you can get an officer out to your area. The worst feeling I ever had (they say trust your gut feeling) I whole heartedly believe on the Friday that the asshole Jeffery Wilis was on trial for Jessicas murder, She was at my place of business. No one will ever convince me other wise. As she was standing in front of me, my gut wrenched and I started to shake. Looking back, I should have grabbed my .38 and held the man with her but instead I called 911. TWENTY MINUTES and no officer. Of course, you have to tell your story to 3 different people before they connect you to someone who can dispatch. After a face-to-face meeting with the head of Ottawa County central dispatch, he informed they are a model unit and revered throughout the state. After calling back, A GHDPS officer called. Not arrived, but called. Informing me if it was her she is only guilty of a runaway or missing person. UN FUCKING BELIEVABLE. Friends in the know tell me that are absolute it wasn't her based on the evidence that was never released to the public. Not Convinced. I do regret not getting ahold of either sides council. Its here that I best stop. Sorry if I offended any of you but dig up some facts.
Lost in the Sauce: Trump Tower inflated profits to obtain larger loan...again
Welcome to Lost in the Sauce, keeping you caught up on political and legal news that often gets buried in distractions and theater… or a global health crisis. TOMORROW: I’m going to post a keep_track look at issues involved in police brutality, prosecution of cops, protests, etc. Housekeeping:
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Trump announced Saturday he is postponing the annual G7 summit, which was due to be hosted in the U.S. in June, until September — and plans to invite four additional non-member nations including Russia. Boris Johnson responded by saying that he will veto any push by Trump to readmit Russia to the G7 gathering. The U.S. National Security Agency says the same Russian military hacking group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election has been exploiting a major email server program since last August or earlier. The NSA might have issued an advisory to publicize the IP addresses and a domain name used by the Russian military group, known as Sandworm, in its hacking campaign — in hopes of thwarting their use for other means. A Russian oligarch is reportedly backing an effort to smear Biden and states he is working with the Trump administration to leak additional damaging material… The oligarch, Oleksandr Onyshchenko, gave tapes of Biden on a phone call with then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to pro-Russia Ukrainian politician Andriy Derkach, who then leaked the tapes. The audio consisted of edited fragments of phone conversations from years ago when Biden joined other leaders in pressing for the ouster of Ukraine’s corrupt prosecutor general.
Derkach met with Rudy Giuliani last year. Onyshchenko worked with another Giuliani associate, Pavel Fuchs (also a co-developer of Trump’s Moscow Tower), to launder hundreds of millions in frozen Yanukovych assets bought from a Russian tycoon. Now, this same group of oligarchs tied to Trump and Giuliani are leaking tapes of unknown provenance to try to undermine a US political campaign.
Pro-Trump One America News Network wanted Onyshchenko to come to the US to help with Rudy's disinformation campaign. OAN tried to help him get a visa to travel to the U.S.
Giuliani is also trying to raise $10 million to finance the production of a Biden-Ukraine documentary that can be released this year. Giuliani and his partners have considered the possibility of drawing in investors from overseas, raising the possibility that Giuliani is (again) attempting to orchestrate foreign involvement in the current presidential election.
Last week, the DNI office released the transcripts of the December 2016 calls between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak… The transcripts confirm that Flynn lied to the FBI when he claimed that he had not discussed the sanctions imposed on Russia by the Obama administration in response to Vladimir Putin’s attack on the 2016 election. The transcripts show Flynn encouraged the Russians to not retaliate severely, suggesting that when Trump took office things between Moscow and Washington could be smoothed over… At no point does Flynn castigate Kislyak for Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election. As the Obama administration was trying to impose a punishment on Putin for that attack, Flynn, on behalf of the Trump gang, was sending an utterly different message: We don’t care about that.
In fact, Flynn was signaling to Putin that once Trump took office, Trump wouldn’t be pursuing the matter and, instead, would be reaching out to Russia as a partner. (A few months later, Trump, in the Oval Office, would tell Kislyak that directly.)
Kisylak argued that the Obama administration sanctions were aimed at damaging the incoming Trump administration just as much as they were the Kremlin… “I just wanted to tell you that we found that these actions have targeted not only against Russia, but also against the president elect,” said Kislyak, adding that he hopes “within two weeks we will be able to start working in [a] more constructive way. Tidbit: Mueller’s team asked Trump a series of questions about Flynn's calls with Kislyak; the president simply ignored them. Tidbit: Flynn told Kislyak in December 2016 that "the boss" (Trump) was aware of Russia's request to have a secure teleconference between Trump and Putin.
The FBI's top lawyer Dana Boente was asked to resign on Friday following criticism by Fox News for his role in the investigation of Flynn… Two sources familiar with the decision to dismiss Boente said it came from high levels of the Justice Department rather than directly from FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Before he moved to the FBI General Counsel job, Boente was the US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia—the last US Attorney appointed by President Obama to leave office during the Trump era.
Trump’s given reason for firing the State Dept. Inspector General last month was proven to be a false pretense… Trump claimed he was fired for leaking to the media when, in fact, IG Steve Linick was cleared earlier this year by an independent investigation. Pompeo recommended Linick’s removal at a time when the office was investigating multiple instances of abuse of power by the Secretary of State. Members of three House and Senate committees will interview former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick on Wednesday, as part of an investigation into his abrupt firing. Linick will speak to members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee behind closed-doors.
The committees also plan to call Brian Bulatao, undersecretary of State for management; Lisa Kenna, Pompeo's executive secretary; senior adviser Toni Porter; Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper; former Deputy Assistant Secretary Marik String, a legal adviser to the department; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Political-Military Affairs Mike Miller; and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Charles Faulkner.
Mike Pompeo's CIA advisory board rankled agency veterans… As CIA director, Pompeo and his wife Susan organized an undisclosed board of outside advisers while he was director of CIA that some at the agency viewed as inappropriately weighted toward wealthy individuals and well-connected political figures. Op-Ed: Mike Pompeo Is the Worst Secretary of State Ever. The F.B.I. said a Saudi Air Force trainee who killed three U.S. sailors and wounded eight others at a Navy air base in Pensacola, Fla., on Dec. 6 was an act of foreign-planned “terrorism.” ...That sort of intelligence failure — the first foreign-planned terrorist attack on U.S. shores since 9/11 — is something you’d expect Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to be particularly upset about… He just smirks and marches on. But every American should care. The morale and effectiveness of our State Department — and our standing in the world — are both the worse for him. Last week we learned that the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general exaggerated his credentials… Joseph Cuffari’s official government bio claims “Dr. Cuffari earned a Ph.D. in philosophy,” but new reporting revealed that his degree is from an unaccredited “diploma mill” that required no classroom instruction and issued degrees for low flat fees. Additionally, the Ph.D. is in management, not philosophy.
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about the origins of the Russia probe. "Mr. Rosenstein will testify about the new revelations contained in the Horowitz report concerning the FISA warrant applications and other matters," Chairman Lindsey Graham said in a statement. "This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation."
Reminder: After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein begged for his job, reportedly trying to assure President Trump that he was on his team. “I give the investigation credibility,” Rosenstein[said on a call with Trump. “I can land the plane.”
Top Republicans are suing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over new proxy voting plans that will allow some members of the House to vote from home amid the coronavirus pandemic. The decision to allow proxy voting was approved by the House earlier this month, largely along party lines, and is only temporary. House Republican introduces bill to hold up members' pay if they vote by proxy… Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), who is leading the effort, said: “Outsourcing the duty of a member of Congress is unconstitutional and wrong. House members should not be allowed to send someone else to do their jobs for them.” Last week, Trump unexpectedly withdrew his support from a FISA reauthorization bill, leading Republicans to abandon the proposal and the House to pull a vote on the legislation. However, as Rep. Justin Amash pointed out, in 2018 Trump himself signed into law the long-contentious spying authority he recently began railing against.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham urges senior judges to step aside before the November election so Republicans can fill vacancies… Graham said:
“This is a historic opportunity. We’ve put over 200 federal judges on the bench. … If you can get four more years, I mean, it would change the judiciary for several generations. So if you’re a circuit judge in your mid-60s, late 60s, you can take senior status, now would be a good time to do that, if you want to make sure the judiciary is right of center…”
Op-Ed: Should Trump lose, you can bet that the day after, McConnell will be on the phone to the White House Counsel’s Office demanding that they nominate someone for every vacant seat, ASAP. It won’t matter who — somebody’s neighbor, somebody’s nephew (there isn’t even a requirement that judges be lawyers) — so long as they’re committed conservatives, and as young as possible so they can serve for decades
Democratic lawmakers are scrutinizing one of President Donald Trump’s outside advisors and his multimillion-dollar “dark money” network for rigging the judicial nomination process… The Senate Democrats’ report details how an interlocked group of anonymous donors has been directing the judicial nominations process through media and lobbying campaigns. Leading this effort is allegedly Leonard Leo and his conservative organization, the Federalist Society. The Supreme Court late Friday rejected a California church’s challenge of the state’s new pandemic-related rules on worship services, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s liberals in the 5-to-4 vote… Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s dissent falsely accused the state of religious discrimination in an extremely misleading opinion that omits the most important facts of the case. Roberts went out of his way to scold Kavanaugh’s dishonest vilification of the state.
DOJ memo offered to buy out immigration board members… The buyouts were only offered to Board of Immigration Appeals members hired before Trump took office. Critics view the move as an effort to push out the civil servants on the board and stack it with new hires who would align with the Trump administration’s restrictive immigration agenda. An immigrant woman sued a private prison company on Wednesday alleging she was raped inside an ICE detention center in Texas that resulted in her giving birth to her attacker's daughter. The woman, identified in the complaint as Jane Doe, was detained at the Houston Processing Center, operated by CoreCivic. The Trump administration is accelerating efforts to seize private property for Trump’s border wall, taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to survey land while its owners are confined indoors. However, landowners are largely fighting the effort in court. Since December, the administration has obtained only seven miles of land. Family separation returns under cover of the coronavirus… Citing the coronavirus to seal the border, the Trump administration is engaged in a pressure campaign against immigrant parents to get them to give up either their kids or their legal claims to protection in the U.S.
Trump Tower’s 2010 Profits Magically Grew By $3 Million In New Loan Filings. One set of reports listed the tower’s 2010 profits as $13.3 million; a second put them at $16.1 million. That helped the Trump Organization borrow $73 million more than it had before.
Last year, ProPublica revealed another set of income discrepancies at Trump Tower and other company-owned buildings, ones that seemed to hark to the testimony of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who testified that Trump would inflate income figures when seeking a loan and deflate the figures when filing taxes. Other Trump Organization properties investigated by ProPublica reported higher profits in the CMBS filings than they did in tax filings. A Trump Organization spokesperson said at the time that “comparing the various reports is comparing apples to oranges” because reporting requirements differ.
Trump Towers Istanbul partner lobbied the president and White House cabinet to sizably boost trade with Turkey in response to the novel coronavirus. Asked whether the president performed favors for a business associate, a senior White House official emphasized the longstanding trade relationship with Turkey, a NATO ally. Lawmakers urge Trump to cancel DC's July 4 event… "Given the current COVID-19 crisis, we believe such an event would needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans," the lawmakers wrote. "Further, this event would come at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars while we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn due to the pandemic," they added. The Republican National Committee held its winter meeting in January at Trump’s struggling Doral golf resort, giving Trump more than half a million dollars from the RNC and 13 state GOP committees. The state Republican party committees of West Virginia, Texas, Connecticut, Minnesota, Iowa, North Carolina, Alabama, Colorado, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Georgia, and Wyoming all contributed to the massive tab. Trump’s Spent Nearly $20 Million on Lawyers to Carry Out His Political Vendettas… A large part of recent spending is aimed at curbing mail-in voting.
Examples of Political Betting Lines and Markets. You can bet on politics from anywhere in the world so long as it’s legal and you have internet access. Research It’s never been easier than it is today to research politics. There are plenty of reputable political data and trend sites online. US politics betting for all American markets. Get 2020 Election odds, including Democrat and Republican candidates, plus midterm specials and much more With the legal betting market in the US expanding, additional forms of betting are surfacing, including betting on political events and elections. Presidential election betting odds and lines have become prevalent at many reputable and popular sportsbooks, and political prop bets are enjoyed by political enthusiasts from all backgrounds. For roughly an hour Tuesday night, America had a legal betting option for a presidential election. FanDuel sportsbook in West Virginia technically became the first regulated entity to offer bets on a political event, posting lines on the 2020 presidential election. A day after lines opened, the political betting option is closed. Even though sports betting has taken the United States by storm, political betting is a completely different issue. Right now, all legal sportsbooks in the country are not allowed to take bets on the 2020 Presidential elections or any other election around the country. Most states specifically have laws against sportsbooks providing odds on any
Sports betting is now legal in Delaware, and these states are next Outside the Lines ESPN
The 2020 MLB season is here and we take a look at the betting odds for the Colorado Rockies and player prop bets for Nolan Arenado. We compare odds for you at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel ... Today we discuss how I managed to get banned from sports betting, but we also discuss how to implement arbitrage betting strategies to make you money! Arbitr... Legal intrastate online sports betting already appears to be fine under the Wire Act. But there are some legal analysts who believe there are lots of potential issues to consider. More at: https ... In this video, my brother Mark aka MFA, goes over further into sports betting and looks at the concept of point spreads, and how to read them. A point spread is the amount of points a team is ... Sports betting is now legal in Delaware, and these states are next Outside the Lines ESPN - Duration: 2:25. ESPN 4,389 views