More gruel
Easing Back In

Easing Back In

From once a week, to twice a month, to twice a year, I’ve been slow to post here for a while. Competition for my time has been intense.

After spending 11 years in Houston and 17 in Chicago, we just completed two cross-country moves in two years. They didn’t go smoothly. Be very careful when you hire movers

In a tech industry marked by job hopping, I spent two decades at just two companies, then changed jobs three times in the past two years. 

Cancer sucks. One star, do not recommend. Then again, maybe that’s unfair. The cancer itself has yet to cause me an hour’s worth of discomfort in the almost six years I’ve known about it. Seems like I should apologize to the little bastard because it’s the treatments, not the disease, that have given me trouble. 

There’s a constant hum of drama around dealing with this disease, a CT scan-by-CT scan swing between picking out funeral songs and feeling like I’m gonna beat the thing. Beneath the back and forth, in the nearly two years since I last wrote about it, there’s been no net growth. Still, it eats a lot of mental space.

Then there’s the political environment. I started writing almost 15 years ago when Texas had a pro-choice Republican Senator. Back then a Republican Presidential nominee was shutting down racists at town halls and running on his plan to fight climate change. New York had a Republican Mayor, Massachusetts had a Republican Governor and Minnesota had a Republican Senator. A GOP swing toward Fascism was a threat rather than a reality. 

Back then, the world needed a voice warning of the rising tide of racism in the GOP. Building alternative policies and narratives for the party mattered. That’s no longer relevant.

For a while it seemed like people needed voices explaining why white people were turning to Fascism. Looks like people get it. 

So, what now? 

Maybe there’s value in hearing from a red state refugee. Much of Blue America seems distracted by Trump, unaware of what Republicans are about to do in the places they control – unaware of how red state nightmares are likely to touch their lives in Boston or Seattle. For a while, as we settle into this new and very foreign place, I may try to write again. There may still be something relevant to say about what life is like in the Two Americas. It’s worth a shot.  

Thanks for sticking around through this journey. Attention is such a precious commodity now. I don’t take it for granted. Your comments and feedback have helped me learn and there’s little more valuable than that. Let’s crank this thing up again and see where it goes.


  1. Chris, I’ve missed you, & I’ve been so worried about you! The voices crying in the desert never get any honor or respect, but are needful nonetheless. It’s a lonely, thankless job. & I don’t envy you 1 bit. But here’s the question–who else is gonna do it? You’ve got the writing chops, you’ve got a platform, you’ve got the perspectives of having been to a fair number of places that many of us don’t have. Especially the writing chops.

  2. So now the GOP political cannibalism has ramped up. McCarthy is out as Speaker. Newt Gingrich posts a column in WaPo calling for Matt Gaetz to be expelled from the House, and the rumors swirl that the knives are indeed out for the Rep from FL.

    I don’t blame the Dems for choosing to not prevent this. WaPo also published a laundry list of Kev’s duplicity:

    “McCarthy didn’t vote to certify the election on Jan. 6, 2021. The attack on the U.S. Capitol is still raw on Capitol Hill, and Democrats will never forgive McCarthy for voting against certification after the mob was cleared from the building.

    McCarthy said former presidentDonald Trumpwas responsible for the Jan. 6 riot – and then, a few weeks later, traveled to Mar-a-Lago and took an infamous picture with Trump with their thumbs up. Democrats are still furious about the incident, which helped revive Trump politically and whitewash the severity of his role on Jan. 6.

    McCarthy worked against the creation of the Jan. 6 select committee, which Democrats viewed as an attempt to protect Trump.

    McCarthy gave the Jan. 6 security footage to since-fired television host Tucker Carlson without releasing it to news outlets.

    McCarthy delivered votes for the Cares Act – a $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed in 2020 and signed by Trump – and later became highly critical of pandemic relief legislation.

    He worked with Democrats to help put together the microchips manufacturing bill last year and then whipped his party to vote against it.

    McCarthy backed out of a spending agreement he made with President Biden as part of a deal to lift the debt limit less than two weeks after Biden signed the law in an attempt to placate the furious conservatives in his conference. Democrats on the House floor on Saturday chanted, “Keep your word!”

    McCarthy said in August that he would hold a vote on the House floor to open an impeachment inquiry against Biden. In September, on the first day back from summer recess, McCarthy opened an impeachment inquiry and did not hold such a vote.

    On Saturday morning, McCarthy didn’t give lawmakers 72 hours to read the short-term spending bill to keep the government open despite House rules. Republicans argued that it was an amendment and not a full bill so the 72-hour rule didn’t apply. But Democrats were given just minutes to read it and vote on it despite asking Republican leadership for more time. (Democrats deployed stalling tactics to get about two hours to read and discuss the bill.)

    On Sunday, McCarthy went onCBS’s “Face the Nation” and charged Democrats with wanting a shutdown. That infuriated Democrats, who voted nearly unanimously for the government spending bill when fewer than half of Republicans did.”

    Add to that the most recent bit of unnecessary pettiness, where McCarthy refused to postpone a vote scheduled for Thursday, so that some of the Reps could attend Senator Feinstein’s funeral. Stay classy Kev!! But it’s out of your hands now.

    This is the next stage of the political cancer. It’s the next logical step when you treat the opposing party as the enemy, rather than fellow Americans. Then you start looking for the people on your side who aren’t pure enough, who aren’t loyal enough, who dare to work with the other side. All I have to say to the GOP is, eat each other faster!!

  3. Good to see you back, Chris, and it’s heartening news to hear the cancer is at least being kept under control. My family has seen its fair share of heartbreak by it and such fights are never easy, but they just have to be taken one day at a time. Keep doing your best.

    Nationally, things are coming to a head. Trump is almost certain to be in prison by next year and is as unhinged as he’s ever been – and the GOP, being as weak and feckless as it’s ever been, is lined up to throw its support to a literal convicted criminal. It’s going to take a long time to break the back of this cult indeed.

    However tough things get though, sane and practical voices are a relief to have and it’ll be a pleasure to hear from you again.

    1. I am afraid you have no clue how the “justice system” (I use that term very loosely) in the U.S. works.

      Let’s assume for a moment that of the 4 trials, one is actually finished in 12 months. Let’s further assume that those with a jury (I think all 4 are) skew wildly away from the demographics of the electorate, and there are not any of his cult on a jury, and he is actually found guilty.

      The 1st thing the tyrant does is appeal. And even though he should be tossed immediately in prison, that is just not going to happen. His bail will be extended while the appeal system plays out.

      The tyrant never spends a night in jail or prison.

      1. I get such a kick out of the unending moving of goal posts, I swear to God. First it was Trump would never be defeated, then it was he’d never leave the White House, then he would never be charged – and now it’s well even if he is convicted, something something something will happen and he’ll never spend a day in prison.

        Honestly and truly, arguing w/ this kind of reflexive pessimism is like arguing w/ a drunk. No point in it, but goddamn if I don’t enjoy the nonsense. By all means, keep going. XD

      2. It was an extremely close thing re: him leaving the position of power, and given the polling data, it will be an extremely close thing re: him not re-taking power.

        As for “something happening”, tell me what happens, precisely, if he is convicted prior to Nov 2024 on any of the charges. I am talking about ones that usually have prison time associated with them. What, precisely, do you see happening?

        Do you see him being remanded to jail instantly, because he is a flight risk? Or do you see him being still out on bail while the judge mulls sentencing? And what happens when he immediately files an appeal to the guilty verdict?

        The tyrant is more powerful than he ever was, with two big differences: He does not control the domestic legal system nor the military while not in the Oval Office. His cult is far better positioned than it was in 2020, and it sits at 46% of the electorate today.

      3. There is legitimately no point in discussing this. Whatever I say, you’re just going to say he’s going to get out of it. You’re not open to being convinced because you’re preassuming we’re all screwed anyway.

        As I said, if you want to go on talking like that, by all means have at it. I’m genuinely amused by it.

        That said, I’ve a free afternoon and a good book to get back to. Have a pleasant day.

  4. I’m glad you’re here, Chris. And it is truly wonderful to see the familiar posters!

    I get the swing thing. I have had a chronic ailment since age 10. Sometimes I am just so fed up with just trying to talk and walk like a human being. Other times, like now, I seriously consider learning Krav Maga before I age out of their system.

  5. Welcome back. Too bad your move to the Left Coast did not go well. But foul-ups with services seems to be the norm these days, in just about everything. That seems to be one of the slowest recovering areas following the collapse during the pandemic.

    I echo the thoughts of others on your cancer remaining in remission. It is difficult, to face health issues. But as I said there is good health care available in the Bay Area. The accessibility depends considerably on one’s insurance. Personally, my long term 30 year partner continues to have poor health due to inflammatory arthritis and some other issues, Though she has good insurance, continual advocacy is necessary to ensure that she does get the attention of her providers.

    Jumping to the political spectrum, your voice will be very welcome. I always in the past enjoyed your reasonable voice from the moderate to conservative portion of the political spectrum. Though I tend to be moderately liberal, I am not extreme. Common sense and reasoned opinions are always welcome. Often they are totally missing. or are drowned out by noise from both extremes.

    I personally, am totally convinced that the U.S. is entering a very challenging period in our history and very definitely could face threat(s) to our very existence as a democratic republic and perhaps to our continued existence as a unified nation. That could also mean direct great power war. We are presently engaged in a proxy great power kinetic war with Russia over Ukraine. Great power wars historically have a tendency to escalate.

    Currently there are major challenges on the domestic side. What finally happens will probably come to a climax within the next 4-5 years.

    I am currently reading Neil Howe’s “The Fourth Turning is Here”, and finding it very interesting. I am just getting to his discussion of what the Fourth Turning will do our outlooks. Needless to say the Fourth Turning will be quite challenging.

    Having your voice added to the mix will be helpful. WELCOME BACK!

    1. Insofar as great change is concerned, I would submit to you domestic and political affairs are on the bottom rung of what we have coming our way. Trying to predict the future is an exceptionally difficult task for anyone, but I do suggest 3 global revolutions that could be coming our way sooner rather than later, and any one of them could change everything we think and know about the world:

      1.) Offical recognition of the presence of UAPs throughout global history and what they actually mean.

      FWIW, on a personal note I’m going to be exceptionally disappointed if all they turn out to be are intelligent species from some other planet. I think a calm examination of even a brief history of the situation leads one to consider that we’re dealing w/ something far more interesting. Jacques Valles’ “Passport to Magonia” is a fine read for anyone wanting to know more w/o getting swept up into conspiratorial nonsense.

      2.) Rejection of the physicalist paradigm that’s constrained mainstream science and an embrace of some form of metaphysical idealism as the only plausible explanation for reality and what we actually are.

      This has been a subject I’ve grown extremely interested in over the past few years, one that I’m convinced whose time has come. Existential questions such as what this world is, what we’re here for and what happens when we die have been left to the nihilistic winds of atheistic materialism for far too long and humans have suffered unncessarily as a result. People are in desperate need of an intelligent metaphysics that speaks to them w/o the chains of dogma that plagues organized religion today. A well formulated vision of Idealism is up to this challenge.

      3.) The 3rd is the one I’m least suited to discuss in any serious detail, but the implications are no less profound – and that’s a renewed understanding of the nature of time itself. It’s one of the single greatest mysteries of the modern era and one w/ no shortage of implications to our ideas of birth and death, the past and the future. Coupled together w/ a coherent vision of Idealism promises unfathomable splendors for all of us if we manage to get it right.

  6. Hey Chris, it’s great to hear from you and we all appreciate the time you’re able to give to us while you have so much going on in your life.

    Your ideas and ability to put them into words and context make them potent weapons in the fight against fascism and authoritarianism.

    Take care of yourself and your family first and foremost. We’ll all be here ready to discuss the next steps we all need to take to prevent things from getting any worse.

  7. I am very happy to see activity here again. I’ve missed everyone here, but I completely understand why you haven’t been posting as much. We need your voice, because there is a dearth of sanity and integrity in the conservative ranks. The GOP richly deserves political extinction for the vile Devil’s bargain they made, but that doesn’t mean I wish for one-party rule by the Democrats. We need a reality based center-right party as a counter balance.

    Wishing you good health and the opportunity to make things better.

  8. Thanks for easing back in, Chris. We’ve missed you, and hoped you were doing as OK as you could.
    Yup, cancer definitely gets one star. I’ve survived 4(!) different kinds of cancer, and know that at least 2 of them could come back. It certainly does hog attention. Thank you for sparing some of your attention to share your insights and analysis with us.

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