The origins of this phrase are a bit murky, but it’s one I heard over and over again as a kid, growing up within a circle of Irish relatives, especially a grandfather, we called him Pappy, who would mutter it at the television as he listened to the evening news. My mother’s parents lived only one street over from us and they’d come each evening, usually around 5 o’clock, while we were eating dinner, to watch the evening news with us. Pappy was disdainful of television, the physical box, not the products of it, but even as a little kid I just knew it had to do only with money. As in, he was simply too darned cheap to spring for a TV; why do so when he had ours to watch each night?
Grandma would first drop a chocolate drop or two into my brother’s and my lap as we ate dinner while Pappy headed to the living room and the TV set, turned it on, low enough not to disturb my mother, whose ironclad rule was no television while we ate, and then he’d plunk himself down at the end of the couch closest to the set because he was hard of hearing. He’d already snagged the evening newspaper, which irked my Dad no end because he hadn’t had a chance to read it and Pappy was notorious for crinkling and crunching and folding it to screaming, and then he’d watch, listen and read all at the same time every bit of the news he could fit in during the few hours they’d visit with us.
And he’d mutter over and over again as he read and listened, “Aw hell, that’s a hiding to nowhere.” Meaning what nonsense. No purpose to it; no truth; just BS, dead ends, no solutions. Foolishness. Dumbness. I’ve been thinking a good bit about Pappy of late as I feel, along with the rest of you, inundated with the BS lies and deflections that pass for our news these days. Or, as Rachel Maddow says far too often now, “It’s another day that ends with Y, so another news dump.” More crap, more craziness, more nonsense. Which brings me to the purpose for this piece: there is so much coming at us every damned day, and along with you, I’m busy, have a lot to do, but know it is imperative that I pay attention to what is going on now. Never have I felt as I do currently that our democracy depends on all of us paying attention.
In no special order, here are some of the stories or snippets of same that you may have seen or heard; or given how much there is, you may have missed some of them:
This first one just may be as nuts as it can get: The grand and glorious governor of Nebraska, the not so honorable Pete Ricketts, has declared that the folks in charge of running the little courthouse in Dakota County, Nebraska, tucked up there in the far Eastern corner of the state, close by South Dakota and the meat packing plants in both states, cannot demand that those citizens coming to their courthouse wear masks. Or, well, they can go ahead and make this demand. But—give up any and all Covid-19 federal monies they’d otherwise receive. As I’m not a lawyer, not sure how this is even remotely legal but this only from a layperson’s perspective.
This next one? I’d originally considered making it one story. But as I endured being nauseated, figured keeping it short may prevent you from being nauseated too. For a longer version, I’ve embedded Glenn Kirschner’s take on it—which is about 11 or so minutes. The actual press conference held by Mike Pompeo yesterday at the State Department is a “gem” of deflections, lies, BS and truly it fits my Pappy’s hiding to nowhere. He smirked; smiled nervously, didn’t mentioned Putin never mind the conference at least ostensibly was supposed to be about the bounty on our military men and women serving in Afghanistan, and then in very rapid-fire order Pompeo went on to disgrace his West Point degree by blaming Congress; then Iran; oh, and then the definitive go-to, Obama and his administration, for what has befallen our troops. If you want more, watch Glenn but don’t say I didn’t warn you:
This next one comes right out of Dickens’ Oliver Twist:
The Republican Senate is weighing in on why it’s not a great idea to extend the $600 per week unemployment benefit addition to help, are you ready, 40 million Americans who have lost their jobs when this benefit runs out at the end of July. Because, well, “they are getting used to it.” And, “they won’t want to go back to work.” Paternalistic sure; deplorable, absolutely.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma, yep, Oklahoma, the as-red-as-it-gets state has voted to expand Medicaid. Because so many of their citizens are getting sick and have no health care, thanks of course to their having originally not permitted Medicaid to be expanded. Because it would hurt infrastructure programs—that was the official reason. Meanwhile, of course, the Trump administration and 17 states are asking the Supreme Court to overturn the ACA, and especially the protection for pre-existing conditions would go bye-bye. During a pandemic mind you in which we are now learning that this lethal virus leaves behind in its wake among survivors some pretty awful and long-term aftereffects.
Finally, Arizona, of the “nope no masks here,” has left behind the algebraic geometry of curves and entered the world of vertical lines. Straight up, off the page, off the graph paper. Just straight up. And now, with the state running out of ICU beds, even just plain old hospital beds, they may be able to expand other spaces. However, the problem? They need medical personnel because a bed without health care folks is merely a bed. And this one Pence yesterday promised: yep, we’ll get right on that, you need people, we’ll get you people. I’m paraphrasing here for emphasis, but it’s close to what he said. The problem remains though: this guy is about as good to his word as is the one he serves in the White House. Stick a pin in this and see if medical personnel are headed to where they are desperately needed: Arizona.