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Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Sworn in as 46th President of the United States

“My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over… Our Constitution works; our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men.”
— President Gerald R. Ford, remarks after taking the presidential oath, 9 August 1974.

 

Joseph R. Biden, Jr. has taken the oath of office and has been sworn in as 46th President of the United States of America.

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States on Wednesday, taking office at a moment of profound economic, health and political crises with a promise to seek unity after a tumultuous four years that tore at the fabric of American society.

With his hand on a five-inch-thick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Mr. Biden recited the 35-word oath of office swearing to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution” in a ceremony administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., completing the process at 11:49 a.m., 11 minutes before the authority of the presidency formally changes hands.

 

As of Noon Eastern today, Donald Trump is no longer President of the United States. Halle-fucking-lujah.

Just the thought that an adult is at the wheel again, as opposed to the spoiled, pre-tween little girl that we’ve had at the wheel for the last forty years1.

Now, I’m no particular supporter of Joe Biden. I wish him well, of course, just as I wished Trump well four years ago. I sincerely hope that Joe Biden rises to the challenge and becomes a better president that I think he’ll be2. But I have substantial differences of opinion with President Biden.

Then Senator Joe Biden spoke at my law school about a thousand years ago. I remember thinking at the time that our political opinions are pretty substantially different, but that he was a man who would make a good president. He was presidential in his manner, and he certainly had gravitas.

And so, here we go. Hopefully Biden will be successful in his earnest attempts to unite the nation. Trump, of course, only paid lip service to uniting the country and took divisive steps and spoke with divisive rhetoric every chance he had.

Good luck to us all.

yeah, in a minute…
1 Oh wait, that’s right, it only felt like forty fucking years that Trump was in office…

2 Of course, my identical hopes for Trump four years ago never came to pass, and in fact, he was a much, much worse president that I had feared.

Chappelle on Saving America from Itself

Recently rewatched some Dave Chappelle standup.

Dave Chappelle, Sticks and Stones (2019) at 40:39:

I’ve given this a lot of thought. I don’t see any peaceful way to disarm America’s whites.

There’s only one thing that’s gonna save this country from itself – the same thing that always saves this country from itself. And that is, the African-Americans. That’s right.

And I know the question that a lot of y’all have in your minds is, ‘should we do it?’ Yeah, fuck yeah we should do it. Listen, no matter what they say or how they make you feel, remember, this is your country too. It is incumbent upon us to save our country. And you know what we have to do – this is a fucking election year, we gotta be serious.

Every able-bodied African-American must register… for a legal firearm. That’s the only way they’ll change the law.

Holler: There’s a name for that

This. Much, much more of this:

Rather: The hypocrisy of the Trump thuggery

A “movement fueled by power, injustice, and racism.”

I could not agree more.

The High Cost of Trump

The Wall Street Journal editorial board:

[Donald Trump] has cost Republicans the House, the White House, and now the Senate. Worse, he has betrayed his loyal supporters by lying to them about the election and the ability of Congress and Mr. Pence to overturn it.

Truth be told, that’s just the tip of the fucking iceberg. And, for what it’s worth, he’s betrayed all of us.

Just found my next read

Andrew L. Seidel, The Founding Myth: Why Christian Nationalism Is Un-American, Sterling, 2019.

Trump’s dictatorial tendencies and mendacity, negative attributes for many voters, poised him perfectly to manipulate the evangelical mind. Like the biblical god evangelicals worship, Trump is a thin-skinned authoritarian with totalitarian tendencies. He craves love and punishes any disloyalty or slight. Evangelicals have been taught to worship and adore that type of being above all others. This strain of religion cultivates a veneration for extreme authority. Studies bear this out: religious fundamentalism and a tendency to submit to authoritarianism are highly correlated. Trump acted like the character evangelicals worship and benefited from their ingrained adulation. Evangelicals were simply seeing in Trump a character they’d been taught to revere. As if to prove the point, Ann Coulter called Trump her “Emperor God”.

Photos Show Difference in How Police Responded to Anti-Racism Protests and the Siege at the U.S. Capitol

The linked article is good and CBS’s photos of the attempted coup d’état at the U.S. Capitol yesterday by Trump-supporting domestic terrorists are telling, but I personally prefer this from The Recount:

In case you can’t tell — and please, watch the linked video — the photo on the left shows a police officer in riot gear kicking a peaceful BLM protestor (she’s sitting peacefully on a curb), while the photo on the right shows a Capitol Police officer in combat gear gingerly escorting a Trump Terrorist (what is apparently an elderly Trump Terrorist) down the steps of the U.S. Capitol. The differences could not be more striking.

If you can’t finally, for once and all, see the stark, shocking differences here, you should really pull your fucking head out of the sand. Willful ignorance is no excuse.

An Attempted American Coup

Make no mistake about it: what we witnessed tonight was an attempted coup d’état.

Call me old-fashioned but when armed insurgents storm the U.S. Capitol at the behest of the recently defeated, but as of yet still seated U.S. President, for the stated purpose of reversing the nation’s lawful election results, I call that what it is.

These lawless, violent, destructive riots — and in the case of tonight, acts of domestic terrorism — carried out by the MAGA crowd, must be put down — immediately and permanently.

No one — NO ONE — has any problem with peaceful demonstrations*, but when an armed, lawless group of violent protesters break the law — especially at the behest of the President — we cannot condone this as “protest,” and must call it what it is: domestic terrorism.

These MAGA thugs need to be put down. Now.

yeah, in a minute…
* Except, of course, the MAGA crowd, if the subject of the demonstration is something they don’t like.

Deadliest Days in American History

People, take note that 6 of the deadliest days1 in American history have taken place in the last 8 days. This pandemic is booming, and we all need to do our part: wear a fucking face mask, socially distance, and wash your fucking hands.

DEADLIEST SINGLE DAYS IN AMERICAN HISTORY
(description — date — fatalaties)

  1. Galveston Hurricane — 8 September 1900 — >6000 (possibly as many as 12000)
  2. Battle of Antietam (Civil War) — 17 September 1862 — ~3675
  3. San Francisco Earthquake — 18 April 1906 — >3000
  4. Terrorist Attacks — 11 September 2001 — 2996
  5. COVID-19 on Last Wednesday — 2 December 2020 — 2733
  6. COVID-19 on Last Thursday — 3 December 2020 — 2706
  7. COVID-19 on Yesterday — 8 December 2020 — 2622
  8. COVID-19 on Last Friday — 4 December 2020 — 2563
  9. Okeechobee (Florida) Hurricane — 17 September 1928 — >2511
  10. COVID-19 on Last Tuesday — 1 December 2020 — 2473
  11. COVID-19 on Last Saturday — 5 December 2020 — 2461
  12. Attack on Pearl Harbor — 7 December 1941 — 2403

Legend:
~ = approximately
> = at least
(hyperlink) = sources

 

UPDATE: cf. Slate: That Viral List of the Deadliest Days in American History Is Very Wrong.

 

yeah, in a minute…
1 Please note that these are not the deadliest disasters in American History, but merely the deadliest single days in American History, and furthermore, the deadliest single days in American History examining deaths from only one single specified event.

For example, Hurricane Maria in 2017 with 3059 fatalaties is certainly one of the deadliest natural disasters, but the events of Hurricane Maria took place over more than a week.

Understanding Donald Trump by Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I’ve said for over four years now that I often feel guilty making jokes at the president’s expense because it’s not right to make fun of someone with a mental illness just as it’s not right to make fun of someone with a physical illness, and our president suffers from a mental illness recognized by the American Psychiatric Association: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

As you might expect, an awful lot of Trump supporters are, shall we say, a little reluctant to acknowledge the president’s mental illness. But, as I’ve told my work colleagues repeatedly, it’s not easy to spot unless you’ve actually lived with it, which my wife and I unfortunately have.

So what is NPD? Well, many, if not most, websites that discuss NPD simply lay out the nine criteria specified by the DSM-5:

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Belief that one is special and can only be understood by or associate with special people or institutions
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement (to special treatment)
  • Exploitation of others
  • A lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or the belief that one is the object of envy
  • Arrogant, haughty behavior or attitudes

and indicate that individuals individuals with NPD will exhibit five or more of the nine. This is helpful, but let’s be honest, these criteria are a little “clinical” and therefore not necessarily easy to spot in an individual (which makes sense, since most of us are not qualified to diagnose according to the DSM-5!).

The Mayo Clinic website, on the other hand, actually lists the types of behaviours a person with NPD is likely to exhibit, which I think makes it much easier:

Signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

At the same time, people with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability and humiliation

Now, does that sound like anyone you may have voted for or against recently?