11 thoughts on “The Democratic Party Platform, 2023

  1. bystander February 18, 2023 / 3:48 pm

    LOL. You’re on a tear today William, and I’m loving it!
    I am so very much dreading the 2024 national elections. I may need to find a cave to live in…. someone please tell me when it’s over?

  2. William Timberman February 18, 2023 / 4:30 pm

    Yeah, it’s kinda weird, I know. It’s the stimulus from joining Mastodon I think.

    I enjoy blogging, but mostly for long-form essays, which are a lot of work for someone who has as many passive pursuits available as we do these days, and who’s long past needing either approval or acclaim. What really keeps me engaged is conversation, and conversation has been kinda hard to come by since COVID. I’ve tried Twitter several times, but that much concentrated ignorance and bile proved to be more exhausting than stimulating. Then, just as I was beginning to find my way around, the 44 billion dollar Muskrat ramble started off, and I just gave up and abandoned my account in place.

    Mastodon has been, at least so far, a more welcoming venue, a bit like Unclaimed Territory was 15 years ago. (Was it really that long ago? Sigh…) Anyway, you’ve hit the nail on the head, I think. One of the tags I use for my posts is “The calliope of dread,” which pretty much sums up my reaction to our ongoing national meltdown. So yeah, dread is the appropriate mood these days, and having a cave to go to is good. So also is a white star on your driver’s license, a bank account in—and visa stamp in your passport for—a non-fascist country (if you can still find one) with a language you’ll have enough time left to learn.

    Sadly, I can’t tell you when it’ll be over—no one can. What I can tell you without fear of contradiction is that it’s properly begun, and that with instincts like yours, you’ll be able to handle whatever gets thrown at you. That thought gives me a real lift, you know, that I actually know some people who are irrepressible.

    So…apart from the dread, I hope all is going well with you and yours. Mind you, I expect no less.

    • bystander February 18, 2023 / 5:53 pm

      All normal challenges on this end…. or at least nothing so insurmountable that it makes me fetal. And, I call that *great* if not most excellent. Getting bounced around isn’t bad as long as you have the legs to get back up, and for the present, mine have springs! Good as it gets, methinks.

      I have an account on mastadon (@gazehound@forall.social), but haven’t done very much with it except populate it with a few refugees from “the bird”. As folk announced their departure, I tried to grab their locations but then it became overwhelming and I couldn’t keep up. Decided I’d let the dust settle, see how miserable the muskrat wanted to make my life, and where folk finally settled. To replicate the TL I had on twitter with people who have left would mean accounts on mastadon, post, and spoutible. Ugh. That’s kind of like work. Heaven would be a shell where I could import the TLs of all those folk into a central location. If I were 30 years younger, had some real computer know how, and Aaron Swartz was on speed dial… wishes were horses, eh?

      Wow; “calliope of dread” is positively inspired. Didn’t you just nail it to the wall.

      I giggled when I saw this on mastadon:

      Steve Randy Waldman @interfluidity@fosstodon.org

      is there any seniors-focused Mastodon community?

      A geezer server? I’d join. If you aren’t already following this person, you might want to. He’s one of the voices I really miss. Kept a blog of the same nym (https://www.interfluidity.com/) if you wanted to check his priors.

      I’ll endeavor to continue to meet your expectations. 😉 but please know I expect no less of you. As they say, {{Hugs}}, Friend.

      • William Timberman February 18, 2023 / 6:48 pm


        “If I were 30 years younger, had some real computer know how, and Aaron Swartz was on speed dial… wishes were horses, eh?”

        It’s coming. Once you have a cloud of distributed, but linked chautauquas outside the clutches of the Billionaire’s Club (perhaps I’m being overoptimistic here, but I take the fediverse as the prototype), discovery becomes a kind of organic process—less fraught than Tinder or Grindr, less depressingly stupid than FaceBook, less ephemeral than TikTok or instagram—world enough and time, so to speak. It’s the only way to ensure the blessings of global scale without being trampled in the process of securing them. In my more optimistic moments I think of my Mom’s neighborhood Kaffeklatsch, the German concept which made it in the New World, or the village Stammtisch, the equally German concept which didn’t, except maybe in Milwaukee or Cincinnati. Purely virtual equivalents are possible, I think. Some of the ones we’ve already forged seem close, but in the end, none of them quite fit the bill—not yet anyway.

        We live in hope, yes. In the meantime, consider yourself followed, @gazehound@forall.social, and your friend Interfluidity also. All the best.

        • Pedinska February 19, 2023 / 7:36 am

          Are you all having a kaffeklatsch at Cafe Calliope of Dread without me? Purely my own fault for not paying attention as much as I should.

          I haven’t yet begun to migrate anywhere as, for whatever reason, my own segment of twitter is still trundling onward without too much interference from ignorant hindquarters of note. Not sure how I’ve managed that, maybe the glee I take in blocking has some effect. I DO miss a lot of the voices that have gone but, like MK, I’m stymied by the idea of trying to chase them down as the diaspora progresses. Maybe once it’s settled down and I hear rumors of good places to land. For now, though, there are still too many obstacles.

          At any rate, it pleases me no end to find two of my favorite people in the entirety of my experience on the innertoobz still communing here. Very glad you’re both still here. It’s good to know that insanity doesn’t yet rein everywhere.

          • William Timberman February 19, 2023 / 8:12 am

            Welcome back, Pedinska—wilkommen, bienvenue, benvenuta. The doors are always open here, especially to our colleagues and friends from auld lang syne. As for Twitter, I had much the same experience as you—appalled at much of what was outside the gate, but finally well-settled into my own walled garden with a laboriously-compiled list of folks I’d followed, and a well-ordered timeline. At last I was decently comfortable. (See a couple of posts back for a history of these adventures.)

            The came the night of the long knives, when the Muskrat cut off all third-party access to the Twitter APIs. Suddenly my beloved Twitterific was DOA, and every third post in my official client timeline was an obnoxious full-screen ad, while the timeline itself kept switching to an algorithmic rather than purely temporal feed, and I was being buried beyond hope of escape in Nazi sewage. So personally, I’m done, although I don’t consider it a categorical imperative to flee. There are still admirable reasons for hanging in there, as you have, and I can only wish everyone well who does. I don’t even really object to the ads, since I freely acknowledge that there’s no such thing as a free server farm, let alone a free programming or content moderation staff. It’s just that it’s not the season for civility, and I’m now way too old to be fighting off vicious imbeciles 24/7/365.

            But never mind about that, pull up a chair, plunk one in the Keurig, and tell us how you’ve been keeping….

            • Pedinska February 19, 2023 / 8:54 am

              I saw someone call him Melon Husk the other day and my gardener’s heart – and mouth – smirked out loud (it wasn’t quite laughter). How appropriate! Something to be left rotting on a compost heap. Really, he belongs buried in a toxic waste dump like what’s happening in my state at the moment. If only … Maybe I’ve been able to control things a bit better because I largely comment from the confines of my laptop. I sometimes use the twitter app on my phone, if I want to share a pic I’ve just taken, but most often I live within the safety of the walls on my trusty LT.

              I’m hanging in there. As a former HIV researcher I am in the vast minority of folks who are taking COVID far more seriously than most everyone around me. We mask everywhere we go indoors and don’t spend time in any crowded places. The research is really quite sobering. We have thus far – knocking on every available woody surface – avoided it but it gets harder every day. I have relatives I love who, unfortunately, think of this terrible disease as something subject to “opinions” as opposed to facts/data. It has created … issues. Especially now that I know I have even more at risk than just the usual accoutrements of age. It is what it is, so we go forward using the dwindling “tools” still permitted to us.

              I started a diary in 2020 when all this began. Everyone talks about “the most significant” whatever of their generation (as if there aren’t an increasingly insane amount of such things to choose from) and I firmly believe this past three years to be that, at least for me. So I shamelessly borrowed from Gabriel García Márquez, calling my diary “Gardening in the Time of COVID”. I sort of wish I had it posted somewhere like here, especially when there is something good and uplifting that happens. The bitching, groaning and moaning bits I am ok with keeping to myself. I’ve never thought of myself as a writer on par with folks I enjoy reading – like yourself and, now, Waldman (thank you, MK!). I don’t know how folks keep up the pace. Like all previous efforts, this diary went into (temporary) hibernation in October when things in my personal life got hinky. All that’s sorted now (as much as possible) and, finally, something really cool happened so I’ve started writing again but, boy howdy, is it hard to backtrack and catch up!

              p.s. Does one have to click the “Notify” button each time one posts? Or does one click accomplish the task across the board? Thx!

              • William Timberman February 19, 2023 / 9:33 am

                About the notify button, I confess I have no idea. The WordPress app is updated frequently, more frequently than I post these days, so I’m often as surprised as anyone when it works differently than the last time I used it. I’ve been checking the notify box myself, as it no longer seems to have a global parameter, but I’ll have a look into the settings. If there is a global toggle, I‘ll turn it on—save you a click.

                COVID. What can I say? I live in AZ. Nobody here seems to wear masks except me. I’m one of the bivalent booster, N95 faithful, but then I’m in the at-risk age group now, so I take Zeynek Tufekci seriously, and figure discretion is the better part of valor in any event.

                Yeah, writing. At worst, it’s something to do, at best it’s what Brecht called “singing in the dark times.” (A big Brecht fan me—see earlier posts). What I believe: Twitter or Mastodon, social media in general, is good for conversation, good for camaraderie. Blogging is good for the sanity check, for getting one’s ducks in a row mentally, for leaving a little something, maybe, for posterity to stumble across.

                FWIW, my counsel is to publish the diary, get enough copies of it out there so that it’s sure to outlast you. As Himself once said: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale/Her infinite variety….”

                • Pedinska February 21, 2023 / 7:45 am

                  Sorry for the delay in responding. Yesterday was warm enough to get outside and get some cleanup done so we tackled a chunk of the garage. By the time I got to my laptop it was all I could do to keep my eyes open!

                  Re: the button. I didn’t click it on my last response and got notified of yours so it appears that once might be enough?

                  Re: COVID. Twitter was a lifeline for me for finding accurate information and tracking the debates among various scientists/researchers. I started a 60+ person email group in early 2020 and much of the info I shared with fam/friends was stuff I found there. It’s also been very informative for watching as peoples’ positions on various social/scientific aspects evolve. Zeynep was one of the journalists I followed in the beginning (I miss Ed Yong more than I can say and hope he is doing well during his sabbatical). But more recently she has taken to attacking scientists whose work has been very accurate. And she has been doing it in a pretty unprofessional manner. I don’t know what motivated this shift in her perspective, but I am inclined to believe people whose predictions have been spot on since the start. AJ Leonardi has been her main target. But here’s the thing … AJ’s predictions have been proven correct – over and over – since the beginning and a lot of other immunologists are just catching up.


                  Re: publishing my diary. I am open to this but have no idea how to go about it. I will need to pick some brains of folks I know who’ve done this. Any suggestions you have would be most welcome!

                  Finally, I am very glad you are staying safe. The ongoing damage I see in people I know who have not has been sobering and, in many cases, grief-inducing. I feel very fortunate that R and I have managed this long and hope we can all continue. Each day is truly a gift.

  3. William Timberman February 21, 2023 / 8:18 am

    Very interesting link. I didn’t know that Tufekci was party to this debate, I was referring to her early coverage of the pandemic, and to her warnings about taking masking and immunization seriously. I’m not qualified to evaluate the merits of the T-cell debate, but it does look plausible to a layman that a better understanding of long COVID might lie somewhere along that path.

    As for the button thing, it does look as though it doesn’t matter whether you check it or not. May have something to do with sites which require approval of every comment. I have that parameter set to require approval only for a poster’s first comment, so maybe that also sets the notify flag to automatic. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I guess.)

    Don’t have much to offer about the diary, as blogging effectively fills that function for me. You might look into self-publishing on Amazon, though. Friends who have done it, mostly amateur fiction writers, to be sure, have told me that the process isn’t that onerous. Amazon does tend to be a world-devouring predator, though, so I’d for sure want to ask them some serious questions about copyright before committing to anything.

    • Pedinska February 22, 2023 / 7:49 pm

      I’m not an immunologist but the span of protocols I was on as lab support taught me a bit more than I might have learned otherwise. Immuno is complex and no two people are alike. But I wasn’t the only HIV researcher who was concerned with the presentation of increased infections that were manifesting in not just higher numbers but also worse severity. It very much reminded me of the early days of the HIV pandemic. Dr. Grace McComsey is someone I got to work with on a pediatric protocol. Her recognition is worth way more than my own:


      Re: Diary. I think I used the wrong word when I wrote “publish”. I have no idea how long I will be writing it. So a blog approach probably makes more sense.

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