Bumper Sticker

While taking a road trip recently we were amazed by all the billboards for personal injury attorneys. We saw the same billboard posted three deep. We saw not only repeated cycles of multiple billboards for a single firm, but even two identical billboards stacked one on top of the other.

These advertisements were in the farm fields among the acres of winter wheat. Some were near wind generators. They were in the cities. They were nearly everywhere. Sometimes they were for any kind of injury and sometimes they were for specific injuries, like the attorney who apparently specializes in cases of injury related to over-the-road trucks. Lots of them were for medical injury cases. All of that made me wonder,

What does this endless solicitation for victims say about us?

Are we so clumsy or careless or unlucky that we’re constantly being injured? And if we are, how does that translate to someone else having to pay for our clumsiness, carelessness or misfortune?

We have over 70 years of Republicans training Americans to be angry and to see themselves as victims of some great global cabal or of the anti-American Democrats or of some supposed coastal elites or of some swamp. We’ve been instructed to see awfulness stoking grievance behind every tree, disrespect in every word and deed and a violation of our values and principles by anyone who disagrees with us. Our discontent has been validated constantly over those decades to the point that millions of us are now more dedicated to being angry and resentful than to anything else.*

We have a former President to whom this nation has listened for many years and who cannot get a full thought out of his mouth without accusing someone of wronging him. Worse, he has taught an entire generation of politicians and ordinary citizens to mimic his invented victimization. Woe be to these hapless victims for the terrible wrongs visited upon them by “others!” (That last is sarcasm.)

Now we the public have ramped up our victim-hood, to the point that nothing can assuage our pain until someone else pays for it and even then we’re still pissy. So, the ambulance chasers keep posting their come-on billboards and we keep them in business, seeking payment for the ills of our lives at the cost of 30% of a settlement, plus expenses.

Clearly, some people wrong others, whether intentionally or accidentally. When that happens, they should be held responsible and made to pay to clean up their mess.

But there isn’t always a bad guy. Sometimes it’s just the embodiment of the bumper sticker:

Next time be more careful.

The Train Derailment

It took a while for Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, to show up in East Palestine, OH. I don’t know anything about that timing, but a lot of people are pretending to be inside his head and are ascribing fantasy reasons for it. Those reasons are of absolutely no value, other than that these people have something to whine about, someone to blame and something to use to crank up the anger of listeners. Instead, let’s do some digging into substantive things we can learn.

During the Trump administration when conscious reasoning by governmental officials was a cause for being fired, there was a mania to eliminate government regulations. The mania was based on the evidence-free notion that all regulation is bad.

Trump demanded that any new regulation be counter-balanced by the elimination of three existing regulations. Pick three, any three. Doesn’t matter which ones. Doesn’t matter their relative merit, whether they have anything in common with the proposed new regulation or whose pockets would get lined by removal of the regulations. That ought to work, right?

That brainless adherence to a goose stepping mantra has started to come home to us. The NTSB** will investigate and issue a final report on the cause of that train derailment. I’ll bet the report will include that a key cause was the elimination of railroad safety measures that were part of the regulations that were thrown away during the Trump administration. That’s an easy one to predict, because that actually happened.

I’ll also bet that those regulations that were dumped a few years ago were eliminated at the behest of the railroad industry. Now the people of East Palestine are suffering the consequences of that.

For a better understanding, watch the video of Pete Buttigieg speaking at the crash site, as well as the commentary by Brian Tyler Cohen. I like Cohen’s commentaries, but he’s particularly wound up over this issue and talks quite rapidly. You’ll be rewarded by hanging in there for the full 9:22.

It’s About The Kids – Of All Ages

Click the pic and watch the 59 second sheriff’s video of violence in a Florida high school. This is what we’ve taught our kids to do. Want to work in a school?

First read this from the National Education Association. It details the violence our teachers and school staff face every day. This dysfunction is driven in part by the massive increase in mental health problems in our nation and in school kids in particular. I believe it’s what we’ve created by means of our national pastime of adults behaving like brats on the playground. You know: role models.

Our national promotion of violence is key. We can throw money at schools for support of student mental health, training for staff and more (although the public doesn’t want to pay for any of that), but if kids are getting messages outside of school that violence is good, justified and right, fixing this is a mountain that cannot be climbed.

We need major cultural change. We need moms & dads, politicians, everyone in any position of leadership to stop acting like a brat. If we stop teaching kids to be violent, they’ll stop being violent and magically, so will the rest of us. If we provide the money required to do what needs to be done, it will get done. This whole thing is a painful exercise in avoiding the obvious, the forehead slap we all know we need. And no, teachers unions aren’t the problem. We are.
We’ve been under-funding our schools for decades, possibly forever. But if you think taxes are high, think about the cost we’re already paying with half-way measures to prevent school shootings and mass murders in countless venues. Ask any Sandy Hook mom about that cost. Think about the cost we pay when we let yet another kid slip through the cracks into a hopeless life. Think about the stupid stories we tell ourselves about how great we are, even as millions are suffering and we’re doing nothing about it.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Top Stupiditude of the Week

Click the pic for the stupiditude story. Many thanks to Jim Nathan for the pointer.

‘Nuf said.

See Note #5 below


* From David Corn’s American Psychosis, page 120:

” .  .  .  the New Right feeds on discontent, anger, insecurity, and resentment, and flourishes on backlash politics.”

Jack’s comment to that: The New Right isn’t new. The Right has been nurturing discontent, anger, insecurity and resentment for well over half a century.

** For a forehead slapping look at self-embarrasing Republicans in the House Oversight and Accountability Committee majority, read Professor Heather Cox Richardson’s Letters From An American of February 25. It will make you glad you aren’t a Republican or it will drive you to leave that party, looking for signs of intelligent life elsewhere.


  • Our governance and electoral corruption and dysfunction and our ongoing mass murders are all of a piece, all the same problem with the same solution:
  • Fire the bastards!
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