Primitive Fixes to Complex Problems

I knew a man who was born in the 1930s and who was raised on the south side of Chicago in the South Shore neighborhood. It was a thriving area and parts were quite wealthy, with grand boulevards and fabulous houses. By the 1960s it was blighted, often an urban war zone. Drugs were everywhere, as were many unhappy, unwed mothers, and the racial make up had turned upside down, This guy was angry – livid, really – at what had happened to his world.

He blamed it all on “the Blacks.” He told me they were the cause of the demise of his neighborhood. He said all men who committed rape should be castrated. When I heard him say that he was talking about “the Blacks” and I intuited that he meant for this cure to be applied to Black rapists.

He said that the welfare system was encouraging wanton promiscuity. I don’t recall if he said that his castration idea should apply to all men involved in out-of-wedlock pregnancies, but it might have. He would utter such things with barely contained fury.

Of course, his cure was never adopted, but he wasn’t alone in imagining diabolical cures for what he saw as the societal ills and the wrongs of others. There was nothing new in such tyrannical beliefs.

John Greenleaf Whittier’s poem How The Women Went from Dover details the repugnant punishment of three women for speaking publicly about their Quaker beliefs, religion and morality in 1662 Dover. For their crimes, these women were stripped to the waist and lashed 10 times each, then dragged behind a wagon from town to town where the whipping process was repeated. Over and over their flesh was ripped open. Surely, that would cure the societal ill of women speaking up and challenging male supremacy and authority.

Gov. Abbott signs the Texas vigilante powered anti-abortion bill, surrounded by 7 women and over 50 men. Click the pic

Now the Republican governor and legislators of Texas have instituted a cure for what they think of as our societal ill of abortion. It’s the same problem of insecure men wanting to impose their will and their position of dominance over others. To be fair to Texas, theirs is simply the most current and blatant attempt at this. Mississippi’s anti-abortion law will be tested in a gerrymandered, far right Supreme Court in the next session. Other cases are sure to follow, as they have repeatedly since 1973.

Patriarchal rule has been the norm throughout recorded history. So has clan dominance and fear and hatred of “others.” We’ve made inroads toward equal rights, but the pull of ancient ignorance is a powerful force, now dressed up in certainties of self-serving, chest-thumping, disingenuous language.

Simplistic, myopic thinking invariably leads to simple, draconian fixes to imagined ills that serve only a frightened, angry minority. People always pay a heavy price when these ancient prejudices are  allowed to succeed.

Speaking of Primitive Fixes

Florida, our leading unofficial clinical trial for spreading Covid infection and death, may expand the range of products available to treat patients suffering from the virus. A commissioner of Polk County, Florida, Neil Combee, composed a letter to that state’s governor proposing a game of medical Russian Roulette for stricken Floridians. In it he requested that Gov. DeSantis (R-Wuhan) promote a “Right to Try” law for treating Covid.

Think: ivermectin, a livestock de-wormer, and hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, neither with any efficacy data to support their use in treating Covid or any other virus.

The full county board put the kibosh on sending that letter, invoking the Bat Shit Crazy clause of the county procedural rules. Nevertheless, Combee may be on to something in promoting alternative treatments. Here’s why.

Two days after the Trump inaugural balls in 2017, the ones Trump financially skimmed, Kellyanne Conway stood on the lawn of the White House and defended against Chuck Todd’s interview question. He had asked why brand new press secretary Sean Spicer had blatantly and repeatedly lied at his first press briefing. She poured out a torrent of words, including saying that Spicer had given “alternative facts.” Many of us know those by another name: “lies,. But “alternative facts” sounds better to the true believers.

Indeed, the administration and the entire Republican Party gave us an ongoing tsunami of alternative facts to push their reality into an alternative universe. Oddly enough, those alternative facts are still pouring out from right wing alternative humans.

Alternative facts seem to have worked for those people, so alternative treatments for Covid, why not?

Given the possible expansion of Covid treatment options in Florida and the apparent success of alternative facts, here’s the email I sent to my friend Bob in Miami:

Hey, Bob, sorry you got the Covid. No worries, pal. I heard that Tucker Carlson and a couple of radio guys say that a shot of hemlock with a Jack Daniels chaser will get Covid off your mind.* You’ll have a right to try it, buddy. The commissioner wants you to have options and Gov. DeSantis is for it, right? Go for it!

No need to let me know how that worked out for you, Bob. Pretty sure I’ll know.

This is called the “So Long, Bob” Covid cure. Not available in most states. Void where prohibited. Your mileage may very, but not much. Just ask Socrates. Oh, wait – you can’t, because he died from drinking hemlock.


I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but .  .  .

DO NOT take medical advice from this or any other Jax Politix post. For medical advice, always consult your doctor, rather than anyone focused on their own political career or cable ratings or online Likes. 👍

Friday, September 17, 2:00PM CDT – Media Matters

From Sheila Markin:

Angelo Carusone will talk about what Media Matters does and how they do it. Super smart guy. He talks really fast and thinks even faster. [He’ll tell you where disinformation comes from and how they track it and tell reporters and lawmakers about their findings, how they are getting Fox News hosts removed and [how they’re] fighting disinformation elsewhere. I know you will enjoy meeting him and asking him questions. It should be a lively discussion.

You’ll want to stream this FEEEBIE session. To do so, email Sheila at

[email protected]

and let her know you want in.

Make this even better: Pass this along to your friends and family and invite them, because a key to fighting disinformation is to be informed and smart about it. I mean, really, you can’t fight disinformation without having information.


I hope you used a little of your Saturday to remember and honor those directly impacted by 9/11, as well as our nation. There are plenty of lessons to be had, but now it’s a time to simply remember and honor.

I find myself deeply affected still by those who lost someone in the Towers, the Pentagon and in Shanksville. Their loss was and is compounded so painfully by our national shock. And I still cannot fathom the torment of that awful choice so many had to make between being burned alive or jumping to their death.

Perhaps the most profound for me are the firefighters who charged up the stairs of the towers and the military and first responders who went into the Pentagon to rescue those injured or trapped, this at a time when every survival instinct was screaming at them to get out. Hundreds paid the full price for their selfless courage. Although most wouldn’t like the title, they are heroes, all.

I was at Ground Zero just a few short weeks after. It was stunning and penetrating in so many ways. Remind me to tell you about it some day.


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The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

Governors Gone Wild

It is with enormous pride that we announce the winners of the very first

Governors Gone Wild Awards!

Surely, there is a special place for governors of our states who have distinguished themselves as more mentally regressive and self-serving than the call of duty requires and this is it. We mustn’t wait another minute to bestow honors upon those in power who are so clearly complicit in the suffering and deaths of their constituents and who bareface pander to the basest among us.

We’ve known for over 18 months that social distancing, hand washing and face masks dramatically reduce the spread of the deadly virus that has swept across the entire world. We’ve known since February that the marvelous vaccines developed in record time prevent infection and the spreading of disease. They make the rare infections of vaccinated people more mild and there have been near-zero deaths of vaccinated people. Perversely, throughout that time there have been various officials who have mandated by law or by executive order prohibitions against local governments requiring the use face masks and mandating vaccines.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on August 6, furious over the press accurately reporting the Covid crisis in Florida

Now, neanderthal Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) has prohibited the establishing of local requirements for the use of face masks in Florida schools. This is a marvelous example of DeSantis caring not a bit about the children and adults who will get sick and pass along the disease to others. We have over 100,000 new cases every day. Many will die.

No problem for DeSantis, who proudly boasted to President Biden, “I am standing in your way.” DeSantis is all about thumping his chest at the President, this as his state, Florida, with just 6% of the population of the U.S., has 20% of the new Covid infections every day. DeSantis gets well earned alt-right brand identity points and our very first Governors Gone Wild Award. Pay no attention to his obviously being an accessory to homicide. That is to say, the disease is the home invasion killer. DeSantis holds the doors open for it to enter.

Not to be outdone,

Lawmakers in South Carolina, Iowa, Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and Utah have prohibited schools from requiring masks, and South Carolina, Iowa, Florida, Montana, Arizona, South Dakota, Texas, and Tennessee prohibit local governments from doing so.

That’s a lot of lawmakers who don’t care if kids and adults get sick and die and who have gone out of their way to refuse their duty to protect. Each is a dishonorable runner up for the first Award, although technically they aren’t eligible for it, not being governors themselves. But the governors in those states could have stopped their legislators from putting out the welcome mat for the Delta variant. Instead, they enthusiastically promoted and signed the legislation. Every one of them gets a Governors Gone Wild Award. Check the list to see if your governor is a winner.


Gov. Bill Lee accepting an award from the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association on July 30, this as children were not being vaccinated.

I’ve reported here and here about the State of Tennessee and its well engineered efforts to eliminate all promotion of vaccines for children. They’ve decided that they don’t need vaccines to prevent polio, smallpox, measles and Covid. If kids die, hey, they die.

It seems that what Tennesseans do need is the vaccination of all cattle, which the state subsidizes, as reported by Politico, the AP and others. Apparently, protecting cattle in Tennessee is more important than protecting Tennessee’s children, as evidenced by the actions of Gov. Bill Lee. He’s clearly a Governors Gone Wild Award winner, too.


Kevin Strickland was convicted 40 years ago in Missouri for a triple murder that he says he didn’t commit. Two others convicted of the crime also say he had nothing to do with the murders. Strickland was convicted solely on the basis of one witness who has recanted her testimony. And the prosecutor’s office that convicted him originally says, “This is a profound error we must correct now.” But Governor Mike Parsons (R-MO) is having none of that. He refuses to pardon Strickland, saying he shouldn’t be able to go the the front of the line for a pardon.

Perhaps you remember Patricia and Mark McCloskey, the Missouri lawyers who stood on their lawn with AR-15s and hand guns last summer and brandished them at BLM protesters who were peacefully walking by. The McCloskeys were convicted of minor crimes and then somehow went to the front of the line. Gov. Parsons promptly pardoned them on August 3. They never spent even a minute in prison.

Oh by the way, the McCloskeys are White and Kevin Strickland is a Black guy. The McCloskeys were easily able afford the very best defense; Kevin Strickland was poor and couldn’t even afford dinner. The McCloskeys have great appeal to far right voters; Strickland doesn’t appeal to any voters. The McCloskeys are free; Kevin Strickland is still in prison. Mark McCloskey is running for senate next year. Kevin Strickland is confined to a wheelchair and he isn’t running anywhere.

Gov. Parsons proudly blows off innocent man and pardons gun crazies

Gov. Parsons pardoned the McCloskeys. He put them at the front of the line. No waiting. Kevin Strickland can read about the McCloskeys’ pardons from his prison cell. He’s still innocent and he’s still waiting in line.

In addition, Gov. Parsons continues to speak out against mask mandates, even as Springfield, MO is an ongoing Covid disaster, with hospital administrators, doctors and nurses begging for help. Actually, all of southwest Missouri is close to a Code Blue.

Clearly, a Governors Gone Wild Award rightfully belongs to Gov. Parsons.


A hearty congratulations goes to all of our intelligence abdicating Award winners. Their self-serving, knuckle-dragging refusal of their duties to protect their citizens is an example we all should recognize. This is, indeed, a proud moment to showcase their betrayals.


Get The Impact of This

From McKinsey & Company:

Our analysis shows that the impact of the pandemic on K–12 student learning was significant, leaving students on average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year. The pandemic widened preexisting opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest. In math, students in majority Black schools ended the year with six months of unfinished learning, students in low-income schools with seven. High schoolers have become more likely to drop out of school, and high school seniors, especially those from low-income families, are less likely to go on to postsecondary education. And the crisis had an impact on not just academics but also the broader health and well-being of students, with more than 35 percent of parents very or extremely concerned about their children’s mental health.

The McKinsey folks have some ideas of what to do about this, so I encourage you to read their article.

For the moment, we all need to understand that the backward academic slide of our children has had substantial impact already. The diabolical actions of our Award winning governors threaten to make things worse both for our kids and for our country.


Question of the Week

The basics:

There have been 4 instances of fraud identified in the 2020 election out of hundreds of millions of votes cast. Two of the four were people attempting to vote for Trump on behalf of their dead mothers.

Trump launched over 160 lawsuits claiming massive fraud in the 2020 election. All were laughed out of court for their total lack of evidence. I.e. Trump’s lawyers could not produce even one piece of evidence to support their claims of voter fraud.

The question:

Why is it that the Stop the Steal types, the Big Lie believers, the corporate donor manipulators, the political sycophants, the freedom cowboys, the angry militia members and others require no proof, no evidence of election wrongdoing to blindly believe the totally unsubstantiated election fraud accusations? No credit will be awarded for accurately citing our popular national shift to accusation = proof.

Extra points will be awarded if you include in your erudite explanation why anyone would believe the absurd, physically impossible, ever-more-outrageous conspiracy claims of QAnon.



Quote of the Week

“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” – Voltaire.

Read this post to find out how accurate and how truly terrifying Voltaire’s comment really is.


Headline of the Week
A Texas GOP leader railed against vaccines and masks. Then he died of Covid.

Click here for the full, so very predictable story. I can’t imagine the karmic balancing on the way for our Award winners.


Did someone forward this to you? Welcome! Please subscribe and pass this along to three others, encouraging them to subscribe, too. (IT’S A FREEBIE!) Use the simple form above on the right.

And add your comments below to help us all to be better informed.


The Fine Print:

  1. Writings quoted or linked from my posts reflect a point I want to make, at least in part. That does not mean that I endorse or agree with everything in such writings, so don’t bug me about it.
  2. Errors in fact, grammar, spelling and punctuation are all embarrassingly mine. Glad to have your corrections.
  3. Responsibility for the content of these posts is unequivocally, totally, unavoidably mine.
  4. Book links to Amazon are provided for reference only. Please purchase your books through your local mom & pop bookstore. Keep them and your town vibrant.


Copyright 2021 by Jack Altschuler
Reproduction and sharing are encouraged, providing proper attribution is given.

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