Saturday, February 20, 2021

The Incredibly Effed-Up Week That Was

In the time of the pandemic, "it's been a busy week" is the new "may you live in interesting times," curses-flung-by-the-gods-wise.

This week NASA successfully landed a new rover, Mars Perseverance, on the surface of the Red Planet. This is a Big Fucking Deal. In a normal week, this would have the biggest news story in America, if not the world. A triumph for science, a milestone for human exploration, a symbol of our ever-expanding understanding of our place in the universe.

Also, it's adorable.


But it wasn't. Here are the stories that overshadowed it:

Texas had a winter storm. That of course doesn't come close to describing the severity and impact of what actually happened here. Texas is a huge state - there are 254 counties (by comparison, my home state of Wisconsin has 72). All 254 of those counties were under a winter storm warning as of last weekend. This includes Laredo County, whose average high temperature in February is 72 degrees, and my own Dallas-Fort Worth area, which hadn't seen measurable snow in February since 2015. 

For the record, I was one of the very fortunate few who didn't lose power, water, or internet this week. I personally know many people who struggled to stay warm and dry. For the most part, local governments and social agencies did a heroic job connecting folks with resources, as did ordinary friends and neighbors looking out for each other. Interestingly, the worst problems this week were caused by elected and appointed government toadies. Same as it ever was.

Speaking of government toadies, Senator Ted Cruz cemented his place as one of the worst people alive by packing up his family and heading for Mexico while millions of his fellow Texans went cold, wet, and hungry. Ted apparently never heard of the internet, because he rapidly cycled through numerous lies to explain why he fled to Cancun in the middle of a disaster declaration, despite his own easily discoverable previous digs at officials who similarly abandoned their responsibilities for the sake of personal comfort. Ted is an asshole of epic proportions.



Speaking of assholes, Rush Limbaugh finally died this week. I found out that you can land in Twitter jail by wishing for the rapid decomposition of a human body post-mortem:


Totally worth it. I've challenged his fans to provide specific evidence that Rush ever did anything beneficial for humanity that doesn't include the phrase "he wuz a paytriot." So far even the crickets are staying mum on the matter.

Anyway, Perseverance is safely puttering around on Mars, (most) Texans are good strong people, Ted Cruz is a sniveling sack of snot, and Rush Limbaugh is no longer consuming precious oxygen on this planet. The gamut of humanity has well and truly been run this week.

So stay safe, get vaccinated when it's your turn, do what you can for your fellow human, and remember that no one ever had "they stayed out of Twitter jail" carved on their tombstone, so go for it. May the news cycle slow to a crawl next week. We've earned it.

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