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No one cares about the lunch lady.

What’s going to be the mortality rate for cafeteria workers when schools reopen? 

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There are a couple of viral tweets going around painting Betsy DeVos as a callous monster for wanting to re-open the schools.

As far as I’ve been able to find, a doctor made that prediction, not Betsy, and I’m not even sure how he came to those numbers because the death rate for children under 18 is actually lower than 0.02%. Still, let’s be very clear. Betsy DeVos is definitely a monster, but she should be going viral because of the full scope of the picture, not one dubious figure.

The economy can’t reopen because there’s nowhere for children to go. Parents can’t leave their kids at home alone while they go back to work, so until they’re back in school, the country won’t start running again. That is the main concern for this administration.

The people who have the means to keep their children home away from public school are mostly white and mostly middle class. This is also great for DeVos because she doesn’t want those kids in school with poor and/or brown kids anyway.

A lot of teachers would rather retire or quit than go back to school next month, and that’s also great for DeVos because if public schools perform poorly, she can more righteously throw her weight behind the charter system she loves so much.

But Betsy DeVos and the whole lot of them are ignoring the lunch ladies.

I grew up in a very rural school district where my graduating class would have been around 80 people (I didn’t graduate with them though because I left for boarding school). I don’t remember the names of any of the janitors in any of the schools I went to growing up. The ones I can clearly build an image of in my mind were 40-year-old Black men, but they were in the background of my upbringing, neither praised nor maligned.

I don’t remember my first bus driver but she was a white woman with a long ponytail and a son named Brian who bullied me on the way home from school every day until I fought back. She kicked me off the bus and my mom had to pick me up for the rest of the year. My second bus driver a few years later was a cheerful Black woman. I remember a lot about her because she was also the computer teacher — that’s what happens in rural school districts, a lot of double duty. They were both in their 40s, but there were a few older bus drivers as well. My mom drove a school bus in her 60s just for something extra to do because she was tired of doing so much hair (she owned a salon). I don’t think anybody hated the bus drivers — except James Harris. I definitely hated James Harris because he was an asshole and I don’t care if anybody from my childhood is reading this. James Harris was an asshole.

One of the 3rd grade teachers went to high school with my mom and she was in her 40s when I came through. My 3rd grade teacher was almost 60 though. My 6th grade science teacher and 7th grade math teacher were both about 60 as well. The rest seemed old at the time, but they were generally under 40. Most of my teachers were nice women and I have pretty fond memories of them growing up.

I don’t have any fond memories of any of the cafeteria workers. They were mean old ladies who gave me nasty food. The square pizza would be burnt. The chicken rings would be rubbery.  I’ve never had chocolate milk that tastes like that outside of a school cafeteria. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich should actually have some jelly in it. And did I mention they were mean? Because they definitely were. When one of the Poor Kids didn’t have the quarter to pay for reduced breakfast, they didn’t get any food, and I felt like it was the mean old ladies’ fault. Lunch was a break from the day, but they would yell at us for just being kids. Why do we have to be so quiet?!

It’s not just me. The lunch lady is the most maligned adult from our childhoods. It’s hard to find nice cartoons about the lunch lady, but these are endless.

lunchladies1

lunchladies3

 

lunchladies4

lunchladies2

As an adult, it’s easier to look back at the cafeteria workers and stand in solidarity with what they go through. Most of those women have cooked for their families for decades. They know their way around the kitchen as much as any other 60-year-old Southern woman, but they were forced to feed us what was stipulated by the guidelines and the budget. They couldn’t give free food to the unfortunate and they didn’t make enough money to feed them out of their own pocket. They sometimes didn’t make enough money to feed themselves, and they’d be punished if they took leftovers (which are supposed to be thrown away per school district regulations, not taken home to feed your family). And if they were a little grumpy from time to time, they had the right to be. It’s a thankless job serving terrible food to children who disrespect you. Also, put yourself in this common scenario: You’re an older woman whose husband has been laid off or passed away, and you have to find a job with no work history. You can either greet at Wal-Mart or serve cold corn at the elementary school.

When schools open, kids will be spreading the coronavirus around like Skittles. As a general rule, children are disgusting germ factories. They’re always leaking and touching things and they’re mysteriously sticky at all times. And they cough like this:

cough

I don’t understand what a school day is supposed to look like. Disney went through all this work to make their park Social Distance Friendly and they’re requiring people to wear masks and the system is already breaking down, but how do you do that in a school? The desks are right next to each other and there’s no way to spread them out. How do you make a class of 25 wear a mask all day long when it takes ten minutes just to get them in a straight line to go to recess?

When the kids start to get sick, some of your children will die. The ones who don’t die will hop on a packed school bus and kill some of the bus drivers. They’ll walk by the janitor who cleans when the halls are mostly empty. They will sit in class all day with a teacher trying to hide behind a shield, but some of them will die too.

Then their midday reprieve from learning and breathing in a mask will be in the school cafeteria where they’re yelling at each other and spraying germs on the grumpy old lady serving the food nobody likes. She’s wearing a mask, but they aren’t. She’s wearing gloves, but they haven’t washed their hands well. She’s keeping her distance, but she’s stuck in that cavern of corona with recycled air for the 3 or 4 hours it takes for all the classes to have lunch.

What’s going to be the mortality rate for the lunch ladies?

 

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Republicans don’t believe the election was “free and fair”

In that case, I hope they just stop voting.

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Three days after every major media outlet called the election for former Vice President Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has shown no signs of conceding as he continues to push baseless claims of widespread fraud. The campaign he is waging against the integrity of the election, which first took root months ago, has had a major impact on how Republicans perceive the results, according to new Morning Consult polling.

This latest survey, conducted Nov. 6-9, 2020 among 1,987 registered voters nationwide, is part of an ongoing research project to gauge the level of trust Americans have in their electoral system. Results will be updated on this page weekly.

(cont. Morning Consult)

This was absolutely the goal of the Trump administration from the start. The writing was on the wall — he was going to lose this election bigly and he needed to make his supporters doubt the results, so they all cast a shadow on mail-in votes. They knew the largest share of mail-in votes would be Democrats because Democrats have not rejected COVID science and are more likely to avoid crowds. Sending in your ballot from the safety of your home makes sense to someone who believes the coronavirus pandemic is a real thing. Then the GOP prevented those ballots from being counted until after all of the same day ballots in places like Pennsylvania, so Trump declared victory on the day, and his supporters watched it slip away as these sketchy mail-in ballots were counted.

That’s the one-two punch. Mail-in ballots have more fraud, and I won before the fraudulent ballots started being counted.

So now we have an entire political party undermining the foundation of our democracy, by following behind this orange baby man throwing a tantrum because he hates losing, and they’re all but ensuring lower turnout for the next election cycle among their base. If 7 out of 10 people on your side of the aisle believe the election is rigged, how many of them are going to sit out next time because their vote doesn’t matter anyway? If just 1 of every ten says “why waste the time?” the GOP loses by an even wider margin.

Fine with me! I especially hope Republicans in Georgia have lost faith in the voting process so they don’t turn out for the Senate runoffs in a few weeks. I know plenty of Lazy Liberals who’ve sat on the couch on election day because we keep seeing these races stolen from us due to gerrymandering and voter restrictions and polling site closures. A big chunk of us have said “why waste the time?” and it has cost us every time. A little pessimism on the other side is music to my ears.

Also, it’s important to note that whichever party loses the White House has less trust in the election. It happens every time. Strangely enough, the only recent election where faith in the election was about equal for Democrats and Republicans was Bush v. Gore back in 2000, where the election hinged on less than 600 votes in Florida (as opposed to tens of thousands of votes in multiple states for Biden this go ’round).

This is the share of voters who said the election was free and fair, going back to Bush vs. Clinton.

It’s interesting that the trust gap of the 90s doubled once Barack Obama was elected, and it has doubled again now that the sitting President has spent the past few days telling his base over and over that the results weren’t fair. The Republican Party is circling the drain and I would love for this distrust in the voting process to be the final nail in their coffin. They can’t win if they don’t even show up.

Donald Trump’s ego would love nothing more than to see his supporters rise up and fight for him, so he will fan the flames for as long as they will believe his lies. I can’t think of a bigger indictment of his fabrications than Fox News refusing to give them more airtime:

I guess Rusty and Carole will have to get all their conspiracy theories straight from the source now.

 

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2020 Election Firsts

The last four years have been hard, and these “firsts” show that we are in fact still moving in the right direction.

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You know where this is going to end up (but not for the reason you think!) and I just wanted to highlight some other “firsts” from last week’s election. On the one hand, it’s 2020, so having “the first” of anything when it comes to representation is tiring. On the other hand, it’s 2020, and the last four years have been hard, and these “firsts” show that we are in fact still moving in the right direction.

Mauree Turner

Oklahoma has never had a Muslim elected to their State Legislature. The US has never had a non-binary person elected to any State Legislature. Until Mauree Turner.

Being a queer Black Muslim activist in Oklahoma comes with a lot of hurdles just to be seen and heard, but during the course of their activism and organizing behind other politicians, Turner was being encouraged to just run for office themself. They ran on a platform of inclusion and defeated their challenger with 71% of the vote.

Cori Bush

If at first you don’t succeed, keep at it until you do. That’s what Cori Bush did.

Cori Bush ran for Senate in 2016, but was defeated in the primary. She ran for the House in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District (St. Louis mostly) in 2018, but was defeated in the primary. When she ran again this year and upset incumbent Lacy Clay in the primary, it ended the Clay Family’s hold on that seat which began with Lacy’s father Bill Clay back in 1968. Bush got her start in politics after the Ferguson protests where she served as a triage nurse and organizer. With her win in the general, she’s the first Black Woman elected to Congress from Missouri.

Sarah McBride

In 2012, Sarah McBride became the first openly trans woman to work in the White House. In 2016, she addressed the Democratic National Convention, becoming the first transgender American to address a major political party. Now, she has another first.

After winning her State Senate race in Delaware, Sarah McBride is the first trans person elected to a state Senate in the US. As a campaign staffer in Delaware, McBride previously worked on Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden’s campaign before coming out as trans during her last week as student body president of American University. A flurry of media coverage followed and the Biden Family continued to express their support, culminating in a position at the White House Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Mondaire Jones

Mondaire Jones won his House race to become the first openly gay Black Congressman.

Jones was running in a solidly Democratic district just north of NYC without a strong challenger in the primary. He easily pulled ahead of his challengers back in June during the primary for a seat that had been held by the same woman for thirty years.  Jones has the support of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but I’m most excited to see him working with another of his high-profile supporters — AOC.

Ritchie Torres

Another openly gay first, this time the first openly gay Afro-Latino in Congress.

Ritchie Torres will also be representing New York alongside Mondaire Jones when Congress seats its new class. His primary challenger was a notorious homophobe by the name of Rubén Díaz Senior, not to be confused with his more popular and more liberal son, Rubén Díaz Junior, who is the Bronx borough president. The ballots during that primary didn’t specify Junior or Senior, which I’m sure was an intentional “oversight” by the father’s campaign to capitalize on his son’s popularity, but in the end, Torres pulled it off and defeated his Republican challenger in the general last week. Torres said during his campaign that he wants to tackle the affordable housing crisis, expand the Supreme Court, and make Puerto Rico a state. He’s got big dreams and a bright future.

Kamala Harris

Madame Vice-President Elect will be the first female Vice President, the first Black VP, and the first Asian VP.**

There’s not much to add that hasn’t already been breathlessly covered everywhere for the past few days, but! She’s also the first Vice President who doesn’t share a last name with their spouse, which hadn’t occurred to me until last night, but I think it’s really awesome!

Full Disclosure: I hate when women feel pressured to change their last names after they get married, but I especially hate it when they have a career. You have papers and interviews and titles associated with one name, so why change that because of an outdated tradition that stems from ownership? Kamala Harris married Douglas Emhoff, and she’s still Kamala Harris. I was watching a documentary about Hillary Clinton before the 2016 election and it bummed me out that she felt she had no choice but to change her last name when Bill lost his reelection for Arkansas governor. She had kept her name and her job and she was too “independent” as a Southern wife, so she changed herself to help her husband appeal to voters, and that included taking Clinton as her last name. Forty years after that, I’m really excited that a woman has finally gotten to the White House and she kept hers.

**Kamala Harris is the first woman of color, but she’s not the first non-white VP. Hoover’s Vice President Charles Curtis was 3/8ths Native American.

 

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Don’t worry about the Supreme Court.

We can’t stop whatever will happen, but we can mitigate the damage if we flip the Senate and put Biden in the White House.

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From what I can tell on The Internets, America has suddenly been thrown into complete chaos and her very future is now in question because a 90-year-old lady “unexpectedly” died after 47 brushes with cancer. As a natural cynic and charming pessimist, I agree! The United States is circling the drain…but we were already doing that anyway. At any rate, I have calmed myself down by mulling over all of the possible scenarios that may arise over the next few months, because even if all of the outcomes are terrible, I feel better if I know what they are. This is what I’ve come up with, from best case to worst case.

Cheetolini decides not to put forth a nominee, loses the election.

As of this morning, President Velveeta was was still telling the country he plans to nominate someone, most likely a woman, most likely this weekend, about a month before the election. However! He is a perpetual liar, and a self-serving, world class sack of shit. Most of the Republican Establishment wants a nominee and a quick confirmation because that will give us the most Conservative Supreme Court in decades, and with a 6-3 split, they can outlaw abortion, gay marriage, and all happiness for the next generation.

Pumpkin Spice Putin is not part of the Republican Establishment. He’s a lone wolf who only cares about himself, and if the wrong (right!) person whispers in his ear that dangling a nominee is better for him politically, he would probably go that route. It’s perfectly logical: Elect me again, and I’ll nominate this conservative judge and hand over the Supreme Court to the GOP for the next 20 or 30 years. It’s a good strategy considering he has nothing to brag about right now. Then we beat him in November, and the problem is solved.

The nominee doesn’t make it to a vote or isn’t confirmed, and Adolf Twittler loses.

Not making it to a vote and not being confirmed are slightly different but still dependent upon the same handful of Senators who pretend to be a smidge more independent from the rest of the Republican Party. Back in Obama’s term, Mitch McConnell and Matroness Lindsey Olin Graham Devereaux Sugarbaker said the President shouldn’t be able to seat a Supreme Court justice during an election cycle. They are liars, and no amount of shaming them for their hypocrisy will matter, so please stop wasting your breath on this. If you want something to pay attention to, keep watch on which Senators have now said — since RBG passed away — that they still believe that. As I’m writing, this is the count:

You can keep up on the Washington Post, but Democrats need four Republicans to withhold their support in order for the vote to fail. Right now there are two confirmed and one maybe with 29 yet to speak on the topic. Hopefully Mitt Romney will find that backbone he pretended he had a few months ago and do the right thing.

There’s a confirmation, but we take the Senate and Biden wins.

Republicans don’t have principles, so I’m not counting on four of them to actually block the nominee. If Biden wins and we pick up the Senate, we could pack the court and make the newest Conservative windbag useless. If Uncle Joe wins, we only need to pick up three Senate seats to take power because Kamala will be the tie breaker. The reelection landscape is a great map for us this year, because the Blue seats up for reelection are pretty solid and there are fewer of them. There are a lot of Red seats, and a good number have started to lean Blue or fall into the tossup category.

Nothing in the Constitution says we have to have nine Supreme Court justices. We’ve had between five and ten. The last President to seriously attempt to expand the court was FDR, but he was met with a lot of resistance even within his own party and he failed.

That was then, and this is now. Democratic voters are tired of being represented by politicians who won’t even bust a grape in a fruit fight. Republicans come armed with assault rifles and we show up with one boxing glove from the early 60s with moth holes in it. We are ready to replace them with people who will actually do their jobs and they know that, which is why they’re already floating the idea of packing the Court if McConnell successfully pulls off this power grab. Biden is on record from a long time ago saying it would be a bad idea to pack the Court and Conservative Democrats say it sets a bad precedent, that whichever party is in power will just alter the Court and it will no longer be a stable, non-political institution, but screw all of them. It’s time to actually play the game, or get off the field.

There’s no confirmation and we take the Senate, but Biden loses.

In this case, everything I just wrote applies, except Kim Jong Ugly vetoes whatever act we pass to expand the court. We’d need a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress to override him, and we just won’t ever have the numbers for that. We’re stuck with a 6-3 court for at least the next four years. If Stephen Breyer retires (and he definitely will), the Senate should block any nominations and just hold the Court in place until 2024 when we run somebody better than Joe Biden.

There’s no confirmation before the election, Mango Mussolini wins, and we don’t take the Senate.

There’s a confirmation, the Fanta Fascist wins, and we don’t take the Senate.

Those Senators who don’t believe an outgoing President should seat a Supreme Court judge would then vote to confirm if Biden loses in November. There is a scenario where he wins, but we take the Senate, and those Senators say “the people have spoken, and their Senators should decide who the next judge is” but we already know that’s not going to happen. The Supreme Court will be 6-3. Breyer will retire (or retire) and the Supreme Court will be 7-2.  In that case, you will find me in Sweden with my new husband or wife who says my dark skin is “exotic” and I’ll just deal with the fetishization for however long it says on the pre-nup before I can get a divorce and enough money to live on.

But seriously, if you want to do something, save your energy for what matters. You can’t shame a Republican Senator into sticking to what they said five minutes ago, let alone four years ago. Whether or not there’s a confirmation is completely out of your hands, so don’t worry about it. Let that go. We’ll get a sixth Conservative judge by November, or we won’t. You can’t do anything about it. What you can do is prevent a 7-2 Court by focusing on the Senate races that could flip Blue. What you can do is work for a 13 seat Court by focusing on those races and making sure Biden wins in November.

Mitch McConnell will win his race. Stop giving AmyMcGrath your money. Focus on the Democratic challengers in these six races:

Mark Kelly, Arizona
John Hickenlooper, Colorado
Theresa Greenfiend, Iowa
Sara Gideon, Maine
Steve Bullock, Montana
Cal Cunningham, North Carolina

We can’t stop whatever will happen, but we can mitigate the damage if we flip the Senate and put Biden in the White House. So let’s focus on that part.

And now, I’m off to hit these Swedish lessons on Duolingo because this whole country finna be on fire the day after the election regardless of who wins anyway.

 

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