1. Candy corn!

2. Piles of leaves!

3. That toy you loved that nobody remembers because they weren’t kids between 1966-1975!

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It was the Smithsonian headline that got our attention: “The American Bumblebee Has Vanished From Eight States”.

One of them was our ancestral home, Oregon. So we posted the story to Mark Zuckerberg’s Living Hell. Upon which an ancestral homie mentioned that he saw a bumblebee in Eugene last summer.

Yeah, well, anecdotal exception. But we couldn’t let it go. So we did what we do, and dived in.

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The national odometer took another spin last week: 700,000 covid deaths. Twelve Vietnams. Hell, more than the Civil War. Or all other American wars. Combined.

That’s where we’re at now. We’ll never know how many of these deaths were preventable, if we had a competent national government at the start of the pandemic, or for that matter, a fact-respectful population. We only know what we’ve lived through, and why, and what damn little we can do about it.

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We’ve learned more about Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema than we care to the past week: Their histories, their psychologies, Why They Do What They Do, the works. We know more about them than we do our own senators, a place in our head usually reserved for New York politicians.

And why? Yeah, you know why. Every vote counts!

Which is also why, yet again, we find ourself returning to one of our favorite infernal subjects: That Damn Senate.

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Let us begin by stipulating that our healthcare system sucks in this country. We’ve socialized our police and fire departments, most of our education, even water and power in some places. But if you break your arm or have a heart attack, you’re on your own.

For a small but significant percentage of us, that was an early issue with the covid vaccines: How could they possibly be free? Nothing else like that is — never mind “vaccine hesitancy”, you don’t dare call 911 for an ambulance for fear of financial ruin.

If the point of mass vaccinations is to limit the human petri dishes that a virus can thrive and evolve in, that’s a problem. But by no means the greatest.

Malevolent stupidity is the problem.

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We found ourself watching the news coverage again last week, from the moment the story broke to the events that followed throughout the day.

No, not that.

Walter. 1963.

We were four at the time, so no memory of that. Maybe we saw Oswald getting snuffed a couple days later, maybe we didn’t. Our political awareness didn’t begin until almost five years later, with the rapid succession of LBJ dropping out, then MLK, then RFK.

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We’ve been searching in vain for a comparison.

There’s a 1994 report from the DoJ’s National Institute of Justice, recommending civil action for criminal acts. But that still presumes government actors, including “hiring competent staff”.

Okay, so what about environmental law? The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 — known in the biz as CERCLA, but more familiar as Superfund — allows private lawsuits against miscreants, but only if the government isn’t already involved, and only for cleanup costs.

Bounty hunters, perhaps? Well, that involves skipping bail, and as such is a private matter between you, your god, your bondsman, and your telegenic pursuer.

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