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The DLC may be dead as an organization, but its zombie remnants rise again and again to ensure the Democratic Party doesn't upset its deep-pocketed sponsors who want less "economic fairness" and a lot more "trickle down."

And, yes, the centrist groups aligning against Elizabeth Warren's full-throated defense of economic fairness include the Progressive Policy Institute, founded by none other than Hillary Clinton's 2016 right-hand, John Podesta.

CORRECTION: As willyr pointed out, below, Podesta founded the Center for American Progress and not the Progressive Policy Institute. The Center for American Progress put out the report mentioned below about the 2014 mid-term results. The head of the committee that generated that report was Larry Summers, also quoted below. Sorry for error.
Gee, what a surprise...

Here's a choice quote from today's article in The Hill that'll make your blood boil:

Leaders at three centrist groups — the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), the New Democrat Network (NDN) and Third Way — arranged a series of meetings with moderates after the disastrous midterm elections to "discuss the future of the party," according to a source close to the NDC.

“Democrats ought to avoid the danger of talking about only redistribution and not enough about economic growth,” said PPI President and founder Will Marshall, who addressed House Democrats during their Philadelphia retreat in January. “Economic growth is a precondition to reducing inequality. You can't redistribute wealth that you're not generating.

“There's a lot of sympathy for that view in the pragmatic-wing of the party,” he added.

Yes, because we all know how successful the "pragmatic wing" of the party has been in building up the Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate!

This was all foreshadowed back on February 7 with the release of a PPI Center for American Progress report on the 2014 mid-term results. The story in the Times included this quote from committee chair, the execrable Larry Summers:

“It’s not enough to address upward mobility without addressing inequality,” said Lawrence H. Summers, a Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration who is among those talking with Mrs. Clinton. “The challenge, though, is to address inequality without embracing a politics of envy.”
Is there any doubt where Hillary will land in this debate? Any doubt at all? As I asked in a diary back on February 8, Could Hillary Clinton get outflanked on economic populism by a GOP nominee?

It's a serious consideration, given the tone coming from these centrist Dem groups. I concluded in that diary:

Sure, it sounds farfetched to believe that a Democratic presidential candidate could be outflanked on economic/income inequality by a Republican. But given the cautious, corporate-friendly nature of Hillary Clinton, compounded by her inclination to surround herself with neoliberal retreads whose policies helped get us to the state of economic inequality we are in today, I think it is possible that she could be outflanked.

The Republican will claim that he is the hero of the middle class, and the ever-skittish Clinton campaign, terrified of being accused of "class warfare" (and terrified of ostracizing her deep pocket backers), will run a campaign designed "not to lose" rather than a campaign designed to win.

I am nowhere near as confident in her ability to pull this off as Markos is. Given what we've seen to this point, I think a Clinton run is a crapshoot, despite what current polls suggest.

Read this quote from Gabe Horwitz of Third Way, and think to yourself, "Is this coming a Democrat or free-market conservative?"
Gabe Horwitz, director of Third Way’s economic program, said moderates have been arguing the case for rebranding the Democratic Party around “the middle class and middle-class prosperity.”

“In the last election, Democrats, as a party, offered a message of fairness. Voters responded, and they responded really negatively,” Horwitz said. “Democrats offered fairness, and voters wanted prosperity and growth.”

First off, that's a steaming load. Show me where "Democrats offered fairness" as opposed to "prosperity and growth." Democrats, as usual, were timid and cowed and paid the price.

Hell, even Howard Dean is on the bandwagon:

Democracy For America founder Howard Dean, who has backed Clinton for president, said Warren is “right on policy, but the rhetoric needs to be toned down.”

“Our program cannot be soak the rich — that's a mistake and alienates middle class people. But on substance, the Warren wing is correct,” said Dean.

It's a depressing scenario for progressives in 2016. The Chosen One is just more of the same. Progressives and progressive policies are in line for more marginalizing while the income gap stretches to a gaping chasm.

"Prosperity and Growth 2016!"

I'm not sure if that will be Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan or that of her Republican opponent.

UPDATE:
To my earlier point about Hillary Clinton getting outflanked on economic inequality, a comment by this is only a test, below, highlights a piece in the Washington Post about how the new Republican governor of Maryland, a political neophyte, outflanked the Dem candidate, Anthony Brown, on economic inequality:

Those who are financially stressed were more likely to vote for Hogan over Democrat Anthony G. Brown in November than those who say they are getting ahead, according to the poll. On the campaign trail, Brown, then the lieutenant governor, talked about how Maryland had thrived for eight years under Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). But Hogan, the prosperous owner of a real estate firm, painted a different picture, one that resonated with residents who were less fortunate.

“Too many Marylanders,” the new governor said in his first State of the State address, “have been struggling, just to get by.”

An object lesson in what could happen in the 2016 presidential race, given the tone of the "centrist Dem" plan, listed above. Note that the Dem, Brown, touted the very "prosperity and growth" mantra suggested by the faux Democrats!
Discuss

The NRA is once again doing what it does best: stoking paranoia and fear in a bunch of scared white guys to sell guns and gun-related products, in this case, armor-piercing bullets.

Move to Ban a Bullet Adds to Its Appeal

WASHINGTON — President Obama’s administration has proposed banning the manufacture and sale of one of the most popular bullets used in AR-15 semiautomatic rifles, a move that has enraged gun-rights advocates and caused a run on the ammunition at gun shops across the country.

...

The proposal would allow people to use up the ammunition they have already bought. Gun shops and firearms organizations on Thursday said there had been a rush to snap up cases of the bullets since the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups sent out urgent alerts to their members.

Those alerts accused Mr. Obama of seeking to enact by the backdoor gun control measures that he could not pass in Congress in 2013.

Yes, the "gun grabbers" are at it again! Quick, get thine self to the gun shop and buy that ammo!

In fact, this proposal was covered in a diary here that included a classic, fear-stoking title taken straight from the NRA playbook: "The latest brilliant backdoor gun control measure."

Never mind, of course, that this proposal (now labeled "back door") has been in the works for more than three years, and has involved discussions with gun industry and gun advocacy groups:

The proposal by the A.T.F. to reclassify the rifle ammunition started more than three years ago, before the Newtown shootings, and included meetings with members of the firearms industry, advocacy groups and law enforcement officials. After the 30-day comment period expires on March 13, the attorney general will have to make a final decision, officials said.

The rule-making, submitted on a Friday before a three-day weekend, appeared to catch many in Washington off guard.

But it has been a priority for law enforcement groups that have long pushed for restrictions on armor-piercing bullets.

The NRA and its advocates have said the bullet is no more armor-piercing than many other bullets.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said this month that it planned to restrict the armor-piercing 5.56-millimeter “M855 green tip” rifle bullet because of new handguns that use the ammunition and pose a greater threat to the police. Previously, the millions of inexpensive green-tip steel and lead bullets sold each year were only for rifles typically used by target shooters and hunters.

...

Gun control organizations said police officers had pushed for the new rule because the bullets can easily pierce bulletproof vests and other armor that are worn almost exclusively by law enforcement personnel. Handguns are considered more dangerous to the police because they are easier to conceal and are more often used in crimes. But gun rights advocates said that the ammunition being targeted was no more lethal than traditional rifle bullets, made only of lead, which they said could also pierce bulletproof vests.

So buy, buy, buy! As usual, the NRA and other gun rights groups do the bidding of the industry and sew fear to sell product. It's an age-old tactic that Wayne LaPierre and company have used to great effect to sell handguns, AR-15-style weapons and related paraphernalia to scared white guys for years. As LaPierre put it at last year's NRA convention:
"We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and carjackers and knockout gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all. I ask you. Do you trust this government to protect you? We are on our own."
Fear and paranoia sell. This bullet story is just the latest example.
Discuss

Hard to believe, I know. And many here will say, "Never!" That said, let's take a look at what is happening right now in the framing department...

Today brings us this article from The New York Times about Clinton seeking the input of "more than 200 policy experts" to help her define "how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy. "

Economic Plan Is a Quandary for Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

Behind many of these proposals is a philosophy, endorsed by Mrs. Clinton’s closest economic advisers and often referred to as inclusive capitalism, that contends that a majority of Americans do not want to punish the rich; they just want to feel that they, too, have a chance to succeed.

...

“It’s not enough to address upward mobility without addressing inequality,” said Lawrence H. Summers, a Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration who is among those talking with Mrs. Cllinton. “The challenge, though, is to address inequality without embracing a politics of envy.”

...

Last month in Washington, a 17-person commission convened by the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank with close ties to Mrs. Clinton, presented a 166-page report on “inclusive prosperity,” which is among the numerous economic blueprints Mrs. Clinton has reviewed. For some, the solutions proposed by the committee, of which Mr. Summers was co-chairman, did not go far enough.

Regardless of who the "more than 200 policy experts" are (and what points of view they represent), is there any doubt in the minds of most politically-informed Democrats that Clinton is most likely to settle on the prescription laid out by Summers and his think tank?

These centrist/Third Way/former-DLC retreads are proposing what amounts to a faux populist strategy that lives in fear of being accused by the other side of "class warfare." (Thus, Summers' comment about "the politics of envy.")  It's a strategy designed to thread the needle between a populist campaign and the corporate-loving/stroke-the-one-percent policies of the neoliberal class that have been in place since Bill Clinton's victory in 1992.

What this strategy misses, of course, is the actual public anger at income inequality in this country.

The most recent Gallup poll on the subject found 67% of Americans are dissatisfied with income distribution. A Pew survey found that 78% of Americans think income inequality is a significant issue.

Interestingly, the Pew survey also asked this question:

What is the most important reason for the gap between the rich and poor in our country today?
Tied for the number one answer were:
Government - 24%
Some work harder than others - 24%
Seventeen percent said "our educational system," and, surprisingly, only 13% said "workers' pay."

And now let's look at what the GOP economic populist argument is likely to be. (And, yes, it will be a mountain of lies, but it will be told convincingly and with passion and with the backing of billions of dollars in marketing.)

From Jeb Bush's speech in Detroit last week:

"Far too many Americans live on the edge of economic ruin," he said. "And many more feel like they’re stuck in place: Working longer, and harder, even as they’re losing ground. Tens of millions of Americans no longer see a clear path to rise above their challenges.

“Something is holding them back," he continued. "Not a lack of ambition. Not a lack of hope. Not because they’re lazy, or see themselves as victims. Something else. Something is an artificial weight on their shoulders. ... Today, Americans across the country are frustrated. They see only a small portion of the population riding the economy’s 'up' escalator."

Sure, it's all rhetoric, but there are the inklings of a GOP economic populism platform. And who will the enemy be? The government, of course, and a Democratic president's government, in particular.

Read today's piece from conservative columnist, Jack Kelly.

For Most Of Us, There's No "Recovery"

...

If it weren’t for gains made by the well off, there wouldn’t be a “recovery.” Five years after it began, the top 1 percent of earners (more than $366,623 a year) had garnered 81 percent of its fruits. The incomes of the top one-tenth of 1 percent (about $8 million a year) grew 39 percent.

The incomes of the bottom 90 percent declined...

Most of us get nearly all our income from our jobs. Only 44 percent of adults work 30 hours or more a week, according to Gallup’s survey of the work force. Ten million fewer are working now than when Barack Obama became president.

...

About 20 percent of employers are cutting back on new hires and worker hours to avoid onerous provisions in Obamacare, surveys by Federal Reserve banks in New York and Dallas indicate.

...

The 7,805 regulations issued by the Obama administration through December will boost to $1.88 trillion the cost of complying with federal rules this year...

Federal regulations reduce economic growth by as much as 12 percent...

... the burst of regulatory activity during the Obama administration has cost 546,000 jobs. More than 2,000 additional rules are in the pipeline.

According to Pew, the government and one's inability to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps are the top two reasons Americans cite for our income inequality. Sound familiar?

Sure, it sounds farfetched to believe that a Democratic presidential candidate could be outflanked on economic/income inequality by a Republican. But given the cautious, corporate-friendly nature of Hillary Clinton, compounded by her inclination to surround herself with neoliberal retreads whose policies helped get us to the state of economic inequality we are in today, I think it is possible that she could be outflanked.

The Republican will claim that he is the hero of the middle class, and the ever-skittish Clinton campaign, terrified of being accused of "class warfare" (and terrified of ostracizing her deep pocket backers), will run a campaign designed "not to lose" rather than a campaign designed to win.

I am nowhere near as confident in her ability to pull this off as Markos is. Given what we've seen to this point, I think a Clinton run is a crapshoot, despite what current polls suggest.

Discuss

Help yourself:

Dads can't babysit... but they can breastfeed! Originally published January 10, 2005

I have a confession to make Originally published January 14, 2005

2008 Dem Hopefuls Spar in Secret Forum Originally published March 2, 2005

updait! this iz not bob jonsen riting Originally published March 14, 2005

I've decided to go on a feeding tube Originally published March 30, 2005

I worshipped a squirrel Originally published April 18, 2005

goot bi krewl werlt Originally published June 7, 2005

What I bought at the bazaar Originally published April 14, 2006

EXCLUSIVE! Bush's Thoughts During Colbert's Correspondents' Dinner Performance Originally published May 2, 2006

Go ahead and FLAME me! Bush and Cheney have been right... about almost everything! Originally published July 12, 2006

There are tons more diaries down here that I'll be tossing. Go ahead and rummage through this stack first. If you like one of `em, take it. Otherwise, they're headed for the dumpster.

Discuss

-

Poll

Is this for real?

7%27 votes
2%10 votes
4%17 votes
1%4 votes
0%2 votes
3%12 votes
9%32 votes
7%27 votes
4%15 votes
14%48 votes
2%10 votes
4%16 votes
6%21 votes
10%37 votes
18%62 votes

| 341 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Since no one in authority here has put up an "Ask me anything" diary in a while, I have taken it upon myself to cover for their sorry asses by posting my own version of "Ask me anything" even though I don't work for Daily Kos and I have absolutely no authority to speak for kos or anyone else who actually does work for this mega-corporation.

That said, feel free to "Ask me anything" about Daily Kos and I will, to the best of my ability, deliver a completely nonsensical answer. I'll do this only for a little while because, after all, it's Christmas Eve and I have tasks I need to finish, such as figuring out how late this one store will be open so I can wait until the last possible moment to get my wife a gift.

Poll

Take my pole:

22%58 votes
8%21 votes
25%66 votes
6%17 votes
8%21 votes
29%78 votes

| 261 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Thu Dec 18, 2014 at 03:46 PM PST

n/t

by Bob Johnson

-

Discuss

After penning my diary yesterday, "Conservative demonization of Obama allowed racists to crawl out from under their rocks," and reading through the comments, a sharp-eyed observer noted that I had left something out of that diary.

I had written:

Over the course of Obama's tenure, the "freedom" to express such thoughts has expanded greatly, and attempts to call out these comments are often met with 1) a denial of racism, and 2) shouts of "Freedom of speech!" and "First Amendment!"
As Texas Twister astutely pointed out:
#3 in your parentheticals should be: 3) Reversing the claim and calling it racist to call them racist!
TexasTwister has it exactly right. And today brings yet another tale of woe from yet another victim of racial prejudice, in this case, third grade teacher, Angela Box, of Houston:
A third-grade HISD teacher accused of making profane and anti-Muslim remarks on a public access television show will resign immediately and receive three months' pay under a deal approved by the school board Thursday.

...

She said "character assassination" by community activist Quanell X, who had accused Box of using a racial slur, made it impossible for her to remain in her job.

"As I have said before, opposing President Obama and sounding the alarm about radical Islam does not make me a racist," the statement said, adding that she did not utter the racial epithets Quanell X had attributed to her.

"I am considering all my legal options regarding the conduct from Mr. X and others. I expect to have an announcement as early as next Monday regarding my future steps."

So what did the victimized Ms. Box say that ended up costing her her job?
"Every normal human being in the world knows that goat-fucking Muslims and, oh, boy fucking Muslims, are the evil of the world," Box appears to have said in one of the broadcasts. She also referred to Muslims as "bacon-haters."

The teacher also joked she was hopeful President Obama would catch Ebola. "Can't Ebola just take one for the team and take out Obama?"

Needless to say, this poor woman is yet another victim of the PC police that have made it impossible for reasonable people to speak their minds about Muslims, the president (Muslim?), minority citizens who are victims of police violence and immigrants.

Nearly every day brings yet more examples of conservatives -- oftentimes official office holders, political figures and media personalities -- falling victim to painful racial prejudice of this sort.

Anyone who follows Hunter's posts knows how many victims there are on a daily basis. Just in the past few weeks, we've had any number of victims of this horrible, repressive reverse racism:

Rudy Giuliani

“But I think just as much, if not more, responsibility is on the black community to reduce the reason why the police officers are assigned in such large numbers to the black community. It’s because blacks commit murder eight times more per capita than any other group in our society.”
Almost-Nevada Speaker of the House Ira Hansen
He wrote that African-Americans are insufficiently grateful for being given their freedom: “The lack of gratitude and the deliberate ignoring of white history in relation to eliminating slavery is a disgrace that Negro leaders should own up to.”
GOP 2016 hopeful Ben Carson
Later on in the interview Blitzer asked about his much discussed comments where he warned that the United States was going the way of Nazi Germany.

"To make the comparison to Nazi Germany Dr. Carson, the slaughter of 6 million Jews by the Nazis, the devastation that erupted in Europe and around the world to the United States of America, I want you to reflect to what that potentially means," Blitzer said.

"Again, you are just focusing on the words 'Nazi Germany' and completely missing the point of what was being said," Carson said. "And that's the problem right now. That's what PC-ism is all about. 'You may not say this word' regardless of what your point is because if you say that word I go into a tizzy. We can do better than that."

GOP staffer Elizabeth Lauten
"Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class," she wrote last week. "Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar."
Joe Scarborough
"The cops have every reason to be pissed off this morning," Scarborough said.

"And by the way, if I've offended anybody by saying what I've said, trust me, 95 percent of America think just like me," he said.

"Just because there are cowards who won't say that on TV... that's their problem, not mine," said Scarborough.

Big Stone County, Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Jack Whitley
"They are muslims, they are terrorist (sic), we know where they are from, we know where their buddies are, we know where thier mosque’s (sic) are, we know millions of these parasites travel to Mecca every year and when…FRAG ‘EM!" he wrote in a Facebook post.

He refused to apologize and said that Muslims in the U.S. "either need to repent except (sic) Jesus Chist or leave the country."

RedState editor Ben Howe
"Give me a gun. Put me in Darren Wilson’s shoes. I’d have shot Mike Brown right in his face."
Duval County, Florida Republican Party leader Kim "Bull Connor" Crenier
“A suggestion for Ferugson- fire hoses. Grt big fire hoses, serious water pressure. Knock those thugs over. They probly need a shower anyway.”
And the list goes on and on...

Someone must stand up for these victims of racial oppression. I am sure we can count on Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly -- victims of such oppression themselves many times over -- to defend the right of conservatives to have their racist voices heard.

This is America! Take back our country! Take a stand for the First Amendment! Stop all of this horrible racism directed against white conservatives!

And Ben Carson.

Discuss

Even before Barack Obama took the stage in celebration in Chicago's Grant Park on election night in 2008, the ugly racists in conservative leadership had already spent months stirring racial resentment and fear based on Obama's "otherness." References to the Reverend Wright sermon, the claimed Michelle Obama "whitey tape," the birth certificate, the coded racism of Sarah Palin, and the non-stop, breathless, racist fear-pandering by anyone and everyone associated with Fox News set the stage for what was to come: nearly seven years of unending racist attacks, both overt and subtle.

The United States has never been "post-racial" as some would claim while citing the election of a black president, and certainly most African-Americans would scoff at the notion of a "post-racial" America. That said, prior to the emergence of Obama, outward expressions of virulent racism had been increasingly muted and forced underground by decades of hard work. The most vicious racists had crawled under rocks, spewing their loathings in private or secret among others who shared their views.

What has happened in the intervening years of the Obama presidency has been nothing less than a great unleashing -- the legitimization of racism and racist expression. The stewards at Fox News will always deny racism, as will others in conservative leadership including a number of conservative members of Congress, but their steady demonization of the president has allowed racists to emerge from their dank holes and voice their hatred openly and without shame.

The rise of the Tea Party during the health care debate, no matter how contrived or staged, was simply the organizing by right wing power brokers of those holding racial resentments. The Tea Party provided racists with a sheepskin, euphemistically labeled "dissent," as a way to publicly espouse their virulent racial hatred. Of course, the Republican Party has long stirred the racial resentment pot as part of their electoral strategy, but never before could they stoke and organize a movement with a primary objective of coalescing the fearful, the bigoted and the blatantly racist. Conservatives exploited the election of Barack Obama to organize their hardcore base.

Reading the message boards of many major media outlets in any part of the country during the Michael Brown/Ferguson coverage shows just how far we have receded as a society. Open expressions of virulent racism are prevalent, with many such comments not even subject to removal by moderators. Virulent racists feel free to express their hatred openly without fear of sanction.

Reports of Republican Party officials making openly racist or subtly racist comments are now so common that we are nonplussed when we read the latest crazed utterances. Over the course of Obama's tenure, the "freedom" to express such thoughts has expanded greatly, and attempts to call out these comments are often met with 1) a denial of racism, and 2) shouts of "Freedom of speech!" and "First Amendment!"

Racism never went away, but thanks to the hard work of dedicated people, including many who gave their lives for the cause, racists and racism were forced into the shadows, limiting racists' ability to openly proselytize their perverse beliefs. Our world was a better place. We have gone backwards as a nation.

Conservatives have fostered this retreat to gain power. It's a cynical strategy laced with abhorrent consequences for us all. It may take a long time to put that genie back in the bottle.

Discuss

The last time we had a huge meta shitstorm:

HEY, YOU F--ING DUMBS--TS!

What the f*#k is wrong with you f*#king a*#holes for f*#k's sake because sometimes name-calling is a f*#king must in order to try and get you sh*#-for-brains f*#king idiots to see the f*#king truth which is whatever I say it is you ignorant f*#ks and people should rec my post because after all I have a monopoly on the f*#king truth compared to you dumbf*#ks who think the truth lies anywhere but where I f*#king say it does and that's why I got the recs of IMPORTANT F*#KING people in this place who endorse my name-calling because they know that I am right and you f*#kheads are c*#ks*#king motherf*#king jacka*#es who wouldn't know your a*# from a hole in the ground and couldn't find your own c*#ks with two hands and a map but I digress from main point which is that cursing out a bunch of other people here is absolutely f*#king necessary at this point and should be commended by certain mucky-mucks here because this is good for the site calling out those who disagree with my truth you dumbf*#kers!

Discuss

I just voted for the third time, and it feels great! I plan on voting in person at the polling place tomorrow, too! Thanks for all the tips on how to vote multiple times from the former ACORN staff members who have now set up the Underground Vote Often Network (UVON)! They were right! Developing multiple, qualified registered voters using their tactics is easy -- and effective!

The really fun part is that I even registered my dog, Rex, to vote. Now, I didn't actually take him down to the vote early location, but I did mail in a ballot for him! It was the first time he ever voted, and he was so excited about it that he opened the cabinet where we keep the Milk-Bone® dog biscuits and ate damn near a whole box!

I have instructed a number of friends how to register their pets, including another half dozen dogs, seven cats, a ferret, two hamsters and a box turtle. The race for governor here is very, very tight and I think these pet votes could swing the race our way!

Please share your multiple-voting stories, below. I will delete this diary in a few hours because we don't want the right wing vote fraudsters to see this, but I figured a little pre-election celebration was in order! Hell, I know a guy in Iowa who has registered four cows! (Ta-ta, Joni Ernst!)

Thanks for everyone's hard work and thanks to UVON for the classes and online tutoring! Looking forward to seeing the fruits of our efforts tomorrow night!

Poll

How many times have you voted so far?

15%13 votes
16%14 votes
2%2 votes
5%5 votes
8%7 votes
51%43 votes

| 84 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

Wed Oct 29, 2014 at 08:06 AM PDT

21 Days

by Bob Johnson

Okay, so I went to a yoga class because I am one of the most inflexible humans on the planet and my doctor told me yoga would do me some good, and wouldn't you know it, one of the people in the yoga class may or may not have had contact with someone who had Ebola so I faced a 21-day quarantine. And damn it if this wasn't Bikram yoga, the hot kind, where we were all sweating up a storm. This is my account of my 21-day quarantine as told to my Quarantine Diary:

DAY 1
Feel pretty good. I was told by the medical folks not to tell anyone what was wrong with me. That included my wife and kids. They're puzzled about why I have to be away for 21 days. I did tell my wife, finally, because I didn't want her to think I had taken up with another woman. She was shocked and said, "Don't come home." The medical team put me up in a Residence Inn. Nice. Got a flat screen and a little kitchen. Called work and told them I'll be out for 21 days and it's legit because I have a signed note from my doctor. When the person at work asked, "What's up?", and I said "Well, I'm having some tests done." I think they know it's an Ebola thing because the last thing the person said to me was, "Don't come to the office."

DAY 2
They wouldn't let me bring my own computer so I asked them for a computer so I could go online and they gave me a government-issue Dell that had some old files from the NSA on it that they must have forgotten to delete, including transcripts of phone conversations between world leaders. Here's a snippet of one of the conversations that was on the computer:

MERKEL: The Brits are such assholes.
HOLLANDE: Oui!
DAY 3
They brought in bags of food for me today, although I am sure they overpaid because they went to Whole Foods. No beer. WTF... That said, I had a kale salad. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm thinking the kale craze has just about run its course.

DAY 4
I heard the couple in the next room going at it all freakin' night last night. God almighty, the FDA needs to put a tighter rein on erection drugs.

DAY 5
Asymptomatic. I hate kale.

DAY 6
Talked with my wife. She says she misses me and the kids are wondering what happened to their dad. She asked me how I was feeling and I said fine. She finished by saying, "Don't come home." I assume she means until my quarantine period is over and not forever.

DAY 7
Somehow, someone found out I was quarantined for Ebola because I received a call on the room phone today from someone wanting to "pray" with me. I played dumb and said, "What the hell are you talking about?" and the person responded, "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?" I said, "Can he get me a quality deep dish pizza? Because that would be saving me right about now."

DAY 8
I'm beginning to go stir crazy in here. Thinking of wandering around the Residence Inn.

DAY 9
Snuck out to the vending machine area. Bought some pork rinds. They were horrible.

DAY 10
Medical team came by in full body suits with goggles and all kinds of crap. I remain asymptomatic. They looked in the trash and asked where I got the bag of pork rinds. I said they were in the cabinet when I got here.

DAY 11
Sean Hannity is an asshole. Threw my shoe at the TV and broke the flat screen.

DAY 12
Fuck! Nine more days of this shit!

DAYS 13-17
Didn't shower or shave. Didn't even put on clothes. Just wandered around the "suite" naked. Counted the semi-trucks passing by on the highway and sorted them by color. Final tally: 267 red, 175 blue, 3,740 silver, 2,691 white, 388 other.

DAY 18
Called home again. Heard a man's voice in the background. Wife got off the phone quickly and closed with, "Don't come home."

DAY 19
Thought I had a fever, but realized I had fallen asleep on the heating/air conditioner room unit and had inadvertently cranked the heat to "Max."

DAY 20
Got dressed today, snuck down to the vending machine, and bought nine bags of pork rinds. Ate all of them.

DAY 21
Sick as a dog. Vomiting, diarrhea, sweating. Medical team came in and immediately backed out of the room in full panic mode. I tried to explain it was the pork rinds, but they insisted on testing me for Ebola and moving me to a hospital.

DAY 22
Negative for Ebola. Positive for eating too many pork rinds. Called the wife to come pick me up. Says she "met somebody." Called work and told them I'd be in tomorrow. They said, "Call us back next week. Some things have come up." Put on 11 pounds in 22 days. Thinking of going back to yoga class. Should probably start eating kale again, too. Anyone know where I can get an apartment, cheap?

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