Nitrates in food, ZOMG, the horror. If you're afraid of nitrates, and you decide to have a garden salad instead of a couple of hot dogs, you're eating more nitrates rather than less. Congratulations. ("Oh, but this is organic lettuce and the nitrates in it are natural!" Says the idiot who also takes vitamin supplements. *rolleyes*)
...and I ignored it, as I have ignored all such grave pronouncements for the past fifteen years. Prior to that, I paid attention long enough to find out who did the study, which was usually enough information for me to decide I could safely ignore it. So in fact I've been ignoring this kind of scaremongering a lot longer than a decade and a half. But more recently, whenever something like this crops up ("Eating X will kill you!") I default right to "Ignore it; it's worthless junk."
So far, I have never been wrong.
* * *
The cuts never happen. That's the problem with any budget deal which promises spending cuts later for increases now.
By design, no future Congress can be constrained by the acts of the present Congress absent a constitutional amendment, and it's (again, by design) very very difficult to amend the Constitution. The sitting Congress in 2015 saying that the sitting Congress in 2025 will cut spending by X is an empty promise.
The cuts never happen. Never.
And everyone--everyone--involved knows it. The Republicans don't want to cut spending any more than the Democrats do, but the GOP elites know that if they don't pretend to want to cut spending, the voters will throw them out on their ears. So we get failure theater, we get rounding error spending cuts, we get all this horseshit...and business as usual continues.
Boehner, at least, is finally out, and as the headline reads, good riddance. For crying out loud, when it looked like Boehner might be challenged for the Speaker's chair, the Democrats were going to help him retain it! What does it say about him that the opposing political party would have fought to keep him in a prominent position?
The Democrats wanted Boehner to remain Speaker because they didn't have to fight to get what they wanted out of him. He was the weakest GOP Speaker in a long, long time.
Now, pray that we don't get someone worse.
* * *
"President Obama kept his promise to end the war in Iraq." ...which is why, three years later, our military is making plans to wade back in...and this time it will be a quagmire.
Before his election I knew that Obama wasn't qualified to run a McDonald's--a lemonade stand--let alone a country. It was a telling point that the only candidate in that race with actual executive experience was the GOP candidate for vice-President; and when people tried to insist that running his own campaign counted, it did not get the laughter such a risible claim deserved.
As bad a President as Bush was, his roadmap for dealing with Iraq was sensible. In Obama's incontinent rush to get the US out of Iraq, he did a lot more harm than good. Now that whole area is a worse mess than ever, and so now, we are told, we must wade back in; but as was the case in 2003 no one has made a good case as to why we must wade back in. (Under Bush, the war in Iraq eventually made sense--islamic terrorists naturally flocked there to fight the US--but that was not a feature that was mentioned before the war began, and I cannot escape the conclusion that result was a happy accident rather than an intended outcome.)
This time, the situation is worse. The US middle east policy has been incoherent since Obama took office, and the only reason we're now talking about going back into Iraq stems from Russia's attempt to capitalize on the mess Obama made of everything.
...and yeah, Russia's done more to cripple ISIS in the last sixty days than we have since the whole ISIS thing began. Because they know what they want to accomplish, and it's not half a dozen incompatible and half-considered goals that poll well.
* * *
The simple fact is that no one has any money to spare. The "back to school" season was apparently not a very good time for retailers who rely on it.
Like everyone else I refer to "the last recession" and pretend, in my daily conversations, that it actually ended. That's because it's more convenient to talk that way than it is to explain that no, the recession never actually ended, and we are in fact in a depression.
Most specifically, it does not do to delve into politics when you are in the middle of a job interview. And the question of whether or not we're currently in a depression has, at least, a political dimension, one which has no place in my field of endeavor.
But we are in a depression, we've been in it since 2009, and nothing has been done to correct it. And the middle class doesn't have any money to spare.
Precious little we can do about it, of course, because the politicians are more interested in feathering their own nests than making sure the economic environment is conducive to average folks being able to pay their bills.
* * *
Last night Mrs. Fungus and I decided to watch Poltergeist, the 2015 remake. Then we decided to watch the original, and we observed that the original was vastly superior to the remake.
In the remake, none of the characters were likable at all, and modern special effects could not save it. Mrs. Fungus observed that, in older movies, the characters' emotions were portrayed better than in modern movies, and I think she's right; modern movies feature performances which are much more wooden compared to those in older films.
* * *
Holy crap, is it November? Temps in the low fifties, cloudy, dank, windy--what a crummy, crummy day it is out there.