Phooey on facts!

From the beginning, it seems, I’ve been a radical, always pushing concepts that some readers aren’t OK with. Dang me all to heck, along with the ideas of facts, context and the like. Sheer socialism!

It also exposes your lack of knowledge where political systems are involved. Learn, please, then debate. Image found on imgflip.

No one who writes in a public forum is immune to accusations of bias, or to having their words twisted.

Sometimes it’s just a simple misunderstanding, and once a discussion is had, it’s cleared up. But what about the people who deliberately misinterpret what is said or who just make things up out of whole cloth?

Those most wed to certain points of view seem to be averse to facts, and they’re none too happy when someone points out their flaws in reasoning or tenuous grasp of the truth. I started writing this column in late 2013, and within months I was receiving more than enough troll attacks. In February 2014, I wrote: “Apparently there are readers who have been reading between the lines in my columns and divining my every thought and bias. Hey, stop that!

“Here are the facts: I have not said that I personally am nonpartisan; I very clearly have specific ideas about certain matters. Just ask me about the Tea Party if you don’t believe me. …”

They seemed more focused on obstruction than destruction. Editorial cartoon by Matt Wuerker, Politico.

Oh, for the days of the Tea Party being the most strident political caucus. I miss that. At least they never attempted to take over the Capitol.

“However,” I wrote, “I don’t treat liberal and conservative letters differently when choosing letters because the goal is to put a variety of opinion on the Voices page. Until the last few years, Arkansas was predominantly a Democratic-voting state, so having a page that pretty much just features conservative ideas is unrealistic and more than a little insane. Likewise, excluding freethinkers or fundamentalists would ignore the breadth of views in the state.

“In my columns, you’re much more likely to find a bit of cynicism laced with a weird sense of humor than subtext outlining my outrageously liberal plot to rule the world. What you see (and read) is pretty much what you get.”

Packman and GeneralMac are two of the worst of my trolls; they’ve said worse, but this is pretty much what they do every week. I stopped replying to them because it doesn’t matter what I say; they’ll misinterpret it to fit their purposes. Screenshot from ArkansasOnline. (Click on photo for bigger version.)

Not that it matters to the detractors, who make up stories about things I’ve written, including that I’ve claimed to be nonpartisan, once using an entire column to do so; in checking through past posts, I haven’t found that to be true. I have talked a lot about nonpartisan (or more accurately bipartisan) sources and fact-checkers, and I’ve many times referred to myself as moderate, a realist, a centrist, and independent, but not nonpartisan. Sure, my Facebook profile says I’m a “Part-time woke radical moderate,” but that’s obviously a joke. If you believe there are actually radical moderates … well …

I’ve also dared to puncture partisan talking points with facts (on both sides of the spectrum) which, when those facts are about someone the detractor hates (such as their favorite punching bag Nancy Pelosi), signals to them that I’m “defending” said punching bag.

Because I used facts and context, or simply repeated what was widely reported.

If only the industry could afford all the fact-checkers needed … Editorial cartoon by Jeff Parker, Florida Today.

While facts are a defense, reporting them is not necessarily an act of defense, whether it’s by reporters or by me in a column. I mean, I’ve debunked tales about things Donald Trump supposedly said that didn’t reflect well on him or those who voted for him, but I’ve yet to be accused of defending him.

Then there’s my use of words as they’re defined in the dictionary rather than by political parties—gasp! how dare I! That’s at least as bad as my leaning on sociological and psychological concepts like confirmation bias to try to make sense of the messed-up politics of today, or my desire to get back to the spirit of bipartisanship that once allowed things to get done in D.C. for the good of all.

I know, I know. I should be OK with letting illogical hatred and hyperpartisan insanity keep everything at a standstill … except for anger. We’ve got plenty of that.

Meh. It’s not like hyperpartisan outrage has caused any problems. Those were just spirited tourists at the Capitol, and that Bernie Bro was just taking his gun for a walk by the congressional practice field. No biggie.

The feeding of hyperpartisanship does nothing good. Image found on Nieman Lab.


With any luck, I’ll be back on the job by the time you read this, at least on a limited capacity (not in the office just yet). I’ve missed the regularity in my schedule; while the time off has been refreshing, it’s hard to find non-straining ways to fill the time other than napping, reading, playing games or watching Disney+.

I mean, look at that face and that boopable nose! He even let me rub his belly a little!

The critters at my friend Sarah’s house have been very entertaining, but they won’t be going home with me (don’t think I didn’t think seriously about tucking Charlie in a bag). As I said on a Facebook post Tuesday, the biggest danger at Sarah’s house would be the temptation of bothering Josie and Charlie (especially Charlie, also known as Chucklebutt) instead of doing my work. As much as I love Sarah and those furkids, I do have to earn some money to pay my medical bills since I don’t see any sugar daddies in the offing.

It seems appropriate to me that my first day back be my mom’s birthday. She would have been 80 today, and would be urging me to get off my ample behind … and to grab her some chocolate since I’m up anyway. I inherited my tendency toward workaholism from her, but I also inherited her love for diverting activities for my downtime, most of which I can still do while I wait on full clearance from my doctor in about a month’s time.

And if I manage to embarrass myself in the process, I also got the ability to laugh at myself. If you hear thunder rolling today, she’s probably decided to join in.

My mom still is my biggest hero, and I’m proud of that.

24 thoughts on “Phooey on facts!

  1. Aww, such a cute pic of you and your mom. If Sarah’s missing any felines after you go home, she’ll know where to look. But take your time about it. You won’t get another rest like this for quite a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful kitty! A new mama kitty I got off the street this summer along with her now 9 month old kittens & papa (all “fixed”, immunized, & indoors) went beyond the boundary gate yesterday & found my lap & sat about an hour. Oh, joy! She was very scrawny while nursing & she came running to eat wet food earlier in summer.
    Glad you’re healing!
    Love the photo of you & your mom 💖.
    Continued prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My favorite middle-of-the-road-extremist is back in the saddle. Yay!

    I am reminded that when FDR introduced social security, Republicans called him a socialist. Similarly, when LBJ introduced Medicare, they called him a socialist. Not to go all logical on you, but wouldn’t that make recipients of those programs (guilty) at least fellow travelers.

    And don’t get me started on support for public schools, public libraries, and a public postal service. Some of us even feel the government should fund police departments and fire departments, as well as building and maintaining streets, roads, highways, and bridges.

    I could go on, but I might be accused of partisanship. Welcome back, cuz.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Brenda you were a radical? Well, shucks, I hadn’t noticed that. That sure is a radical and far out thing to say about yourself in a public forum.


  5. This mysterious “They” is going to take all of our guns? In one of the Marx Brothers movies, they do a short blackface routine while they sing “All God’s chilluns got guns”.


  6. Twisting your words? Who? Me? Would I do that? When it comes to twisting words oe anything else. I prefer the Chubby Checker version.


  7. Whole cloth? Sometimes it seems to me as if the trolls who deliberately misunderstand you and misuse your words are operating with only a half cloth instead of a whole one. As for the trolls, where is Billy Goat Gruff when we need him? Has he retired?


  8. If you are looking for a so-called “sugar daddy”, don’t look at me. I don’t have any money because I am your typical overworked and underpaid employee of the federal government.


  9. An outrageously liberal plot to rule the world? Have you been listening to Tears For Fears again? According to them, “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”.


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