Only Slightly Snarky Snippets …

As I sit here, looking out at the cold snow, watching Oliver watch the birdies outside the window, wishing for a sign that spring is near, and pondering the meaning of life, I decided today was a snippet sort of day.  I considered building a nice fire to ward off the chill, but the management here doesn’t allow it … just because we don’t have fireplaces.  Silly, I know, but there you have it.  So, wrapped up in a blankie with a purring creature in my lap, it’s either fall asleep or write.

No, Mr. Watson, you are NOT correct!

James Dewey Watson, age 90, is a nasty little man.  In 1962, he won the Nobel Prize for outlining the double-helix structure of DNA.  Okay, an achievement that has provided useful information for medical science.  Sorry, James, but that doesn’t exonerate you from being a racist.

james-watsonIn 2007 Watson, a molecular biologist, geneticist and zoologist, claimed that black people were less intelligent than white people and the idea that “equal powers of reason” were shared across racial groups was a delusion.  In response, he was suspended from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where he had served as the laboratory’s director and president for about 35 years, and later he assumed the role of chancellor and then Chancellor Emeritus.

It wasn’t only people of African lineage that he disparaged, however.  He had little respect for women or obese people. A couple of quotes …

“Whenever you interview fat people, you feel bad, because you know you’re not going to hire them.”

“If you are really stupid, I would call that a disease. The lower 10 per cent who really have difficulty, even in elementary school, what’s the cause of it? A lot of people would like to say, ‘Well, poverty, things like that.’ It probably isn’t. So, I’d like to get rid of that, to help the lower 10 per cent.”

And then, two weeks ago, he iced the cake.  Appearing on a PBS Documentary “American Masters: Decoding Watson”, he revealed that his scientifically unsupported views on race and genetics have not changed “at all” since 2007.  To their credit, the Cold Spring Harbor Lab has revoked his honorary titles.

“Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) unequivocally rejects the unsubstantiated and reckless personal opinions Dr. James D. Watson expressed on the subject of ethnicity and genetics during the PBS documentary ‘American Masters: Decoding Watson’ that aired January 2, 2019.”

I repeat … James Watson, brilliant though his work may have been, is a nasty little man.

Let the courts decide …

Section One of the thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution reads …

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Last week a group of federal employees working without pay during the partial government shutdown filed a lawsuit accusing Trump and their bosses of violating the 13th Amendment.  The lawsuit is one of several that have been filed by groups of federal employees who are being forced to work without pay as Trump continues his childish temper tantrum that has kept parts of the government shut down for nearly a month now.  But this one differs in that it is the first such lawsuit to invoke the 13th Amendment.

The group’s lawyer, Michael Kator, said …

“If this is not resolved soon, affected employees may find that beginning February 1 they will no longer have health insurance. And, if this lasts ‘months or even years’ as [Trump] has suggested, there will be defaults, foreclosures and even bankruptcies. A promise to pay back pay will not forestall those consequences.”

Sadly, legal minds aren’t offering much hope that the lawsuit will succeed, but my hat is off to the group for trying.  It is, I think, unconscionable to expect people to keep working for no pay, especially given that there are a couple of very simple solutions to this problem:  Trump could come down off his high horse and sign the damn spending bill, or the Senate could find their cojones and pass a veto-proof bill.

If the approximately 420,000 federal workers who are expected to work with naught but a ‘promise’ of back pay decide to walk off the job, this nation will be plunged into chaos … planes will not fly, trade between the U.S. and Mexico will cease, Secret Service protection to the current and former presidents will cease, U.S. embassies will close, food inspections will be halted, weather forecasts will cease, and more.

Trump claims that the wall is “essential” for national security, but this shutdown is putting national security at risk in ways that immigrants never have, never could.

Canadians have heart …

Let’s finish this post on a positive note, shall we?  A Canadian friend sent me this on Facebook this morning …natca-pizza-new-englandAir traffic controllers from Atlantic Canada directed a fleet of special arrivals into the New York Air Traffic Control Center on Friday night, as a gesture of solidarity and respect.

And each was covered in a layer of gooey melted cheese.

The Canadian Air Traffic Control Association units in Gander, N.L., and Moncton, N.B., ordered pizzas for all of their colleagues at the control center on Long Island, who have been working without pay since the partial U.S. government shutdown began on Dec.!According to Doug Church, deputy director of public affairs with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) in the U.S., there are currently 14,000 controllers working without pay.

And they’re thrilled about the pizzas.

“It’s just a really good shot in the arm of positive energy and positive emotion to know that, ‘Hey they’ve got our back,’  On behalf of the entire NATCA and air traffic control around this country, we extend our thanks and our gratitude.”

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37 thoughts on “Only Slightly Snarky Snippets …

  1. This is where I reckon we should have stuck with sorting you guys out in 1776…I means this aspect where wealthy White jerks playing silly games in Washington get to stop the wages on thousands of workers who cannot afford it.
    Lock ’em up
    …Hey Jill if you wanna good laugh you should check out this WP blog:
    I mean you gotta dig it! Huh!
    Meanwhile the UK clock is tickin’

    Liked by 1 person

    • I told you a year or so ago that we obviously were not mature enough to have been given our independence and asked you to take us back under your wing. But, there was some hangup, as best I recall, over playing cricket instead of baseball, and you left us hanging out to dry. And now, with your own troubles, you surely don’t want ours too. Excellent piece … that link you sent! Ultimate conspiracy theory! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Even in the U.K. the Canadians being nice is legendary. The thing that worries me about the US and Uk is that the countries are so divided with a growing ‘dont care’ voter base. In the U.K. it doesn’t seem to matter how appalling and incompetent the government performs OR how ineffective or incoherent the Opposition appears – the polls don’t shift much at all. They are just stuck. Potentially this malaise and buffoonery may last a bit longer than we hope.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Never mind we live in ‘hysterical times’…….sorry I meant ‘historical times’
      All together now:
      ‘Oh God Our help in ages past
      Our hope on thee to come….’

      Liked by 2 people

    • It is the same here! Despite the shutdown and all the ramifications, Trump’s approval rating seems to be stuck between 40% – 42%. It just doesn’t seem to matter to people. During the early days of his campaign, late 2015 I’d say, he made a comment that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue in New York and murder someone and it wouldn’t cost him any followers. Seems that maybe he was right, for he is responsible for at least 5 deaths that I can directly tie to his actions, but nobody cares.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, seeing Watson’s ramblings that have remain unchanged, I kept thinking of people like Dr. Vivian Thomas who was a Black surgeon who played an essential role in repairing babies’ hearts (the blue baby syndrome), Black inventor George Washington Carver, Syrian born Steve Jobs, Black classically trained musician and concert pianist Dr. Don Shirley, and the list goes on. Innovation and ideas can come from any source. It is a profound shortsightedness to discount groups of people based on bigoted views. Thank you for shining a spotlight on such bigotry. Keith

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right! When I used to teach Black History, I always enjoyed highlighting some of the great inventions by African-Americans … each year I strove to find new ones so I was learning too. It is incredible to me that people can think skin colour is a factor in intelligence! Ignorance is the only excuse I can make for such people. Watson, despite his obvious intelligence in some areas, is an ignorant person.


  4. A good post, Jill. I have a feeling Trump and the Republican senators are going to pay and pay heavily for this foolish behavior. There are far too many people with medieval mindsets. Bernie Sanders said Trump needs to grow up. I think Trump and the Republicans in the Senate all need to grow up. 😦 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • My take on the republican senators is they need to grow a pair of cojones. They fear Trump, fear what he can do to their political career. They place their own well-being in a much higher order of importance than that of this nation and we, the people. Ultimately they will get their comeuppance, but in all honesty, I don’t look for it to happen soon and I think we will see far more damage before the needed changes are made. Wish I could predict differently, and I DO hope I’m wrong!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmmm, that picture of James Watson is telling. He looks like my definition of a sociopath.

    Hooray for Canadian Air Traffic Controllers who have good hearts, and open wallets to help fellow professionals.

    I actually wouldn’t blame US government workers if they walked out – en masse – in protest for the shutdown. Of course they wouldn’t be entitled to any further pay during the duration of the strike, and it would cause pandemonium, food hoarding, looting and general social breakdown. That is what Donnie would gleefully rub his hands over…. Chaos gives him the power to put a state of emergency in place. Your dictator is busy destroying America… Mueller will act soon.

    And after your dictator is gone, Congress needs to make an Amendment to the budget acceptance rules in that… The Government will stay operational on the previous administration budget allowances for a period of at least one month and up to six months if there are budget cuts (in order to allow a transition period). No shutdown can be ordered by a sitting president (no ifs ands or buts).

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Just to fill out the pizza delivery parade, the first delivery I have heard of was from air traffic controllers in Edmonton, AB to the folks in Anchorage, AK. last Thursday night. The pizza shop they phoned didn’t want to take the order because it was on a Canadian credit card. Gee whizz…
    As of tonight’s news 38 pizza deliveries have been sent down to American air traffic controllers. The weird part on the news, Americans seem to like different toppings than Canadians. Pineapples are big in Canada. One pizza shop that was called had never even heard of pineapples on pizza, and had to send out to buy some…

    Meanwhile, today in Edmonton, three “Canadians” attacked two Afghanistan teens on a public bus, telling them to go back where they came from, they were not welcome here. And only 1 person stepped forward to try to help them, the bus driver did not even stop the bus. The culprits got away.
    Both girls were born in Canada.

    “Come on, people, now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.” Youngblood, 1968.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am impressed, pleased, amazed by the generosity of the Canadians in this pizza venture! Thanks to all my Canadian friends for being such great friends during our time of trials and tribulations. One of my favourite pizzas is a Hawaiian Pizza with pineapple tidbits and cinnamon, and I see pineapple as a topping at every pizzeria, so it must be relatively popular!

      I am saddened by the incident in Edmonton … were the girls seriously injured? This sounds like something I would expect to happen here, somewhere in the south … not in Canada!

      You have just selected my song for tomorrow. I hadn’t heard or thought of that song in ages, but as soon as I read the first words, I knew that was the right one, for I was looking for one that was meaningful, that was apropos of the times, and that fits the bill. Thank you!


      • No, the girls appeared to be okay. One apparently had her phone knocked out of her hand as she tried to film the incident, then she was put into a headlock. But no injuries.
        The song quote just seemed appropriate after the juxtaposition of the two events. We sang it at every party we held in the late 60s and early 70s. It was such a simple remedy, but few people took it seriously, as you know.


  7. Jill, there is a new TV series from National Geographic: Making A Dictator. Fascinating look at history shows how the threat of dictatorship to democratic institutions is real, and it is exemplified by dictators such as Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Fidel Castro. Trump clearly show similar attributes, recognize this:
    “Dictators gain absolute control over a government by playing on the people’s fear. … Usually a dictator gains power by offering simple solutions to complex problems. When times seem hopeless people get desperate and choose dictators and welcome them, historically.”
    “Most dictators have several characteristics in common. They usually rule autocracies, governments with a single self-appointed leader and no governing body to check his power. Often, dictators have totalitarian regimes, keeping their power through control of the mass media.”

    Liked by 1 person

  8. James Dewey Watson was known to me as one of the co-authors of the paper that led to his Nobel prize in 1962. But, I also recall that several years ago in order to obtain money to support scientific research, he sold his Nobel Prize medal in an auction at Christie’s in New York for over 4 million dollars. The Russian billionaire that purchased it also gave it back to Watson, because he thought it should be with him. This has stuck with me because no one had ever before sold their medal. I no longer recall the specifics and am too lazy at present to search for them. What is a revelation to me is this rather unsavory side of Watson. I suppose it proves that brilliant words do not necessarily always come from a brilliant mind. I can no longer even think of a civil comment to make about this partial Government Shutdown. To our Canadian neighbors, you deserve better neighbors and thank-you for being nice anyway. Thank-you!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Brilliantly stated, intelligent minds do not necessarily equate a loving heart. Very sad that some of these bigoted dinosaurs hold onto such outdated beliefs. Racism can never be rooted in science, it’s simply not logical or rational. Kudos to our loyal Canadian partners, our friends up North are trying to show kindness, compassion and warmth, hoping to melt that frozen heart in the White House. Let’s pray Donnie the Grinch sees the light.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Jill,

    You know what. I don’t care for men who demean women, fat people, people of color, poor people. He could be President Trump’s BFF.

    In contrast, the Canadians proved themselves to be true, generous gentlemen with their gracious gesture of treating US Air Traffic control employees with all that delicious looking pizza.

    I am 100% for any of these gov employees trying out any lawsuits that can think of in these trying times. Why can’t they sue Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, and the cast of Fox & Friends for having goaded President Trump into promoting this government shut down if he didn’t get funding to build his wall. They’re the ones who shouted fire. They knew the president could be maneuvered into acting. At least the corporations which advertise on their programs should be made to share in the pain they have imposed on 100s of thousands innocent Americans.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • You know I agree with you there! I don’t care what great scientific breakthrough he made, none of it matters nearly as much as being a good human being, which he is NOT.

      I’m with you … I hope at least some of these federal employees win their lawsuits against Trump, and I think there will be new lawsuits cropping up as the weeks roll on, if Trump continues his childish temper tantrum. Our food is no longer being inspected … if there is an outbreak of some food-borne illness that could have been prevented by inspection, imagine the lawsuits! TSA agents are failing to come to work, and air traffic controllers aren’t being paid … what happens when somebody slips through with a bomb and a plane blows up, or a distracted air traffic controller makes a mistake and there’s a mid-air collision? These are only a few of the things Trump is putting this nation at risk of. His own Secret Service men & women aren’t being paid either … think about that one for a minute …


      Liked by 1 person

    • They surely are! Some of my best friends are Canadian! 😊 Keeping warm … staying inside. I even hand-washed dishes that could have gone in the dishwasher in an effort to stay warm. Baked a caramel-apple pie, made homemade pasta … 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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