Filosofa’s State of the Union Address

Yesterday, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, sent a letter to Donald Trump strongly urging that he either reschedule the State of the Union Address or deliver it in writing, in the wake of the ongoing government shutdown, which entered its 26th day on Wednesday, and which has affected nearly 800,000 federal workers. Pelosi cited critical government agencies in charge of overseeing the event — namely U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security — that have been hobbled by the shutdown.

Under the circumstances, it is highly unlikely that Trump will, in fact, deliver a State of the Union address in person on Friday, 29 January.  So, it seemed prudent, just in case I am asked to deliver it in his stead, to go ahead and write my own speech … Text dividersGood evening Ms. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans.

Ms. Pelosi graciously invited me to fill in for Mr. Trump in giving the State of the Union Address tonight, for with the government shutdown in its 39th day, the Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security are stretched far too thin to provide adequate security to attend this address to Congress.  It was determined that far fewer people want to bump me off than Mr. Trump, so my safety seems not to be at risk and thus I am here to deliver the speech to Congress and the Nation tonight.  Mr. Trump’s speechwriters worked very hard to provide me with a written speech, however, I seem to have left it back at the hotel, so luckily I have written my own.

This is called the State of the Union address because the purpose is to inform the American people how the country is doing, and where we are going, what we plan to accomplish in the coming year.  Let me start with how we are doing.

America is more divided today than at any time since the end of the Civil War years.  We have problems, folks – serious problems.  As I mentioned today marks the 39th day of the partial government shutdown that is affecting everyone in one way or another.  You, the people of this once-great nation are losing confidence, and understandably so, in your government.  Investors are losing confidence and it is being reflected in the dropping stock market and also in the job market.  Consumer prices are on the rise.  The food you buy to feed your families costs more than it did a month ago and there is a very real danger that meat and produce may be contaminated, since the U.S. Department of Agriculture hasn’t sufficient staff to continue food safety inspections. 

Apart from the government shutdown, we have a plethora of other problems that we seem unable or unwilling to address.  Perhaps the most critical one is that of the environment.  Since the rollback of past environmental regulations that were intended to cut back on carbon emissions, it was reported earlier this week that carbon emissions in the U.S. have increased by 3.4%, not decreased as they needed to.  This is a problem, not only for the United States, but for our neighbors, Mexico and Canada, as well as the rest of the globe. 

The other critical problem facing the nation is that we have lost the trust and respect of our allies, which leaves us in an extremely vulnerable position.  We abandoned our allies when we announced our intent to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord, when we exited the Iran nuclear agreement, and more recently when we announced that we would pull all U.S. troops out of Syria, leaving our allies holding the bag.  In addition, our threats to pull out of NATO, our unwarranted criticism of our allies, high import tariffs, and seeming attentiveness toward our adversaries further have our allies wondering whether they could depend on us in case of an emergency.  This is a dangerous situation.

Here at home, we face other problems.

Last year we saw a number of mass shootings in the United States.  113 people were either killed or injured in school shootings alone, and young people are asking us why we don’t do something, why we don’t pass laws to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental problems, of people who are known domestic abusers, why we don’t have stronger gun laws in this country. 

The nation is torn apart by the debate about immigration and a wall on the border between the United States and Mexico.  Border states are particularly torn, for such a wall would limit, if not eliminate trade and tourism between our two countries and would almost certainly cause further political and economic unrest. 

Our education system is failing our young people.  They are not receiving the education they need in order to succeed, to become the next generation of leaders, of scientists, of historians or great inventors.  Instead, we are training them only for specific jobs, thereby severely limiting their options.  

We have fallen far behind other Western nations in the development of renewable energy sources, have become far too dependent on fossil fuels which are causing more damage and destruction to the environment every day.

Bigotry in all its forms is at an all time high in our nation today.  Racial tensions are the highest they have been since the 1960s when people died to gain Civil Rights for African-Americans, for all people.  Rights are being taken away from the LGBT community.  Women’s rights are being trampled.  Muslims are discriminated against openly in public.

Our elections are no longer fair, for almost every state has gerrymandered districts, newly imposed voter identification laws that discriminate against the poor and minorities.  Polling places in poor districts are closed, or in some cases the hours dramatically reduced, making it impossible for a working person in one of those neighborhoods to vote.  Foreign entities have interfered in our elections, often skewing results.  Both domestic and foreign lobbyist firms have influenced elections and now have some of the people sitting in this room tonight in their pockets. All of this has led to voter disenfranchisement and apathy.

And healthcare … drug prices are obscenely inflated in the United States, as are insurance costs.  The ACA has been chipped at to the extent that many can no longer afford their health insurance.  People are sick and dying for lack of money. 

I wish I had better news to report, but frankly, ladies and gentlemen, our nation is in a sorry state today.  I cannot speak for Mr. Trump as to any plans for the coming year, but I have given you a rundown, in brief, of the State of the Nation.  And on that note, I thank you for your time this evening.

Statements …

Today I have for your entertainment a few statements about … making statements.

A Posthumous Statement …

For two years now, I have told my daughter that if I die of a sudden heart attack or stroke, I want her to let the world know that my blood is on Donald Trump’s hands by filing a lawsuit against Trump.  After all, I have survived for 67 years … survived car crashes, devastating illnesses, having a gun pulled on me, even a hurricane … but I’m not sure I can survive the storm of the century … Trump.  Apparently, I am not alone.

When Frances Irene Finley Williams died in November, at age 87, her family knew how much grief Trump had caused the poor woman, so they added the following line to the end of her obituary:

“Her passing was hastened by her continued frustration with the Trump administration.”

Makes perfect sense to me.  Did you know, by the way, how much it costs to place an obituary in the newspaper?  I was floored, for frankly I always thought it was a free service!  It cost Ms. Williams’ family $1,684 to run the obituary in the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal.  And then … the newspaper refused to print the obit!  In an email, the family was told …

“Per our policy, we are not able to publish the obituary as is, due to the negative content within the obituary text.”

Ms. Williams’ son, Art, remained understandably upset, and finally last week posted a bit of a rant about it on his Facebook page that, not surprisingly, went viral and gained the attention of the Courier-Journal.  Mr. Williams noted that the Courier Journal exists “by reason of freedom of speech.”

Richard Green, editor for the Courier-Journal issued an apology …

“Mrs. Williams’ obituary should have published as it was presented to our obits team and as requested by the family. In this political climate we now find ourselves, partisanship should have no role in deciding what gets included in an obituary that captures a loved one’s life — especially one as amazing as what Mrs. Williams led. I’m certain she is missed greatly by those who loved her. We send the family our deepest condolences and apologies.”

Ms. Williams was not the first to make a political statement in her obituary, either.  In May 2016, before the tragic November election, a Virginia woman died, and her obituary read, in part …

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God.”

And when Elaine Fydrych died in Runnemede, New Jersey, in 2015, her obituary asked, “In lieu of flowers, please do not vote for Hillary Clinton.”

I think I will write my own obituary now … just in case!


A Tacky, Unfunny Statement …

I suppose Donald Trump thought he was being funny, else thought he was making a statement of sorts when he hosted Clemson Tigers football players, national champions of the 2018 college football playoffs, at the White House on Monday.

The dinner by candlelight, in an opulent room with a chandelier, was nothing more than boxed burgers and fries catered by McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King.  Burgers that had been sitting on the table for more than an hour before the players arrived, and therefore were … cold.  Cold, greasy burgers. At the White House.  By candlelight.

Contrary to what he apparently believed, it was not funny.  You will note that none of the Clemson players appeared amused by it and my best guess is they couldn’t wait to get out of there, from the looks on their faces.  But, the late-night hosts had some fun with it …

Try to imagine any other president in history serving boxes of cold, greasy hamburgers and fries to guests at the White House.  Imagine if President Obama, Bush or Reagan had done it.  No, I can’t imagine it either.  It was tacky, lacked taste and was … so like Trump himself.


Have a nice day, my friends!

♫ Reminiscing ♫

This song, first released by Australian rock music group Little River Band in July 1978, remains their greatest success, having peaked at #3 in the U.S.

The song is about a couple reminiscing about their past, recalling favorite songs and memories.  Along with AC/DC, the Little River Band was one of the first Australian rock groups to see commercial success in the US, selling over 25 million records and scoring 13 American Top 40 hits.

Reminiscing
Little River Band

Friday night it was late, I was walking you home
We got down to the gate, I was dreaming of the night
Would it turn out right?
How to tell you girl, I want to build my world around you
Wanna tell you that it’s true
I wanna make you understand I’m talking about a lifetime plan

Well that’s the way it began, we were hand-in-hand
Glen Miller’s band was better than before
We yelled and screamed for more
And those Porter’s tunes made us dance across the room
It ended all too soon
On the way back home I promised you’d never be alone

Hurry, don’t be late
I can’t hardly wait
I said to myself when we’re old
We’ll go dancing in the dark, walking through the park
And reminiscing

Friday night it was late, I was walking you home
We got down to the gate, I was dreaming of the night
Would it turn out right?
Now as the years roll on, each time we hear our favorite song
The memories come along
Older times we’re missing, spending the hours reminiscing

Hurry, don’t be late
I can’t hardly wait
I said to myself when we’re old
We’ll go dancing in the dark, walking through the park
And reminiscing

Songwriters: Graeham George Goble / Graham George Goble
Reminiscing lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

Good People Doing Good Things — Dynamic Duos!

It has been a while since I’ve focused exclusively on young people doing good things, but these are always so uplifting … it is so heartwarming when we see kids who already have compassion and genuinely want to find ways to help others.  So, today, I would like to introduce two dynamic duos, brothers and sisters who work together to do good things to help humanity.


Julianna Gouthiere remembers when she was six years old, her mom telling her a story about a time when a fireman gave her a stuffed animal at the scene of a motorcycle accident and the impact it had on her mom’s life.  She turned to her mom and said she wanted to do that — to give stuffed animals to children in hard life situations.

Julianna in 2013 and in 2018

Julianna is eleven now and the founder of Bear Share.  Her project donates new stuffed animals to children going through difficult life situations. As of December 2018, Bear Share has donated over 16,000 stuffed animals in 6 states (Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia, Arkansas, and Florida) and 2 countries outside of the United States (Africa and India).  Now that, in itself, is an awesome thing for a young lady of so few years, but wait … there’s more.

Joey in 2015 and 2018

Julianna’s brother, Joey, older by two whole years, saw what his baby sister was doing and wanted to do something of his own, so he founded Geaux Green, to encourage everyone to do their share in taking care of Planet Earth.  In the first few months of his project, he was able to secure a recycling container for his former school, A.C. Steere Elementary. He also adopted the garden there and had regular work days for 3 years where he and others picked up litter and took care of the garden. Hundreds of people have joined Geaux Green and are helping to keep their localities clean.  His short-term goal is for every school in Caddo Parish (Shreveport, Louisiana) to begin recycling and to stop using styrofoam for its meals.

The two together have formed a 501(c)(3) called Geaux Show Lovegeaux show love

Check out their website … I think you’ll be impressed by the sheer energy of these two young siblings!

Now, lest you think these are small things … sure they are, but folks, remember … these kids were only 6 and 8 years old when they started these projects … and already they have made a difference in people’s lives.


And yet another brother/sister dynamic duo are Alexander and Allison Wu of Lexington, Massachusetts.  It all started when 6-year-old Allison learned how to make origami cranes. She made a hundred of them to help Japan recover after a tsunami. For each crane that was donated, a company gave 1 dollar. Japan could use the money for housing, food and other things that they needed.alex and allisonAfterwards, she sold origami crafts at the local Farmer’s Market sale with her friend.  The following year, her brother Alex became her assistant. Alex and Allison worked very well together.  After selling at the local Farmer’s Market for five years in a row, together they decided to help others in need and to raise money for children.origami-1Proceeds from their origami are donated to Housing Families, Inc.,  an organization that provides shelter to homeless families.  Alexander’s goal is not only to raise money, but also to raise awareness about homeless families and their unique struggles.  In addition to selling origami, Alex tutors children at the shelter, organizes a holiday boutique called “Housing Families Holiday Boutique,” where homeless families can select gifts for each other, creates Birthday2Go boxes that include the necessary supplies to host a child’s birthday party, and curates cleaning supply kits for families transitioning into new homes.alex and allison-2Working together, Alexander and Allison have mobilized their peers to support Housing Families Inc. by contributing origami creations and by purchasing items from Origami4Kids to support the cause. More than 200 children and parents were able to celebrate the holidays this past year through the Housing Families Holiday Boutique, 25 children had birthday parties with the Birthday2Go boxes, and ten families cleaned their homes with the cleaning kits.


One thing that stands out about these young people, as well as the ones I have written about in the past, is that at such a young age, they are doing for others, selfless acts of humanity.  Where, do you suppose, they get their values?  I think we also need to give a ‘hats off’ to their parents, for they must be doing something right to be raising such conscientious young people.  If this world stands a chance for survival, our fate is in the hands of young people like these.

We Have Met The Enemy …

… and it is us.

This is an OpEd written by former Nightline host and journalist, Ted Koppel, in The Washington Post yesterday.  His words ring true, predictive, and if so … we are our own worst enemy.  The “enemy of the people” may well be … the people.


ted-koppelOn July 21, 2016, just hours before he accepted the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump and I sat down for an interview. What he said on that occasion would serve as a remarkably candid foreshadowing of how Trump would handle his relationship with the media in what, on that day, seemed the unlikely event that he would actually become president.

“I don’t need you guys anymore,” Trump told me.

He pointed to his millions of followers on Twitter and Facebook, explaining that the days of television anchors and commentators acting as gatekeepers between newsmakers and the public were essentially over. Without discernible acrimony, Trump trotted out one of the early versions of what would eventually become a leitmotif of his presidency: The media was made up of largely terrible people trafficking in fake news. There was nothing personal in the observation. It was the unsheathing of a multipurpose device, one he used adroitly in tandem with the endlessly adaptable political vehicle provided by social media during the election campaign and now during his presidency.

Is there any reason to believe that what worked for Trump before he was elected and while in the White House won’t be equally effective after he leaves office?

There is a disarming innocence to the assumption that whether by impeachment, indictment or a cleansing electoral redo in 2020, President Trump will be exorcised from the White House and that thereby he and his base will largely revert to irrelevance.

It imagines that, for some reason, Trump in defeat or disgrace will become a quieter, humbler, more restrained presence on Twitter and Facebook than heretofore. It assumes further that CNN and Fox News and MSNBC, perhaps chastened by the consequences of their addictive coverage of Trump the Candidate and Trump the President, will resist the urge to pay similar attention to Trump the Exile.

Let the record show that Trump has launched the careers of numerous media stars and that expressions of indignant outrage on the left and breathless admiration on the right have resulted in large, entirely nonpartisan profits for the industry of journalism. Why anyone should assume that Trump and those who cherish or loathe him in the news business will easily surrender such a hugely symbiotic relationship is hard to understand.

It is all but inevitable that whoever succeeds Trump in the White House will be perceived by 30 to 40 percent of the voting public as illegitimate — and that the former president will enthusiastically encourage them in this perception. Whatever his failings, Trump is a brilliant self-promoter and provocateur. He showed no embarrassment, either as candidate or president, about using his high visibility to benefit his business interests. Untethered from any political responsibility whatsoever, he can be expected to capitalize fully on his new status as political martyr and leader of a new “resistance” that will make today’s look supine.

The dirty little secret about the United States’ relationship with Trump is that we have become addicted to him. His ups, his downs, his laughs, his frowns are (as the lovely song from “My Fair Lady” once put it in another context altogether) “second nature to [us] now, like breathing out and breathing in.”

When he fails to tweet for even a few hours, Trumpologists search for meaning in the silence. Hours are devoted on cable television, each and every day, to examining the entrails of his most recent utterances. Has there been a day in the past two years without a Trump-related story on the front page of every major U.S. newspaper? How does the president lie to us? Let us count the ways. And we do, endlessly, meticulously.

Do you believe for a moment that Americans are ready to give that up merely because, for one reason or another, Trump has been obliged to reoccupy Trump Tower full-time?

A President Pence would not satisfy that hunger. Nor, for now at least, is it easy to discern within the growing ranks of potential Democratic candidates a man or woman with a matching aura of glitz, a similar degree of shamelessness, a comparable pairing of so much to be humble about with a total lack of humility.

A new president may provide a sense of relief and normalcy. But he or she will not satisfy our craving for outrage. Trump’s detractors are outraged by him. His supporters are outraged with him. He is a national Rorschach test. Love him or hate him, you can’t ignore him. One way or another, Trump will be renewed for another season.

It Can’t Happen Here …

sinclair lewis.jpgA few days ago, Robert Vella commented on one of my posts that those who think I am over-dramatizing my take on Trump & Co., might be well-advised to read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here.  Why hadn’t I thought of that comparison?  It has been around 50 years since I read the book, although I do remember the general premise.  Still, I went to Wikipedia for a brief synopsis, and I thought it apropos to share with you what I found:

“It Can’t Happen Here is a semi-satirical 1935 political novel by American author Sinclair Lewis, and a 1936 play adapted from the novel by Lewis and John C. Moffitt.  Published during the rise of fascism in Europe, the novel describes the rise of Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a demagogue who is elected President of the United States, after fomenting fear and promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and “traditional” values.”

Anything in that paragraph sound familiar?

“In 1936 Senator Berzelius “Buzz” Windrip, a charismatic and power-hungry politician, wins the election as President of the United States on a populist platform, promising to restore the country to prosperity and greatness …”

Power-hungry … populist platform … promising prosperity … greatness …

“Though having previously foreshadowed some authoritarian measures in order to reorganize the United States government, Windrip rapidly outlaws dissent, incarcerates political enemies in concentration camps, and trains and arms a paramilitary force called the Minute Men, who terrorize citizens and enforce the policies of Windrip and his “corporatist” regime. One of his first acts as president is to eliminate the influence of the United States Congress, which draws the ire of many citizens as well as the legislators themselves. The Minute Men respond to protests against Windrip’s decisions harshly, attacking demonstrators with bayonets. In addition to these actions, Windrip’s administration, known as the “Corpo” government, curtails women’s and minority rights, and eliminates individual states by subdividing the country into administrative sectors. The government of these sectors is managed by “Corpo” authorities, usually prominent businessmen or Minute Men officers.”

Want to know more?  Read the book.  But here’s my thought.  All of us have at least one or two friends who are still supporting Trump, whether because they truly believe in his lies, honestly think something he’s doing is right, or are just too ashamed to admit they were wrong about him.  The book isn’t expensive, so I say we should each buy one in paperback to give to each of our wayward friends or family members.  And if you really need a lot of copies, you can download it for free from the Project Gutenberg, or you can download the .pdf file, also free, then email it to your friends and relatives.

I just wish I had come up with this idea a week or two before Christmas, and we could have given a copy to those ‘in need’ of reading it for Christmas!

 

♫ Get Together ♫

The idea for tonight’s song was planted in my brain by our friend rawgod … he mentioned the song in a comment, and as soon as I read it, I knew this was to be my song of the day.  I had been searching for something meaningful, something that spoke to the times we are all, both in and out of the U.S., going through.  Racism, intolerance, autocratic leaders, populism, white supremacy, social discord and unrest.  This song came from the 1960s … Vietnam War protests, the ‘Summer of Love’, cries for Peace.

The song has quite a history and seems to have been covered by every musician for a decade or two, but the history is so long that I am disinclined to put it on this post.  However, if you’re interested, check it out on SongFacts.  The version that most remember, and the one I like best, is by the Youngbloods.  I was torn between two very different videos … one a compilation of scenes from the 60s, and the other a studio version.  Since I couldn’t decide, I am posting both for you to choose or watch both if you wish.  The message is the same, either way:  peace and brotherhood, love over fear & hate.

Get Together
The Youngbloods

Love is but a song to sing
Fear’s the way we die
You can make the mountains ring
Or make the angels cry
Though the bird is on the wing
And you may not know why

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Some may come and some may go
We shall surely pass
When the one that left us here
Returns for us at last
We are but a moment’s sunlight
Fading in the grass

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

If you hear the song I sing
You will understand (listen!)
You hold the key to love and fear
All in your trembling hand
Just one key unlocks them both
It’s there at your command

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

I said, come on people now
Smile on your brother
Everybody get together
Try to love one another
Right now

Right now
Right now

Songwriters: Chester Powers / Chester William Jr. Powers
Get Together lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

The Top 50 Trumpaus From The Atlantic

The Atlantic has done a series that I found to be both comprehensive and interesting.  What they did was … well, I’ll let Jeff Goldberg, Editor in Chief tell you …

In an October 2016 editorial, The Atlantic wrote of Donald Trump: “He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar.” We argued that Trump “expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself.” Trump, we also noted, “is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.”

In retrospect, we may be guilty of understatement.

There was a hope, in the bewildering days following the 2016 election, that the office would temper the man—that Trump, in short, would change.

He has not changed.

This week marks the midway point of Trump’s term. Like many Americans, we sometimes find the velocity of chaos unmanageable. We find it hard to believe, for example, that we are engaged in a serious debate about whether the president of the United States is a Russian-intelligence asset. So we decided to pause for a moment and analyze 50 of the most improbable, norm-bending, and destructive incidents of this presidency to date.

Our 2016 editorial was a repudiation of Donald Trump’s character as much as it was an endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. It was not meant to be partisan. The Atlantic’s founders promised their readers that we would be “of no party or clique.” This remains a core governing principle of the magazine today. What follows is a catalog of incidents, ranked—highly subjectively!—according to both their outlandishness and their importance. In most any previous presidency, Democratic or Republican, each moment on this list would have been unthinkable.

There are 50 articles in the series, and while I have not read them all, the ones I have read are spot-on.  I list them here, with links, so you can decide which, if any, you would like to read.  Click on any title to go directly to it … all links will open in a separate tab:

  1. Children are taken from their parents and incarcerated
  2. “Very fine people on both sides”
  3. The president still hasn’t released his tax returns
  4. Putin and Trump talk without chaperones
  5. James Comey is fired
  6. Trump declares war on black athletes
  7. Trump picks the wrong countries for his travel ban
  8. The president calls his porn-star ex-paramour “horseface”
  9. Covfefe
  10. “I have the absolute right to pardon myself”
  11. Trump throws paper towels at Puerto Ricans
  12. A new term enters the presidential lexicon: “shithole countries”
  13. Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford to a cheering crowd
  14. You know you’re in a constitutional crisis when…
  15. The CIA dead become a TV prop
  16. Public humiliation comes for everyone in the White House
  17. Trump threatens to press his “nuclear button”
  18. The president lies constantly
  19. The president learns about the Justice Department
  20. The president learns about separation of powers
  21. Rain stops Trump from honoring the dead
  22. The UN General Assembly laughs at the president
  23. America gets a first daughter
  24. The president can’t stop talking about carnage
  25. “We’re gonna have the cleanest air”
  26. Trump helps the Saudis cover up a murder
  27. Turkish agents assault protesters near the White House
  28. Trump tweets the wisdom of Mussolini
  29. The president tries to kick transgender service members out of the military
  30. The buck stops over there
  31. The White House punishes a CNN reporter for asking questions
  32. Trump disseminates Soviet propaganda
  33. The chief justice of the United States corrects the president
  34. Trump leads the country to the longest government shutdown in American history
  35. Mueller’s “witch hunt” is good at finding witches
  36. Trump threatens to strip security clearances from his critics
  37. The president just wants to go home
  38. Trump holds a top secret confab on the Mar-a-Lago dining terrace
  39. A White House economist creates facts for the president
  40. The president’s most trusted adviser is his own gut
  41. Trump waits 19 months to pick his science adviser
  42. The first president to complain about an election he won
  43. The nation loses its consoler in chief
  44. The WikiLeaks president goes silent
  45. A name-calling feud ends with the secretary of state’s ouster by tweet
  46. Trump tells the Boy Scouts about a hot New York party
  47. An overcompensating press secretary lies about crowd size
  48. The president praises the congressman who body-slammed a reporter
  49. A Cabinet officer likes private planes too much
  50. Donald Trump touches the magic orb

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. 22.pizza!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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♫ Good Morning Starshine ♫

This was the theme song to the popular, controversial play Hair, and it single-handedly propelled the singer, whose legal name was William Oliver Swofford, into superstardom that year. Unfortunately, he was a flash in the pan, although he received enthusiastic audiences for his live performances throughout the 1970s. This song and Jean, which I played a few months ago, are the only two songs he is well-known for.  He ultimately left show business in the 1980s. He got a job in the pharmaceutical industry and also became a husband and father. Tragically, he died of cancer in 2000, at the age of 54.

Good Morning Starshine
Oliver

Good morning starshine
The earth says hello
You twinkle above us
We twinkle below
Good morning starshine
You lead us along
My love and me as we singing
Our early morning singing song

Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo
Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo
Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba
Early morning singing song

Good morning starshine
There’s nothing in the skies
We met in the sunlight
And my lovers eyes
Good morning starshine
So happy to be
My love and me as we singing
Our early morning singing song

Gliddy glub gloopy, nibby nabby noopy la, la, la, lo, lo
Sabba sibby sabba, nooby abba nabba, le, le, lo, lo
Tooby ooby walla, nooby abba naba
Early morning singing song

Can you hear me singing a song, a love song
Singing a song
Loving a song, laughing a song
Singing a song
Sing the song, song sing, song, song, song, singing
Sing, sing, sing a song

Song, song, song sing, sing, sing, sing a song
Sing, sing, song, sing a song
Yeah, you can sing, sing, sing song, sing a song
Sing, sing, song, sing a song, sing

Songwriters: Galt Mac Dermot / Gerome Ragni / James Rado
Good Morning Starshine lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC