Wednesday wanderings in mid-May

As always, our friend Keith puts into words what many of us are thinking and feeling. Please pay special attention to his final paragraph, for these are the questions we need to be asking, and the issues on which we need to hold our elected representatives accountable. As always, thank you Keith!!!

musingsofanoldfart

We should have another warm day here, so walking may make us “glisten,” a word my wife uses for perspiration. So, as we glisten on our walk about, let me share a few of my wandering thoughts.

The votes from yesterday’s mid-term primaries are being tallied, so I will save commentary for another day, with two exceptions. With almost 100% of the votes counted, it looks like Rep. Madison Cawthorn will be unseated in his first election as an incumbent. His failure to: realize on three occasions a driver needs a driver license, understand he cannot carry a weapon onto a plane on two occasions, appreciate claiming your Republican colleagues are having orgies and coke parties is not the way to make friends, and recognize that not doing much of anything other than abet the former president’s Big Lie and insurrection of Congress is not conducive to good governance. It…

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Good People Doing Good Things —

There are some nights when my angst is running high from the day’s news that it’s tough to switch gears to write a ‘good people’ post.  Tonight was one such night, until I read this first story …


What a graduation present!

Wiley College is a four-year, privately-supported, historically black college/university (HBCU) located on the west side of Marshall, Texas. Wiley College holds distinction as one of the oldest historically black colleges west of the Mississippi River.  On May 7th, more than 100 students earned their degrees, ready to head out into the world, but much to their surprise, they found themselves graduating with NO student debt!  That’s right … no student loans to pay off because an anonymous donor paid in full the loans of the entire graduating class!  The estimated cost of this generous gift is in the neighborhood of $330,000!

The school’s motto is:  Go Forth Inspired.  Well, there are some young people leaving Wiley this month who have good reason to be inspired!  My best guess is that at least some of them will ‘pay it forward’ at some point if they are able to do so.  Thumbs up to the anonymous donor!!!


HOPE …

And along similar lines, students at five Chicago Public Schools this week got the news that all their college tuition will be paid for—along with room and board, books, fees and taxes!  And not only are these freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors getting the free ride, but also one of their parents or guardians. No anonymous donor here, but still a lot of good people looking toward the future for these young people.

The multi-generation scholarship program is being launched by HOPE Chicago, a nonprofit led by former Chicago Public Schools CEO Dr. Janice Jackson.  HOPE Chicago has committed to raising $1 billion in support and funding over the next decade—and has raised $40 million already with funding partners that include several corporations, financial institutions, and private family foundations.

Students at the five inaugural schools gathered in gymnasiums across the city to hear the stunning news. 90 percent of kids attending citywide public schools are students of color and 80 percent are low-income, so this means many of them would not have been able to even think about attending college were it not for this program.

With its $1 billion goal, HOPE Chicago vows to provide scholarships for 24,000 students and more than 6,000 parents/guardians through its two-generation model, which is expected to increase the likelihood of students actually completing and graduating. A survey showed that only 27% of Chicago Public School students earn their degree, after 63% enroll.

What a great cause, a great organization!  Again, as I said above, it is to be hoped that some of these students will become contributors to the cause when they are able.  I wish there were organizations like HOPE Chicago in every major city in the nation … why aren’t there, I wonder?


And down at the elementary level …

Let’s turn our attention to John F. Kennedy Montessori Elementary School in Louisville, Kentucky where teacher Stefany Bibb is leading a Kindness Crew.

During spring break, Ms. Bibb created a rock garden outside of the school’s building where students could place painted rocks with messages of kindness or happy designs. Students can keep the rocks for up to one week before returning them to the garden. If students choose to keep the rock longer, they can paint another one and replace the one they took.  But the movement goes way beyond painted rocks … take a look …

And Stefany Bibb refuses any credit for these young peoples’ acts of kindness, saying …

“Nothing you’ve heard from any of the students, nothing they do, is because of me.  I just gave them the outlet to do what they naturally do. They’re naturally kind. There’s nothing I can take credit for for how amazing they are and the kindness they spread. I’m just like, ‘Here, do what you do’.”

Wow, huh?  Wouldn’t you love to be able to project 20 years or so into the future and see how these kids turn out?


Speaking of kind young people …

Meet Amber Wilken, age 17, of Fort Mill, South Carolina.  Amber has always been a caring person since learning that her mother was homeless while growing up.  As a member of several service-focused organizations including Girl Scouts, JROTC, BETA Club, and her church youth group, Amber began tutoring and providing afterschool homework help through a local foundation to local youths. During these tutoring sessions, Amber found out that many of the youth she was working were experiencing food insecurity and she decided to do something.

One of her largest efforts to-date has been a series of food drives throughout the year. With the support of her school’s JROTC program, Amber has hosted both in-person and drive-by collection efforts along with contactless pickups and restocked a frequently accessed food pantry over a dozen times!  Through an initiative with her Girl Scout Troop, Amber was able to supply 75 children breakfast and lunch for an entire summer! Through partnerships with Panera and Publix, she has also led food recovery efforts to further support area pantries.  Her next goal is to create a community garden to support youth and teach youth sustainable gardening processes.

When she’s not fighting hunger, Amber supports her local Veterans Affairs group, serves as an Adventure Guide during Carowinds Amusement Park Wish Day, oversees the volunteer work of her fellow JROTC Cadets as their Community Service Director, and hosted a trunk-or-treat event to give youth the chance to celebrate Halloween during the pandemic with the support of a Hershey Youth Save Halloween grant.

Whew!  This young woman puts me to shame!  More thumbs up for Amber Wilken!!!

The President Speaks … Will the Nation Listen?

Today, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden spoke in Buffalo, New York, regarding the horrific mass shooting on Saturday.  I, for one, am thankful to have a president who cares, as President Biden so obviously does, who attempts to bring calm in times of chaos, hope in times of despair, and unity in times of divisiveness.

Let’s Upgrade The Job Requirements!

Back in 1787 when the Founders were drafting what would become the U.S. Constitution, the put in place very few requirements for the office of president and also for seats in the U.S. Congress.  This made sense in 1787 because few, if any, had formal college educations and given that this nation was in its infant stages, none had experience in our nascent government.  But that was 235 years ago and since that time much has changed.  As I look at some members of this, the 117th Congress, and as I look at the former president [sic], I firmly believe the time has come to update the requirements for these highest offices in the land!

Let’s take a look at those requirements.

President

Article II, Section 1, Clause 5 lays out the requirements for the office of President of the United States:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

That’s it … three qualifications … a natural born citizen, age 35 or older, and a resident of the U.S. for at least 14 years.

House of Representatives

Article I, Section 2 specifies the requirements for a member of the House of Representatives:

No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.

Senate

Article I, Section 3 defines the requirements for a member of the Senate:

No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.

Again, this made a good bit of sense in 1787, but today?  Not so much.  The last person who occupied the Oval Office had never even read the U.S. Constitution, had no relevant college education, no prior government experience or legal experience, unless you count his thousands of lawsuits.  How could this happen?

So, what would I add to the qualifications listed in the first two Articles of the Constitution?  For starters, I would add an educational requirement, that candidates for the presidency, vice-presidency, or Congress must have, at a minimum, a Bachelor’s degree in either law, history, or political science.  Also, I would like to see them required to pass a test on their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.  Do you know that immigrants to this nation, in order to qualify for citizenship, must pass a civics test to evaluate their knowledge of U.S. history and government?  In essence, it is harder to become a citizen than to become president!  The oath of office for the president states:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

Now, just how can you swear to preserve, protect, and defend a document you’ve never read?  C’mon, folks, the Constitution in its entirety is just under 8,000 words long.  The original, before any amendments, is 4,400 words.  This isn’t exactly War and Peace, my friends!  I have read it more than a few times, often in a single sitting!

I would require a background check and any credible accusations of sexual abuse, domestic abuse, or financial improprieties would automatically disqualify that person.

And one last thing I would like to see is a wealth cap.  I don’t want either a president or senator or representative who was born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth and has no idea what it means to have to budget, to sometimes have to forego a purchase because money is tight.  I don’t want someone sitting in Washington with millions … or billions … of dollars to his name that allow him to live in an Ivory Tower so high up that he/she does not even see We the People.  And I don’t want a president or member of Congress who can buy his/her seat, nor do I want one so obsessed with money that they are willing to sell their future votes to the highest bidder for campaign donations. The Citizens United v FEC decision destroyed the integrity of politicians in this nation, and I would love to see it overturned, but we all know it won’t happen.

If my suggestions had been implemented some time ago, we would not have such corrupt and trashy people in our Congress today as Margie Greene, Lauren Boebert, Matt Gaetz, Elise Stefanik, Madison Cawthorn and more.  The Constitution was always intended to grow with the nation, to be a flexible and dynamic document that would meet the needs of today but also of tomorrow.  The framers of that document would be horrified to see today’s corruption in every branch and at every level, completely disregarding the needs of the people of this nation … the people who pay their salaries, benefits, travel, and other perks.

WOMEN ARE PERSONS, NOT COWS! REPEALING RvW TURNS WOMEN BACK INTO COWS!

We women have been ranting endlessly since the draft of the Supreme Court decision that will almost certainly become final next month reversing the long-standing Roe v Wade was leaked. I’ve done my share of ranting, and I ain’t done yet! But when a man is as passionate on the issue as we women are, I sit up and take notice! Our friend rawgod posted this earlier today and I think it deserves a wider audience. Thank you, rg, for your passionate defense of women’s rights!

Ideas From Outside the Boxes

The following is a comment (slightly altered) I just sent to a woman who wants to see Roe vs Wade repealed. She thinks women should not have a choice to abort a fetus, because to her, the (potential) life of a fetus is more important than the life of the woman carrying that fetus. We were carrying on a written conversation when I had a kind of epiphany. I had heard people saying RvW is more important than just the right to choose. It has deeper implications. Then, in an instant, I saw what repealing RvW really meant. Here is my response:

Please allow me to add, I appreciate that without women there would be no human race. Women are the mothers of all. But that does not mean women are “Only Mothers!” Women have lives too, and motherhood as birthers of children is secondary! Until a woman is ready…

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Let Da Snarky Snippets Roll …

Okay, friends, it’s been a while since I’ve let the snark roll and today I think it’s high time!  It’s building up and causing me to be a very grumpy ol’ gal, so hold onto your hats while I share just a wee bit of my angst this afternoon …


Equal Justice Under Law

Those are the words engraved above the main entrance to the Supreme Court Building.  Apparently, some of the nine justices sitting on the Court today never look up as they are entering the building.  Per Justice Clarence Thomas, husband of the notorious January 6th coup supporter …

“I do think that what happened at the court is tremendously bad. I wonder how long we’re going to have these institutions at the rate we’re undermining them and then I wonder when they’re gone or destabilized what we will have as a country, and I don’t think the prospects are good if we continue to lose them.”

That “tremendously bad” thing he was talking about wasn’t his wife’s contribution to the attemped coup last year, nor was it the draft of the decision to reverse Roe v Wade, but rather the fact that the draft was leaked.  Now, a couple of points here … there is much speculation that it was leaked with full knowledge and support of at least one of the justices.  More to the point, though … speaking about “undermining the institutions” … what is being undermined is the purpose of the institutions, what they are intended to accomplish.  The U.S. Supreme Court is intended to hear disputes and make a final decision based on the Constitution and on what is best for the people of this nation.  In a number of recent rulings, they appear to have made their decisions based on what the Republican Party wants, not what is best for any of us.  So, Clarence …


Another one speaks up too late

Former Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, has written a book ironically titled A Sacred Oath.  It is yet another ‘tell-all’ book about the former guy’s ignorance and inhumanity.  Now, I haven’t read the book … I may or may not, I’m as yet undecided … but I’ve read a few reviews and snippets that were published in the media.  In the book, Esper apparently tells that Trump wanted to shoot at civilians protesting against racism in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd and suggested that the Pentagon launch Patriot missiles at drug laboratories in Mexico — saying no one would know the United States was responsible.  This one thing exemplifies the utter stupidity of the former guy and proves that we barely dodged the bullet from 2017-2021.

My question for Mr. Esper is this:  WHY THE SAM HELL didn’t he make this public as it happened, rather than two years after the fact???  Does he expect to be hailed a hero for letting us know how close we came to being shot for exercising our 1st Amendment rights, or how close we came to starting a war with our ally, Mexico?  I’m quite sure there are some interesting, nay fascinating, tidbits in Mr. Esper’s book, but I have zero respect for him, for he could have gone to the proper authorities, could have stood before Congress and told what he knew back in early 2020, and it might … just might have been enough to finally convince the U.S. Senate to finally convict and remove the criminal from the Oval Office.  WHY did he wait?

Today, we face the very real threat that the former guy will run for office again in 2024 and a truly catastrophic threat that he could win, which would be the end of this nation as we’ve known it.  Mr. Esper could have been a hero, but instead he continued to be a loyal lapdog to a madman and is now attempting to profit from it via book royalties.  Apparently his ‘Oath’ wasn’t so ‘Sacred’ to him after all, eh?


Summer of Rage

Summer doesn’t officially begin for more than a month, but it has already been dubbed the “Summer of Rage”, as a result of the many protests supporting women’s rights, specifically Roe v Wade, across the nation this past weekend.  In Washington D.C., more than 20,000 protestors marched in protest of the Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe, and similar protests occurred in nearly every major city in the nation.  The people are making their voices heard loud and clear, but it is doubtful whether it will have any impact on the decision by the Court, since the nine justices are guaranteed their job for life and have no need to even consider the voice of the people.

Members of Congress, on the other hand, do serve at the will of the people and after the Senate refused to support women’s rights last week, it may well be that certain Republicans will face an uphill battle.  Frankly, I hope every damn one of Republicans in both chambers of Congress who are up for re-election this November lose by a landslide.  Apparently, most of them did not get the memo stating that women are people too.  Women’s rights are Civil Rights.  We are not some strange space aliens who must be controlled, nor are we objects created solely for men’s pleasure, as most Republican males seem to believe.  Summer of Rage, eh?  Looks like it’s gonna be a long, hot summer.

Jolly Monday, Evermore

Hi … it’s me, Jolly!  Gwammie will be here in a minute … she’s having a bit of twouble waking up dis morning.  GWAMMIE!!!  Huwwy … our fwiends are here!

Huh?  Wha-wha-who-how???  {yawn}  Oh … heh heh … hi everyone!  Sorry I’m a little late to the party!  These sleepless nights are taking a toll.  So, it’s Monday again already, huh?  Jolly … did you pull together some fun to make our friends smile this morning?  Ohhhhh … what is that I smell?  Something smells really yummy and it’s making my tummy grumble … let’s go see what Joyful has cooked up this morning, shall we?

Since da bacon lovers whinged last week, I made extra this week!


Well, now that we’ve all got a bit of breakfast or snack, Jolly tells me he popped over to Phil’s Phun this morning and found some ‘toons to make us laugh …


Some memes, just in case the ‘toons weren’t enough to make you chuckle …


And we found some funny signs …


This one isn’t funny, but I saw it over at Phil’s and … I just think it says it all … if everyone had this philosophy, the world would be a much nicer place …


And to round out Jolly Monday, naturally we have a cute animal video!  Meet Peaches & Skippy …


Well, friends, that’s a wrap for this Jolly Monday.  We’re so sad to see you leave, but we know you have things to do, places to go, and people to see, so we hope you have a wonderful week ahead.  Keep safe, be happy, and please share those gorgeous smiles!!!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa, Jolly & Joyful

YOU Do Not Walk Away From This One

Our friend Roger has something to say about yesterday’s mass shooting that apparently was racially motivated and perpetrated by an 18-year-old white male. Roger’s words need no introduction by me except to say that I am in full agreement with him. Thank you, Roger.

One additional note:  There has been yet another mass shooting this morning at a church in California.  That’s three (that we know of) in one weekend.  Welcome to the USofA.

The World As It Is. Not As It Should Be

Buffalo shooting: Ten dead in suspected race attack at New York state store:

Inditement Buffalo

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-61452958

There is next to zero chance of the following becoming an actual legal action. This is not the point of this post. The theme of this post concerns public responsibility, the consequences of polemic actions and the lack of concern to any victims.

I contend the following should be considered for inditement under 18 U.S.Code 373- Solicitation to commit a crime of violence:

Inditement Trump

Donald John Trump

Inditement Cruz

Rafael Edward Cruz

Inditement Majorie Taylor Greene

Marjorie Taylor Greene

Ron DeSantis

Ronald Dion DeSantis

Trump on the grounds of pursuing of a political career by inflammatory rhetoric, Cruz by his recent display on biased hostility to an African American nominee to the Supreme Court; Taylor Greene by sustained, hostile inflammatory rhetoric not suited to the holder of an elected office; De Santis by abuse of his officer as Governor of Florida by direct legislation in…

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TokyoSand’s Week’s Best Political Cartoons

As she always does, TokyoSand has taken the time to scour the media for the best political ‘toons of the week.  Political cartoons are appealing because they sum up a situation using few or no words, whereas the rest of us require hundreds or even thousands of words to try to explain the why, what, when, where and hows of what is happening in our world.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work in finding these gems!


This is only a sampling, so be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons at TokyoSand’s Political Charge!!!

WHOA … The Hypocrisy!!!

What, exactly, is the ‘Right to Life’?  Whose life?  To what extent are we willing to go to preserve life?  And what, exactly is life?  I’m frankly sick of hearing people say they are “pro-life” when all they really mean is they are against abortion.  Something in the news yesterday, though, connected some dots and made me stop … and after a bit of cursing and punching the coffee pot for not heating quickly enough, I sat down and said, “WHOA … the hypocrisy!!!!”  What was that something?  The second mass shooting of the weekend yesterday afternoon in a grocery store in a predominantly Black neighborhood in Buffalo, New York, where at last count, 13 people were shot, 10 murdered.  Folks, let me make something perfectly clear here:  the nearly-uncontrolled right to own guns is completely inconsistent with the right to life.  Completely.  If a person buys a gun, he or she does so with the intention of using that gun to kill.  Guns literally have no other purpose than to maim and murder.

Next time someone tells you they are ‘pro-life’, ask them if they own a gun.  If they say ‘yes’, then you can inform them that they are a potential taker of life, so no, they are not pro-life at all, they are just using the term to justify their stance on taking away women’s rights.

The shooter in Buffalo was an 18-year-old white male who apparently hates Black people for some reason, for the government is treating this as a hate crime based on his ‘manifesto’.  Gee, I wonder where he got that prejudice from?  Look first at the parents, but then look at society today.  Wonder why an 18-year-old kid even has access to a gun?  Last Wednesday, a judge in ruled that California’s ban on the sale of semiautomatic weapons to people under 21 is unconstitutional.  What’s next … will it be ruled unconstitutional to ban giving guns to children age 14?  Age 10?  Age 5?  The gun culture in this nation is truly insane.  In no other nation is a civilian allowed to own an assault weapon, let alone an arsenal!

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know my stance on guns … they do not belong in the hands of civilians.  Full stop.  Need further proof?

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Friday night, there was yet another mass shooting that left 17 people injured, but no fatalities thus far, miraculously.  This one took place late Friday night shortly after fans left a nearby NBA playoff game.  Two other shootings in the same general vicinity took place earlier that evening, leaving an additional four people injured.

My message to every single member of the United States Congress is this …

Do not offer ‘condolences’ to the families of the victims in Milwaukee or Buffalo.  Do not offer meaningless ‘thoughts and prayers’.  DO SOMETHING!  Initiate and pass serious and meaningful gun legislation to get the guns out of the hands of people!  No 18-year-old child has the need for a gun.  Nobody who has EVER been accused of abusing another person in any way should be allowed to own a gun.  And NOBODY anywhere, ever, for any reason has a need for an assault weapon!  Shut down the gun shows where even the most basic rules are openly disregarded.  Override with federal legislation the individual state laws that allow for carrying concealed weapons, for possession of a gun without a license, and make the federal law ‘One Strike, You’re Out’!

But alas, mine is a pipe dream, for those very people who claim to be ‘pro-life’ would scream, yell, and threaten any who even suggested such laws.  No matter that gun violence is the leading cause of death in the U.S.  You have a roughly 1-in-315 lifetime chance of death from gun violence.

For those who would claim that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives them the right to own as many guns of any sort as they wish, let me clarify the exact wording of that Amendment:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

NOWHERE does it say that people should be allowed to keep a gun in the glove compartment of their car or walk into a grocery store with one concealed in pocket or purse.  NOWHERE does it say that guns should be freely available to teens.  NOWHERE does it say that a person should be allowed to own an assault weapon that didn’t even exist when the Constitution was written in 1787!  Those who believe that abortion is an infringement on the right to life, better wake up and look at the gun culture, the lack of gun laws in this country, for already this year 15,862 people have lost their life to a person with a gun.  That is more than the total gun deaths all year in 2016!!! But yet, do you hear anybody speaking for the ‘right to life’ of those victims?

Friday it was Milwaukee, Saturday it was Buffalo … will your neighborhood be Sunday’s statistics?