The Good, The Bad, And The … Funny!

I vaguely remember the days, back before the year 2016, when I went to bed at night feeling safe and secure.  I can almost remember the days when I didn’t automatically associate the word “Republican” with hatred, racism, greed, cruelty, cheating, lying, and obnoxious.  Ahhhhh … those were the good ol’ days!  Long story short, I have more snark built up since my last snippets post, so … let me share just a few with you!


Kiran Ahuja has a new job!

On Tuesday, the Senate voted on President Biden’s nominee for the Office of Personnel Management, Kiran Ahuja.  Ultimately Ms. Ahuja, a civil rights lawyer and veteran of the Obama administration, was confirmed, but only after Vice-President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote, because not one single Republican was willing to vote to confirm her.  Why?  Well, for one thing she is an Indian-born immigrant.  According to Josh Hawley – you remember him, the guy who did a fist pump in a show of solidarity with the terrorists who attacked the Capitol on January 6th

“I’m concerned that as the federal government’s H.R. director, Ms. Ahuja could use her platform to promote radical ideologies that seek to divide rather than unite the American people. She could bring critical race theory back into federal government training.”

GASP!!!  She could … require sensitivity training by those who make hiring decisions for the federal government!  Oh, wouldn’t it be awful to teach people that it is wrong to discriminate!  She could actually insist that hiring decisions be based on the skill level of the applicants rather than the colour of their skin!

Apparently, the congressional Republicans want an all-white cabinet, and the difficulty of Ms. Ahuja’s appointment was not the first sign of trouble.

Shortly after taking office, President Biden nominated Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).  Ms. Tanden is also Indian American, and this time, Biden pulled her nomination once Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (yes, he of filibuster and voter suppression fame) made it clear he would not vote to confirm her.  However last month, the President appointed her to be a senior White House advisor, a position for which no senate confirmation is necessary.  Take that, Republicans … and Republican wannabe Manchin!

And then, there was Deb Haaland, a Native American who was chosen to be Secretary of the Interior, a department that has a long history of being used as a tool of oppression against America’s Indigenous peoples.  Ms. Haaland was ultimately confirmed in March, but only after being grilled at length as Republicans tried to paint her as a radical.  Said Republican Senator Steve Daines from Montana …

“I’m deeply concerned with the congresswoman’s support on several radical issues that will hurt Montana, our way of life, our jobs and rural America.”

Um, Mr. Daines … the population of Montana is less than 1% of the population of this country … put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I am very thrilled that the Biden cabinet looks much different than that of the former guy, that there is diversity and qualified people with experience making the everyday decisions that affect our lives.  I sincerely hope that I never see the day when there is a Republican president and a Republican majority in the Senate again, for all this progress would likely be undone within a matter of a few weeks.


But there was a big, bright spot today!

Judge Peter A. Cahill sentenced former police officer Derek Chauvin to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd.  This sentence will not bring Mr. Floyd back to life, but … it is consequential, and I am very pleased.  This is very nearly the longest sentence any police officer has received in this country for unnecessary killing in the line of duty and it is long past due.  It is, to the best of my knowledge, the longest sentence given to an officer for the murder of an unarmed Black person.

Shortly after reading the sentence from the bench, Judge Cahill issued a 22-page memorandum about his decision, writing, “Part of the mission of the Minneapolis Police Department is to give citizens ‘voice and respect.’” But Mr. Chauvin, the judge wrote, had instead “treated Mr. Floyd without respect and denied him the dignity owed to all human beings and which he certainly would have extended to a friend or neighbor.”

The maximum sentence possible would have been 40 years, and the presumptive sentence would have been 12.5 years.  I think the main thing to take away from this sentencing is that it sends a strong message to police officers that the blanket concept of ‘qualified immunity’ isn’t going to protect you when you use excessive force, that times are changing and police, just like anybody else, can be held accountable for their actions.

In the end, Judge Cahill said two “aggravating factors” had affected his decision to sentence Mr. Chauvin to more than 22 years: Mr. Chauvin had acted with particular cruelty, the judge said, and had abused his authority as an officer of the law.  This needs to become the rule, not the exception!  Mr. Chauvin, who is currently 45 years of age, will likely be eligible for parole after serving 2/3 of his sentence, or in about 15 years.


For the People … yeah, right

I am still furious over the Senate Republicans’ unanimous vote to deny even debate on the For the People Act that would have ensured our rights to vote, despite nearly every state in the nation attempting to suppress that right.  But yesterday, there was a glimmer of hope.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Friday that the U.S. Justice Department is suing the state of Georgia over its new voting law, saying that the controversial measure is intended to restrict ballot access to Black voters.  In his news conference yesterday, AG Garland said …

“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

Thumbs up to the Attorney General!  👍 👍

The bill, SB202, has already passed the Georgia State Legislature and been signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp.  In effect, it makes sweeping changes to the state’s absentee voting rules, adds new voter identification mandates and nearly cuts in half the amount of time for voters to request a mail-in ballot.  It also outlaws passing out food or drinks to voters within 150 feet of a polling place or too close to voters waiting in line.

These voter suppression tactics, while aimed largely at Blacks, will also negatively impact Hispanics, working mothers, the elderly, college students, and the poor.  I sincerely hope that the Justice Departments case wins the day, thereby sending messages to other states, but my best guess is that more lawsuits will be required.

Y’know … We the People have a lot of rights per the U.S. Constitution, but I think perhaps there is none more important than our right to vote, to have a voice in our government.


Late night host/comedian Stephen Colbert talked a bit about the travesty of justice regarding the For the People Act, as well as a number of other issues I’ve written about recently, and his monologue actually brought a laugh gurgling up from my throat, so I hope you’ll check it out and maybe you’ll laugh too!

A Few Snarky Snippets

Once again, the urge to be snarky is upon me … well, in truth I can’t remember the last time I didn’t feel the urge to be snarky!  There is just so much wrong these days … it’s either let it out, else it will explode and pieces of me will be scattered for miles!


Persona non grata – even by Republicans!

I hear that Mike Lindell, that infamous pillow dude who was a chief boot-licker of the former guy, isn’t doing so well these days.  First, back in February he was sued by Dominion Voting Systems for $1.3 billion in a defamation suit accusing him of repeatedly and falsely saying that Dominion’s voting machines had stolen the election for Biden.

Then there’s his company, MyPillow, that has got to be suffering, considering that numerous stores have stopped carrying his product as a result of his political views, though most claim it was because of poor sales or a “change in marketing strategy”.  Among those are large retailers such as Kohls, Bed Bath and Beyond, Costco, and QVC.

But the icing on the cake for ol’ Mikey came this week when he flew to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend a 3-day event of the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) to which he claimed he was invited, only to be denied entrance!  Almost immediately upon arriving at his Nashville hotel, Lindell was told by an event coordinator that he would not be allowed to attend any of the events or meetings.  Lindell tried to join transportation for members only for a dinner at the Tennessee Governor’s Mansion and was denied.

It must have been a bit of a slap-in-the-face, since Lindell has attended previous meetings of the RGA, including the winter 2020 meeting, where a few Republican governors encouraged him to run for governor of Minnesota.  Lindell gave up and flew back home to Minnesota on Tuesday.


Yep, another mass shooting today

This time it was in San Jose, California, at a maintenance and dispatch center for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority.  Since it’s only been a few hours, details are sketchy but there are, according to the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, “multiple injuries and multiple fatalities”.  The gunman is reported to be dead.

Interestingly, the shooter’s house was also found to be on fire … not sure what the connection is, but no doubt further details will be forthcoming.  Meanwhile, I’m sure members of Congress are sending their completely useless “thoughts and prayers” while pocketing their latest donations from the NRA.


About damn time!

Yesterday the Senate voted to confirm a Black woman, Kristen Clarke, to lead the Civil Rights Division within the Department of Justice.  About time!  She is the first Black woman to lead the department … a department that specifically deals with issues of racial and gender injustice!

The Republicans in the Senate, naturally, fear her and only one, Susan Collins of Maine, voted to confirm her.  Said the infamous and ignoble Senator Ted Cruz …

“Kristen Clarke is a radical extremist with a laundry list of concerning issues plaguing her nomination that go far beyond her support for defunding the police.”

The reality is that Clarke said during her confirmation hearing that she is opposed to stripping police departments of their budgets. Instead, she lent support to the idea of reallocating money within departments to make sure law enforcement officers can do their jobs more safely.  Really sounds like a ‘radical extremist’, doesn’t she?

Cruz and the other republican naysayers would do well to remember that the Civil Rights Division, created by the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1957, is to …

“… uphold the civil and constitutional rights of all Americans, particularly some of the most vulnerable members of our society. The Division enforces federal statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, and gender identity), disability, religion, familial status, national origin, and citizenship status.”

The Republicans ‘nay’ votes further confirm my contention that the Republican Party has become very much a racist, misogynist party.  Just what we don’t need.

Congratulations to Ms. Clarke!


This ‘N That, With Only A Hint Of Snarky

I’m not really being too terribly snarky tonight … just a little bit, ‘k?  After all, if I didn’t snark a little, you’d worry that I was sick!


Finally!  A real Department of Justice with a real Attorney General at the helm!

It sure is good to have a Department of Justice that is no longer the lapdog of a corrupt president, a Justice Department led by a man of integrity.  The Justice Department has opened a number of investigations into police departments to determine if there is a “a pattern of discrimination or excessive force within its ranks”, announced Attorney General Merrick Garland.  One such city, of course, is Minneapolis, Minnesota, where Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd by kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly ten minutes.  Another is Portland, Oregon, where police were failing to comply with a previous reform agreement after its officers used excessive force against demonstrators – including firing impact munitions against people suspected of having “furtive” conversations – following the death of George Floyd.

And, at long last, the Department of Justice will also be assessing the police department in Louisville, Kentucky, where police fatally shot Breonna Taylor as she slept in her own bed in her apartment.  It’s about time … these are steps that the former Attorney General should have taken long ago, but he was on a short leash and refused to stand for justice, but rather stood in fear of the former president.  Said AG Garland …

“The investigation will assess whether LMPD [Louisville Metro Police Department] engages in a pattern or practice of using unreasonable force, including with respect to people involved in peaceful, expressive activities.  It will determine whether LMPD engages in unconstitutional stops, searches and seizures, as well as whether the department unlawfully executes search warrants on private homes.”

Two thumbs up to Attorney General Merrick Garland for restoring the ‘Justice’ to the Department of Justice.  Stay tuned …


A nasty voice from the past …

Do you remember Rick Santorum, former Republican senator from Pennsylvania from 1995-2007?  He launched an unsuccessful bid to become the Republican nominee for president in 2012, but was beaten by Mitt Romney, who was then beaten in the general election by the incumbent, Barack Obama.  Santorum has always been a nasty piece of work, but that didn’t stop when he left the Senate.  Since 2017, Santorum has been a political commentator for CNN, go figure.

Last week, speaking to a group of conservative youth, the Young America’s Foundation, Santorum attempted to show off his ‘knowledge’ of history.  Only trouble is, he’s just as ignorant as he acts …

“If you think about this country, I don’t know of any other country in the world that was settled predominantly by people who were coming to practice their faith. They came here because they were not allowed to practice their particular faith in their own country and so they came here mostly from Europe and they set up a country that was based on Judeo-Christian principles — I say Judeo-Christian — the Mosaic laws, Ten Commandments and the teachings of Jesus Christ, the morals and teachings of Jesus Christ. That’s what our founding documents are based upon. It’s in our DNA.

We came here and created a blank slate. We birthed a nation from nothing. I mean, there was nothing here. I mean, yes, we have Native Americans, but candidly, there isn’t much Native American culture in American culture. It was born of the people who came here pursuing religious liberty to practice their faith. To live as they ought to live.”

In our DNA???  Needless to say, that line of bullshit stirred some ire and many are now calling for CNN to oust him.  First of all, this nation was not founded on any particular religion, but rather on a call for freedom of religion.  Half of the country do not identify as ‘Christians’ … and we are people, too!  But his comments on Native Americans were beyond the pale, any way you cut it.

A number of groups and individuals, including politicians, have chimed in regarding Santorum’s racist remarks, but I think my favourite is Mark Pocan, Democratic congressman for Wisconsin, who wrote …

“Native & Indigenous nations lived, governed, and thrived here before their land was stolen and they were murdered in a mass genocide, you ignorant white supremacist.”

Sums it up nicely … need I say more?


Security measures are good, but I’ll still be holding my breath

On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will deliver his first address to a joint session of Congress.  Typically, newly-elected presidents address the joint session in late February of their first term, but a couple of factors delayed Biden’s address.  One, of course, was the coronavirus pandemic, but the other has the potential to be equally deadly:  the threat of violence.

After the fateful January 6th domestic terrorist attacks on the U.S. Capitol and on Congress itself, certain of the groups such as Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters and more, immediately began planning their next attack:  President Biden’s first address to a joint session of Congress.  Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman warned in February …

“We know that members of the militia groups that were present on January 6th have stated their desires that they want to blow up the Capitol and kill as many members as possible with a direct nexus to the State of the Union1, which we know that date has not been identified.  So based on that information, we think that it’s prudent that Capitol Police maintain its enhanced and robust security posture until we address those vulnerabilities going forward.”

That said, security will be tight for this event.  National Guard troops and fencing around the Capitol will remain in place.  There will be limits on the number of politicians who will be allowed on the floor of the House, and some will even be seated in the visitors’ gallery. Senators and Representatives won’t be allowed to invite any guests and masks will be mandatory.

I believe that every possible security measure will be in place on that day.  However, nobody can anticipate everything, and it was proven after the January 6th attack that some members of law enforcement and the military participated in the attack.  Let us hope that the day goes off without a hitch, and that if any insurrectionists attempt anything, they are thrown into a cell and treated like the criminals they are.  Still … I will breathe much easier when the event has passed.

1 Note that the address to the joint session of Congress is not actually a State of the Union address, for it is understood that a president who has been in office only a month or two will not be able to present a full state of the union, but rather will address Congress on the issues at hand.  Many people fail to understand this distinction.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 3/20

As she does every week, TokyoSand has scavenged the ‘Net for the best political cartoons of the past week.  Thank you, TS, for all your efforts to bring us the ‘toons that tell a whole story with a single picture.


On one hand, there was a lot of great news this week: Americans got help thanks to the COVID relief bill, we confirmed more great folks to the Cabinet, and Biden beat his own goal to get 100 million vaccine shots administered in his first 100 days. But, there was also a lot of terrible news, which was covered by editorial cartoonists.

toon-1toon-3toon-2toon-4

See All The ‘Toons!

Some Not-Too-Snarky Snippets

It’s been a few days at least since there was a Snarky Snippets post … long overdue, I think!  The difference between the Biden administration and the former one is … I can’t even describe it.  It is a breath of fresh air, it is like finding a TGI Fridays in the middle of the desert.  It is most noticeable in the news.  Oh sure, there are many things to snark over … always will be as long as we have politics, I suppose.  But today, two of my ‘snarky’ snippets bring good news … something that hasn’t happened a single time between 2017 and January 20th, 2021.


A promotion for Vindman!

I’ll start with the good news!  You remember when Alexander Vindman testified against the former guy in the first impeachment hearing last year?    Shortly thereafter, in a move that can only be dubbed revenge, Lieutenant Colonel Vindman was fired, as was his brother, Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman.   Both men, twins by the way, were employed by the National Security Council (NSC).

alexander-yevgeny-vindmanWell, despite the former guy’s attempts to derail their careers, at least one of the Vindman brothers has the last laugh.  Though fired from the NSC, Yevgeny Vindman remained in the military, while Alexander retired.  Lieutenant Colonel Yevgeny Vindman, however, is soon to be promoted to a full Colonel!  Yep, Yevgeny Vindman is now on a list of colonel promotions that has been approved by the White House and is going to the Senate for formal confirmation!  Score one for good triumphing over evil!

In case you’re wondering what Yevgeny’s brother Alexander Vindman has been doing since his retirement, he is writing a memoir and also working toward a doctoral degree!  His memoir is a book I’ll definitely read!


Change of venue???

I wrote just two days ago about the upcoming trial of Derek Chauvin, the former police officer who murdered George Floyd last May.  Well, the latest today is that his attorney, Eric Nelson, has asked the judge in the case for a postponement and … wait for it … a change of venue!

Now, a change of venue is typically requested when an attorney believes his client cannot get a fair trial in his own area due to excessive publicity.  But … in this case?  The George Floyd murder set off a domino effect that publicized it not only all across this nation, but around the globe! I think that if Mr. Nelson is seeking a venue where people perhaps haven’t seen the heart-wrenching video of Chauvin keeping his knee on the neck of a defenseless George Floyd, where they haven’t seen the protests that took place not only all over the U.S., but also in Europe, then I think perhaps the Arctic is about the only place for the trial.  Do they have courts in the Arctic?  Or perhaps Siberia, which would be a great place for Derek Chauvin … he would fit right in!

Nelson asked the judge to, at the very least, recall the seven jurors that were selected last week to ask them if they had heard of the settlement approved by the City of Minneapolis to the family of George Floyd in the amount of $27 million … basically an admission that their police officer is guilty.  Now, once again this is ridiculous, for of course they have all heard of it … hell, the entire nation has heard of it!  Judge Cahill did agree to call back the jurors for additional questions but said he would do so closer to the date of opening arguments, currently scheduled for March 29th.

Keep your eye on this one, folks … the future of holding police accountable for their actions rides on the outcome of this case.


Deb Haaland, Secretary of the Interior

Yesterday, Deb Haaland became the first Native American to serve in a cabinet position!  President Biden nominated her to serve as Secretary of the Interior, and yesterday she won Senate confirmation in a 51-40 vote!  (Where were the other nine senators?  Did they forget to come back to work on Monday?)

deb-haalandThus far, the president has met with little resistance to his cabinet nominees, with the exception of Neera Tanden whose nomination was withdrawn due to wide opposition as a result of certain tweets she had made in the past.  But Deb Haaland’s nomination was contentious, especially among republicans, for she has long taken a “keep it in the ground” approach to the fossil fuel industry – not a particularly popular stance among Republicans, many of whom are in the pockets of the coal, gas and oil industries.

In the final vote, only four Republicans joined all Senate Democrats present in the 51-40 tally that will install her as Interior secretary. Those votes came from Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, who said she “struggled” with her support, Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said …

“Given the long and troubled relationship between the federal government and tribal nations, the ascension of Rep. Haaland to the top of the Interior Department is a profoundly important moment for America. For too long tribal nations have been denied a seat at the table where decisions were made that affected their lives and their land.”

Three cheers to Deb Haaland and those senators who voted to confirm her.

Some Good News, And A Mini-Rant

Let’s start with the good news today … the Senate confirmed Merrick Garland as Attorney General in a 70-30 vote!  This was the best news I’ve heard all week … maybe all month.  As Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois said …

“Attorney General Garland will lead the Department of Justice with honesty and integrity.  He has a big job ahead of him, but I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have in his place.”

I second that motion.  It’s been a while since we’ve had an honest person leading the Department of Justice and it will be a welcome relief.  Even Mitch McConnell played nice, saying …

“I’m voting to confirm Judge Garland because of his long reputation as a straight shooter and legal expert.”

Garland has said his first priority will be the investigation into the January 6th attacks on Congress by domestic terrorists, and to that end he is planning to meet this week with FBI Director, Christopher Wray, and with Michael R. Sherwin, the departing top prosecutor in Washington who has led the Justice Department inquiry.  But Garland has many more things on his plate, such as civil rights, police reform, and restoring the trust that has been missing under the last two Attorneys General, Jeff Sessions and William Barr.


And now that I’ve given you the good news, let’s move on to the bill currently passed by the House, For the People Act, aka HR1.

On February 26th, 1869, Congress passed the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.  The Amendment was ratified by the people on February 3rd of the following year.  Sections 1 and 2 read …

Section 1

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

Section 2

The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

The language is straightforward … even s 5-year-old child could understand it.  So WHY do we have 43 states doing the very thing that they are forbidden under the Constitution to do???  What the hell is so difficult to understand here?

Why should Congress have to pass a bill to do exactly what has been the law under the Constitution for 151 years now?  It isn’t rocket science to figure that every citizen of this country has the right to vote in elections!  It’s actually pretty much common sense!  Here is a rundown of what HR1 contains:

  • A set of national voter registration and mail-in voting standards
  • Nonpartisan redistricting commissions
  • Big changes in campaign finance law (long overdue!)
  • New ethics rules for public servants
  • A requirement that presidential candidates disclose their tax returns

I think that the last few years have shown us how critical those last two are.  It should also be noted that Mr. Lee is facing a re-election next year.  But the biggest issue the congressional republicans seem to have is setting federal standards for voter registration and postal voting.  Why?  Because, my friends, if every eligible voter actually votes, the Republicans will get only crumbs.  They are not wildly popular these days among Blacks, Hispanics, women, LGBT people, or basically anybody who cares more about people than money.  They have to cheat in order to win, and if what the do is unconstitutional … they really don’t care.

I was incensed yesterday when I read what Senator Mike Lee from Utah said about HR1 …

“I think I disagree with every single word in HR1, including the words ‘but,’ ‘and,’ and ‘the.’ Everything about this bill is rotten to the core. This is a bill as if written in hell by the devil himself. This takes all sorts of decisions that the federal government really has no business making. It takes them away from the states, makes them right here in Washington D.C. by Congress.

Apparently in an effort to ensure an institutionally, revolutionary-democratic party of sorts. One that can remain in power for many decades to come. It does this by taking away these decisions. Elections in America have always been conducted at the state and local levels…

They are completely flipping that principal on its head so that all these things can be micromanaged from Washington. That’s wrong. That’s really wrong, it’s bad policy. As much as anything else, it’s wildly unconstitutional.”

I wonder if Mr. Lee has read the U.S. Constitution?  It should also be noted that Mr. Lee is facing re-election next year.  The argument republicans are making against HR1 is that it takes election laws out of the states’ hands and puts them in federal control.  Another day, under other circumstances, I might back that argument, but this time my response is that since the states are attempting to disenfranchise half the voters, they’ve lost the privilege of making their own election laws.  Period.  As I’ve said at least a few million times, ‘rights’ come with responsibilities and the states … at least 43 of them … are shirking their responsibilities to We the People and We the People are not going to stand for it anymore!

We should not need federal legislation to force states to allow every eligible person to vote, but because this nation has shown a desire to return to the days of Jim Crow, we do need it.  It’s a sad statement about some of the people in this nation that they still think it’s okay to treat those who don’t look, act, or believe exactly like them as second-class citizens.  A sad statement that makes me ashamed of this country, ashamed to be a part of it.

The Republican Party has proven three things to me:  they are not honest, they do not care about the people of this country, and they are blatant racists.  Yes, that’s a broad brush … go ahead, Senate republicans … prove me wrong!  I dare you!  Do the right thing, don’t filibuster HR1 but give it a fair and fighting chance, or better yet, vote “aye” instead of “nay” on the bill and then maybe, just maybe, I’ll apologize for what I said.

Where Are We With Biden’s Cabinet Nominees?

Last week I fully intended to write a post about the status of Joe Biden’s cabinet nominees — who has been confirmed, who hasn’t, etc., but as often happens, my best-laid plans go astray.  This morning I logged on and one of the first things I saw was that TokyoSand has done an assessment and also added some enlightening information, so … again, why re-invent the wheel when she’s done such an excellent job of it?  Thank you, TS!

A quick rundown on President Biden’s Cabinet nominees. Who has been confirmed, who has been approved but not yet received a vote, and who is still stuck in committee.

Between a slow transition thanks to the feet dragging of the previous administration, the second impeachment trial, and then the negotiations to get the American Rescue Plan (COVID relief bill) passed — (pausing to celebrate that achievement!!!) — the Senate has gotten fairly behind getting all of President Biden’s Cabinet positions confirmed.

Normally, a month into a President’s first term, the average is to have about 84% of the Cabinet confirmed. (source) But with Biden, we’ve only seen 13 out of the 23 confirmed, which is only 56%. That said, his Cabinet is already shaping up to be the most diverse in our nation’s history.

View entire post

Lookin’ Good, Merrick Garland!

Merrick-GarlandYesterday was the first of the two-day confirmation hearings for Merrick Garland, President Biden’s choice to head the Department of Justice.  I have felt for weeks that Garland would be confirmed by the Senate, for he is both liked and respected by those on both sides of the aisle.  According to an article in The Washington Post …

“… there was little acrimony and many Democrats and Republicans on the panel appeared to treat his confirmation almost as a foregone conclusion.”

Several Republicans seem certain that Garland will be confirmed …

“I believe so. There were people that weren’t totally satisfied with his answers, but i didn’t hear anybody get really irritated. … For the most part, he answered pretty well.” – Senator Chuck Grassley (republican) from Iowa

“That certainly seems likely. I thought he did fine. It was frustrating in that he answered very few questions. He approached it more like a judicial nominee dodging every question.” – Senator Ted Cruz (republican) from Texas

“Judge Garland is about as sure a bet as you can have in the Congress these days that he will be confirmed. He has navigated these questions with extraordinary adroitness and aplomb.” – Senator Richard Blumenthal (democrat) from Connecticut

To be sure, there were contentious lines of questioning, especially from the likes of Senator John Neeley Kennedy, a republican from Louisiana, and the ignoble Josh Hawley who cheered the attackers on January 6th, and did everything in his power to try to overturn our votes on that day.  But, Garland remained cool and his answers brought no rebuttal.  For example, Hawley arrogantly twirled his pencil while attempting to goad Garland into a conversation on defunding the police, and on what constitutes ‘domestic terrorism’.

Garland, who prosecuted the Oklahoma City bombing perpetrators before becoming a federal judge,  looked Hawley straight in the eye and responded …

“As you no doubt know, President Biden has said he does not support defunding the police, and neither do I. We saw how difficult the lives of police officers were in the body-cam videos we saw when they were defending the Capitol.  The use of violence or threats of violence in an attempt to disrupt democratic processes.  So an attack on a courthouse while in operation trying to prevent judges from deciding cases, that plainly is domestic extremism, domestic terrorism.”

Lindsey Graham, who would not allow Garland’s hearing to take place earlier this month, reared his typically ugly head, quizzed Garland on whether he thought James Comey, who was fired by the former guy early in his administration, was a good FBI Director.  Garland calmly replied that the question was not useful and that he didn’t intend to get into critiquing other directors.  Then Graham responded churlishly with …

“Well, you’ve been very political, and appropriately so, at times. I just find it pretty stunning that you can’t say, in my view, that he was a terrible FBI director.”

However, at the end of the day, Lindsey told Garland, “I think you’re a very good pick for this job.”  Even Senator Kennedy, one of the more obnoxious among republican senators, said “You’ll be a good attorney general.”

Perhaps Garland’s most powerful statement, at least in my eyes, was when he said …

“I am not the president’s lawyer, I am the United States’ lawyer.”

Quite the contrast from previous Attorney General William Barr who saw himself and the entire Department of Justice as tools at the former guy’s disposal.

No doubt there will be some Republicans who will oppose the nomination, likely Tom Cotton, Mike Lee, and Josh Hawley among them, but the general consensus is that Garland will win senate confirmation when the vote is taken on March 1st.  Score one for justice.

The Former Guy

I took a brief hiatus yesterday … my sanity depended on it.  But today I return … renewed, refreshed, and …. Oh heck, it’s all a lie. Who do I think I’m kidding?  I am neither renewed nor refreshed … I am, rather, exhausted and depressed, but for better or for worse, I am back with my usual … um … bit of ‘tude.


Trump is now “the former guy”

Remember January 20th, 2017 when President Obama left the White House, attended the inauguration of Donald Trump, and then was rarely in the news?  His time in the limelight was over, it was time to pass the baton, and move on with his life.  That is as it should be, folks.  So why the Sam Hell is Donald Trump’s face continually splattered over every media site, and his every word published ad nauseam?

It is time to step away from Donald Trump, my friends.  It is time for the media to focus on today’s reality, not yesterday’s lies.  I call on the press to stop … cease and desist … before they make the same mistake they made in 2016 of giving him so much free airtime that ultimately he was seen as something he wasn’t:  human.  A few days ago, Biden chose not to refer to Trump by name, and called him ‘the former guy’.  I suggest that become his new moniker … it suggests his current irrelevance, and that is what is needed right now if this nation stands a chance of healing.  He has no meaning to us, is naught but a private citizen like you and I.  I hope to be writing about the charges, both federal and state, against him over the coming year, but that’s about all I care about regarding him or his activities or rhetoric.

I and other bloggers have focused on the attacks of January 6th, incited and financed by the former guy, and the related impeachment trial, in hopes he would be held accountable for his actions for once.  The impeachment is over, the Republican Party is forever stained for their refusal to hold him accountable, and no, we won’t forget … ever.  However, it’s time now to realize that the former guy is no longer relevant to our lives, and focus on what is happening in our government, in the world today.  The former guy is history, he is boring for he is a broken record with only 5 phrases on his track.  A recent survey, taken 3 days after the pathetic impeachment vote, claims that 54% of republicans plan to back Trump as a presidential candidate in 2024.  Okay, fine, wonderful, but the election is not for another three-and-a-half years, some 45 months from now. There is work being done by the Biden administration that is far more important than what the former guy does or says.  And frankly, I think the squirrel on my back porch has as much chance of winning in 2024 as Trump.  So, let’s put the ugly man aside, leave him to languish in his fancy digs or rot in prison, and let us focus more on the things that matter in our lives.

Joe Biden brings to our government fresh blood, people who are intelligent, educated, and knowledgeable in their fields, and he brings policies that will make positive contributions to our lives, our health, and our environment.


The Biden cabinet

To date, seven of President Biden’s nominations for cabinet positions have been confirmed, most by a significant majority:

  • Tony Blinken, Secretary of State, was confirmed on January 26th by a vote of 78-22
  • Janet Yellen, Secretary of Treasury, was confirmed on January 25th by a vote of 84-15
  • Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense, was confirmed on January 22nd by a vote of 93-2
  • Pete Buttigieg, Secretary of Transportation, was confirmed on February 2nd by a vote of 86-13
  • Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, was confirmed on January 27th by a vote of 87-7
  • Alejandro Mayorkas, Secretary of Homeland Security, was confirmed on February 2nd by a vote of 56-43
  • Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence, was confirmed on January 20th by a vote of 84-10

Next week, confirmation hearings are scheduled for …

  • Merrick Garland, Attorney General, February 22-23
  • Debra Haaland, Secretary of the Interior, February 23
  • Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services, February 23

The Biden cabinet is coming together nicely, and I’m pleased that there has been no significant disruption in the process, apart from the time spent in the impeachment trial.  Every one of these people have the background, education and experience to handle the job, unlike their counterparts in the previous administration.  I don’t foresee a problem with the confirmations of Garland, Haaland, or Becerra, though I could always be overlooking something.  After all, it was me who declared 5 years ago that the former guy didn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the presidency.  Sigh.  Sooner of later I’ve got to be right … right?

Good News, Humorous News, and Lindsey Graham

First, the good news

The Department of Transportation, formerly under the leadership of Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife, has a new leader!  Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg, aka Mayor Pete, to the position of Secretary of Transportation!

buttigiegYou’ll remember that Mayor Pete ran as a candidate for president in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and gained significant momentum in mid-2019 when he participated in several town halls and debates. Buttigieg narrowly won the Iowa caucuses and placed a close second in the New Hampshire primary.  By winning Iowa, he became the first openly gay candidate to win a presidential primary or caucus. Buttigieg dropped out of the race on March 1st 2020, and endorsed Joe Biden the following day.

Under Ms. Chao, the Department of Transportation faded into the background, for she was rarely available to speak to the press, but make no mistake – this is a very important agency that oversees aviation safety, railroads, transit, highways and more.  At age 39, Buttigieg is also the youngest Cabinet secretary in the Biden administration and youngest person to serve as Secretary of Transportation.

Congratulations, Mayor Pete!


Now for the humorous

You all know that Trump has a golf course in Scotland, right?  Actually, he owns two of them.  The Scottish Parliament is considering launching an investigation into the financing of those golf courses.  Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie is urging the government to seek what is called an unexplained wealth order (UWO) against the Trump Organization’s two golf courses in Scotland.

A UWO is a relatively new piece of British criminal legislation, requiring the subject, in this case Donald Trump, to explain how exactly their assets were acquired. If their reasoning is not satisfactory, then the assets are “presumed to be recoverable property,” meaning they could be seized.  Reading this was my first chuckle of the day today!

Now, nobody in the Trump family can be accused of having an excess of intelligence, but the dumbest of them all is son Eric, who is said to be fuming at the possibility of the investigation …

junior-eric“Patrick Harvie is nothing more than a national embarrassment with his pathetic antics that only serve himself and his political agenda.  If Harvie and the rest of the Scottish government continue to treat overseas investors like this, it will deter future investors from conducting business in Scotland, ultimately crushing their economy, tourism and hospitality industries.”

According to Harvie, the fact that Trump’s businesses and business practices are the subject of a massive investigation in New York prompted his call for an UWO.  Makes perfect sense to me, knowing that Trump has been involved in some 6,000 lawsuits!


And last … ol’ Lindsey Graham

President Biden nominated Merrick Garland as Attorney General, the top position in the Department of Justice.  This is a key and critical position and Merrick Garland is more than qualified to fill it.  Merrick Garland was literally screwed over by Mitch McConnell and his gang of republican thugs in 2016 when President Obama nominated him to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated upon the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.  McConnell would not even permit the Senate to interview Garland then, saying that the next president should be the one to fill that seat … some 9 months before even the election, 11 months before that ‘next’ president would take office.  (Isn’t it funny how he changed his tune last year and hustled to confirm the bigoted and unqualified Amy Barrett to the seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death?)

Merrick-GarlandMerrick Garland is … or should be … a shoo-in for the Attorney General position, and confirmation hearings are likely to be more of a formality, as he is well-known and well-respected by members of both parties.  But Lindsey Graham likes to play games, even when his games are a threat to the nation.  Because as of yesterday, the two parties had not yet managed to come to terms on the ‘organizing resolution’ for the Senate, which is currently split 50-50, Lindsey Graham is still the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.

When the incoming chairman, Dick Durbin, requested scheduling the confirmation hearing for Garland on February 8th, Lindsey immediately rejected the notion.  Why?  Because it would take place the day before the start of Trump’s impeachment trial.

“A one-day hearing as you are proposing the day before the impeachment trial of a former president is insufficient. Democrats do not get to score political points in an unprecedented act of political theater on one hand while also trying to claim the mantle of good government on the other.”

OH HO HO HO … read that last sentence again!  Is this not the ultimate hypocrisy?  But then, the entire GOP has become the very definition of the word ‘hypocrisy’.  Expecting to hold a confirmation hearing for the top spot in the Justice Department a full month after the nomination is ‘political theater’?  Somebody really needs to send Lindsey Graham back home to South Carolina!

But there is a bright spot in this story.  This morning, Senators Schumer and McConnell finally managed to reach an agreement.  According to Schumer …

“I am happy to report this morning that the leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate. We will pass the resolution through the Senate today, which means that committees can promptly set up and get to work.”

So, by tomorrow, Mr. Graham will likely no longer be the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and the decision will not be his to make!  Let us hope that Senator Durbin will get the confirmation hearings on the schedule for next week, and that the process is completed quickly so that Merrick Garland can take his place as Attorney General and begin doing the serious work that must be done in the aftermath of the January 6th attacks on Congress.Lindsey-Graham