We Don’t Need More Babies!!!!

I saw an article headline in the New York Times this morning …

Who Has the Cure for America’s Declining Birthrate? Canada.

A number of things went spinning through my mind, but the dominating thought was – why does our declining birth rate need or deserve a cure???  All things considered, this world does not need any more humans hellbent on destroying our precious resources!  It seems, especially of late, that there is a taint in the gene pool here in the U.S. that more and more of our population are affected with TS – Terminal Stupidity.

Rather than trying to increase an already hefty population, let’s focus on educating the ones we have!  In fact, I would advocate sterilization for every single individual who blatantly refuses to be vaccinated or to wear a mask.  They are the breeders of TS.

And then there’s the environment.  At the current rate which we are ignoring the dire warnings of the scientific community and the IPCC, human life on this planet cannot possibly last past the end of the century, likely not even that long.  So … WHY does anybody think it’s a good idea to bring more lives onto the planet to suffer the devastating effects that are going to take place in the coming years???  What a cruel thing to do!  Over the next generation or two, there will be food and water scarcity, devastating fires, droughts, floods.

Rather than try to boost the birthrate, I say we make birth control free and widely available, same with abortions.  It is unconscionable to keep piling people on top of people who have no future.  We, humans, have no future and we have only ourselves to blame.  Don’t subject even more people to a slow, painful, drawn-out death.

Now, some of you may argue that one of those new lives could be the very person who grows up to find a way to save the planet.  And there was a time that would have been my view as well.  However, as I watch those with TS parading around doing far more harm than good, even to their own loved ones, I realize that if we were handed a solution on a silver platter today, there are far too many affected by TS who would rebel, who would refuse to make whatever sacrifices were needed on their part, for it would, in their book, “infringe on their freedoms”.  They would sooner see this planet crash and burn than to make some small effort to help save it, so no matter how brilliant the plan to save the planet might be, the TS bunch will stomp on it.

Sorry, folks, but my faith in the goodness of human nature is gone.  Done.  When I see a parent ripping the mask off of a teacher, see hordes of people cheering a madman who has done more than his share to add to the destruction of not only this nation, but the world, and see a motorcycle rally where not one lousy person of the thousands in attendance is wearing a mask, despite the surge in both new cases and deaths, despite the new Lambda variant on the horizon, then I know there isn’t much hope for rallying the crowd in a huge effort to save the planet.  Let the birth rate continue to decline.  It’s for the best.

And for those of you who haven’t yet had the joy of grandchildren … buy a puppy.  They’re cuter, much more low-maintenance, cheaper to feed, and loyal.

A Powerful Voice … The Voice Of The Future

Dear friends …

I haven’t been blogging much this week, and likely won’t for the next few days, for my “little bit under the weather” has worsened and I just don’t feel up to doing much besides sleeping.  But no worries … I will bounce back … soon, I hope.  Meanwhile young Greta Thunberg is back with a powerful piece that we should all take note of …


This Is the World Being Left to Us by Adults

Greta Thunberg, Adriana Calderón, Farzana Faruk Jhumu and 

The authors are youth climate activists from Sweden, Mexico, Bangladesh and Kenya, working with the international youth-led Fridays For Future movement.

Last week, some of the world’s leading climate change scientists confirmed that humans are making irreversible changes to our planet and extreme weather will only become more severe. This news is a “code red for humanity,” said the United Nations secretary general.

It is — but young people like us have been sounding this alarm for years. You just haven’t listened.

On Aug. 20, 2018, one child staged a lone protest outside the Swedish Parliament, expecting to stay for three weeks. Tomorrow we will mark three years since Greta Thunberg’s strike. Even earlier, brave young people from around the world spoke out about the climate crisis in their communities. And today, millions of children and young people have united in a movement with one voice, demanding that decision makers do the work necessary to save our planet from the unprecedented heat waves, massive floods and vast wildfires we are increasingly witnessing. Our protest will not end until the inaction does.

For children and young people, climate change is the single greatest threat to our futures. We are the ones who will have to clean up the mess you adults have made, and we are the ones who are more likely to suffer now. Children are more vulnerable than adults to the dangerous weather events, diseases and other harms caused by climate change, which is why a new analysis released Friday by UNICEF is so important.

The Children’s Climate Risk Indexprovides the first comprehensive view of where and how this crisis affects children. It ranks countries based on children’s exposure to climate and environmental shocks, as well as their underlying vulnerability to those shocks.

It finds that virtually every child on the planet is exposed to at least one climate or environmental hazard right now. A staggering 850 million, about a third of all the world’s children, are exposed to four or more climate or environmental hazards, including heat waves, cyclones, air pollution, flooding or water scarcity. A billion children, nearly half the children in the world, live in “extremely high risk” countries, the UNICEF researchers report.

This is the world being left to us. But there is still time to change our climate future. Around the world, our movement of young activists continues to grow.

In Bangladesh, Tahsin Uddin, 23, saw the impacts of climate change in his village and other coastal areas and was moved to action. He is passionate about climate education and has created a network of young journalists and educators to spread awareness, all while organizing cleanups of waterways teeming with plastic waste pollution.

In the Philippines, Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 23, has had to complete her homework by candlelight as typhoons raged outside and wiped out her community’s electricity. She told us there were times she was afraid of drowning in her own bedroom as water flooded in. Now she is leading youth in her country to respond to the aftermath of those typhoons and other hazards through sharing food, water, clothes and support with the most affected communities.

In Zimbabwe, Nkosi Nyathi, 18, is worried about a potential food crisis if weather patterns continue. Heat waves made school a challenging experience for him and his peers. Now he speaks to leaders from around the world to demand the inclusion of young people in decisions that affect their future.

The fundamental goal of the adults in any society is to protect their young and do everything they can to leave a better world than the one they inherited. The current generation of adults, and those that came before, are failing at a global scale.

The Children’s Climate Risk Index reveals a disturbing global inequity when it comes to the worst effects of climate change. Thirty-three countriesincluding the Central African Republic, Chad, Nigeria and Guinea, are considered extremely high-risk for children, but those countries collectively emit just 9 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. The 10 countries with the highest emissions, including China, the United States, Russia and Japan, collectively account for nearly 70 percent of global emissions. And children in those higher-emitting states face lower risks: Only one of these countries, India, is ranked as extremely high-risk in the UNICEF report.

Many higher-risk countries are poorer nations from the global south, and it’s there that people will be most impacted, despite contributing the least to the problem. We will not allow industrialized countries to duck responsibility for the suffering of children in other parts of the world. Governments, industry and the rest of the international community must work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as 195 nations committed to do in the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015.

We have less than 100 days until the U.N. Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in Glasgow. The world’s climate scientists have made it clear that the time is now — we must act urgently to avoid the worst possible consequences. The world’s young people stand with the scientists and will continue to sound the alarm.

We are in a crisis of crises. A pollution crisis. A climate crisis. A children’s rights crisis. We will not allow the world to look away.

Filosofa’s Snarky Snippets Once Again

I’m still struggling to get back above the weather, but I’m determined to get this blog back on track!  Therefore tonight I have only 2 snippets – one short one and one slightly longer one.  And then, I tell you what … I’ll throw in a cartoon or two to leave you with a bit of political humour, if there can be said to still be such a thing.


Thumbs up to …

U.S. District Judge Sharon Gleason who threw out the permits for a controversial oil project planned for Alaska’s North Slope.  The project was approved under the former administration, but was never popular with environmentalists or the Indigenous community.  Nonetheless, President Biden had allowed the project to continue despite objections from Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland.

Turns out that the environmental impact studies had been sub-par and incomplete, with one report saying that drilling for 160,000 barrels of oil per day, “probably won’t hurt the polar bears.”  Sorry guys, ‘probably’ just isn’t good enough.  Known as the Willow Project, it was owned by ConocoPhillips.  The federal agencies impact statements failed the meet the requirements laid out in two landmark laws, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Environmental Protection Act.

Should ConocoPhillips decide to further pursue their options, they will need to have far more in-depth and conclusive environmental impact studies done, and even then there are no guarantees.  I’m pleased … “Leave it in the ground” is my motto!


Say WHAT???

During the 20 years US forces were in Afghanistan, scores of Afghanis helped them, serving as guides, interpreters, and more. In return, the Biden administration has offered asylum in America to avoid the almost-certain retaliation by the Taliban.  It is only the right thing to do … the humanitarian thing.  We owe them at least this.  He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.  However, as you might guess, the right-wing talk jocks are having a field day proudly parading their racism, their xenophobia.

Tucker, the face pucker, had this to say …

“So, we’re getting it and if history is any guide — and it’s always a guide — we will see many refugees from Afghanistan resettle in our country in coming months, probably in your neighborhood. And over the next decade, that number may swell to the millions. So, first we invade, and then we’re invaded. It is always the same.”

Laura Ingraham …

“Is it really our responsibility to welcome thousands of potentially unvetted refugees from Afghanistan?”

And comments by others from Fox, OAN, Infowars, Breitbart and more …

  • “The collapse of Afghanistan will now send, it’s estimated, 5 million Afghan refugees into Europe and the traitorous Pentagon leadership has already sent out an order to prepare for hundreds of thousand of Afghan refugees to be brought to Texas.”
  • “Biden Accepts 30,000 Afghan Refugees, Exacerbating Open Border Policies.”
  • “The US has allies and bases throughout the Middle East. There is no need to airlift tens of thousands of unvetted refugees all the way to the homeland. It would be a national security disaster waiting to happen.”
  • “No, the United States should not welcome an unchecked flood of young fighting age Afghan men into our country. This should not even need to be said. It would be a grotesque and suicidal policy. Which is why I’m sure it will be put in place.”

And good ol’ Nazi Steven Miller, a prior advisor to the former guy on such things as immigration …

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Biden & his radical deputies will use their catastrophic debacle in Afghanistan as a pretext for doing to America what Angela Merkel did to Germany & Europe.”

But somewhere in my reading I saw one comment from a ‘news’ commentator that really set my teeth on edge.  I cannot quote is, for I haven’t yet been able to find it again, but he or she said that Afghani refugees should not be allowed to enter this country because, “They don’t even look like us.”

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.  What a big heart these jerks have, yes?

Now, I get that many in the media, particularly the right wing, faux ‘news’ networks, are not the brightest bulbs in the pack, not the most educated or understanding of world affairs.  But … BUT … I do expect better of our members of Congress.  I was appalled at the ruthlessness, the heartlessness of sixteen Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted against a bill to make it easier for Afghans who assisted the U.S. military to relocate to the U.S. The Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs Act (ALLIES) Act was approved in the House by a 407-16 vote on July 22. I expect better of our elected officials.  Here are the sixteen — remember their names:

  • Andy Biggs of Arizona
  • Lauren Boebert of Colorado
  • Mo Brooks of Alabama
  • Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee
  • Jeff Duncan of South Carolina
  • Bob Good of Virginia
  • Paul Gosar of Arizona
  • Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia
  • Kevin Hern of Oklahoma
  • Jody Hice of Georgia
  • Thomas Massie of Kentucky
  • Barry Moore of Alabama
  • Scott Perry of Pennsylvania
  • Bill Posey of Florida
  • Matt Rosendale of Montana
  • Chip Roy of Texas

Way to go you 16 … way to show that there is not a shred of humanity in you, that you care not one whit what happens to people who have helped keep our military alive, and I damn sure don’t trust you in a position making decisions that potentially affect MY life, either!


And the promised cartoons …

Open Letter To All Republicans In Congress

Dear Sir or Madam,

Never in my 70 years have I been as disgusted with the Republican Party as I am today.  You have taken politics to an all time low, completely disregarding the will of the people and the best interests of the nation.  Your only goal seems to be to take over the nation and hand the reins of power to a cruel and evil dictator.

Note that your party is in the minority, both in Congress and in the nation, yet rather than trying to develop policies that would help people and thereby attract new members, you push people away with your hateful, guttersnipe rhetoric.  One example, Margie Greene, the QAnon conspiracy theorist who sits in the House of Representatives.  Just since returning from her Twitter ban, she has said that she will personally spend money to ensure that every one of the 19 senators who voted for the infrastructure bill will face a primary candidate next year.  Why?  Only because they worked across the aisle in an attempt to do their jobs.  And then, she claimed that she is drawing up impeachment papers against President Biden … no reason given.

And speaking of the infrastructure bill, there’s Ron Johnson who tells us that he hasn’t even read it and doesn’t plan to … he just knows he plans not to vote for it no matter what is or isn’t in it.  This is obstructionism to the nth degree.

Politics is a career intended to be peopled by educated people who understand how government works and who are dedicated to the principles enumerated in the U.S. Constitution.  Instead, what we get from your side of the aisle is gibberish that makes less sense than a kindergarten child on the playground.  Those of us who have even a basic knowledge of the Constitution and understand a bit about how government is supposed to work are appalled by your actions of the last decade or so, and especially the past year.

We elect you to act in our best interests, to put our welfare ahead of your own personal wealth and lust for power, but thus far you have not done that.  We elect you, then pay you a fair salary, and in return we expect you to show up for work every day, to read every bill you are asked to consider, to give those bills due consideration, debate them, and then make a decision based on whether this bill will be good for the nation and its people.  That’s really all we ask of you!  We don’t ask you to flit about the country holding rallies in which to spew a message of hate.  We don’t ask you to visit the former guy to help him work up his campaign strategy for the next election that is more than three years away.  In fact, that is a conflict of interest and We the People would be well within our rights to call for the resignation of those who have done so.  We don’t ask you to tweet condemnation of every single thing the president says or does – that’s not in your job description.

We the People are your employers, not Mitch McConnell, not Kevin McCarthy, and for damn sure not Donald Trump!

In 1854, your party was founded for a very noble purpose:  to stop the spread of slavery.  Throughout the years, the Republican Party has made some positive contributions to this nation.  But today?  You contribute only to the angst of the people who need help, who need you to put on your grown-up underwear and step up to the plate, do the right thing.  You have an opportunity to make vast improvements in the Republican Party, but instead you are more concerned about increasing your own power and wealthy at the expense of the very people to whom you owe your jobs.

For far too long now, the Republican Party, once known as the Grand Old Party, has been the “party of ‘no’”, the obstructionist party with no relevant goals or policies other than to naysay any legislation that is proposed by the Democratic Party.  Well, guess what … at least they have ideas!

It is time for the Republican Party to reassess their values, to step back and ask yourselves exactly what are you contributing besides chaos?  With all the challenges that face us today, I would think this would be the time to set partisan politics, greed and arrogance aside and work toward fixing the problems, toward making this a safer, more equal nation.  Instead, you are doing the exact opposite.

Think about it.

Sincerely,

Jill Dennison, independent voter, taxpayer, citizen

Torn To Pieces

This country, the United States, is being torn into pieces.  I have never actually despised as many people as I do today, and I know that I am not alone.  We cannot seem to agree on anything, not even the safety of the nation’s children.  We cannot agree on whether or not to be vaccinated against a deadly disease, or whether to wear a mask for protection against that deadly disease.  We cannot agree on whether money should be spent to repair our crumbling physical infrastructure, and we certainly cannot agree that in this, the time of a massive, wide-spread pandemic, people should be helped.

I laugh when I think of the name of this country:  The UNITED States.  There is no unity left today … and why?  Political posturing.  There are two distinct sides with little in the middle and that’s just how the politicians want it.  It’s a power play that is costing us our lives.

One of the most blatant examples of the divisiveness in this nation is the Big Lie being perpetuated by men of greed, power-hungry men who are very well aware that the former guy did NOT win the 2020 election but will cross their fingers behind their back while spending millions of taxpayer dollars to claim that he did win.  Now, if President Biden had won by only a narrow margin, say 250 or even 1,000 votes, then I could see the rationale in challenging the results.  However, he won by more than 7 million votes … ain’t no way in hell that is not a legitimate win, folks!

President Joseph Biden has been in office for seven months now.  For the entirety of those seven months, and the two-and-a-half months before the inauguration, the former guy and his unconscionable minions have been spending time and our money attempting to prove their guy won.  He didn’t, but here’s the point:  We the People pay these representatives to work … to do the work of the people.  Pandering to Donald Trump is NOT the work of the people, it is a waste of time and money … time and money that belong to US.

After the circus in Arizona which, I understand, is still ongoing but not a legitimate audit by any stretch of the imagination, now Wisconsin is spending beaucoup taxpayer dollars to do an audit … 9 months after the election, after nearly 100 lawsuits that proved nothing, and after countless recounts and audits!  Does the state of Wisconsin really have nothing better on which to waste taxpayer dollars??? Wisconsin state Assembly Speaker Robin Vos announced that the ‘audit’ would cost several hundred thousand dollars … I wonder how the people of Wisconsin feel about their hard-earned money being thrown away in such an irresponsible manner?

The lead investigator in the Wisconsin ‘audit’ is Michael Gableman, a hardcore Trumpeter who has spoken at Trump rallies and who attended the pillow dude’s laughable cyber-symposium in which, allegedly, proof of widespread election fraud would be presented. (It, um, wasn’t.)  Now, do you really think Gableman is a ‘neutral’ party who will oversee a fair, honest audit of the election results?  Actually back in November, a full recount of the votes was done and there was no evidence whatsoever of any unusual activity or fraud.  Should that not suffice … people, let’s move on with our lives here!  President Joe Biden won the damned election … put it to bed!

I don’t know what hold the former guy has over the GOP, for he is no longer in power, no longer has power except as they choose to allow him to make their decisions for them. We voted Trump OUT of office because we no longer wanted him controlling our government, making piss poor decisions, and destroying our nation, so why would we want our elected representatives to force his ideas on us?  There’s something here I’m not seeing, frankly.  But this slavish devotion to the former guy is a large part of what is tearing this country apart.

If We the People don’t find some common ground soon and hold our elected officials accountable for their actions, or lack thereof, I fear for the fate of this Divided States of America.

When Will They Ever Learn???

I am appalled by the anti-mask, anti-vax bunch and the lengths they will go to in order to ensure that we never come out from under the Covid thumb!  To ensure that their own children have an equal opportunity to die at a young age.  For PETE’S SAKE PEOPLE!!!  Wake the hell up!

There is yet another new variant of Covid just beginning to make the rounds and it is thought to be largely resistant to the vaccines we have today.  It is called the Lambda variant, that started in Peru but is quickly popping up all over the globe.  And so … how are people ensuring that we all keep safe?  By breathing on us, by refusing to wear a mask or to allow their children to wear one.  Damn fools!

On the first day back to school in California this week, a parent assaulted a teacher when he saw his son come out of school with a mask on.  The teacher was not seriously injured, having only some bruises, lacerations, and a knot on his head, but this is horrifying!  The man would, apparently, rather see his son dead than wearing a mask!  I wonder if, when the son is in the hospital on life support, the father will assault the doctors and nurses for putting an oxygen mask on his face?

The anti-life group is now attacking restaurants, as well, even restaurants they have never eaten in.  They are leaving 1-star reviews on sites such as YELP, a restaurant reviewing site, simply because those restaurants require proof of vaccination.  The owners of some restaurants requiring proof of vaccination are being called ‘Nazis’ and ‘communists’ and more.  WTF???

To a large extent, I blame the nation’s Republican politicians for this, as well as the right-wing Fox ‘News’, for far too many of them have often done and said things that the uneducated and the willfully ignorant take to heart.  But let me be perfectly clear here:  lack of education and purposeful ignorance are NOT an excuse for risking the lives of others!  People who claim their ‘rights’ must also accept their responsibility to their own family and to the rest of the world.  No, you do NOT have the right to risk my life or even the lives of your own children.  They are not possessions that you can either care for or toss in the rubbish!

This nonsense has gone beyond ridiculous and those who choose to infect the rest of us may well end up being responsible for the extinction of the human species!  Maybe that’s for the best, since we humans seem to have zero respect for the planet or other species.  Perhaps humans were the worse example of a bad experiment.

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has written a column for The Atlantic titled “Don’t Be a Schmuck. Put on a Mask.”  I strongly urge you to read it, but here are a few snippets from his piece:

Earlier this week, I delivered a simple message: There is a virus here. It kills people. The only way you can prevent it is to get vaccinated, wear masks, and do social distancing.

Some people are complaining, “Well, my freedom is being kind of disturbed here.” Well, I told them, “Screw your freedom.” You have the freedom to wear no mask. But if you exercise that freedom, you’re a schmuck—because you’re supposed to protect your fellow Americans.

But some of the responses really worried me. Many people told me that the Constitution gives them rights, but not responsibilities. They feel no duty to protect their fellow citizens.

That’s when I realized we all need a civics lesson. I can’t help but wonder how much better off we’d be if Americans took a step back from politics and spent a minute thinking about how lucky we are to call this country home. Instead of tweeting, we could think about what we owe to the patriots who came before us and those who will follow us.

The Constitution aimed to “promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” It’s right there in our founding document. We need to think beyond our selfish interests.

Our country began with a willingness to make personal sacrifices for the collective good. It’s right there in the closing line of the Declaration of Independence: “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” Almost two centuries later, John F. Kennedy posed his famous challenge: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Our country became great because every generation before us knew that liberty and duty go hand in hand. I am worried that many of my fellow Americans have now lost sight of that.

Wake up, people.  Were it in my power, I would issue a nationwide mask mandate and have police arrest anybody found in a public venue not wearing a mask.  Alas, nobody asked my opinion.  So, I’ll likely continue to opine here, as the new lambda variant creates surges in hospitalizations and raises the death tolls once again.  Meanwhile, just get vaccinated and wear a damn mask!

Accomplishments After 206 Days …

Today, I would like to thank Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson for reminding us of the positive things that have happened since January 20th.  Yes, we have much to worry about, such as the For the People Act, gerrymandering, voter suppression, the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, racism in both police and populace, the end of the eviction moratorium, but … to have been in office only 206 days, President Biden and the U.S. Congress have actually accomplished a lot!  There’s still a lot of work to be done, but let’s take heart in what has already been done.


Maybe it’s time for doubting Democrats to press pause on the angst

Opinion by 

Eugene Robinson

Columnist

Yesterday at 4:01 p.m. EDT

It’s time to entertain the possibility that President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi actually know what they’re doing and are really good at their jobs.

Their fellow Democrats seem to have doubts, because, well, Democrats always have doubts. Dwelling on worst-case scenarios is somehow wired into the party’s DNA. Every victory must have some downside; every step forward must lead toward some potential pitfall. If worrying had been an Olympic sport in Tokyo, Democrats would have swept gold, silver and bronze.

This angst is richly nourished by voluminous news media analysis and commentary adhering to the convention of anticipating what might go wrong. What if progressives in the House won’t swallow hard and vote for the “hard infrastructure” bill passed by the Senate? What if House moderates insist on a quick vote on the Senate measure and threaten to withhold their votes on the budget with its huge “human infrastructure” spending? What if an asteroid strikes before Biden can sign these transformational pieces of legislation into law?

Let me suggest that Democrats squelch their inner Eeyore for just a moment to appreciate, and celebrate, what their party has accomplished.

There was no way, said the conventional wisdom, that Schumer (D-N.Y.) was going to get Republicans to support any kind of meaningful infrastructure bill. There was no way the bipartisan gang of senators trying to craft a compromise measure would succeed. There was no way Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) would allow anything on infrastructure to pass, thus giving Biden a win. There was no way more than a handful of Republican senators would defy all the threats streaming from Mar-a-Lago and collaborate with Democrats on anything.

Yet here we are. Nineteen Republicans — including McConnell — joined every Senate Democrat in approving $1 trillion worth of desperately needed infrastructure spending. Included are not just funds to fix roads and bridges, but also big money to provide broadband Internet to Americans who can’t afford it; upgrade the power grid in ways that facilitate the switch to renewable energy; and create a coast-to-coast network of electric-vehicle charging stations.

Okay, but there was no way (according to the conventionally wise) that the whole Senate Democratic caucus, from Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on the left to Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) on the right, would agree on a budget framework. Yet they did, and the massive $3.5 trillion resolution — which Democrats can pass through the reconciliation process, without GOP votes — addresses all the party’s major spending priorities, including the urgent need to address climate change.

Well, said worrywarts, there was absolutely, positively no way that the creaking, dysfunctional Senate could possibly do both those things — infrastructure and the budget — at the same time, as Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats were demanding. Yet, again, that is precisely what Schumer accomplished. Done and done.

So now we’re hearing that the hard part actually lies ahead, because Pelosi will inevitably face an uprising by her progressives, her moderates or both. Indeed, this could happen. But I would submit that Pelosi’s record demonstrates she knows a lot more about how to get the House to do what she needs than any of the Cassandras predicting her certain failure.

I would also submit that Democrats in both chambers are acting quite pragmatically, regardless of what they might be saying. Sanders’s first hope was for $6 trillion; he settled for $3.5 trillion. Manchin now says even that smaller amount is too much — but he voted for it anyway. Progressives in the House are vocal in their demands — they pushed Biden into extending the eviction moratorium — but thus far, at least, they have given Pelosi their votes when it counted.

Democrats should realize that if you add in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which gives unprecedented support to low- and middle-income families with children, Biden is steering the most progressive sea change in U.S. governance in half a century. And he, Schumer and Pelosi are doing this with a 50-50 Senate and just a single-digit majority in the House. I, for one, am impressed.

All right, if you must worry about something, worry about voting rights. Schumer is now working with Manchin, Raphael G. Warnock (D-Ga.) and a few other senators to draw up a voting rights bill the whole Senate Democratic caucus will support. There may come a point when Manchin has to decide whether to let the Republican minority filibuster — and kill — a measure he himself wrote. He could make the wrong choice.

But for now, Democrats, give yourself at least a few days to admire all that is being accomplished. For a change, take yes for an answer.

Note to readers:  I was unable to respond to your comments yesterday, for I was very much under the weather.  After 12 hours of sleep, I’m about 50% better today, and I will try to get to all your comments, but if I am not able to, I apologize.

Oh Da Snark … Try Watching Grass Grow!

It seems I keep finding things to snark about.  I have tried to clear my mind of the detritus, tried lying in the yard watching the grass grow to find some peace of mind, but some of the blades of grass began looking like politicians after a while.  I threw myself into housework … for all of ten minutes … and then I was tired, so I went back to reading the news.  So, letting loose the snark here on ye olde blog seems to be the only way to evict it from my head!


Punished for doing the right thing

Okay, my friends … I’m going there again … ‘there’ being the place I try very hard to stay away from:  religion.  Well, not religion per se, but rather certain religious ‘leaders’ who have flown repeatedly onto my radar, almost as if they are begging me to swat them down.  Sigh.  I really don’t like delving into the realm, for I understand that in this area, I am a minority and my views have little or no value to the majority.  However …

Greg Locke, pastor of the Global Vision Bible Church in Nashville, Tennessee, is not a nice man.  He has floated across my radar numerous times, but until recently I swished him away, pooh-poohed him as just another foolish evangelical.  Until recently, that is, when he actually had the unmitigated gall to tell his congregation that if they wore a mask, they would be thrown out of church!

“If you start showing up [with] all these masks and all this nonsense, I will ask you to leave. I am not playing these Democrat games up in this church.”

‘Democrat games???’  Who’s playing games now, Greg?  What’s next for Mr. Locke?  Will he throw out parishioners who have been vaccinated?  What about those who eat healthy and exercise regularly … are they to be given the boot?  Folks, this is not about whether one chooses to believe in a higher being or not … this is about life and death, about personal choices, about our health.  Mr. Locke has just mandated that his congregation must engage in dangerous, life-threatening behaviour in order to have the dubious ‘privilege’ of hearing him opine on that of which he is proven ignorant.

This isn’t Locke’s first foray into the unconscionable.  Previously he insisted President Joe Biden was not legitimately elected and claimed only “crack-smoking” leftists would think he beat Donald Trump to the White House.  He has falsely accused the State of Tennessee of building ‘quarantine camps’ to house the unvaccinated, and last September he published a book titled, This Means War: We Will Not Surrender Through Silence (Pastor Greg Locke: Spiritual Warfare Series).

What a joke he is … I wonder how many people will die because they listened to him?


And on the subject of masks …

Do you ever look around, read the news, and just wonder if the whole damn world has lost its collective marbles???

On Tuesday night, a meeting of the school board was held in Williamson County, Tennessee, the wealthiest in the state and one of the 20 wealthiest counties in the country.  The purpose of the meeting was to decided whether or not there would be a mask mandate in place when children return to school next week.  Unlike some other states, there is no ban on mask mandates in Tennessee and the decision is left up to each school district.

The meeting was so chaotic that it ended up taking four hours to decide that yes, they would mandate masks for teachers and students at the elementary school level.  Masks will be optional at the junior high and high school levels where most students are over 12 years of age and thus eligible for vaccination.  Angry parents showed up, almost none wearing a mask, and frequently disrupted the meeting, expressing their fury that their child might be ordered to wear a mask.  One person became so violent that he had to be escorted out by county deputies.

But it was what came afterward that makes me think our nation is devolving into something cruel and inhumane.  As the meeting broke up, hundreds of protestors were waiting outside.  The meeting had included health care professionals who attested to the value of wearing a mask during this time when the Delta variant of the coronavirus is running rampant.  Upon leaving the building, the health care professionals were surrounded by protestors chanting and issuing threats such as “We know who you are,” and “We will find you.”

If this is what it means to be an American, then I want no part of it!  These people are loons!  Doctors and nurses, trying to keep the children of these loons safe and alive, are threatened for doing so.  PEOPLE!  WAKE UP!  This is not how rational human beings behave!!!  Or is it?  Are people completely losing the ability to disagree in a civilized manner?


Something to ponder

Our friend Jerry, aka Grumpy1180, left a comment on my post about Andrew Cuomo’s resignation that I found very astute …

I’ve had several epiphanies since leaving the Republican Party. Here’s one of them: When a Republican “leader” gets caught with his or her hand in the cookie jar–or his or her pants down, or choose your cliche–Republican followers turn on the accusers, the law enforcers, the court system, the media, and anyone else who would dare to question the integrity of their hero. They side with the person over the principle. When a Democrat leader gets caught violating a law or an important social norm, Democrat voters say, essentially, “Sorry, _____. I liked you, but principles come first. Time for you to move on and be replaced by someone who understands the importance of upholding crucial, society-sustaining principles.”

Think about that for a minute … he’s right!  Did you hear a single Republican call for Trump’s resignation in light of his many proven sexual harassment accusations, his lies, his corruption?  He even admitted to some of them, yet not a whisper was heard from Republicans in or out of Congress.  When confirmation hearings were being held for Brett Kavanaugh to occupy a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, and a highly credible woman accused him of sexual assault, who did Republicans turn on?  The woman, not Kavanaugh.  And more recently … have you heard a single Republican call for Representative Matt Gaetz, who is being investigated on sex trafficking charges, to step down?

Think about it … which party has shown integrity?  Jerry is right … it damn sure ain’t the Republican Party!

Two Monsters In Governor’s Clothing

The state of Florida currently has more hospitalizations due to COVID than any other state in the nation.  Cases in Texas are also surging, sending hospitals scrambling to find ICU beds for all the patients.  Both of these states have Republican governors who are doing everything in their power to reduce the population in their states.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (left) and Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Both Governor DeSantis of Florida and Governor Abbott of Texas have banned mask mandates in their state, meaning that localities cannot legally put a mask mandate into effect in order to protect the people.  Bad enough under any circumstances, but now, with parents preparing to send their children back to school in a week or two, it is critical.

Columnist Greg Sargent has the latest on the battle between the governors, localities, and school boards …


The rebellion against pro-Trump, anti-mask GOP governors is gaining steam

Opinion by

Greg Sargent

Columnist

Yesterday at 11:04 a.m. EDT

Let’s state this up front: GOP governors are not required by some higher Trumpian law to use official powers to actively thwart efforts to fight the spread of the coronavirus. Some are choosing not to do that: In South Dakota, the governor left decisions about mask mandates to local officials, and in Arkansas the governor admitted that an earlier ban on them was an “error.”

But the Republican governors of Texas and Florida — Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis — are in a class by themselves. Their states are seeing some of the worst surges of covid in the nation, yet they are continuing to hamstring local officials from acting to protect their constituents.

Which is why these governors are facing a rebellion of sorts. In both states, ABC News reports, officials are defying limits on mask mandates, setting up direct conflicts with those governors.

This will flush out into the open the truly twisted nature of what DeSantis and Abbott are doing. They piously claim to be defending their constituents’ freedom from government mandates. But they are using their power to prevent local officials from implementing basic public health measures in a highly selective way that is plainly molded around the obsessions of former president Donald Trump and his movement, not anchored in any genuine public interest rationale.

Local officials are rebelling

The derangement of this position is particularly clear in Texas. On Monday, Abbott announced that he is seeking the help of outside medical professionals to deal with the state’s covid surge. He is also asking hospitals to postpone all elective medical procedures as hospitals fill up.

Amid all this, the Dallas schools superintendent has reasonably announced that students, visitors and staff will have to wear masks in schools. He noted that the decision is an “urgent” matter of “protecting” children, teachers and workers.

Yet this directive required him to defy Abbott’s executive order barring mask mandates by government entities. To be clear, Abbott’s own actions amount to a stark admission that the state is in serious trouble — yet he continues to ban localities from taking measures to protect public health.

The absurd result, as the New York Times reports, is that local officials are scouring legal codes to find ways to get around Abbott’s blockade on implementing public health measures. This isn’t how officials should have to spend time and resources during a public health emergency.

In Austin, where cases are surging, local officials have recommended masking, but cannot require it, which has led the mayor of Austin to declare the situation “dire.” The Austin school district just announced a mask requirement, defying Abbott.

Meanwhile, in Florida, the superintendent of Alachua County Public Schools is moving ahead with mandatory masking. This is in defiance of DeSantis’s recent executive order empowering the state to withhold funds to punish school boards who implement mask mandates.

Incredibly, it appears DeSantis may make good on this threat. The superintendent, Carlee Simon, told “Morning Joe” on Tuesday that she’s received a letter from the state demanding justification for her move and essentially indicating that funding is at risk if she continues.

A handful of Florida parents are now suing DeSantis. One mom told CNN that she “never envisioned” that the governor “would actively be trying to harm my child,” and lamented correctly that limits on mask mandates are interfering with her son’s ability to get educated safely.

Anyone who has taken a young child to a camp or gathering this summer has witnessed how children playing together continue to drift inevitably into very close contact. It’s particularly ludicrous and venal to bar local officials from acting to defend these children from spread.

Abbott and DeSantis love to proclaim that they are defending the liberty of their states’ residents to proceed free of public health mandates, and that they should merely exercise “personal responsibility” in dealing with covid. But it’s hard to discern any genuine ideological vision here, since they have no apparent objection to all manner of other public health mandates.

“We have plenty of mandates,” Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin, told me. “We require elementary school students to get various vaccinations. We require drivers to wear seat belts. We require adults to wear clothes.”

“There are any number of ways in which the laws of every state, including Florida and Texas, impose mandates that are designed to protect individuals,” Vladeck continued.

‘Covid exceptionalism’

All of which suggests that the real working ideology here is something you might call “covid exceptionalism.”

Obviously it would theoretically be possible for DeSantis and Abbott to believe, in good faith, that mandates against covid represent unacceptable incursions on liberty while other mandates do not.

But everyone knows the real reason DeSantis and Abbott are suddenly concerned with protecting people from public health mandates on covid in particular is that government officials eager to battle covid this way have become associated with assorted enemies of Trump and his following.

Because Trump and his movement have required this adherence to covid exceptionalism, local officials are being hamstrung from carrying out their own official responsibilities to act in defense of public health. It’s hard to find the right language to describe the seething contempt for public service and the public good that’s truly on display here.

Goodbye Cuomo, Hello Hochul … WHO???

Well, folks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo did what he said he wouldn’t do … he resigned.  I have mixed feelings … certainly it was the right thing to do in light of all the credible accusations of sexual harassment against him, not to mention a looming impeachment.  He was correct when he said that the last thing government needs is to be distracted, and he has, of late, become a distraction not only for the State of New York, but for the nation.  Still, I was a bit sad, for he has done much good during his eleven years in office and was the voice of reason during the height of the pandemic, the antithesis to the former president’s lies.  His father, Mario Cuomo, governed New York for eleven years, from 1983 to 1994, and was a popular governor, as has been Andrew until recent events.

In two weeks, when Cuomo leaves the governor’s mansion for the final time, Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul will take his place and will become the first woman governor in the history of New York!  So … who is this Kathy Hochul of whom we know almost nothing?

She served briefly, just under two years from June 2011 ‘til January 2013, in the U.S. House of Representatives representing New York’s 26th district.  Then in 2014, Governor Cuomo named her as his choice for Lieutenant Governor and she was sworn in on January 1st, 2015.

Not much is known about her political views, for she has remained in the background through much of her tenure, but what I see, I like.  She supports raising taxes on those earning more than $500,000 per year, she supports the development of alternative energy sources, she supports the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), supports women’s rights, same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights.

In his resignation speech, Governor Cuomo supported her, saying …

“Kathy Hochul, my lieutenant governor is smart and competent. This transition must be seamless. We have a lot going on. I’m very worried about the Delta variant and so should you be, but she can come up to speed quickly.”

Interestingly, she hasn’t spoken with Governor Cuomo since February, according to one source. Her last public appearance with Cuomo was at a Covid briefing in Buffalo at the end of January.  Erie County Democratic Committee Chairman Jeremy Zellner gave her a positive review …

“Her work speaks for itself. She’s done this stuff outside the bubble of the governor and built her own relationships out there. She did not take this job lightly. She’ll be prepared, she’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen.”

And Assembly member Karen McMahon, a Democrat whose district borders Buffalo, is also in Hochul’s corner …

“She is probably one of the most down-to-earth people that you could ever meet. She’s gone to great heights in government, yet one-to-one, she is so accessible and so warm and just a very generous person … She’s always able to help — particularly women, too.”

She will have some big challenges ahead of her, but I think she is up for the task.