Disenfranchising Young Voters …

The percentage of college students who cast votes in 2018 was more than double that of 2014, the last mid-term election prior to 2018.  Why?  Two major reasons:  school shootings and the environment.  The February 2018 shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was a turning point for young people around the nation.  They were tired of seeing their friends die needlessly because of reckless, largely unregulated gun laws, or rather lack of laws.  A few activists from Parkland took the lead and motivated many more.

And then came a young girl in Sweden, Greta Thunberg, and she gained a voice that would be heard ‘round the world, and what she said with that voice was that we, the adults around the globe, have done a lousy job taking care of our planet, and that we have jeopardized hers and other young people’s futures and … she wasn’t going to take it lying down!  And her voice carried, touching the hearts and minds of young people in every nation, including the U.S.

Because of these two things, young people today are far more invested in the political process, far more aware of what is being done, who will do things to improve the situation, and they are, most importantly, voting in numbers never seen before among their age group.  My hat is off to all those who are using their voice and their vote to do what we oldsters should have been doing for decades now.  But …

Not everybody is pleased by this new wave of political enthusiasm among the youth of the country. Young people, concerned about the proliferation of guns and the destruction of the environment, are typically more likely to vote for a democratic candidate, which has thrown the Republican Party into a tailspin and led them to find new ways to disenfranchise the young voters.

The Texas Legislature has outlawed polling places that do not stay open for the entire 12-day early-voting period.  Many college campuses set up temporary early-voting sites for the convenience of the students.  However, they have neither the funding nor the need to keep those sites open for the entire 12 days, and therefore will not be allowed to have them this year.  Many students who live in campus housing do not have their own transportation and may well find it difficult to get to the polls in order to vote.  In Texas, this will affect nine of the eleven campuses of Austin Community College, as well as six campus polling places at colleges in Fort Worth, two in Brownsville, on the Mexico border, and other polling places at schools statewide.

It isn’t only Texas … Republican politicians around the country are throwing up roadblocks between students and voting booths.  In New Hampshire, a Republican-backed law took effect this fall requiring newly registered voters who drive to establish “domicile” in the state by securing New Hampshire driver’s licenses and auto registrations, which can cost hundreds of dollars annually.  Six in 10 New Hampshire college students come from outside the state, a rate among the nation’s highest. As early as 2011, the state’s Republican House speaker at the time, William O’Brien, promised to clamp down on unrestricted voting by students, calling them “kids voting liberal, voting their feelings, with no life experience.”  Say WHAT???

Florida’s State Legislature reinstated a 2014 law that the Courts struck down at the time, outlawing early voting sites at state universities, with an additional caveat that all early voting sites must offer “sufficient non-permitted parking” – something that is in short supply at most universities.

North Carolina Republicans enacted a voter ID law last year that recognized student identification cards as valid — but its requirements proved so cumbersome that major state universities were unable to comply. A later revision relaxed the rules, but much confusion remains, and fewer than half the state’s 180-plus accredited schools have sought to certify their IDs for voting.

Wisconsin Republicans also have imposed tough restrictions on using student IDs for voting purposes. The state requires poll workers to check signatures only on student IDs, although some schools issuing modern IDs that serve as debit cards and dorm room keys have removed signatures, which they consider a security risk.  The law also requires that IDs used for voting expire within two years, while most college ID cards have four-year expiration dates. And even students with acceptable IDs must show proof of enrollment before being allowed to vote.

Tennessee does not recognize student ID cards as valid for voting, and legislators have removed out-of-state driver’s licenses from the list of valid identifications.  Tennessee ranks 50th in voter turnout among the states and the District of Columbia. Only Texas’ turnout is worse.

In almost all of these cases, the excuse given for the tougher restrictions is that they are trying to cut down on voter fraud, but that argument lacks teeth, since widescale voter fraud has been proven to be virtually non-existent.  It is simple common sense that making voting convenient improves turnout.  When polling places are closed, hours restricted, photo IDs required, turnout will suffer.  What a message we are sending to our youth when we make it so hard for them to vote that many will throw their hands up in frustration and become lifelong non-voters!

One final thought.  The states where the barriers are rising fastest are in political battlegrounds and places like Texas where one-party control is eroding.  My thought is that if the Republicans have, as they claim to, the best ideas, the best platforms … then why do they need to cheat in order to win?

The young people in this country today are our hope for the future, for a future with clean air, potable water, arable land for growing food, and fewer guns in the hands of the wrong people.  If we discourage them today, what is the message we are sending?  Think about it.

The Results Are In — And So Is Trudeau!

A couple of weeks ago, John Fioravanti wrote a guest post about what was then the upcoming elections in Canada.  At the time, the race between incumbent Justin Trudeau and newcomer (Trump clone) Andrew Scheer was neck-in-neck.  Last Sunday, the much-awaited election took place and John has graciously written a new guest post to explain and help us understand the results …


CANADA’S FEDERAL ELECTION: 2019

john fioravantiOn Monday, October 21st, voters in Canada returned Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party to power in Ottawa with a strong minority government. The party standings in our 338 seat House of Commons at the time of this writing is:

LIBERALS – 157   CONSERVATIVES – 121   BLOC QUEBECOIS – 32

NEW DEMOCRATIC – 24   GREEN PARTY – 3   INDEPENDENT – 1

For readers who are unfamiliar with the Parliamentary democratic system, here is a brief explanation. We have two legislative bodies that make laws. The House of Commons is elected and electoral ridings are drawn by the principle of representation by population. Members serve 4-year terms and all stand for election at the same time. The Senate is a body appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister. All bills must pass both houses to become law, but only the House of Commons can force a new election before the mandatory 4-year term has expired.

FOUR PARTY LEADERS

Left to right … Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau

We do not have a separate election to choose the Prime Minister. The PM and the Cabinet are selected from elected members of the largest party in the Commons.

Canada’s Prime Minister is the leader of the party that wins the most seats in the Commons in an election. He/she is appointed by the Governor General who represents the Queen. The PM and Cabinet must maintain the support of a majority of elected members in the Commons or resign their appointed positions in the executive branch. In a Parliamentary system, the members of the executive branch are first elected to the legislative branch – the House of Commons.

In 2015, Trudeau’s Liberals won a clear majority of the seats in the House of Commons. But Trudeau lost ground in 2019 and was left with a strong minority. He needed 170 seats to win a majority and fell 13 short.Electoral Map 2019A look at the electoral map of Canada makes it clear that the country is fractured along regional lines. The greatest number of Liberal seats came from eastern Canada – the Maritime Provinces, Quebec, and Ontario. The Conservative’s stronghold was west of Ontario – especially in the prairie provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta. Third place Bloc Quebecois support came exclusively from Quebec as its party platform is Quebec nationalist – to protect and nurture the French language and culture in Quebec. The BQ cares not about the rest of Canada.

I was very disappointed that Elections Canada pegged voter turnout at 66% of eligible voters. That bodes ill for democracy in Canada and it also speaks to voter disapproval of all the parties. Another interesting fact is that the Conservatives won the popular vote netting 35% while the Liberals trailed with just 33%. The Liberals had concentrated support in the large urban areas – especially Montreal and Toronto, while Conservative support was concentrated in the less populous rural areas.

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Justin Trudeau & family — election night

It is fair to say that Trudeau was spanked by the voters for his transgressions in the SNC Lavalin affair and the blackface pictures. His party won 20 fewer seats than in 2015. On the other hand, it is clear that Scheer was not embraced by voters and was criticized for his attack-style campaign. One commentator said that Trudeau’s political problems should have been enough to turf the Liberals out of power altogether. Scheer failed to capitalize.

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Andrew Scheer & family — election night

To me, the big message of this election was that the voters are fed up with partisan politics determining how Parliament will tackle or ignore the serious problems facing the country. The only party that put forward a comprehensive platform on the environment was the Green Party. They finished with 3 seats, just one more than in 2015. Our Indigenous Peoples are suffering throughout the country with excessively high poverty rates and many reserves have filthy drinking water. This is a terrible travesty. The only party that has addressed these issues to any degree is the Liberal Party – yet they have accomplished very little in this regard.

Politicians need to wake up to the reality that they must work together as leaders, not partisan plotters, for the benefit of ALL the people. This is why the voters inflicted a minority government on the country. It is true that minority governments are unstable because the opposition members outnumber the government members in any and all votes in the Commons. It is also true that this built-in threat forces politicians on all sides to work together and exercise compromise for the benefit of all.

Canada has elected minority governments in the past and some worked well, while others did not. On average, statistics point out that minority governments last less than two years! What happens then? We have another very expensive election. As I see it, we need to commit financial resources and energy to bring carbon emissions under control so that one day soon our country will no longer depend on fossil fuels. We also need political parties to operate respectfully and cooperatively and serve the nation instead of themselves.

THE TREES!!! GONE!!! 😢

Yeah, I know … my 2nd rant of the day.  I promise to make this one short.

Today, I heard loud engine sounds from within my house, so I went to the front window to see what was happening.  The street was blocked by two large pickup trucks, one with a bin-on-wheels attached, the other with some sort of large piece of equipment on a pull-along attached.  The piece of equipment was running loudly, and as I watched, three men got out and started removing chain saws, rakes and leaf blowers from the trucks.

Now, last year some of you may remember, the landscapers pulled up all my sunflowers and I caught them just as they were pulling the last one.  This year, my sunflowers have succumbed to autumn, but still, the birds come ‘round every day to score some seeds, and I have a profusion of cosmos and morning glories still in bloom.  I was not about to turn my back and let these dudes chop down my flowers … I went out the front door (in plaid jammie bottoms and a holey t-shirt) arms akimbo, ready to do battle if they so much as even looked at my little tiny garden.

However, they were out for bigger game than my little flowers … they began by, I thought, trimming the tree at the south end of the street.  They trimmed branch after branch … until it was bare, and then … they chopped it down!  WHY???  Then they crossed the street and proceeded to do the same with the Asian Pear, one of two on the street that bloom so beautifully every spring.  Then the next, and the next.  They chopped down the tree next door … I have no idea what kind of tree it was, but it attracted a profusion of bees every year.  By the time they left, there were only two trees left on our entire street.

I asked the older of the three men … “Why are you doing this?  Why are you chopping down our trees?”  He looked at me as if either I had two heads, or perhaps I was frothing at the mouth.  Realizing that I was powerless here, my parting shot as I stomped off (being barefoot makes it hard to do a convincing stomp, but I gave it my best), was “You, sir, are a murderer and I hope your conscience keeps you awake tonight!”  I should have asked him if he was related to Donald Trump or Jair Bolsonaro.

As much as we need trees, and these eejits are cutting them down for no reason!  Trees provide beauty, they provide substance and shelter for bees, birds, squirrels and more.  And then, there’s that little matter of trees providing much-needed oxygen!!!  I am furious … and I am heart-broken.  And I just felt a need to rant a bit about it.  Thanks for listening, my friends!

Saturday Surprise — Birds’ Tongues!

A nice crisp, cool autumn weekend … at long last!  You guys have big plans?  I have no idea if we do or not … the girls usually decide what we’ll do on a Saturday, and I’m just along for the ride, the bank card, and the driver.  I can’t believe that October is already half over … seems like it only started yesterday!

A few days ago, a friend and I were having a conversation about whether birds have tongues, and if so, whether they have taste buds.  Of course … a perfectly normal conversation!  What?  You don’t discuss such things?  Anyway, naturally the question kept burning in my mind, keeping me awake far into the wee hours, and I simply had to satisfy my curiosity.  Well … turns out they do have tongues, and this ferruginous hawk just had to prove the point!ferruginous-hawkJust as birds come in all different shapes, sizes and varieties, so do their tongues — long tongues, short tongues, spiky tongues, curly tongues, forked tongues, frayed tongues, brush-like tongues.  Care to take a look at a few?

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This rainbow lorikeet has a brush-like tongue

These hummingbirds have forked tongues that are rolled up inside their beaks until submerged in liquid, at which time they partly unfurl.  As the hummingbird drinks, the forks of his tongue furl and unfurl, so it’s almost as if he is drinking through two straws.hummingbird-1

hummingbird-2Isn’t this guy pretty?  He’s a purple honeycreeper (looks blue to me) and has a very long tongue, to enable him to drink nectar from flowers (or the hummingbird feeder you have on the back porch).purple-honeycreeper.jpgWoodpeckers also have very long tongues that are also sharp and spiky … the better to get the bugs out of the holes in trees!  And here you thought they just liked waking you at 6:00 a.m. on a Saturday!  This guy decided to take the easy way out, though, and drink from the hummingbird feeder.woodpeckerWhile we’ve established that birds do have tongues, what they don’t have is teeth, so birds of prey, such as fish-eating birds, have tongues with little rear-facing hooks or spikes to prevent a captured fish from slipping away from them.  Penguins have very spiky and partially keratinized tongues, meaning that parts of the tongue are made strong and stiff by keratin.

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Gentoo penguin chick

Geese and ducks also have spiky tongues, as well as hairy tongues and tongues with hard flat surfaces that, from a distance, seem to resemble a human’s tongue.  However, they are really nothing like our tongues, for they are covered with hairs and spikes that act like a sieve, allowing the bird to filter food particles from the water.

Canada-geese

Canadian geese

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Mallard duck

So, we’ve seen that birds have tongues, but do they have taste buds?  Now, this whole conversation started because my friend’s budgie had stopped liking one food that he was once very fond of, and nearly gobbled another that he never used to like at all.  Turns out that yes, birds do have taste buds, but not very many, and not on their tongues, but rather in their bills!fieldfareTaste buds in birds haven’t been the subject of much research, so not as much is known, but what is known is that birds have far fewer taste buds than we humans.  Depending on the species, birds may have fewer than 50 or up to roughly 500 taste buds, while humans have 9,000-10,000 taste buds. Birds can taste sweet, sour and bitter flavors, and they learn which of those tastes are the most suitable and nutritious food sources. The sensitivity to different tastes varies by species, but most birds use other senses—sight and hearing most prominently—to locate the best foods.

And now you know more than you ever thought you wanted to know about birds’ mouths!  Hope you enjoyed the pictures and the mini-lesson!  Now go forth and have a fun & wonderful weekend, my friends!

For more fun reading about birds and their mouths, here are the sources I used:

Let’s talk about bird tongues  (Research on Dark-eyed Juncos and why animals do what they do)

Bird Senses and How They Use Them  (The Spruce)

How Do Birds Taste Their Food?  (Audubon)

Corporate Profits Over Life?

There is yet more evidence that corporate profits matter more than life in the U.S.  Last November one of the issues on the California ballot was Proposition 12.  In a nutshell, Proposition 12, the Prevention of Cruelty to Farm Animals Act …

“…  outlaws the most extreme forms of animal confinement throughout the Golden State. Once it’s implemented, egg-laying hens, baby calves raised for veal, and mother pigs will no longer be confined in cages. Additionally, all eggs, veal, and pork sold in the state will meet this standard.”

Some 60% of voters approved the measure, and it was signed into law.  The Humane Society of the United States backed the measure, while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals opposed it, saying it did not go far enough.

However, the meat industry claims that it violates the U.S. Constitution’s Commerce Clause by requiring out-of-state producers to comply with California’s rules or face a sales ban. The North American Meat Institute, whose members include processors such as Tyson Foods, Cargill, Smithfield Foods, and retailers including Wal-Mart, Chipotle, Target, and Whole Foods, said enforcing Proposition 12 would hurt producers and consumers by significantly increasing their costs.  And so, on Friday they filed a lawsuit (isn’t that the answer to everything these days?) in Los Angeles federal court seeking an injunction against the sales ban targeting out-of-state veal and pork.

The law, if enforced, would …

  • Prevent egg-laying hens, breeding pigs, and veal calves from being housed inhumanely in small cages for their entire lives.
  • Reduce the risk of people being sickened by food poisoning and factory farm pollution by preventing overcrowding of animals in small spaces.

It would also likely cost producers more to comply, and thus raise the consumer prices for eggs, pork and veal, for we all know that companies like Tyson and Wal-Mart aren’t going to eat a single penny of that increased cost but will pass it on to consumers.

My take?  Thanks for asking … if these producers cannot treat the animals humanely, then they can go out of business for all it matters.  People should eat less pork and veal anyway, and fewer eggs as well.  We would all be healthier.  I’m sick and tired of the big corporations putting their profit ahead of lives, whether human, animal, plant, or the planet.  And speaking of the planet …

CaliforniaCalifornia seems to consistently be ahead of the pack on trying to improve such things as the environment, human and animal welfare, etc.  California has the strictest emissions standards in the nation for autos and trucks, and recently the state worked with auto makers to maintain those standards, but last month Trump & Co revoked the state’s authority to set state-level standards.  Why?  Because Trump & Co are in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry.  Higher emission standards like California’s mean the oil companies will sell less fuel and … GASP … may lose some of their multi-billion dollar profits!  ¡Ay, pobrecitos!

But then … wait for it … the Environmental Protection Agency last week followed up with letters to California that threatened to wield rarely used provisions of environmental law to withhold federal funding from the state if it did not take specific steps to clean its air and water!  That’s what they were trying to do, for Pete’s sake!!!

Legal experts say this amounts to weaponizing environmental laws intended not only to undermine California’s liberal government but to send a message to other states that might defy Trump.

The Clean Air Act specifically offered states the ability to set their own environmental standards if Washington grants them a waiver.  This move infringes on states’ rights, is a threat to the very principle of states’ rights.

Andrew-Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler, who now heads the EPA, worked in the law firm Faegre Baker Daniels, representing coal magnate Robert E. Murray and lobbying against the Obama Administration’s environmental regulations.  Conflict of interest???  It seems to me that under Wheeler, just as under Pruitt before him, the Environmental Protection Agency is doing the exact opposite of protecting the environment!

Are we to sit quietly while big corporations and Trump’s gang of thugs abuse animals and destroy the air we breathe, the water we drink, and everything else under the sun only for the sake of lining their own pockets?  Think about it.

‘Toons … Just ‘Toons

It’s Sunday … I think we’re all exhausted after a week of one ‘breaking news’ story after another … so I think we should sit back and let those talented cartoonists entertain us this afternoon, don’t you?  No doubt they’ve had plenty of material to work with this week.


This is one I can certainly relate to … can you?

fave-time-of-day


On Monday, young Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg gave a show-stopping speech at the United Nations Climate Summit.  Trump chose to attend some other function instead, mostly in order to thumb his nose at the planet and the 7+ billion people living on it.  Overall, the summit did not produce the commitments from nations that we had hoped, and was rather a disappointment, but there have been increasing numbers of people turning out for the climate strikes, as Wolf Boy showed us yesterday.  Some people are taking climate change seriously, just not the world leaders who need to.

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In 2016, the Russians influenced the presidential election in favour of Donald Trump and clearly with his knowledge and approval.  Now, Trump apparently felt that his buddy Vlad (Putin) wasn’t doing enough to help him, so he attempted to blackmail and bully the newly-elected President Zelenskyy of the Ukraine to dig up dirt on one of his opponents for the upcoming 2020 election.   

rigging-1rigging-2rigging-3Foreign interferencerigging-5rigging-6


But, of course Trump still has a ‘healthy’ relationship with Russia … 

Trump-RussiaTrump-Russia-2


And … the topic I know you’ve been waiting for … impeachment!  The phone call between Trump and President Zelenskyy was the straw that broke Nancy Pelosi’s the camel’s back, and finally Speaker Pelosi was convinced that impeachment is necessary, despite her misgivings.  

Impeachment

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Tom Toles Editorial Cartoon - tt_c_c190918.tifimpeach-1impeach-2impeach-5

toon-heat

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Many, including myself, have likened Trump to a mobster, and these two speak volumes …

GodfatherGodfather-2


The gun crisis … and yes, it is a crisis … in this country is never out of the news for very long …

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And finally, a few random ‘toons …

nat-debt-1Trump-ObamaVaping ban


Enjoy your Sunday afternoon, friends!

Attention: Global Climate Strikes! Attend One, Save the Planet

You all remember the interview I did with Wolf Boy a month or so ago? Well, today he has written a post that I simply must re-blog. It wasn’t too long ago that he was only vaguely aware of Greta Thunberg, but today she is a hero in his book, as she is in mine. Mat even attended a Climate Strike in Waterloo, Ontario this past Friday. Thumbs up to you, Wolf Boy! 👍

Blog of the Wolf Boy

“Saving our planet, lifting people out of poverty, advancing economic growth… these are one and the same fight. We must connect the dots between climate change, water scarcity, energy shortages, global health, food security, and women’s empowerment. Solutions to one problem must be solutions for all.” Ban Ki-moon


If you haven’t heard, Greta Thunberg has started a phenomenon which is catching on all around the world. She protests every Friday night where-ever she travels. The last two weeks there have been Climate Strikes across the globe! I took to my principles and did what every good boy should do, I skipped class and attended. 😀

And it was worth it!

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I can’t tell you how happy this made me, to see just how many people are taking this seriously now. This has been a bullshit issue that’s been plaguing humanity for way too long now, and it took a…

View original post 595 more words

Snarkier Than Usual Snippets …

snarky-3Snarky.  I’m feeling very snarky today.  Come to think of it … I don’t think there has been a day in the last three years that I haven’t felt snarky!  Care to join me?


We don’t arrest children!!!

Last Thursday, two six-year-old children were arrested in Florida.  That’s right … six years old … arrested … taken to jail.  Their crimes?  Being kids.  One, we know, was a little girl named Kaia, who had a bit of a temper tantrum while in class.  Her grandmother says she is dealing with some health issues and had not slept the night before.  It is unclear what ‘crimes’ were committed by the other child, a little boy.  The children were handcuffed, put in the back of a police car, and taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.  Handcuffs.  Police car.

The arresting officer, Dennis Turner, was a retired police officer serving as a “school resource officer”.  Let me tell you just a bit about Turner’s past record.  Turner was charged with aggravated child abuse in 1998 in connection with his 7-year-old son.  In 2016, he was reprimanded for using excessive force after stunning a man five times with a Taser during an arrest.  And these are only the incidents that were reported last week after he arrested the two children.  Aggravated child abuse.  And yet, he was allowed to work as a resource office in a school.

Turner has since been terminated and the parents of the children have received an apology from Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón.  But, the question remains … how could this have been allowed to happen?  Who in their right mind thinks it is okay to treat children as young as six-years-old in this manner???  School resource officers came into being after the Columbine shootings in 1999, but it seems to me that arresting a six-year-old child for throwing a temper tantrum has literally nothing … nothing … to do with keeping children safe from guns!

Yes, Turner is gone, but the fact that school resource officers are able to arrest children is simply wrong. Is this an isolated incident, or have there been others that simply didn’t make it to the news?  This story likely wouldn’t have received national attention but for the fact that Kaia’s grandmother, justifiably outraged, spoke on camera of the incident to a local television station, and from there it exploded.

Y’know … if these are the extremes we must go to in order to protect our children from gun violence in schools, then maybe … just maybe … it’s time we address the real problem … the largely unchecked flow of guns into the hands of any who want them?  Think about it … but think quietly … wouldn’t want to upset the NRA and the legislators who are in their pockets now, would we?  Nah, far better to keep on traumatizing children than to upset Uncle Wayne!


Da Fox has a conscience? 

Well … Fox News seems to have a conscience, but a very limited one.  Yesterday, after young climate activist Greta Thunberg gave a blistering speech (more about that in a later post), Fox News invited right-wing commentator Michael Knowles of the Daily Wire to discuss Thunberg’s speech and the climate crisis.  Here’s what he said …

“If it were about science it would be led by scientists rather than by politicians and a mentally ill Swedish child who is being exploited by her parents and by the international left.”

GASP!  Fortunately, I did not see this interview (I have never once turned on Fox News), or I would likely have thrown something through the television screen!  What a grade-A jackass!

Fox News actually issued an apology …

“The comment made by Michael Knowles who was a guest on The Story tonight was disgraceful. We apologize to Greta Thunberg and to our viewers.”

So, you might think that perhaps Fox isn’t so bad after all, that maybe they have a heart and a conscience, yes?  Don’t be fooled.  For on the same day, Fox’ own Laura Ingraham, she of the poisonous tongue and zero values, used her program to criticize Greta Thunberg, saying …

“Greta Thunberg didn’t have to read her address, she actually memorized it. The implication is, of course, that to ensure the future, everyone must sign on to these globalist solutions. Cede control of our economy, our way of life, our way of transport, how many children you want to have, and if we don’t go along, we will be punished by our own children. Does anyone else find that chilling? I can’t wait for Stephen King’s sequel, Children of the Climate.”

Fox News has not commented on Ingraham’s nastiness.  Her own brother, however, apparently got the conscience and the brains in the family, for he did take her to task, saying …

“Clearly my sister’s paycheck is more important than the world her three adopted kids will inherit. I can no longer apologize for a sibling who I no longer recognize. I can and will continue to call out the monstrous behavior and the bully commentary born out of anger.”

Thumbs up to Curtis Ingraham … at least somebody recognizes that his sister is a grade-A b**ch.


Oh, the IRONY!!!

Breaking news just in … “Trump officials threaten to withhold highway funds from California for its ‘chronic air quality problems’”

SAY WHAT???

Was it not just last week that Trump announced he would not allow California to set state emission standards that were stricter than the federal standards???  Does this ‘man’ carry a brain around with him at any point?  Oh wait … yeah, we all know where he carries his brain, and it damn sure ain’t in his head!  This is akin to a parent not allowing their child to eat healthy vegetables, but instead shoving cookies and candy into them, then punishing them for being fat!!!


And speaking of the Witless Wonder …

Yesterday, Trump popped into the UN briefly, though he did not participate in the Climate Summit that was taking place.  It appeared he only popped in to get his name in the news, to make a number of inane comments … to be the “center of attention” as he seems to feel a need to be.  One of his comments, though, is beyond belief:

“I would get a Nobel prize for a lot of things, if they give it out fairly, which they don’t. They gave one to Obama immediately upon his ascent to the presidency and he had no idea why he got it.”


And now that I have unleashed my snark, I must go clean something … take my hostilities out on dirt and dust!  But, I shall leave you with a bit of humour …

The Big Picture

We all know the many atrocities Trump has committed in his 32+ months in office and they are never far from our minds, but there are so many that sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture.  David Leonhardt’s column in the New York Times today simply lists, line by line, 40 of the worst atrocities committed by the man who calls himself ‘president’.  Note that there are many not even on this list, such as his rollback of environmental regulations and his 12,000+ lies.

Take a look at the list … some you may have even forgotten, in light of newer, more vitriolic ones.  And after you look at all 40 of these, ask yourself a question:  How can anybody in their right mind possibly support this ‘man’?  And yet, in the past week, his approval rating has actually gone up!  If you still have any Trump-supporting friends left, show them this list, and ask them the question.  It has become one of life’s greatest mysteries to me … even greater than how many stars are in the sky!

Donald Trump vs. the United States of America

Just the facts, in 40 sentences.

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By David Leonhardt

Opinion Columnist

Sometimes it’s worth stepping back to look at the full picture.

He has pressured a foreign leader to interfere in the 2020 American presidential election.

He urged a foreign country to intervene in the 2016 presidential election.

He divulged classified information to foreign officials.

He publicly undermined American intelligence agents while standing next to a hostile foreign autocrat.

He hired a national security adviser who he knew had secretly worked as a foreign lobbyist.

He encourages foreign leaders to enrich him and his family by staying at his hotels.

He genuflects to murderous dictators.

He has alienated America’s closest allies.

He lied to the American people about his company’s business dealings in Russia.

He tells new lies virtually every week — about the economy, voter fraud, even the weather.

He spends hours on end watching television and days on end staying at resorts.

He often declines to read briefing books or perform other basic functions of a president’s job.

He has aides, as well as members of his own party in Congress, who mock him behind his back as unfit for office.

He has repeatedly denigrated a deceased United States senator who was a war hero.

He insulted a Gold Star family — the survivors of American troops killed in action.

He described a former first lady, not long after she died, as “nasty.”

He described white supremacists as “some very fine people.”

He told four women of color, all citizens and members of Congress, to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came.”

He made a joke about Pocahontas during a ceremony honoring Native American World War II veterans.

He launched his political career by falsely claiming that the first black president was not really American.

He launched his presidential campaign by describing Mexicans as “rapists.”

He has described women, variously, as “a dog,” “a pig” and “horseface,” as well as “bleeding badly from a facelift” and having “blood coming out of her wherever.”

He has been accused of sexual assault or misconduct by multiple women.

He enthusiastically campaigned for a Senate candidate who was accused of molesting multiple teenage girls.

He waved around his arms, while giving a speech, to ridicule a physically disabled person.

He has encouraged his supporters to commit violence against his political opponents.

He has called for his opponents and critics to be investigated and jailed.

He uses a phrase popular with dictators — “the enemy of the people” — to describe journalists.

He attempts to undermine any independent source of information that he does not like, including judges, scientists, journalists, election officials, the F.B.I., the C.I.A., the Congressional Budget Office and the National Weather Service.

He has tried to harass the chairman of the Federal Reserve into lowering interest rates.

He said that a judge could not be objective because of his Mexican heritage.

He obstructed justice by trying to influence an investigation into his presidential campaign.

He violated federal law by directing his lawyer to pay $280,000 in hush money to cover up two apparent extramarital affairs.

He made his fortune partly through wide-scale financial fraud.

He has refused to release his tax returns.

He falsely accused his predecessor of wiretapping him.

He claimed that federal law-enforcement agents and prosecutors regularly fabricated evidence, thereby damaging the credibility of criminal investigations across the country.

He has ordered children to be physically separated from their parents.

He has suggested that America is no different from or better than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

He has called America a “hellhole.”

He is the president of the United States, and he is a threat to virtually everything that the United States should stand for.

World That Once Was … Redux

I wrote this post over a year ago, but I think it is as relevant today as it was a year ago, and with the environment being top news this week, it seems a good time to ‘re-play’ it.  


I was sitting dozing before the fire when my two great grandchildren rushed into the room …

“Grannie, Grannie … we’re bored!  Will you tell us some stories?  Will you tell us about the cabin in the woods?”

“Yeah, an’ Grannie … will you tell us again ‘bout how you used to play outside … an’ how there was grass an’ you could even see the sky?  Please, Grannie, please?”

Now, I know their mother would not wish me to fill their heads with what once was and can never be again, but … it is all I have left to give them … the world that once was.  And so, I make room for one of them on either side of me, and I begin …

Well, you see, when I was a little girl, so many years ago, I would wake up on Saturday morning, do the few chores assigned to me, and then run outside to play with my friends.  Sometimes we played football in the street, sometimes we rode bicycles, and other days we went out in search of caterpillars that we would keep in canning jars with holes poked in the lids and some grass and water in the bottom.  And then we would wait for them to turn into beautiful butterflies.

“An’ you didn’t even have to wear an oxygen mask to go outside, Grannie?”

“What’s a butterfly?”

No, child, we didn’t need to wear oxygen masks to go outside back then, for the air was fresh and clear, and you could look up and see how blue the sky was … not like today when all you see is murky yellow air.  A butterfly, sweetie … well here … let me draw you a picture …butterfly

They aren’t around anymore … I guess they couldn’t survive in the bad air. We would play outside all day, sit in the grass to eat our sandwiches, and when night fell, we caught lightning bugs.  They aren’t around anymore either, but they were little bugs that had some chemical at the tail end of their body, and as they flew, they lit up a pale yellow or green colour.  It was how they ‘talked’ to the other lightning bugs. When I was a young girl, sometimes there would be hundreds of them in the yard, all lighting up at once.  Oh, it was quite a sight to see and I always looked forward to their arrival in summer.

“What about the parks, Grannie?  Tell us ‘bout the parks … pleeeeease!”

Oh yes, the parks.  Sigh.  Back then, we had national parks … hundreds, maybe even thousands of acres of forests with streams where the water was so clear you could see the fish swimming and the rocks in the very bottom.  And nobody could build a business or a factory or even houses in the national parks, because they were protected land.  The government protected them so that the critters that lived in them could live in safety and so that we would always have beautiful natural land to visit.

“What kind of critters lived there, Grannie?”

Well, it depended on where the park was, but most were home to deer, elk, snakes, squirrels, bears, wolves, coyote, birds and many others.

“Why did the parks go away, Grannie?  Didn’t people want them anymore?”

“What happened to the animals?”

Well, child, I think that most of us wanted the parks, we appreciated them and loved being away from the cities, just enjoying the beauty of nature.  But, there were some people who thought it was more important to use that land to drill for oil and gas, and to build hotels and factories, and the government gave in to the wishes of those people without listening to the rest of us.

“Why?”

Because those people who wanted to get rid of the parks had more money than the rest of us, and people with more money … well, they always get their way.  Now as to what happened to the animals … some of them were taken to other places, but as a rule they didn’t adapt well to their new environments and … well, they … just … died.

“Grannie … why are you crying?  Are you sad because the animals died?”

Oh, child … yes, I am very sad because the animals died, but I’m also sad because … well, because the whole life I once knew has died.  I remember running through open fields, watering flowers and letting a big bumblebee land on my nose.  I remember hiking in the woods with my friend Herb, how green the foliage was, how tall the trees, how clear the water in the streams.  And I am sad, for all of that is gone now.  Did I ever tell you about the great redwood trees on the west coast?  Why, those trees … some were so wide that they even made a road right through the center of the tree!!!  And they got so tall that you could barely see the top … sometimes as tall  as almost 400 feet!!!  I saw them plenty of times when I was a girl, but they were always a sight to behold.

“What happened to the redwoods trees, Gran?”

Well, mostly I think they were chopped down, but I hear the ones that were left just died for lack of oxygen.  They can’t put oxygen masks on trees like they can people, you know.  Same reason there’s no grass left in people’s yards … living things need clean air to breathe, even plants.  I’m tired now, children, and it makes me too sad to remember how life used to be.  Tell you what … bring that book about the bears that you like so much and I’ll read to you.

“Grannie … how come you never go to church with us?”

Because, child, I don’t believe in any of that nonsense they tell there about how some people are better than others because of the colour of their skin or who they choose to love.  It’s a waste of time that I can spend doing better things.

“But mommy says you’re gonna get in trouble with the law and have to go to jail if you don’t go to church …”

Hush child … it matters not anymore … now go get that book like I told you.trees-2.jpg