Dirty Racist Cops … Again

Caron Nazario is a lieutenant in the U.S. Army medical corp, serving in Norfolk, Virginia.  Lieutenant Nazario also happens to be Black and Hispanic.  In December, Lt. Nazario purchased a new SUV and on December 5th, he was driving home from work in said SUV when he saw flashing lights behind him.  Lt. Nazario drove to the nearest well-lighted place, a service station, before pulling over.  He did not speed up or in any way attempt to evade the police car behind him, but rather he slowed down, activated his turn signals, and drove for less than a mile before reaching the service station.  He merely wanted, understandably, to get to a well-lighted area.

Upon stopping, Officer Daniel Crocker, with his gun pointed at Lt. Nazario, ordered him out of the vehicle, by which time a second police officer, Joe Gutierrez, had arrived and also had a gun pointed at him.  Lt. Nazario put his empty hands outside the window, as ordered, to show that officers that he was unarmed, and asked them why they stopped him.  A perfectly valid question, under the circumstances.  The officer repeated the order to exit the vehicle, and Lt. Nazario replied that he was “honestly afraid to get out” his vehicle.  Who wouldn’t be, with two officers holding guns on him?  One officer replied, “Yeah, you should be.”  Just a minute later, Officer Gutierrez told Lt. Nazario that he was “fixin’ to ride the lightning,” a slang expression referring to an execution by electric chair.

After some back and forth, with the officers yelling at him to get out of the vehicle, but also to keep his hands outside the window (ever try opening the car door from inside, with your hands outside the window?), and Lt. Nazario asking why he was being stopped, why he was being treated in such a manner, one of the officers sprayed pepper spray into his face through the open window, jerked his door open, sprayed more pepper spray, kicked him in the knees, and slammed him to the ground.

The officer’s given reason for initiating the traffic stop was that he could not see Lt. Nazario’s license plate, which was clearly visible in the back window, as 30-day plates for new vehicles are typically displayed.  The Lieutenant was released without charges, but this week he filed a lawsuit accusing the two Windsor, Virginia police officers of violating his constitutional rights by holding him at gunpoint, suggesting he was facing execution, assaulting him, and illegally detaining him.  The lawsuit states …

“These cameras captured footage of behavior consistent with a disgusting nationwide trend of law enforcement officers, who, believing they can operate with complete impunity, engage in unprofessional, discourteous, racially biased, dangerous and sometimes deadly abuses of authority.”

The lawsuit also claims police threatened to end Nazario’s military career if he spoke out about the incident.  The body cam video clearly shows that the temporary license plate was visible through the window of the vehicle.  The body cam video stopped shortly after Lt. Nazario was slammed to the ground.  Gutierrez wrote in his report that his camera stopped recording after it got “compressed” between him and Nazario during a struggle. Nazario also recorded part of the incident from his cellphone.

I watched the video and found it both chilling and sickening.  The beginning is footage from Nazario’s cellphone that he activated when he realized he had guns pointed at him.

I won’t even bother to ask the question, “If Lt. Nazario had been a white man, would the cops have acted similarly?” for we all know the answer to that.  The better question is, “How do we reform policing?  How do we stop these incidents, often leading to murder, from ever happening?”  I wish I knew the answer, but I DO know what’s going to happen if there are many more incidents like this, if there are many more murders of unarmed black men by police, or if Derek Chauvin is let off with naught but a slap on the wrist … there is going to be blood shed in the streets of America.

We the People are sick and tired of having to fear the very group of people whose duty it is to “protect and defend” us.  We the People have made our voices clear … at least those of us who give a damn have … and if our voices alone aren’t enough, then in the words of the great civil rights leader John Lewis …

An International Embarrassment

Most people reading this blog likely drive a car.  In order to do so, you must have a license issued by your state, and in order to obtain said license, you had to pass a written test to prove that you understand the laws that govern all drivers in order to make the roadways as safe as possible.  You also had to pass a road test to prove that you have the skills needed to drive safely.  And after doing all that, you want to know that the other drivers out there are also competent.  Even under the best of circumstances, accidents will sometimes happen, but we all … well, most of us anyway … do our best to avoid them.   A car or truck can be a lethal weapon in the wrong hands.

So, why is it that there is no testing required to own a firearm, another lethal weapon?   Why is there such an uproar among gun owners (likely prodded by the NRA) whenever any form of regulation on guns is proposed?  They don’t want a person stoned on drugs or drunk behind the wheel of a car, yet they are happy for that same person to be behind the trigger of an AR-15?  I’m sorry, folks, but I honestly just don’t get this!

I know that to some I sound like a broken record, but … are we no longer horrified by mass shootings?  Do we no longer care that it’s as safe to walk across an eight-lane expressway as it is to enter a bar or restaurant where somebody almost certainly has a gun in his possession?

This is the 11th day in April, and already there have been 16 mass shootings that caused the deaths of 21 people and injured another 64.  But the mass shootings aren’t even the worst of it.  Thus far this year, 101 days into 2021, there have been 11,671 people killed by guns in the U.S.  Do gun owners, NRA members and congressional Republicans honestly think this is what the Founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the 2nd Amendment into the U.S. Constitution?

On Thursday, President Biden announced a series of executive actions to curb gun violence, and he pledged to push for sweeping change to the country’s firearms laws — his first substantive response to a pair of mass shootings last month that left 18 dead.  He was spot on when he said …

“Gun violence in this country is an epidemic, and it’s an international embarrassment.  The idea that we have so many people dying every single day from gun violence in America is a blemish on our character as nation.”

Unfortunately, there is very little that the president can do on his own in this case, but here are the four measures his executive orders call for:

  • Serial numbers for guns made at home from kits. Biden called the homemade weapons “ghost guns” because they’re hard to trace and because kit buyers don’t have to submit to a background check.
  • A new annual report from the Justice Department about gun trafficking. There had previously been a report done by Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, which dated back to 2000.
  • Stricter treatment of handgun stabilizing braces, like the one used recently in a mass shooting at a Colorado grocery store. The change would require the modification be reported to the Justice Department, just like a silencer. There would be a $200 reporting fee.
  • Finally, Biden said he wanted to make it easier for states to enact “red flag laws,” allowing the police or family members to petition for the temporary removal weapons when a person in crisis is a danger to himself or others.

These are a start, but much more is needed and only Congress has the power to enact legislation such as a ban on assault weapons, expanded background checks, competency & skills testing – all things that the NRA and those lovers of their 2nd Amendment “rights” will fight tooth and nail.  And because they fight it, Congress won’t pass it and thousands more people will die needlessly this year … and the next … and the next.

What does it take?  Will Mitch McConnell change his tune when his own grandchild is killed by a man with a gun?  Will Lauren Boebert suddenly become an advocate for gun laws when the life of one of her own children is taken at gunpoint?  I doubt it, for remember Representative Steve Scalise, who was shot and nearly died in 2017 during a congressional baseball practice?  A year later he said …

“I was a strong supporter of the second amendment before the shooting, and frankly, as ardent as ever after the shooting …”

What a guy, eh?

Every year, the number of guns in the hands of civilians increases and predictably, every year the number of people in this country killed by guns also increases.  Even the smallest steps taken toward reducing the number of guns that will, potentially, be used to kill is met with rage and indignation from those who believe their ‘right’ to own a gun is more important than your ‘right’ to live.  President Biden is right … we are an international embarrassment.

♫ For What It’s Worth ♫ (Redux)

A few days ago, someone mentioned this song and it has stuck in my head ever since.  I didn’t think I had already played it, but it turns out I did … just over a year ago in March 2020.  I think this is especially relevant and timely since there is currently a bill before Parliament in the United Kingdom that would, among other things, give police the right to bar unauthorized encampments and detain protesters if gatherings are deemed a “public nuisance.” The new legislation, pending in Parliament, could also impose noise limits and set start and finish times on demonstrations.  There have been numerous protests against this bill, and last weekend at least 26 protestors were detained by police.  Seems this song never loses its relevance, eh?


meme-1

Written by Buffalo Springfield guitarist Stephen Stills, later of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, this song was not about anti-war gatherings, but rather youth gatherings protesting anti-loitering laws, and the closing of the West Hollywood nightclub Pandora’s Box. Stills was not there when they closed the club, but had heard about it from his bandmates.

In the book Neil Young: Long May You Run: The Illustrated History, Stephen Stills tells the story of this song’s origin:

“I had had something kicking around in my head. I wanted to write something about the kids that were on the line over in Southeast Asia that didn’t have anything to do with the device of this mission, which was unraveling before our eyes. Then we came down to Sunset from my place on Topanga with a guy – I can’t remember his name – and there’s a funeral for a bar, one of the favorite spots for high school and UCLA kids to go and dance and listen to music.

[Officials] decided to call out the official riot police because there’s three thousand kids sort of standing out in the street; there’s no looting, there’s no nothing. It’s everybody having a hang to close this bar. A whole company of black and white LAPD in full Macedonian battle array in shields and helmets and all that, and they’re lined up across the street, and I just went ‘Whoa! Why are they doing this?’ There was no reason for it. I went back to Topanga, and that other song turned into ‘For What It’s Worth,’ and it took as long to write as it took me to settle on the changes and write the lyrics down. It all came as a piece, and it took about fifteen minutes.”

Buffalo Springfield was the band’s first album, and this song was not originally included on it. After For What It’s Worth became a hit single, it replaced Baby Don’t Scold Me on re-issues of the album.

For What It’s Worth
Buffalo Springfield

There’s something happening here
But what it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it’s time we stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking’ their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, “hooray for our side”

It’s time we stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
Step out of line, the men come and take you away

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Hey, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Now, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

We better stop
Children, what’s that sound?
Everybody look – what’s going down?

Writer/s: Stephen Stills
Publisher: Warner Chappell Music, Inc.
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Still More Never-Ending Snarky

The snark-o-meter is still running high and needs a release … fasten your seat belts!


Does free speech cover incitement to violence?

Justice Clarence Thomas is apparently upset about social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook banning the former guy from their platforms.  Oh REALLY, Clarence???  He, along with your nasty wife Ginny set a marvelous example for the youth in this country, teaching them that violence is the way to solve the problems of the world!  For any who may not be aware, Thomas’ wife endorsed the attacks on Congress and the Capitol on January 6th.  She later, no doubt as the Justice was coming under some fire as a result of her actions, apologized to the Court saying she had no right to “impose [her] passions” on them.  So, her ‘passion’ is to overthrow the government, killing police officers and others in the process?  Where the hell did he find this ‘wife’ and why isn’t she in jail with the rest of them?

Justice Thomas (whose salary we pay) had nothing better to do with his time than to write a 12-page diatribe about the power of social media firms like Twitter.  Thomas’ opinion amounts to an invitation to Congress to declare Twitter, Facebook and similar companies “common carriers,” essentially requiring them to host all customers regardless of their views.  Note, please, that it wasn’t the former asshole’s views that got him in trouble, but his inciting a riot, inciting a takeover of the legitimate, elected government by white supremacist madmen for his own nefarious purposes!

While I don’t always agree with nor appreciate the lax and uneven attitude these social media sites take toward hate speech and destructive verbiage, I do see that they are at least making an effort.  If Thomas has his way, then we will also have to make it legal for a person to scream “BOMB” on an airplane or “FIRE” in a crowded theater … both currently crimes under the law.  Justice Thomas apparently believes there should be absolutely zero limits on free speech.  So, if I call for somebody to please shoot the former guy, then that’s okay, right Clarence?

Funny, isn’t it, that Justice Thomas supported the Masterpiece Cake Shop’s right to refuse service to a LGBT person, but he doesn’t support Twitter’s right to refuse ‘service’ to a person who is inciting violence.  Methinks the Justice has his priorities skewed a bit.


A brief pet peeve …

We all use acronyms … a set of letters that stand for something, such as EPA for Environmental Protection Agency, FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation.  In common vernacular, there is WTF for What the F**k, SOB for Son of a Bitch, etc.  I get it, I grew up with most of those, and the ones for governmental agencies are so well-known that we rarely think twice about them.  But people!  Draw a line somewhere!!!

I popped into Twitter tonight and saw a post about the recent ruling of the Senate Parliamentarian that will give more leeway in the Senate to avoid a filibuster, but the tweeter said it was BFD.  So, I was confused as to whether he was pro or con … what the Sam Hell is a BFD???  Pretty soon, our speech is going to consist of nothing more than acronyms!  HhaymniJ (Hi how are you my name is Jill).  BFD … Balanced Feeding Development?  Bored Fireman’s Dance?  Bring Food Down?  I commented on the man’s post that while I am grateful for the fact that more legislation will be able to pass through the Senate sans filibuster, I am nearly 70 years old and for the sake of the people in my generation, might he possibly use whole words.


Infrastructure, anyone?

Everyone, even congressional Republicans, agree that the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling and badly in need of an overhaul.  Yes, even Republicans such as Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, Governor Tate Reeves of Mississippi, and Senator Roger Wicker also of Mississippi have expressed their state’s dire need for money to repair roadways, bridges, water supply lines and more.  But, of course, anything that is proposed by President Biden will get a red light from these same people.  I’m tempted to say, “Fine, let the whole damn thing fall down around our ears and then see what happens to that damned economy you’re all so worried about.”  But of course, the people who would suffer if that were to happen are not those rich dudes in Washington but the poorest among us out here in the field.  Which is at least part of the reason they can sit on their fat posteriors and do nothing about anything – it doesn’t affect them.

So, do you know why the Republicans claim not to like President Biden’s infrastructure bill?  C’mon … take a wild guess.  Yep, you got it … because it would mean a tax increase on their big corporate donors, and probably hit their own pocketbook as well.  If you spend money to repair an Interstate highway or run new water lines to Flint, Michigan, then that money has to come from somewhere, right?  Right now, corporations and rich assholes are paying almost nothing … some actually pay nothing … in federal income taxes.  President Biden seeks to change that and let the rich pay their way for a change.  The Republicans in Congress have no doubt been warned by their big-money donors not to vote for this.

Biden’s proposal actually leaves them with nearly half of the tax cuts they received in 2017, raising their effective tax rate to only 28%, rather than the 39% it was in 2016 and years prior.  The current federal tax rate for corporations is only 8.84% … far less than most middle-income earners pay!

Despite corporations receiving huge tax cuts in 2017, I did some quick and dirty calculations on a per-item basis the other day and the price of food has increased between 25% and 40% since 2017.  Now … ‘splain that one, Lucy!  Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

The States Racing to Copy Georgia

Our friend TokyoSand reminds us that Georgia isn’t the only state that has passed a restrictive voting law this year.  Some 43 states are working on or have already passed voting laws that will strictly restrict voting by minorities, the poor, the elderly and the young.  In other words, they only want fat, old men to vote!  Read Tokyo’s post to learn which states are coming up on Georgia’s heels …


The States Racing to Copy Georgia

I’m happy that the media is covering the travesty that is the new Georgia law that restricts all kinds of voting rights for its citizens. But, that coverage is drowning out other, similarly important stories.

First and foremost, the media barely covered the Iowa governor signing a voter suppression bill a few weeks before the Georgia bill was signed. The Republicans in the state House and state Senate pushed their bill through, using the tired, old GOP talking point that it was all about “guarding against voter fraud,” even as they admitted that “Iowa has no history of election irregularities and that November’s election saw record turnout with no hint of problems in the state.”

Continue reading …The States Racing to Copy Georgia

The Week’s Best Cartoons 4/3

Once again, TokyoSand has found the best selection of political cartoons from the hundreds out there.  This week’s biggest topics have been Matt Gaetz (who, in my book, deserves to be consigned to the annals of idiocy and forgotten), the trial of Derek Chauvin, the man who murdered George Floyd, and the horrendous voter suppression bill signed into law in Georgia by Governor Kemp.  Thank you, TS, for all your hard work putting these weekly cartoon posts together!

See All The ‘Toons!

Bring Back The Pony Express!

It was 161 years ago today that the first Pony Express riders set out to deliver the mail.  From History.com …

On April 3, 1860, the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system. It also contributed to the economy of the towns on its route and served the mail-service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad.

The Pony Express debuted at a time before radios and telephones, when California, which achieved statehood in 1850, was still largely cut off from the eastern part of the country. Letters sent from New York to the West Coast traveled by ship, which typically took at least a month, or by stagecoach on the recently established Butterfield Express overland route, which could take from three weeks to many months to arrive. Compared to the snail’s pace of the existing delivery methods, the Pony Express’ average delivery time of 10 days seemed like lightning speed.

The Pony Express Company, the brainchild of William H. Russell, William Bradford Waddell and Alexander Majors, owners of a freight business, was set up over 150 relay stations along a pioneer trail across the present-day states of Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California. Riders, who were paid approximately $25 per week and carried loads estimated at up to 20 pounds of mail, were changed every 75 to 100 miles, with horses switched out every 10 to 15 miles. Among the riders was the legendary frontiersman and showman William “Buffalo Bill” Cody (1846-1917), who reportedly signed on with the Pony Express at age 14. The company’s riders set their fastest time with Lincoln’s inaugural address, which was delivered in just less than eight days.

The initial cost of Pony Express delivery was $5 for every half-ounce of mail. The company began as a private enterprise and its owners hoped to gain a profitable delivery contract from the U.S. government, but that never happened. With the advent of the first transcontinental telegraph line in October 1861, the Pony Express ceased operations. However, the legend of the lone Pony Express rider galloping across the Old West frontier to deliver the mail lives on today.

You might be wondering why I’m making a big deal over this, but bear with me.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) was actually already in existence when the Pony Express came onto the mail delivery scene, having been established in 1775 with Benjamin Franklin as its first Postmaster General.  So, why the need for the Pony Express nearly a full century later?  Because the USPS wasn’t doing such a great job, apparently.

Now, the reason I bring up the Pony Express is that once again, the USPS is doing a pretty lousy job under the leadership of the highly unqualified Louis DeJoy.  DeJoy just announced a new “10-year plan,” which is one way to describe the largest rollback of consumer mail services in a generation. His plan includes longer first-class mail delivery times, reduced post office hours, and higher prices.  It seems to me that his ’plan’ is already in action, as the last card I sent took 15 days to arrive at its destination.

Last year DeJoy crippled the Postal Service. He banned employee overtime, decommissioned mail-sorting machines, and removed drop boxes. He did this during a deadly pandemic that had millions of Americans relying on the mail for their medications, businesses, and safely voting by mail in November’s election.

Speaking of medications … my insulin sat in the Post Office from last Saturday until this past Wednesday … unrefrigerated and undelivered.  Why?  Good question, and one I fully intend to ask Mr. DeJoy!  Although … he hasn’t answered either of my last two letters … perhaps the USPS hasn’t managed to deliver them yet?  Funny that they sit on my insulin, but manage to deliver all the junk mail that goes straight into the trash bin.

President Biden has nominated three members to the USPS Board of Governors with the intention of removing Mr. DeJoy and hiring someone qualified to do the job without costing us an arm and a leg and ensuring that our mail is delivered in a timely fashion.  But of course, the Senate must have much more important business to attend to, for they haven’t yet gotten ‘round to confirming these three.

So, I’m wondering if it might be a good idea to re-instate the Pony Express?  We would, no doubt, get our mail quicker and for about the same price.  Given the volume of mail in this country, there’s no doubt they could upgrade to faster horses and think how many jobs would be created!  We could leave the USPS in place for the time being, a service for those who seem to like being ripped off by our own government.

A Bit Of This … ‘N That

I receive a number of emails each week alerting me to newly-published, or about-to-be-published books of all genres.  Most I simply skim, usually find one or two that I look more closely at, but only rarely buy one, for I have a backlog of books on my TBR (to-be-read) list already and little time for reading these days.  This week, however, there was one that caught my eye, in the least likely genre:  children’s picture books!

Curiosity stirred, I read the brief description …

From an award-winning team, a tale about a cat and a dog who discover that even though they don’t look at things the same way, they can still be friends.

In today’s divisive climate … isn’t this just brilliant?  Teaching children at a young age to work through their differences, to overcome them and move on, remaining friends.

The author, Anna Kang, deserves a Nobel Peace Prize! A slightly longer description on Amazon …

Hudson and Tallulah may be neighbors, but the fence between their yards isn’t the only thing that divides them. They can’t see eye to eye on anything. One day they venture out, and after nonstop disagreement, they realize something surprising: they don’t always have to agree to be on each other’s side.

Inspired by a story their daughter Lily wrote in the second grade, the author and illustrator of the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small have created a tale of finding common ground when you least expect it—and using it as a stepping-stone to friendship.

This book is a must-read for every child … heck, I think it should be required reading in schools, and maybe every member of Congress should be forced to read it and report on it!  In fact, you and I should read it!  I downloaded a free copy to my Kindle that I will be reading tonight … how ‘bout you?


Yesterday, the Capitol was under lockdown for over two hours after a person attempted to ram his car through a barrier in front of the Capitol, hitting two Capitol Police officers, killing one.  Officer William F. Evans was an 18-year veteran of the force who was part of the First Responder’s Unit.  The other officer, who has not as of this writing been named, is in serious but stable condition.  The attacker was shot dead by police.

Not for one solitary minute did I believe that the attacks on January 6th were to be the last, and especially after they were applauded and excused by so many after-the-fact.  Yesterday’s attack was … well, obviously there was no planning and it was a single perpetrator, not a well-planned action by the likes of “Proud Boys,” “Oath Keepers” or other domestic terrorist groups.  Thankfully, else far worse damage and loss of life might have occurred.

Is this to become our new ‘norm’ then?  Has the door been opened and the dogs let out to kill and maim those whose job it is to protect our elected officials?  Is it likely that at some point, there will be another serious breach and our lawmakers themselves will be killed or injured by people whose rage against our government has been fueled by the likes of Roger Stone, Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, congressional newbies Boebert/Greene/Cawthorn/Hawley, and the former guy, to name only a few?

Is this the nation you want to live in?  A nation where our legislators’ lives are in danger every single day, where our very government is being threatened by freaks like this one …

How do we end this madness?  There is a continued threat from many of the major white supremacist groups to attack the Capitol again when President Biden addresses a joint session of Congress.  Must we hold our collective breaths, not knowing for sure that we will still have a government at the end of that day?

I don’t know about you folks, but I’m sick and damn tired of what’s happening in this country.  I don’t see an end in sight but see only more chaos and madness.  If We the People are stupid enough to elect fools and idiots like Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Greene, then how … HOW can we ever hope to end the chaos?  I have no answers … if I did, perhaps I wouldn’t lie awake nights worrying, pondering, wondering where we go from here.  But we damn well better be finding a way out of this mess, for many of us won’t survive this decade, perhaps not this year, if we don’t.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

I have only two snippets tonight … one is great news, the other a horrid example of man’s inhumanity to man.  One warms my heart, the other breaks it.


Let me begin with the good …

While Georgia Governor Brian Kemp was signing a bill into law that would effectively disenfranchise over half the population of Georgia so that they will find it almost impossible to vote in next year’s election, just two states to the north, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was preparing to sign into law a bill that does the exact opposite … ensures that every person over the age of 18 is able to vote.

The Voting Rights Act of Virginia aims to eliminate voter suppression and intimidation in the state. Virginia is the first state to enact its own version of the federal Voting Rights Act, while 43 other states are working diligently to keep minorities and the poor away from the polls.  Says the governor …

“At a time when voting rights are under attack across our country, Virginia is expanding access to the ballot box, not restricting it. With the Voting Rights Act of Virginia, our Commonwealth is creating a model for how states can provide comprehensive voter protections that strengthen democracy and the integrity of our elections. I am proud to support this historic legislation, and I urge Congress to follow Virginia’s example.”

The legislation would require local election officials to get feedback through public comment or pre-approval from the attorney general’s office in order to make any changes in voting regulations, according to a release from Northam’s office.

It also requires that local election officials provide voting materials in foreign languages as needed. Individuals who experience voter suppression will also be allowed to sue, where any civil penalties awarded will go toward a newly established Voter Education and Outreach Fund.

The bill comes after Northam restored voting rights to 69,000 former felons through executive action earlier this month.  I realize this is a controversial topic, but in my view, the former felon has paid his dues with a prison sentence, and once he gets out, he is a taxpayer and a citizen just like you or me.  If he’s going to pay taxes in this country, then he must have a voice, a vote.

My hat is off to the Virginia State Legislature and to Governor Ralph Northam for doing everything they can to protect the U.S. Constitution and the people of Virginia.  THIS is a fine example of democratic principles at work.


Now for the bad and the ugly …

Byong Choi died on February 24th at the age of 83 as a result of bone marrow tuberculosis.  He had been a hard-working accountant and restauranteur in Orange Country, California for most of his life.  Due to coronavirus restrictions, his funeral was delayed until March 19th.

The following Monday, Byong Choi’s wife, Yong, 82, received a handwritten, cursive letter at her Leisure World Seal Beach retirement community home postmarked the same date as the funeral …

Read that letter again, please … go ahead, I’ll wait.  What do you feel when you read those hate-filled words?  Broken-hearted?  Enraged?  I felt both, as I’m sure most people with an ounce of human kindness did.

The Seal Beach Police Department in the county has launched an investigation into what it calls an anti-Asian hate crime, but I have doubts the letter-writer will be caught, and if he or she is, they’ll get naught more than a slap on the wrist.  I have no doubt that this was written by one of those white people with a false sense of entitlement who believes their ugly white skin makes them somehow superior, more deserving.

This letter came just days after the shooting in Atlanta, Georgia, where 8 people were murdered, six of them women of Asian descent.  And why … why all of a sudden have fat white people taken a dislike to those of Asian heritage?  Because one person called the coronavirus the “China virus” and the “Kung Flu”, thinking he was being cute or funny.  What he did with those words were to set off a chain of events that has targeted Asian-Americans such as the Choi family, the women in Atlanta, and many others.  What he did was criminal.

People … read the damn words on the plaque at the base of the Statue of Liberty …

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

And yet today, hate crimes against those of Asian, Hispanic, or Middle Eastern descent are at an all-time high.  Those people are vilified by a portion of the country’s white population.  Why?  What the hell makes them think they are better than the rest of us?  I regret to inform you that the United States is no longer the nation it once was, is no longer a port in the stormy sea for those seeking asylum or refuge.  It is time we send the Statue of Liberty back to France, for we no longer deserve it.