Rainy Day Thoughts

Just a few thoughts on this rainy Sunday afternoon …


No longer should we be shocked or even surprised by man’s inhumanity to man, for we have seen enough instances of it to know it exists.  Humans have great capacity for love, but for many there are too many conditions placed on that love, and their capacity for cruelty and hatred is even greater than their capacity for love.


You may not have heard about the teacher in Pflugerville, Texas (yes, there really is a town by that name, but don’t ask me to pronounce it!) who was fired a couple of weeks ago.  Why?  Because of the conversation he had with his class of 6th grade children …

Teacher: “Deep down in my heart, I’m ethnocentric, which means I think my race is the superior one.”

Student: “So White is better than all?”

Teacher: “Let me finish. I think everybody thinks that. They’re just not honest about it.”

Student: “You said you are a racist, right?”

Teacher: “I did, yeah, I’m trying to be honest.”

When a student asked him to repeat what he had just said, he lashed out …

Teacher: “I said, ‘I am a racist.’ That’s what I said. Do you know what that means?”

My jaw dropped when I read that! Those kids were 12-13 years old! This man was never fit to be a teacher, to be alone with a group of children at all!!!  Does this man believe that being a racist is something to be proud of?  Somebody, presumably one of the students, recorded the incident and when parents found out, naturally they were outraged and reported the conversation to the school board, who promptly fired the unnamed teacher the following Monday. How many more teachers are of the same belief, and while perhaps are not as blatant about it, subtly allow their racism to bleed into their interactions with their classes?


On Wednesday, I was at my local Kroger grocery store picking up a few last-minute things for Thanksgiving dinner.  As I was trying to reach something on a high shelf, a man literally pushed me aside to get by me.  Surprisingly, I remained cool, calm and collected, saying only loudly enough for him to hear me, “Oh, that’s okay … just shove me aside, for I’m sure that you are so much more important than I am.”  He glanced back at me and nodded.  Yes, he nodded!  No, I didn’t throw anything at him, but merely rolled my eyes and muttered an obscenity under my breath.


We have so many different ‘hate groups’ in this country that I’ve lost count of them all, media figures and even church pastors are preaching hate and inciting violence.  Pair that with the gun culture that has suddenly run amok and … is it any wonder that we must look over our shoulders in any public venue, and cross our fingers when we send our children to school in hopes that they will return in one piece rather than in a body bag?

There is a saying that “Politics makes strange bedfellows,” but the opposite is also true … it makes enemies of people who would ordinarily be friends, drives a wedge between people whose goals, hopes and dreams are really the same, but they are blinded by the loud voices telling them that the paths to their dreams are different.  Would that we humans were smart enough to realize that we are being manipulated, not for our own good, but for the wealth and power of the already wealthy and powerful.  Would that we realized that we are all – regardless of skin colour, gender identity, religion, or ethnidity – in this world together and it is only when we pull together that we can make progress toward making the world a better place.

“United we stand.  Divided we fall.” – Winston Churchill

Robin Hood Reversal

Hypocrisy abounds in the United States.  Take, for one example, those who call themselves ‘pro-life’.  They will take away women’s rights in order to ensure that a fetus, that may or may not turn into an actual human life, is protected, sometimes at the cost of the woman’s life, yet they will go out and shoot innocent animals, not for food, but simply for the ‘pleasure’ of killing, of taking a life.  Oh … you say it’s only human life they are ‘pro’?  Well, let’s delve a little deeper there.

Many of the very same ones who call themselves ‘pro-life’ support the death penalty, whereby at some point we could take the life of a perfectly innocent human who will later be exonerated … but he cannot be freed, for he is dead.  They rail against tax dollars being used in support of single mothers struggling to buy food to feed those babies that the ‘pro-lifers’ insisted they have.  They also stand firm for unlimited guns in the hands of any who want them, claiming it is a “god-given” right.  Guns, I might remind you, have a singular purpose:  to kill, to take those lives that these people claim to be protecting.  ‘Pro-life’ is really nothing more than anti-women.  Call a spade a bloody shovel, as my friend Mary says.

Perhaps one of the greatest hypocrisies that abound in the U.S. today is the attitude of some toward immigrants.  I would bet money that every single person who wants to ‘build a wall’ or ‘shut down the border’ is the child of immigrant ancestry.  Their grandparents or great-great-great grandparents – someone from their family tree came to this country from another seeking freedoms or opportunities they were deprived of in their ancestral land.  And yet, when people are knocking on the door at our southern border or seeking admission from a Middle Eastern nation, the people of this nation would turn them away.  Too bad the Indigenous People of North America didn’t have the wherewithal to turn away those who came to our shores in the 16th and 17th centuries and beyond!

As a child, I was told that ‘America’ is the land of opportunity, the ‘Land of milk and honey’, the land where you can grow up to be anything you want.  And that’s true for the mostly-white, mostly-male millionaires and billionaires, but for the rest of us … we have an opportunity to try to survive as best we can.  Dodge the bullets, folks, keep your head down and work your ass off and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to afford to pay your rent and buy groceries next week.

And speaking of those wealthy people … here’s a statistic that will blow your mind.  19,000 – The number of Americans who made at least $1 million in 2020 who also collected unemployment assistance that year, according to new IRS data. That included 4,500 people who earned between $5 million and $10 million and 229 people with eight-figure incomes or more.  Think on that one for just a minute … a person whose total salary in 2020, the year of the pandemic when people were in serious danger of going hungry or losing their homes, was over a million dollars, got an additional $13,900 from our taxpayer dollars!!!  Not just one person but 19,000 millionaires got extra money from We the People.  Talk about hypocrisy!!!  That anyone who had already made $1 million or more that year, or had millions in the bank, would even apply for unemployment benefits is the lowest of low.

Certain members of Congress are hoping to be able to cut Social Security and Medicare soon … programs that we working people have paid into every day of our working lives … but there is no mention of cutting their own pensions or salaries or perks.  I call it Robin Hood Reversal … rob from the poor to give to the rich.

The Week’s Best Cartoons 11/26

My mind seems not to have yet recovered from the Thanksgiving holiday and I can’t even seem to figure out what day of the week it is, much less put fingers to keyboard to write a reasonably coherent post.  But that’s okay — fortunately the cartoonists have my back and are as sharp as ever!  Our friend TokyoSand is also right on top of things and has searched the world over via the internet to find the best of the best.  Needless to say, Elon Musk heads the list of things that go ‘bump’ in the night, but there are plenty of others, as well.  So, without further ado, heeeeeeeeere’s TokyoSand …


As a heavy Twitter user for the past 6+ years, forgive me for all the cartoons about Twitter. It has been an important place to share news and opinions, and it’s hard to watch it overrun with trolls, especially its CEO. But there was other political news, which you’ll find covered below.…

Be sure to check out the rest of the ‘toons!

Conservative Millionaire CEOs Are Becoming Their Own Stereotype of the Welfare Queen

In case you were wondering why far too many of our members of Congress do NOT represent us, the answer lies here in this well-spoken post by our friend Gronda. It all boils down to this: The rich get richer, while the poor get poorer. Democracy in action? I think not.

Gronda Morin

Disclaimer: I’m pro-business but I truly do believe in free enterprise, competition in the marketplace where companies win by innovating, creating new widgets, smart cost cutting while paying their employees a living wage and treating them and their consumers with respect.

In short, anyone like Elon Musk buying a company at an inflated price where bills aren’t paid, employees who’ve yet to be fired are treated with disrespect, and management doesn’t deliver on a quality product, shouldn’t be allowed to stay in business. It’s the height of hubris for CEOs to blame workers who don’t want to live 24/7 in the workplace for their owners’ stupidity. This is the definition of lazy management and the antithesis of businessmen taking personal responsibility for their own lack of due diligence and failures. These greedy short-sighted CEOs have become their own stereotype of the “welfare queen.”

These are the same guys who get…

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DAMMIT!!! 🤬

Wednesday, 1:30 a.m.

1:30 this morning, I had just finished my music post and was getting ready to put it on the schedule for the usual time, 11:00 a.m.  Suddenly my phone went mad with a knock-knock here and a knock-knock there.  Being nearly deaf, my notification sound is a sharp knock, which I can hear much better than any tone.  Usually, it is silent at 1:30 in the morning, so I knew something was up.  Sure enough … three notifications from The Guardian, The Washington Post, and the New York Times informing me that a gunman had shot and killed multiple people in a Wal-Mart store in Virginia.

GODDAMMIT PEOPLE!!!!  Two days before Thanksgiving and people cannot even go buy a damned turkey or some sweet potatoes without getting killed???  We the People … our damned lives are less important to the members of Congress we pay to protect us than the profits of the damned gun industry?

As I pound the keyboard, hitting as many wrong keys as right ones, my loving cat Oliver, sensing my distress, hops onto my lap and using his paw, gently pulls my left hand away from the keyboard.  Whoever called them ‘dumb animals’ was dead wrong … they’re a hell of a lot smarter than we humans are.

Having spent a few minutes patting Oliver and chatting with him, my tears have dried and I am now somewhat calmer … at least I’m hitting the right keys now!  By the time I resume this post later today, hopefully there will be some details, but already … barely 3 hours after the massacre, Wal-Mart management is sending useless ‘thoughts and prayers’ just as most of our elected officials who cannot be bothered to take guns out of the hands of lunatics will be doing by this afternoon.  The latest from the BBC is that they think it may have been the store manager who opened fire, but … don’t worry, folks, for a Wal-Mart corporate executive said that the company is “shocked by this tragic event.”

On that note, I shall switch gears, pat Oliver a bit longer, have a piece of cheese, try for some sleep (it is now 2:45 a.m.), and return to this story later this morning.

Wednesday afternoon

Well, details remain sketchy but apparently it was the night manager who did the shooting.  He was in the break room with a number of employees planning for today’s deluge of last-minute Thanksgiving shoppers, and just as the meeting was about to break up, the manager pulled out a pistol and opened fire.  Six people were killed and either 4 or 5 were taken to nearby hospitals with injuries.  Given that there were some 20+ employees in that break room and the store was crowded with shoppers, it’s a small wonder that there weren’t more killed.  The gunman then turned the gun on himself and was dead when police arrived.  The name of the shooter (murderer) has not been released and the FBI is involved in the investigation.

Mass shootings … as commonplace as syrup on pancakes.  Someday perhaps we will have lawmakers who see it as their duty to craft restrictive gun laws with teeth, but as long as the gun industry is allowed to put lots of money into the pockets of these men and women, essentially buying their votes against ANY gun restrictions, these shootings will continue to escalate.  People claim the biggest reason for gun ownership is self-defense, but it is rare that a gun is used for self-defense.  The night manager at Wal-Mart certainly wasn’t ‘defending’ himself, nor was the murderer at Club Q last weekend, nor was the man who killed three University of Virginia football players ten days ago.  More often than not, guns are used to murder people for any or no reason, but not self-defense.

In some states today, it is as easy to buy a gun as it is to buy a pack of bananas.  When does it stop?  Does it stop when some crazed gunman kills a large number of members of Congress, or perhaps the President?  I know you’re all tired of hearing me rant about guns, and I’m tired of writing about guns, but until something is done, I WILL KEEP WRITING ABOUT IT!!!

A Surprising Voice From A Conservative

Keith pointed me in the right direction on this one, telling me about Henry Olsen’s latest OpEd in The Washington Post.  I read Olsen’s work only occasionally, for I typically disagree with him on most things, but he really surprised me on this one, and in the best of ways.  What Olsen writes here is proof that there ARE moderate Republicans/conservatives who are not so deeply partisan that they cannot see the forest for the trees.


Biden deserves props for his masterful Ukraine policy

By Henry Olsen

17 November 2022

This week’s report that a Russian-made missile had fallen in Poland, a NATO ally, could have increased tensions with Russia and even led to direct conflict between the belligerent nation and the Western alliance. The fact that it didn’t casts a light on one of the year’s underreported stories: how masterfully the Biden administration has handled the Ukraine crisis.

Some of my fellow conservatives will strenuously disagree with this assessment. In their telling, the United States has no essential national security interest in a free and democratic Ukraine. President Biden’s decision to send massive amounts of military aid to the nation unnecessarily risked war with nuclear-armed Russia. And his decision to join our European allies in imposing severe economic sanctions on Russia is harming our economy, too.

But that ignores the key fact: America’s primary national security interest is to keep our potential enemies far away from our shores, and the least costly and most effective way of doing that is to assemble a network of allies across the globe. We take interest in their security objectives; they, in turn, assist us in obtaining ours.

Biden understood from the start of the conflict in Ukraine that our European allies in NATO viewed Russian designs very differently. Our allies in Eastern Europe, such as Poland, feared they would be next if NATO allowed Ukraine to be conquered. Our allies in Western Europe, such as Germany and France, also feared an aggressive Russia but thought that Russian President Vladimir Putin could be bought off with his country’s extensive economic ties with their countries. Balancing those views was the most important principle animating U.S. policy in the run-up to the invasion.

Thus came Biden’s elegant two-step: First, he warned the world that the invasion was coming and that there would be serious consequences if Russia went through with it. Second, he let Germany and France take the diplomatic lead, giving them the opportunity to prove that their assessments of Putin were correct. Biden also chose not to rush massive amounts of arms to Ukraine, an act that would have given Putin a pretext for the invasion he had already decided to launch. Being too quick to provide weapons also would have harmed Biden’s ability to rally recalcitrant allies in an anti-Russian cordon.

This dance worked perfectly. The Eastern allies knew we shared their fears, and the Western allies were shocked into action after their views about Putin proved dangerously naive. This gave Biden massive credibility to shape the alliance’s actions regarding Russia.

As a result, the economic sanctions the U.S.-led grouping levied were far more severe than almost any observer would have thought possible beforehand. And the military aid the alliance provided has been much more lethal than any that had been contemplated just a year ago. Ukraine now has the upper hand in a war against a foe three times as large. That’s all due to Biden’s superb diplomacy.

This maneuvering has also created collateral behaviors that redound to U.S. security. European powers had been leery of confronting China before Russia’s invasion, weakening the United States’ ability to contain its primary security threat. Now, with Chinese President Xi Jinping tacitly supporting Russia, Europe no longer sees China as a benign power. Even though many European elites resent America for its sometimes overbearing diplomatic manner and military swagger, they also know they share more values with the United States than they ever could with an autocratic Russo-Chinese axis. They are now likelier to back our initiatives to reduce China’s economic and diplomatic influence.

None of this was preordained. A U.S. president whose primary goal was to prevent confrontation with Russia might have been inclined to cut a deal with Putin that effectively gave him what he wanted, pushing Europe further into a strategy of appeasement. A president who intended to confront Russia might have involved the United States too deeply in Ukraine, alienating our allies and setting up the potential for a direct military clash between superpowers. Biden’s middle course avoided these missteps and set the United States up to reap massive benefits.

Biden will have to keep this balanced approach as the war continues. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky would like to see the United States and NATO involve themselves more directly in his war, which is why he was quick to argue that his country was not responsible for the missile that fell in Poland. But the more territory Ukraine retakes, the closer it gets to the territory Russia seized in 2014. We now know Putin will not risk war with the West over Kherson or Zaporizhzhia. He might feel differently if a U.S.-armed Ukraine threatens to retake Crimea.

But those concerns are in the future. For now, it appears that Biden has reinvigorated NATO and brought the Europeans closer to our views on China. That’s cause for celebration across the partisan divide.

Club Q

Short, sweet, and to the point … words of wisdom from across the pond.

Coalition of the Brave

Six years ago, Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, came under attack by a gun-toting lunatic, who killed 49 people at the LGBT venue. On Saturday, Club Q in Colorado Springs, came under attack from a maniac, and five people are confirmed to have lost their lives, thanks to a combination of the strange attitude towards guns in the US, and prejudice against the LGBT community.

The situation is still evolving, but it seems likely this attack was motivated by homophobia. It was made possible by easy access to deadly weapons, and a culture that worships guns. We hear the usual arguments, namely that guns are necessary to oppose tyranny, but how many lives have been sacrificed in the name of that particular philosophy, versus how many tyrants removed from power in the US? When does the culture of gun love change?

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WHAT A WASTE!!!

The total annual salaries for the 435 members of the House of Representatives is $76,300,300.  That’s just the salary, not including benefits, travel, and other perks, and not including all their staff!  When you add it all up, the total budget for the House of Representatives is $1.715 billion!  We the Taxpayers are the ones who pay these salaries.  Now, mind you, I don’t begrudge them their pay and relative to what the average corporate executive earns in a year, House members’ salaries are actually less.  But what I do mind is paying for people to do a job that they are not doing, but instead are spending their time and our money on pointless, stupid time-wasting games.

As the Republican Party leadership makes plans for their next session beginning January 3rd, 2023, we hear that their sole intent will be to impeach President Biden … multiple times if possible … for grounds as yet undetermined.  They play to spend their entire first year doing nothing but running investigations into every aspect of the Biden administration, including the president’s family members, looking for evidence of … what???

These are just a few of the ‘investigations’ they are plotting:

  • They will seek to impeach Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, not for misdeeds but because they are displeased that the Biden administration’s immigration policies are more humane than the Trump administration’s.

  • They’re planning to probe the alleged “politicization” of the Justice Department, claiming it is a hotbed of leftists and Democratic partisans. Additionally, they plan an investigation into what they claim is the ‘mistreatment’ of the January 6th insurrectionists.  Say WHAT???

  • They intend to investigate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) with the goal of gutting the IRS budget. President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act provided funding for additional IRS staffing to pursue tax fraud by corporations and the wealthy, but the Republicans want to ensure that doesn’t happen.

  • They say they plan to waste even more time and resources “investigating” the source of Covid, claiming that there was some vast ‘conspiracy’ involving none other than Dr. Anthony Fauci, responsible for the virus. They say they want to see Fauci imprisoned, or perhaps even executed for his alleged ‘crimes’.

  • And of course they plan to make President Biden’s son, Hunter, the subject of some massive investigation into his emails, his computer, his sexual relationships, and probably the brand of socks he wears! Funny the double standard here … Trump’s children were involved in a number of unsavory things, but not once was an investigation launched into their shenanigans.  In fact, they were given high-level security clearances against the recommendations of the White House personnel security office at Trump’s behest.

These are but a few of the pseudo-investigations that Kevin McCarthy, Marge Greene and others are rubbing their hands together and salivating over launching.  The end goal, as I mentioned, is to impeach President Biden.  Why?  Because he’s not a Republican, because he won the 2020 election, because he’s a man of conscience and integrity, unlike most of the Republicans.  And there may well be yet another reason … because Donald Trump asked ordered them to.

Now, we can shrug it off, for it’s unlikely with the slim majority the Republicans will have in the House that they will succeed in impeaching the president.  Surely there are at least a few who would be uncomfortable with such a dramatic and ludicrous move.  And even if they succeeded in impeachment, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell that the Senate would convict him.  But it is still important because it is a denigration of our entire government, turning the United States Congress into a circus act.  In my mind, at least, it signals the beginning of the end of a democratic system.  The Republicans are obviously not interested in earning their keep, in providing good governance, but are only interested in domination.  Then again, maybe part of the scheme is to deflect attention from their own crimes and those of their ‘leader’, Donald Trump.

What makes me furious is that the Republicans have absolutely no plan for policy-making or for legislating, which is what we hired them to do!  Their sole focus is going to be on trying to bring down the Biden administration and block any and all legislation proposed by the Democrats.  And for this … for this we are going to pay them $76,300,300!!!  I don’t know about you folks, but I’m sick and damned tired of paying hard-earned tax dollars and getting absolutely nothing in return!  I’d far rather my tax dollars go to help improve the lot in life of people who are struggling just to survive in this world than the already-wealthy bozos the Republicans have shoved into Congress!

Bye-Bye Little Birdie

He paid $44 billion to buy a toy that he didn’t know how to play with.  Last night I closed my Twitter account, so I have one less ‘pinned tab’ taking up space at the top of my browser screens!  I’ve been considering such a move ever since Elon Musk started threatening to buy Twitter, almost did it when he officially took ownership and fired half the people working there.  But for me, the final straw came yesterday evening when Musk announced that the former guy’s access to Twitter has been restored.

On Friday evening, Musk put out a “poll” asking if people wanted Trump to return to Twitter or not.  I immediately voted with a resounding “No!!!”, but at the end of the 24-hour polling period, those voting to let Trump back on outnumbered those of us who voted against.  And so, I’m finished.  That, for me, proved that since Musk’s takeover, Twitter has turned into a veritable garbage dump, and I refuse to share space with the likes of Donald Trump.  Ah well … one less thing to stir my angst!

But what a waste of $44 billion!  I did a bit of research and calculating, and even with today’s food prices, that $44 billion could have fed nearly 16 million people for a year!  SIXTEEN MILLION!!!  And I can only imagine how many homes for the homeless, how many pair of glasses for children whose parents cannot afford them, how many months’ supply of insulin for diabetics who cannot afford it.  The list is endless … and yet Elon bought himself this social media network and begin breaking it the very first day!

There is a direct inverse correlation between the amount of money a person has and the size of his conscience.  Oh sure, I know there are exceptions like Bill & Melinda Gates, Warren Buffett, and others, but … even they are left with billions more than they could use in a lifetime.  Take Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, who has given away $2.1 billion to causes such as the environment, education, and homelessness.  $2.1 billion is a lot of money worthy of kudos, until you consider that he is left with $184.8 billion in his own coffers.  The amount he gave away comes to just over 1% of his net worth … most people of average/moderate incomes typically give a higher percentage of their income than that to worthy causes.  And … Bezos spent more than twice the amount of his ‘philanthropy’, some $5.5 billion, for a ridiculous and pointless trip to space last year.

In short, Elon Musk wasted an obscene amount of money that could have helped millions of people in one way or another, then turned his purchase into a trash heap.  If he completes the destruction of Twitter before the end of the year, he’ll have one heck of a tax write-off next year!

Too little hype, several climate change initiatives passed in last week’s elections

There is no single issue that is more important to the survival of life on earth than the environment and climate change. None. Yet, I think most of us were unaware of the environment-related issues that were on the ballot on November 8th, most of which passed muster with the voters. Our friend Keith summarizes …

musingsofanoldfart

In an article by Frida Garza of The Guardian called “Voters pass historic climate initiatives in ‘silent surprise’ of US midterms,” some very good news occurred while we weren’t paying too much attention.

The full article can be linked to below, but here are a few paragraphs that summarize the story:

“While the economy and abortion rights drove momentum behind the midterm election this year, voters in cities and states across the US also turned out to pass a number of climate ballot initiatives .

Among the measures passed were ahistoric multibillion-dollar investmentinto environmental improvement projects in New York state, including up to $1.5bn in funding for climate change mitigation. This election also saw a $50m green bond act pass in Rhode Island, and in Colorado, the city of Boulder approved a climate tax as well as a ballot measure that will allow the city to borrow against…

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