Juneteenth — Another Point Of View

While I have applauded the passage and presidential signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act and have chalked up most of the objections to both ignorance and racism, I did come across one thought-provoking OpEd.  This piece by a professor at Morehouse College, a historically Black liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia, makes some very valid points.  Professor Robert A. Brown is not against the Juneteenth holiday, but reminds us that declaring it a federal holiday is not the end goal, that there is much work to be done in this country yet before Blacks have true freedom and equality.  The phrase, ‘Talk is cheap, actions speak louder than words’ comes to mind as I read his words and ponder what he says …


Juneteenth As A National Holiday Is Symbolism Without Progress

June 19, 2021  6:00 AM ET

ROBERT A. BROWN

This week, President Biden signed into law the “Juneteenth National Independence Day.”

It is honoring the work of Black Americans, including people such as 94-year-old Civil Rights Activist Opal Lee, who had long advocated for the celebration that started in Galveston to be made a federal holiday.

Juneteenth celebrates the date when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, on June 19th, 1865, bringing news that the Emancipation Proclamation had freed the enslaved population living in the Confederacy, albeit two years prior.

Yet the reaction amongst many African Americans, myself included, has been muted.

There is a growing discontent in the African American community with symbolic gestures that are presented as progress without any accompanying economic or structural change.

The vestiges of a shameful past continue

Though Juneteenth is a celebration of the people who endured slavery, the vestiges of slavery and the Jim Crow segregation designed to preserve it continue to this day.

As law professor Michelle Alexander notes, “There are more African American men in prison or jail, on probation or parole than were enslaved in 1850.”

The average white household holds almost 7 times more than the wealth of a Black household. Perhaps more concerning, education does little to close the Black-white wealth gap as white families headed by those without a college degree have more wealth than Black families headed by those with a graduate or professional degree.

And yet, in the face of these stark disparities, lawmakers have been more willing to engage in performative symbolism than passing laws to make substantive change.

We have seen federal lawmakers take a knee, draped in kente cloth, but we have seen no substantive change about reforming police brutality that inspired Colin Kaepernick’s initial protest.

Lift Every Voice and Sing” is sung across the country, while legislation for reparations for the horrors of slavery languish. Sports arenas and streets have the words “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned for all to see, and yet police reform and anti-lynching laws that were some of the initial goals of the Black Lives Matter movement remain unpassed.

What is needed are substantive steps

There are substantive steps that federal lawmakers could take to honor the historic debt owed to the descendants of the enslaved in addition to a federal holiday.

House Resolution 40 has called for a committee to study reparations. If advanced, it could ultimately begin a national discussion about cash reparations at the federal level.

Substantive reform to end the immunity police who brutalize our citizens should be enacted, as well as a reversal of the decades-long militarization of the police.

Historically Black colleges and universities, most of which were founded around the end of slavery, should receive substantial increases in federal funding.

In many ways, the history of Juneteenth and the end of U.S. slavery mirrors the uneven pace of progress for African Americans during the following 150 years.

I have celebrated Juneteenth at festivals that honor the culture and community of the descendants of those who had been enslaved. Those celebrations always featured a community singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” just like members of Congress did upon the signing of the Juneteenth holiday into law.

This year, while I’ll sing about being “full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,” like many African Americans, I’ll be mindful that, as the song says, we must continue to fight on “till victory is won.”

The Catholic Church vs We The People

Karl Marx said of religion that it is the ‘opiate of the masses.’  In other words, it is the thing that keeps people in line, keeps them obeying rules that they are told by their respective churches are the rules of some higher power.  A disclaimer here:  While I am a non-believer, I fully respect the right of others to believe as they will so long as they do no harm and do not impose their beliefs on others.  But this is where the problem comes in.

I’ve railed long and loud about the evangelical Christians who would impose their will on us all if given half a chance.  They have cherry-picked their own religious tome and loudly proclaim those parts that suit their own conveniences, while ignoring other parts, such as “do unto others …”  But today, I am equally disgusted by the Catholic religion that is trying to do the exact same thing as the evangelicals, only on a grander scale.

From an article in The Washington Post

Catholic bishops on Friday voted to create guidelines on the meaning of Communion, a move that could be an early step toward limiting the serving of the Eucharist to President Biden and other politicians who support abortion rights.

The bishops voted 168 to 55 to punish the President and other politicos who support women’s rights. Let me tell you what this means in basic terms.  President Biden is a dedicated Catholic to whom receiving communion on Sundays is important.  This is a personal choice of his, he was raised in the Catholic church and is dedicated to his faith, as he has every right to be.  However, it IS a personal decision and cannot cross into his professional duties as President of the United States.  But this is exactly what the Catholic church is attempting to do … to threaten and bully our president into changing his stance on a critical human rights issue in order to appease the church.  BULLSHIT!

Make no mistake … the issue here and also with the evangelicals is not … I repeat NOT … about abortion per se.  The Catholic bishops and the evangelical leaders couldn’t care less about a fetus.  It is about women’s rights.  Period.  Back in the Dark Ages that ended only a couple of decades ago, women were considered chattel … they were dominated by males, were basically maids, cooks, and baby-making machines.  We finally got sick and tired of that status, rose up and demanded and fought for equal rights, and while we still aren’t quite to the point of being considered the equal of men, we’ve made one hell of a lot of progress, no thanks to most religions or church leaders.

President Biden is now faced with a decision … to obey the tenets of his church (new tenets, as it were, designed only to coerce him and other politicians who defend women’s rights) or to follow the will of We the People.  I have full confidence that President Biden will do the right thing, but sadly his personal religious life may never be the same.  A man (or someday, hopefully, a woman) should not be forced away from their religion in order to do their job!  They should not have to choose between their faith and their job!

The Catholic church, the various evangelical churches … they cannot be allowed to dictate whether or not women have the right to control their own bodies.  And isn’t it interesting that NONE of the churches seem to object to a man having a vasectomy, or conversely, a man asking his doctor for a prescription for Viagra so that he can … er … perform.  Again … women’s rights are on the chopping block if churches have their say.  Ask me again why I eschew religion, why I agree with Karl Marx, that religion is a tool that is used to suppress that which certain elements of society do not wish to allow.

What’s next?  Will the churches next demand that only men be allowed to vote?  Or that Blacks be relegated to the back of the bus once again?  Or that … well, use your imagination.  For every step forward we take, the religious right tries to shove us two steps back.

This nation has people of many different religions:  Muslim, Protestant, Hindu, Catholic, Mormon, Jewish, Buddhist, and others, as well as those of us who are agnostics or atheists.  We all pay taxes, we all vote, we all have the same constitutional rights.  The U.S. Constitution calls for a separation of church and state, which means that while people have the right to believe as they wish, no religion should define the laws that bind us all.  However, that is exactly what is happening when the U.S. Supreme Court rules discrimination is legal as has happened numerous times recently, the most notable case being the Masterpiece Cakeshop v Colorado Civil Rights Commission case.

I rarely condemn a certain religion, but today I am condemning the Catholic church for trying to leverage our President to return women to a state of chattel.  Harsh?  Sure, but also true.  As a woman, I’ll be damned if I’ll sit back and let a bunch of old, white men who wear 10th century garb and funny things on their heads tell me what to do with my body, with my life.  Were I to see a priest at the grocery store today, I would likely aim a head of cabbage at his head!

Ask me again why I think religion sucks.

Opal Lee — Grandmother Of Juneteenth

Look at this beautiful woman …

This is Opal Lee, age 94, and on this, the first time Juneteenth is being celebrated as an official U.S. holiday, I want to tell you a little bit about Ms. Lee who is known as the Grandmother of Juneteenth.  While yesterday I wrote a bit about the negativity of some racists toward the new holiday, Juneteenth, today I want to put aside the negative and focus on the positive … and the voice of Ms. Opal Lee.


When Opal Lee was growing up in Texas, she would spend Juneteenth picnicking with her family, first in Marshall, where she was born, then in Sycamore Park in Fort Worth, near the home she moved into at age 10.  Ms. Lee’s paternal grandmother was born into bondage in Louisiana, and while Ms. Lee, born in 1927, was not a slave, she felt the cruel edge of racism at a very early age.

She and her family lived in a predominantly white neighborhood in Fort Worth. On Juneteenth 1939, when Ms. Lee was 12, a mob of 500 white supremacists set fire to her home and vandalized it. The structure was destroyed, and no arrests were made.  Says Lee of that time …

“People gathered. The papers say that it was 500 strong, and that the police couldn’t control them. My dad came home with a gun, and the police told him if he busted a cap, they’d let that mob have him.  If they had given us an opportunity to stay there and be their neighbors, they would have found out we didn’t want any more than what they had – a decent place to stay, jobs that paid, to be able to go to school in the neighborhood, even if it was a segregated school. We would have made good neighbors, but they didn’t give us an opportunity. And I felt like everybody needs an opportunity.”

And that incident was the spark that lit Ms. Lee’s subsequent decades of activism.  Ms. Lee earned her college degree and became a teacher.  She joined the Tarrant County Black Historical and Genealogical Society, which oversaw local Juneteenth celebrations. But she said that after more than 40 years as a community activist, she “really doubled down in 2016” by “going bigger.”

At the tender age of 89, she decided to start with a walking campaign in cities along a route from her home in Fort Worth, Texas, to Washington, D.C. It wasn’t a straight line. Over several weeks, Lee arrived in cities where she’d been invited to speak and walked 2½ miles to symbolize the 2½ years that it took for enslaved people in Texas to learn they were free.  She made the entire 1,400-mile trek from Fort Worth, Texas to Washington D.C.

“I knew I just had to spread the word about Juneteenth to everybody.  I was thinking that surely, somebody would see a little old lady in tennis shoes trying to get to Congress and notice.”

Since then, Ms. Lee has become known far and wide as the Grandmother of Juneteenth.  So, it only made sense that on Thursday when President Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, Ms. Opal Lee was invited to attend the signing.

Not only that, but the President himself called her “a grandmother of the movement to make Juneteenth a federal holiday” and got down on one knee to greet her in the audience.  During his speech before the signing, Biden asked the audience to give Lee, who was seated in the front row, a standing ovation.  And after he signed the bill into law, he gave Ms. Lee the first pen he used to sign it.

“I have to say to you, I have only been president for several months, but I think this will go down, for me, as one of the greatest honors I will have as president – not because I did it, you did it, Democrats and Republicans. It’s an enormous, enormous honor.”


What follows is a part of an interview between Ms. Lee and the New York Times last year on Juneteenth:

What is your first memory of celebrating Juneteenth?

It was in Marshall, Texas, where I was born. We’d go to the fairgrounds to celebrate. It was like going to Christmas or Thanksgiving, we had such a good time.

Some people still compare Independence Day to Juneteenth. How would you explain the type of freedom and community that comes from celebrating Juneteenth?

The difference between Juneteenth and the 4th of July? Woo, girl! The fact is none of us are free till we’re all free. Knowing that slaves didn’t get the word for two and a half years after the emancipation, can’t you imagine how those people felt? They’d been watching — that’s what they call Watch Night services — every New Year’s, thinking freedom was coming. And then to find out they were free, even two and a half years after everybody else.

So, the 4th of July? Slaves weren’t free. You know that, don’t you? And so we just celebrate the hell out of the 4th of July, so I suggest that if we’re going to do some celebrating of freedom, that we have our festival, our educational components, our music, from June the 19 — Juneteenth — to the 4th of July. Now that would be celebrating freedom.

How do you think the protests for Black lives that are happening around the country have shaped the way that people understand Juneteenth?

We have simply got to make people aware that none of us are free until we’re all free, and we aren’t free yet. There’s so many disparities. You know, we need some decent education and some decent jobs that pay money, and we need health care and all kinds of things and if people would just get together and address these disparities, we’d be well on our way to being the greatest country in the world.

Right now lots of companies are making Juneteenth an official holiday. How does it feel to see your vision coming to fruition?

Ooh girl, I could do a holy dance. I’m so happy to see things coming to fruition and the fact that we are almost there making it a holiday. We started out talking about 100,000 signatures and now we’re saying let’s take a million signatures to Congress to let them know that it’s not just one little old lady in tennis shoes.

I hope they understand that we’re talking about a holiday like Presidents’ Day or Flag Day. We’re not talking about a paid holiday. However, I’m delighted to have the big companies give their employees the day off with pay.

What changes do you hope to see in our country beyond having Juneteenth recognized on a national level?

If we would unify, if we would get together and do something about homelessness, and do something about people having decent housing, and decent food, and they would have not only a place to stay but a decent education.

If we could just love one another, you know? If you could get past the color of my skin and love me like you do that boy next door to you.


And those, my friends, are words for us all.  If Ms. Lee has one message for us it is that one – get past the colour of people’s skin and just love them!  Stop the hate, the violence, the petty bickering and … just love one another.  Life is too short to waste it with bigotry of any sort.  And on that note, I wish you all a very Happy Juneteenth!

Just Two Short Bits of Snarky

Yes, yes … Filosofa is still snarking and ranting … there is just so much wrong in this world, every bit of which could be so easily fixed with just the three ‘C’s – common sense, compassion, cooperation.  I did have more snippets than just these two short ones, but … I’m out of time, so I shall save them for later or tomorrow!  Gives you something to look forward to, eh?


Cosa Nostra rides again?

William Braddock is a Republican candidate from Florida who is hoping to be elected to fill the seat currently held by Democrat Charlie Crist, who is resigning to run for governor to (hopefully) replace the ignoble Ron DeSantis next year.  William Braddock is short on name recognition, but one thing he has plenty of is audacity.

Also running in that same GOP primary race is Anna Paulina Luna, an Air Force veteran who went on to become a conservative activist and won a crowded GOP primary in the state’s 13th Congressional District last year but lost the general election to Crist.

Apparently, Mr. Braddock has a unique plan for winning the Republican nomination next fall … kill off Ms. Luna!  Yes, you heard me right!  During a 30-minute call with a conservative activist, Braddock is heard saying the following …

“I really don’t want to have to end anybody’s life for the good of the people of the United States of America. That will break my heart. But if it needs to be done, it needs to be done. Luna is a f—ing speed bump in the road. She’s a dead squirrel you run over every day when you leave the neighborhood.”

And later in the conversation …

“I have access to a hit squad, too, Ukrainians and Russians. Don’t get caught out in public supporting Luna. … Luna’s gonna go down and I hope it’s by herself.”

And still more …

“My polling people are going to charge me $20,000 to do a poll right before the primary. And if the poll says Luna’s gonna win, she’s gonna be gone. She’s gonna disappear.  For the good of our country, we have to sacrifice the few. … For the better or the good of the majority of the people, we’ve got to sacrifice the few.”

My jaw dropped when I read this.  WHO THE HELL talks like that and hopes to win a seat to the U.S. Congress???  Does he fancy himself Don Corleone?  If so, he’s watched The Godfather a few too many times!  Even the mob don’t talk like that, especially in a phone call where they may be recorded!

This jackass belongs either in a mental institution or a prison cell, but definitely NOT in the U.S. House of Representatives!  Until reading this, I didn’t think it was possible to sink any lower than the likes of Margie Greene and Matt Gaetz, but obviously I was wrong!


DESTROY THE DAMN GUNS!!!!!!!!!!!

We’ve got another mass shooting here in the U.S., this time in Chicago.  I could give you the details, but you likely already know them, and … if you don’t, you can just Google “latest mass shooting”.  But, I will tell you that four human beings, people minding their own business, people who were husbands, wives, parents … are now dead, thanks to the gun culture in the not-so-United States.  Yesterday, I decided to check the local news for my own area, Cincinnati, Ohio.  I don’t often read the local news, but about once a week I try to catch up.

A few days ago, in a suburb a few miles from where I live, a little 6-year-old boy left his bicycle in a neighbor’s yard.  When he went back to retrieve it a while later, the neighbor shot him.  The little boy will be okay, the shot went straight through his arm, but WHO THE HELL SHOOTS A KID for nothing more than leaving his bike in their yard?????????

And on Sunday night, in another subdivision that is just a few miles from where I live, two children – a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old – were shot, as well as two teenagers.  Both of the younger children, last I heard, were in critical condition, while the teens suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  Again, the details are irrelevant, but what is relevant is that 4 young lives were nearly snuffed out, two may yet die, and FOR WHAT????

DESTROY THE DAMN GUNS, PEOPLE!!!  I’M SICK AND DAMN TIRED OF PEOPLE DYING BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE THINK THEY HAVE A RIGHT TO OWN A KILLING MACHINE.  THEY DON’T!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Juneteenth Is Now Official, But …

Tomorrow is Juneteeth.  If you don’t know what Juneteenth is, please visit my post from last year to refresh your memory.  In short, Juneteenth is “a holiday celebrated on 19 June to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people in the US. The holiday was first celebrated in Texas, where on that date in 1865, in the aftermath of the Civil War, slaves were declared free under the terms of the 1862 Emancipation Proclamation.”  But in this, the era of extreme racism in government, police, and society, it is much, much more than that.

I was so moved that I was speechless, a rarity for me, when President Biden signed a bill, the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, into law yesterday declaring that June 19th is, from this point forward in the United States, a federal holiday.  The bill landed on the President’s desk despite some 14 members of the House of Representatives who objected.  Yes, my friends, 14 people who We the People elected to federal office, to the United States Congress, are still so blinded by bigotry that they refused to honour the day that, at least on paper, Black people won the right to be free and equal in the eyes of this nation.

Those 14 representatives are …

  1. Mo Brooks (Alabama)
  2. Andy Biggs (Arizona)
  3. Andrew Clyde (Georgia)
  4. Scott DesJarlais (Tennessee)
  5. Paul Gosar (Arizona)
  6. Ronnie Jackson (Texas)
  7. Doug LaMalfa (California)
  8. Thomas Massie (Kentucky)
  9. Tom McClintock (California)
  10. Ralph Norman (South Carolina)
  11. Mike Rogers (Alabama)
  12. Matt Rosendale (Montana)
  13. Chip Roy (Texas)
  14. Tom Tiffany (Wisconsin)

Remember their names, for these are some of the most racist, bigoted representatives in the United States Congress today.  Also note that ten of the fourteen are from states SOUTH of the Mason-Dixon line … states that fought on the side of the Confederacy trying to preserve slavery just 150 years ago.

There seem to have been two schools of ‘thought’ (and I use that term loosely) among these fourteen as to why they do not support this bill.  Some said it was because of the bill’s name as ‘Independence Day’, and others objected … believe it or not … to federal workers getting yet another paid holiday!  Remember that members of Congress get numerous, lengthy paid holidays each year, far in excess of what the average worker gets.  A few of the more ignominious comments …

  • “Juneteenth is more debunked Critical Race Theory in action.” – Paul Gosar
  • “… I do not support more days off for federal employees.” – Ronny Jackson
  • “Naming this day ‘National Independence Day’ would create confusion and push Americans to pick one of those two days as their independence day based on their racial identity.” – Thomas Massie
  • “I don’t believe it’s healthy to reach into the dead past, revive its most malevolent conflicts and reintroduce them into our age.” – Tom McClintock
  • This isn’t an effort to commemorate emancipation, it’s very clearly tied to the larger hard-left agenda to enshrine the racial history of this country as the prime aspect of our national story.” – Matt Rosendale
  • “… needlessly divides our nation on a matter that should instead bring us together by creating a separate Independence Day based on the color of one’s skin.” – Chip Roy

Apparently Mr. McClintock and Mr. Rosendale do not believe in that old adage that if we forget the lessons of history, we are destined to repeat it.  And Mr. Roy must have his head buried in the sand if he doesn’t realize that this nation is already hopelessly divided on matters of race, among other issues.  What a bunch of narrow-minded bigots these 14 white males are, with no sense of history, no sense of humanity, only their own belief in their white supremacy.  Folks, please, vote these jerks out next year … our very lives depend on it.

The Justices Have Been Busy!

The Justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have been busy little beavers this week.  Their rulings are something of a mixed bag … more to raise my hackles than not, but let’s start with the good news.


ACA survives to save more lives

Once again, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare, was on the chopping block, and yet again, for the third time, the Court saved it from the Republican hatchet in the case of California v Texas.  The most interesting vote in my book was that of Justice Clarence Thomas.  Thomas, who voted against ACA the first two times it came before the Court, voted in favour of it this time, saying …

“Whatever the act’s dubious history in this court, we must assess the current suit on its own terms. And, here, there is a fundamental problem with the arguments advanced by the plaintiffs in attacking the act — they have not identified any unlawful action that has injured them. Today’s result is thus not the consequence of the court once again rescuing the act, but rather of us adjudicating the particular claims the plaintiffs chose to bring.”

He’s not exactly the head cheerleader for the Act that has allowed so many to have access to healthcare when they otherwise would not have, but a statement of fairness, at least.  I was also surprised that Justices Kavanaugh and Barrett voted in favour of ACA this time ‘round.  It is estimated that if the Court had struck down ACA, some 21 million people would have lost their access to healthcare.  There are still larger issues related to ACA that the Court has not yet addressed, but for now, it lives to see another day, to help people be able to take their sick children to a doctor.


The Court upholds bigotry

This one, Fulton v City of Philadelphia, involved the city of Philadelphia and a Catholic adoption agency who refused to work with same-sex couples.  Philadelphia had stopped placements with the agency, Catholic Social Services, after a 2018 article in The Philadelphia Inquirer described its policy against placing children with same-sex couples. The agency and several foster parents sued the city, saying the decision violated their First Amendment rights to religious freedom and free speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for six members of the court, said that the Catholic agency …

“… seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else.”

I understand his view, but I still think it is wrong to allow any public agency to discriminate on any basis.  It’s a slippery slope … what comes next?  Will they confine their selection of potentially adoptive parents to only those with white skin?  Or perhaps only those who identify as Catholics?  The ‘right’ to freedom of religion is sacrosanct, however it should never infringe on other people’s rights, especially the rights of children to be placed in a loving home.


Human Rights … depends on who’s asking

The third case, Nestlé USA v. Doe, was brought by six citizens of Mali who said they were trafficked into slavery as children. They sued Nestlé USA and Cargill, saying the firms had aided and profited from the practice of forced child labor.  Note that the claim itself was not in dispute … it happened.  What was in dispute was whether the U.S. corporations involved in human rights violations outside the U.S. could be held accountable.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, said the companies’ activities in the United States were not sufficiently tied to the asserted abuses.  And that was the end of that.  So, corporations can operate facilities to manufacture their product outside the U.S. using child labour, paying next to nothing, and the laws of the U.S. will support their activities.  Seems rather odd to me for a nation whose very foundation is built on human rights.  A nation who screams bloody murder when a [white] person is denied any right.  A nation that is a member of the United Nations, an organization dedicated to human rights around the globe.  Hypocrisy?  Oh yeah.  But then, what would you expect from a nation that is attempting to deny the poor, the elderly, Blacks and other minorities the right to vote?


June is the busiest month for the Supreme Court, the last in its annual term and quite often the most controversial cases are saved for June.  One that is on the docket is Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, a case concerning voting rights.  The Court will decide whether to uphold Arizona’s racist and restrictive voting laws that allow the state to a) discard ballots cast at the wrong precinct, and b) make ‘ballot harvesting’ a crime.

Next year will be especially confusing for some voters, as newly drawn district maps may change the location of their polling place.  So, if John Doe casts his ballot at the same place he did in 2020, not realizing there had been a change in the boundaries of his district, his ballot will be thrown out under the new Arizona law.  And if someone collects the ballots from residents of a senior care facility and takes 20 or 30 ballots to the drop box, that person would be in violation of the law and those ballots not counted.  Discriminatory as hell!

However, the larger question is whether the ruling will be so broad that it will also effectively endorse new voting laws that states have passed this year.  The Court, under Chief Justice John Roberts, has generally sided with Republican state officials when they have restricted voting access.  Keep your eye on this one, folks, for it may be the seed that determines whether We the People will continue to have a voice in our government, or whether our civil rights will be jerked out from under us.

A Handful of Mini-Rants

If we thought that with President Biden’s inauguration our troubles would disappear and peace would reign, we were dead wrong.  It appears to me that every Republican in any position of power, be it local, state, or federal, has taken an oath to make our lives a living hell and to destroy as much as possible of the nation.  If I could afford it, I would file a lawsuit against the Republican Party for costing me sleep, health, appetite and more!  As you read today’s snippets, you might conclude that I’m just a wee bit angry, but you’d be wrong.  I’m not a wee bit angry, I am livid.


I wonder if we could sell Texas to Mexico?

Republican Governor Greg Abbott of Texas is planning to spend the hard-earned tax dollars of the people of Texas and solicit donations from racists in order to ‘build that wall’ that the former guy kept touting but only actually built a few miles of.  Abbott learned from the earlier fiasco that there is no way in hell Mexico is going to pay for the wall, so instead he is going to commandeer taxpayer dollars to attempt to keep refugees out of his sorry state.  He said he would take $250 million from the state’s general revenue fund for a ‘down payment’ on his wall.  He also plans to coerce landowners on the border to allow the state to begin ‘immediate construction’ on their property.  In addition, he is asking for donations of both land and cash.  There are probably a few fools who will write him a check, but they’ll be throwing their money away, because Abbott’s wall isn’t going to happen (I hope).

Most people in the know say that Abbott’s proposed wall will meet its destiny, likely in the courts.  According to David Donatti, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas …

“If the governor wants to blow hot air on TV, he can do that. I truly don’t think he has thought this through. The governor is not a king. We have checks and balances in the state of Texas.”

As it happens, the governor does not have jurisdiction to enforce immigration laws, which are the sole responsibility of the federal government.  Apparently, Mr. Abbott needs to study the U.S. Constitution and his job description a bit longer.  He is up for re-election next year and … I would like to see him toppled, for he is an ass, but his likely primary opponent, Don Huffines, is just as big of an ass who also supports the idea of a wall, saying …

“The Biden Administration won’t secure our border, so Texas will.”

Sheesh, Republicans … do you not have anybody in your party with at least half a brain and a conscience???


Meanwhile …

Unlike the former guy, President Biden understands the seriousness of climate change and part of his campaign promise was to cut carbon emissions, cut back on fossil fuels, and expand renewable energy sources.  In way of keeping that promise, one of Biden’s first actions, his first week in office, was to issue a series of executive orders, one of which was to put a temporary ban on new oil and gas leasing on federal land.  Thumbs up, I say, for I ascribe to the mantra “Leave it in the ground”, even if it makes life a bit inconvenient for some, or … GASP … reduces the profits of the big oil, gas and coal companies.

But, alas, if something makes sense and is good for the environment, good for the people, you can count on the damn republicans to nix it.  In this case, Jeff Landry, the Republican attorney general of Louisiana and attorneys general from 12 other states, all Republicans, filed suit in March to lift the White House executive order.

Judge Doughty

On Tuesday, Judge Terry Alvin Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana – a Trump appointee –  granted a preliminary injunction claiming that that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases “lies solely with Congress” because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing.

DAMMIT Republicans!!!  The future of the human and many other species depends on switching to renewable energy, on leaving the damn fossil fuels where they belong … in the ground!  I don’t want your damned oil and frankly I don’t care if the CEOs of every fossil fuel corporation, who have been robbing us blind for decades now, all fall off of Wall Street and end up without a penny!  We have, for the first time in over four years, a president who cares about the future of the planet, who cares about We the People, our children and grandchildren, more than you the Rich Bastards!

As for Judge Terry Alvin Doughty … I wonder if he called the former guy to ask his advice on this one, for it reeks of trumpism.


Manchin’s “Compromise”

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia … you know, that state that has no economy and thrives on ignorance … already said he would not support the For the People Act that would ensure our voting rights, among other things.  Our right to vote … our only voice in our lives, our future … and Manchin doesn’t care enough to support it.  But wait …

Just this week, Manchin drafted a memo stating that he would be willing to compromise.  He would support at least two weeks of federally mandated early voting and to eliminate partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts.  Well, that’s a good start, though not nearly enough.  But wait …

Manchin has conditions!  Manchin’s compromise would require an ID requirement for all voters and the ability of local election officials to purge voter rolls using other government records.  NO NO NO NO NO!!!

One thing that keeps many poor people, Blacks and Hispanics away from the polls is that ID requirement and it is grossly unfair!  My granddaughter does not have a photo ID, she does not drive, and I don’t have the means to take her to obtain a state issued ID.  She is 26 years old and has been voting by mail since she was 18.  Under Manchin’s version of this bill, she would not be able to vote.  I know numerous Black people here in my own neighborhood who do not have a photo ID, but they pay taxes, they are citizens, and they have the right to vote, dammit!

And Manchin’s notion of allowing election officials to purge voter rolls is far too vague.  I can understand purging voters who have died or moved out of the state, but to give state and local election officials carte blanche to purge voter rolls at will?  Surely you jest!  Said Manchin …

“I’ve been sharing everything that I support and things I can support and vote with and things that I think is in the bill that doesn’t need to be in the bill, that doesn’t really interact with what we’re doing in West Virginia. We’ll have to see what changes are made.”

West Virginia is only one of fifty states, Manchin!  The rest of us matter too!  The bottom line, though, is it doesn’t make one damn bit of difference if Manchin supports the bill or not, for it will be subjected to the senate filibuster and we all know there are not ten republicans in the United States Senate who have a conscience.  Hell, I’m not sure there are ten republicans in the United States who have a conscience!  As far as I’m concerned, Joe Manchin can stick his ‘compromise’ where the sun doesn’t shine.

4 Details From Merrick Garland’s Voting Rights Announcement

I was thrilled to read yesterday … or was it the day before? … that the Department of Justice under Attorney General Merrick Garland will be taking on the issue of voting rights, given that the U.S. Senate is almost certain to refuse to uphold and protect our civil rights.  Our friend TokyoSand has written about some of the details of Garland’s plan, and included a short video clip of his speech that I hope you’ll take time to watch.  Thank you, TS, for all your good work!


4 Details From Merrick Garland’s Voting Rights Announcement

It’s been rough on the voting rights front these last few months, but on Friday, a little sun broke through the clouds.

Attorney General Merrick Garland speaks about a jurys verdict in the case against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, at the Department of Justice on April 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Andrew Harnik / POOL / AFP) (Photo by ANDREW HARNIK/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Attorney General Merrick Garland made an important speech outlining some actions the the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice would be taking to combat the attack on voting rights. He specifically mentioned the 14 states that have passed laws that make it harder to vote. He even referenced the SCOTUS decision back in 2013 that invalidated a portion of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that opened to the door to a renewed rush of discriminatory actions.

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The National Registry of Exonerations Releases Grim, Eye-Opening Report — Wrongful Convictions Blog

I have long been against the death penalty and executions for a number of reasons, the foremost being that we have a dark history of wrongful convictions, sending innocent people to prison for crimes they did not commit. The National Registry of Exonerations recently released a report with some eye-opening statistics about wrongful convictions in the U.S. and blogging friend Xena has the scoop. It should be noted that while Blacks have always been a minority in the overall population, they have been the majority when it comes to wrongful convictions. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. Thank you, Xena, for bringing this report to our attention. We, as a nation, really must try to do better!

We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident

This month our nation exceeded 25,000 years lost to wrongful convictions. The human suffering associated with the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of 2,795 innocent people is incalculable. Without the research and reporting of the National Registry of Exonerations (NRE), we likely would not know of or comprehend the truth or implications of this horrific milestone.

The report, “25,000 Years Lost to Wrongful Convictions” released today quantifies the reality of a justice system making its most egregious error: convicting an innocent person. The NRE defines an exoneree as a “person who was convicted of a crime and later officially declared innocent of that crime, or relieved of all legal consequences of the conviction because evidence of innocence that was not presented at trial required reconsideration of the case.”

The NRE has focused on exonerations since 1989. Here are a few highlights from the report:

• On average, each exoneree spent…

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♫ Teach Your Children ♫

A friend and I were having a conversation about how far too often we, as parents, instill our own bigotries and hatreds into our children, often without even realizing it.  Religion is guilty of creating so many phobias in children that I would need some extra fingers to count them.  My proposal is that we expose our children to all different sorts of people at a very young age.  Blacks, Hispanics, Muslims, LGBT people … and let them see that these are just people, no different than they themselves in the ways that matter.  If we do this, then we raise young adults who are more caring, more accepting of ‘other’ than past generations.  We break that cycle of homophobia, racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, and much more.  As I was chatting via email with this friend on this topic, a song title came to me … this one … Teach Your Children, by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

Graham Nash wrote this song when he was a member of The Hollies, though it was never recorded by that group. The lyrics deal with the often-difficult relationship he had with his father, who spent time in prison, but they also speak to the way we interact with and accept others.

Shortly after writing this, Nash visited an art gallery and saw two photographs that crystallized the meaning of the song: Diane Arbus’ “Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park” and Arnold Newman’s portrait of German industrialist Alfried Krupp. Says Nash:

“I put the ‘Hand Grenade’ photograph next to a picture of Krupp, who was the German arms magnate whose company was probably responsible for millions of deaths. It was an eerie photograph, a portrait, and the lighting is weird and his eyes are dark – a great image. And looking at them together I began to realize that what I’d just written [‘Teach Your Children’] was actually true, that if we don’t start teaching our children a better way of dealing with each other we’re f–ked and humanity itself is in great danger.”

This song wasn’t wildly popular, although it reached #8 in Canada and #16 in the U.S. but did not chart in the UK or much of anywhere else.  Although never one of my top ten favourites, I did like the song, but was completely unaware of the background (or most of the lyrics) until tonight.

Teach Your Children

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

You, who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so, become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye

Teach your children well
Their father’s hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by

Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?”
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

And you (Can you hear?) of tender years (And do you care?)
Can’t know the fears (And can you see?)
That your elders grew by (We must be free)
And so, please help (To teach your children)
Them with your youth (What you believe in)
They seek the truth (Make a world)
Before they can die (That we can live in)

And teach your parents well
Their children’s hell will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by

Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?
If they told you, you will cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Graham Nash

Teach Your Children lyrics © Nash Notes