Still Plenty Of Material For Snarky Snippets

After the 2020 election, when Joe Biden won the presidency, I wondered if I would have to retire my ‘snarky snippets’ posts, for surely there wouldn’t be much to snark about.  I was delusional … it seems that there will always be something to set off the snarkometer!

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Say WHAT???

I was incensed yesterday when I heard that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, asked about who was to blame for the terrorist attacks on the Capitol on January 6th, said …

“I also think everybody across this country has some responsibility.”

Say WHAT???

Oh no, sir, you are dead wrong in that!  The fools who participated are to blame, and the bigger fool who incited them is to blame.  You Republican members of Congress who stood silently by for the last four years, allowing Donald Trump to believe that he could get by with literally anything, including inciting a riot must share the blame.  But, the majority of people in this country have not one iota of blame in this fiasco!

Beau of the Fifth Column, always the voice of reason, gives us his take on Mr. McCarthy’s words and I fully agree with him.


A man without a conscience

Another one of the Republican Party’s bigger fools (so many to choose from) is Rand Paul.  Earlier this week, I told you about Paul’s insidious remark that President Biden, in his inauguration speech, had said that all Republicans were white supremacists. Biden neither said nor implied any such thing, but apparently Paul and some of his cohorts are determined to twist and manipulate Biden’s words so that they have something to bitch about.

Well, that apparently wasn’t enough for Mr. Paul, for now he is criticizing the long-overdue and much-needed plan to raise the federal minimum wage rate incrementally to $15 per hour by 2025.  Criticizing is one thing, but in order to support his critique, Mr. Paul found it necessary to tell a few big lies.

“But also raising the minimum wage to $15, I think, will also — the government estimates are close to 4 million people will lose their jobs. Particularly hurt among this are minorities and black teenagers, particularly with high unemployment.”

“So raising our taxes will cause corporations to flee, but if you mandate what the wages are, if you mandate a minimum wage of $15, it’s not like everybody gets $15. The people who still have a job get $15, but many people will become unemployed. In fact, government statistics say almost 4 million people will lose their jobs if you mandate a $15 an hour job minimum wage.”

Well, Mr. Paul, the truth is that according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate, the 4 million jobs was the highest possible, but at the low end of the analysis was that zero jobs would be lost.  Frankly, I don’t see a company making money hand-over-fist shutting down just because they have to spend a bit more to pay their employees.  Mr. Paul’s own base salary of $174,000 per year breaks down to $85.29 per hour! 

H.R. 582, also known as the Raise the Wage Act, was passed by the House in July 2019, with only three republicans voting for it, and then it died in the Senate without even being considered. It would incrementally raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 — where it has been set since 2009 — to $15 by 2025.

Let’s be very clear here … the objections by Mr. Paul and other republicans are lodged only because their big-money corporate donors are against anything that would cut into their profits.  Rand Paul is owned, lock stock & barrel, by corporations such as Koch Industries and others.  He doesn’t speak for We the People, he speaks only on behalf of wealthy corporations and CEOs.  Anything that would reduce their profit by so much as a lousy dollar is going to be fought by the republicans who are slaves to the wealthiest 1% of the people in this nation.

toon-minimum-wageThink about this … the person who is paid minimum wage earns a full-time annual salary of $14,790.  Could you live on that?  Hell, my rent alone comes to $14,640 per year, and I live in a lower-income area!  If I earned minimum wage, it would leave me $150 to pay utilities, car payment, fuel, insurance, and buy food for a full year.  C’mon, Mr. Paul – get real!  Think about the rest of the people in this country, not just your wealthy donors.  Better yet, how ‘bout you just step down from Congress … go home to Kentucky and live happily ever after on your $2.58 million net worth and let those who have both a brain and a conscience govern the nation.

If companies who are making millions of dollars in profit, yet paying almost no taxes, cannot even pay a living wage to their employees, then they do not deserve to be in business.  It is my hope that President Biden and the members of both chambers of Congress will take their hands out of the till long enough to do the right thing for the people of this nation and pass the $15 an hour minimum wage bill.  If they don’t, then perhaps it’s time for a nationwide strike.

Hank Aaron – quiet dignity, quiet strength

I had planned to write a tribute post to baseball’s legendary Henry (Hank) Aaron this afternoon, but as often happens when great minds think alike, Keith was on the same page, only he beat me to the punch and did it every bit as well as I could have. Thank you, Keith, for this lovely tribute to a man who was not only a great baseball player, but also a great human being.

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A great baseball player passed away yesterday. His name was Henry Aaron, but he went by Hank. He was a very quiet man growing up in the south in the middle of the Jim Crow era. But, arguably he is on a very short list of the greatest baseball players ever.

Rather than bore non-baseball fans with endless statistics indicating how great he was, let me focus on how poorly this African-American was treated as he chased records set by white ball players. He received multiple death threats and family kidnapping threats and was openly called the N word both aloud and within the many letters of vicious hate mail.

Like Jackie Robinson before him, he took all of this with quiet dignity and a heavy dose of quiet strength. Racism and bigotry was dumped on this man like garbage. But, he stood strong.

When he chased the greatest of…

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Prove Me Wrong — PLEASE!

Joe Biden has promised to do everything in his power to heal the wounds that divide the people of this nation, to bring unity where there is only separation and hate.  I fully believe he will try, but we all have to do our part … he cannot do it alone.  And today, it seems to me that nearly half the nation does not want unity, though they claim they do.  Perhaps they are defining ‘unity’ as everyone bending to their own views.

In an early morning text from a friend, there was this …

“… the “new” President call 74 MILLION Americans…. white suprematists. He’s off to a great start. Unity? I think not a chance in hell now.”

And that was only the beginning.  Senator Rand Paul said in a morning interview with Fox News …

“If you read his speech and listen to it carefully, much of it is thinly veiled innuendo. Calling us white supremacists, calling us racists, calling us every name in the book. Calling us people who don’t tell the truth.  ‘And going forward we’re not going to have manufactured or manipulated truth.’ That’s another way of saying ‘All of my opponents manufacture or manipulate the truth and are liars.’”

And speaking of Fox, ol’ Tucker Carlson just had to throw a bucket of fuel on the fire, saying …

“Now that we’re waging war on white supremacists. Can somebody tell us in very clear language what a white supremacist is? Biden has now declared war. So, we should know specifically and precisely who exactly he has declared war on. We have a right to know that innocent people could be hurt in this war. They usually are.”

Joe Biden offered an olive branch, and some republicans are determined to destroy it rather than accept it.  It’s almost as if they take great pleasure from the current atmosphere of hate and divisiveness.  Biden wasn’t looping Republicans generally in with white supremacists and extremists. Carlson is doing that. Paul is doing that.

I’m sure there is a large contingent of republicans who are hopeful that Biden can, in fact, lessen the tensions, find common ground on the issues that divide us, and helps us find the path to mutual respect, but they aren’t speaking loudly enough, if at all.  The only republican voices I’m hearing are those who aren’t even willing to give peace a chance.

From an OpEd by Philip Bump writing for The Washington Post …

It’s important to note that this is clearly not what Biden was talking about. He was talking about the rise of white nationalist extremism and violence of the sort that has been manifested occasionally in recent years and which the Department of Homeland Security (under Trump) identified as the most significant terrorism threat in the country. He was talking about the sort of extremism that contributed to what happened at the Capitol.

There is some undercurrent of sympathy among Republicans generally for what happened there. Most Americans reject the mob’s actions in storming the Capitol, though, as a Washington Post-ABC News poll found, 15 percent of Republicans at least somewhat support the storming of the Capitol itself. A HuffPost-YouGov poll taken shortly after the attack found that most Republicans viewed the mob’s actions as being mostly right or simply having gone too far in pursuit of a valid point.

I remember a time when being a republican or a democrat was not a divisive feature.  Sure, there have always been ideological differences – hence the reason for two distinct political parties.  But it wasn’t the thing that defined us, as it appears to be today.  This nation is split in half, though not by any physical boundaries, but rather by prejudice and intolerance.  President Joe Biden wants to start to put us back together, but it can only work if people on both sides of the issues are willing to make it work.  Taking his words, twisting them to mean something entirely different, then spewing hateful remarks is not the answer, people!

I call on every person, whether democrat, republican, or independent, to give Joe a chance, for Pete’s sake!  Within twelve hours of him taking his Oath of Office, people were already denigrating and swearing that they would not even listen to his actual words, would not be open to trying to help make his attempts at healing the Great Divide work.  Do these people actually crave violence, want a damn civil war?  I’ve said many times in the last four years that this is no longer a country I recognize.  I was hoping that would change under a President Biden, but it can only change if we all want it to.  Do we still have any shared values in this country?  Today, I have my doubts.  PLEASE prove me wrong!

Not-So-Snarky Snippets

Ahhhhh … it is like a breathe of fresh air to have positive news on the political front to write about.  Already I can feel the difference in the tone of the news sites I frequent … well, most of them, anyway.  And it was truly bliss to troll the news this evening and see not one single thing about the person who left the White House for the final time yesterday morning.  So, forward we move.

My usual ‘snarky snippets’ came about as a direct result of you-know-who and his cohorts, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that I will still have many more snarky snippets, for there are still many unsavory elements in our government, such as Josh Hawley, Marjorie Taylor-Greene, and Lauren Boebert.  Add to that the long-termers like Jim Jordan, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham … and well, you can see how the snarky snippets will be around for a while.  However, there will also be times that, finally, I will be writing about positive things happening and those need a different name.  The best I could come up with last night was ‘Not-so-snarky Snippets’, but you guys are more than welcome to think up something better if you can.  My mind is tired and my imagination took a long hike and hasn’t returned yet.


First bit of good news …

After the inaugural festivities yesterday, something awesome happened.  Vice-President Kamala Harris administered the oath of office to newly elected Senators Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, both from the state of Georgia, and Alex Padilla, the former California secretary of state, who was appointed by California Governor Gavin Newsom to fill Harris’ own Senate seat.

The Senate is now tied with 50 Republican senators and 50 Democratic senators, however in the event of a tie on any given vote, Vice President Harris will provide the tie-breaking vote, so in essence, there is now a Democratic majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.  It is my hope that this will streamline the process of President Biden’s nominees for cabinet positions being confirmed, not to mention other legislation being passed.  What would really be nice is if the two parties reached across the aisle and worked in a bi-partisan manner for the best interests of the country, but perhaps that’s asking just a wee bit too much.


Never too soon to get to work

President Biden and his wife had an exhausting day yesterday, with all the inaugural activities.  Personally, I felt more sorry for the First Lady, for her feet had to be killing her after wearing those high-heeled shoes all day!  Heck, it wore me out and all I had to do was sit here at my computer, with occasional breaks to fold a load of laundry or cook supper.  However, that didn’t stop the President from getting busy once the festivities were over.

“I think some of the things we’re going to be doing are going to be bold and vital. And there’s no time to start like today.”

President Biden signed 17 executive orders yesterday, pertaining to the environment, education, the pandemic, and immigration.  Just a brief overview of a few of them …

  • Environment
    • One order was to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords which we so negligently backed out of in 2019, though unofficially we backed out of our obligations under the agreement in 2017. This was one of my biggest hopes, that we would re-join, for we were one of only 9 nations on the planet that was not committed to reversing the effects of climate change, and in fact had increased our CO2 emissions with the rollback of environmental regulations.
    • Biden also revoked the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that has been the source of numerous leaks and spills, damaging water supplies and endangering both human and wildlife. The pipeline would also have increased CO2 emissions significantly and have further damaged the atmosphere.
  • Immigration
    • The President signed an order repealing the ban on travel from several majority-Muslim nations.
    • Another order called on the Department of Homeland Security to extend the initiative protecting ‘dreamers’, people who were brought to this country as children, from deportation and issuing them work permits.
    • He put an end to the false ‘national emergency’ that was put into place by his predecessor as a means for obtaining additional funding to build a wall – a wall that had no purpose but would cost billions, if not trillions of taxpayer dollars.
  • Pandemic relief
    • In a directive to the Department of Education, Biden asked the department to consider extending a freeze on both interest and principal payments for federal student loans until September 30th.
    • In a separate directive he asked the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to extend a moratorium on evictions that expires after this month to at least through March.
  • Education
    • Biden rescinded the “1776 Commission” established by his predecessor. The commission, staffed by 18 ultra-conservative members, not a historian in the bunch, recommended the teaching of history as viewed through rose-coloured glasses.  An alternate reality, or revisionist history so to speak, that downplayed the darker side of the history of the nation, glossed over or even changing facts to glorify or ignore such things as slavery, Jim Crow, Japanese internment camps, the turning back of the SS St. Louis carrying Jewish refugees from Hitler’s Germany.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I heard he had rescinded the commission, for this is the way authoritarian countries educate their young, with fantasy that suits the leaders, rather than facts. 

All in all, President Biden had a busy day, and from the looks of it, all his days are going to be pretty busy.  I cannot argue with a single thing he’s done thus far, though of course some Republican lawmakers are … shall we say, not happy.  I’ve read a number of comments from them this evening and finally stopped after I found myself saying, “Shut up, bitch” to my computer.  I figured it was time for me to turn my thoughts elsewhere, for the past couple of weeks have already taken a toll.  Now’s the time to find the positive, and there will be plenty of that, I think. 


Aside from all that, I was moved to tears a few times yesterday morning while watching the ceremony.  Funny, when I watched the last inauguration in 2017, I was spitting and cursing, but yesterday morning I was mellow … and thankful that sanity has returned to the White House. 

The 46th!

Jeff speaks for me, and millions of others, when he recounts his feelings of today’s events. Finally … we can go to bed at night knowing the nation is in good hands, and wake in the morning without immediately grabbing our phone to see the latest ‘breaking news’. Thank you, Jeff, for sharing your thoughts and feelings … they echo my own. And now, you and I have a project to talk about, yes?

On The Fence Voters

We did it, folks. He’s gone for good. On November 3, 2020, over 81 million of us told the 45th President of the United States to get the hell out of our house. Today, we welcome the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr.

On the drive home today from my walk with our beloved four-legged buddies, I heard the beautiful voice of Lady Gaga singing our National Anthem emanating from my car radio. I couldn’t hold back anymore. The tears started to flow like a spring waterfall in Oregon. It’s as if a massive weight, an albatross if you will, began to leave my body all at once.

The gravity of the moment will live with me for the rest of my life. I felt similar emotions when the election was formerly called for Biden. But this was different. So much has happened since…

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Life, Once Again, Goes On

My friends, we now have a President.  I began watching the ceremonies with some degree of trepidation, fearing another terrorist attack similar to the one two weeks ago, but as the program progressed, there was no sign of trouble or even mild dissent, and I began to relax a bit.  I realize that this is only the formal first step, and that Joe & Kamala have much work to do, but it feels as if fresh air has returned, as if I can breathe again.  My tears today were tears of relief, of peace.

It is time, now, to move forward, not to keep looking back at the past four horrifying years.  That’s not to say there won’t be times that it is necessary to look back, for much damage has been done and repairing it will also mean assessing it, but for the most part, I think we need to focus on President Biden’s actions.  Moving forward doesn’t mean we forget the past, but rather that we learn from it, we catalog the mistakes, assess their origins in order to ensure we don’t repeat the same mistakes ever again.

For four years, this nation has been steadily losing the respect of the rest of the world, and it will take time and effort to repair our alliances, to once again be respected in the eyes of the world.  For the past year, we have fought a deadly pandemic, with deaths in the U.S. alone totaling over 400,000 … fully 20% of the total deaths worldwide, though we have only 4% of the world’s population.  The overt racism and police brutality toward Black people is out of control.  Unemployment and poverty are at an all-time high, in part due to the pandemic.  And perhaps the most critical issue is that for four years we have completely disregarded the environment, have added more plastic and CO2 to the atmosphere than ever before.  All of these and more are things that President Biden will need to deal with rapidly, and I believe he will.

Solutions will not happen overnight, and our patience is likely to be sorely tested, but finally we have a President who understands the problems, will listen to the experts and the scientists, and will do his best to repair the damage, to protect not only the people of this nation, but of the world.  My hope is that rather than engage in partisanship and obstructionism, Congress will work with President Biden to help solve some of our many problems.  Members of Congress who fail to do so will earn themselves a place in my ‘snarky snippets’ hall of fame!

And so, we enter a new day in our ongoing history … a day filled with hope for the future, something we haven’t felt for a very long time.  When I awoke this morning, the sky was cloudy and grey, but sometime in the early afternoon, the sun came out and outside my window the birdies are eating the squirrel’s peanuts and the squirrels are eating the bird seed – and thus, life goes on!

Now what?

Once again, our friend Brosephus is spot on with his assessment of the U.S. today. Would MLK be appalled? Probably, but then he’d jump in and get to work trying to help fix this mess. Thanks, Brosephus, for this accurate summation of where we are today.

The Mind of Brosephus

Now what

Yesterday morning, I opened up the WordPress editor to begin writing a column. The words that were bouncing around in my skull didn’t seem appropriate for a day honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., so I left the page blank. I didn’t want to sully his memory with the things in my mind. In hindsight, yesterday was probably the most appropriate day of the year to let those words and the message they convey flow freely like water leaping from a waterfall.

America is a broken country. It’s been that way for a long time, but the false sheen of good (or greatness) has been rubbed away by the abrasiveness of modern politics. Instead of working towards the idea of E Pluribus Unum, we’ve been guided by a principle best described as “I’m getting mine, f**k yours”.

CoVID-19 exposed the shortcomings for American health care. Many already…

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A Bit Of This And A Tad Of That

Thirty-six hours left until we once again have a president, a vice-president, and sanity in the White House.  Just 36 hours until we kick the imposter who has been illegitimately occupying our White House, using our money to buy food, to travel all ’round the globe, and to line his own pockets, while destroying this nation with his ignorance and cruelty.  Still … 36 hours … he could still do a lot of damage.  It is said he plans to issue some 100+ pardons today, and I still don’t trust him any farther than I can throw a feather.  But soon, my friends, we will be shed of him … hopefully forever.  My angst level is at an all-time high tonight, even knowing that 36 hours, only 2,160 minutes, and the source of much of my angst will head to Florida where hopefully he will be eaten by a shark!  The angst I feel I know is shared by  many of you, so feel free to add your own bit of snark here!


Domestic terrorists – some you wouldn’t expect

An Olympic gold medalist in swimming, Klete Keller, was one of those arrested for the January 6th terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol.  His friends and former teammates noticed his picture in the footage of the attack and reported him to the FBI.  After being arrested, Keller spoke with his former coach and according to the coach …

“He kept repeating, ‘You’ve done so much for me, and I let you down.’ He kept saying over and over, ‘I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.’”

Then WHY THE SAM HELL did he go there in the first place?  Every single person who was involved in that mob in any way, shape, or form, was there in an attempt to destroy the government, the Capitol, and some even intended to kill our elected legislators.  No, he isn’t to be pitied, for he is a terrorist, a fool, he is the enemy and I hope they lock his ass up for at least a decade.

Among other terrorists who perpetrated the attack on our government on January 6th were a number of law enforcement officials – people whose salary is paid by We the People, people who are hired for the sole purpose of protecting the people of this nation!  I demand they return the last decade’s worth of their salary, for we damn sure lost out there!  Among them are a New Hampshire police chief, a Philadelphia detective, and two Seattle Police Department officers.  These people wanted to kill those members of Congress who we elected.  They hoped to overthrow the government, overthrow the November elections, and install Donald Trump as a dictator.  And to think … we pay them to stab us in the back!

Also represented on January 6th were that group that call themselves the “Proud Boys”, though from their pictures and behaviour, I would say they’ve got nothing to be ‘proud’ of … they look like what they are … a bunch of bigoted, redneck, jobless, slobs with beer bellies, scruffy faces, and guns.  Lots of big guns.  Turns out they have gotten some portion of their funding for such events as the storming of the Capitol from a so-called ‘Christian’ fund-raising site.  In fact, when Proud Boys leader, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested in Washington on January 4th, he was given more than $113,000 from 2,359 donors on this ‘Christian’ website to help with his bail and legal fees.

I hope that ultimately, every single person who entered the Capitol is arrested and imprisoned for a very long time, for these are not simply protestors, they are domestic terrorists … every one of them … and need to be treated accordingly.  No bail, no plea deals … just orange jumpsuits and prison bars (no, not the kind that serve Canadian Mist).


In other news …

Donald Trump is throwing himself a going away party at Andrews Air Force Base on Wednesday morning.  Attendance is by invitation only and the event starts at 8:00 a.m.  He is planning an ostentatious military parade and an official armed forces farewell as the commander-in-chief, as well as a large crowd of supporters, selected backers and current and former officials in his administration and their guests at a huge red-carpet affair. On our tax dollar. However, senior Pentagon officials say that it ain’t gonna happen like he wants.  Awwww … pobre Donnie.

My immediate concern is … this ‘event’ is to be held just a few miles from the Capitol Building where four hours later Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will take their oaths of office to become the president and vice president.  Remember January 6th, where Trump used a speech to rile the masses, to incite violence, to urge them to ‘fight’?  Is a repeat performance part of the plan for his ridiculous ‘ceremony’?  It is said that attendance is by invitation only … who is he inviting?  White supremacist groups like the Proud Boys and others?

Any other president who had just been impeached for the second time, would be tucking his tail between his legs and slinking out of town with as little fanfare as possible, but not Trump.  Nope, he has to leave with a big bang … I’m just concerned that the big bang might happen four hours later and a few miles distant.  Federal security officials should shut his event down … throw him on the plane bodily if necessary (it will take a few of them to lift his 330 pound girth) and send him on his way!  Good riddance to bad rubbish!


And speaking of spreading conspiracy …

Remember how Parler, the website frequented by Trump-fanatic, right-wing domestic terrorists, was virtually dead in the water after being dropped by Amazon, Apple, and Google?  Well … they’re baaaaaaack.  And guess who helped them make a comeback, just in time for the inauguration?  DDos-Guard (no, I didn’t stutter), a Russian-owned technology company.  Put that one in your skillet and let it simmer for a while.


Since this post is mainly a rant, I’ll leave you with a bit of humour … dark humour, as it were, but humour nonetheless …

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Honouring Dr. Martin Luther King …

Today is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday in the United States.  I first wrote this tribute to Dr. King in 2017, and each year I reprise it, with slight changes or minor additions, for I find that it still says exactly what I wish to say.  Given the increase in racism in the United States over the past four years, and particularly last year with the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, and with peaceful Black Lives Matter protests being assaulted by law enforcement and white supremacists, I think the above quote seems more apt today than ever before.  So please, take just a minute to, if nothing else, listen once again to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  In these troubled times, it is good to be reminded of Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream.


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.” 

“That old law about ‘an eye for an eye’ leaves everybody blind. The time is always right to do the right thing.”

mlk-3Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on 15 January 1929.  He would have been 92 years old last Wednesday, had he lived. On this day, we celebrate not only his life, but also his legacy. Martin Luther King Day celebrates not only Dr. King, but the movement he inspired and all those who helped move forward the notion of equal rights for ALL people, all those who worked tirelessly during the civil rights era of the 1960s, as well as those who are continuing the good fight even in this, the year 2021.  Dr. King’s fight lives on, for we have moved further away than before from his dream.

Dr. King, along with President John F. Kennedy, was the most moving speaker I have ever heard.  To this day, I cannot listen to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech without tears filling my eyes.  If you haven’t heard it for a while, take a few minutes to watch/listen … I promise it will be worth your time.

This post is both a commemoration and a plea for us to carry on the work that was only begun, not yet finished, more than five decades ago.  Today we should remember some of the great heroes of the civil rights movement, those who worked tirelessly, some who gave their lives, that we could all live in peace and harmony someday: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X, Roy Innes, Medgar Evers, Stepen Bantu Biko, Booker T. Washington, John Lewis, Percy Julian, Marcus Garvey, Desmond Tutu, E.D. Nixon, James Meredith, and so many more.  I am willing to bet there are some on this list of whom you’ve never heard, or perhaps recognize the name but not the accomplishments. If you’re interested, you can find brief biographies of each of these and more at Biography.com .

Yet, while we celebrate the achievements of Dr. King and the others, there is still much to be done. Just look around you, read the news each day. Think about these statistics:

  • More than one in five black families live in households that are food insecure, compared to one in ten white families
  • Almost four in ten black children live in a household in poverty, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Among prime-age adults (ages 25 to 54), about one in five black men are not in the labor force, nearly twice the rate of other racial groups
  • Although blacks and whites use marijuana at approximately the same rate, blacks are over 3 and a half times more likely to get arrested for marijuana possession
  • For every dollar earned by a white worker, a black worker only makes 74 cents
  • Black families are twice as likely as whites to live in substandard housing conditions
  • Black college graduates now have twice the amount of debt as white college graduates
  • The likelihood of a black woman born in 2001 being imprisoned over the course of her lifetime is one in 18, compared to 1 in 111 for a white woman
  • Similarly, the likelihood of a black man being imprisoned is 1 in 3, compared to 1 in 17 for a white man
  • Of black children born into the bottom 20 percent of the income distribution, about half of them will still be there as adults, compared to less than one-quarter of white children

Data courtesy of the Brookings Institute – for charts and supporting details of above date, please click on link. 

And of course the above data does not even touch upon the recent spate of hate crimes, racial profiling, and police shootings against African-Americans.  There is still much of Dr. King’s work to be accomplished. But who is left to do this work?  Most of the leaders of yore are long since gone. There are still noble and courageous people out there carrying on the programs and works of Dr. King and the others, but their voices are perhaps not as loud, and there are none so charismatic as the late Dr. King.

In the current environment of racial divisiveness, we need more than ever to carry on what Dr. King only started. Instead, the past four years have found our nation backtracking on civil and human rights in a number of areas, ranging from discriminatory travel bans against Muslims to turning a federal blind eye to intentionally racially discriminatory state voter-suppression schemes, to opposing protections for transgender people, to inhumanely separating children from families seeking to enter the country.  I think Dr. King would be appalled if he returned to visit today.

In a speech on April 12th, 1850, then-Senator and future President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis said:

“This Government was not founded by negroes nor for negroes, but by white men for white men.” [1]

That was wrong then, it is wrong today, and it will always be wrong.  That is what Dr. Martin Luther King fought against, that is what I rail and sometimes rant against, that is why we need activists and groups dedicated to fighting for equality for all people … today, tomorrow, and forever.

Here is a bit of trivia you may not know about Dr. King …

  • King’s birth name was Michael, not Martin.
    The civil rights leader was born Michael King Jr. on January 15, 1929. In 1934, however, his father, a pastor at Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, traveled to Germany and became inspired by the Protestant Reformation leader Martin Luther. As a result, King Sr. changed his own name as well as that of his 5-year-old son.

  • King entered college at the age of 15.
    King was such a gifted student that he skipped grades nine and 12 before enrolling in 1944 at Morehouse College, the alma mater of his father and maternal grandfather. Although he was the son, grandson and great-grandson of Baptist ministers, King did not intend to follow the family vocation until Morehouse president Benjamin E. Mays, a noted theologian, convinced him otherwise. King was ordained before graduating college with a degree in sociology.


  • King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was not his first at the Lincoln Memorial.
    Six years before his iconic oration at the March on Washington, King was among the civil rights leaders who spoke in the shadow of the Great Emancipator during the Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom on May 17, 1957. Before a crowd estimated at between 15,000 and 30,000, King delivered his first national address on the topic of voting rights. His speech, in which he urged America to “give us the ballot,” drew strong reviews and positioned him at the forefront of the civil rights leadership.


  • King was imprisoned nearly 30 times.
    According to the King Center, the civil rights leader went to jail 29 times. He was arrested for acts of civil disobedience and on trumped-up charges, such as when he was jailed in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1956 for driving 30 miles per hour in a 25-mile-per-hour zone.


  • King narrowly escaped an assassination attempt a decade before his death.
    On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in Blumstein’s department store when he was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and King underwent hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed where he convalesced for weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.


  • King’s mother was also slain by a bullet.
    On June 30, 1974, as 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church, Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King’s father, who was in the congregation, he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer. The shooting also left a church deacon dead. Chenault received a death penalty sentence that was later changed to life imprisonment, in part due to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment.

Dr. King fought and ultimately gave his life for the values I believe in, the values that should define this nation, though they often do not.  Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero of his time … thank you, Dr. King, for all you did, for the values you gave this nation, and for the hope you instilled in us all that your dream will someday come true.

[1] (Kendi, 2016)   stamped

Note:  Our friend TokyoSand has written a post with ideas for how each of us can help carry on Dr. King’s legacy … I hope you’ll pay her a visit!

Republican Senator warns against being the party of conspiracy theory and talk show hosts

With no less than two newly-elected Republican members of Congress being followers of the QAnon conspiracy theory group, one wonders what the Republican Party is becoming. Turns out, at least one Republican Senator has an answer and it doesn’t bode well for the future of the GOP. Our friend Keith tells us the story …

musingsofanoldfart

One of the three key reasons I left the Republican Party over twelve years ago is its tendency to make things up. Aided and abetted by radio talk show hosts and the Fox prime time line-up, whose primary mission was misinformation not news, the party became more distasteful to me. I have noted before that the outgoing president did not create this untruthful bent, but he has certainly shown how to use to leverage it more.

Now, with social media allowing less fettered information to proliferate, conspiracy theories have found an accepting home. This is not just my opinion. In an article in Business Insider by T. Porter called “GOP Senator Ben Sasse warned that the QAnon conspiracy theory movement is destroying the Republican Party,” he rakes the now-Trump Party over the coals. Here are a few paragraphs, with a link below.

“Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska has warned in…

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